When times are tough, as hard as it may be, try to do the counter-intuitive thing. Open your hand; don’t close it. If you hold onto what you already have, clutching your resources, as if your very life depended upon them, it will. Your life will be dependent on what you are preserving – your […]
Without exception every one of you is gifted, talented, uniquely curious. You are to be treasured. Believe your parents or care-givers or teachers when they express something similar. It’s not just “adult talk.” It is not said just to get you motivated. Talent, power, and bravery are divinely endowed. They are yours. They are in […]
“Iron sharpens iron,” says the Proverb. Or, real friends help make us into better people than we are. They challenge us. They are unafraid to engage in necessary conflict with us because they know it is born in the desire of finding deeper connection, greater love. They are unimpressed with our pretensions. They see beyond […]
Eight ways to make your wonderful job even more wonderful: 1. Never let an opportunity pass to compliment a parent about his or her child. 2. Speak highly of your students, even the child whose performance may leave much to be desired. 3. Find the gold, the raw talent, the innate potential, in every student, […]
An offering of loving truth… Relationships are sweetened an enhanced when there is a mutual commitment to love and truth. They (love and truth) are foundational to trust, a cornerstone of family and community. Love and truth are pivotal to building meaningful history. They (love and truth) are both stepping stones and the pillars for […]
Your parents are the most important people you will ever know. Get things right with them, and you’ll be poised for success. By “right” I mean embark on the ongoing journey to develop your skills by loving, honoring, enjoying, and negotiating with them. If you don’t, if you settle for on-going conflict, you will probably […]
Counsel with your priest, rabbi, pastor, counselor….. Will almost always leave you feeling freer, more empowered, and with a greater appreciation for your skills and vast possibilities. I say “almost” because there will be times when, in response counsel, you will see the need for helpful introspection or the need for some radical personal changes. […]
A few ways to “grow” your sons and daughters – crucial conversations Talk about everything under the sun. Nothing about sex, money, death, grief, joy, pain, and fulfillment ought to take your children by surprise. Rid yourself of the oft-touted notion that men should talk to sons and mothers to daughters about sexual and intimate […]
When times are tough, as hard as it may be, try to do the counter-intuitive thing. Open your hand; don’t close it. If you hold onto what you already have, clutching your resources, as if your very life depended upon them, it will. Your life will be dependent on what you are preserving – your diminishing resources. You will miss the new resources that are trying to get your attention. When your heart is broken, as hard is it may be, try to do the counter-intuitive thing. Open your heart; don’t shut it. Of course the impulse to protect can be overwhelming, but shutting down, refusing to feel, refusing vulnerability to opportunities is costly. A closed heart will struggle to heal and to let go. An open heart, despite the pain, allows the greater community to do its good and healing work. When your dreams are shattered, as hard as it may be, try to do the counter intuitive thing. Dream again. If you live in persistent regret of how things could have been, and resent those who shattered or did not support your dream, or if you assign blame for why things did not turn out as you planned, yesterday’s disappointments block tomorrow’s success.
An on-going conversation for parents to have with their sons and daughters – and I will continue to have with my sons: Women are more than body parts. Behind the body part is a person. She is a woman with dreams, and ambitions. She’s part of an immediate and an extended family. No matter what her circumstances, and no matter how complicit (or not) she may have been in allowing herself (or not) to be used in this manner, you know better. Just as she is a victim of someone’s cruel plan, by participating in this impersonal and detached manner, you, when you indulge yourself with her image, you become another who uses her, who disregards her humanity. You dehumanize her and you do the same to yourself. She, whoever she is, is to be treasured. She is not to be faceless, not for you or for anyone. She has a face, even if you can’t see it or will ever see it. You know that. The moment you separate this person from her body and segment her into parts – in your head – in your head you do the same within yourself. You sell yourself the lie that bodies are more important than relationships. You sell yourself on the lie that what you think you need can be gained at the expense of another. You engage in the lie that you need some-THING rather than embark on the journey of intimately knowing some-ONE. I will not police you. I will not dig in your closets or drawers. I will not examine your computer or your phone. It is more important that you have a dad than that you have a live-in policeman. My prayer is that you will always see other people as people to treasure and never need anyone to monitor you, because you do such a fine job of monitoring yourself. I know you can - I see you do it so well every day.
"I just want to be happy." I hear it over and over again – usually with a little whine in the tone. It’s often whimpered as if happiness is some sort of award or something that may descends upon a person who is in the right place at the right time. Truth is, you have more chance of being struck by lightening than you have being struck by happiness. Happiness has no victims. It’s a by-product. It grows out of purposeful living. Happiness is out of control - even to the rich and powerful. You may have noticed its penchant for playing hide and seek with the rich and powerful. It's yours when you fight and win the good fight over trying to be happy. It’s yours when you engage in purpose greater than yourself, your pleasures, and appetites. The road to happiness is often paved with difficulty, and things you may think will never deliver any joy. It hides from the lazy, from the self-indulgent, the entitled, the spoiled, the whiner, but embraces those seeking justice and authenticity and doing what is good and right by others. Ironically happiness often escapes the rich and makes its home with the poor, the humble. Oddly, it’s one thing that doesn’t, as it is said, "follow the money."
“What would you say of a man who, knowing his wife is suspicious of, and dislikes a woman half his age in his employ, buys her a R1000.00 gift token for her birthday, without telling his wife? What would you say of the wife, who having found out, says nothing and stays with a man who is so deceitful?” The gift token, suspicion, and the silence from each toward the other (no one is talking – he has said nothing about the gift to his wife and she has said nothing about finding out) are symptoms of the deeper division, which has probably occurred long before the woman half-his age was born. The marriage will survive (not thrive) if both remain silent and behave as they are doing at present – but it will not be fulfilling (thrive). Husbands and wives do this all over the world: they live together in compromised and unfulfilled marriages – and model something quite unattractive to all witnesses. Or, the marriage could thrive if one member of the partnership makes a choice to confront the chasm in the hopes of finding each other again. Such a choice could, of course, also hasten the marriage toward divorce. Speaking up is costly – either way, I believe its rewards are better than silence.
We teach people how to treat us. What we accommodate, refuse to see, or excuse, will become the baseline of how we are treated. Once we accept less than perfect manners, or anything less than common decency and respect, it is very hard to regain. This is as true in intimate relationships as it is true with your boss, your employees, and in the most platonic of relationships. When poor manners, disrespect, and a lack of common decency are exercised between people, even those who are really close or married, authentic intimacy will dissipate. Intimacy by definition requires utmost mutual respect and it ceases when respect ceases. We treat people – not as others are, but as we are. A healthy person treats all people well, no matter what their position in life, no matter what their status or lack of it. An emotionally healthy person regards all others with the highest good of the other in mind – simply because that is how he or she treats himself or herself. The emotionally healthy person doesn’t go out of his or her way to treat people with great respect – it is simply an expression of his or her internal world.