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identifying heroes“Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

I wonder how many people admire rule breakers, or are inspired by them. At times we perceive them as courageous. The truth is they are seekers of a moment of fame. Recognizing what fame is helps us to understand who deserves it. There will never be any mention of those people who deserve a bit of fame for taking care of their neighbors. Such people watch out for others when the need arises. A wife is left alone when her husband is on a business trip. Neighbors keep a watch. Kindness is when an older woman is left widowed and has a house to shovel out or a yard to clean. Honor is when a neighbor gets a prescription for a sick neighbor. These people are not all friends; they just care about a fellow human being. That is altruistic. They are not looking for anything in return nor do they expect anything in return.

These people who get up every day and go to work for the sake of the family are the famous people. These are the ones media should be focusing on. They make the difference in the lives of others. How many people volunteer time and commitment to others? This goes unnoticed. What we read about,in newspapers and on radios is what is sensationalized. what make headlines and what gets a person on television is being a rule breaker. The person who allows their child to talk back to a teacher because they got their feelings hurt will be all over the news. The person who allowed their child to hold onto the wheel of the car even though the child was underage will be front headlines. everyone laughs and applauds the broken law. The people who kill others because of a job loss or broken heart will have their story printed across the country. What happened to doing the right thing just because it is the decent thing to do? Why do we not give thoughtful hard working people the same acknowledgement and moment of fame? Teachers lawyers doctors store keepers and any other workers who commit a crime are flash focus on TV and radio. Let's forget abot the others in the same field who honor it daily with acts of charity. Why do we like the negative rather than the positive. The altruistic people will be gone because we are valuing something far different.

We must encourage our children to help for the sake of helping. Many times there is a price tag attached to a kindness. We are not teaching our children to take responsibility of a duty and complete it without a lot of praise, money or both. Some kids and adults take no accountability for their destructive attitudes and actions. Most of us live by the directives, pay me and I’ll do it. Yet there are real heroes all around us. How we began honoring sports heroes and television celebrities while disregarding the men and women who give of themselves continually is ludicrous. Although there are many in sports that live good lives there are just as many who seek the limelight and without scrutiny, are offered up as a role model. The problem is at times they have little to offer regarding ethics.

If media continues to give these people even a moment of fame, we will continue to witness the eye catching exploits of those with less than desirable morals. Maybe it is time to reflect on our  own and our societies values. Time to give praise where it is deserved. I know when we die we will all reap what we have sown. If we chase after elusive people and tenuous items we may find ourselves in a place that is not so beautiful. It may be time to teach our children the power of just being an honorable person. Teach our children the importance of doing something for no repay. The person who will let you pick the first donut, share the last cup of coffee in the pot, help you finish shoveling, and drive you to work when your car broke down, volunteer at soup kitchens, collect money for a charity, volunteer on a fire department and numerous other volunteers are the real heroes. They don't know it because we don't value that behavior. We should stop idolizing or giving attention to the rule breakers. Look for the positive proactive people who add empathy and love to the world every day. Let's shed some light on those people who really do show us how to live.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, nor in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, bit in ourselves are triumph and defeat.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

avoidance keeps the confrontation going“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle

At various times we have a conflict with a friend or relative. It is common and is usually the result of either person having a bad day. For a variety of reasons we fail to mend the quarrel. The longer it takes us to amend the clash, the worse things get and the more uncomfortable we feel. What began as a disagreement mushrooms into a battle and then war. Neither party wants to confront the opposing foe. Both partners have their pride to maintain and or their determination to prove they are right. The ongoing struggle is enhanced because our next step is avoidance. You would think that avoidance would create a period of reflection and a desire to correct the problems we have with a friend or family member. This is usually not the case. If we do any reflection at all and if we become consciously aware of having any guilt in the matter, we will run away from our opposition in order to maintain our conviction of our innocence. Most likely neither side is without blame. Even if there are degrees of blame, we can still agree to disagree and let an issue dissolve. The majority of the time we choose avoidance which only hurts both of us, continues the hostility, and eats away at our conscience. We might be relaying our innocence to others then wonder why we cannot sleep at night. Strangely enough, avoidance will promote alienation. Distance dissolves the love we once had and replaces it with feeling a festering wound. Even if we are beginning to admit to ourselves, our own guilty part to the conflict, we begin to fault the other person for the continuance of the disagreement. We absolve ourselves of all blame.

Time passes and erodes our strong passions. The episode loses its' glamour and we chide ourselves for having been a party to the problematic situation. We avoid the person because we realize it was a stupid argument and we are uncomfortable to have put ourselves in such a situation. It was blown out of proportion. Apologizing is not a choice because it would be humbling. It would make us appear weak. We are genuinely confused about our desires to fix the problem, without losing face, keeping our pride intact, and gaining back some peace. We are never sure about how it will go if we attempt the first approach. If we get rejected we will feel worse about the whole mess. In the end we back down and miss the opportunity.

By avoiding this person, we don’t have to make any decisions. In avoidance we are decimating a once happy relationship. We are paying a dear price for our pride. We must stop avoiding our opposition. By being thrown together at work or gatherings, we have the chance to manage and work things out. Most of the time both people involved in the disagreement are sorry. It is difficult to figure out how to go about making peace. When people are in close quarters, they tend to have more opportunities to fix a broken relationship. The prospects are better and appear to arise without any help. We discover our foe trying to carry a heavy load. Our offer to help washes away a lot of the mud we both slung. We offer a tool or advice to our angry friend. We both laugh at a joke and find ourselves agreeing with each other. It is easy to repair differences when we are in close proximity of the other person. The closer we get to human contact, the easier it gets to resolve the disputes. Suddenly we see our friend or sibling as a person we care about instead of as a stranger. We even wonder how and why the quarrel happened in the first place. We are glad it is finished and we are watchful it doesn't happen again. We go home, feel good and sleep soundly.

“He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today.” Edward Tryon

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Herbert V. Prochnow

 Author’s website: www.pamreynolds.me

listening"The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts. The less you know the hotter you get." Anonymous

The third pitfall to avoid is misconstruing what others say. If one doesn't then it may place us as close to a disaster in a relationship as anyone could get. Many times we misinterpret what others say and flavor the words with our own ideas. This obviously haunts us and leads our minds down roads that we were never meant to travel. Our feelings take over because we assume it is all about us. Words can hurt us. If we question what is said it allows for discourse and understanding although an others motives for the dialogue may still appear as secretive.

One idea I use to keep from traveling down the "Do Not Enter" road, is to think about other reasons a person might be moody, sad, angry or out of sorts. The couple may be quarreling. They may have problems at their jobs. They may have issues with their children or spouses family. These problems may have nothing to do with us but they may not want to discuss these things with others not involved. Most of us think we hide our feelings and moods from others but many times our feelings are shining through for everyone to see.

The only thing that is missing is that others don't know why we are angry or sad. They wonder if they caused our ill mood. The challenge for all of us is to refrain from feeling guilt and come to the knowledge that many other happenings in a person's life reflect their mood swings. These happenings are too numerous to mention. Most of the time we are not causing an others emotions. If we are, then we should know what we did.

"Thus each person by his fears, gives wings to the rumor and without any real source of apprehension men fear what they themselves have imagined." Lucan

With that said I would venture to say stop blaming yourself for other people's attitudes.

"The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended, and not to take a hint when a hint isn't intended." Robert Frost

competition"People love others not for what hey are, but for how they make us feel." Irwin Federman

Mothers-in-law who encourage any type of competition might possibly find it can influence the closeness of their children. The result may be a competitive relationship amongst their children. Downplaying competitive behavior allows for a more supportive kind of connection to develop. None of us will discuss our mistakes or trials to another person that we view as a competitor rather than a supporter. We then lose the chance of gaining support and encouragement. Losing does not always spur a person to try harder.

Many times, it makes us to recoil and give up. Spending time with relatives becomes tedious and stressful. If we support one another we are happy to see each other and look forward to helpful discourse. Parents should begin right from the beginning with their children to make an effort of refraining from comparisons of any kind including who walked talked and toilet trained first. After all we are looking for harmony joy and pleasant rewarding and memorable times together as children and adults.

"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate." Albert Schweitzer

sibling rivalry"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Competing with siblings or siblings-in-law creates a no-win situation. Being right or wrong is not as important as how well every one's sense of worth remains intact. Maintain your self-confidence, and be cognizant of the vulnerability in others. Words spoken from the tips of tongues are not profound deliberations.

Many times they are in anger, retaliation, revenge or simply a bad attitude or mood. If one attempts to stop the competition, every try is a step in the right direction towards tolerance and peace. Competition promotes anger frustration and feelings of revenge while compromise evokes friendship and cooperation. I'll help you and you'll help me attitude. I will strive for the latter. Memories of the day will be so much more enjoyable and cherished by all.

 "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

"We live in deeds not years, in thoughts , not breaths; In feelings. not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks the most-feels the noblest-acts the best." Philip James Bailey

This is a topic that would allow us to go on for months and possibly years. Many of us would be shocked to realize we are ever guilty of ungratefulness. None of us does it on purpose or plans it. It just happens. It happens too frequently nowadays. If we could take a look at the small things that go by unnoticed, it might help us to catch a view of the larger things. A simple thing like holding a door is loaded with kindness. We just need to pay better attention to these small acts of kindness which not only bring comfort to us but satisfaction to the person displaying the kindness.

"Graciousness is more than good manners. It is more than courtesy. It is the etiquette of the soul. True graciousness has such a divine quality we feel it is something that comes through us and not from us." Fred Smith

"Reputation is what others think about you; character is what God knows about you. Adrian Rogers

Independence can mean different things to a variety of people. This liberty is vital and necessary. Regarding the mother-in-law (MIL) and daughter-in-law (DIL) it allows one to accept help when one needs it and to refuse it when a person doesn't want aid. We all have capacities and talents. If we trust ourselves and have confidence, we recognize at times, the need to acquiesce to another so as not to decimate their independence.

Even if certain ideas are more appealing or are proven to be better, silence may be our best ally. We can't push our ways onto another. We can be right and we can be wrong because we are independent of another. Security and confidence produces a kindness sprinkled with patience. We have nothing to prove. When we have the need to make a point or win an argument we are less confident full of anxiety due to our inner feelings of inadequacies. It doesn't mean we are lacking at all. It does exhibit a need for inner contemplation and a sense of questioning why we feel inferior.

Being wrong is a learning experience and diminishes us in no way. Being right engages a moment of praise and nothing beyond. Pride can be more destructive in the long term than failure is in the short term. It may take courage to speak against the crowd but it really does take more courage to keep ourselves quiet and to listen. Tomorrow is another day with more opportunities to show what we are. Reputation is others' opinion of you. God knows what we truly are. What do you think is more important?

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Any relationship, whether we are talking marriage partners siblings parents or in-laws, requires patience, humor, and respect. The best of relationships have their share of bumps and snags. If we believe it is worth the effort we struggle through enduring a few pains along the way. The problem with the mother-in-law (MIL) - daughter-in-law (DIL) relationship is that sometimes a MIL or DIL doesn't recognize the importance of their connections.

Mothers are universal. Raising children is universal. We all have those commom bonds. The husband/son is loved by both women. It's worth the effort to find a peaceful co-existence. The final result may often be that we actually like this person and enjoy this person. MIL and DIL may end up supporting and helping each other. That is really what life is all about. It is realizing we are in this together and any assistance we get is appreciated. Love makes one feel happy and comforted. Hate makes one anxious and angry. Indifference makes one lifeless and without stamina. Give love a chance to thrive and grow.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King

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