Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.

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Good from bad

Q: "Precious," a critically acclaimed new movie starring Gabourey Sidibe, chronicles the journey of an abused 16-year-old girl struggling to overcome her parents' brutality. What can we learn from those who are able to survive terrible circumstances? What's the most inspiring survival story you've encountered?

People who actually survive terrible circumstances are the real success stories. I think the most important thing when dealing with an issue like this is to try to keep thinking about the next day and take those steps one day at a time. It takes courage, but in the end the person is a stronger individual and more accepting of the world.

In my own family, we dealt with a story of survival when my brother's wife died suddenly at the age of 38. She left behind three children ages 6,10 and 12. There was no illness or foreshadowing of what was to come. She put the kids to bed and never saw them again. I was amazed at how my brother was a rock for those kids.

He donated all of her organs and gave new life to six people. Their families wrote him letters thanking him for the gift of life. His children saw how he was able to change people's lives through this tragedy and it made a huge impact on their lives. His middle child founded an annual Organ Donor Walk for the county they live in.

Each of the children has grown up to become an amazing person. One is getting a master's degree, another just graduated from college and the last is set to graduate from high school this year.

Sometimes good does come out of bad, no matter how painful.

By Eric Schaeffer  |  November 19, 2009; 9:36 AM ET  | Category:  survival as success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: From setbacks to comebacks | Next: Learning about resilience

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