This evening I gave a talk at White Mountain Country Club in Arizona (yes, there are mountains in Arizona – and they are a cool and beautiful break from the hot Phoenix sun). Once again I was reminded why I do what I do. I am on vacation, and no one likes to “work” on vacation. But my “job” is not really working. It is an honor and a privilege to not only invite others into the deep corners of my life, but to share with them afterwards their own private stories.

Tonight’s talk was a little different, because I did not have access to my PowerPoint presentation or notes – so I just spoke from the heart, without pictures or bullet points. I did, however, share with the group a few videos (newscasts from 1992/3) that chronicled my injury and recovery. While my two boys have seen photographs, this was the first time they had seen the videos, and I was unprepared for the impact it would have on them.

I have one child who is very sensitive and one who is a free spirit. The sensitive child asked me before bed tonight, “Mom, why did you tell them to just do it? Didn’t it hurt a lot?” He was referring to my reaction when the surgeon in South Bend told me that I needed to have surgery if I wanted any chance to walk again. These were heavy questions for an 8-year-old right before bedtime, but I always try to be honest with my children.

It also reminded me that, as parents, our impact on our children is vast. They listen to more than what we say to them; they hear our actions and digest our behaviors. My children learned more about their mom tonight then perhaps they wanted to know, but I hope they also learned and witnessed some of the valuable intangibles that we can not tell them with words: the importance of sharing our gifts with others, the importance of outreach and the importance of touching someone’s life.