Preface: I am very excited to share Esteban’s story. When he told me the story last week I was stunned by his ability to make lemonade from a very emotional and unexpected loss.
I helped my daughter make lemonade
My wife and I take turns putting our daughter to bed each night. If you’re a parent you probably have a similar routine— you say prayers with you child, tuck him/her into bed, read a story, etc. We usually lie down with our daughter until she falls asleep. If you’re a tired parent like me—you usually fall asleep in this process. I usually wake up and see I’m surrounded by Teddy bears and all my daughter’s dolls. Well this evening was a little different.
This evening my daughter was a mix of emotions as I tucked her into bed for the night. “Daddy—I am afraid. Mr. Marcello passed away when he put his daughters to bed. What if this happens to you?”
You see, last Sunday night my 42 year old cousin Marcello passed away from a heart attack. He put his two daughters to bed the same way I do. He fell asleep in his daughters’ room and that’s where he had his heart attack. What does a father say to his little girl who had to experience the sting and sadness of death so soon? I was saddened by the death but I had to be strong for my daughter.
I looked at her worried eyes and asked, “honey, when you get scared at night when you hear a noise—what makes you feel safe?”
My daughter responded, “you daddy…you being by my side.”
I told her, “You see then—his daughters have the memory of being with their father. They have the memory of feeling safe and loved. What if he hadn’t put them to bed? What would have been their last memory of him? They at least have this memory.”
The Dale Carnegie principle Esteban used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Try to profit from your losses.
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Esteban is the perfect example of a father who loves his daughter and is able to see and respect his daughter’s point of view. By understanding her point of view—he was able to respond in a way that she could relate to. In doing this—she found comfort and understanding. He didn’t say, “don’t be silly”, “quit worrying”, or “I have work to do”. The words he spoke also indicated his understanding of how to turn what would seem like a negative into a positive. As he told me the story—my reaction was like his daughter’s. It would have never occurred to me that such a circumstance could be turned into a positive.
The lesson to learn from this story—find a way to profit from your losses—to make lemonade from the lemons that are handed to you in life. If there’s anyone who had a right to be sad, afraid, worried, etc—it was Esteban and his daughter. But Esteban also recognized the opportunity to help his daughter to learn to cope with the difficulties that come in life. When you recognize challenges as opportunities you become a much stronger individual.
Thank you Esteban for sharing this story with me and permitting me to share it with others. You are an inspiration and a role model. – The Smiling Daffodil