Jul. 24, 2011
I had the pleasure of growing up at PTS with my dear friend Jeff Oberstein. As I write this article (in mid-July), I am excited for Jeff and his family to visit the Bay Area next weekend -- where his daughter, Lily, will be called to the bimah in honor of her upcoming bat mitzvah.
It is hard for me to believe that Jeff and I both have teenage daughters -- and must even be harder to believe for our mothers, Sandy and Barbara, who I trust are reading this article!
During our days together in high school, serving as officers in the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO), Jeff once conveyed a story to our fellow members of BBYO that has stayed with me to this day. The story is short, but the message is powerful.
Many years ago, two shoe salesmen were sent by their companies to the African jungle. One salesman sent a telegram home sizing up the situation as follows: "No one wears shoes. There is no demand for our product.
The situation is hopeless." The second salesman, from a rival company, had a completely different outlook on the same set of facts. His telegram home explained: "No one wears shoes. Send me all the shoes that you can. The possibilities are limitless."
The approaches of the two shoe salesmen could not have been more different. One viewed the proverbial glass as being half empty -- concluding that because no one wore shoes, no sales could be made. The other, however, viewed the situation with abundant optimism -- recognizing that because no one yet wore shoes, there was a terrific opportunity.
Jeff's story presents a valuable lesson not only for our personal lives, but for our PTS community as well.
We are blessed to have a community filled with intelligent, thoughtful and creative minds. While tradition is certainly important, we should not preclude our members' new ideas based upon the knee-jerk reaction that "PTS has never done this" or "PTS does not do it that way." Rather, we should do everything that we can to encourage creative approaches to enhance our community.
As the second shoe salesman appreciated, "the possibilities are limitless." If we are a community with a willingness to embrace change, the same will be true for PTS.