Wednesday, August 25, 2004

• Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
• Do not mistake activity for achievement.
• There is nothing stronger than gentleness.
• Be most interested in finding the best way, not in having your way.
• It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
• Happiness begins where selfishness ends.
• The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.
• You discipline to correct, to help, to improve--not to punish.
• Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.
• Make each day your masterpiece.

Andy's Cardinal Rule: Be Quick, But Don't Hurry!
Andy Hill Website

Monday, August 16, 2004

Hi Ian,
Thank you for this piece.
Alzheimer's is afflicting my father.
He is not as progressed as you describe your dad.
Unlike your father, my dad is still quite "there"
What I find insidious is that part by part he is disappearing. Some character traits replaced by worse ones, some by better ones. The tragedy is that neither the good, nor the bad are truly my father, or rather the image I have of my father.
Anecdotally, his passion for driving (after decades of being a cab driver and owning an autobody garage) is gone. In fact when it came time to renew his license, he voluntarily decided to give up driving - now that my mom is the principal driver anyway. I hated that. Not because it was a bad thing (In fact it was a good thing since it circumvented what we had anticipated as a tremendously difficult confrontation on giving up driving). I hated it because it wasn't representative of the image of my father.

Similar to you, I have attempted to resolve the "unfinished business". Giving my parents the credit they deserve for their input in making me, well, me.

My rabbi offered a comment that echoes the positive vs. negative unfinished business. Something (or someone) can only bother you if you give them the power to do so. Often we fail to make the conscious decision to overlook irritants and waste considerable time and energy and emotions embroiled in issues that we could simply choose to ignore and move on.

Remarkably, it seems that humans have to MAKE AN EFFORT to focus on the positive rather than being swallowed by the negative. Are their any NATURAL optimists?

I heard something remarkable last night at a wedding. The groom thanked his parents and explained to the guests that he is a PRODUCT of his family. I think that is a wonderful sentiment. Looking around at the people whose paths I have crossed through life, the simple statement is a tremendous truth. Children are the products of all of the efforts, or lack thereof, made by their families. What we do (or don't do) forms our kids, both positively and negatively.
When I spend time with my dad now it is far more centered on BEING with him, as opposed to the time we used to spend DOING things together.

I treasure the time that I am able to spend with what remains of the image of my father. I also find myself enjoying many of his "new" attributes. The other day I found myself in a situation I would have never anticipated. I was reading poetry to my dad....and he was enjoying it.

I have a three year old son. As parents we surmounted the challenges that we faced with our newborn, infant and toddler in anticipation that the energy invested would be rewarded as our son grew and matured. Even at 3 years old, it is apparent that this is true.

With my father, a lot of the challenges parallel those that we faced with my son as grew into a little boy. The obvious difference is that we have already received the compensation for the energy we must put in with my father.

Remarkably, the foundation for my ability to deal with the challenges from both my son and my father come from a trait that I learned from my father. Patience. Tragically, the progression of Alzheimer's has erased my father's capacity in this regard.

Ironic. More importantly, I am the product of my parents investment in me. I am better to my son, my family, my parents and everyone else as a result.

To expand on your analogy. While you (and I) may have a few bases behind us and continue on the run back to home plate, we have other roles to play as well.

We are the coaches for the other players around us, encouraging them on to score successfully.

We are the GM making sure that the details are orchestrated so that getting to bat and consequently each base is simpler,

We are the groundkeeper.

Above all, we must keep our eyes on the scoreboard. It is not only our at-bat that is important, but those on our team, and in fact the rest of league as well. - Even if, or better MORE IMPORTANTLY because we don't get to swing again.

Evan Savelson

.At 01:04 PM 15/08/2004, you wrote:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Depending on your frame of mind today, this issue could seem a little heavy and personal. A few things have happened over the last while, however, and I felt I had to get it out there. So I trust it will help someone. Please pass it along if you know somebody who needs to read it. For those who prefer the audio version please click on this link http://www.ianpercy.com/purpose.html

Family First!

I went up to Toronto to see my dad the other day.

Like I say, these are the things that have become less important over the last few years.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am a better parent to my kids than my parents were to me. And I have no doubt that my kids will be infinitely better at parenting than I could ever imagine. With the recent birth of two grandsons, I already have proof of that. This is the way it should and must be.

What is important to me now is that my parents did what they knew how to do. What is important are the many honest-to-goodness sacrifices they made for us kids. What is important is that they wish they had done better. What is important now are the positive experiences, not the negative ones.

I want them to know that they did all right. That their efforts on my behalf are treasured memories. I want them to walk off the field like they just scored the winning run. Even though we were not a demonstratively affectionate family, I want them to know they are loved.

I really should have told them all this years ago.

www.IanPercy.com and on the navigation bar you will see where to register.

The Ian Percy Corporation

11558 East Buckskin Trail

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PH: 480-502-3898

FX: 480-502-3936


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