Don’t know, don’t say…Don’t be a dwarf

December 8, 2014

Re-blogged from the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

 “To like an individual because he’s black is just as insulting as to dislike him because he isn’t white.”  (e.e. cummings)  Reverse black and white in the quote.  Does it make a difference?  Substitute LGBT and Straight for black and white.  Does it make a difference?  Many of the problems around us these days seem to have root in the fact that we do not see people as people.  You can’t legislate love.  Unless it comes from the heart, the problems will continue.    😉  Jack

I suspect that Leonardo da Vinci put his finger on a big part of the problem that Jack wrote about today when he said – “You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.”  Too much of the bigotry in the world today is based in ignorance; opinionatedignorance about the backgrounds and perspectives of the people against whom the bigotry is directed. It’s impossible for a white person to understand the impact of the repressive environment that many non-white people feel and experience day-to-day in America. What chance do you have to establish an understanding and appreciation for someone else, if you start from a base of fear because of their color?  

There was a political cartoon in the paper this weekend that captured some of that. It showed a young black person backed up against a wall by a heavily armed white policeman and an average citizen looking out their window at the policeman. Each had a thought bubble above their head with the work “fear” in it. While that cartoon was within the context of recent police shootings; it clearly demonstrates the pre-existing mental context that colors the interactions of many people with each other. That is a pre-existing prejudice that gets things off on the angry accuserwrong foot.  Chris Crutcher, author of Whale Talk, put it well – “…racist (bigoted) thought and action says far more about the person they come from than the person they are directed at.”
Something similar may be said about our notions of the LGBT community. Many censure those in the LBGT community because they do not understand it. Armistead Maupin put it well when he said – “I know I can’t tell you what it’s like to be gay. But I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not hiding behind words, like family and decency and Christianity.”  Having just gone through an election where every homophobic bigot on the ballot chose to hide behind those words, Maupin’s words ring true.

So, one may surmise that bigotry is based upon ignorance; but its real strength is based in
rejectedpreventing the exploration of knowledge about the topic, thereby shutting out the discovery of the truth. Like many other things in life that we fear, because they represent unknowns; fears based upon color or lifestyle evaporate once we know and understand the truth. As E.H.Chapin put it – “Bigotry dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth.”

Don’t let yourself become a dwarf. Don’t know…don’t say. Go seek the truth.

 

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Don’t be distracted; get real…again!

December 7, 2014

“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”  (W. Clement Stone) This little quote from a recent  Jack’s Winning Words blog post was one that I copied and put aside, knowing that there are things to write about contained in Stone’s thought.

emailAn image immediately came to mind of me headed to my computer with a task in mind, only to see that I have some new eMail and getting sidetracked dealing with it. I feel the need to answer some right away or to delete others. Soon I’m walking away, satisfied that I have handled the eMail task at hand and completely forgetting what I went to the computer for in the first place. Has that ever happened to you?

The second thing that comes to mind is a bit more disturbing. It seems to me that the rapid rise of the smartphones and tablets is creating a whole generation of people who are more concerned with what’s happening in the palm of their hands than is what’s going ontablet computer around them. Don’t take me completely wrong. I love what I can do with and on my smartphone and I’m guilty of spending way too much time looking down at the palm of my hand at my phone. What’s concerning is that there may be a generation who are becoming somewhat disconnected from reality; because, for them, reality is what’s going on in that tiny screen. They spend more time with it that they do in face-to-face encounters. I read recently that breaking up with someone via a text message is now fairly common and accepted. How cold is that?

I have found that the ubiquity of Google has taken over a part of my life. I no longer look things up or ask someone – I Google whatever it is that I need to know. That’s both convenient and somewhat sad at the same time. Fortunately that and checking eMail are the primary smartphone intrusions into my life.

I recall, when I was much younger, that some behavioral scientists of the day were similarly concerned about the impact of television on children, especially when TV kids watching TVbecame sort of a pseudo babysitter that parents could plop their kids down in front of for hours. That fear has largely proven to be unfounded. I suspect that is because watching TV, while captivating, is a very passive thing. Using one’s smartphone is interactive and, for some, about as involved as they get with much of their life. With smart-phone based technologies such as eMail, texting, Skype, video conferencing and other interactive means of communicating with another person without being there, it is possible to go for long periods feeling like you are connected without ever actually being with another human being. How scary it that?

So, getting back to our opening quote; maybe what needs to be left undone is some of this artificial “communications” and to get back to more one-on-one real face time with others. Posting on my Facebook wall or sending me a Tweet is not really the same. Try sitting down together at a Starbucks and not sitting at two different Starbucks texting each other. If you want to know where I am and what I’m doing…find me and ask me directly. At that point I’ll be with you and talking to you. What could be better?

Vincent Nichols was on to it, when he said – “We’re losing social skills, the human interaction skills, how to read a person’s mood, to read their body language, how to be patient until the moment is right to make or press a point. Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together.”  I’m pretty sure that he had our modern smartphones in mind when he said that.

The good news is that we still have the capacity for the things that we have allowed our distractions to keep us from. As Nicholas A. Christakis put it – “Social media and the Internet haven’t changed our capacity for social interaction any more than the Internet has changed our ability to be in love or our basic propensity to violence, because those are such fundamental human attributes.” The key then is to leave undone some of the things that we allow to distract us and get back in touch with our human capacities and attributes. Put down the smartphone and look around you at the real people in your world. OMG!

 

 


The great equalizer…

December 4, 2014

“No matter how big your house is, or your bank account is, our graves will always be the same size.”  (Quoted by Tara)  – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write: With all the talk of the 99% and the 1%, the “haves” and the “have-nots,” death is the great equalizer.  Kenny Wayne sings, “I ain’t never seen no hearse pullin’ a U-Haul.”

I was going to use the little phrase, “you can’t take it with you”; but, then I remembered the guy who loved his Mercedes Benz so much that he was buried in it. I guess he did take it with him. I found another story of a man buried in his 1973 Pontiac Catalina. You can watch the video of that here. So, other than maybe your car, I suppose that you could take other things with you when you are buried. I guess the hearse would be the one pulling the U-Haul to the graveyard.

The ancient Pharaohs believed that they could take it with them “to the other side”; sopharoah they arranged to be buried with lots of stuff, including slaves and servants to assist then on the journey. I guess that would have been a great day to stay home from work with you were one of the Pharaoh’s servants.

Jack went on to write about some in the very wealthy class, such as Warren Buffet, coming to grips with the inevitability of death and what to do with their great wealth. Buffet and others, like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, seem to be trying to use their wealth for worthy causes while they are still here to help direct the benevolence. I think that is great. It gets them more involved in the causes that they are supporting than just handing the money over or waiting until they are gone.

While I don’t dwell upon it, I do find that as I get older the thought of death becomes more real. When I was younger, I was like most young people and saw death as something that was so far off in the future that I was unconcerned about it. It now looms close enough to get some thought time every now and then; but, I refuse to fixate upon it. I remember when my father returned from the funeral of his father, how he couldn’t let go of the image of his dad laying in the coffin, with his hands positioned to appear to be pulling up a small blanket. My dad would often sit in his chair with his hands mimicking that pose. I now realize how sad that was.

As for me, I prefer to focus upon living each day to the fullest and finding ways to be of service or to help others. I’m still a working Realtor; so, I don’t even have to say that I’m retired. I’ll likely never really retire. I enjoy taking the time to make posts here and to dogthe other 3-4 blog suites that I post to on a somewhat regular basis. I also maintain four web sites, so there is always something that needs updating to keep me busy. Add to all of that having the greatest wife/companion that one could ask for and two wonderful dogs and I am a rich man indeed.

 

I guess the positive message for this post is that spending much time worrying about what you don’t have is really a waste, since you can’t take it with you anyway. Rather, spend what time you have here enjoying what you do have with those you love. You and Warren Buffet will end up with the same thing on the other side. Have a great day!


“Someday never comes.” (John Fogerty)

December 1, 2014

“There are seven days in a week, and Someday isn’t one of them.”  (Rita Chand) – both the headline and this little sentence were seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write – Fogerty’s parents were divorced when he was a child, and he remembers his dad saying, “Someday you’ll understand.”  And then he found himself repeating the same words to his 5-yr-old son.  There are kids who ask their dads, “When are we going fishing?”  And dad responds, “Someday!”  There are many things in this life that we put off until…Someday.  Maybe today is the day to do something about Someday.

listeningDid your parents ever use that phrase, “someday you’ll understand,” with you? Did that someday ever arrive for you? Maybe you’ve promised yourself that, “Someday, I’ll get around to doing that.” Are you still waiting for that someday? Someday is even more nebulous than tomorrow, which is also a day that never seems to get here when you’ve put something off until it arrives. This weekend, I finally got around to fixing a light on our back porch that I had promised I would do someday. I made that promise 5 months ago. Someday was a long time in coming.

Of course someday is also featured in our hopes and dreams, such as in the song “Someday my prince will come”, from the Disney movie “Snow White and the seven dwarfs.”  Are you waiting for your prince or princess to come, someday? Someday is also the timetable for our “bucket list”; the things that we’ll get around to doing someday, before we kick the bucket. There is comfort to be found in the inexact commitment of “someday” for items on that list. It allows us to put of those things that scare us.

I think the saddest someday of all are the ones that we use to put off doing things with our children. It turns out that someday they won’t be children anymore and by then itfishing with grandpa will be too late. Taking the time to go fishing with your 7 or 8 year old is more important than almost anything for which you may be putting it off.  Don’t wait to find out that all of those rain checks and IOU’s gave your children expired tears ago when they grew up. “One day you will wonder what was so important that you put off doing the most important things. ‘Someday’ can be a thief in the night.” ― Deborah Brown

Another someday that never seems to arrive is the one where you stop working so hard to provide the things that you think will make your family happy. What would really make them happy would be for you to be there now, not someday. Their games and the plays and the concerts are going to happen someday. You’re likely to find that they
father daughter wedding dancehappened yesterday, if you wait until someday to make the time for them. It is often sad to see a father dancing with his daughter in her wedding day with tears of regret in his eyes that he missed her growing up years. The someday that he kept promising her never came and now it’s too late. Don’t let that happen to you. Resolve to dance with her every year and at every opportunity.

 

Finally, someday is not the commitment that you need to make with the person that old cooupleyou love. Rather, you should show her/him that love every day. Waiting until someday to ask that person out or to share you true feelings for them may well be too late. Perhaps Mark Twain said it best when he said – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

 

Perhaps the best advice of all to deal with “someday” comes from Gaddy Bergmann –  “Someday is now.” Cut to the Nike slogan and Just Do it.