Every year around this time, the media is flooded with articles and stories about gratitude. Which makes us all feel good for a few days, until we move on to complaining and forget to honor what is right in our lives, no matter how small, each day.
Well, gratitude is not a problem for Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son team who have competed in more than nine hundred road races, marathons and triathlons. The thing is, Dick is in his late 60s and Rick is in his 40s and has been wheelchair bound without the ability to speak since birth.
Of the two, Rick Rielly recently wrote in Sports Illustrated:
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life;” Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an Institution.”
But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”
“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”
That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, It felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”
That set in motion a lifetime of competition that has brought the two around the country and the world. And, as Rick confided in that same Sports Illustrated piece, “The thing I’d most like is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”
Watch the video. Then watch it again. Then, move beyond talking about being grateful once a year and begin to live gratitude.
Stongest-Dad-in-the-world-races-with-Handicapped-son”>videosift.comTake this simple starting step. Create a gratitude journal. Every morning before you roll out of bed, write down 5 simple things you are grateful for in your life. They need not be big, just real.
Then move into your day and, over time, you’ll begin to notice something extraordinary…life gets lighter. This isn’t just foofy propaganda, it is the conclusion of some pretty fascinating research on the impact of gratitude journaling on pervasive happiness.
It’s real. It’s tested. And, it’ll will cost you nothing and take less than 5 minutes. You have nothing to lose by trying. So, give it a whirl. This time, maybe for the first time in your life, move beyond talking the gratitude talk and begin walking the gratitude walk.
And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, questions and experiences in the comments below.
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