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Self Help is Not Encouraging or "Want to Learn to Surf?"

Posted Jan 24 2007 12:00am

(I got this painting from They don't know I took it, but I figured I better give them credit. You can see more of their paintings by going there).

This morning while Tony was in therapy, I read the first half of an Oprah magazine. I used to be motivated by self-help stuff, but lately it’s just been depressing.

Sure, I have a creative side. Sure I have ideas of how to improve my life and the life of others. Sure, there are things I want to do, and write and create. There are ways I want to change the world.

But lately when I read those things I get discouraged because I am pushed to the limit on every side of my life. Not only do I have two jobs and do a few things at church, but I have my kids and their multiple issues. Just today I am dealing with Kyle who wants to, as always, spend money he doesn’t have, Rand who hates giving rides to other kids because they don’t do things his way, Mike who is locked up in a place he doesn’t want to be and it’s (my fault), John who is in the psych hospital and telling folks it is because of his “family situation”, Jimmy who is getting in trouble in school every day for being annoying to his peers, Salinda who wants to quit gymnasitcs and is furious with me because I’m saying she can’t, Ricardo who refuses to read and is 13 and in the 5th grade, Sadie who is too stubborn and sneaky to obey the rules, Tony who calls me a Fat A** first thing every morning, and Dominyk who is eating himself into oblivion after spending years underweight. And that is only listing one issue per kid.

So, when I read an article telling me that I CAN exercise one hour a day, five or six times a week or an article telling me I should take time for something fun for me, or an article about how I need to go out and find a way to change the world, all I can think about is everything I am supposed to be doing.

And while I love my jobs and my kids and my volunteer stuff and church, I can’t even keep up with the things I want to do here, much less add more to my life.

It’s sort of like someone offering to teach me to surf when I know that if I stop dog paddling I’ll drown.

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