I remember my late 30’s – 15 years married and two daughters in elementary school. My volunteer life, like most parents at that stage, was attached to the girls’ activities like YMCA Princesses, Girl Scouts, and softball. I was busy building a career while trying not to miss the kids’ things, and helping a little whenever possible. I’m sure I whined a lot too. I clearly didn’t realize how good I had it.

A few years later I got to experience an extraordinary volunteer community – youth theater – parents who spent tons of time and energy volunteering but also bonded like no other volunteer group I had seen. There was something special about the shared experience of making magic happen on stage while enabling a huge growth experience for the kids.

The MIB’s (the “B” is for Back, as in Backstage) worked tirelessly building sets and as backstage crew for the shows – always in back, always in the dark, always unsung. Recently one of those selfless difference makers – a wonderful Dad in his late 30’s with two teenage daughters – went to the hospital with a mystifying viral disease. He didn’t come home and our world was deprived of this wonderful man.

Perhaps I caught you by surprise with this sad story, however, it helps me make two important points about real perspective. First…it reminds me that I have no right to whine about anything. The second point I want to share (and more importantly remember myself) is far more powerful.

The community outpouring of concern and direct help for this family is fantastic, and it’s what we might hope for from a family-oriented group like this. It is so natural for caring people to want to “do” something to directly help, just like we feel about disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Sometimes we can do something directly; most times we cannot and we often wish we could do more.

What compels me is that a terrible loss like this is a reminder – no, a call to action – to keep doing my best serving others in my own personal ways: as Board Development Chair for the YMCA of Orange County; as a connector for difference-making people and causes; by sharing ideas like this story and reminding others to keep doing their “best”; and just by being constructive and considerate with the people in my life.

Things such as the blatantly unfair passing of such a fine man must remind me of my own responsibilty to do what I can, where I can…and without whining, ever. I’ll keep trying to stay true to this commitment, and I hope all of you will as well. A little bit of real perspective for all of us just might make a big difference.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback and please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.

Also, funds are being raised for the college education of the two girls left without their Dad. Let me know if you want to know more.

Great Community Resources:

Stagelight Family Productions: www.stagelightproductions.com

YMCA of Orange County: www.ymcaoc.org


Jeff Black
Managing Principal Consultant, McDermott & Bull Executive Search
Cell: (714) 356-1949 Office: (949) 753-1700 ext. 310
2 Venture, Suite 100 Irvine, CA 92618
black@mbsearch.net www.mbsearch.net http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffblackmcdermottbull http://www.jeffblackmcdermottbull.blogspot.com/