Thursday, July 24, 2008

Life, Lemons and the Road

As our children were growing up, I hung motivational posters around the playroom. My favorite one was "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." When the kids were faced with challenging situations, I would remind them of this particular poster.

When I first started this blog, one of my friends suggested that this was a case of life handing us lemons, and this blog was my way of making lemonade. I disagree. I never felt that we were handed lemons. I do not believe that we were forced to turn something sour into something sweet. But I could not find a suitable phrase to describe this particular journey through these uncharted waters.

On an airplane last night, I was seated next to a woman who explained to me that she travels the world training managers of Fortune 500 companies about customer service. We discussed the current negative state of the economy and the changing business environment. She explained that her job is to break down negative attitudes and develop a culture that fosters change. I asked how she does this and she explained that negativity and resistance to change are only frames of mind. She emphasized that once the decision is made by the corporation to instill a culture that encourages change and refuses to accept any form of negativity, the corporation is emboldened and begins to thrive.

I asked if she thinks that the same holds true on a personal level as well as on a business level. She told me that she became a widow with a three year old daughter, twenty years ago, and she has recently survived breast cancer. She has been unwilling to be negative with her lot in life and has made positive changes. She said "it's all good."

As we parted ways she offered me some advice.

She said "remember...The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the turn."

I heard what she said. I listened to her words. I found my phrase.

We could have refused to take the turn. But we have chosen to travel this road with our child and the rest of our children.

Last night I learned so much from a perfect stranger. Imagine what we can learn from those we know and love.

Yihye Tov.

Saul David


NoPeanutz said...

Agreed. Negativity is a state of mind.
I admire this woman's attitude, although, it is worth mentioning that it takes more than character to beat cancer. or does it?

Saul David said...

Actually, you missed the point.

Anonymous said...

Dear Saul David,

I've been following your blog for months now but haven't had the courage to write. Your posting today was so powerful,that I could not let this one go by without responding. Your son is lucky to have you as a Dad,but your other children are being taught by example,what it is to be a proper human being, a wonderful father,and a frum Man who looks at people for who they are and not what they have,or how they dress. Kol Hakavod to you, may that turn in the road bring you tremendous nachas and happiness from all of your children.