The Value in Adversity
Aya Fubara Eneli. M.A., J.D.
In April 2012, my son received an invitation to participate in the Middle School Presidential Inauguration Conference in Washington D.C. Participants would also attend the inauguration of the next president of the United States of America.
As you can imagine, this 13 year old was over-the-top excited. He came to me with the news and asked permission to accept the invitation. I asked him to calculate the cost of the conference and I would discuss it with his dad and get back to him.
By his calculations, the tuition, travel and other expenses would be in excess of $4000. We chose to inform him that while he was allowed to attend the conference, he was 100% responsible for raising the funds to cover all his expenses.
He was flabbergasted by our decision. After repeatedly trying in vain to convince us that this was an opportunity of a lifetime that we were obligated to fund, he stormed off. A few minutes later, he came back and announced that he will pay his way to the conference.
“How exactly do you intend to accomplish that?” I asked. “I will get my friends together and have a carwash.” He said. But, by the time he did the math of how many cars he would have to wash, he abandoned the idea.
Next, he said, ‘Mom, I am going to write and sell a book to pay for my trip.” That decision began a journey that is transforming his life. He brainstormed what he was qualified to write about. He chose to write book for his peers on how to succeed and make the most of their middle school years.
That decision led to the publishing of his first book, Am I Ready for Middle School? He got contacted by MSNBC and was flown to New York City to appear on Education Nation’s Student Town Hall Meeting with Melissa Harris-Perry. While in New York, he was interviewed by several NBC affiliates and his interview was broadcast in Austin, Texas and San Diego, California.
Articles were written about him and his book in numerous media including theGRIO Report and on MSNBC.com. In a week, he will off to Washington D.C and will have fulfilled his goal to witness President Obama’s inauguration.
In the meantime, the accolades and opportunities keep coming. He is now being invited to speak to youth all across the country, he just concluded his first workshop for kids and he is launching his own blog on February 1, 2013. He has increased his self-confidence and has a much clearer perspective on his life’s purpose.
But, none of this had to happen this way. As his parents, we could have just decided to pay for his entire trip and require nothing of him. He certainly could have stormed off and stayed in a funk and not attended the conference at all.
Fortunately, in that moment of adversity, in that place where his dreams were dashed by our refusal to pay for the conference, he chose to fight hard for what he wanted. He chose to look to his strengths and to make a way out of an otherwise bleak situation.
You can too. It is far too easy to quit when we are faced with disappointment, but the every things that seem so devastating to you, can be the catalyst to propel you to heights of which you could never dream yourself.
The next time you are faced with adversity, I hope you are reminded of this story and that instead of getting mad, you get determined. Your adversity is your stepping stone to your extraordinary life. Embrace the adversity.
Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. She and her husband live in Central Texas with their five miraculous children. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at email@example.com.