Thursday, September 10, 2009

Orlando Conference

Greetings, Heart Friends!

Last night was quite exciting for me. I gave the second part of a 3-part speech to my Toastmasters during our regularly scheduled Toastmasters meeting. It was about the need to find balance in our spiritual/religious life after our child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

I have never spoken about this at a conference before. I want to thank Pepper Adair for giving me the chance to talk about this in Orlando. Pepper gave me a theme to work with when she hired me to deliver her keynote address to her audience in Miami, FL two years ago. The theme was on finding or creating balance in your life after your child's heart defect has been diagnosed. The next year (last year), when she asked me to speak to her parents in Panama City Beach, FL, she wanted to use the same theme. When she hired me to speak this year in Orlando, FL, I wasn't surprised when she told me the theme would be the same this year.

For Miami, my speech was largely about chores, normal developmental stages of development in children and how their normal development is enhanced when they are allowed to be contributing partners in a family. I gave suggestions for appropriate chores for different age groups and shared stories about children and their experiences with chores (both my own children and that of my friends). For Panama City Beach, we changed the focus so it wasn't quite so didactic and I had more stories and less "teaching" about normal development, although I still gave the handouts I had created the year before to help parents know what is normal and what isn't so they could address issues at appropriate times.

It has been so much fun to take a theme, create speeches for it and watch those speeches grow, change and blossom. I believe the speech I'm writing for this year's conference is the best one I've written yet. This year I'm focusing on finding/creating balance in 3 essential areas: 1) home, community and social network, 2) work/economic life and 3) spiritual/religious life. Because the economy is the way it is right now, I believe this speech is both timely and pertinent to today's parents. I hope the listeners enjoy hearing the speech as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

My second speech has been cut in time from 45 minutes to 30 minutes. I'll still be talking about Your Child's Bright Future -- just like in the 2 previous years, but this year it will be a little bit different. Pepper has also commissioned for a doctor who specializes in working with ACHDers to give a similar speech from the medical perspective. I can't wait to talk to the doctor who will be giving the medical speech. Pepper is so excited she's agreed to speak to the group. I'm hoping she'll talk to the young adults about the importance of taking their medicines, continuing with their regularly scheduled appointments and taking responsibility for their own healthcare so I don't have to dwell on that. I've already written a speech, but I might modify it after I speak to this doctor.

If any of you readers is going to be in the Orlando area on October 3rd, I hope you'll come to this conference. I think it's going to be very interesting and informative. I'm looking forward to hearing what the other speakers have to say. I'm also looking forward to seeing some old friends (I hope you're coming Bob and Linda!) and to making some new heart friends.

I hope everyone has a great week!


Anna Jaworski
mom to Joey (18; heart healthy) and Alex (15; HLHS)
author of “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents” and “My Brother Needs an Operation” and editor of “The Heart of a Mother” and “The Heart of a Father”