Sunday, November 27, 2011

Can Something Good Come Out Of Something Bad?

SchoolImage by Elizabeth Albert via FlickrI was talking with a first grade teacher recently about a student in her classroom whose behavior was out of control one day to the point that she decided he needed a visit to the principal to reinforce the rules. She had to admit that she was amused however at his comment upon arriving at the principal’s door. It seems that under his breath he muttered, “I bet nothing good ever comes out of a visit here…”

Although we might chuckle at this child's perspective on the situation, I must admit that I often find myself unconsciously repeating those words in my daily life.  Think about the many obstacles, disappointments and downright tragedies we each face.  It might be a serious health issue, a failed relationship, a job change or loss, even the death of a loved one.  Can anything good ever come out of these crises?  I've been through each of the events listed above and although it  takes a new perspective coupled with  the healing love and support of God, family and friends, I can answer with a confident, "Yes! It is possible."

Many years ago, fresh out of graduate school, I interviewed for a school counseling job at what seemed at the time the perfect school, working for the perfect principal.  We established an instant rapport and had much in common in our philosophy and goals for children.  She assured me she was interested in hiring me and I went home elated and confident.  Days and then weeks passed and the eventual outcome was that due to the school system, she was obligated to take a transfer from another school and I didn't get the job.  I was not only disappointed but frustrated that I had turned down another offer because I had been so confident of this one.  Months passed as I became discouraged at the narrowing prospects but eventually, I was hired at a school where I have remained for eighteen years.  It has indeed been the perfect school for me to develop my interests and to expand my capabilities.  Good truly did come out of what at first seemed disappointment.

What if we looked for not only blessings in our lives but opportunities created from disappointments, failures and downright disasters.  I know this sounds crazy backward.  Most of the time when things go wrong in our lives, we grieve and stew and fuss over the problem.  We reassure ourselves that things will be better, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We try to fix the problem.  We pray that the problem be taken away.  What if instead, we were thankful, grateful even for the opportunity to make something good out of something bad?   Much of this depends on how you approach the experience. Do you regard it as a failure and yourself as a loser? Do you give up?  Do you get caught up in shoulds (that shouldn't have happened) and can'ts  (I can't do anything about this).  What if instead you decided to treat the experience as a time to refocus, perhaps in a different direction? What if you decided to learn everything you could to avoid having to go through a similar situation again?  What is you decided to be a learner instead of a loser?  What if you decided that something good would come out of a visit here?


  1. What a great outlook, Lynne, and a reminder for all of us to trust God and make the most of any situation in which we find ourselves. It's never easy, but it is truly the only way to go.
    Thanks for such an inspiring post!

  2. Thanks for the comment Martha... it is indeed an outlook that I am developing, not one that I can claim to be skilled at!

  3. Having visited the principal many times, as a child and as an adult, I'm in complete agreement with the little girl that, “I bet nothing good ever comes out of a visit here…”

    In fact, when my kids were little they used the term 'principal' interchangeably with the term 'monster' in their fantasy play -- haha!

    Having said that, I would nudge you to go beyond looking for good in bad situations, by realizing there is no such thing as a bad situation in the first place. I suspect you already know this.

    Thank you for the great work you do in the world everyday, Lynne!