Archive for the ‘Treatment of Others’ Category

Interesting

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I was reading through the May 2009 edition of Time Magazine when a comment by Meg Ryan jumped off the pages and pointed out something spectacularly important. That’s right, Meg Ryan the actress. She wrote a short blurb on Tom Hanks for the magazine’s “The Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People.” Tom is one of the esteemed 100. In any event, Meg was rambling, almost aimlessly, about how great Tom is and how much fun he can be. The article didn’t offer much support to what made Tom so influential until she hit the home run with one quick observation. “He’s interesting because he is interested.” She went on to say he has a “wondrous capacity to wonder.”

Until reading those words I honestly hadn’t considered before how many of the people I would call influential in my life had the quality of being interested. Interested not just in me, but in everything around them. They reached beyond themselves and took in any and all information their surroundings had to offer. Questions were asked for answers, not for conversation’s sake. Observations were made for knowledge and not for ego. I suppose when you think of what it takes to be influential, being able to understand or relate to those we share our environment would play a heavy role.

Now my mind is flipping through the people I’ve encountered in my life who clearly wanted the power of influence, but who just couldn’t quite get there. Many did seem to be missing the inclination to take a genuine interest in anyone or anything other than themselves. Now isn’t that something to think about? And all because of Meg Ryan.

It’s NOT Mean

Friday, February 6th, 2009

It’s not mean to offer sincere constructive feedback.  To the contrary, blowing smoke up the orifices of others is probably more cruel than giving an honest take on what they could and should have done differently.  How kind is it to contribute to someone’s impression they are on top of things or doing a good job when the opposite is true?  Are we to smile, say great job and then avoid the person down the line because it’s just easier that way?  Would a person rather go through life with people secretly biting their lips and rolling their eyes over them than hear they may have come up short in some way?

In no way do I support people with the habit of delivering criticism full of acid and absent any objectivity.  When someone takes the time to tell you you’ve missed the mark in a nice way and with supportive commentary mixed in, that person should be thanked.  They are more your friend than most people walking this planet.

But I Don’t Want A Cherry On Top!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is painfully literal and it frequently gives us a giggle.  Olivia is going through a phase of barking out orders.  “I want my milk” she announced not long ago.  Her father and I are both working on curbing her habit to demand.  “You don’t ask your mother for milk that way,” my darling husband corrects.  “You need to say may I have some milk mom…pretty please with a cherry on top.”  Instantly Olivia was in hysterics. “But I don’t want a CHERRY on top,” she wailed.  Her literal mind was sure her father was suggesting she request a cherry on top of her milk.

Our communication missteps remind me of a kindergarten teacher I once knew who remarked how often adults fail to say what they really mean.  They think they’ve been clear and that their point has been received as intended, and yet they’ve botched the message severely.  It’s funny when we do it with kids because we are willing to laugh when we’ve been misunderstood.  We don’t really blame it on ourselves, but on the fact our kids’ sense of language is still developing.  We think it’s cute.  When it happens with other adults we are less gracious.

It’s not rare to see ‘situations’ develop as a result of poor word choices or expressions.  When called on it, adults will often argue “well, that’s just semantics!”  As if using the more accurate word(s) isn’t necessary because “well, you know what I meant.”  The thing is though, people often really don’t know what the person meant.  I know I get the eye roll often for clarifying what someone is attempting to say.  This is especially true during intense exchanges.  It’s not to be annoying.  I’ve just ridden the drama train enough times in life to realize the wisdom in verifying the need to be pissed off before handing my ticket to the conductor.

Sun is Out

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Just wanted to share the sun is out and the snowball is melting.

The One Thing

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I spend a lot of time looking for things.  I look for good deals, Olivia’s sunglasses, David’s pacifier, my husband’s wallet, my car keys…the list goes on.  One thing I never have to look for is ‘crazy’.  Crazy always seems to find me on its own.  Maybe it knows I wouldn’t take the time to look for it so its best chance of inserting itself into my life is to ring my doorbell.  Well, this time it didn’t really ring my doorbell.  Thank Gawd!  It sent me an email.  At least crazy won’t be too hard to send packing.

I Can’t Watch

Monday, December 8th, 2008

When I know someone is lying to me it is so hard to just go along with it and watch the fiction unfold.  Yet I don’t get any real satisfaction from calling the junk out on the table.  I’m currently watching one lie topple into another and I feel like I need to cover my eyes and peek through my fingers.  Human nature leaves me wanting to know what happens next, but dang, why can’t people just be honest?  The snowball just keeps getting bigger as it rolls down the hill.  I think it’s time for me to shake the sun out and warm things up a bit.  The sooner I can get the snowball to melt the less damage it will do.

Quivering Lips

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

My 2 1/2 year old daughter has the unique ability to make me angry and hysterical at the same time.  There’s is nothing like trying to be firm and authoritative with a wide-eyed, witty toddler interjecting commentary that makes it impossible to stay mad, let alone keep a straight face.

Yesterday my daughter, who has been potty training for the past few months, intentionally wet her pants.  Mommy wasn’t happy.  I knew she needed to go and yet she stubbornly stuck her chin in the air and informed me she did not.  A minute later her jeans looked like she sat on a sprinkler.  I angrily hauled her into the bathroom, sat her on the thrown and began my lecture of why it is important to be honest with mommy and not dirty her pants.  She sat there staring at my flushed cheeks without an ounce of concern.  Her eyes sparkled at my entertaining performance of The Taming of the Shrew.  When I paused to ask if she understood, she nodded yes and quickly asked “mommy, are you saaaaaaaad?….are you going to cryyyyyyyy?”  She wasn’t worried about my frail disposition.  She was clearly enjoying her mother’s weak grasp on sanity and was excited at the prospect of an emotional climax to it all.  Turkey.  I wanted to throttle her and burst out laughing at exactly the same moment.  I stood there as my lip quivered through a suppressed giggle.  No way was I going to let her see me laugh.

That experience made me wonder why it’s easy for me to mix laughter and anger with my children, but not with anyone else.  If a grown stranger, friend or family member had pulled the same stunt I would have been even angrier.  Somehow my child’s enjoyment of my angst softens instead of hardens.  Perhaps it’s because I know she isn’t being malicious, she’s just being 2.  Still, it would be a lot easier to navigate life if those who make us genuinely angry were capable of giving us a hardy chuckle at the same time.  Quivering with giggles is much better than quivering with rage.

Refrigerators

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

There was a time when the only thing on my refrigerator was a magnetic calendar from my car insurance agent.  After I had been working for a while and had some extra cash, a few take out menus joined the calendar for easy access.  Now that I have kids, it’s easier to list what’s not on my frig than what is.  At a glance I see a fuzzy lamb made out of cotton balls, a paper coconut tree, a $20 bill, pediatrician appointment cards, timers, lists of various importance, emergency phone numbers, a magnetic play toy, pictures…the list goes on.  I still have a calendar.  This one is from a real estate company.  It’s amazing I put so much care and concern into selecting the exterior I wanted for my frig when I can’t see it anyway.  My life is essentially plastered to a Kenmore these days.

Not to freak people out who I know in real life, but I do look at people’s refrigerators a lot.  Just as my frig is a window to my world, the same can be said of my friends’ and family’s frigs.  Some revelations have pulled at my heart.  Numbers for various support groups, notices for parent/teacher meetings for struggling kids, medical specialist appointment cards, debt notices and the like.  I never judge what I see.  It’s simply information to absorb that helps me open my heart and mind even more to what others are going through.  I wish we could all be as open and honest in life with others as we are with our refrigerators.  I can tell you from my observations, struggles and obstacles are not in short supply.  Using refrigerators as my reference, people have even more in common with one another than they think at times.

Name That Christian

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

One of the saddest developments in the 2008 election season was the endless questioning of Barack Obama’s faith.  Yes, it could be argued whether or not some of his beliefs or decisions live up to Biblical expectation.  The fact is though, all Christians are flawed in some way.  That is why all needed to be saved.  The most important aspect of Christianity, in my opinion, is accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.  Once you’ve done that publicly it is pretty much between you and God to know how true it is.

Up to the election, and even now, you can still find individuals denouncing Obama’s Christianity.  Some do so as a result of his stance on gay rights and abortion.  Never mind he himself is not gay, nor has he ever had an abortion.  He is right with what some believe God expects, he simply believes, as do most, politicians are in place to honor the Constitution of our country and churches are a place to honor the law of God.  And if we want to hold the Bible to the letter, I don’t think there is a politician in existence, with all sins being equal, who is in the clear.  There are plenty who not only condone things that go against the Bible, but practice things that are actually part of the 10 Commandments.  Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery and thou shall love thy neighbor (and not bear false witness against them) are the top three that come to mind.  Those candidates don’t seem to attract the same level of condemnation for their direct sins against God.  It makes it hard to consider the Christian Right credible when they rise against a candidate over abortion and homosexuality, but shake off the indiscretions of those who happen to line up on their side of the abortion/homosexuality issue.  Again, all sins being equal.

The most upsetting for me is those who say Obama is not a Christian because of his name.  They admit this with a wink and a grin as if his name exposes him for the fraud he is.  I want to shake these people and remind them of their Missionary work.  How many Christian soldiers are spread throughout the world right now converting non-Christians?  Thousands.  Those who have converted are not named Peter, John or Michael.  So, is their conversion a fraud?  Or perhaps they are a lower level Christian?  It’s disgusting and a slap in the face to what Christianity is supposed to mean.  It’s also a publicity nightmare for the faith in general.  I’m sure many of the faithful in the US and abroad got the message loud and clear.  Christians are willing to accept you as one of them when tallying their conversion points for God, but not when it comes to supporting your efforts to serve your public and your country.

Hen Pecking

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Hens don’t peck outcast chicks to somehow make those chicks better at conforming to the group.  They do it to destroy the chick.  Often times the chicks are pecked and bloodied for no more reason than being themselves.  It’s devastating to watch.  You try to distract the hens and coach the chicks, but there is often little that can be done other than completely isolating the targeted chicks.  Watching nature take its course is tough.  Seeing the proud chicks, heads held high with feather remnants dangling from their beaks, is one of those things you never really get used to.  Although, getting used to it would mean losing yet another thread of compassion that makes humans so special.