Thursday, August 6, 2009

When your mother starts to's time to update your blog

It's been pretty boring around here. I haven't much to share! Here's a short speech I gave this morning:

Our days together are growing fewer; in just one week we will all be going our separate ways. I’m truly grateful for this experience and for the pleasure of learning with all of you. And so it is with regret that I stand here to make my speech of farewell.

Over the last five weeks, I think each of us has recognized areas in which we have made real improvement through observing and enjoying the speeches of others, plus encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism.

However, there are times in life when criticism is something you can-- and should --overlook. I’d like to explain what I mean with this very old story.

A man who owned a fish market painted a new sign for his store that said “Fresh Fish for Sale Here”. He thought it looked very professional, and couldn’t have been more pleased, so he proudly placed it in the window.

Soon a customer came in and said, “Hey, nice sign! But was it really necessary to put the word “FRESH” in it? It’s not like you’re going to sell fish that isn’t fresh, right?” So, the fishmonger took down the sign, painted over the word “FRESH” and put the sign back up in the window.

It wasn’t long before another customer stopped in, and remarked “New sign, eh? Nice! But uh… why would you put the word “HERE” on the sign? It’s not like you’re selling fish anywhere else, are you?” So, the fishmonger took down the sign, painted over the word “HERE” and put the sign back up in the window.

A little while later a third customer came in, and complimented the shop keeper on his new sign, and then wondered aloud “What’s the point of having the words “FOR SALE” on the sign? You wouldn’t have fish here unless it was for sale, right?” So, the fishmonger took down the sign, painted over the word “FOR SALE” and put the sign back up in the window.

Wouldn’t you know? Another customer came through the door and says to the shopkeeper, “What’s the deal with the sign? “FISH?” I’ve been buying fish here for 20 years! “FISH”? Like someone might mistake this for a shoe store? “FISH”? For crying out loud - - you can smell this shop a block away!”

A wise man once said: “criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” So, my parting words of advice to you - - or, if you will, “my Parthian Shot” - - is, if in life you paint a really great sign…a sign that you’re really proud of, put that sign up in your window and prepare to hear from the critics. But if you’re happy with your sign, don’t change it for anything.


  1. That is a great story, and I agree with your conclusion. Life is too short to try to please everyone. Thanks for sharing your speech. Karen

  2. Thank you for the very wise and powerful story.

  3. I am going to miss your speech class. That's another great one. Take care. Lane