This I Believe

KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe” with Margot Sechler

Margot Sechler is a native New Yorker and she moved to Texas as a young adult. After graduating from college, she wanted to establish her new independence in a new place and she chose Houston. A generation later, Margot says the many lessons she learned from her parents remain very much alive. Margot explains one of those life lessons in her essay for Houston Public Radio's This I Believe.

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As an only child, Margot was raised in a family that valued education, intellect and an understanding of the world. Margot’s father’s life reads like a spy novel. He grew up in Nazi occupied France and then as a young man, he moved to North Africa. Once in Tunisia, he joined the French Underground. Margot’s mother was raised in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium and was a true fan of the “Bronx Bombers”. After graduating college, she became a professor at Long Island University. Margot’s parents met while attending a wedding in Mexico and they quickly fell in love. Margot’s father moved to New York to marry Margot’s mother and Margot was their only child. A dozen years ago, they moved to Houston to spend more time with Margot and her daughter. Margot currently works for Hewlitt-Packard.

Here’s Margot Sechler with her essay for Houston Public Radio’s This I Believe.
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“On Sept. 11, 2001, I was having dinner with my parents. Normally we would discuss our day, world events, or a book recently read. However, on this evening we could barely utter a word. Growing up in New York, my Mother spent time in Manhattan’s financial district where her father had his office. My Father grew up as a Jewish boy in Nazi occupied France and then, later in his life, he would have lunch with business associates, on Friday’s, at the famous restaurant, “Windows on the World,” atop the World Trade Center. Also, we had friends who had offices in the twin towers. So, during our family dinner that fateful night, the events of the day rendered us speechless and without much of an appetite. I broke the silence and asked “what is your good thing today?” My Mother and Father glared at me with saddened and stunned expressions. I asked again, “what is your good thing today?” and I added “everyday, no matter how dark, there is always something good.” I answered my own question… “my good thing is that we are having dinner together as a family.”

About 10 years ago, my parents retired to Houston from New York. My daughter and I are in Houston and so they wanted to spend more time together, as I am an only child and my daughter, their only grandchild. At our first meal together after their relocation, my Mother proposed the question “what is your good thing for the day?” We looked at her questioningly as if we had no idea what she meant. Since I was a child, she became famous for her dinnertime philosophic discussions, so my Father, daughter and I assumed that there was a hidden meaning behind this question. “what is your good thing for the day?” what a simple question, too simple. We each thought, but still could not determine what she was looking for. When no one replied, she said “my good thing is that the sky and cloud formations were beautiful this morning.” Then my Father said “Being together as a family having dinner.” Things so simple: the sky, clouds, dinner as a family.

Asking what is good for the day forces one to redirect our thoughts on the good whether we had a bad day at work, school, or just want to complain, no matter what concerns we have, our flight being late, stuck in traffic, or if we experience a universal tragedy as on 9/11, there is always something good. Now, even when we are out to dinner with friends, we explain our family tradition and ask “what is your good thing for the day?” What a simple concept.

Even on the worst of days, there is always something good. This I believe.”

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