It’s hard to go anywhere these days without running into a cliché or two. I mean, there are so many clichés out there that even clichés have clichés. To be honest, I get a bit tired of them. To me, they sometimes make me feel like the person using it just cannot come up with anything original to say. And, by their very definition, the reason they become what they are by being used so often, they start to lose their meanings. They become trivial. The fact that they become trivial is the reason that I tend to not be a big fan of motivational posters. It’s not that what they say is not true so much as what’s being said is being marginalized by being mass produced. We become numb to their effects. So, having said that, this little post is going to be about three clichés.
Cliché Number 1: “The Little Things Are the Big Things”
It was June 8. Jessica had gotten into the car to take the kids to school when she texted me to tell me that it looked as though our cars had been rifled through. I had, a few weeks prior, installed a security camera in the garage, and even though I felt it was fairly secured, I felt more comfortable knowing that there was available footage should the garage ever be compromised again. While she was dropping the kids off, I looked at footage and was able to get clear video of the perpetrator. I then called the police and posted a warning to my neighbors through a neighborhood app called “Nextdoor.” It’s a simple enough app and it made it really easy to share still shots with my neighbors along with a description of what happened. I didn’t think much of it. It was a simple thing to do but it was something I could do to alert the neighbors. The fact that I had photos was also helpful.
When the police came out and I showed them the footage, they were able to do something they would not have typically done: fingerprint the car. Since they could see exactly where the thief has placed his hands, they knew the area of the car from which to lift prints. Had I not had that, they would not have done any fingerprinting. It would have been a crap shoot.
Cliché Number 2: “There’s No Such Thing as Coincidence”
Ok – I’m not sure that I totally buy into this one. But sometimes, it seems hard to refute. Case in point: Jessica and I had a meeting at the school the next day, June 9. I think it started around 9:00. It was to be a long meeting in which we were discussing how to best handle the education of one of the boys. When we got down there to the school, Jessica realized that we had forgotten some important information and so I offered to run back home and pick it up. We only live a short 4-5 minute drive from the school, so it was no big deal. I’d be there and back in no time.
When I pulled up to the house, there was a news “van” in front of our house. Ok – it really was a news car, but “news van” sounds better. Coming down our front steps were two people: a man with a camera and a local news reporter. Apparently, she was part of the Nextdoor Community in which I sent the alert and wanted to do a story on the app and how residents use it to alert other residents. While I knew that I had to be at that meeting, I also knew that they could get started without me and the information I had, and so I invited them in and they did the story. You can see it here.
Cliché Number 3: “Making Lemonade Out of Lemons”
When they had finished filming the story, I said to them, “You know what. I know that the story you did here was interesting, but I might have a story that, to me, is even more important and you might like it, too. I should show you what we’re doing with the house.”
They seemed interested in what I had to say, so I started to describe the issues with foster care. The challenges and the sheer numbers that have to be dealt with (7,000 kids in Wisconsin, about 2,000 in Milwaukee alone). I explained our goals to them about how we wanted to foster sibling groups because our desire was to keep them together; that they are the hardest kids to place. I told them of our desire to find a sibling group to adopt. I showed them the attic, which, at the time, was nothing but studs. I explained that we’re here with a purpose. We’re here to DO SOMETHING.
They were intrigued.
And so, Friday night, they aired a story about our family. And while we were honored that they felt our family merited a feature in their newscast, we are even more excited about the fact that, hopefully, the story will raise awareness of the need for foster families everywhere.