In last week’s Girls Inc speech, I used a dodge ball analogy. Lots of people have been responding to it, so I thought I’d share it with you, dear readers.
Let me begin by asking you a question: How many of you have ever played dodge ball?
In elementary school, I loved it! In fact – in case you were wondering – I was the 5th grade dodge ball champion. Just sayin’…
So in dodge ball, the strategy is to literally dodge the ball, right? You want to do pretty much anything to avoid that ball coming straight at you at what always felt like a 100 mph. (This was, of course, when REAL balls were used.)
Well, in my clinical work and in my personal experience with cancer, I learned how to play Reverse Dodge Ball. The object of this game is to go directly toward the ball.
After my FBC (f-bomb breast cancer for new readers) diagnosis and during treatment, playing Reverse Dodge Ball meant that I faced and went directly toward my worst fears: from having a double mastectomy, to contending with side-effect-filled chemo treatments, to telling our children about my cancer diagnosis.
You know what? The Silver Lining is that when we do this — when we lean into the thing that most terrifies us — we become unstoppable. Truly.
This philosophy transcends illness. We can’t opt out of pain and f-bomb inducing experiences in life. As much as I wish we could, we just can’t. These are the inherent challenges of being alive.
We have two choices about how we handle these f-bomb inducing experiences: from a place of fear or optimism. When I was sick I chose (and it was a very active, decisive choice) optimism in the form of Silver Linings.
We have a beautiful opportunity to model Reverse Dodge Ball for our children. Communicating with and including children in the pain of life is a great opportunity. It teaches them how to cope with life’s inevitable challenges. Trust the children in your life. Children are wonderfully resilient and CAN survive even the worst imaginable circumstances. Don’t hide what you know to be true. When there is trust, you can survive anything and everything.
The willingness to show up and to be truthful changes us – for the better. Keeping children safe is not by denying what is happening, but by saying, “We. Can. Do. This.” …no matter what the “this” is.
While we cannot protect all of the world’s children from the big and little “lumps” (pun intended) of life, the manner in which the experience is handled lays the foundation for how children will handle the inevitable future “lumps” in the road. This, my friends, is the ultimate Silver Lining!