Raise the Bar

This post was to be the “Dark” post to balance the “Light” post from last month but I couldn’t  pull it off because with each dark alley we go down as a family at the end I find a kitten or a unicorn or an angel.  Meaning I find something that opens my heart more or is miraculous and fun or holy.  This past month has not disappointed in the least!

All along this journey one of my favorite things is the “raising the bar” scenarios.  It has been so interesting because I raise the bar and make big goals for myself all the time, but when it comes to someone else my bar raising is always complicated.  It gets sketchy when the other person has come from a troubled past or a past that was so unfair and awful it’s hard to breathe or when someone inherited a big obstacle totally outside their choice and you know how dang hard their lives will be.  That is when I go into full compassion mode with a lot of hand holding and “let me help you over that wall” mode.

This way of being became challenged when I became the director of a small family foundation 4 years ago. A Bigger World Foundation  was founded by a man I call Miracle Matt and I have talked about him in previous posts.  I call him “Miracle Matt” because getting the job in the first place was remarkable.  Not because I don’t have the skills set to create a foundation, but because my interview was set up by a friend of mine who lives in Atlanta and it was so random and out of the blue.  However, I don’t want to get sidetracked with that great story I want to tell you how Matt and I used to butt heads over the way a few things should be played out with the youth we were serving. 

Matt has an incredible journey full of hard work, curiosity and drive. He has become very successful in many ways with one being financial that he decided to create a family foundation.   He comes to the table with a whole different set of eyes based on the things he has learned along the way just like myself and just like anyone really right?  When we were working with our kids I always wanted to “cut them some slack” so to speak because many of the kids had big obstacles to overcome.  Matt on the other hand always wanted to RAISE THE BAR.  It used to annoy the fuck out of me and I would try to preach my case from my point of view.  Matt would listen to me and then think about it and say “that doesn’t feel right to me so I think we should do it this way.”  The thing I loved about working at A Bigger World was we both worked first from out guts and then from our heads.   I respected his answer for two reasons.  One being the obvious he was my boss and two maybe I don’t know all things and I can learn something myself.

Matt was always right.


I could weave a story on how my point of view was valid and good and would totally work too, but for the impact we wanted to make with these kids Matt’s way was always better……annoyingly.  The kids we were serving ALWAYS rose to the occasion.  We honored who they were as people and we recognized the challenges they had, but we RAISED THE BAR and believed they could reach it in spite of themselves and what they carried.

All this to say I have had a goal for Nick this whole year. I have had a vision in my head that before the year anniversary was up Nick would be standing at the parallel bars in rehab learning the very first things one needs to begin to walk again.  We are coming up on a year October 31 and his year anniversary and I needed to make this happen. When we went to rehab a few weeks back the therapist asked me what I wanted to do that day and I said I wanted to get Nick on the parallel bars and in a standing position so he can envision himself walking again.  The team was a bit taken back, but they have seen Nick do things recently that were unexpected.

So his therapists RAISED THE BAR and this happened :-)

After that day I texted Matt everything I just told you and he loved the story because he knew how awesome this was.  Can you see how big I was smiling? It was one perfect moment.

In closing I want to salute all the people the raise the bar for others with love and intention.  Matt was never militant in his thinking or had to prove anything he just wanted the kids to know they were awesome and they had what it took inside of them all along.

Nick does too.  Since this day we have done the parallel bars again and he stood all the way up, but I didn’t have my phone in my back pocket unfortunately to snap a picture so you will have to imagine it.

  I ask that in your quiet moments you envision Nick fully upright and strong walking with his feet firmly planted on the ground.  If we all have a collective vision great things will happen.