Friday, March 31, 2017

Savor This Moment

Driving through the city, I spotted a peculiar sight as I waited at a stop light. An elderly, well-dressed man carrying a bag and a walking cane ambled down the street. Nothing about his appearance drew attention, except that he was walking backward. Fortunately, the light stayed red long enough for me to watch the gentleman walk a few yards, pause, face forward, and resume his journey. Why would someone do this on a major street? Maybe his knees felt better when he walked that way, or he was making a statement, like this guy:

Sometimes reexperiencing the past helps us reclaim the present. The father in the video may want to ignore GPS, but getting lost is only amusing once or twice. Given the typical Google search requests and the fact that our family owned a set of 1960 encyclopedias, I can tell you those books won’t answer many of today’s questions, unless you’re a fan of history. Bravo for the father’s attempts to savor family time, but at some point, he’s going to want to face facts: addictive technology is here to stay. Progress means appreciating the good parts and managing the bad ones. What good part of life will you savor today?      

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?