The Ability To Change

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“Character is largely caught, and the father and the home should be
the great sources of character infection.” Frank H. Cheley

“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with
the ability to say no to oneself.” Abraham J. Heschel

Over and over again I hear people say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Sometimes new dogs don’t learn the trick either. My feelings about this situation are that they don’t want to put in the huge effort that changing entails. They like having  others revolve around their choices and desires.

This is what we might call enabling. Just as we enable others to continue with poor habits and vices, we can also give a blanket excuse to some people that allows them to basically never step up to the plate. The rest of us change plans or allow others to have input into alterations to a number of things at work and home. We all know those who manage to find reasons why they should be excused. I think in the end they lose. They never manage to learn patience, turn taking, and empathy for others.The development of such a person is hampered. This really serves nobody. If we think we are being kind or considerate we are not because our kindness in letting one person off of the hook results in placing many others on the hook. For sure we all have various obligations and duties but the responsibilities are part of everyone’s life. If we don’t deal with health issues we have emotional ones.

Age is not a factor. It is just another way to escape obligations. Moaning sometimes works but the new and old dog need to pick up the ball and make some transformations in  themselves. We are all playing in the game of life. We should incorporate some chess moves into this game. The choices we make today have far reaching consequences. The choices we don’t make also have far reaching results. These consequences hurt or even destroy those we love or did love. It behooves all of us to take  the game of life more seriously. When alterations in ourselves are necessary then we should accept the antidote. Running away from duties dumps them on somebody else who may not have the same invested concerns in the family.

Few of us truly enjoy upheavals and we attempt to avoid them if possible. if they are inevitable we focus on change through compromise and accepting what we must. In this way we grow in our thinking. We are not always correct in our assumptions. Sometimes we need to see things in a different light and change our thoughts attitudes and actions. Nobody implied it was an overnight deal. We have time to digest the new and assimilate it with the old.

Older people are old not dead. They can change. Maybe they take more convincing to shed outdated truth but their can’t be any  excuses. Their feelings are just as relevant as a younger person’s. As you age you may develop more reasons why you think one way or another. When you are younger you distrust the elders and believe you know it all. But as anyone lives they come to considerations due to relationships and activities in their lives that were good or bad experiences. So all of us color our ideas about life from our experiences.

Those who offer little input and refuse to change are the first to condemn the evolving of something new whether they are young old rich or poor. Confront  those unchangeable people with caution and tenderness because they are scared. Fear of the unknown is anxiety ridden. Some  would rather “live with the problem they know than confront the dilemma they don’t know.” A person lives with a painfully sore knee because they fear the operation and  recuperation of receiving a new knee. We accept a poor government official out of the anxiety of voting for something new and different. We remain in a state of inertia. because we are fearful of the unknown.

It is time for us to break loose and take a look around. Our world is falling apart. If we refuse to step up and admit our lack of interest towards commitment,  accountability, empathy and unconditional love for the family, then we become part of the problem. It is so much easier to live without any obligations to anyone. The trouble is most of us have obligations we are ignoring.  We are just tossing them to others by refusing to change partially or completely  our negative ways.

Life requires the best there is in us. It cautions the  necessity to risk all of ourselves. Life demands and tests us to seek the  courage to change where change is needed. It isn’t always others that must evolve. It sometimes is necessary for us to transform ourselves by placing the needs of others before our own. That is unconditional love and the kind of love the family deserves.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I
usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.” Maya Angelou

“You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-authors forever.” Ellen Goodman

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