Presidents Message - June 2012
Welcome to the June edition of the MHS Voice. With June, comes summer—school years are coming to end, graduations are taking place—the dawning of summer just seems to lend itself to passages and milestones. This is particularly true at my house this year, as my youngest son, Nick, graduates from high school. I’ve watched as he celebrates all those milestones that are a part of being a senior, such as his prom and going with his senior class to Disneyland; next up is his graduation ceremony. I can remember watching my oldest son, Brad, celebrate these milestones also; then two years ago, I watched him graduate from college. I’m proud of both my sons and they’ve given me a lot of opportunities to celebrate for them and with them.
Milestones are important, from crawling to first steps, driver’s licenses to graduations; we watch and celebrate these successes. What about those parents whose children are faced with a mental illness? Often their celebrations are very different. The stigma associated with mental illness doesn’t just affect those who have the illness; it can affect those who love them as well. As a result, many of these parents don’t talk about their children or their children’s milestones. Yet those milestones are just as important.
We need to respect that some people’s milestones are different, but they are all cause for celebration. Life’s milestones come in many forms: Some people celebrate milestones such as the anniversary of the date of their sobriety, or the number of years since they were last hospitalized for their mental illness, or the number of years that they have held a job, or lived independently, or found success with a new medication. All of these are reasons to celebrate.
I’m reminded of the story of the couple who planned a great vacation in Italy. They carefully saved and dreamed of every detail with great anticipation—where they would go, the sights they would see, the foods they would eat, what they would do. When the big day came, they boarded their flight and they took to the skies with great expectations! But when the flight landed, they found they were not in Italy at all, they were in Greece. At that point, they had to make choice: they could lament their loss of Italy or they could enjoy their time in Greece. One option brought disappointment and heartache, the other brought a lot celebrations.
Just because milestones can be different, it doesn’t make these celebrations any less significant. And summer is a great time to celebrate! Let your heart be happy and celebrate your Greece or your Italy!
Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.