Developing a Strong Work Ethic With Hemophilia

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

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From early on, we find success by developing a strong work ethic. Some of us come by it naturally, while others learn the value of working hard and doing the best job they can do.

I realized that discipline brought great rewards, both musically and academically. When I failed to work my hardest, I saw my production fall to embarrassingly low levels. My goal remains the same: Work hard, and achieve the best.

Raising children with a chronic illness in my house calls for a different approach to instilling a strong work ethic in their lives. It is different because we must move around various issues regarding hemophilia.

One such point regards my oldest son, MacDonald the Older. He is a musician and currently enrolled in a musical theater program in college. Part of his issues include injuries sustained from taking a required dance class for his major. He does well and then suffers a soft tissue or muscle bleed, and it limits his ability to participate in the class.

My first reaction is to encourage him to try harder, but this is not what he needs to hear. He is trying the best he can. His problem is not about pushing on to improve his skills, but taking the time to address his medical needs. Somehow, his work ethic must take into consideration both his drive and his bleeding disorder. The measurement of success must include how he treats and manages a bleed, plus how he improves by practicing his craft.

My son is entirely devoted to his craft. He is an incredible singer (I know I am prejudiced) and hopes to fulfill a lifelong dream by singing on Broadway one day. He must find a way to protect his joints and muscles from the harsh realities of constant abuse. His work ethic must include his treatment, while many others do not address health concerns of this nature. Part of my son’s success must consist of the care and treatment of his body in addition to practicing his craft.

MacDonald the Younger learned a valuable lesson while playing the trumpet in the marching band at his school. One day, he called me at practice and asked me to pick him up. The chronic pain in a target joint that previously required numerous hospitalizations to treat left him unable to keep up with his friends in the line. No matter how he tried, he could not fulfill the requirements of maintaining his space in line.

To help him, I talked with his band director, who suggested my son play in the pit band. It does not require walking quickly and irritating his joints. He learned to maintain his desire to work at a high level while paying attention to the needs of his body.

We want our children to thrive and live with the benefits of the fruit of their labor. Throwing a chronic illness into the mix changes our approach to helping them maintain a sense of achievement. In our home, we try to include hemophilia in our decisions concerning risks and strategies to help our boys celebrate their successes. We try to help plan different ways to achieve goals while taking into consideration their health needs. Hopefully, our sons take a holistic approach in considering their next objectives.

My goal is to empower the mighty men entrusted to my care that they can achieve almost anything to which they set their minds. They must plan and decide the best way forward by taking their bodies into account. If we start them young by developing healthy and vital road maps to achievement, they may discover the best they can give to the world. Their lives do not have to be defined by hemophilia, but must include essential health and safety awareness.

The world is full of incredible possibilities. Let us help our loved ones build lives that overcome obstacles and produce the very best of what they give.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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