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Unlocking the Power of Gratitude

About Episode 67

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“Even in the worst conditions you can be grateful in something and not have to be grateful for it,” according to Lee Brower, entrepreneur coach and founder of Empowered Wealth. He joins this week’s episode as we explore the power of gratitude. We’re also joined by Nemours Children’s Health’s Dr. Alfred Atanda who shares the clinical perspective of gratitude — and how it benefits patients, families and staff.

Lee Brower, Entrepreneur Coach and Founder, Empowered Wealth
Michael Rouse, President and Co-founder, ESF Camps and Experiences
Alfred Atanda, MD, Surgical Director, Center for Sports Medicine, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware

Host/Producer: Carol Vassar


Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Welcome to Well Beyond Medicine, the Nemours Children’s Health Podcast. Each week, we’ll explore anything and everything related to the 80% of child health impacts that occur outside the doctor’s office. I’m your host, Carol Vassar. Now that you’re here let’s go.

Well Beyond Medicine!

Lee Brower, Entrepreneur Coach, Empowered Wealth:

Even in the worst of conditions can you be grateful in something and not have to be grateful for. Nick was never grateful for cancer, but he always looked for ways that he could be grateful in cancer.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

That’s entrepreneur coach Lee Brower talking about his son, Nick, who died in 2011 at the age of 22 as a result of a rare soft tissue cancer. During his four-year battle against cancer, Nick was buoyed by an attitude of gratitude. That’s what we’re talking about today: gratitude and the influence that practicing gratitude has on mind, body, and spirit. We’ll hear more of Lee and Nick’s story shortly, as well as that of Michael Rouse, CEO and co-founder of ESF Camps and Experiences, whose mission includes instilling gratitude practices in its young campers.

What is gratitude, particularly from a clinical perspective? And how does it benefit children and adults alike? To answer these questions and more, we turn first to Nemours’ Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Alfred Atanda.

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

The way I view it, it’s basically the acknowledgment and being thankful for the little good that one has in their lives. Often times, when things are “not so good,” it’s really hard to do that and appreciate that. From a clinical definition perspective, the more robotic-sounding definition is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself. Which goes along with what I figured gratitude to be.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

As we talk about a clinical definition, let’s ask the question how does gratitude influence a person’s well-being? Does it?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

Yeah. There are definitely physical and psychological health benefits to practicing gratitude and living with gratitude. A lot of research has shown that it helps decrease anxiety and depression, and other mental health challenges. It helps improve sleep. It helps improve your own immunity to diseases. It helps increase the social bonds and the ties that bond us together as human beings. As well as helps increase resilience, and have the tools to cope and deal with adversity.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

As we talk about gratitude and resilience and maybe increasing the bonds with other people, we know that the Surgeon General has called loneliness an epidemic. Can living in gratitude aid in forming and continuing positive relationships, whether they’re personal or professional, and thereby help and get at the issue of loneliness?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

For sure. As I mentioned, I think living in gratitude does help improve the social bonds and ties, interpersonal ties between human beings. I think this idea of loneliness is a feeling because you may not actually be lonely. You may have a spouse or a partner and a bunch of kids and pets running around your house, but you can still feel lonely. I think the idea of being able to display gratitude consistently, regardless of your particular situation, can provide that hope because if you are feeling lonely and isolated, but you are able to acknowledge the good things that are going on in your life, no matter how small they may be, that can help get you out of that rut of loneliness and provide some hope. That, if you can acknowledge that things are good, maybe you can be hopeful that they can get better, too.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

What are some of the measurable, tangible ways to assess gratitude in our own lives? Especially when it comes to our well-being, our psychological health, our physical health.

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

Yeah. I actually had to do some digging to look up some of these objective measures. I always think of more qualitative, subjective measures. Just understanding gratitude and practicing gratitude. But there’s a gratitude questionnaire that’s readily available, as well as a gratitude resentment in an appreciation scale. These are very short, validated surveys, I think they’re about five to 10 questions, that can give you an objective measure of your gratitude. Things like that are good because you can do them multiple times over time, meaning you do them now at time zero, then you maybe practice gratitude or think of different gratitude interventions, and then you can assess it again at some time point in the future. You can do it for a team or your family. There are definitely things out there. A lot of people don’t necessarily utilize those; a lot of regular people, they’re probably more for psychologists and therapists and such. But there are definitely ways out there to objectively measure gratitude, for sure.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

How do you personally see gratitude at work in your life?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

Yeah. It’s interesting because, as a busy physician who is navigating the chaotic, complex healthcare ecosystem, sometimes I get bogged down and mired down with the working, and productivity, and compliance with HIPAA, and legal, and risk, and all the external pressures that I have to be a physician. Often times, it’s hard to understand what it is that moves you, motivates you, that you’re thankful for.

I always give this analogy that if I gave you an oyster and I tell you to find the pearl in the oyster, and I just hand it to you, it’s very easy to open the oyster, and there’s your pearl. That’s what motivates you, and drives you, and what you’re all about. But if I took that same oyster and I threw it into the Pacific Ocean, it’s going to be a lot harder to find not only the oyster but to find the pearl.

That’s kind of what it is, at least my own experience in my career, is that I know why I do what I do, but there’s so many other factors, and things, and tasks, and administrative burdens and responsibilities that get in the way of that. When I found myself being affected by that, I was a lot more intentional about my experiences with each patient. When I see a patient in the clinic, yes, I do have to document, and sometimes I’m rushed, and I have to get them in and out of the room, help them, and satisfy them. But I always try to be intentional about each encounter and say, “You know what, what about this encounter makes my heart warm?” It’s usually the connection and the bond, and just sitting there with another human being or a family and helping them through tough times and any adversity that they’re facing.

Again, as a neurotic, type A doctor, I am very well in tune with all the work that goes along with seeing one patient, but I try to be as intentional as humanly possible to be thankful for that interaction. Not everybody gets to wake up every day and say that they’re an orthopedic surgeon, or they’re a physician, or they’re X, Y, or Z professional. There are many people who would do anything to be in my position. I try to remain thankful and grateful for that, even though sometimes it’s hard to keep that at top-of- mind for sure.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Let’s talk about the kids. What’s the best approach for parents to begin to instill gratitude in their children, or maybe extend the gratitude practices they’ve already been working on with their kids?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

One thing that I’ve learned as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, as well as a dad, is that kids don’t like to be told what to do. What I’ve learned is the best way to teach your child something is to show them. If you live your life in a particular way, believe it or not, your kids are like sponges and will absorb and really have instilled in them what you’re doing because we are their primary role models as parents. This is their way of navigating the world. They see how their parents did it. I think you can have some conversations about gratitude, but I wouldn’t necessarily sit them down and say, “Okay, one hour every other day, we’re going to practice gratitude.” It has to be like you emulating to them, and then piquing their interest. They’ll be like, “Oh, Dad, what are you doing over there?” Then you can explain it to them.

It’s a very gentle conversation. It’s just like trying to get them to clean their room or trying to eat their vegetables. If you just blaze in there, guns blazing, and tell them to do X, Y, or Z, especially the teenagers, they’re probably just going to shut down. I always tell folks if there’s anything that you want your kids to do, you may want to start by doing it yourself, and emulating that, and demonstrating that to them. Then having subtle conversations with them, especially gratitude. It’s something that can be very awkward and uncomfortable for children, so it has to be something that you instill in them kind of on their own terms when they’re ready. Some kids just may not be ready, or their brains don’t work that way, or that’s not a big priority for them at this particular stage in their life or grade, or whatever. But keeping it in the background and displaying it early and often so they can see it, I think, is probably your best bet.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

How much connection is there between gratitude and empathy?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I’ve never really thought of that, per se. I do think that gratitude and empathy are skills and emotions that emotionally intelligent individuals tend to have, people who are self-aware people who can self-regulate themselves. People who can really take an outsider’s view of themselves and how they fit in the greater world around them, as opposed to just being so focused on the inside of what you’re experiencing. It’s like taking that step, that outer body experience view I guess, of just seeing how you’re moving and navigating through the world. I think part of that is being understanding that a lot of what happens to you and a lot of what you experience is out of your control.

The gratitude piece comes into play to just be glad and thankful that you’re even able to experience whatever it may be. Sometimes it may be a “negative” experience, but if this is “the universe’s plan for you,” it’s just part of the journey. We’re not in any position to say certain experiences are bad, certain ones are negative, they just are. When you look at it that way, it helps your perspective of what’s happening to you because it’s very easy to live in a world of lack or a world without. “Oh, I wish I had this, I wish I had that.” Or, “I wish I didn’t have that.” I think when you get that new perspective and utilizing gratitude, it helps with those situations. Then, on the flip side, when you talk about empathy, like I said, you look at how you fit into the greater world. Some of that is going to involve of how you relate to other people, and the ability to be empathetic, that’s where it comes from. Understanding what other people are going through, understanding that their viewpoint is different.

If you don’t mind, I wanted to give a quick example of about a couple weeks ago, we got out of the car in the house, and kids were getting out. We were in the garage, we were going inside. My son just starts freaking out, and yelling and screaming. It turns out there was an enormous spider that was hanging from a thread, it’s little silk thread. I got out of the car, and I couldn’t see it because of the way the angle was, and it was so thin and faint. The first thing that popped into my head is, “Why is he freaking out? Oh my God, I’ve got to go in and make dinner. I’m so tired from surgery. Why does he got to misbehave?” Blah, blah, blah. But he said, “No, Dad, come over here, come over here.” When I went to stand where he was standing, then I can see the world from his point of view. Then I freaked out because the spider was big. I dealt with it, obviously.

That really resonated with me because that’s a silly analogy, but that’s often how we view the world. People say things or do things, and we automatically assume why they’re doing it or why they’re saying it. We may judge them for doing it or saying it. But until you walk amongst the people, if you’re trying to lead people until you put yourself in their position and their viewpoint, you may not understand what they’re going through. How am I supposed to help my son in that situation if I didn’t go and stand where he was standing? If I had just blew him off, I probably would have walked right into the spider because I couldn’t see it.

Long story short, empathy is huge, too. It’s a learned skill and trait that they’re never going to teach you in any textbook. Maybe they do, but I didn’t learn any of it in a textbook. I try to be intentional about those sorts of things: understanding me and what I have, being thankful, and also understanding the people in my environment, and trying to look at the world from their lens from time to time.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Would you say that gratitude is also something you can’t really learn in a textbook?

Dr. Alfred Atanda, Nemours Children’s Health:

Again, I wasn’t a psychology major, and I don’t know what those guys learn in textbooks, but I’m guessing no. I think there’s certain human traits and certain human qualities that are there to be learned, but you just have to be open to learning them. We’re creatures of habit; we’re pretty set in our ways, and if navigating the world in this particular way has served us, and we have a good job, and we’re successful, and a family, and a house, and this and that, if it isn’t broke, why would you fix it? I think it’s when, even though things are going “okay,” understanding how you can improve yourself, how you can improve the way you view the world, understanding how you can improve the way you interact with other people in your world, I think then it opens up a huge door of opportunities that you may not have realized that you had.

That’s probably the one thing I’ve noticed in my journey with different endeavors I’ve done outside of traditional healthcare is that everything is about relationships. The people that you meet and the opportunities that arise, and seizing those opportunities. Most of my life, I was very closed off to being very open and really embracing other people. I was the guy at cocktail parties and at weddings who would talk to the two or three people that he knew, and I would just stand there because it was comfortable, because it was what I knew, it was because of what I was used to. I would literally huddle around the people that I know. That’s how I lived most of my life, up until about five, maybe seven years ago.

Now I do the direct opposite. You’re talking about gratitude, I find myself in a position where there are other human beings that I may feel uncomfortable, but this is a grateful moment to be here, to be able to experience these people and interact with these people. You never know how anyone or anything is going to affect your life if you don’t at least be open to the idea that they can make you a better person than you were before you met them. That’s just how I try to view the world. I talk about these things with my kids. Again, I don’t shove it down their throats, but I do talk to them about it and explain those sorts of things to them. Hopefully, they’ll pick up on some of those traits, and they can learn some of these things at a much earlier age than I did.

For me, something else that I’ve learned in my own personal journey is being intentional about gratitude. I try to … Some people have gratitude journals. They get a page out of a notebook, and they just start writing what they’re grateful for. I try to do it in more little snippets. My girlfriend and I were talking about leaving little Post-Its around the house. Somewhere that you go to a lot, like your mirror when you’re brushing your teeth every single day, or that favorite cupboard where all your little snacks are, and you put it there because you know you’re going to see it. Just reminding yourself, “Hey, be thankful for these snacks,” or be thankful for this. Or, “Don’t you feel so good that you have, I don’t know, this TV show to watch?” Or whatever it may be. Because sometimes, in busy professional lives, with kids and domestic bliss, and the hustle and bustle of everything, it’s very easy to forget. I leave notes for myself in ways that it makes it harder for me to forget.

They’re simple, small tokens of appreciation, but life is a lot of small, tiny, little moments added up. It’s not like five, huge extraordinary moments. It’s all of the little things that, when you’re hopefully 90, 95-years-old and you’re looking back at your life, those are the little things that you’re going to miss. I’d rather start to enjoy them now, as opposed to wait until I’m 95 to reflect and reminisce on them.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Dr. Alfreda Atanda is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Nemours Children’s Health.


Lee Brower has incorporated the practice of gratitude into all aspects of his life, both personally and professionally. He believes, and I quote, “Gratitude, like light, is an active force. It requires energy, intention, and action to maintain and spread.” It’s something he has modeled for his clients, and for his children and grandchildren, including his son, Nick, who we learned about earlier.

Lee joins us now, alongside Michael Rouse, CEO and co-founder of ESF Camps and Experiences, to share more of Nick’s story, as well as how gratitude principles can be shared in settings of both work and play.

So, to Lee Brower, what is gratitude?

Lee Brower, Entrepreneur Coach, Empowered Wealth:

There’s not a simple answer for that because there’s different levels of gratitude. If we were to poll your audience right now and say, “Raise your hand if you feel that you’re an ungrateful person,” you probably wouldn’t get many hands go up. But yet, what I would consider the lowest level of gratitude would be considered ingratitude or ungratefulness. Not in a bad way, necessarily. I have a saying that says, “Gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude perceived.” We move at such a fast pace that we just assume, because we feel gratitude, that everybody knows that we feel gratitude. Or we’ve expressed it once or twice, so they just automatically assume it. I know that I’ve been in that space, I’m sure, where people think, “He must be ungrateful because he hasn’t thanked me.” Gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude perceived.

But you move up the ladder, then, into what I call social gratitude. Now, social gratitude is what your mom and dad told you. Make sure you say please and thank you. We can talk more about that a little bit too, because I think as it comes to cancer, that’s an element that I think we can really help kids with. Make sure you say please and thank you. “Tell the man please,” or, “Tell the man thank you,” that kind of stuff. Really the essence of that is to teach respect. Unfortunately, in today’s world, oftentimes, especially in the retail world, thank you means, “I’m done with you.” It’s lost its meaning a little bit. But I think if we can treasure that and use it and train people with it, it’s good.

The third level is what we would call appreciative gratitude. Appreciative gratitude is sometimes confused with a positive attitude, but it’s still showing appreciation. When you show appreciation, your gratitude for that goes up automatically. If I appreciate you, I feel it raises the value for you and to me. If I appreciate the weather, it’s the same thing. It increases in value. However, that said, when I said that it’s often confused with a positive attitude, if I’m grateful for requires comparison or expectation. I’m grateful for my health, as compared to what? So many times, I know my parents have said to me, and I know I’ve said to my kids, “Look at so-and-so, it could be worse.” I could have a broken arm and somebody says, “Well, look at so-and-so, they don’t even have an arm.” What am I supposed to do? Hope that everybody has something worse than me so I can be more grateful for my broken arm? That’s comparison.

The other side is expectation. Have you ever done something for somebody and they never said thank you, or you didn’t like what they did? So you said, “That’s the last time I’m doing something for them.” Well, why’d you do it in the first place? You did it for you, expecting to get something in return. We call that more of an “arrows in” mindset. You have to be very careful when you’re in appreciation that you’re not doing it just for you, you’re doing it for someone else. It’s really an outward.

Which leads us to the highest level. We’ve gone through ungrateful, to social, to appreciative, to what we call empowered gratitude. It’s where you do things without expecting anything in return, maybe anonymously. No expectation and no comparison. There’s gratitude in action, and it’s really what I call arrows out. True gratitude is really not all about me. Gratitude at its highest level is all about everything around you.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

How do we get to that highest level?

Lee Brower, Entrepreneur Coach, Empowered Wealth:

What you’re talking about is mastery, and I think there’s a path to mastery. It starts with change your routines. I think if you’re going to move to mastery, so develop a routine.

I happen to have, it’s a gratitude rock, that they used at ESF. Michael, when you talked about your company, that is when the students would come in and happen to have one. What they would do is they would break their students into pods, and they’d give this to one of the students in the pods during the day. When they see something that they’re grateful that somebody else has done, they give them the rock. Then that person holds onto the rock until he sees something that somebody else has done that they’re grateful for, and he passes it to that person. Then, whoever ends up with it late at night has to bring it back the next morning to make sure that it continues.

But you see, when you look at the path to mastery, the first step is to develop a routine. What he’s done there is helped develop a routine. Protect the routine long enough, it becomes a habit. Protect the habit long enough, it becomes a trait. You protect the trait long enough, it becomes your character.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Michael, when you introduce that to the kids you work with, what’s their reaction? What, in the long term, has been the experience for you and for them?

Michael Rouse, ESF Camps and Experiences:

I have to tell you, first of all, as far as gratitude is concerned, I think we’re born into this world where we all have some type of muscles, but to what Lee was just saying, you have to develop those muscles, and that’s where the mastery piece comes in. We know, at our camps, that every one of our campers are capable. At a young age, we’re just going to try to help strengthen those muscles.

For us, it’s really putting that gratitude rock into what we call a tradition so that at the end of every day, whether that child is four years old or 14 years old, at the end of the day, in their own group or bunk, they’re going to speak about what they were grateful for if they received it the day before. What they’re asked to do is to give that gratitude rock to another person who’s not their best friend, and they need to catch somebody that did something really great today and let them know about it by giving them that gratitude rock.

If you could imagine a four-year-old saying, “I’m giving this to Sheila because, in the first period of the day, she held the door for all of us.” Sheila probably didn’t know, “Wow, you saw me do that.” That develops what we call that attitude of having gratitude. That goes for all of our staff as well. We’re trying to catch kids doing great things and let them know about it. They’re used to going to school and being told, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” Sometimes, they’re being told that at home, too. We’re trying to do the exact opposite. We’re trying to help them recognize, “Wow, you are really good at this,” in a very authentic way by developing those muscles of character.

I’ll give you a quick, funny story that Lee knows. We’ve been doing this gratitude rock, thanks to my friendship with Lee when he gave me this idea, for 20 years. In the second year doing this, we had one of my staff members, directors called me up and said … Whenever there’s an emergency of some sort, they need to alert me that there could be something happening because I’m their sounding board, their thinking partner if I’m not there at that particular location. The staff member called me up and said, “I just got yelled at by a parent who is coming back from the shore,” they’re an hour and a half going south to New Jersey from our Pennsylvania location. The parent is with the child in their car, going to the shore, and they have to turn around because they have to get something at camp, and they want me out front to greet them.

I said, “Is there any problem with the child? Is there any issues that happened at camp?” The director’s like, “Absolutely none. I don’t understand what’s going on.” I said, “All right, just keep me posted.” Sure enough, the parent pulls in. It’s the father. He pulls in with the child. He’s like, “I was almost to the beach, and I had to turn around because my child needed to bring this thing back.” It was the gratitude rock. In front of the parent, the young child, who’s five or six, hands back the gratitude rock and says, “Could you please make sure that Joseph gets this today?” The director’s like, “Absolutely.”

Now the father’s like, “Now, what is this rock? Please tell me what this rock is.” Now, the little child is saying, “Dad, this rock is the gratitude rock,” and explains it. Now the father’s just in tears, and he’s like, “Oh my gosh, can I get one for my business? Can I get one for our house?” He was just so blown away because he was on a business call, probably, and he just didn’t even talk to his child about, “Well, why do we have to go back?” It was one of those moments where we knew that it was hitting home.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Lee, I want to follow up. You did mention your son, Nick. How did you find any kind of gratitude when your son was so sick with cancer?

Lee Brower, Entrepreneur Coach, Empowered Wealth:

The thing that we’ve learned, the highest level of gratitude, when you really think about the highest level of gratitude, even in the worst of conditions can you be grateful in something and not have to be grateful for. Nick was never grateful for cancer, but he always looked for ways that he could be grateful in cancer.

We actually have a video of him, we didn’t know it was existed until after he had passed, he was being interviewed by a TV station, we didn’t even know about it but it went national. He said, “I never asked why me, I only asked what could I do now that I have cancer.” That wasn’t something that happened overnight, that was battling with cancer for four years and going through it, and asking yourself, “Who can I see today that it would be invisible to me, that I could express gratitude to?” That’s a question. That’s what we call an empowering question.

Now, I did it myself. One time, I woke up one morning and said, “Who can I see today?” I was in Chicago. I go to Chicago every month to coach entrepreneurs, they fly in from all around the world, the same ones come back every 90 days. I have them that have been with me five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years in a row. I walked into the bathroom. All I did was ask my subconscious mind, “Can I see somebody today that’s normally invisible to me that I should be saying thank you to?” That’s all I asked.

I walked in the bathroom and here’s this tall man coming in there, and he was cleaning up the bathroom. I said, “Are you responsible for this?” He took that like, “Uh-oh,” and he goes, “Yes, sir.” I said, “I’ve been coming here for years. You clean up the floor in here, you do such a great job of keeping this clean. You know, there’s people that come in from all around the world, business owners that come in to try to learn, and they take back what they learned? If they came into a room that was messy, it would detract away from that, so in some small way, you’re blessing entrepreneurs around the world, and their employees and everything, just by doing this.” He teared up.

I walked back into the room. Now average person in that room would have been coming three to five years. I said, “Can you tell me what the janitor looks like?” Not one hand could go up. Just by asking the question, and that’s where we worked with Nick, “Who can you see today, Nick, that you could express gratitude for that normally would be invisible to you?” You start asking that question, you would be surprised. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile from you because you see somebody that you’re grateful for. But I’ve learned, over the years, I could get off an airplane and I see the people coming to clean it off, and I’ll tell each one of them thank you because they make the plane cleaner for me. They’ve been invisible to me, I don’t see them. But once you start asking that question, you start to see other things.

I don’t have to be grateful for cancer, I can be grateful in, no matter what my circumstances. That is so powerful, what that releases into your body, the mindset, what it does for your system. It’s just immensely powerful. Sitting here thinking about Nick’s attitude himself, one time when we was going through really tough pain, and a good friend of ours who had been in an accident paralyzed from here down, and then they just discovered his wife had ovarian cancer. I was talking to him, and you know the story about where everybody … I said, “Everybody puts their problems in the middle of a pile, and wave a magic wand, you could take your worst problem, put it in the pile, and go back and pick somebody else’s.” When they did that experiment, everybody went out and picked their own and brought it back.

I was sharing that with Nick, and Nick and my wife Laurie, the three of us were sitting there. I was telling him, “As bad as yours is, here’s somebody else’s,” explained with a tough one. When I finished explaining it he goes, “I wouldn’t take mine back,” and it caught us off guard a little bit, and just dead quiet. It was an emotional moment. Then he, after a long, long pause, he looked at us and he goes, “Unless it meant that somebody else had to take mine.” He says, “Then I would take mine back.” That was his mindset. It was something that evolved with the cancer. It was something that evolved along the way. I can tell you more stories where the whole concept of being in gratitude is something that we continue to learn about ourselves.

Another thing that I want to say, I made a note just thinking about this, that I think could be helpful for caregivers is saying I’m sorry. I think we all say I’m sorry way too much. You give a kid a shot and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, so sorry.” You miss the opportunity to express gratitude. Every time now when I say I’m sorry, I ask myself, “Could I have done that in a different way by just simply expressing gratitude?” I’m grateful for your courage, it inspires me. Thank you for being strong; it inspires me. I know this hurts, so thank you for being brave. Saying I’m sorry leaves, oh, you’re doing something wrong, or you’re hurting him.

You think about catching a flight and you hear the flight attendant come on, the flight’s late. He says, “Ladies and gentlemen, we want to apologize for the weather.” You’re like, “Why? What right do you have to apologize for the weather?” You’re setting up the crowd to be grumbly and to not be happy, where you had the opportunity to thank us for patience and understanding, and that kind of a thing. I just think really understanding that concept of how gratitude can interact and bring out the best behaviors of all of us, rather than the words I’m sorry, is a great aha, I’ll just put it that way.

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Lee Brower is an entrepreneur coach and founder of Empowered Wealth, based in Salt Lake City. He was joined in conversation by Michael Rouse, CEO and co-founder of ESF Camps and Experiences, a Nemours health and wellness partner with camps in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Well Beyond Medicine!

Carol Vassar, podcast host/producer:

Can I just say I’m grateful for you, our listeners. I truly am. Now it’s your turn to share. How do you experience or show gratitude? Leave us a voicemail on our podcast website, nemourswellbeyond.org. That’s nemourswellbeyond.org, the very same place where you can listen to all of our podcast episodes, subscribe, and leave a review.

Our production team for this week, for whom I am definitely grateful, includes Cheryl Munn, Susan Masucci, Lauren Teta, and Che Parker. Join us next time for a conversation with the new chief executive officer of the Children’s Hospital Association, Matthew Cook. I’m Carol Vassar, and until then remember, we can change children’s health for good well beyond medicine.

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Meet Today's Guests

Carol Vassar

Carol Vassar is the award-winning host and producer of the Well Beyond Medicine podcast for Nemours Children’s Health. She is a communications and media professional with over three decades of experience in radio/audio production, public relations, communications, social media, and digital marketing. Audio production, writing, and singing are her passions, and podcasting is a natural extension of her experience and enthusiasm for storytelling.

Alfred Atanda, MD, orthopedic specialist, Director of Clinician Well-being, Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware Valley

Dr. Atanda is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware. He is also a sports medicine expert; surgical director, Center for Sports Medicine; medical reviewer for KidsHealth.org and American Journal of Sports Medicine; and author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles, editorials, reviews and book chapters. In addition, he serves as Director of Clinician Well-being for Nemours Children’s in the Delaware Valley.

Michael Rouse, President and Co-founder, ESF Camps and Experiences

Michael and his brother created the ESF Camps (education, sports and fun) in 1982 and established the first Dream Camp in 1998. His goal for the Dream Camp Foundation is to transform the lives of youth living in historically under-resourced communities through innovative year-long programs that nurture the individual, educate the mind and inspire the spirit.

Lee Brower, Founder and Entrepreneur Coach, Empowered Wealth

Lee is the founder of Empowered Wealth and the creator of The Business Family Coach, a revolutionary program for entrepreneurs and business leaders. Visionary in thought and action, Lee is a “change agent” of our time. He is dedicated to revolutionizing how family-owned businesses create and nourish their wealth — at home, at work and beyond.

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