Saturday, July 21, 2012

#68 He Treats Family Right

At the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics summer games a lot of important people spoke.  Among them were important members of The Special Olympics New Jersey, the president of the The College of New Jersey (where it was held), some political figure within some realm for New Jersey, and the new football coach at Rutgers University.

Try and figure that one out, the football coach of Rutgers speaking at an event held at The College of New Jersey.

I know nothing about football, so that comment might mean actually nothing.

Or everything.

Don't tell me though because I don't really care.

Yet of all the people that stood before the microphone that night, he was the second one that made an impact on me.  (He just couldn't beat the girl with Down syndrome who sang the national anthem.  She wins, always and forever).

If I had stopped listening for a moment, I would have missed out on one of the best lessons ever.  He said it so fast that I instantly had to pull out my phone and write it down because they were words I never ever want to forget.

He told the crowd of families and fans of Special Olympics athletes that at Rutgers the one thing he tries to instill in his football players is FAMILY: Forget About Me I Love You.

With my siblings, Thanksgiving 2010
I was stunned.  Isn't that, after all, really what family should be?  Yet so often we get it all wrong.  We make it: forget about you I love me.  Shame on us.

I say 'we' and 'us' because I am definitely at fault for this.  Far too often I allow my own agenda, my own hurt feelings, my own wants and desires to cast a shadow on my love for others.  The image I then paint for them is that I care only about myself.  My intent might not be that.  But that is the message I send.

With my in laws, Christmas 2011

What does "forget about me" mean?  It is selflessness.  It is the recognition that others matter, no matter how great or how small they are.  

Living in such a matter, forgetting about me, we should be able to make all around us "family".  Recognizing that we are not here to accomplish personal agendas, but to get along with those we encounter in our daily lives.  To make them feel important.  To make them feel like they matter.  If we live in such a manner, we may not always get our way, we may not always be happy, but we probably will help more people than hurt them.

My parents, Christmas 2011

It's hard.  I can't say that since hearing those words I've lived 100% forgetful of myself.  But every part of me wants to.  I imagine that when I start to live forgetting about me and begin to care more for others that I will in the end reap much more than if I continued to stress over things that I want.  Because instead I will be able to look upon others I've helped, those who I have supported rather than neglected, and know that I treated them the best way that I knew how to.

My Wedding 2007, sorry for the scary eyes.
Does it mean I will never stand up for myself?  No.  It just means I will always pick my battles according to what shows the other person that regardless of how I am feeling I still love them.  

Am I hurting someone by what I am saying?  

Am I treating them the way I want to be treated?

Am I showing them that the ultimate reason of conflict is because they matter so much to me?

I matter.  I am important.  But, others matter and are important too.

Forget about me.  I love you.

At Jonathan's School Play, Christmas 2011

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