Two Dozen Basic Management Principles (Pt. 12)

The fourth New York snapshot involved another meeting with Rob and Barb Rogers in the Fall of 2001. The weather turned cold early his first fall in Syracuse. At least he thought it was cold. When you grow up in a place that sits just above the equator with an average temperature of 104 degrees twelve months a year, any temperature below eighty feels like an arctic blast. By October, the temperature in upstate New York rarely climbs above seventy. Lopez thought he had moved to the North Pole. One Saturday in October, he caught a break. The sun came out, the temperature warmed, and the Rogers suggested they take advantage of the weather and spend the day on the lake. As they ate chicken and floated on the lake, Rob said: “You know, this is pretty much a perfect day.” “We never had days like this in Kakuma,” Lopez said. “It was always hot and dry. The wind kicked up dust storms that made it hard to breathe. We didn’t have any grass, only dirt.” “That had to be a hard place to live,” Barb said. Lopez could tell she had a lot of questions, but she didn’t ask them. This was the first time that Lopez talked about what life was like in the refugee camp. The Rogers never tried to get Lopez to open up about what he’d been through. Lopez didn’t want to talk much about it either. The past was the past. He had a new life in America. However, after four months in the Rogers’ home, Lopez realized he was not here by mistake. Mom and Dad wanted him here. A little light clicked on for him during the cross-country season. They came to every single meet. They never missed one. No other parents came to all the meets. And they weren’t just there; they cheered for him and celebrated when he won like he was their real son. That’s when he started to understand that they genuinely loved and cared about him. “Very hard,” Lopez said. He took a deep breath and started talking. He talked for a long time. The Rogers sat and listened. Lopez told...

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