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Call the @#$%& ing Doctor!!! part 2 or Ooops!!! I did it again

February 26, 2012

Even on our toughest days...

Last Friday morning there was a heavy wet snow in Chicago.  I was out shoveling at 5:40 am because I had to take Shaan to 6:00 am weight lifting practice at the high school.  The snow was heavy, but we have very little area to shovel, so it was no big deal.  No big deal until I slipped on an icy patch an fell directly on my left elbow.  Yes, the elbow I had broken about six weeks earlier!!!  Ouch!!!  The pain was quite intense and I was quickly flashing back to the original injury.  As I walked back into the house totally soaked with snow, I had a choice to make.

I could go into my normal (fixed mindset) and beat myself for being so clumsy or be mad that my son was not shoveling (he was shoveling in the front!!!) or even get mad at the football coaches for being so unrelenting on punctuality.  I could have easily focused on the “mistake” and it could have ruined my day.

I am happy to report that I did not focus on falling or “being an idiot” or blaming others.  I actually focused on what would be the next helpful step.  I changed clothes, got some ice and took some ibuprofen.  I then remembered that I already had an x-ray schedule for that day (supposed to be a final x-ray) and thought. “That’s good,  I am thankful for that.”  I called my  doctor and reported the fall and then managed to have a great rest of the day.  I do not have the results of the x-ray yet.  For all I know, I could have refractured the elbow and potentially need surgery. But, you what?  I am not really worried.  If I need surgery, then  I will have surgery.  Big deal.

I surprised myself with my reaction and it actually felt quite good.  I didn’t spend multiple hours lamenting my fate and figuring out what went wrong.  I had a lot more energy and was lot more positive because I hadn’t spent all the energy beating myself up.

So, Dads (and moms who are reading), what do you do when your kids goof up or perform poorly and even repeat the goofing up and poor performance?  It is easy to belittle, shame and blister our kids.  They need to be taught lessons!!!  I am all for kids being accountable, but our approach is key.  Sometimes when my kids have not done well in sports, it is really “me” who is embarrassed. After all, I was a Division I athlete, shouldn’t my kids be studs?  I need to focus on what my kids need during the crisis, not my own hurt feelings.

How we treat ourselves and our kids when things do not go as planned is absolutely critical.  Take a deep breathe, ask yourself “what is the next helpful step to take” and then eventually reflect on what can be learned from the situation.  For me, I think I have learned that the combination of “ice and darkness” is not good for me and there is always something to be thankful for!!!

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nathan Beauchamp permalink
    February 26, 2012 9:07 pm

    Nicely handled Pat. It’s hard in situations like that to maintain your calm, much less think rationally about the next helpful step.

  2. February 27, 2012 4:16 pm

    Great outlook… and results! It truly is a waste of time to do anything but think of and act in accordance with the next helpful steps. Your results are more proof of this. Keep up the great work!

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