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Contemplating a Choice? Consider these words first…

February 14, 2018

My dad was an extraordinary man. It was the mid 1950’s, post WW2 where he fought overseas against the Nazis.

Now, living in North York, Ontario, my parents owned a home which they could barely afford. Given we are Jewish, the home was smack-dab in the middle of the Jewish part of the city. They decided to take in a border to help with the mortgage.

A German man came calling for the basement apartment.

The most natural thing for a Jewish man, post WW2 living in the heart of the Jewish part of town to do would be to turn this German fellow away . However, my dad remembered what it meant to be an immigrant, and my dad and my mom were anything but prejudiced. He not only rented the basement to the man against the consternation of friends and extended family but helped him get established in his business. They remained life-long friends.

Fast forward to 1989. I moved from Toronto to marry my wife and live in Hamilton. I changed my place of employment to work in a major Hamilton institution. Within 3 months I decided to leave that job in view of ethical issues in the workplace that I would not accept.

Newly married. Jobless.

While I was contemplating moving into private practice, I met up with Walter, my dad’s life-long friend. My dad had long since passed away. There was much to reminisce about.

Upon hearing the news of my unemployment, Walter offered me a job. Double my salary plus commission – sales. He was “paying it forward” to me. I couldn’t say no. My wife agreed.

The week prior to starting work, I was restless/anxious. I loved being a social worker. Although having accepted the job, I now wanted out. I felt sheepish about telling Walter.

We went for lunch and I explained my dilemma. I told him I was unable to work for him. I told him I was going to start my own practice.

Walter was amazingly supportive and the words he spoke have stayed with me to this day. He said, “You have to differentiate between temptation and opportunity. I tempted you. It wasn’t your opportunity.”

Differentiate between temptation and opportunity.

I think of those words whenever I am making a big decision. When making any decision.

Differentiate between temptation and opportunity.

Those words have made a profound difference in my life. Feel free to use them in your life when contemplating a decision.

If they work for you and help you make a better choice, think of Walter and my dad.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice


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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

  1. Good evening Sir,

    I’m reaching out for the first time on nearly 60 years. I have retired from the United States Army and law enforcement. I feel compelled to speak with a professional.

    What would be the best way to contact and or connect with you or someone that has time to listen to me objectively and maybe salvage my days.

    • Hi David. You probably have benefits to speak with someone locally. You may want to check first with your benefits provider. You can also ask your family doctor for a referral for counselling. If you are reaching out to me specifically, I always ask people to review the services from my website and then call if interested in service.

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