I am often asked about my health. One way to answer that is to talk about what I can and can’t do. Parkinson’s Disease threatens to take away many functions that go into public speaking: my ability to gesture, have facial expression, speak with adequate volume, etc. I choose to say no to “can’t.” so I will continue to hone my skills in a Toastmasters Club and write up some of my talks to post on our blog. May you be entertained!
I gave this talk at a Toastmasters Humorous Speech contest in August of 2011…and won! At the next level…I didn’t even place…but a fab experience!
Cut the Drama
As adults we deal with kids in a variety of roles and contexts…parents and grandparents, coaches and teachers. And we do so with a variety of personalities and styles. Some are warm and fuzzy while others are more stern. Some are laid back and calm. Others are excitable and nervous.
My hand tremor makes me appear to be of the nervous type. However, my family likes to describe my parenting style in much more stern and steely terms…as that of a “Don’t Bleed on the Carpet!” kind of mom.
What is it with kids and pets that they need to bleed and barf on the carpet, when there are perfectly good, non-porous surfaces nearby?!? In addition to the mess, it’s way too much drama!
If adults embrace the drama, it gives kids ideas. For instance, if parents pay too much attention to minor health issues, they will hear more of the following: “Mom, I don’t feel well. I don’t think I can go to school.”
A parent’s next move is critical. Thus, I had a litmus test. “Ok honey, if you think you should stay home, you will need to stay in bed and there won’t be any tv or video games.” I saw such amazing recoveries that I thought I had the gift of healing! Dramatic results to a low key approach.
However, others take different approaches as became evident at Kaarin’s 13th birthday party.
Nils was out of town.
The party was on a warm spring day in our cozy little neighborhood. Flowers were blooming, people were working in their yards and babies were being strolled.
Kaarin and friends were playing games outside. In the midst of Running Charades, one of the girls screeched a guess of “Whore!” “Weeelll,” I exclaimed, “Time for cake!”
Inside the house we went and as I lit the candles I looked out the kitchen window to see a police officer standing behind one of our trees…with his gun drawn!! The doorbell rang and another officer was at the door with his hand on his gun in his unsnapped holster!
At that precise moment, that birthday party became THE social event of the season. Had there been texting back then, all thumbs would have been flying. Instead, those 10 girls were dying to get to school to tell all.
Oh, the reason for police presence? Jay and entourage had shown up to film a video. Their props included trench coats and fake guns. A neighbor who grew up in inner city Los Angeles saw them, freaked out and called 911.
NOT a low key approach…the resulting twitch in my right eye only lasted a few months…
Another time when Nils was out of town…oh, and I was with him…we received THE dreaded midnight phone call.
“Mom, we just got out of the hospital. David and I were in a wreck.”
David was a teen age boy who used to have an old convertible Mustang. At about 10 p.m. on a July evening, he and Kaarin decided to go for a spin in the country… with the top down. David was going so fast that he “failed to negotiate the curve.” They think the car rolled and flipped, landing on its wheels in a field.
When I saw the car the next day, I noted the way it was crunched in all around the top. When the emergency services people saw the car they asked, “Where are the dead teenagers?” When I took Kaarin to the doctor to get checked out, he wryly commented, “Kaarin, I went into pediatrics because kids don’t usually die.”
Those very much alive teenagers walked away from that wreck with minor injuries. Their guardian angels had to be stressed but satisfied. And I think Kaarin’s guardian angel and I are on the same wave length. You see, I’m pretty sure that car didn’t have any blood on the carpet.