Children · Employment · Stress Reduction

Paying Attention

I’m going to tell you a story about something I did but it’s not about bragging or tooting my own horn — it’s about how one person (me) made a difference in a family’s life when they needed it.

Two years ago, I was at a daughter’s friend’s pool party.  Because I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my child alone without supervision, I stayed at the party.  In walked a mom I didn’t recognize.  She sat down next to me and we immediately clicked despite coming from vastly different worlds.  She had recently taken her two girls out of a Christian school and placed them in the community elementary and high schools.  This explained why I had not seen the family on the school’s campus before.

Sandra (not her real name) seemed rather sad so I kept talking with her.  People tend to tell me things they never thought they would.  I guess it’s because I keep asking questions, listen to the answers, ask more questions, and I don’t judge.

It turned out Sandra’s husband had lost his job and was having a very hard time finding another.  He had been unemployed for almost a year, and to make matters worse, the family had been living beyond their means for a long time so there was little savings to dip into.  They kept the girls in the Christian school so that they could finish out the year but that meant defaulting on their mortgage.  Sandra’s family was in danger of losing their home.

Sandra was in the process of trying to get a loan modification but it wasn’t going well.  The bank kept delaying their responses and the family was getting more and more behind.

They had no money for health insurance and one of the girls was experiencing pain in her legs, and needed surgery.  Then they got into a serious car accident.  As you can see, the expenses were mounting all while the clock was ticking on the house.

One of the questions I asked Sandra was, well, what does her husband do for a living?  She told me and since I’m familiar with the industry, the information stuck.

Every time after the pool party that I saw Sandra, she appeared to be more and more depressed.  I asked if her husband had been able to find anything.  She said no.

Sometimes when I’m bored, I go onto Craig’s List to see all the exciting jobs available.  I know, I’m weird but I have always felt that I am not doing what I am meant to do in this life, and one day I hope to read a job description that will make me say, “Aha!  That’s what I want to do!”  Yeah, no pressure Craig’s List.

One ad caught my eye — not for me but for Sandra’s husband,  and so I emailed it to her.  I must admit that I was hesitant to send the job in case she felt I was intruding, but Sandra was so excited about the job that she immediately called to tell me that her husband had not seen this one and she was sending it to him right away.  He applied for the job.

He got an interview which is hard enough these days but he did not get the job.  I have heard from many employers that every time they put an ad on Craig’s List, they receive 300 resumes (I know this word needs accents but I don’t know how to put them in!), so it is amazing he got through the 299 other applicants.

Now I was hooked on helping so I switched over to Indeed.com and sent him a couple jobs from there.  He had never heard of Indeed.com and signed up for alerts.

The first job I sent to him from Indeed contacted him for an interview and he was hired as a consultant.  He was a consultant for the company for a year.  I just learned last week that he was officially hired and is now a full-time employee.  Yay!!

All it took was a few hours of my time to help a family get back on their feet.  They are still in their home and their oldest daughter was just accepted to a prestigious school.

Of course I’m not taking credit for either event — just wondering how different things would be for the family if I had not taken an interest in Sandra’s problems at the pool party.  Maybe they would have had to move back to their home state.  Maybe the daughter would end up not going to the school she wanted to due to financial concerns.

I can only guess what impact a foreclosure would have had on the family because that is where they were heading.

I think it’s the first time in my life where I could see where I had a positive impact on a family.  And if I can have such a positive impact on a life — all without sending a dime to the family, maybe you can do the same, too.  Just pay attention — see what a struggling person needs and if you can give it to them or teach them how to get it, then do it.

Trust me, it feels great knowing I helped.  You will feel great, too.

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