Archive for November 24th, 2011


thankful for trouble

Today is Thanksgiving Day when most people in America remind themselves of all the good things in their lives and express gratitude for their blessings. As well they should.

My take on this day is a little different…

I deal all the time with kids whose lives are absolutely miserable—kids who are locked up in awful jails and prisons, sometimes for things they didn’t do; kids who are being victimized by predatory guards, cruel prosecutors and judges, lazy and dishonest cops; kids who have been horribly abused by their parents and other adults and driven to committing desperate acts, failed and abandoned by a system that’s supposed to have protected them.

On the surface of these kids’ lives it is very difficult to see many things for which to be thankful—that is, until you consider that problems are really just opportunities with thorns on them. The opportunities hidden behind these particular thorns may be, in fact, so great that they dwarf the problems.

For example, that cruel cop who pepper-sprayed the peaceful demonstrators last week at the University of California Davis may have done more to help the Occupy Movement than ten thousand peaceful demonstrators ever could have. The injustices currently being suffered by Alex King, James Prindle, Jordan Brown, Paul Henry Gingerich, and Blade Reed may do more to undercut the abusive authority of the so-called law-and-order states than might any number of early courtroom successes.

Many years ago I was once privileged to join Frits Phillips, the chairman of the Dutch electronics firm, at supper. “It is often hard to distinguish between the hard knocks in life and those of opportunity,” he said. I am mindful of his advice when I say that it is up to us to help others—and young people especially—to turn trouble on its head and transform it into opportunity.

I am profoundly thankful to have you with me in pursuing this mission. Thank you for your continuing interest and support. It’s making a difference.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

~Milton Berle


Groove of the Day 

Listen to The Rolling Stones performing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”