Have you ever met someone that’s inspired you to change? That’s recently happened to me.

I met Kathy Pacholski. She is a stroke survivor warrior. She was very healthy when she had a stroke 15 months ago, relearned to do practically everything from folding laundry to walking and then on Nov. 6 climbed 103 flights of the Willis Tower.

Impressive, right? I wrote about Kathy’s journey on The Huffington Post here and we talked a lot on the phone. Our conversations would start with typical interview questions and then flow into a talk between friends.

We finally met face to face when I went to capture her picture at her school and we hugged. She’s good people.

She’s a mom of three boys, her youngest is in high school and the other two are off to college. She has always been a positive person and doesn’t understand why anyone *wouldn’t* be positive.

There’s no “poor me” kind of sentiment here. Though she’s not nauseatingly positive, where she’s all peppy like a little sprite that you just want to smack. No she has times when she’s down, her son and therapist told me so, but the key is she gets back up. (Cue Donnie McClurkin…)

Positive people always intrigue me. I’m not horribly negative, but I’m also not overly positive. I could never answer the question about whether my glass was half full or half empty. I always felt it depended on the day.

Those uber-half full people like Kathy, my Hubby and my friend Mark are interesting. Why are they so happy and how can I raise my children to be like them?

Kathy and I talked about motherhood and raising good citizens of the Earth. Her boys are good boys. I was floored by the greatness of her middle child. He doesn’t have any middle-child syndrome, but is the kind of kid where if you learned he joined Doctors Without Borders, or dug water wells for African villages, or created a wildly successful upstart, you wouldn’t be surprised.

Kathy often asks herself how she ended up with three good boys. She said she focused on teaching them that there’s more than just them in this life. Her general viewpoint can be summed up in what she calls the Three Ps: Positivity. Perseverance. Patience.

  • Positivity– A great outlook on life can make a world of difference.
  • Perseverance– Work hard, keep striving for your goals, surpass your challenges.
  • Patience– When you have set backs, accept them, learn from them. Wait for “it,” your time will come.

But I think the best thing she did was lead by example. I feel like I need to do more of that. I want my kids to be compassionate, patient and have a sunny disposition. So after meeting Kathy, I find myself re-evaluating and challenging myself to do more walking and less talking.

It’s hard and I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m trying.



An Inspiration to Change: Kathy Pacholski — 4 Comments

    • I hear you. I think if I try and am real with myself, I can trend to be a more positive person. Sometimes when I’m frustrated I think long and hard of the women in countries striken by famine who have to decide which of their children gets to eat. What an agonizing choice. I know it sounds dramatic, but it helps put my frustrations over my kid not finishing dinner into proper prospective. Or I think about a good friend of mine who had three kids under three when her husband was killed in Iraq. Three under the age of three. They won’t get to know their father. I try to focus on the emptiness that must be there when I get annoyed at Hubby for not emptying out the trash.

      I don’t know why, but it does help me be more positive in moments of frustration when I think of what others’ path might be like.


    • Yes! Listening is a very, very powerful tool. I’m learning that more and more as I talk with my 4 year old about his frustrations or we try to work through a tantrum together. Also, I’m glad it’s good enough in your book woman. I like your book. 🙂

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