So often I find that people focus on success stories and accomplishments, and I truly don’t mean to be dismissive of those things, but I do believe it is equally worthwhile seeing how someone handles loss, disappointment and/or setbacks in their lives. How we recover from devastating blows speaks volumes about us, and in many ways can define our lives. Some people implode, while others find the courage to persevere, and I truly believe that at these critical moments we need to find inspiration from our elders.

Both my parents were immigrants, and their lives have not been easy. In my conversations this past year with my father, I have discovered an amazing inner strength within him that has truly inspired me. As I have been making the rounds at the local holiday parties around town, everyone can see me glow as I talk about the insight I have gained from reconnecting with my dad. There is a tremendous sense of loss as a result of all the years spent apart as a result of an erroneous court order, but as best we can, we are trying to make up for lost time, and at least I found him before it was too late.

This holiday season, as so many head home to be with relatives, I encourage the younger generations to try to talk about their family’s past– how people fell in love, their various interests, passions and any struggles that others experienced. These stories actually can provide us with great insight and inspiration in our own lives, and it may just be the best gift that our elders can give us without even having to drain any financial resources.