Reflections from a Boomer About Balloon Boy

Two weeks ago,  I had the privilege of listening to Dr. Daniel Siegel talk about “Mindsight”.    He stressed the need for all of us to make “reflection” part of our daily practice.   I’ve definitely put that into practice and have found myself analyzing anything and everything.

“Should I get a pedicure or save my money, since I don’t wear sandals in the fall?”

“Why did the possibility that a little boy was riding in a helium balloon by himself capture the nation’s attention?”

Write me privately, if you want a commentary on the pedicure.   I promise to write back.

As for “balloon boy”, like everyone else,  I’m thrilled that this news story had a happy ending.   I usually don’t watch T.V. during the day, but a friend told me about this story.  It immediately captured my attention.  Obviously, based on the ratings and the fact that Wall Street was focused on this breaking story,  America was watching.   Understandably, a local affiliate would interrupt programming to alert the community to the fact that a little boy might be flying high in a balloon, alone.  However, this was covered by CNN, Fox News, and global news

I don’t really want to ask, “Why did we care?”   I think it’s an awesome sign that we all cared and worried about the safety of this six year old ch420x600balloon-boy-cnn-420x0ild.

Most of us are stressed over health care, the economy, the ongoing war, President Obama, bumper to bumper traffic, etc.   You name it and you’ll find that someone is complaining about the issue.   However,  this event showed that we are able to rise above all of the stress and devote time to hoping and praying that this child would be found alive and well.   Of course, there was drama in this breaking story, but I want to hold onto the thought that many gave up time to monitor the story out of concern for the welfare of this little guy.

Compassion and empathy are still traits that most of us have held onto even during a tough time for our country.   Based on my parents’ stories about the “Great Depression” that was true then.   My grandmother always had extra food for the people in need.   My Daddy’s extended family all lived together in one big house in Houston, TX.   He was a little boy, but only remembers the happiness of the time.   There are many more stories that you could share with me about the fact that our best traits often come out during the toughest times.

Martha Beck has said that she goes to her “Core of Peace” when the most frightening things occur.   While her brain was mapped by a neuroscientist, she meditated to calm down.   The scan showed that she was calmer, but still highly anxious.  That doesn’t make sense, but when she began to remember the times in life that were most frightening……the imaging showed her anxiety had diminished greatly.

I’m tying this all together with the conclusion that there is a strong chance that the story of the “boy in the balloon” would have captured our attention in the good times.   Our country has always been known for our humanitarian spirit.   However,   we haven’t given up our spirit of compassion and empathy while things are incredibly tough for many Americans.  It’s so easy to become bitter cynics when so many of us have been harmed financially or through the tragedy of war.   Yet, most of us still care for our fellow man.

My reflections may be a bit on the naive optimistic side.   However, I really want to believe that Americans are truly still holding onto our best traits during this recession.   I want to be right, but go ahead and feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.


Mary Ann

P.S.  Just learned that this was covered globally.  What does that mean?

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Mary Ann:

    Maybe it was just a hoax, but I still wondered why we cared so much while the story was breaking??

  2. Floost:

    Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

  3. ??????? ??????:

    How much money does the government give each child for a nursery place?

  4. Floost:

    Valuable thoughts and advices. I read your topic with great interest.

Leave a Reply