Two months ago Sara had gotten the idea from her 3rd grade teacher to start a flower garden. “Then you can wake up in the morning on Mother’s Day and simply make a bouquet of flowers from your own garden! Your mommies would love that!” she had said. Sara loved the idea and quickly went to work on it with her dad. But there she was, just a couple of days away from Mother’s Day, starring not into a garden of flowers but a garden of weeds. She couldn’t understand it; she had worked really hard on the garden with her dad. She had made sure the plants were placed to receive the right amount of sunlight. She had made watering them a science, placing a rain gauge to know how much water they were receiving, tracking the moisture of the soil, and making sure water didn’t get on the flowers and she knew that wasn’t good for them. And her dad had made sure the soil was just right for the flowers they had planted.

Her dad later came out with her as she was staring at the weeds. “I don’t get it dad, we made sure everything was perfect for the flowers we planted. It must have been the soil”, Sara said as she looked at her dad with a smile. “Very funny”, her dad responded, “I’m not sure Honey, maybe it is the soil. “I mean I did make sure the soil was right but your mom and I have always had trouble growing any type of plants here. Maybe we should just go with a planter box next time so we have absolute control of the soil.” “Good idea dad”, she responded, “You know, all these weeds have gotten me curious. We work so hard on getting other plants to grow and weeds just grow without giving them any care.” Her dad looked at her, smiling, put his arm around her and gave her a loving squeeze, appreciating her curiosity, and said, “You know Sara, in a way that’s how life is, you have to work hard for the things you want, and you have to be prepared to handle the things you don’t as they can just show up one day without you doing anything to cause them to show up.” “But why do we look at weeds as being bad?” Sara asked, mostly asking herself, “Is it because they look bad, or do they look bad because of how we think of them? I’m going to look more into weeds since they seem to love hanging around our yard.” “I love your curiosity Sara”, her dad said, “I’ll be looking forward to knowing what you find out about them.”

The morning of Mother’s Day arrived. Sara had spent the last couple of days reading about weeds and had a new found appreciation for them. Although not her preference, she figured she would pick some weeds that had flowered and tell her mom what she had learned about them.

A few houses down from Sara’s house, a girl named Katelyn was walking into her flower garden as well the morning of Mother’s Day. Katelyn was a classmate of Sara and had also gotten the same idea Sara had from her teacher. Only Katelyn was fortunate to have succeeded in creating her flower garden, and in a big way. It was mostly roses, with some hibiscus, lantana, and zinnia mixed in. Katelyn started picking flowers for her mom’s bouquet. As she picked the last flower for the bouquet, she noticed one of the roses was considerably smaller than the rest. Wanting to have the best looking bouquet for her mom, she pulled out the small rose and tossed it, replacing it with a larger one. As she tossed the small rose, it mysteriously got picked up by a strong gust of wind, never touching the ground, and blew out of Katelyn’s yard.

As Sara was finishing up her bouquet of weeds, or “bouquet of positive thinking” as her dad called it when Sara told him about the idea, she felt a gust of wind behind her and as she turned around she was amazed to find a rose lying right in the middle of her garden of weeds. She looked around thinking it was her dad’s doing but saw no one in sight. She leaned down to take a closer look at it, still skeptical about what she was seeing. As she picked it up, a smile naturally appeared on Sara’s face, followed by a couple of tears. And with the bouquet of positive thinking on one hand and the mysterious rose on the other, she rushed inside to wish her mom a happy Mother’s Day. - end

The adjective “relative” can have a significant impact in our daily lives. In the story, the small rose had little significance to Katelyn because relative to the other roses in her garden, it had little value. But for Sara, relative to her garden of weeds, the small rose was of immense value to her that it even brought her to tears.
In business “relative” is used as a marketing tool. Why buy a small popcorn when I can get a large one for only 50 cents more. The small popcorn is purposely well overpriced so that relative to it, the large one seems like a good deal and hence getting the maximum purchase price from the customer.

In life “relative” can be used in a positive way, like Sara in the story, but it can also be very destructive if allowed into the door of our needs to distort them in a negative way. We can be content with what we have, then we see something better and quite suddenly we’re not. Now what we have, relative to the better thing we saw, is not good enough. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is born from this. Social class is all relative; what do they have or what have they done relative to what I have or have done?

I chose to write a positive story about “relative”, but there are many sad true stories out there as well. Don’t let “relative” contaminate your needs. Strive to be the best you, not the best relative to everyone else, and align your needs to that and not according to what everyone else has or is doing. Otherwise you’ll find yourself never winning that race.

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” – Dale Carnegie

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Author's Bio: 

My name is Hector Lopez. I grew up in a small town in south Texas. I graduated with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering and work brought me to Houston where I have lived most of my adult life and currently reside with my beautiful amazing wife and two extraordinary sons.
I started my professional career working as a Manufacturing Engineer. Seven years into my career I took on a new role as a Performance Analyst. In this role I was challenged to change the culture of the work force to a culture of continuous improvement and this challenged me to change my entire way of thinking and put me on a new path. This led me to finding my true passion, becoming a student of human behavior, and started studying Psychology. This also made continuous improvement become second nature to me and am always striving to find ways to implement what I learn as well as share it as a way of giving back to society.