I made something that my 17-year-old daughter did not want to eat, and we had an almighty fight about her eating what I made with so much love (familiar story?). A part of me thought, I should just leave it, no need to waste energy on a needless battle.

“You cook me good food all the time anyway!” She stormed.

But I stood my ground. For the importance of my battle was not in the goodness I insisted she ate, but two things: firstly, respect. If my mother had made me something with so much love and care, I will eat it unquestioningly out of respect (and I have never been obedient).

Secondly, which I think is a very important lesson in life, we just can’t cherry pick what we want and dump the rest. Life is about accepting the whole package and making the best of all the parts that we have been given.

Because we can never get 100% in any package.  So do we throw away the 95% in pursuit of the 5%? If we do, we will end up with empty hands, because the precious gems in life are to be found amongst humble sand. Too many people realise that too late, when what is of value has been thrown out in a moment of imperfection.

There are times in my life when I had been close to giving up on a person because of a rotten 5%, and I am thankful that I have my family and close friends reminding me of the lesson I am trying to teach my daughter. I am constantly reminded too that my mother did not give up on me despite my rotten 5%.  The rotten 5% in others often exist to teach us some important lessons about ourselves that we have to learn in order to progress in our relationships, careers and personal lives, to sail towards wiser waters of middle age and calmer waters of our last years.

Life is not a sweet shop where you can pick what you want and leave the rest behind. Life is about learning to be grateful for all that we have been given. 

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