Saturday, March 25, 2017

Giving up the Blame Game

A flashback favorite...
Several years ago, a wealthy man promised a class of impoverished students free college tuition once they graduated from high school.  You probably think this deal was “money in the bank” for those students—problems solved.   Not really.  A majority of the scholarships went unused.  I was shocked by that, but I think it shows that money doesn’t solve every problem.  Apparently, certain obstacles in the students’ lives were just too large to overcome. 

This situation reminded me of the book I just finished.  It’s a riveting memoir about a dysfunctional family whose children still grew up to live relatively normal lives.  Check out the book video that features the author and her story:
 I often wonder why some kids make it through difficult circumstances and others flounder.  Despite her shocking childhood poverty, Ms. Walls (from the book video) had one crucial thing going for her—encouragement.  Although her father made her manage through edgy situations, she often heard him say, “I knew you could do it!”  They shared a connection and the various family members seemed to love one another. 

While I think that we live in the world’s greatest country, I believe we can do a better job of preparing our young people for the future.  What’s the most important trait, quality or skill we need to instill in the next generation?             

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cracking the Code

Many people don’t use can openers anymore since manufactures produce mostly flip-tops cans. That doesn’t explain why I can’t keep a can opener for more than several months. During the past couple of years, I’ve tossed out at least three can openers. I’ve bought pricier ones, inexpensive ones, and name-brand ones—and they keep failing me. I just bought another new one this week. Where do you find a gadget dependable enough to open a can of tuna? Maybe the time has come to buy an electric can opener or switch to flip-top only cans. Some things will work for you and others things won’t. Take a look:  


If we continue to climb stairs or cross bridges leading to dead-ends, we’re not progressing. When conventional methods fail, it’s time to try something new. How will you begin to handle someone or something differently?   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Proceed with Caution

Everyone knows what to do at a traffic light: if it’s green you go, if it’s red you stop. This week, I ran into a major traffic light malfunction that caused people to do a double-take. The traffic light was red and green, and you know it didn’t take drivers long to decide what to do. After looking both ways, people drove through, which probably seemed like a nightmare for driver at the cross-street trying to make left turns. Mixed signals can easily cause confusion, and so could this:


A driver who mistakes the flick of the wrist or the twist of the hip for a “go” could end up with traffic troubles. If we fail to analyze the various sides of an issue, we’re susceptible to making snap judgements and causing huge problems. What issue do you need more time to investigate before coming to a sensible decision?      

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sweet Nothings 

In recognition of Mardi Gras, one of our kids had an opportunity to sample the popular King cake. Our other child complained that the icing was just water and powdered sugar to which our cake-eater, who has a discerning palate declared, “I know. I love it!”  We’re often drawn to anything that tastes like sugar while ignoring the health effects. See if this raises any health concerns:  


 The experts say the product is safe and the explanation sounds plausible. After all, chemistry is science, right? Still, a little voice in my head says this is unusual because I expect anything cold to behave a certain way. Our inner voices have a special way of guiding us in the right direction. What’s the last thing your inner voice conveyed to you?        

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beware: The Truth

You never know what you’ll hear in the news or at home. That’s especially true with kids, so it shouldn’t have surprised me to hear one of ours say, “I’m pretty sure salmonella is a myth.” Tell that to anyone who has gotten sick from it. It’s easy to discount salmonella if neither you nor anyone you know has suffered from it, but that doesn’t make salmonella a myth. Many of the stories we read cause us to pause and think twice, like this one:


So, what’s your opinion? How do you decide if what you see and hear is true? Frankly, in this case, who cares? But lots of other issues do matter. Long ago, an important ruler asked, “What is truth?” It’s a question that still nags us today. What’s one thing you know to be true?    

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dial it Back

Rushing to get things done, regardless of whether the tasks are great or small, can cause unintended results. In a prior post, I mentioned that the manufacturers of the chocolate we buy glue the bag shut like they’re protecting pure gold. Being impatient, I’ve attacked the bag in a way that caused my family members to ask, “Why!?” This week, after ripping open the bag, I mumbled about how my family would probably blame me. Then, I laughed aloud. They ought to blame me since it was my fault. Don’t be surprised when impatience leads to outcomes like this:


 If impatience leads to harassment, prepare for retaliation. That’s how this guy earned himself a bill. His frustration was avoidable. The sooner we step outside of ourselves, and see others in the broader picture, the better. After considering the bigger picture, what hasty decision do you want to revisit?    

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cold Weather Wishes Unleashed

One of our kids said, “I want a blizzard.” It sounded like an odd request since this is the child who’s not a fan of cold weather. Eventually, I realized that “blizzard” referred to Blizzard, so the statement was about ice cream, not weather. Of course, the request couldn’t have triggered a weather event, but we still received several inches of snow during this week’s storm. We’re often surprised when requests are granted. Watch these responses:  


 What a wonderful program. We could make the world fifty shades brighter by copying this idea. Experts say we bless ourselves when we look beyond personal wants and   help others instead. Carrying that spirit forward, what’s your one wish for the country today?