Just saying … One time many years ago, my son was home for a visit and came to see me at my work. He was sitting in a chair across from my desk and turned to look at the wall to his right, where I had many certificates and plaques displayed.
He said, “Mom, do all those certificates and plaques have your name on them”. I sat a little higher in my chair, thinking to myself, – “he is paying attention to the things that I do”. I answered – “Yes, every one of those has my name on them”.
He then ventured further into the discussion and said: “Are they all for what you have done for mental illness?” Again, I sat a little higher in my chair, basking in the recognition of my endeavors. I answered a little regally and told him every one of those awards was for something I had done in the mental health field. Again, I was sitting higher in my chair, expecting accolades from my son – instead, this happened:
He sat back in his chair, tented his fingers, joining both hands together and said: “Mom, don’t you think it’s strange that you have the awards, and I have the illness?” I SANK down in my chair and I was amazed at the insight he was showing.
It opened the door to honor persons with mental illness. At a conference where I was presenting, I arranged to have an award presented to a consumer. The award read:
A Certificate of Acknowledgement
The Person’s Name “An Inspiration to Others“
for Strength, Courage, and Tenacity in surviving a
It was signed by our County Mental Health Director, and former State Director of Mental Health, Steve Mayberg. Needless to say, the first recipient of the award was my son, who got a standing ovation. The “Courage Award” as it became known was the highlight of the conference from that time forward.
A lesson to be learned … it’s all about that hope!!