Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You’ve gotten this far...

Accept and encourage...

The men told of having had a 15 year “meth” habit... or being addicted to alcohol so they weren’t allowed to see their children... or they had been jailed or in prison, etc.

It was difficult to look at over 30 men dressed in nice shirts and ties singing in the choir at a church and imagine what hell they had gone through. And they add, what hell they put their loved ones through.

So how was my memory triggered as to what a cop once taught me about acceptance and encouragement?

These thoughts came when one man stepped forward and explained to the audience that because of his addiction he had been homeless... and slept under bushes near an alley in Cannon Falls, MN.

I remembered his story.

I wrote it for the newspaper back in 2008.

And I remember being concerned about his rehabilitation.

When I researched the story about Thomas McConnell back then I was touched by his striving to become the man he wanted to be. .. a man not controlled by his addiction... reconciled with his family... becoming the person he believed God wanted him to be.

But I also was concerned whether he would make it or not.


So I took my doubts to a cop who had been involved with many of McConnell’s problems over the years, Cannon Falls Assistant Police Chief, Rich Wisniewski.

He recalled that in a program called Teen Challenge (which includes adults) McConnell got a better grip on his problems and graduated from their recovery program. Wisniewski gave a talk at the ceremony.

And Wisniewski also taught me. He dealt with my concerns by suggesting that I just accept Thomas where he was at. Recognize how far he had come. And this is what I wanted to tell the men in the chorus. But I wanted to add what I had learned as I considered Wisniewski’s suggestion.

You see, I have kept his e-mail with these thoughts at the back of my desk for two years. (I know I really should clean my desk more often!)

I appreciated being reminded to accept someone just where they were. Recognize that it is amazing that they had gotten better.

And then I had another amazing thought! Maybe I should even consider doing that for me!


And this is the “revelation” that I wanted to get across to the men working on their own struggles that Sunday morning... accepting and encouraging themselves.

Don’t wait for someone else to recognize how much you have accomplished. You know what it has taken to get you to this point. Give yourself credit.

And push on.

(The Teen Challenge choir shared their thoughts and their music recently at True North Church in Cannon Falls.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A “Time Out”

for Randy Moss,

Brett Favre,

and Brad Childress

from the “Grandma Patrol”!

Sit in a corner fellas.

This is your “Grandma” speaking.

I’m going to talk to you one at a time and I want the other two to be quiet.

Randy - Would you like to be a great football player? That means filling the gap -

in this case it was to get the team to work together.

As a “Grandma” who loved you - I sure expected more from you.

Now, sit there while I talk to Brett.

Brett - What kind of leadership do you think you are portraying to the team? What if they all should act like you? As a “Grandma” I know you’re able to do better.

Now sit there while I talk to Brad.

Brad - Are you able to lead and teach these guys who may only believe their own press releases? And are you being true to yourself? Your “Grandma” is concerned you are losing your own soul in this struggle and losing the team too.

OK guys. You can come out of your corners now and have a cookie.