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Reach Out to Others

May 3, 2014


Theodore Roosevelt once said; “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

     When I was growing up I remember it seemed like we always had some stray person or family of people “temporarily” staying with us.  I didn’t understand this and as an adult I judged my mother and considered it bad parenting that she would have what seemed like transient people in and out of our lives. Besides making our physical space smaller because there were additional people in it, it probably made it even harder on my mom than it already was.  She was pretty much on her own with us four kids and to have additional mouths to feed must have created more of a hardship.

    A couple of years ago I was sitting at my desk at work thinking about my grandmother.  She was a firecracker!  She was raised in Unalakleet, Alaska. Let’s just say that this is so far north that the Iditarod sled dog race goes straight through the town each year.  I have heard stories that my grandmother had to boil ice to get water.  Her father was a sled-dog mail carrier and reindeer herder, and she was the oldest of five brothers and sisters. 

     When my Grandmother was 10 years old, she cared for her mother until she died of cancer.  Instead of being allowed to grieve with her family, for whatever reason, my Grandmother and   her brothers and sisters were all separated and my Grandmother ended up in an orphanage in Poulsbo, WA.  From the time she was 13 years old she cooked on the tug boats.  She had a rough life,  and worked very hard but always, always, made room in her home and in her life for others in need including us when at times we had nowhere else to go.

     My thoughts traveled to my mother who was always willing to lend a helping hand.  When her friends were struggling or when someone needed help, she opened her heart and our home, wherever we were to give of herself and her slender resources. 

     Still sitting at my desk, it suddenly occurred to me for the first time in my life that I am a third generation helper; first my Grandmother, then my Mother, and now me.  What I considered bad parenting on the part of my mother was actually generosity, hope, and the willingness to go the extra mile to make sure no one gets left behind.  Thank you mom, for teaching me the value of being there for others when they need you most.  You have left me and my sister and brothers an incredible legacy of selflessness and love.

    What do you have to give?  Your time or attention?  A warm meal or some money?  When you give to others, you prosper in more ways than you can imagine.  Give without expecting anything in return and what you will find is that you are compensated tenfold with the great feelings you will experience as a result!

Copyright 2013  Robin B. O’Grady

Facebook:  The Optimists Edge


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