Right or Happy?

Status quo at our home, eight-year-old Kate’s four-year-old brother Jack, who idolizes her, was intentionally/unintentionally irritating her and she’d reached the end of her rope. “But Dad, he’s so annoying and he’s wrong!”

“I know he is sweetheart… but haven’t you invested enough time and energy in trying to show him that? Have you noticed that you’re the one who is stressed out? You know what, I’ll bet he’s forgotten what you’re annoyed about?”

Her capacity to listen to what I was saying was gone. The red-curtain of brotherly induced rage had been lowered. Without pausing long enough to take a breath “He just won’t listen. He just doesn’t get it. I don’t think he cares.”

“Seems to me you have a choice to make with this one sweetheart; you can choose to be right… or you can choose to be happy.”

The glare she shot me was kinda scary. She caught herself… she took a few deep breaths… and then a smile began to soften her eyes. “Dad, you and your Motivational Speakers friends just think you’re soooooo smart.”


“Where did you learn that one?”

“It was advice a friend gave to me on my wedding day!”

“Smart friend.”


“I love you Dad.”

“I love you too sweetheart!”


Success simplified; lessons learned down a hippo's throat. Speaker, Author, Coach who will parachute in when traditional solutions won’t get it done.

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  1. Oh Paul, I LOVE that story. As motivational speakers I know we learn a lot from just observing people doing what people do. But NO ONE teaches me more than children. Thank you for sharing this story!

  2. I love love love this Paul. Awesome. I’m going to share this one too. What words of wisdom. I wish I chose happiness more than I choose to be right. I’m going to try to fix that.

  3. You just brought back clear memories of my older sister INTENTIONALLY pestering me! I chose to stomp down the hallway and slam the door. Wish I had your parenting advice in those moments. We have both since chosen the “happy road” and are best of friends. Thanks for that sweet story.

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