Monday, May 16, 2011


By Robin Kaye

Over the years I’ve learned that hope is what you have when there is nothing else you can possibly do to change the situation. I get this when it comes to world peace—there is nothing I can do to keep people in the Middle East from slaughtering each other. My only option is to hope and pray that they do.

On a personal level, I’m not a big believer in hope. I know, that sounds awful doesn’t it? It’s like wishing on a star. As a little kid, I hoped for a lot. I hoped things would get better, I hoped we didn’t have to move again, I hoped I wouldn’t get in trouble for every blessed thing I ever did wrong. I wasted a lot of time hoping. It never worked.

When I was nine, I hoped for horseback riding lessons. Actually, I’d been hoping for that for years and when I was nine, I finally gave up. Hope just wasn’t cutting it. The only way I’d ever have riding lessons was if I could somehow get the money to pay for them. I asked my mom for the money—something I never did before or since—and she laughed and told me to get a job. A job. At nine. Okay, so I looked through the want ads and found a job selling doughnuts door to door. Every Friday a guy would drop off a huge quantity of packaged doughnuts and I’d go to work. I’d take them to the synagogues and churches, sell what I could, and then I’d go door to door until I sold the rest minus whatever my sister would steal. I was making $150 a weekend easy. That was a hell of a lot of money when I was nine. It was also a heck of a lot of work, but I had no problem paying for my riding lessons. Five years later, I bought myself a sailboat—for that, I cleaned five houses a week for what seemed like eternity.

Now I look at friends who hope their lives will change, they hope their marriages will get better, they hope their kids will behave. All the time they’re hoping, they’re just going on with their lives, doing the same thing they’ve always done, and waiting for a different and better result.

I want to yell at them that hope doesn’t do squat. The only time that hope works is when it’s followed up with a hell of a lot of work—when you’ve given it your all.

Now work, that is something I can get behind.


  1. Wow Robin! I think you were speaking directly to me. I have several things I need to change, but I'm not sure I've been DOING anything to really change them. Like lose a few pounds, get my house cleaning under control, get my kids (although they're wonderful) to keep their rooms clean, manage my time better. Thank you. And can I just say I'm totally impressed with your drive and your work ethic at such a young age?

  2. You sound like my dad--he was selling apples from a factory that didn't want them because they weren't perfect, so in Seattle, he sold them on a street corner. Only he didn't get to keep the money. But that's what I've always believed. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. :) And my dad's saying: You can do anything you put your mind to if you want it badly enough. And you proved that to a tea!

    Wonderful post!!!

  3. @ Anita - I was worried all night about this blog. I worried that my view of hope was too much of a downer. I'm a total pragmatist. Hope doesn't give people power or determination. It's a last ditch effort--and frankly, when I'm at that point, I pray instead of hope.

    @ Terry - I think I'd love your dad. I was four years old the first time I went on strike because children have no rights. It was my feeling that if I wanted to do something, I should be allowed (within reason) to at least try it. I wanted to control my destiny even then. Hope doesn't give you control. Growing up, moving every 9 months or so without ever having a say in where I went and what I did was exasperating. I decided very early on that when I could run my own life, I'd let nothing and no one keep me from doing what I dreamed of doing. It's not only been easy, but it's been very rewarding.

  4. Hi Robin - I'm also a pragmatist, a practical soul, and your take on hope resonates completely with me. Making what we hope for come to fruition takes more than wishes, puppies and unicorns and rainbows. Let's get real. It takes damn hard work, and saying so isn't a downer in my book.

  5. I can hope to be published all I want, but without hard work, it won't happen.

    I can hope to have a better marriage, but without hard work, it won't happen.

    You're spot on when you mention the hard work about hope.

    Hope helps me figure out what I'm going to work for, so I see hope as very essential.

    Heck, I have it tattooed on my arm (hope, faith, love, the greatest of these is love). It's my life verse for the most part!

    But pretty much everything is dead without action. God gave us the abilities to work for the things we hope for.

    Great post. Enjoyed it. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for your post, Robin! I've been a little worried about writing about this topic later in the month because I feel the same way - hope alone is just wishing, and you have to work for what you want. Thinking positive is good, but acting positive is better!
    You must have been the coolest little kid! I can just see you cruising around with your donuts:)

  7. I hear you, Robin. Very motivating post!

  8. Love this post and you are so right the only time hope really works is with a hell of a lot of work. I know this for sure.

  9. @ Tamara--I'm so glad I'm not alone!

    @ Lynn--I chose to think of it as dreams, dreams lead you to follow. But then that's kind of splitting hairs and Hope, Faith, and Love sounds better :)

    @ Joanne--thanks so much! I'm all for positive affirmations. It's amazing what we can trick ourselves into believing. The choice is ours whether it's good or bad. Positive action is even better than positive thoughts, but both are necessary.

    @ Shana - So glad you thought so. I tend to be really blunt and worry about turning people off. I've been practicing the art of saying what I mean without being offensive. I'm getting better.

    @ Virginia - Hard work is essential for all things. Even if you don't achieve your dreams, at least you know you tried your best. There is nothing worse than regrets.

  10. You are my hero! If you were older than me, I'd want to grow up and be like you!
    Excellent post, Robin! Bless your heart for having the courage to tell it like it is.
    I'm posting on another site today and my post is Write! Don't Whine! I was afraid those folks might throw rotten tomatoes at me up there on my soap box with my stump thumping but so far so good...YOUR post would have been wonderful to close down my speechifying for the day!
    If you want it go get it, love it!

  11. Hey Robin - great post. What a resourceful person you were at such a young age! Very impressive. ;)

  12. I couldn't agree more with everything you said. :) ~Jodie

  13. Wow, Robin, what a different perspective on hope. Thank you for sharing.