Friday, December 21, 2012

Discovering the real fear

A Sultan decided to make a voyage with some of his best courtiers. They embarked at the port of Dubai and set out across the open seas.

As the ship sailed away from the land, one of his subjects, who had never seen the sea and had spent much of his life in the mountains, had a panic attack.

Everyone tried to calm him down, saying that the journey really wasn’t all that dangerous, but although their words reached his ears, they did not touch his heart.

The Sultan was ready to turn the ship around and head back to port, when one of his ministers, known for his wisdom, came over to him:
“Your Highness, with your permission, I will try to calm him down.”

The wise man ordered that the man be thrown into the sea. A group of crew members, pleased that the nightmare was about to end, dragged the struggling man up from the hold and hurled him into the ocean.

The courtier began to thrash about, he went under, swallowed salt water, came back up, shouted louder still, went down again, and again struggled to the surface.
At this point, the minister ordered that he be brought back on board the ship.

From that moment on, no one heard the slightest word of complaint from the man, who spent the rest of the voyage in silence.

Shortly before returning to port, the Sultan asked the minister:
“How did you know that you could calm the poor man down by throwing him into the sea?”

“Because of my own marriage,” replied the minister. “I was terrified of losing my wife, and I was so jealous that, like this man, I spent all my time weeping and wailing. One day, unable to stand it any longer, she left me, and I realized how awful life would be without her.

“She only came back when I promised that I would never again torture her with my fears. In the same way, this man had never tasted salt water and had never understood the agony of a man about to drown. Once he had known that experience, he understood perfectly how marvelous it is to feel the deck of a ship beneath one’s feet.”

“It is written in a book sacred to the Christians, the Bible: ‘Everything I most feared came to pass.’ Some people are only capable of valuing what they have once they have experienced its loss.”

Fake Coins

An old man was selling toys at the market in Bagdad. His buyers, knowing he had weak sight, would sometimes pay him with fake coins.

The old man noticed the trick but didn’t say anything.

In his prayers he asked God to forgive those who had tricked him.

‘Perhaps they don’t have much money and want to buy gifts for their children,’ he would say to himself.

Time passed by and the man died.

Standing before the portal of Paradise, he prayed once again.

‘Lord,’ he said, ‘I am a sinner.

‘I did many things wrong, I am no better than the fake coins I was given. Forgive me!’

On that moment the gate opened and a Voice said:

‘What should I forgive? How can I judge someone who has never judged anyone throughout his life?

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Best Dad

Years ago I heard a story of a dad named Paul who gave his young son a small chalkboard to practice writing on. One evening his son called out from the bedroom, "Dad, how do you spell best?"

Paul answered him. Moments later, the boy hollered, "How do you spell kid?"

Finally he asked, "How do you spell ever?"

When the boy showed him what he'd written on the chalkboard, Paul expected to see "I'm the best kid ever." Instead, the boy beamed as Paul read the message: "You're the best dad a kid can ever have."

Paul recalled that it was one of the best days of his life. In fact, he had to buy his son another chalkboard because he wanted to save this message forever and hang it on his wall. It's still there.

Feeling appreciated is enormously important to adults as well as children. So much so that we often don't think enough about what we'd most like to be appreciated for.
Being appreciated at work is a big deal. Who doesn't want approval and respect from one's boss and coworkers? Beyond the economic value of raises, promotions, and commendations, praise can be gratifying and motivating. That's why good employers look for opportunities to acknowledge and thank employees for their contributions.
Yet as meaningful as work recognition is, if you could choose between winning your child's "Best Mom/Dad A Kid Can Ever Have" award and being named "Best Employee," which would you choose?

The point is not to belittle the pursuit of approval in your business life but to remind you how much more meaningful it is to know you're important to and appreciated by the people who love and need you the most. Your most important job in life is to be worthy of that appreciation.
Being the "best ever" mom or dad, husband or wife, or friend - it doesn't get any better than that.

Michael Josephson

Scared to try

Many years ago a young lady who was attending a seminar shared an interesting story with Bob Proctor. Apparently she and two or three of her girlfriends went and tried out for a place in a stage play. She got the starring role while her girlfriends were not even picked for the supporting cast. Opening night she said she was really excited but afterwards became very disappointed when her girlfriends never came out and supported her. She was explaining the situation to an elderly friend of her fathers named Hap. He wrote her a letter and she gave me a copy with her permission to share it with others. Read it carefully and think.

Dear Ann,

Once upon a time there was a fellow by the name of Al Capp who wrote a comic strip called "L'll Abner." Many years ago he had some characters in his strip who lived in a town near Dogpatch. They were the town bums, the n'er do wells, the failures whose whole aim in life was to pass judgement on others. Their criticism and ridicule became so vehement that in time the rest of the people in the town became acutely conscious of it. "The boys down at the stable," as they were called because that's where they spent most of their time, soon set the social standards of the town. Nobody could do anything without their sanction.

Because they lived within the structure of their crummy little world, they would laugh and point their fingers at anyone and everyone who tried to be better than they were. As a result the people feared the ridicule of the boys down at the stable so much that they stopped trying. Soon everybody became bums and the town died.

In every social structure, Ann, whether it be family, town, county or state, there are "The boys down at the stable." They are the jealous ones. They are too scared to try something different. They show their ignorance by laughing at those who do. Learn to recognize them Ann, for what they are. Don't let them hurt you. It takes a certain amount of toughness to succeed. One has to rise above those who would tear you down so that they can laugh and say, "I told you so!"

There are too many of us who love you and want you to make it. I could put myself at the top of the list. You aren't going to fall flat on your face as they would have you. You are going to do a superb job. Remember this show is only a small step in the direction of greater things you will do, many of which are beyond your wildest dreams. All you have to do is want to. One of the things I like about you best is that you always give it hell for try.

The show will be a success because of you and others like you who try. There are only winners in the cast. The losers are gathered down at the stable laughing and hoping for your failure. If we could dig down deep inside them, I'm sure we'd find they want to win also, but are too scared to try, and they attempt to cover up their own failures as human beings by laughing at others. In a sense I'm sorry for them. Their guilt must make them very unhappy people.

Much love,


A Lesson Learnt From My Six Year Old

On Saturday mornings, my family and I stay in bed just a little bit longer. My two boys crawl into bed with my husband and I and we usually watch music videos all together cuddled up in bed.

A song came on called "If this was your last day" which I found intriguing and thought it posed an interesting question too, so I turned to my husband and asked him what he would do if it was his last day.

He thought for a while and then said that he would probably lie in bed all day just as we were doing right now, surrounded by all his favorite people, just savoring the time together.

I turned to my eight year old and asked him what he would do and he said that he would go to Canada's Wonderland and go on all the rides.
I then focused my attention on my six year old and posed the same question. He looked at me intently and asked "Is this my last day to live?", I said "yup".

He then answered the question quite matter of factly and said "I would go to the hospital".

Of course my husband and I thought his answer was genuinely funny, smart and pure (we are biased of course). However, I have been thinking about it for a few days now and I realize that my six year old has it all figured out.

He naturally thinks outside of the box, he does not accept a situation and assume a scenario just because it is posed to him.

In his mind, there was no reason why it should be his last day and he was going to find a way to ensure that it was not.

In a flash of a second, he realized that he has the capacity to ensure that it wouldn't be his last day and not only that, but he was going to take the requisite responsibility and the necessary action to ensure that it wasn't.

My son taught me that if you want to live then find a way to do it, don't give up, don't settle and don't just accept things for what they seem to be.

Don't assume and accept a situation just because it is presented to you as such. Rather make that situation your own, take responsibility for it and then decide to change it, my six year old did.

Now I know that I am his mother, but is this not the smartest six year old kid in the entire world?

Nicolle Kopping-Pavars

Nicolle Kopping-Pavars is a collaborative lawyer dedicated to using inspiration and motivation while guiding families through difficult transitions. You can view her website at: