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find serenity in the moral struggle "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." Albert Einstein

 We all have varying degrees of flexibility. As children, most of us exhibit lots of flexibility. As soon as a friend calls we are out the door. Growth and maturity appears to dampen our willingness to bend or stretch in different ways. If we think about this situation, we realize the sadness of our plight. We may be free in body but our minds and thinking become more and more enslaved until we perform our duties ritualistically.

We must call our parents, water the plants, clean the house, get a recipe for dinner that will impress our friends, find the right clothes for the right look etc. In all of this commotion have we thought over what we are doing and if we are truly living or simply surviving? Reflect on how much love is given to us unconditionally by our parents. Ponder the living plants and the awesome beauty they bestow on us. House cleaning is overrated as much as connecting with people is underrated. Fabulous meals have more to do with the companionship we have with those who share the meal with us.

Duty and ego have replaced love and affection. When we visit others we look back and recall the great conversations and spirited mood we enjoyed with them. We don’t even think about the manicured yard or neatly picked up house. Maybe it is time to reflect on our inner human focus rather than the outer peripheral nonsense. We would most likely save ourselves time and money.

We all love artistic beauty but not at the expense of the beauty we find in each other. Less time spent on silly jobs leaves us with more energy to give to the important things in life. Our priorities perhaps are messed up at the moment. As children we knew what counted. As adults we get lost. If we keep cluttering our minds with jobs that are really meaningless, we will miss doing what counts.

It is more important to spend time talking to your child than it is to mow your lawn. I watched two dads in two situations dealing with their children while they were working in the yard. Both children were two years old at the time. One dad screamed at his toddler for digging in an area where he had recently planted some gorgeous flowers. The child went screaming and crying alone, into a corner of the yard. I wondered to myself, what had he just taught his child.

Another father in an adjacent lot had finished planting a row of various colored flowers. He stopped to take a long drink of water when his young son was standing in front of him with a fistful of flowers. They were a beautiful bouquet. His young son said as he shoved the flowers into his father’s hands, “I love you da”. I watched for the dad’s reaction. He was surprised when he realized they were the newly purchased and just planted flowers. The dad immediately scooped his son into his arms and hugged him tightly as he said “I love you too and thanks for the flowers.” Somehow I believe those flowers meant so much more in the dad’s mind and heart than they could ever mean to any observer who chanced to walk by them growing in the ground.

Children are a gift from God. Love them and tell them so every day. Recognize your obligation to them by respecting and nurturing them. If you are rough in your speech, or actions towards them especially regarding discipline, rethink and alter your behaviors and habits. Children can teach us to be spontaneous and how to recapture our love of living. They remind us to be flexible because when we are flexible our disappointment and anger decreases while our love and awareness increases.

"Blessed are the hearts that can bend. They shall never be broken." Albert Camus

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

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