Family and close friends recently celebrated my father’s 70th birthday. As a tribute to him, I recited several of the quotes he would often say to me and my siblings. There was one quote he would say that as a child I didn’t quite understand. As I got older, I heard the words but ignored his plea. As a woman I completely understand his message and now as a mother of two girls, I constantly recite his words.
My father would say, “Listen Donna, What you have to stand on a ladder to see, I can see at eye level.”
A six years ago I told my daughter repeatedly that the house key that she was using had to be changed. The key was severely bent in the shape of the letter “L.” I said, “Alleea, I cannot believe you are using that key! Don’t you see it is going to break in the door?” Her response was, “Calm down Mom! I’ve been using the key for months and nothing has happened.” I would answer her with my father’s quote, “Alleea, what you have to stand on a ladder to see, I can see at eye level! Now go get a new key.”
A few uneventful weeks went by with nothing from Alleea about the key. Then one day I was out shopping and I got a frantic call from Alleea. “Mom! I can’t get in the house. My key broke off in the door” She was locked out of the house with no way to get in. “Mom, even if you came home you couldn’t get in the house because the key is stuck in the lock.”
As I held the phone in my hand, I initially found myself getting very upset. How could she call me with this dilemma after I warned her so many times to get a new key? I wanted to innately go to her rescue and call a locksmith. But on that day I decided to do something new. I listened quietly to every word that she had to say and as the phone went silent I said, “Figure it out,” and hung up.
My daughter frantically called me back several times but I wouldn’t pick up the phone. There was something inside of me that said… just wait.
Hours went by, and then I got the call from my daughter, “MOM! I am in the house. I did it!” I don’t recall if I said anything to Alleea during that call, but I do remember feeling a major sense of relief.
When I arrived home Alleea was there, and I had a shiny new lock on my door. The lock was replaced by none other than Alleea. With excitement in her voice and her energy level soaring from her achievement, she eagerly told me the entire story of how she got into the house through a window by standing on the car. She also solicited help from a neighbor. They went to Home Depot, got a lesson on changing a lock, came home and single handedly changed the lock. After the lock was successfully changed, she went back to Home Depot and purchased a brand new key!
Even though Alleea didn’t take my advice, and the trouble with the L-shaped key which I predicted occurred, she learned a very valuable lesson. She learned that anything which she wanted to do could be accomplished. She was not only an honors college student, she was also an athlete, climbing through windows 🙂 and a locksmith.
She was impressively resourceful and focused on the solution. I often wonder if it was such a bad thing that the key was stuck in the door. I know it may have seemed like a disaster at the time, but the lesson that she learned was invaluable.
Something to consider
There is a fine line between failure and success. I believe that struggles and failures are presented to build character and provide you with the tools you need for your future success.
Enjoy the lesson, the pain will be worth the outcome.