Sheriff: Optimism an important skill to teach, learn for dealing with adversity
As I continue to share information on how we as a community can build greater resiliency to adverse situations, I would like to share what I believe has been one of my greatest gifts — optimism.
This is a gift I no doubt received from my parents. Unlike the many material gifts I have received throughout my life, this gift was provided not through purchase but rather through struggle.
As a young man, I watched my parents struggle through tragedies ranging from medical to financial and everything in between. We grew up with the basic essentials that our 38 milking cows could provide, along with the various jobs my parents would do to make ends meet. Make no mistake about it, I had an amazing childhood and it was for this reason we always found the good in any situation.
Being able to search out and enjoy the good things is no doubt a skill. It requires us to look past current events and find that silver lining which may at first elude us in our focus on events in time.
It does not mean that we hide from the reality that we face, but rather to counter what may be a struggle with thoughts of a better tomorrow or even fond memories of yesterday.
By always looking for the best, we can amaze ourselves by how often it occurs and how near it is to us. We can also begin to hardwire our minds with optimism to counter the ingrained pessimism which many of us develop as we travel through life.
Even in some of the greatest tragedies we as a country have faced, we don’t have to look far to find the good.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we witnessed the selfless courage of those men and women who ran into buildings in an attempt to save lives. During recent natural disasters, we could see armies of volunteers pouring into affected communities even as the storms were still raging. Locally, we experience this by the outpourings of support in the aftermath of events such as the death of a loved one or the loss of property due to fire.
Although the tragedies always seem to get the greatest attention, we should never be content to let the negative lead our conversations or occupy the front of our minds. We should always take the extra effort to look for the good in everything and everybody.
This is an especially important skill to impart to our children. While we have no way of knowing what they may face in their lives or the events to come, we can equip them with the tools to not just cope but thrive, regardless of the adversity they may experience.
Again, this will not happen by accident — we must deliberately and purposefully identify positive examples and, more importantly, share them so that we can help each other build optimism in our families, communities and maybe, just maybe, even the world.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: Optimism an important skill to teach, learn for dealing with adversity