Make Choices, Not Demands


People, like teabags, can only become stronger when placed in hot water. Some will come out sharp and strong, but others don’t allow themselves to steep long enough before they are begging to be brought out (photo credit T. Dent).

Taylor Dent, Stampede Editor in Chief

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “A woman is like a teabag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” I’ve always liked this quote and what it says about how people respond to hard situations. But after seeing what’s been going on in the community recently, and how people have been responding, I’ve noticed that Spring Hill is full of some pretty weak teabags – men and women alike.

My mom likes to talk about ‘teaching moments.’ It’s a way of taking a bad scenario and turning it into something to learn from. Making lemonade out of lemons, if you will. This has worked out very well for me in my life. I try not to see bad situations as completely horrible, but I try to frame it in a way that can expand my worldview.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my peers. My peers, apparently, would rather stand up and complain in a public forum than learn to adapt. They would rather hang out with friends on the weekends, unmasked, and then wonder why we’re still remote.

But the thing I need to realize is that it’s not necessarily their fault. It is clear to me that they have never been forced to adapt. They’ve never been faced with a scenario completely outside the realm of ‘normal’ and had to change course. 

The thing is, now they are being presented with a scenario like this. And what are the adults of this town showing them? They are showing them that a rant on Facebook and guilt-tripping elected officials is a good path to take. Students will say ‘I’m feeling unmotivated,’ and instead of offering them strategies, their parents tell them to go complain at a board meeting so they can get back.

But this is far from the only option; and when a student graduates and goes off into the ‘real world,’ this is likely not something they are going to be able to take advantage of.

If I’m at a job that allows me to work from home, and I’m feeling unmotivated and complain to my bosses, I’m not going to get a free pass for everything. I’m going to get fired.

If your phone distracts you, put it where you can’t reach and turn the ringer off. If you’re feeling sleepy because you’re in your bed with your pajamas on, get out of bed and put on actual pants. I know it’s a wild idea, but it helps. 

I know that we’re going back in person now, so a lot of this advice is moot. 

But the wider lesson here is to turn bad experiences into teaching moments. Learn how to grow, how to change, and how to adapt to your circumstances. Don’t fall victim to the situation you’re in, but instead find a way to shape the situation to benefit you in the long run. 

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