It was my Dad’s 80th birthday last week. At a family meal in a local pub near where my parents live my wife Liz said (as you do) “Well done, Mike”. Now, for my Dad there is a bit more of an achievement in that he was diagnosed with diabetes before he was 10. The British Diabetic Society (he supports Ireland, is very Irish, but will take things off the Brits!) recently sent him a John McLeod medal to celebrate living over 70 years with diabetes.
Dad then told a very simple story of when he first came to England in the 50s. His older brother took him to a hospital hoping in a wonderfuly naive way that they might have a cure for diabetes in England. He met a consultant who had this advice for Dad … “Live your life, keep working and stay fit, do everything everyone else does and don’t let this stop you from doing anything”. That was over 60 years ago. And in response to Liz’s “Well done, Mike” he told this story (first time I’d heard it) and said “And, I have done”.
For someone who has had more than their fair share of health issues, my Dad is the most positive person I have ever met. Always ready with a smile and able to bounce back from anything.
Now, this might not all be traceable back to that consultant’s positive message but it is interesting that Dad has held that conversation for all that time. A positive, encouraging conversation will always have a better effect than a critical one. At times we need a balance but positive, encouraging wins overall.