Recent research in the social sciences confirms what we have always assumed, that longevity and happiness are not only linked to healthy lifestyles, but to habits of positive social engagement.
My mother would say “They are givers, not just takers”, and they also pass these attributes on to their children, because….well, that is who they are!
These folks buck today’s meta-trend of consuming more, contributing less, and living a silo-type of existence. And we meet them every day in our practices, love them, and feel tremendous loss when they finally pass.
They know a simple life secret, and share it in the wide open. That is, they know that contributing, no matter how simple it seems, allows them to derive a sense of self-worth out of life, and to pass it on.
And when you add up all of those small contributions, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, you end up with the smiling and joking Betty or Bob, and the one who is first to give you a hug when you have had a bad day or personal tragedy.
They alter the course of everyone’s life around them by bringing a laugh, a smile, strength, courage, and hope.
They are miracle makers.
Compare this now to what is happening to our culture and kids on a broad scale, as we spend increasingly more time-consuming more, contributing less, and feeling more and more empty along the way.
As health-centered / relationship-based dentists, we are in an increasingly unique position to listen, deeply care, and help others in the simplest or most complex ways. But it is only possible if we choose to do so…to see dentistry as being as much about feelings as it is about teeth and technology…and to personally act on this truth.
L. D. Pankey taught us this, Bob Barkley taught us this, so why are so many of us choosing not to heed this simple and critical secret to a long, happy life?
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”
And she was right.
Paul A Henny, DDS
Copyright © 2017. Thought Experiments, LLC.