Getting the most out of forwarded emails

Bill’s September Tip: Electronic Parenting

79My mom sends me many, many “please forward” emails: Those touching stories (verified or not) written to make the reader emotionally well up with joy, pride or whimsy…

Busy with life, these emails often sit awhile – Yet I (eventually) open and sift through them at day’s (or week’s) end because it would be hard to click “delete” on my mother’s good intentions.

The latest batch of “please forwards” included a story of a handicapped child who found himself at bat in a tied baseball game among more functional players. The lump-in-the-throat came as both sides teamed up, allowing the child to connect with the ball, and then hobble around the bases to experience what it was like to win at something.

Exhaling after reading this, I realized something even more touching: My mother was still guiding me; giving me a subtle pep talk – cheering me on to keep my faith in humanity and prompting me to do my part – even when the bases seem loaded against me.

This is one of the many, many reasons I love my mom.

Yes, the world today appears to be mesmerized by Kardashian-esque drama and headline-grabbing disaster. But take a tip from my mother: we are all free to choose our focus and what we forward onto others….

I am copying and pasting (below) the plea I found at the end of the baseball story’s email:

If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of story.

Well, the person who sent you this email believes that you can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’

Seemingly trivial interactions between people present a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up these opportunities, leaving the world a little bit colder in the process? You now have two choices:

1. Delete (or) 2. Forward.

The next time a softhearted gem appears in your inbox – the kind of email that reminds you that goodness exists – consider it an opportunity to honor the person that brought you into this world by reading and reflecting on its message and the good intentions of its sender.

In the spirit of motherly wisdom, decide to pass along rather than pass up the opportunities to spread a little ninth-inning hope or humor. Remember, in the game of life, we are all on the same team.

Fernanda’s September Tip: Have a Labor-free Day

120Labor Day signals the end of summer and, for many of us, the start of a new schedule. If you’re like me, it also marks the beginning of organization and preparation for the onslaught of activities that are just around the corner: Work seems to ramp up after this weekend and (if you have kids) so does the driving to and from school and sports activities.

Saying “no” to others’ time-requests is hard for many of us – myself included. This in mind, I thought I’d share a piece of advice I recently received from a friend:

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Psychologist Viktor Frankl, a World War II concentration camp survivor, proved that finding personal meaning brought people peace, even in times as horrific as the ones he experienced in his early life. The more time given to what we stand for, the happier and more fulfilled we are because we find meaning in these experiences.

What do you stand for?

This month, consider cleaning the clutter from your schedule. Take some time to reflect on what’s meaningful and adjust your calendar accordingly. Whether it’s a regular call to mom or dad, an exercise practice, consistent volunteering, or walking the dog without your mobile device, aligning your time with what’s important will bring about healthy shifts in your thinking and upgrade your experiences.

Labor Day, by definition, is about taking a holiday from laboring – something we can achieve by working smart, not hard.

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