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[UPDATE] If You Want to Move, Push (A Book Review)
[UPDATE] Jerry White, the author of “I Will Not Be Broken” will be appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America this Thursday August 7th, 2008 at 8:45am. He will be talking about the book as well as the Survivor Corps mission. To learn more about his appearance before it happens, check out this link. He’s a very motivational individual. If you know a Soldier or someone that has suffered a life altering event, I highly recommend you pass this along.
The title of this post was taken from Jerry White’s book, “I Will Not Be Broken: 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because the book is one of the raffle prizes from the JROTC fundraiser (which we’ve concluded as an early success thanks to YOU).
When I’m finished writing this review, I’m going to email every General I’ve ever talked to, emailed, or can find a contact number for and ask them to give this book as a gift for EVERY Soldier injured in combat and to every family who has lost lost someone in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Jerry White is a recognized leader of the historic International Campaign to Ban Landmines, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, as well as cofounder of Survivor Corps. During a camping trip in Israel, White stepped on a landmine and had to have his leg amputated as a result. He has visited other victims of landmines and military operations across the globe, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovena with Princess Diana. If anyone knows the pain and suffering and temptation to give up under extreme circumstances, it’s Jerry.
Today, we have Soldier coming home by the thousands with wounds that are both physical and psychological. Even after the physical wounds have healed, Soldiers must learn to deal with the emotional wounds still needing to be patched up. For many Soldiers, feelings of embarrassment, inadequacy, and remorse overpower their lives as they attempt to deal with these issues alone.
Having been to Walter Reed many times while I was stationed in the DC area, I can tell you that the way Soldiers deal with their life-changing events varies almost to the Soldier. It’s safe to say that you can categorize those Soldiers into one of three groups: those who have accepted their fate and make the best of it, those that are trying to deal with it and may or may not seek help, and finally the victims. I’ve met the victims and I’ve met the heroes. Jerry’s book is the chocolate chip cookie that will make all combat casualties feel better.
Jerry’s book encompasses five important steps that he believes will guide casualties (military and civilian) out of victimhood and on toward fulfillment:
1) Face Facts – One must accept the harsh reality about suffering and loss, however brutal. “This terrible thing has happened. It can’t be changed. I can’t rewind the clock. My family still needs me. So now what?”
2) Choose Life – That is, “I want to say yes to the future. I want my life to go on in a positive way.” Seizing life, not surrendering to death or stagnation, requires letting go of resentments and looking forward, not back. It can be a daily decision.
3) Reach Out – One must find peers, friends, and family to break the isolation and loneliness that come in the aftermath of crisis. Seek empathy, not pity, from people who have been through something similar. Let the people in your life into your life. “It’s up to me to reach for someone’s hand.”
4) Get Moving – Sitting back gets you nowhere. One must get out of bed and out of the house to generate momentum. We have to take responsibility for our actions. “How do I want to live the rest of my life? What steps can I take today?”
5) Give Back – Thriving, not just surviving, requires the capacity to give again, through service and acts of kindness. “How can I be an asset to those around me, and not a drain? Will I ever feel grateful again?” Yes, and by sharing your experience and talents, you will inspire others to do the same.
Interesting enough, I can recognize all five steps in my recovery process. The first thing I did was face the facts and chose life – my back would never stop hurting, but at least I have my life and get to see my family every day. I can deal with the pain (the medication doesn’t hurt either). I reached out by starting this very blog. I didn’t personally approach anyone to talk to, but to deal with my crisis I started ASP. Now I have thousands of people to talk to (and some of you talk back!!). I’ve never been one to be idle, but I have to admit that the temptation is there to just stay in bed or remain on the couch. It doesn’t hurt as much there. Instead, I try to keep busy. It take my mind off the pain. Finally, I try to give back every day. I have a magnet that I put on my van that reads “Live honoring America’s fallen.” I’m constantly seeking ways to help others, whether I’m visiting Walter Reed, organizing a charity motorcycle ride for troops, or collecting money for JROTC. By helping other people improve their lot in life, I’m sure that God will bless me. And I simply feel better for doing it. Hopefully, I also inspire others to unselfish acts along the way.
My favorite quote in this book – and probably a new favorite phrase of mine – comes from when Jerry is recovering from his wounds. The Israeli hospitals are very matter of fact about their care. They don’t coddle their patients. When Jerry found himself in a wheelchair for the first time, he looked around wondering who was going to push him. A nurse came up to him and plainly stated, “If you want to move, push.”
“I Will Not Be Broken” can really be broken down (no pun intended) into those six words. The problem is how you go about pushing yourself when you want to give up; when you think your world is over. Jerry’s book breaks down each of those five steps in a way that even the most pessimistic victim can stand on his/her own again, metaphorically speaking in some cases. He explains that with the right support, “everyone can recover and even thrive” (emphasis mine). The purpose of “I Will Not Be Broken” is to “offer a flashlight for dark times” to those that feel like they are at rock bottom.
“I Will Not Be Broken” should be required reading for anyone who’s suffered through a life-changing life crisis. It will help them to cope AND prepare them for life’s crisis and misfortune. It is an upbeat, optimistic, positive and motivating book that will empower anyone who reads it from cover to cover. If you know a Soldier (or anyone really) who is suffering, but you feel helpless, end your worries. Buy them this book or read it yourself, highlight areas that may help them individually and THEN give the book. I feel privileged to have read TWO simply awesome books back to back.
Click the link above to get your copy at the best possible price. ASP gets a small percentage of all book sales from Amazon, not the publisher. This review is in no way financed by the publisher of “I Will Not Be Broken: 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis.” I have no financial interest in the success or failure of this book. All money collected through my Amazon Associates account is then used in various charity projects and pays for the maintenance and registration of this site.