Reflection or Motivation?

An alcoholic father has two sons; each grown. Their lives took different directions, but when asked why, their answers were oddly similar.

Son # 1 is also an alcoholic, Son # 2 does not drink.

They were each brought into different rooms and asked 5 of the same exact questions. Here were their answers:

Interviewer: “Do you drink?”

Son #1: “Yes – my father was an alcoholic. It’s all I ever saw, so it’s what I do.”

Interviewer: “Are you there for your children?”

Son #1: “No – my father was never there for us. Why should I be there for my kids?”

Interviewer: “Did you finish high-school?”

Son #1: “No – my father told me I’d never be good at anything.. so I didn’t see any reason to keep going.”

Interviewer: “Are you a man of your word?”

Son #1: “How would I even know how to be? My father never followed through with anything he said he’d do.”

Interviewer: “Did you like how your father was while you were growing up?”

Son #1: “No, but when it’s what you see, it’s all you know. Becoming him was inevitable.”

The Interviewer walked into the second room and began the same questions again, but with Son #2:

Interviewer: “Do you drink?”

Son #2 “No – my father was an alcoholic. It’s all I ever saw, so it’s something I never want to do.”

Interviewer: “Are you there for your children?”

Son #2: “Absolutely – my father was never there for me. I promised myself that when I had kids, I would do the opposite; I would give an endless amount of support.”

Interviewer: “Did you finish high-school?”

Son #2: “Yes, and college. My father told me I’d never be good at anything.. so I proved him wrong, and then took it a step farther to prove to myself what I knew all along; that what he said wasn’t true.”

Interviewer: “Are you a man of your word?”

Son #2: “I am. My father never followed through with anything he said he’d do, and that always deeply bothered me. So I don’t make promises I can’t keep, and I always keep them when I do.”

Interviewer: “Did you like how your father was while you were growing up?”

Son #2: “No, and I refused to turn out that way. I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be everything that my father never was to me.”

Coming from exactly the same scenario, Son #1 had a good excuse.. Son #2 had good motivation.

We will take what we learn from experiences in life and turn them into one of two things: a reason to copy, or motivation to do differently.

The choice is completely up to us.

Written by: Ginny Reavis Thiele

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