Monday, May 25, 2009


My 17 year old son wrote this for a homework assignment. I thought it was really insightful. It is a brief piece on his thoughts on how to handle adversity.

Rivers are my problems. Every problem
has solutions. I could ride a boat or
Fly an airplane. I choose the long route though.
I face my problems. That makes me better.
So I build a bridge, to the other side.
Each is one step. One step toward what I will
Be. When I am what I will be, you will
look up and say, “What a bridge he
has built!” I have built many bridges.
I have many more to build. Conclusions
Are so simple. I have come to one. All
Rivers lead to bigger rivers. Problems
Lead to bigger problems. Once I cross the
First one, I know that I can cross them all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dealing with adversity

In this world we will face difficult times. We do not always have the ability to control when these difficult times present themselves. Adversity wears many different mask. Sometimes adversity comes from outside sources. However, it most often comes from within. We are most often our own worst enemy. I read somewhere that on average people tend to think negative 77% of the time. That is an incredible statistic when you think about it. nearly 80% of the time we tend to think negative. When I contemplated on that fact I accepted it as true. Consider the conversations you hear people engaging in. They can tend to be cynical at best on most any topic. Particularly when it comes to our discussions about others, our jobs, other people, politics, religion, and most topics we can think of. We tend to think about the flaws in people or the system, focus on the failures of others or how things could be done differently in just about every endeavor. This mentality often bleeds over into our personal beliefs and values.

Most people are quick to give into the negative thoughts and think what is the use. This leads many to settle for a life of mediocrity at best. It leads others to seek pleasure and satisfaction in various hurtful ways. Adversity presents itself in marriage and many people decide to give up and get a divorce. The divorce rate is sky rocketing and we see that more than half of the marriages in todays society end in divorce. We see people cave in when adversity strikes and they often quit their jobs or begin hurtful habits such as drinking and abusing drugs. Many people find it difficult to face their problems and seek quick fixes rather than long term solutions. We see so may problems facing our society due to the effects of adversity. People tend to seek lustful pleasure because it feels good now. That is why we see drug abuse on the rise. With technological advancements we see the proliferation of powerful designer drugs that are intended to give a much more powerful effect to help people dissociate from hurtful feelings brought on by stress and pressure they face in todays fast paced society. It becomes much more convenient to avoid our problems and issues than to work through them.

I have worked with people for the duration of my career in social work and tried to help them overcome these tendencies to seek instant gratification and work towards more long term solutions. It is a difficult task to get people to see the value in taking this approach. We live in such a fast paced instant solution society that it is often a foreign concept for people to see the value in working through painful situations and seeking a slower and more lasting solution. And to be honest, we all fall victim to this quick, give up solution from time to time. It takes effort to keep a mindset geared toward overcoming adversity and not becoming cynical.