This Never Happens

By Patrick McNerthney 

I was a perfect child. Smart, obedient, friendly, caring, helpful, impeccably clean both in my physical appearance as well as my bedroom. And I certainly never caused trouble for trouble’s sake, no way!  That wasn’t me, unwinding my sisters’ cassette tapes or vandalizing their doll houses with crayons and markers.

Nor did I make a water slide out of the front lawn (we lived on a hill) by running a garden hose on it for an hour until it created a grass waterfall my friends and raced down for hours. 

Neither did I set fire to a tower of cardboard boxes (by accident…I certainly did not make a fort out of them…which would be a long story if I had) on the 4th of July or point my favorite fireworks…

  • Roman candles
  • tanks
  • aircraft carriers (that off those little bumble bee things)
  • fountains (the cone thingy that shoots fire)

…directly at them. 


(You get the idea.)

Okay fine, maybe I wasn’t perfect. 

But rest assured, I am perfect now, as my wife and son can attest. But, since a lot of times people I meet aren’t perfect (sadly), it helps to decide where we are similar, rather than point out our differences all the time. Especially in the workplace.  

In fact, consider what would happen if we put as much effort in clearly defining what we agree on with our coworkers and bosses INSTEAD of pointing out what we DISAGREE on. It would be MAGICAL—I bet we’d be way less tense, neurotic and stressed out!

So wherever you work, whatever you do, let’s agree on the following: Actually, scratch that. Instead, I’ll pretend you’re my coworker…here’s what I BELIEVE, and if you disagree with any of this, send me a letter. Or a candy-gram. (Remember the land-shark?) Or something.

  1. When you’re talking (Zoom or IRL) I promise to look you in the eye, listen, and not check my email or look at my phone. In turn, when I speak, if you try to absorb the gist of what I’m saying in the same manner, I’ll keep it as brief as possible.
  2. Meetings are a waste of time, SO, we won’t have them if a memo, text, call or email is sufficient to communicate what’s up. 
  3. BUT, when we do have a meeting, it will only be to change our minds or communicate a brand-new idea. It’s not a status update; so let’s have that meeting. 
  4. If we cheer each other on and show enthusiasm, our work is much more enjoyable. Similarly, when things aren’t going well, we benefit by showing empathy instead of rage or frustration. (Even if we need to take a time out to get there.) 
  5. No one can do two (or 25) things at once. One at a time. That’s how goals are accomplished. 
  6. Important work is better done now than later.
  7. At the end of the day, let’s leave everything (the office, the state of the refrigerator in the break room, our attitudes) better than we found it. 
  8. The alternative to this list is what most people complain about when it comes to their jobs.

(I really don’t like meetings.)

There it is. You get to literally take this or leave it (and mail me a letter if it’s the latter–but I would appreciate it if your package would include candy). The point here is that this list champions what we all want: empathy, patience, effective decision making, joy, efficiency, support, and the ability to make a difference. That’s why I’m betting you’ll agree with all of it: because you’re a caregiver. 

You’re trying to help your residents or loved ones overcome their struggle with social isolation, including the by-products of fear, anxiety, and doubt. You’re always looking for tools and solutions to help you in your work. You don’t want to waste time. You want to make a big impact, to see positive change happen. The reason you’re a caregiver is that YOU CARE. 

And you could use a hand, because you’re too busy lending yours every day to carve out the time to figure this out on your own. 

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) can help. 

FAMThey uses the power of creative expression to help the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone who needs assistance with life’s daily tasks reconnect with their self-worth, confidence, optimism, power, and pride. Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drumming Exercise Therapy, ART2GO packages (this month featuring Folk Art Fourth of July) can restore that little bit of swagger in those under your care, because through art, they are seen. And EVERYONE wants to be seen…and heard. 

It’s what makes us realize we matter to the world.

So whaddya say? Give FAM a call! They’re happy to set you up with a program that fits the bill for sure! Your residents (or loved ones) will be glad you did.Sooooo…Monday is the 4th of July. My kid keeps asking for fireworks. Of course I say “No,” mostly because they’re illegal in the city. And a little bit because I want to build another fort out of cardboard boxes and see what happens! Wait–not that I’ve done that before, but it does sound like fun!.

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