As our children graduate we feel such hope for them and their futures and speak words of encouragement. All that is as it should be. But there is something else they should know. At every step of our journey, we need to know there will be lemons.
There is great value in knowing that when we get lemons we can make lemonade. In fact, we need to remember that lemonade's essential ingredient is lemons!
I have tended toward being a Pollyanna throughout my life and believe in the power of positive thinking and visualization. Combining that with recognizing the value of lemons, however, has been indispensable.
When we come upon a lemon, we can bet a lesson is at hand. Nothing advances our knowledge and our creativity more than encountering and embracing the lessons that appear throughout our lives. Life is actually a series of lessons that propel us forward.
Unfortunately, when everything goes smoothly we are in danger of becoming complacent. We take so many things for granted - good health, rewarding careers, even loving friends and family. When we get sick or lose a job or a loved one passes, we realize what we had. If only, we realize, if only we had expressed love, guarded health, been more appreciative of work. How much better, happier we could have been.
Nothing advances our knowledge and our
creativity more than encountering and embracing the
lessons that appear throughout our lives.
It is precisely when we encounter problems that we have the opportunity to examine what is happening and why and to figure out what part we play in the situation. Where is our own responsibility? It is easy to assign responsibility but hard to find fault in ourselves.
Once we identify and admit responsibility for something, we are not helpless. We can figure out how something went wrong, change our behavior, make our lives better. Having no problems isn't a realistic expectation. Being prepared to learn and improve is a far better goal.
It's never too late to adopt an attitude of gratitude for all our blessings, including the lemons that bring lessons. How else would we be able to make lemonade?
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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