October 10, 2012

Ask the Expert: Balance. ~ Michael Finkelstein, M.D.

Source: carolinegault.com via Elin on Pinterest

It’s All About Balance.


I am a single mom with a ten-year-old year old daughter. She has a lot of ambition and is always telling me she wants to be a doctor someday; this makes me quite proud and I am committed to helping her.

But it isn’t easy—as a single mom, I struggle to pay for the everyday needs of a ten-year-old, let alone thinking of saving for college!

When I speak with her friends’ parents, who I see at school meetings and during soccer practices, they are always referring to the “college fund” they’ve already started for their kids, so that they can go to the best school possible.

I feel badly in contrast. How do I prepare my daughter—and give her a fighting chance to fulfill her dreams—when I am not able to think so far ahead and save for her future?

She is a brilliant young lady and I’d hate to see her slighted because I am unable to provide her what she needs.



First, I want to thank you for sharing your story and this plight that so many other parents face.

Please understand that you are not alone in this challenge. Yes, of course it’s important to think about your daughter’s future and to be committed to helping her for what it entails—but you also have just as an important a task to maintain the integrity of the present, which is providing and caring for the ten-year-old that is standing right in front of you.

By supporting and providing her with what she needs to thrive in school and in her activities today, this year and next year, you are preparing her well for the future.

She needs your attention and nurturing now, to develop the skills and have the tools that she’ll need to make it to medical school. And although the cost is an obvious consideration, the support a person needs to complete such a robust body of work goes far beyond the financials.

Perhaps, instead of scouring the web for an overwhelming figure you must struggle to attain, you can think about saving just what you can afford at the moment—it will certainly be of some value. But to worry about saving what can seem to be an unattainable amount of funds for college, post-college and doctorate degrees, sounds like it could actually deplete you in more important ways.

It seems you’ve got a handle on the present and are doing a fantastic job providing for your daughter. And as much as it is important to prepare and think about her future needs, remember not to overdo it.

Do what you can and be conscious of what is practical and possible.

This also helps you to then teach your daughter these same values, of balancing present needs with future goals. Attaining such stability may be the greatest lesson she learns in life, as it will always be relevant, no matter what stage she and you are in.

What you must remember is to keep things in perspective and find that fragile balance of living in the present of your daughter’s life and thinking of her future.

Those parents that have begun college funds perhaps have the means to do so and can keep that within their own “balance.” This doesn’t take away from or change what value you are bringing into your own daughter’s life, by preparing her one step at a time.

And, perhaps, somewhere along her journey, she’ll discover an interest or skill that will lead her to a different future entirely.

Be there with her for the journey that has so much potential and while you work to attain what she’ll need tomorrow, be present today.



Michael Finkelstein, M.D.has gained acclaim for his pioneering approach to integrative medicine, since beginning his private practice more than twenty years ago. Board-certified in both internal medicine and holistic medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a graduate of the Associate Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Dr. Finkelstein is a self-professed “Doctor of Common Sense.” He is a dedicated healer who views health and well-being as a wholly singular unit, one that must be taken seriously and considered with compassion, intention and commitment. Dr. Finkelstein’s concept of “skillful living” applies this holistic approach to overall well-being – the business of living must be developed, like a skill, with mindful, dedicated attention. To read more from Dr. Finkelstein, sign up for his bi-monthly Moon Letter here or for further information visit his website.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

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