Aaron Hall: Doug, a lot of people contact our law firm when they are going through a crisis. What advice or tips do you have for somebody just briefly here to give them a few ideas for how to deal with this overwhelming situation.
Doug Kauffman: The main thing I tell people is time. Don’t make any rash decisions because, whether they are going through a divorce or a financial devastation or any crisis, there is emotion involved, a lot of time there is anger involved if it is divorce or financial. And they act in a manner which they might not act if they were not going through that crisis. So they are acting on their emotions. That would be one tip to just take time to let your emotions settle. I have seen a lot of people do things out of anger due to divorce. I’m sure you’ve seen that too where money goes down the toilet, so to speak, because they are fighting and they are intentionally trying to hurt the other person.
Aaron Hall: And it is more than spending money on attorney’s fees. Sometimes one party will just start spending like crazy to hurt the other one. But that affects the kids, there is less money to go around afterwards. What about the value of a listening ear. Where do you find someone who can listen?
Doug Kauffman: That was the other tip I was going to throw out there. If you can get a listening ear to somebody that is outside of your family or friends, somebody that is not biased in other words. So Hope360.org would be that place where have someobody who have shared their story and may have gone through a similar crisis as you, and they’re a listening ear and they have no vested interest in what way you make decisions, other than they may care about you, because the whole Hope360 story tellers have a heart of gold and they want to help others. And so, they are there at a non-biased position just to listen and if they ask to give practical advice or just their experience and what they went through and how they got through it. And there’s just so much value in that I think.
Aaron Hall: I have heard professional counselors say that as well. That if people who are going through a crisis meet with friends and family, although those people are very sympathetic, they also have memories and so after a person has dealt with an issue and moved on, the friends and family still have to deal with all of those emotions and feels and the memories may come back and come back to haunt the relationship. And rather than dumping all of that on the people close to you, sometimes there is great value in dumping it on a professional counselor or a listening ear, like the folks at your organization.
Doug Kauffman: We have our own 360 storytellers, the people that come and tell their story of hope, sign an agreement that this is what they are, a listening ear, and everything is confidential so they don’t share with anyone else, unless it is a life or death situation. But everything is confidential so that way, like yous aid, the person in need can share anything they want with the Hope 360 storyteller and rest assured that it is in confidence. And then when their families overhear when things get restored or whatever the situation is, there’s not that issue where they have shared everything and now the family might still be dealing with whatever it is. There’s a lot of scenarios so that’s a possibility as well.
Aaron Hall: Do you ever get people who contact you because they’re going through the death of a loved one?
Doug Kauffman: You know I have. It has been interesting, I have not experienced that, but yet I have had a lot of people contact me that have had crisis, a lot of different crises, death of a loved one, cancer, that I can’t relate to but I think that the main thing that we have in common and the reason that they reach out is hope. They’re looking for hope. I have been through a crisis, they’re going through a crisis, it’s different, but yet we have this common bond that we both are at one time seeking hope. And so I have had numerous people contact me.
Aaron Hall: So then help me understand, the hope, since your crisis may be different, the hope is knowing you will make it through, you can survive this, life will get back to some semblance of normal, you will have good days again. There may be pain for awhile but eventually you will make it so just hang in there.
Doug Kauffman: Exactly, because I remember the first day that my kids did not sleep at my house. We got divorced and they were out from underneath my care, my protection, and I remember thinking Aaron, how am I going to make it. Not just through this night, but how am I going to make it through this next month, this next summer, and all of these things, their baseball seasons, how am I going to make it there. And I remember just thinking that this is it, my life is ruined, there is no hope. And I knew there was hope, but that’s how I felt. So I think, boy if someone else at that point came alongside of me and said, “I was there”, unfortunately I didn’t have that exact scenario. I had a lot of people around me, praying for me, helping me anyway they could, but there’s just so much value in having somebody that went through it and is sitting right next to you in your presence and saying, “Yep I get it and I was there and here’s what I went through and there’s hope.”
Aaron Hall: If somebody is watching this video right now and they’re going through a crisis, how would you like them to connect with your organization. Do you recommend just going to the website, Hope360.org and watch the video?
Doug Kauffman: Yes, the best way for somebody to connect is just go to the website, Hope360.org, and find a story on there that they can relate to. And if there’s not one up there yet that they can relate to, watch one of the other stories and just reach out, there is a connection button on each Hope 360 storyteller’s webpage, and you can connect with that person. I think that if you watch the video, the videos are so intimately done and they’re so upfront-close into the eyes of the person that you almost feel like you know the person by the time you are meeting them in person, face-to-face. So there’s that connection there. So I would say yes, go to the website, watch a story, and connect with someone at that point.
Aaron Hall: And those who have survived a crisis, who would like to get involved, contact you as well I imagine?
Doug Kauffman: Yes, there is actually a page on our website entitled, “Becoming A Hope 360 Storyteller.” It gives a little bit of information of what that looks like, who should become a Hope 360 Storyteller and maybe who shouldn’t. And then if they want more information, just contact us.
Aaron Hall: Is there anything else that you would like to share about the organization or pass along to people that are going through a crisis?
Doug Kauffman: You know I would just say don’t hesitate to reach out to us because I feel like you shouldn’t have to do life alone no matter what situation you are in. And you can’t do life alone. And so I would not to hesitate to go on the site, like a said watch a story, and just reach out to one of us, I am a storyteller as well. You know reach out to one of us, whether it is an email or phone call or what have you, and even if we can just ask you what is one thing that we can pray for you for and just help you in that manner. It’s pretty great.