Tag Archives: lessons

Random Thought of the Day

People always want to say it is in our nature to fear what is different. That’s not true. It is in our nature to fear what is dangerous – that is basic survival instinct, but we cannot insist that ‘different’ and ‘dangerous’ are defined the same. We also have an instinctual curiosity that pushes us to explore the world around us and we are not, by definition, curious of what we know, we are instead curious of what is different. Which is to say instinctively we seek out what is different, the exact opposite of what we do when we are afraid of something. It is not in our nature to fear what is different, quite the opposite. It is in our nature to explore what is different. Fearing what is different is a learned behavior and, fortunately, it is never too late to reject mistaken lessons.

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I had a conversation with a friend yesterday evening, about my oldest daughter and how proud I was when she remarked that we should give the Salvation Army bell ringers coffee because they must be cold. I continued talking about how this was the very spirit I wanted to foster in my children – seeing when others were in need and being ready to help meet that need if they could. I was a little surprised when my friend responded that one had to be careful with that these days. I was surprised because she is a person that I know to be empathetic and to truly hurt over the horrors all too common in this world. So I asked and she answered. Look at how many people have been arrested in Florida for feeding the hungry, she said. Things are crazy these days. You can’t risk provoking the police. And I understood. As much as she agreed with the principle behind what I had said, fear polarized her. Not so much for herself maybe, but for her family. But even as I understand the view she is taking, I cannot agree with it. She seemed a bit shocked when I voiced that I would risk being arrested, just as those in Florida have. That I would encourage my own children in the same course of action. Because for me, there is no question. One does not leave people to starve, to die, simply because a law prohibits offering them food. This is wrong. There need be no argument, no fancy words. It is simply wrong. And I would feel only pride to find that my children shared this belief, even if it meant bailing them out of jail. Now it is not that I encourage resisting police orders. If stopped by police officers and questioned I believe a person should be respectful. We have charged our police officers with a heavy responsibility, one many of us could not bear up under; it should come as no surprise when one of them falters under that weight. Their purpose is to uphold the law, whether they agree with it or I agree with it. Since we have determined that we need laws and enforcers, it follows that we must allow them to do this. So if stopped and questioned, you cooperate. If arrested, you cooperate. But cooperating does not mean abandoning one’s principles. Yes, I would allow myself to be arrested for breaking a law that says not to feed the homeless. But I would not allow the arrest to stop me from continuing to feed the homeless. And this is exactly what I want to teach my children. Because if we abandon our principles because of fear, if we teach our children that to be safe is better than to be moral, if we tell them to fall in line and keep their mouths shut…what world will we create? Consider what monsters would assume kingship over a world of bowing, submissive citizens concerned only with keeping themselves safe. Consider also what good teaching our children a solid moral code is if we tell them it is okay to abandon it when they feel threatened.

There are many things to be concerned about in the world today. Many things within our borders, at our very doorsteps. But giving in to the fear is not the answer. Because if we do not teach our children to fight these battles, then who will there be in the next generation to fight them?

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Things I’ve Learned.

I am 32 years old. I have been married and divorced, through military training, and earned a four-year degree. I have two children, two jobs, and am sole manager of my household. So it is from a position of experience, when I say with confidence, that I am no expert at all. There is only one real idea that can hold up and that is that things change, things and people. because as our environments change, we change. We adapt to new surroundings. We adopt new views.
The order of our priorities shift. What beliefs we hold steadfast to in our twenties are not all going to be the same in our thirties. We will learn, each according to his or her own experiences, and we will change. Not all of the changes will be better, not all of the changes will be bad ones.

Because of this it is true that the odds of answering the question “what do you know” the same way twice are slim. So I prefer to phrase it as “what I know now.” So here are just a few things I’ve come to know. Maybe in six months I’ll answer the question here again just to see how I’ve changed.

1) Time moves at a consistent steady pace. It never speeds up, it never slows down. It is only our perception, colored by how eager, nervous, or terrified we are that makes it appear to do either.

2) Time seems to go by faster as we get older because our lives become future-oriented. When we are young we are concerned with the now, content to remain in the space and time of our immediate surroundings. But future deadlines, meetings, and the responsibility of pre-planned activities keeps us looking always ahead on the calendar, and we barely notice, let alone fully experience, the now.

3) I am special, I am unique; but I do not deserve praise just for getting out of bed and showing up. Recognition should be reserved for the people who take their snowflake qualities and make snowballs, or snowmen, or ice castles.

4) Be who you are. I mean really, just be who you are. Pretending to be someone else will not make you happy. It will not make those around you happy. Such falseness will become an impenetrable barrier between you and your happy.

5) You must make your own choices. No one will ever know yourself better than you do.

6) You will make mistakes. You will make lots of mistakes. You will torture yourself over them, berate yourself over them, cry, deny them, hide them, run away from them. You might even punch some of them. But you will live through them.

7) Go ahead and cry. Sob like a baby and rail at the heavens. Sink to your knees. Barricade yourself in your house and sing along to every song that even remotely describes how you feel. Then wipe your eyes, take a shower, drink some coffee and go on with your life.

8) You can eat the cupcake. Your welcome.

9) Really. Go ahead and eat the damn cupcake.

10) Say it. Whatever it is, to whoever you need to say it to. Because embarrassment is temporary, you really might not get another chance, and regrets suck.

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