– Alan Cohen
My kids and I spent six years training to get our black belts. On the day of the big belt ceremony, it was deeply important to all three of us that my parents be there to cheer us on and help us celebrate this major achievement. My father was a lifelong hunter, however, and the date of the ceremony happened to fall on the opening day of hunting season. When my dad learned that, without a moment’s hesitation, he told us that he was really sorry, but he wasn’t missing opening day for anything. Since my father was extraordinarily loving and devoted, I was surprised and deeply disappointed in his decision, but he wasn’t budging. When his health failed a few months later, and that proved to be his last opening day of his life, I was glad that he had stuck to his guns. Looking back now, I can see how his refusal to give in has blessed me more than his attendance that day would have, for it taught me that a person can be truly kind, loving and caring, and still say no to the people he loves in order to be true to himself.