FIT@50 – Week 93: It Feels Good

How do you encourage your kids to lean on the truth?

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

Earlier this week I’d posted a question about fried or baked. I received plenty of comments that not only left me hungry, but realizing there are many more ways for preparing a turkey.

The next day I asked if you could have anyone – past, present or future join you for Thanksgiving, who would it be. I first expected to get answers like George Washington, Jesus, and Tom Brady.

Instead, the outpouring was so emotional, I once considered removing the question from my feed. Then I considered that everyone was only expressing what they felt most deeply in their hearts.

Deceased and estranged parents, siblings, spouses, children, in-laws, grandparents, friends and loved ones lost way too early or who had grown way too old.

It first felt like a punch in the chest as I read every one of the responses. I thought about my mom who I would’ve loved to have met Liliana Hart and Max. Next I thought about my dad who passed in September, who had it not been for the ravages of dementia, would’ve loved knowing Liliana Hart better and enjoying a little more time with Max.

Then the wrenching of my feelings turned to empathy for all of us who’ve lost uniquely special people in their lives. People who enriched us if by only their mere presence, and not by their bold actions.

I was reminded by so many answers that a deeper lost was felt for those unknown, never known or passed without passing paths. The spouses who never met their in-law, or the adult whose grandparent died long before they were conceived.

Greater still were the wishes of spending a day of thanks with angels miscarried, aborted or taken back into the merciful arms of Christ before reaching an age of accountability.

It was a humbling day of thankfulness, but for so many like myself, it’s also a day of re-mourning, regret, wishful wishes and realizations of never will be’s. But, by the grace of God, it is well with my soul, as I trust it is with yours.

I don’t regret asking that simple question, and I do rejoice in the responses, who instead of harboring the sadness of loss or missing, chose to share not only their replies, but their memories with everyone else. Isn’t that one of the most wonderful ways of ensuring they actually did spend the day with you?

This Thanksgiving was a bit different for Leah Silverii & I, but what looked like a doomed day inside a cross-country airplane ride, ended with leftovers at family and one excited Max. For that, I am also thankful. So here’s to getting through the day with a grin to end the night.

Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Do Good,
Scott Silverii

FIT@50 / Week 80: Being Human

FIT@50 / week 80

Being Human:

I’m going to take a breather on this one. This week’s FIT@50 is probably best spent just being human. I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to just be human. That being FIT@50 means it’s alright to chill out every once and awhile, and allow life to be just so.

Of course, as I say this, it’s on the heels of another fast-paced week of networking and meetings for Liliana Hart and I. But just like the week before and the month before that and the year preceding that, we promised each other we’d slow it down.

Honestly, I don’t know that slowing down is an option.

It’s called being human.

If I could show you, right outside our suite window is an amazing sugar-sand beach with warm crystal waters. We’ve yet to stick a toe in either of them since we arrived on Monday.

Why? I’m really not sure why, but neither of us are complaining. We’ve been blessed to share this week catching up with friends and meeting new people who are as passionate about business as we are.

One of the best parts of this week has been how many people have taken the time to express their condolences for the loss of my dad. I mentioned that our circles on social media allow us to get to know so many people on a personal level. I’ve appreciated everyone who has made the very real effort to pay their respects.

It’s called being human.

Speaking of being human, I got caught up earlier with the reality that it had already been a week since my dad’s passing. I had that brief moment of chest compressing panic, but quickly tapped my heart with the tip of my middle finger to reassure myself it would be okay.

It’s a habit I picked up years ago while still in law enforcement. The bulletproof vest I wore on duty had a heavy plate covering the heart. It’s called a shock plate, or trauma plate. I’d tap that plate with my finger as a reassurance reminder that my heart was covered by a metal shell.

I didn’t realize it was something I still did. Although, having matured in my needs for reassurances, it’s not the steel plate that protects my heart from the trauma of grief. I have God’s reassurance that I’m protected, and blessed with a wonderful wife, family, and friends who care about what that heavy steel plate once protected.

It’s called being human.

Do Good,

Scott

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FIT@50 / Week 79 – Tough Guy, Soft Words

FIT@50 / week 79
Tough Guy, Soft Words:
This week has been a trial. Liliana Hart and I received the phone call every child dreads. My dad had suffered two strokes and a heart attack. He was in the hospital and I should head home immediately.

Problem was, we’re 8 hours away. I drove with the burden of racing life’s clock ticking against me. To tell you I didn’t keep it a bit over the posted speed limit would be to not tell you the truth.

We screeched into the hospital parking lot late that night and rushed to his bedside. Unresponsive, but alive. I’d come in under the wire, but the race to life’s end was still running.

The next day, along with my brothers and sisters, we made the decision to remove life support and entrust him to hospice. The doctor assured us he wasn’t going to wake up and if he did, it would only be incoherent glimpses.

Contrary to their best guesses, my dad woke up three times that day, and with great clarity to speak with us in short replies. It allowed us to share a precious last few moments with him.

I believe God allows mercy for both family and the dying to make peace before their passing. It was a blessing to experience those moments.

My dad was a tough, silent guy from Philly. Typical of his generation, the son of an Italian immigrant, he showed his love for family by providing more than by speaking. I can say that never once did my dad say he loved me.

It wasn’t the way in his time, but I knew he loved me. He was fiercely loyal to my mom and all 7 of us kids.

This week in his last moment of clarity, his eyes were open and he was responding to our questions and comments. Dementia had robbed him of most memories. But he was with us.

We all told him we loved him, and each hoped to hear him repeat those precious three words. But he didn’t—he was a tough, silent man, who showed love instead of expressing it. We all laughed that he was stubborn to the end.

Then one of his grandchildren asked if he wanted us to pray. He said yes.

Holding his hand, I pressed my face near his to hear that sweet, innocent one-word reply to an offer for genuine prayer—Yes.

This was the most soft-hearted word I’ve ever heard him speak. It would appropriately be his very last spoken word. I was able to lead my family in prayer, while my dad watched and listened with a gentle reassurance.

This week at his funeral, as a line of former students and football players lined up with community and family friends, a gentleman offered his condolences and spoke to Liliana and I about how much he enjoyed the way we share our lives on Facebook. Then his words struck me as he leaned in closer.

“I can’t believe such soft words come from a rough, tough police chief.”

This good guy could’ve never know how significant his words were. Unbeknownst to him, he had just delivered God’s message. It was a message that I needed to hear.

I’ve always delighted in looking like my dad, taking after him in so many characteristics and mannerisms. I’m happy to emulate his love for family and wife, but always wanted to make sure I was more vocal with the way I felt.

I understand the value of listening instead of speaking, but I’ve also tried hard to speak when appropriate with words that have meaning.

Like my dad’s final “Yes” to prayer, I think I’ve also become a tough guy, with soft words.

Do Good,
Scott
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

FIT@50 / week 77


FIT@50 / week 77
It Just Is:
Ever notice when you’re questioning one of the kids about something, they stick to one reply, “It just is,” like a politician testifying before Congress. Chat with the youngster long enough and you’ll find yourself under a barrage of questions. To which you’ll default, “It just is.”

This week has been extra busy and stressful in the household. Leah has a huge book deadline, kids are in full school swing, I had a flight, and then a flight and then a flight to do everything from a tax meeting to pick up Max before heading back to Dallas.

Leah posted to social media about how great I’d been this week. My first reaction was “it just is.” As in it’s what you do for family, and then I pounded my chest in the sport of manly points earnings.

But her post didn’t stop there. More important than all of the nonstop get and go was that it was Leah’s dad’s birthday. He’d passed away a few years back.

I was busy out of state and was floored when I read her post thanking me for being there to pick up the slack while she focused on meeting her deadline. She also posted, as she’s said before how she wished he and I had known each other.

I felt like a heel. Sure it’s easy to get on a plane, and shake a few hands, and sign papers and be here and there and anywhere whether it’s teaching the boys how to freestyle, or picking one up after band.

What I should’ve come through on was remembering it was her dad’s birthday and the way it devastates her each year.

We started an outreach about a month ago for divorced folks, single parents and remarried couples working to make it work this time around. First marriages are tough. They fail over 50% of the time. Subsequent marriages fail about 63% and fail exponentially greater as they go.

What I’ve learned as I’ve grown FIT@50 is that communication is key. But there’s more to it than waiting for the other person to stop talking, so you can start. Active listening is a better term. While I tuned it to the task list of what to do, I should’ve sought her heart’s beat for the list of how she feels.

Well, her book’s almost done, the kids are in class and at least one little boy is happy to be away from his other Louisiana home near the Gulf of Mexico. As for me, I’m still learning. Maybe we all should keep an ear out for each other’s internal voice.

Do Good,

Scott

FIT@50 / week 75

FIT@50 / week 75

Just Look Up:

I was back in the pool this week. It was incredible, and although the skills had diminished over a few years, I was still able to comfortably crank out laps. Except for when I crashed into Liliana Hart because she decided to stop and fix her hair in the middle of a lane. Though I think it was on purpose for both of us. I’m going to do a short-course triathlon later this year with our 14 year old daughter, and needed to get back to my own training to teach her.

If Michael Phelps and USA Swimming inspired me to do anything recently, it was to enjoy the training and fun of swimming, and to never be ignorant enough to make up a story about being robbed by cops.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I was always weary of water. No, not drinking water or bath water, but big bodies of open water. Sure the movie Jaws contributed to it too, but other than the dog paddle or treading water, I swam like a block of led.

Therein lied the dilemma. For many years, I thought about completing a triathlon, but since swimming was like the first one-third of the event, there weren’t many ways of getting around it. And unlike the one person who actually walked on it, I wasn’t getting away without swimming through it.

Something about having nothing to touch just below both feet while my body tentatively bobbed atop shifting currents bothered the bejesus out of me. I wasn’t going to be limited by this fear. So, I did what any motivated person would do. I YouTube it, and then I bought a book on swimming.

I began swimming before and after grad school classes and work in nice four foot deep lap lanes. I was able to breaststroke over one mile without stopping, so I entered my first triathlon. Guess what? Whitecaps, other swimmers and a pool-only breaststroke resulted in near open water disaster. But I lived to bike and run and was hooked.

I had great friends teach me but the freestyle swim stroke still eluded me. I dedicated one year to swimming four to six days a week. One night in a YMCA pool, I grew agitated and slapped the water in defeat.

My training partner asked what was bothering me. I confessed that while I could do the technique, I still couldn’t rotate to catch a breath. I’d panic, or swim with my face buried until lifting my head for air while both legs sunk and stopped my forward motion. I’d read the books, watched the videos and practiced, but I still had that gnawing fear reminding me that if I stopped, or grew tired or sucked in water instead of air, that I’d find myself where the deep, dark waters waited.

All I ever focused on was what was below. My friend asked what did it matter how deep the water was? We’re up here on the surface. Then he pointed to a pipe running across the ceiling’s peak. He said when you need to rotate for air, just look up.

That night I swam two miles without a single break. I did it freestyle the entire time, and had a blast skimming across the surface while rhythmically doing what I should’ve been doing all along – Looking Up.

Being FIT@50 has taught me that even the things we may want most can have the potential for adversely focusing our attention on the deep, dark negatives of obtaining the goal. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly reminder to Look Up.

Do Good,

Scott

Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

FIT@50 / week 72

FIT@50 / week 72
Release, Relief, Renew:

Talk about a week for the books. This has been one emotional roller coaster for Liliana Hart and I. Maybe more like that ride that spins and you’re in a tea cup until you vomit. No, that’s not the ride. I really don’t know much about rides because they scare me. The same way Liliana scares me the week of a new novel.

We survived the release of her 47th title on Tuesday. Barely.

We cut our European adventure short to head home for catching up on lots of work. Instead, we discovered why we travel so much. It really stinks not having the kids at home. Sure it’s quiet, and we can stay up or sleep as we wish. There are no house chores or responsibilities other than paying the yard guy with exact cash.

As fate would have it, we scored an early return of four kids, and meandered through a series of cancelled and delayed flights to round out the team with Max. Who would’ve imagined it last week, but the band was back together.

Within the context of our crew, we focus on doing things with one or two of the kids in one-on-one activities. I risked personal safety by asking the 14 year old if she wanted a driving lesson. Before I could finish asking, she’d thrown on both sneakers and was down stairs waiting by the door. I wish she moved like that for Sunday morning church.

I’ll admit, not having had a daughter, I’m kind of at a loss around the two girls. We really had a great time. She, because she was driving, and me because I was alive. I also kicked it with the little dudes almost every day this week by running errands and an orthodontist visit.

There’s something about making decisions when it’s not your mouth stretched open with metal extractors. But, I either approved more dental work, offered the staff tickets to a Rangers’ baseball game, or put the youngest on the market for adoption. I told them Liliana would call later to straighten things out. Three days later and a van keeps driving by the house playing nursery rhymes. She’d better call quick—I’ll miss that little dude.

Finally, tonight all four of us guys headed to Gateway Grand Prairie church for their Top Gun themed men’s night out. Zip lines, dessert trucks, volleyball and a worship session that began with guitars ripping on the movie’s soundtrack. Now that’s church. We high-fived and ate ice cream until it was time to drag it on home. Totally exhausted is the way to end a Top Gun night. Funny part was when I snarled, “Yeah, Top Gun” and they all shrugged while waiting for more ice cream. They’ll learn about Maverick one day.

Reflecting on this week, I cherish the moments that have made it so special, but I dread admitting the reality. Truth is, this is our last week of summer all together. Max goes back to school on the 8th and the others head off to a camp all week.

Liliana and I joke about how nice it is while they’re in school. We get so much more work done that way. What I’ve learned getting FIT@50 is that it isn’t about the work produced but the family moments created. I am thankful for a week that included a major book launch, early returns of the kids and surviving driving school. The landscape will look drastically different next week, but no worries. Faith says push forward, and push forward we shall do.

Until next week, “I feel the need. The need for speed.”

Do Good,
Scott Silverii

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