Archive for March, 2009

Words Again!

March 26, 2009

Recently I wrote a piece on the importance of words and ended by saying, “Words are such powerful tools, we should take them away from some people!”  And, I was humbled when my friend, Mike, referered to my writing on ‘Using the Kind Words’ in his Sunday newspaper column! 

So, today I bring you thoughts from Gary Eby on words and the power inherent in their use and misuse – even abuse!  I’ll bet you’ll enjoy reading these words and I’ll be interested in your reaction!

 

HUNG BY THE TONGUE

by Gary Eby

        Some people just have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. They are being, “Hung By the Tongue!”

       A state trooper pulled a man over for speeding on a deserted road. Since the road was clear and the weather fine, the trooper had indicated that he may not give the man a ticket, and let them off with a warning. He even complemented both the man and his wife for wearing their seat belts. At that point the woman leaned over and said, “Well, officer, when you drive the speeds we do, you have to wear them.” That’s when the trooper wrote the ticket. Hung By the Tongue!

         Gene and Carolyn were entertaining for the first time since the birth of their baby. Everything ran smoothly until one of Gene’s buddies arrived with his new girlfriend-a woman whom Carolyn did not particularly care for. She beckoned her husband upstairs with the excuse that they had to check on the baby. In the privacy of the nursery, she spoke freely of her disdain for the new guest. When they went downstairs to rejoin the party, they were greeted with an awkward silence-except for the occasional murmuring of the sleeping baby that came from the infant monitor sitting on the table. Hung By the Tongue!

         There is an ancient Japanese proverb that says… “A tongue three inches long can kill a man six feet tall.”

         If you are continually being “hung by your tongue”, you can be “loosed from the noose” if you would just learn to engage your mind a little bit before you speak! Here’s the process… think… then speak! I believe that we need to make our words sweet… just in case we have to eat them!

         The words of your mouth are a creative force. They play a big part in predestining your future. Your words are the architects of your life. The tongue is like a tool. We need to use our tools of the present to build our future we desire.

         You see, your future will someday be your present. Your present will someday be your past. You can chart the course of your future by your compass… your tongue. It will guide you like a rudder… into either troubled waters or a calm sea. But, don’t be misled… it WILL guide you.        

         If you can change what you think about, you can change what comes out of your mouth. What comes out of your mouth will someday be in your future.

         The words you speak create an atmosphere. If you are going to have a meeting and you really pump it up and build it, what happens? People come with expectancy! They come excited. Your words have set the stage for success! One of the foundational revelations of a wise leader is to learn to control his or her words!

         Remember, Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Way too many businesses, lives, and relationships are destroyed with the same weapon…

         Be loosed from the Noose! Refuse to be… Hung By the Tongue!

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Rest and Relax!

March 19, 2009

          These are ‘Hard Times’ in America right now!  We’re still  involved in two wars, our economy leaves many people losing money, many are losing their jobs, some are losing their houses, and from many quarters today we hear unkind words – words which blame rather than solve, which spread the hurt rather than provide comfort, words which judge rather than accept and assist!  Maybe it’s time that all of us look within ourselves to find relief from the day-to-day matters and re-create a joyous person for those we love and those who love us!

         So, where do we start this personal healing process?  Let me suggest that there are many ways to find peace within so that we can spread happiness to others.  I’m sure you know some that work for you, and I would suggest this as a starting place.  I found this piece on the website of Gene Levine Associates and I like it!

 

CONSIDER YOUR BURDENS

A lecturer was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?” The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500g.

“It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it is OK. If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier.

“What you have to do is to put the glass down, rest for a while before holding it up again. We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on.”

So, before you return home from work tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it back home. You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you are having now on your shoulders, let it down for a moment if you can. Pick it up again later when you have rested. Rest and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!

On Modesty!

March 12, 2009

MODESTY:  (Many of these thoughts are taken directly from an editorial in the Time magazine for 3/16/09 in an article by Nancy Gibbs!) 

        Nancy suggests that after Columbine, 9-1-1, and other campus and school tragedies we all wished that we had a way to ‘connect’ with our kids at any time to be assured that they are all right!  And, onto this scene came the cell phone – a way we could always chat with our kids and know about their location and welfare. 

        And, then we learned that a cell phone in the hands of a kid can be variety of things:  Nancy suggests: ‘ . . . efficient tool for wasting time, cheating on tests, organizing fights, bullying classmates, phoning in bomb threats, arranging drug deals and, more commonly, vamping in the junior-varsity version of Girls Gone Wild.

        ‘Sexting’ includes taking pictures of ones self or one’s friend in some state of undress and or sexual activity, posting it on something like ‘Face Book’ or ‘U-tube’ and sharing this with the world – for how long?  Maybe forever.  “One school principal suspects that a random ransacking of the phones in his school would find indecent pictures on half to two-thirds of them.  Three out of four teens say posting suggestive stuff ‘can have serious negative consequences,’ which means they know it’s dumb – – and they do it anyway.  Gibbs goes on to say that the kids are working these processes on their turf and we, adults, are losing the battle against it!  (Reminds me of the person who told us that kids are the ‘natives’ in this new technological world, and we adults are the ‘immigrants’.  They’re at home here – we’re wondering how to respond to this form of pornography that places a young girl in both the roles of victim and villain.  (You can read the rest of Gibb’s excellent reporting in Time, March 16, 2009 pg. 56)

        Let’s look at this together for just a moment!  My position is written to provoke a response from you and let’s consider this thing with the idea that we’ll help our kids to see what’s wrong with this mis-use of a cell phone.  As I was growing up, my grandmother reminded me often of modesty. The definition of this word that I’m using here goes like this:  behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.  So, what did that mean to my grandmother?  Let me say it this way:  -she found any portion of underwear displayed, indecent.  –she found almost all forms of nakedness, indecent.  –she would not have looked fondly on the dress of many of today’s young people (male or female) as acceptable. –she would have found many of the conversations and behaviors on mainline television shows indecent and inappropriate!  -she would not have spent one cent to view a moving picture that glamorized sex, profanity, or inappropriate behavior.  – she would very likely have viewed sex as a private activity and would never have seen it as a spectator sport.  Was my grandmother prudish?  Puritanical? Straight-laced?  I suppose so, but she reflected a much different time – a time when I was ‘growing up’!  She had tremendous respect for her body, for her relationship with and marriage to my grandfather, and would have done nothing to damage any part of that. 

        Now that you know where the foundation of my beliefs took root, let me say that these kids need someone they love, respect, and believe to talk to them about the long term consequences of ‘sexting’ and other mis-uses of these wonderful devices in today’s technology.  How will a future employer view that picture you sent, without thinking, when you were thirteen years old?  How will someone in a close relationship feel when he/she learns that you’ve displayed your body across the technological landscape?  And, what will be the future of your lifetime relationship if it’s based primarily on some immodest, not-too-well-thought-out behavior.  Nancy G. poses this thought:  “.  .  .  ‘sexting’ has been around. . for years; in 2004 a 15 year old Pittsburgh, PA, girl was charged with sexual abuse of children and dissemination of child pornography when she posted nude pictures of herself online. .  .  (and) in the past year, more than a dozen states have followed suit, arresting kids as young as 13 for sending or receiving smutty pictures on their phones.  For parents, these cases have suddenly raised the prospect of retirement savings melted down to pay legal bills, college dreams deferred, scholarships lost – all because their kids were caught doing what kids do, and were prosecuted aggressively in hopes that others would notice and clean up their act.”

        Will we be successful in curbing this immodesty with laws and brute force??  I think not!  Do we need to find a way to establish a relationship with our kids again to lead them down a pathway that doesn’t lead to legal trouble and life-long punishment and unpleasantness?  Do we need to include in our education systems some lessons on values such as integrity, modesty, honesty, respect, self-control, and on and on?  Can we teach these things even if they are not tested on the high-stakes assessment instruments that have become so popular today?  

Life is a school!

March 8, 2009

Comes the Dawn

by Joy Whitman

After a while you learn the  subtle difference between holding a hand and sharing a life

and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession

and company doesn’t mean security

and loneliness is universal.

And you learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes open

with the grace of a woman

not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build your hope on today

as the future has a way of falling apart in mid-flight

because tomorrow’s ground can be too uncertain for plans

yet each step (taken in a new direction) creates a path

toward the promise of a brighter dawn.

And you learn that even sunshine burns

if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden

and nourish your  own soul

instead of waiting for someone

to bring you flowers.

And you learn that love, true love

always has joys and sorrows

seems ever present, yet is never quite the same

becoming more than love and less than love

so difficult to define.

And you learn that through it all

you really can endure

that you really are strong

that you do have value

and you learn and grow

with every good-bye

you learn.

Suggestions for going Green!

March 6, 2009

       In this morning’s reading I found an article which suggests ten ways to have your family become more ‘green’!  In today’s society, this is the ‘in’ position, and I think all of us could profit by paying more attention to our earth – it’s our only ‘space-ship’ and we really need to take care of it!

“Ten Green Activities for Families”

        1)   Plant a seed – valuable for kids to see a plant grow.

       2)   Have ‘off the grid’ fun – watch a sunrise, sunset, rainbow, go for a walk.

       3)   Eat real food – pick it off the plant, get it from a ‘real food’ source.

       4)   Stock a green bookshelf – read together some books on beautification of our world.

       5)   Make treasure from trash – be creative. One person’s trash is . . . . . . 

       6)   Talk about the Circle of Life – death contributes to continuing life.

       7)   Sing, Dance, and Stretch everyday – doing these things with children is important.

       8)   Feed the Animals – some city kids never see and animal eat.  Can a cow bite you?

       9)   Go outdoors – every day, go outdoors – no excuses.

     10)  We’re all made of the same stuff. – everything is tied together here.

        I liked those and I have a couple additions and I think you might have a couple too!  Would you like to offer something which might help our planet?

 1)   Stop Littering!  I drive on the roadways every day and notice that the amount of ‘throw-away’ litter is just staggering.  Cans, bottles, waste paper, pieces of wood, plastic everything, ribbons, old car filters, and on and on!  What kind of person is it that carelessly pitches these things onto our roadways believing apparently that this junk will somehow magically disappear or that somehow the earth will absorb it and take care of the problem!  My neighbor, bless his heart, mounts his little tractor with a trailer attached and he drives about ½ mile each way from his house and collects this stuff.  We can all make a contribution to this beautification by placing our trash in the proper place!  In Texas we have a saying on our roadways:  “Don’t Mess With Texas!”

2)   Stop the unnecessary ‘scalping’ of our landscapes.  About once or twice a week I drive into San Antonio on Highway 281 and as I approach the beautiful city, I look to the east and find that an entire hill has been ‘scalped’ and the builders have started to build the houses – about nine to twelve feet apart – all look the same as every other – and there are no trees and no grass at all (Oh, there will be trees and grass after the sub-division is completed!)  And, just recently, I looked to the west, and the very same thing has happened.  Now, I recognize that building around trees is more difficult and probably more expensive, but wouldn’t it be nice if some of those older oaks could have been preserved – for a variety of reasons?

3)   Stop wasting water.  This is a biggie in our area this season with the drought which has moved into our area!  No rain for months on end, and still people are running lawn sprinklers, letting water run onto the streets and down into the storm sewers.  A little conservation here would help all of us!  We’re in this together.  And, when I hear someone brag about how green and lush their grass is, I’m tempted to ask how much water they’re putting on this grass to keep it lush and green. 

       Well, there you have my little rant!  I’d truly like to hear from you!  How would you make this world more ‘Green’?

Education of Today’s Young People!

March 1, 2009

       An article brought to me by Denise is written by Arthur Levine and it examines the process of education today and tomorrow.  Levine suggests that the traditionalists (those who believe that the system of education we’ve used for years) and the reformers (those who believe that with all the new knowledge, new technology, new communication processes we have, we need to make significant changes to how/what children learn) are really working toward the same goal, but suggest entirely different processes.  You can read the entire article in ‘Education Week’ (<edweek.org> and then search for ‘Waiting for the Transformation’.

       According to Levine:  “(today’s education system) created during the industrial era, resembles an assembly line, the era’s . . method of production.  It puts all students through a common process tied to the clock; children progress based upon the amount of time they spend being taught in a classroom, with all students required to master the same body of knowledge in the same period of time.  Beginning at age 5, they are educated in batches of from 25-30 students for a period of 180 days a year for 13 years.  In high school, they study five major subjects a year, each in sessions lasting 40-60 minutes, meeting four or five times a week for 36 to 40 weeks per year . . . . ”  Levine suggests that this system of education would be ‘ . . unacceptable in other aspects of our lives.  Imagine bringing dirty clothes to a laundry service and having the attendant ask, ‘How long do you want me to wash them — a half-hour or an hour?’  We really don’t care how long the attendant washes our clothes.  We want them clean.  We want a standard outcome, not a standard process.  Our education system does the reverse.”

       Levine talks about the number of ways and times kids learn outside the formal classroom and suggests “.  .  .  we can expect our education system to evolve from its current focus on time, teaching, and formal classrooms to an emphasis on outcomes, learning, and education in and out of school.”

       Levine cautions that “The nation is not yet ready to move in this direction.”  (He refers to the reform methods as including a raft of instructional possibilities:  formal classes, tutorials, mentoring, peer learning, digital learning, and much more.  And with these methods in place, a whole new system of evaluation will need to evolve.)

       My mind flies ahead here!  Imagine the amount of learning children get today ‘outside the formal’ classroom – and consider how the internet and all related technology has changed the kids’ outside of school learning.  I’ll wager that you – like me and many adults I’ve worked with over the years – have learned a bunch of things outside formal education processes!  I remember having to commute one hour each way to take classes leading to my Master’s Degree.  I carpooled with sometimes as many as four other adults to cut expenses.  Many times on the way home we’d be discussing what went on in the classes!  We concluded that we learned more outside the formal setting of teaching/learning (What we didn’t take into consideration was that the process in the classroom was the trigger, the stimulus, for our enroute discussions!)

      So what are your thoughts?  Let’s chat!