A stepdad was complaining to his best friend about life in his blended family and how difficult things were for him. The stepdad was discouraged. He didn’t know how he was going to make it and wanted to give up. He was tired of struggling. He felt like the odd man out in his own family – isolated, unappreciated and disrespected.
Nearing lunchtime, the friend took the stepdad into the kitchen so they could get some lunch. The friend filled three pots with water and placed each on high heat. The water in the pots quickly came to a boil. In one pot, he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last one he placed ground coffee beans. The best friend let the pots sit and boil, in complete silence.
The stepdad tapped his fingers on the countertop and impatiently waited, wondering what his friend was doing. After 20 minutes passed, he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots and eggs out and placed them in separate bowls. He then ladled out the coffee and placed it in a bowl. Turning to the stepdad, the friend asked, “What do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” he replied. The friend asked the stepdad to feel the carrots. He did and described them as soft. He then asked the stepdad to take an egg and . After open off the shell, he observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked him to sip the coffee. He smiled as he tasted its rich aroma.
The stepdad said, “Okay, what’s the point?” His friend explained each of the items had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each responded differently. The carrot went in strong and solid, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell protected its liquid interior. After sitting for 20 minutes in the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The coffee beans were unique. After being in the boiling water, the coffee beans changed the water.
“Which are you?” he asked the stepdad. “When faced with adversity, how do you respond? Do you become soft, like the carrots? Hard on the inside, like an egg? Or do you change the circumstances, like the coffee beans?”
There are different ways to react to adversity. Don’t be weak or stuff things – change your circumstances from within.