A Good Harvest

(First written between July and Aug of 2013)

YES! This is a Good Harvest! Family has it’s ups and downs, but the goal is always the same. You want to be able to jump up and yell: YES! This is a Good Harvest!

When I was a kid, Dad always talked about a Good Harvest. And one day I said, “What do you mean? We’re not farmers!” And he said, “That’s exactly what I mean! Like a farmer trying to raise good crops, we’re just trying to raise good kids.

Let me show you WHY a Good Harvest is so important, son: Raising good kids raises the value of society.

And when I turned 7, my world got turned upside down. My parents got divorced.

Divorce is like a broken fence, that never gets mended.

Twenty years later, when I was 27, I got divorced.

Another broken fence.

And after watching how Dad treated Mom after they got divorced, I knew exactly how to treat my ex-wife: you give her the cold shoulder and you move on with your life!

And then a funny thing happened on the way to the rest of my life…

I discovered I was WRONG about how to treat my ex-wife!

If you’d been with me at a recent dinner party you’d have heard me say, “I have an AMAZING ex-wife!” And you would have heard people laugh at the joke! Then one of the guys said, “You’re kidding, right?”

Everybody thought I was joking. “No”, I said. “I really do have an amazing ex-wife.” And you would have heard a woman at the party say, “I wish my ex-husband talked about me like that.”

Then she asked, “How in the world did you get from being divorced and angry to saying your ex-wife is amazing?”

“How did you get from there to here?”

The HOW is easy: I apologized for being a jerk to my ex-wife during our divorce. The more important question is: WHY? Why did I apologize?

I want to be happy!

The book I read said, ‘Look, if you want to be happy, you can’t also hate your ex-wife!’ The math just doesn’t add up!

The book taught me to VALUE all people!

That includes my ex-wife! She’s people, too.

So in 1996, 5 years after I got divorced, I decided it was time to mend my broken fence.

So I called my ex-wife and I said: Lisa, I am so sorry for being a jerk to you during our divorce.

And I imagined her on the phone, with her Elizabeth Taylor eyes, when she said: Thank you. What brought this on?

Me: I read a book.

Her: What book?

Me: Don’t laugh.

Her: I won’t laugh.

Me: Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

Her: I’ve heard of that book. And it made you apologize? How come we didn’t read that book when we were married?

Me: Because we were spending too much time being in love!

When I told Dad I was apologizing to my ex-wife, he said: No, no, no, don’t do that. Once you get divorced, you do not go backwards

But, Dad, didn’t you hear the great conversation that Lisa and I just had, right over there on that part of the stage?!?

It’s just not a good idea to apologize, son.

“What taboos are holding you back?”

Ten years later, on Nov 24, 2006, me, my brother on his iPhone, and Dad, in his retired uniform – shorts and short-sleeve shirt – are standing next to a 6 foot rose bush, right in front of Mom’s place.

Dad, says, “I’m going to apologize to your Mother. I’m going to apologize to your Mother for being mean to her during our divorce.”


Only 10 years ago, Dad said apologizing was a bad idea. Now, Dad is following my example. I turned to Dad and said, “Your apologizing to Mom will stay with me and Lance for the rest of our lives!”

Because divorce is like a broken fence. And Dad is reaching out and mending that broken fence with a simple: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

The next night, we all went to dinner. And both my parents, my Mom and my Dad, sat at the same dinner table for the first time in 35 years!

My hope for you is this: that reaching out and mending just one broken fence transforms your world!

Family has its ups and downs, but the goal is always the same. You want to be able to jump up and say this, my family, my life, my world:

YES! This is a Good Harvest!

A Good Harvest – Toastmasters speech with staging cues

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