Focusing On What We Can Do

Focusing on what we can do

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

Fri Jan 02, 2009, 04:23 PM EST

How many times can you start over? We’ve been doing it all our lives; the actual number of times is unknown. The real answer is as many times as needed.

When we began to walk, we stumbled, fell, then got up and tried again until walking was something we did without thinking. We repeated this process through out life, such as in learning to ride a bike. The key to being successful is not how many times you were knocked down, but that you got back up.

Some people measure success in how many toys they have; others by their achievements; still others by the success of their children.

It is a matter of perception.
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what you learned from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:

“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

Please look around you to see that everyone is different from you on the outside. If you could look at each person on the inside, you would see the same structure and the same basic needs. We were made for fellowship with each other and our Creator. No one wants to be ostracized. I could make a long list of people or groups that have been mistrusted, mistreated, hated and killed because of their appearance or place of origin. Many of these misdeeds could have been avoided by people really getting to know other people.

Adults and children alike who have special needs, because of a medical condition of a mental illness or a physical disability, are ostracized because of something they have no control over. They have the same basic needs and they have the same basic structure on the inside as everyone else.

Each and every person has the same right to be successful. Everyone has different talents and abilities. Those who are able, have a responsibility to help those who need assistance. If everyone would work together and use the abilities they have, the best they can, we, as a nation, would be better off.

Our economy, our mental health, and our hope for the future would soar if we would focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t, and focus on where we agree, instead of where we disagree.

Let’s begin again and see how many friends we can make. That is a good measure of success.

Rev Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (located in MA and AZ) and current President of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Greater Framingham. NAMI Greater Framingham has support groups for family and friends in Framingham and Uxbridge, support groups for consumers in Marlboro and Framingham , and various Education Meetings on the first Thursday evenings of the months from September through May and


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