What do the phrase “take the high road” and the phrase “I am woman, hear me roar“ from a Helen Reddy song from the ’70s have in common? The song goes:
“You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.”
It turns out a lot.
What does it mean to take the high road?
My father was a strong man. And yet, not a person who knew him, from his wife and children to a person who aggravated him, heard him raise his voice. He passed away in his late nineties.
A reporter, from the Chicago Tribune, phoned me a few days after my father’s death. He had known my father and wanted to tell his story, he wanted to honor his life.
“That is very kind of you,” I answered, “but, may I ask why?”
“Because I knew your father when I was a young reporter and followed the story of his life,” said the reporter.
I pressed him by saying, “The obituary page is left for the CEOs of large corporations and members of the community who have donated large sums of money and talent to their city. My father was not from Chicago and he was not the CEO of a large corporation.”
The reporter never explained. He just felt my father deserved a tribute and he wrote a three or four column story about his life on the obituary page in the Chicago Tribune.
If I were to write my father’s story I would title it, “Roy Lang: A Man Who Took the High Road.”
For you see, my father always took the high road. He lived his life by the highest standards.
My father would continuously tell me to “take the high road” and assumed, incorrectly, that I understood what the term meant. I thought it meant just what it said and so, I never asked him to explain. I took its meaning at face value: Don’t make waves, give in if you have to, peace at all costs. I was so wrong.
It took me until this year to grasp its true meaning, its value. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. It is too personal to discuss because it has to do with an action and then a reaction within our family.
For all my readers I would like you to discuss with your children (it is never too late) and your grandchildren the true meaning of “take the high road” because dealing with problems in our families, the workplace and our relationships is an ongoing part of all of our lives. I plan to do the same. Our children and our grands have their lives ahead of them. Let’s pass this gift on. It is better than anything money can buy.
Taking “the high road” defines a person’s action. It is not the easy or popular path, but it is righteous and gives one a sense of empowerment.
Taking the low road comes from weakness
Our first reaction is based on emotion: Rage, hurt, embarrassment or disbelief. You want to defend, attack or even scream out in disbelief.
Our second emotion is based on defending ourselves: Knee jerk reactions instead of thoughtful response. You gain nothing. You feel weak and frustrated. You are coming from weakness, not strength.
Taking the high road comes from strength
You live your life by your moral code of values.
You do not let your emotions overtake your beliefs. This is your strength. This is your power. This is not about the other person or situation. It is about you.
I wish I could reread my father’s obituary and call the reporter. I will, next week, when my ultimate concierge, my pooch, Orchid, and I return to my beautiful Chicago. It will be the first thing I do when we enter our apartment.
My father took the high road making him a giant and powerful man, even more powerful than a CEO. I think the reporter knew this.
I spent the last year learning my lesson. I will always, in my future, ‘take the high road.’
“I am wisdom, born of pain. But look what I gained. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman, hear me roar.”
How did you learn to take the high road, dear readers? Let’s talk!
Dear Sweet Suzi, You truly are inspiring in your blog. I have not been watching it for so long, but I do remember when we talked about you taking this as your next step in life and now I see you are truly very successful in doing this. I’m so proud of you. I would love nothing more than to meet up with you and Shelly sometimes when you are in Chicago just to sit and talk for couple of hours about everything. I’d love to interview you for my new book and also interview Shelly about his experiences. If you think we can schedule that, let me know and I’ll fly over to Chicago to meet with both of you. It would be so great to reconnect again soon. Let me know what works.
Love, Dagmar Sands 404-313-3456
Hi Dagmar! This is so special. I am sorry I am soooo late in responding but I know you understand. You always do and that is one of the many charms about you. I would love you to interview me and I know Shelly would, too. Tell me about your book, please. Did you see mine on Honey Good for grandmother’s to write their keepsake stories for their grandchild? We are going to Moscow, are you? Oh by the way, if you do come to Chicago you will stay with us.Sending love and kisses. Suzi
Came through this the right time
It is hard but never the less, right. Thank you. Warmly, Honey