Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Brings Transitions - The Power of Prevention

Jack Levine (read his full bio)
EDITOR'S NOTE: We are re-blogging this piece with permission from the author, Jack Levine, founder of 4Generation Institute 

While some friends and family members are still experiencing a harsh Winter there is promise for a glorious Spring, the season of transitions. 

The blooming of beautiful flora inspires us to energize and achieve new successes.  Those delicate green leafs and ground shoots are symbols for rebirth and renewal.

Tallahassee is where we've called home for 35 years.  One of our town slogans is "Where Spring Begins."   
My wife, Charlotte, and I have an organic raised-bed garden for vegetables, herbs and flowers which attract our beloved bees from their nearby hive to perform their pollination services and produce delicious honey.  Nature's life cycle amazes me!

Springtime also means March Madness for college basketball fans and "Hope Springs Eternal" for all of us baseball fans anticipating that first pitch in early April!  I am devoted to my Orioles!

The celebrations of Easter and Passover are symbolic of what we hold most dear.  Easter gives us the spiritual message of the power to overcome suffering, dedicate ourselves to faith, and celebrate the fabulous rebirth of life’s cycle.  Passover focuses on freedom from oppression and the importance of faith and persistence in the face of adversity.

All religions strive to provide an emotional connection to life’s realities, and light a path for understanding our complex life voyage. 

My friend who practices Buddhism reminds me how all of life's events, including death, are transformations into another stage of being.  In Buddhism, Karma (from the Sanskrit for "action, work") is the force that drives Samsara  — the cycle of natural suffering, rededication and rebirth for each being.

Transitions are life’s crossroads.  We are rooted in personal experiences and make important choices as we move forward. 

As a parent, I know how critical it is to carefully balance guidance and freedom, influence and acceptance. 

Who among us would not wish for more power to make decisions for others, especially for our children, but know we have limited capacity to do so.  We can hope for the best, but must be prepared to respond to whatever events come our way.. 

The Power of Prevention

Focusing on prevention is a most noble calling. Keeping bad things from happening is as important a priority as any.

As I travel the advocacy road, I'm learning about the power of even just one person to lead the way.

I meet people everywhere who inspire me and instill confidence in those around them....neighbors, parents, grandparents and yes, even children and youth......and of course dedicated professionals who work passionately to make a difference.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Volunteer Month across the nation. 

It's a time to focus on ways to protect family members from abusive environments and to prevent abuse from ever occurring in our community by giving our time and support to causes we believe in.

Among the actions I advocate to prevent violence and promote safety at home and in our community:

• Pay attention to recognize the signs of family violence, child and elder abuse and animal neglect....and report your suspicions to the proper authorities. Silence may prove deadly.

• Support organizations that educate families, children, neighbors and community members on how to prevent abuse and neglect and promote positive parenting.

• Healthy Families is an excellent voluntary parent-focused program model. Visit their website to select a state for more localized contact information....and here's a resource for Floridians

• Volunteer for an organization that helps vulnerable children and their families. Guardian ad Litem and CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) are especially focused on representing children in the court system. Visit CASA's website to locate a local program nationwide....and here's another resource for my fellow Floridians.

• Invite a speaker to your civic organization, workplace or place of worship to spread the word about the threat of family violence and how to keep all of our family members safe.

• Mentor a child, visit a lonely elder or give the gift of time to your community Hospice....become a beacon of hope for someone who needs kindness and special attention.

• Give personal support to a mother or father in need.....or to a caregiver of an elder or special child experiencing the stress of their round-the-clock duties.    

• Support advocacy organizations and communicate with elected officials in support of parent education, abuse prevention, health care, victims rights, justice for teenagers and access to quality services across the generations. 

Please continue to exert the power of your influence.  Our success is rooted in what we do for others who need us, and the energy we invest in making a difference. 

Advocacy is giving voice to causes which we know need attention and effective action. As the Talmud poignantly asks... "If not, who?  If not now, when?"

Join me as an ardent advocate....entering every door with an optimistic spirit.

Because prevention is relevant to every stage of life.... 

Here is a selection of excellent websites I recommend for your inspiration and enjoyment:

Encore is a valuable life transitions network launched by Marc Freedman, one of my true heroes. Millions of us and our neighbors are already in the midst of inventing a new stage of life and work – the encore years – between the end of midlife and anything resembling old-fashioned retirement. We're envisioning this chapter as a time when we make some of our most important contributions, for ourselves, for our world, for the well-being of future generations. Learn more

Generations United is bringing our generations together for mutual benefit with public policy and model program initiatives. My 4Generations Institute is affiliated with GU as an active member of this outstanding network. Learn more

Institute for the Ages believes Potential Never Gets Old.  I am pleased to be an active ally because I believe in the value of older adults' insights and in their capacity to be co-creators for innovations in aging. The power of education, community engagement, and the building of networks to transform aging through the authentic voice of the older adult. Learn more

GRAND, the e-magazine for grandparents and we who love them, is a valuable facet of my commitment to bridging the generations. Click here for free subscription information, which you may share with others.

The National Gardening Association is a rich resource for starting an "edible landscape" which is both a beautiful and healthful way to enjoy nature's bounty.  One site link is "KidsGardening" providing ideas for introducing the world of gardening to our newest generation as a learning experience with delicious results. Learn more

In the spirit of learning from those who have paved the path, the Top 100Speeches in American History is a free treasury offering both transcript and audio/video links to some of the most compelling messages ever expressed by a diverse group of inspiring leaders. Learn more

I heartily recommend journaling as a practice to collect thoughts and deepen our understanding of self and others.  As written meditation, journaling for 15-minutes per session, three times each week will provide a powerful tool for accomplishing personal and professional goals. Here's a source for journaling tips.

I welcome invitations to share my advocacy messages in keynote addresses, strategy seminars, and assisting organizations and with their strategic planning needs on how to become more powerful advocates, connect with community opinion leaders for public policy impact, communicate effectively, and develop financial resources to achieve their program goals.

Simply hit the reply key and let me know what you have in mind!  I would enjoy hearing your thoughts......

If you wish to receive one of my favorite parables....The Water Pots....please reply with the words "Water Pots" in the subject line....I guarantee it will edify you!

Helen Keller/PHOTO: Encyclopedia Brittanica
I'm pleased to share that I've been participating in an exciting nutritional business enterprise which has proved a wonderful opportunity to improve my wellness......If you'd like to find out more, please let me know....

Five favorite quotes....

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart -- Helen Keller

Don't  judge each day by the harvest you you reap but by the seeds that you plant - Robert Louis Stevenson

The best thing about the future is it comes but one day at a time  - Abraham Lincoln

There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, but devoid of breadth - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug - Mark Twain

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