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“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”
A. A. Milne

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher

“If you didn't grow up like I did then you don't know, and if you don't know it's probably better you don't judge.” Junot Díaz

“Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?” Eckhart Tolle

We are all guilty at times of making judgments. It sounds simple enough when we are occupied with choosing paint colors styles of clothing or what we want to do, read, accomplish or study. We feel justified in making all sorts of judgments especially about people and situations. So what is the problem? Why worry about our judgments of people and situations? Is it harming anyone? The answers are that it does harm people, many issues arise from our uninformed judgments, we cause lots of problems for others and ourselves and we test the patience of friends family and co-workers. The trouble that gets stirred up many times results in major or minor fallout's.

Reflecting on the reasons we have the need to judge is a conflicted task that many of us do not engage in. Our judgments are based on questionable information. The golden rule of thinking before speaking has been totally ignored in preference of "truth" as we perceive  it and that is the key. What we might perceive as truth is not what another believes is honesty. Our opinions differ and we can debate until the morrow who is more or less correct and never agree on the answer. Is it boiling down to allowing judgments to fall away? Is it time to rethink what we thought was working? Is it working when it suits our needs and desires? Do judgments appear to be elusive and up to the person doing the assessments? ...continue reading "Judgements"

I am one of the most opinionated people I know and I am aware of how many times my judgments were off base or biased or self promoting. I am not sure now if anyone or anything can deliver an unbiased opinion. Once we announce a ruling on a person  object or idea we maintain the ruling.  we make poor  rulings but never go back to correct it or acknowledge it. What we perceive as the truth can  change on any given day. We use the excuses of people things or circumstances change but is that the whole truth?

I see it more as not having all of the facts on any given day or time. The facts change which hardly makes them facts We don't have all of the information on any person place or thing to form  opinions yet we do it anyway. Kids are one group of individuals we rule on and sometimes make difficult for kids to break out of their assigned  molds. We group them and observe our false proofs and ignore any truths that differ from our own thoughts. Making mistakes is part of living  is discovering the world and forming deductions. Do we remember how once people thought the world was round? As we gain more knowledge our ideas and opinions change. Our ideas are painted with  different strokes. Kids grow and discover why some things may not be right, fair, or appropriate. I always used to say you can't teach algebra to a kindergartener but when the kindergartener grows up you can.

Maybe that is how God sees us. We are immature in his eyes and we need time to grow experience the world and accept why there is good bad or indifference. God does not judge he just gives us time to explore and understand what is not obvious or simple to see. Do you get  tired of listening to those people who tell you I did this or that or I would do this and would never do that? I remember thinking one day that if my kids were starving I would steal if I had to in order to feed them. Unless we have been there or done that we can't say what we would think or do. If we were never poor we can't know what that feels like. We can't all know what it is like to be rich if that has never been the case.

I am not promoting the idea of stealing what you need. I am promoting the idea of refraining from judgments. Showing a better way to do things or make things happen is important. I appreciate how some people believe we shouldn't hand things or money over to the poor. They make a legitimate point for one argument. They worked hard for their earning and didn't grow up with silver spoons. Others strive and work hard to provide for their families. They are all to be commended. But what if some people don't know where or how to begin because they are more like our kindergartners looking for guidance. We can judge them, conclude they are not worth the effort and toss them away. the alternative is to think  without  judgments and find some answers that work for all of us.

The world is a better place for every improvement that is made no matter how small that improvement is. I don't think throwing money or items at someone necessarily helps as much as taking the time and effort to teach one how to survive and make a living in a difficult world. As teachers work and support their students until they are ready to fly on their own with the knowledge they gain so true is it possible to support anyone in their effort to learn and overcome a difficult situation they may find themselves in.

If we judge them too fast we ignore them and dislike or hate them. My grandmother always said "There but for the grace of God go I." There is truth in that statement. Have you ever grabbed your child before they took a serious fall or ran out into the street or cut themselves with a sharp object or stuck something into an electric socket? You make a loud sigh of relief but there are some parents who were not fortunate enough to save their children from the disaster. We feel safe believing that we would do the right thing so that something bad didn't happen to them. We grow up when we recognize there is no right or wrong as much as there is learning beyond what we know. There are days we are tired, not thinking, busy distracted. These are not excuses but facts we may not be privy to about why an incident happened.

Some people get the lesson sooner, some take time and some don't care but it is important to ask why. We could trade the judgments for answers to why did or what is the reason for the actions. No judgments just answers and solutions are found. We are not pushed above another person because we did a better job or won something. Destroying others with our weak judgments keeps us at the kindergarten level. Mature individuals no matter what the age treat others with respect and love. We recognize that they are working on their own learning and we have no idea how far they have come nor where it is they are striving to go. By spending so much time judging others  we leave little time to take an honest look at ourselves. The person we are busy assessing is striving to move forward while we are stagnant in our comfortable moment in time but there is always something new to understand and someone new to love and support. Whenever we strongly believe we are in the right, that is when we should step back and stop the judgments immediately.

On the other side are people who expect to be immediately understood. That is not forthcoming without thought and reason. It takes time for all of us to learn we are or should be working together to see the other side and cope with all thoughts again to find answers not guilt or blame. Until we get out of that mode of blame guilt jealousy and fault we leave little room for growth. There is truth found on both sides of an argument if we honestly look at it. Dump the judgments from your own mind and you can move your mind faster towards greater understanding and healing.

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." Edmund Burke

“I shall tell you a great secret my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.” Albert Camus

“My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home. Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by. Reach your arm out and put it around them. And then, tell them they’re all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you love them. If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that’s where we’re gonna be able to do it. That’s where we’ll start. Every. Single. Time.” Dan Pearce

6th pic presentationThis is an article my daughter wrote about breast cancer which touched my heart. It is worth reading and better than anything I could ever write. It was written from the heart. It is important to remember that the hurts we bear and suffer are not always obvious. We will perhaps never know or understand fully what another person endures because we don't walk in their shoes and never will.

""Dignity is The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. It is the moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom. Dignity is the moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter."  Shannon L. Alder

I read another post about the poison of GMO, corn syrup, baby formula.  One more post in an extensive news-feed.  It is opinion, and I can scroll past, but it feels like another not so subtle reminder of the “breast is best” undercurrent that permeates everything baby related.   As a physician I feel that breast feeding is ideal.  When I was a third year resident and I had my first baby I was adamant about exclusively breast feeding.  I cried when my milk didn’t come in right away after a long induction.   I also relished the fact that my newborn grew into a chubby, giggly infant and it was due to my own body.  I pumped and breastfed, it was a blur of insomnia knowing that I would have to go back to work.  I took time off and managed to keep a freezer full of breast milk in case my supply dropped off when I did go back.  As a resident with overnight calls I knew I couldn’t be sure how often I could pump, pagers go off, codes happen, patients, admissions, rapid responses, they don’t wait for pumping.  I was determined, I continued to pump, overnight, sometimes in bathrooms, call rooms, it depended on how far of a walk, and which were occupied.   I was determined to make the one year mark. ...continue reading "My Issue With Breast Is Best"

With my second child I was an attending working part time and it definitely went more smoothly.   Somewhere around the fifth month I noticed my supply dropping.  I did everything I could but I had to supplement and I remember stopping around eight months. I was disappointed and heartbroken.  I resigned myself to formula feeding and when I felt lumps in one breast I chalked it up to milk ducts.

That was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The fear was overwhelming and paralyzing, I could only think about my babies, a nine month old and a two year old.  It was biopsy after biopsy, ultrasound guided, stereotypical, MRI guided.  They saw abnormalities on the other side, and I had additional biopsies.   I was waiting for surgery for final staging.  I thought about how precious our time is and our health is.  I opted for the bilateral mastectomy. It was a personal decision.

Fast forward almost four years, past a stage one diagnosis, a year of treatment and we were blessed with another beautiful healthy baby.  It felt like a gift, directly from God, I have living breathing snuggly, proof that a very difficult time was over.  Like all parents, I want the best for my baby, and I opted for formula.

The baby is happy, healthy, and then I have to question why the articles about poison formula make me so angry.  Why do I want to wear a sign that says “I breast fed two babies and had breast cancer.”  Why does it need an explanation, an excuse? Is it because I’m around educated moms that tend to exclusively breastfeed? I couldn’t figure out why I felt so much guilt taking out a bottle.

I thought about a particular conversation I had with a friend after diagnosis and her comment was “wow, I just couldn’t do it, make a decision and choose to have a mastectomy like that.”   That was when I realized that this wasn’t something I chose.  Everything was secondary to my family and health.  So much worse happens to wonderful people who didn’t “choose” the situations they went through.  With breastfeeding we need to stop shaming women for situations that are beyond their control.  So many women I know keep tally lists, they track things like how long they breastfed, if they supplemented, was it exclusive breastfeeding, bottle feeding , natural births, c-sections, epidurals, and the list could go on.   Being a mother is hard work and no one chooses less than their best for their babies.  Why do we compare so much? I doubt that fathers are asking each other how many games they attend, how many times they read before bed, or if their kids still crawled into their beds at night.  Yet it’s “best” to read to children before bed, and it’s “best” to have a sleep schedule with children.   If we want more moms to breastfeed, instead of assuming they made the choice to do less than “best”, and making them feel guilty for it, maybe we should analyze the barriers to breastfeeding. The majority of mothers in this country start off breast feeding and over time that number significantly drops. Why? Are there places to pump privately? Is there time off for breastfeeding, or does the day simply get extended? Is there maternity leave, paid time off, uninterrupted time, is it convenient at work?

How do we counsel moms in the hospital? Is it a one size fits all approach? Maybe a little formula before your supply kicks in, is really okay. Maybe nipple confusion isn’t as large of a problem as it seems.   I had a mother who breastfed for years, and if it wasn’t for her support I might not have breastfed as long as I did.  The singular statement of “breast is best” has finality to it that any alternative is giving your baby simply less.   What if you don’t have breasts? I might be a minority but there are numerous reasons a mother might not exclusively breast feed, medications, work schedules, supply issues, surrogates, mental health issues.  I still think they’re doing their best.  Not smoking is “best”, an hour a day of exercise is “best”, a healthy BMI is “best”, do we adhere to it?  So why are we making so many mothers feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed?

I know lots of great moms taking awesome care of their kids, free-range, tiger moms, gluten free, dairy free, formula feeding, stay at home, working, helicopter, paleo, vegan, breast feeding mothers.  I know they love their kids, I know they are doing their “best” everyday.

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person's life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.” Shannon Alder

"There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”  Shannon Alder

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?” Shannon Alder

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us."

 

Finding Faith Within“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.” Shannon L. Alder
“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”    C. Joy Bell C.
“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” Shannon L. Alder
“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.” Shannon L. Alder

Have you ever noticed how easily someone can knock you off of your game plan and cause you to doubt yourself? All they need to do is plant those little seeds of doubt or give the quick retort that leaves you questioning what they meant for days. We all fall prey to these people who come in the form of friends, family co-workers and unfriendly ties.

Adding to this problem is when we jump in feet first to help someone who really needs it only to be shot down with a look, or words of anger. It is without any doubt hurtful and we can only wonder why they refused  our help which I repeat, they needed. I for one begin questioning why they must dislike or even hate me. They can accept the lift from someone else but not me. It renders me quiet  with so many questions about doubt. Of course I always blame myself and my inadequacies.

I realize that sometimes we want to do our own thing and simply be left alone. On the other hand why is it certain people are disliked for the good they try to do. I feel like there is a conspiracy to get the "Helpers" to stop helping those in need. No wonder we pass by the helpless on the streets. We are trained to be impervious to their plight. Have we become such a competitive society that we are nervous about allowing someone else to take the reins for us and give us a  break?

I can't figure it out. I suppose some people believe it belittles them to exhibit any inferiority. They must be in control or only let the ones they trust help out. Of course that means they don't trust us. Is it our attitude or are we disliked more for our virtues than for our faults? Seriously though one is less willing to offer assistance to another due to the rebuke. Now we might have a person believing we are not mindful because we did nothing to help out. We doubt our ability to  be f assistance.

Many  spend volunteer time working at churches, or town activities without any thanks. they do it because they enjoy helping people. However as I reflect further I am saddened that so many volunteers  complained about finding so much indifference that they did not even receive a hello. those working freely for the common good toss their indifference aside and willingly support those who need help. They are not looking for thanks or honors but it would be terrible if they get burnt out and walk away. It is awesome that many people are not gaining material worth but act out of kindness for humanity and that is enough. We understand that indifference rules our actions towards each other but every time  we act with mindfulness we turn the tides towards concern for others.

I suppose we worry about getting involved and having others judge us or peg us onto certain lists. As hard as we attempt to remain neutral there are those moments that erupt and cause us to defy our neutrality and stand for something. As Benjamin Franklin declared "You have enemies? That's good it means you stood up for something." We have gotten too complacent and comfortable in our ways. Life becomes a selfish existence as we are solely interested in our own comforts and pleasures. The needs of others are so far down on our list that most days  we don't consider anyone else.

Mindful is not a word commonly used in our daily speech, yet if it became everyone's way of living would send us all on a higher path. More love would be spread and less pain would surround us. Indifference would be the new ignored word. How awesome that would be.

I know we don't foster indifference but neither do we pack it up and send it away. A beautiful world of love and happiness can become a reality if we allow compassion into our minds and hearts. Once we begin thinking about others we begin feeling good about ourselves. It is a feeling that you can't really describe. That is why so many of those people who help others continue to do it even though they receive no thanks or any kind of reinforcement. The light is felt within and the sense of supporting humanity gets stronger.

If we could do one small act for another every single day we would understand the importance of that  action and be inclined to do more. If I need help I don't want the person who exhibits indifference daily. I want the mindful person who will notice my need and hear my cry and then come to my assistance. We can't say we are too busy, have too much work, need a break, need to do something for ourselves, or want a vacation from work. We can very easily respond with a yes I am here for you.

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize."    Robert Hughes

“I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn’t at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand.”
Shannon L. Alder

“A man’s spirit is free, but his pride binds him with chains of suffocation in a prison of his own insecurities”     Jeremy Aldana

Loving And Forgiving"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."     Martin Luther King, Jr.

"And you know, when you've experienced grace and you feel like you've been forgiven, you're a lot more forgiving of other people. You're a lot more gracious to others."     Rick Warren

"It's toughest to forgive ourselves. So it's probably best to start with other people. It's almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself."     Patty Duke

I believe I am thinking a bit negative today because I keep believing nobody is capable of loving anyone especially unconditionally. I spend many hours attempting to figure it out but it leaves me questioning our human population. Parents love their babies until those babies begin to offer challenges and then the spankings and screaming begins. We all remember having disruptive days but usually we get over it and find peace again. Kids are wonderful until they speak their own mind and want to do their own thing as well as lead their own lives. That is hard on parents who want to continue to control their kids indefinitely. This can carry over into their child's relationships of all kinds. Nobody is left out and everyone is at risk.

We may not care for our kid's friends, boyfriend's, girlfriend's in-law's etc. We never ask ourselves why? Maybe they are receiving a different slant on the world or about people. Perhaps they are introduced into a different philosophy that we don't like. Whatever the reason, we like to keep the threatening people away from our kids even if it might be a good connection. It leaves one wondering how any of us can love anyone and maintain that love. Do you question why you love anyone? What is it that makes you like them? Do you forgive them? People who are just married will say I would forgive my spouse anything. I think if that were the case we would see fewer divorces.

Why are so many families messed up to the point of never speaking to each other? Do they hate each other or are they hating quickly  without thinking just as they love quickly without reflecting. I am not sure if I am superficial and not spending enough time on my relationships. On the other hand I question if I am doubting so many relationships. I don't know about others but I sense I have not thought enough about what and why I consider or sense what I do care for and reflect about. It may  be easier to simply get along and live in a blissful existence of make believe.

If I haven't lost you yet I want to explain if I can, what my take on this is. I believe we are expected to attain the impossible in the hope of soaring quite high. Every interaction we have with another person is hazardous to our tranquility. It drains us when we are the caretakers or the ones who are supposed to be strong and dependable. That role gets tedious and weighs on our shoulders. The martyr role is boring and makes no progress. The savior role is next to impossible because we all must play the biggest role in our own redemption. Perhaps we are disillusioned and defeated when we want to but can't solve other people's problems.  Being a person who requires attention can make one feel guilty. Nothing apparently brings us peace.

We may question our path and life frequently and we might try again but some insight into our own feelings must be added into the mix, especially if we want answers. I am sure we have all experienced those people who want sympathy, support, help of one kind or another. It can be mental physical or emotional support but when it happens consistently throughout our days it can render a person depleted. It is not a good state to find yourself  in. I know it is awesome to give of oneself but we can't forget to take care of our own needs. If you feel overwhelmed then perhaps you are forgetting to care for self.

Loving others is the hardest thing we can do because on any given day we observe weaknesses and negatives in people. That is annoying or impossible to overlook. That is perhaps why we end up loving people conditionally. It is like you help me and put up with my annoying attitude or remarks and I'll help you and put up with your faults and impatience. Now is that love? I question if there is a sense of forgiveness in our relationships because others  reflecting those horrible traits may be shining the light on those same traits found within us. Imagine if we discovered that we easily found bad habits in others to the extent we find them within our selves. Maybe that is the idea. If we see blame in others and notice then in us we can fix it.

I guess it gives us food for thought. Unconditional love actually means being able to love people enough that you can  forgive the person. It is the simplest thing in the world to love another. People likely could marry someone new every year.  Is that love or gratification for us? Does the person give us a positive sense of self? In the beginning it might be true but eventually we all need support of one kind or another and we all have those nasty traits we like to ignore. When  we discover honesty we just move on rather than confront the truth and the reality of living.

Many people that question long marriages or families that stay together never realize the amount of effort patience love honesty and forgiveness it took to keep the connections alive. Love is not easy and unconditional love is superhuman to develop. It means we tie into forgiveness. It means we accept another's negative words, thoughts and actions and then wrap our arms around them and squeeze until our doubts are gone. That is forgiveness. We know they hurt us, we accept the pain and suffering and we hold on tight and release the injury. When our being is devoid of the wound and pain we can fill our hearts minds and souls  with love. If you cannot release the suffering you have no room for the love and the hurt continues  while the wound festers.

I am no expert at letting pain go but I work on it. I know it is comforting to  have love in my heart rather than suffering the wounds others inflict without regard. That brings me to mindfulness which is something we ought to encourage at all age levels. If we see others as beings of light and deserving  love then we can understand they deserve our regard. That might mean placing their needs above our own at times. Of course it maybe placing our own needs first at times when we are depleted.

Unconditional love is seeing and focusing on the good we see in another person and accepting their bad notions with understanding. It helps us in two  ways. Their wrongs may reflect ours and their wrongs may help us to develop more empathy and tolerance. Either way we are  stronger in the end. Babies don't come with guarantees to love their parents unconditionally. Parents can't always love their kids unconditionally. Marriages break p for the same reasons as do friendships and sibling bonds. If we were capable of loving without conditions we would have the freedom to see and improve  our own imperfections, rather than pretend others have blame but we are perfect.

It isn't easy to forgive when you have been hurt. It isn't easy to turn the other cheek as they say we should. Perhaps with reflection we might come to  a point of comprehending the magnitude of courage it takes to forgive and be thankful for the times others forgave us. It might help us to return the favors to others and learn to forgive other people. Love is not about perfection nor is it about who is more at fault than another. Love is caring compassionate and unconditional at its' best. Love is needy demanding possessive and jealous at its' worst. Strive for  releasing love so it can spread and gain us more love rather than caging it in attempting to keep it safe. We are capable of loving and in an unconditional way. We just have to add forgiveness.

"He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven."     George Herbert

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."    Mark Twain

"Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love." Francis of Assisi

 ForgivenessOther people can make us feel like a trivial person.  So as Gary Zukav said, "The next time you feel unworthy, inadequate or inferior, remember that these experiences have nothing to do with humbleness, any more than lowering yourself to connect with another individual has to do with humbleness. There are no lower or higher individuals in the perception of a humble person. There are only souls." There is only love. Gary"

"Many a man will have the courage to die gallantly, but will not have the courage to say, or even to think, that the cause for which he is asked to die is an unworthy one."  Bertrand Russell

"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." Sigmund Freund

Perhaps we make ourselves feel trivial when we don't value us. Whenever people are getting together it can be a happy time. It all changes for the worse when the occasion is cancelled due to the inability of some of the people being able to attend. What tugs at our hearts is the number of times the gathering occurs even though we are the one who can't attend. It can leave us with a sense of unworthiness at being that person that doesn't count for much and is considered the inconsequential entity.

Many times we are  aware of what we perceive as our placement in life and more than aware of the pain in generates in our hearts. We can attempt to please people and say all of the correct things yet we are not acknowledged for inclusion. Whether we are for or against something has little influence on our stature in a group setting. I have often wondered why some people are left in the trivial pile while others can be constantly recognized as the special and worthy people. I can only surmise  that it has to  do with maybe who we are on the inside. Perhaps others genuinely see that we want to be a part of the system but we won't bend to something we don't believe in, or we won't allow others to be left on the sidelines.

I  remember one friend who refused to give up her best friend, which was the cost, if she wanted to be a part of a larger "in" group of kids. As a teen this must have been rather tempting but in the end she couldn't do it so she gave up the honor of being included in the elite group at school. It is amazing why we must have certain groups at all. It empowers people  to feel special and more important than the person sitting next to them. In the process the person sitting beside them is demoted.

In a way this pretentiousness appears to be with a lot of secrecy, crutches and demands. I would think we would have to think act and talk a certain way and basically agree with the groups' ideas. It leaves no room for independence. Yes it may be difficult to stand alone but you do have freedom which we do value. When we commit to marriage we have demands that legally and morally ought to be followed. These rules are different than group rules which actually take away freedom. In any type of allegiance there are rules. I believe within groups there are unspoken rules which must be accepted without question if one wants to be included. Then we can receive instant friends, gratifications and support. Doesn't this all sound conditional? Marriage has rules but they are negotiable between the two parties.

It appears that we give up our freedom and rights to have friends and a sense of belonging. I say a sense of belonging because we are not really that self-assured, independent, or a socially accepted person with numerous friends attached to us all of the time. It is actually a charade that we are playing in order to appear perfect and worthy of acceptance. Of course that leaves the rest of us on the outside of the circle wondering what is wrong with us that we are not good enough to  be included. One can easily lose this acceptance and  the so called close friends can become the enemies.

We don't stop to think about what individuals  had to give up in order to maintain the pretend status. We don't see the anxiety found in those who are barely hanging on to their status in the group nor the guilt ridden people who sense that excluding others is not that cool. Most just continue on their path and cover up their doubts and nervousness with the happiness of having friends and companions to hang out with.

Most of us believe there is something wrong if we are okay with spending time alone with ourselves. we may not require a multitude of friends to eat up our time. We get to think what we want to do and we have the authority to dismiss any kind of judgment others send our way. We are actually the lucky ones with our own thoughts and minds. I value being my own boss and overseeing my own cause and effect.

I don't mean we can never join any group but the groups that are open to all are the ones worth joining. Whenever others are excluded and this can be in all areas of society including kid groups or teen groups. That is when it becomes a problem because it rates and demeans others causing them to feel trivial. How horrible is that? How can we live with ourselves if we devalue others without a thought?

The important thing is that we don't allow this to define who we are. If we let this into our minds and hearts enough to influence the way we think and feel then we have done a disservice to us. Being stronger against the tide is important. Basically we are all born alone, die alone and live within our own frame of thoughts. We learn in our own way, give to others in our own manner and interpret daily happenings with our own schemata.

Maybe joining with others frees us from making decisions which frees us from feeling accountable. When we don't make any mistakes we never learn and by doing only what we perceive to be the correct thing to do never teaches us anything new. If we were not so quick to judge others perhaps we wouldn't be so worried about the fact that others are swift about judging us. That is why we feel safe in groups because groups create the shield against anyone on the outside. This is a false sense of security.

There is so much of our lives we have to face alone. To understand life and love as well as friendship and compassion we must be opened to a variety of experiences involving a multitude of people. Constantly seeking only the familiar and safety net we never find the treasures of the undiscovered gems of life. We really are the same deep down. We all experience fear stress and pain. We can also experience joy happiness and love that is not conditional. Trust becomes a necessary part of true living. Being able to venture  beyond our gate of seclusion and fear allows us to learn and experience so much more of life.

Marriage and other commitments may cause us some necessary boundaries but they don't exclude others from being our friends. Teen groups child groups and any type of group that sends a message to others that they are better or above people only cause heartache. They are not worthy of having us join. We are not trivial and never were trivial. We created that in our own minds because others plant the seeds in us. It is up to us to comprehend our own power and worth. All of us face our own problems and good times. I would say that our value  is the amount of worth we see and foster in others. That can't help but reflect and shine on us. We never were nor never will be a trivial person.

"Don't allow people to make you feel unworthy. What they fear in you are qualities they would like to posses themselves. " Unknown

"Rejection doesn't mean you aren't good enough. It means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer." anonymous

"Live simply expect little give much. scatter sunshine, forget self  think of others." Norman Vincent Peale

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel," Maya Angelou

high and lows"All the elements for your happiness are already here. There’s no need to run, strive. At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it."    Thich Nhat Hahn

"By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person. Obstacles can be a form of liberation. Difficulties are required for success." Thich Nhat Hahn

All of us have so many fears but perhaps the biggest one is the fear of failure. It kind of groups all the other fears together. Whether it is our spouse, parent, child boss friend or enemy we hate to drop the ball and be considered a loser. The trouble is we can't really define just what a loser is or what it means. We have bad vibes about failing and never consider that there might be a bright side to failing.

What do our parents expect of us? Maybe they think we will forever be indebted to them and strive to please them. Most of us do appreciate our parents but there is a limit to what we can do for them and still be able to live our own lives. Failing to some of us is letting others down. If our parents expected us to be the engineer but we became the business guru, our parents are disappointed and they don't have to say anything. We can sense it in their look or frown or words.

Parents bring on the first of the fears of failing. They push kids to accomplish goals that may  not even be something their child wants. What parents consider important is sometimes not on the priority list of their kids. Seeing eye to eye on this is next to impossible. Even agreeing to disagree does not bring peace to the one who believes in their heart that they let their parents, people they love and cherish, down.

Likely the trick is to figure out why we sense a feeling of desperation when we have not done what another wants us to do. Somehow  a perso we love gets into our heads and makes us believe we should be what they desire us to be. In the end we and they are disappointed. It comes down to the fact that we must love each other for what we are and not for what they want us to be or become.

I know most parents want kids to be kind good and successful. Perhaps we should place compassionate, mindful and loving as some of the ways we delineate success. We  can all choose to be compassionate and thoughtful towards others. We can love others with a kind heart. Working on those attributes is worthier than forcing our own goals and attitudes onto others.

Parents wield a lot of power. If they choose to pick for thie child and demand success in the way they see it, likely everyone is going to live in stress and pain. Grown children expect parents to continue indulging them in ways that are invalid. When we have grown and matured we must take responsibility for ourselves even if it means failure at some points in our lives.  We can and must grow from failure rather than succumb to it and feel defeated.

Failure never brings permanent defeat unless we give up and stop trying. Failure should teach us where we went wrong and therefore how we can do it better than before. Somehow our ideas are that once one has failed give up, leave, walk away, try something or someone new. The stress caused by failure is full of anxiety, rage and fear. We see the disappointment in the eyes and we can't bear to witness it again so we stop and give up our objectives.

Husbands rarely live up to their wives anticipations. The wives hardly live up to the husbands expectations. The marriage road is rocky, demanding and full of potholes. None of us can win and most of us lose and switch up the game because it is painful to keep playing it. We sense how hard we try and we are actually more disappointed in ourselves for the failure. Likely we blame ourselves but we still walk away.

It is easy for friends to disillusion us. There are so many possible friends out in the world that we move on. The same is true with relationships. We find someone new and begin again. We assume we will get it right the next time so life goes on. How many of us question what we are doing and why we are doing it. We believe perhaps that it is for the best because we can't satisfy someone. I suppose that is true pleasing others is an impossibility.  What is also true is that our opportunities appear to be boundless until we discover the let downs are similar. We might even yearn to go back to the original problems or situations and try again,  although we usually can't do that.

We all need space to grow at our own pace. We need love the most and fear and stress the least. I find that the truth is we place the fear, stress and anxiety on ourselves when we believe we must please our parents, spouses children friends or boss. If we think it over we understand that if we disappoint anyone once in a while, they will get over it. If someone disappoints us we get over it. We have a hard time getting over ourselves and our own disappointments of failure.

Failure is not like the end of a road. It is more like a stop sign that slows us down. Perhaps that is a good thing because we get to review what we are doing and why. This may send us down a different path and also help us to engage the people we love in an alternative manner. We need space and encouragement. We need a sense of value and pride in us. If we please us then perhaps we won't be as wounded when we don't always please others. What we think about us when we look in the mirror is what really counts.

A sense of self leads to valuing others. If we are mindful of others we will likewise support their endeavors to be who and what they are. The freedom it endows us with is enlightening. Somehow we all win and we have not failed anyone especially not us. We have our own lives to live, goals to reach and problems to accept and overcome. People can best help us with support of all kinds and refraining from interfering in our choices.

Establish your own self esteem and move forward with courage and strength. Don't be swayed by what others say because they are seeing life through their eyes and we must open our eyes and see what it is we want. Stop judging so much and start living. We learn from mistakes and the learning sticks because of the pain of the error. If we can accept each others mistakes we can increase the relationships love and enthusiasm to do better the next time. Perhaps transformation from within is more of an answer than always attempting to alter outside of ourselves and our surroundings. Put the fears to rest and start living in serenity.

“I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.”     Socrates

“What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of what it's supposed to be.” Socrates

“If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”     Socrates

Rippling Affect Of Stress 3"You are good enough smart enough and beautiful enough, strong enough believe it and stop letting insecurity run your life." Thomas D.

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." Steve Furtick

"Sometimes our thought are backed by so much insecurity that they create lies we believe." Anonymous

How sensitive we all are without exception when egos are threatened. Even those of us who remain calm in hurtful situations perhaps carry the pain well into the future. Some people say I am cutting my connections to this person or that one. Others say I am finding that person so annoying that I need to get some space between us. At other times we choose to place these people into the background of our lives and have some chance meetings or some few and far between planned get togethers.

I find myself doing the same things and using the same tactics. No matter how good someone has been to me, if they start irritating me or upsetting me I turn away from them and sometimes cut them off. I must truly admit that down the road I am sorry that it happened and I wish I could rethink my original thought and plan. I know why. It is because sometimes they were right about something and I didn't want to listen or believe what they were saying was correct.

How many times I can remember myself or someone else stating "You don't get what I am talking about. You don't know what it is I am trying to say. You are just thinking in the past and comparing this situation with something that happened in your own life." Of course there are those times when either one of us has proven to be right or wrong. So why do we hate advice and think someone is wrong before they begin.

I tend to think it is ego and pride. Who likes to be wrong? I believe we get disappointed with ourselves and we cling to our egos and pride in the hope of feeling better. I know I can hardly believe I have such little faith in me. I question everything I do and second guess myself. However if someone has offered advice, depending on the person, I will or won't follow it. I simply cannot admit this person who I already deem as a worthier individual, is now about to best me to my face. I now see it that I can't accept help unless I feel secure in the knowledge that I don't have a competition going on.

Those people who help us but then never claim to anyone else how much they helped us appear to be the ones we trust. It isn't that they give or have better advice, it has more to do with pride in that they don't harm our egos. Our frailty is safe in this person's hands. That is why we like people who don't compete or compare us in any way. They don't keep a record of being right or wrong and they don't  care. They are only concerned with supporting us.

Most of us trust this kind of person because we see them as no threat yet why do we observe others who are trying to help us as a threat? Our egos should not be so fragile. If we had confidence in us we could weather the damage to our egos. I think people who don't ask for directions exhibit this lack of security. Somehow it appears to them that they should know how to navigate a destination. To let someone even a stranger think otherwise is folly.

The situation that bothers me the most is how all of this makes us more like enemies than friends. We worry so much about our sense of worth that we protect it at all costs. Do we believe someone else is better than us just because they never get lost? Do we see someone who requests advice on a home project as incapable or less capable than we are? If we answered no to these questions then maybe we are all kidding ourselves. None of us may actually put down others yet that is the situation we believe is reality.

If all of us are bent on proving how much we know, how much we can do, and how much we have over another then it may be proving how we are wasting our time on inconsequential concerns. This is not to mention the stress of searching for answers far and beyond when the answers are close at hand. So our hidden reality is that we had to find an answer and keep others in the "Dark" regarding how we accomplished our task. Does anyone care how fast or how long it took us? We may care but I doubt someone else cares. Do people go to an assessment book and write down how we got lost while driving? Are they planning on reporting us? It does sound silly.

We keep so much hidden and sometimes believe that if another person saw how vulnerable we actually were they would either not like us or feel we were beneath them to keep as a friend. There is not one individual I surmise, on this planet who does not have faults, weaknesses and fears. I laugh at how many parents lament that their young children crawl into their beds at night. They are afraid of the dark. Many adults at weak moments, admit that they hate the dark. Kids honestly up front will admit it and jump in with mom and dad. Adults at times turn on their lights, get a dog or an alarm system or move in with someone. The most information on this subject that one usually gets from an adult is, " I don't care for or like the dark. I keep my night light on."

Letting go of our inner battle of pride and courage is the first step in finding serenity. Kids that made fun of us because we couldn't climb the ladder or jump as far or skip or run or play games well don't matter to us anymore. It only matters if we let it matter. Those that couldn't jump perhaps are the people discovering the games of tomorrow. Those that couldn't play games are the ones organizing groups for collaboration to find answers to world questions. It doesn't mean those that can jump or play games are not world leaders it just means it makes no difference.

At any point in time there are those ready and able to help and make an impact in our lives. The authority figures change according to the circumstances. The gift one has may not be noticed even by the person who owns it. I view it like this. Whenever one is capable of coming to the aid of another individual in any manner and degree then you have done well and made a difference in the world. There is a kindness going around rather than a hidden fearful agenda.We would definitely have more time for other things if we just stopped contemplating how we are perceived.

The next time we think about how busy our schedule is we should remember that other people are busy thinking about their schedules. Let go of pride and ego and embrace the real you with faults and awesome abilities too numerous to count. Stop judging them if you do judge, and perhaps they will return the favor.

"Don't let insecurity push away the person God sent to you." Anonymous

Ego is the only requirement to destroy any relationship so be a bigger person. Skip the "E" and let it go." Anonymous

"Relationship never dies a natural death... They are murdered by EGO, ATTITUDE and IGNORANCE." Anonymous

"Stop being offended. Let go of the need to win. Let go of the need to be right. Let go of the need to be superior. Let go of the need to have more. Let go of identifying yourself by your achievements. Let go of your reputation." Sue Fitzmoris

elizabeth-fishel-quote-about-siblings"Children are like wet cement whatever falls on them makes an impression."     Haim Ginott

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."     Charles R. Swindoll

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."   Frederick Douglass

"Every child you encounter is a divine appointment."   President Emeritus of Compassion International

"The soul is healed by being with children."  Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Children make your life important."     Erma Bombeck,

I wish all who read this a very Happy New Year. Being the season of love and family I really wanted to focus on the family because we all have families in one form or another. From what I can surmise we all have varying degrees of love as well as  condemnation for these individuals. These are likely the people who teach us life lessons. Of course these teachings may be taught in a gentle or cruel manner but regardless we can learn from these encounters and move on, or allow  them to slip away unobserved.

Somehow I know this all ties in with love and family. Most people will admit that the one thing they want most in the world is love yet they don't comprehend how much time and energy they place on other things that are far from love. Somehow there is a great need to get back to a happier and more peaceful place that surrounds us with love and demonstrates  in the contrast, how far off course we have actually traveled.

The world desires are luring all of us as they profess to cure our unhappy mood and our overburdened life. They are like the charlatan's that promised cures for our ailments with something within a bottle. Most of us are desperate enough to  believe. The rest of us want to believe and fight the urge to go off the track. Somehow it appears we must find what it is we truly  want out of life. It is surface thinking to imply we want a vacation or money or friends or fame. Like watching a movie on a screen we can view our lives in fast forward to discover that the vacation was short-lived and not as exciting or interesting as we had perceived it would be. The money could not buy the person we desired to marry, health that we yearned for nor the life we envisioned. The  friends that manifested  were quick to desert us when we were in need of a real friend  and were only happy to enjoy spirited days of jokes and parties. Fame is truthfully as fleeting as the passing day or night. There are always new heroes and idols to follow. I wonder at those left behind because after you have been considered immortal how does one return to mortality.

We are all born and die alone yet the support of others we love and who have loved us is invaluable. Many times our endless search of chasing  worldly attractions usually results in defeat and remorse while draining our spirits. In our search for the false We sometimes leave behind treasures worth keeping found in family life.

Some of us are never even aware of the mistakes we have made in losing or ditching these people. Perhaps  family members anger us to the point of our desire to run away. The will to  receive understanding from every encounter with others, whether it is good or bad will not happen. In the process we lost possibly a genuine love and a huge lesson that was tossed in the garbage.

In my own life I have learned that losing your temper and hurting others emotionally and physically causes deep scars and memories you would prefer to white wash. I questioned the lesson until one day I discovered it helped me to gain a greater understanding of tolerance and patience with others. It taught me the fragility of children caught in these nightmares with no alternatives but to endure.

I suppose the hurts teach us the power of maintaining our goals for a very long time. Most importantly it taught me the importance of love and how powerful it can be. Without the love of family one is left with facing a harsh world with only courage and strength as their friends. No one can survive if love is not instilled within this mix A   person is an empty vessel waiting to be filled when love has not entered it.

This is the crossroad between picking what will  elevate you or what will bring your downfall. If we don't pay attention we likely will make a poor  decision. Experiencing sickness as a child makes us appreciate good health as well as the gentle care of our bodies. Understanding people living in poverty sends us a  message of support and compassion for others. When a person lacks the simple items of life they yearn for what so many others take for granted.

Those who lose loved ones experience such a rupture within their lives that it can become difficult to move forward with their lives. Others who never had the family life due to one circumstance or another are left unfulfilled and dissatisfied in their functioning. Coming to terms with any difficult happening requires mounds of reflection and discernment regarding what we can and cannot change.

A mother-in-law who fights with her ex daughters-in-law unwittingly brings down her own demise in a lost relationship with her grandchildren. Women who blame a whole family when there is a divorce basically shut out all of the love and support of family members. No one is a winner and everyone is a loser but the young kids caught in the middle are the crushed and ruined survivors. It is truly devastating to kids.

Kids are similar to dogs in their unconditional love. They love most everyone and they forgive most anything. A child beaten daily will forgive the beater. I don't know if we could find one adult who would do the same for another adult.

A couple on Christmas day refused to allow their very young children to open their gifts because the kids had been arguing with each other. They were told Santa said they had to wait for not being "Good". They were "bad" and had to wait. The kids were accepting this with love and anticipation for a better tomorrow. How young the kids were for such a harsh lesson. One child might lament the horror when they achieve adulthood and tend towards leniency while the other child might seek a sense of revenge by repeating the harsh punishments they themselves endured.

People who go to extremes to provide a happy occasion are left with ungrateful attendees and a heartache of questions about what went wrong and why. Likely they only wanted everyone to enjoy the day but sometimes others enjoy bringing negativity to the occasion. I believe most people have no idea the sadness and ruin they cause and don't do it on purpose.

If we can see a pattern then perhaps it is time to stop even our own self-pity and begin thinking about the damage we do to each other and to our children who are the most innocent victims. At times we are so intolerant of each other that we must jeopardize the good times because of our hidden negative agendas. We all have our secret aches and pains, defeats and victories. If we want family and love to be brought to the forefront of our lives again then perhaps it is time to let go of the me attitude and embrace the idea of a mindfulness of others.

The man who is upset that his wife gained weight or does not have the figure like a girl on a magazine is living in a  false world. The woman who wants her husband to provide her with more material gains is trapped in a make-believe world.  These are the world's mind games and we are trapped  in that world when we harbor such ideas.

We profess to be independent in our thinking yet we are told what is good or bad, beautiful  or ugly, strong or weak, intelligent or ignorant and what we should even desire or want in our lives. Anyone who diverts from this path is considered different and sometimes ignored or ostracized. This difference is actually freedom at its core. What is not independence is following the crowd away from what is truly important in our lives.  At those times our integrity may be at risk. I see individuality as being stronger than the enticing crowd  and following your heart.

Accountability is hard to accept but we are responsible for instant decisions made without thought. Words and actions cannot be taken back  and are so far-reaching. The psyches are injured and hard to repair. We should think before speaking or acting and be sorry when we have injured another. Then we would gain a loving world.

Our encounters are engraved on our souls. None of us know where another has been or what pains we bring with us. Each incident has taught us a  lesson and has the capacity to stretch us beyond what we currently are. That is why some of us can easily state we understand something and forgive it while others of us can't muster the courage or  perhaps have not stopped to consider such an occurrence.

If we look hard enough at life the truth guides our way. Reflecting on our lives along with the lessons, brings us to a greater understanding of things we were not able to comprehend before our own hurts and pain. Somehow the more pain endured along with the injuries, the greater the capacity to forgive and support others in need. This is where our most precious devotion must be concentrated.

Kids require guidance and love. Acquiring the necessary skills to regain our accountability and responsibility towards our children enhances our lives in ways that can't be explained. Suffice it to say that strong families have the power to create strong bonds of love and acceptance. If we can't devote love to the most important creations of the world, our kids, then the world will simply fold into nothing. Love family and children make the world the beautiful place that it is. Unless we see and consider this actuality, the kids will continue to be second-rate citizens and people  will continue to selfishly look to their own needs while they compromise their children's wishes and requirements.

The search for senseless gratifications of all conceivable kinds is a quick downfall. Most of us already have the things in our lives worth having and which can't be replaced. Appreciating that as a truth causes love to ceaselessly follow us and bloom wherever we go. Husbands and wives should be each other's cheer leaders. Siblings should support appreciate and love each other, parents should discover the value and priceless gift of their children, and grandparents should offer love at all times and without assessments. In all of these relationships perhaps we should dismiss all of the judgments.

I would never rejoice in having problems but I find myself taking the lesson from each difficult situation I have had to endure. Each of us has a life to live that is sometimes worrisome. If we reach out to others with love it might make our lives a little bit easier to endure. If I can stop with the accusations and assumptions of others perhaps I can make my life easier and the life of  another. I now want to ask myself if my life has meaning rather than if I am happy. The meaning of having people in my life makes my life full of purpose. If it is only to make another smile with lightheartedness, then I would rather remember a day a child  smiled rather than a day they feared.

"The best way to make children good is to make them happy."  Oscar Wilde

"When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments  tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become."   Louis Pasteur

"Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."  Nelson Mandela

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." Albert Camus

"Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it."    Sai Baba

 

 

4

Get Out Of Your Head“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” Jostein Gaarder

“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don't fit into their box are weird. But I'll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.” C. JoyBell C.

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” C. JoyBell C.

I had to take a break from my writing due to family issues that needed my attention. Of course I never stopped observing and learning, even if I stopped writing. I noticed how tense it felt to let go of so many tasks I would normally accomplish when I have total concentration. Instead I sat back, worried and reviewed how far behind I assessed I must be. In reality I was only behind because I saw it that way. In actuality I might be and probably am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in time.

How many of us believe or even think about why we find ourselves treading water at times or even going backwards at other times? Perhaps we view this as big problems  and ask ourselves why it happened to us. None of us would say "Well I am glad for that set back  because now I have time to review what it is I am doing."

I venture to say none of us enjoy obstacles of any nature and perhaps we question why obstructions had to happen to us. We do move and get beyond what occurred but we build up our anxiety over it, feel frustrated and angry, and basically either take it out on ourselves or those who are close to us. That leaves all of us burdened with issues of all kinds, because we are all dumping our dilemmas on each other constantly.

Suddenly light dawned as I observed a young three-year old messing around with toys. He worked hard to build something which eventually came crashing down. He observed it and then  laughed and proceeded to construct it again. There was no loss of activity nor tears of remorse. He was surprised that it had happened but to him the surprise was worth the destruction of his creation.

If adults could only accept the twists and turns in the road as the small child did our anxiety and fear would decrease.  As I continued to watch the child he began building the tower in exactly the same way and he watched again and again as it toppled to the ground. What was he thinking I reflected. I would be in tears and thinking how I could build something that would stand against any kind of destruction. He obviously was greatly amused and had discovered in his own mind, how to make the occurrence happen all over again. That was his reward. When he got tired of it he turned to a totally different activity and became engrossed again.

What I took from it was his ability to remain pleased and content with his world. He didn't try to control it but instead he let things happen at their own will. He was satisfied with every new discovery. He was the investigator of research even though he didn't likely know what that meant. Most kids do appear to use the hands on method of discovery until we guide them into ways of doing it "right" so we believe.

I wonder if adults lose the power to think not only outside the box but outside of their own heads. I know how much I re-examine everything I say and do and what others say and do. I spend so much time within the walls of my head that it allows me little time to be present in the moment.  Kids are our complete opposite. They simply tell you like it is right down to the fact that they need to poop in the middle of a movie. It is a fact of life and they are not ashamed to admit it.

Is it adults who begin blocking kids in with our taboos and ideas of right and wrong? Of course we should teach morals and values but do we actually teach it or just explain the repercussions of not obeying rules. Do we blindly follow guidelines everywhere and from everybody without questioning why we are even doing it? Kids appear to keep a simplistic version of behaving.

They are not afraid to tell you they don't like something,  and they will refuse to act on something that scares them despite our prodding. They quickly admit when they are afraid of things that we would assume they shouldn't be afraid of. Some kids  are timid in making friends. They are shy around adults, and close their mouths tightly when an adult is forcing food they don't want to try or medicine they don't like.

They keep it simple and trek forward at all times. They see the positive in things and will use boxes, dirt and a stick for a shovel when necessary. They make do and laugh at so many things we fail to see the humor in. An anxious expression on our face may send them into a roar of laughter. Hearing us say we have to go to the bathroom can send a  five-year old howling. Most times adults miss the humor and only smile to acknowledge the child's happiness.

How did we come to take so much so seriously. Are we teaching that to our kids? Are we flushing away love, life and laughter from our own lives and the lives of our children? We put up signs about living laughing and loving yet we don't follow it most times. Perhaps we appreciate what we should be doing but can't seem to go against the crowd and do it. Kids have no problem being themselves at all times. Adults ought to imitate the kids and do the same. If only we could admit it when we are hurting, disgraced at least in our own minds, unhappy, scared, sick and numerous other emotions we keep hidden from others.

We treasure strength, ability, power, and sometimes the skill to squash our emotions. We place humility, compassion, love and weakness under wraps as if it should be hidden. No wonder we can't be ourselves anymore. Kids will cry and then admit they can't do something. We stand in resolve to accomplish what we likely are unable to accomplish never asking for help which would be cowardly we believe.

I see kids as grouping together and running in all directions in happiness and squeals of laughter. Adults scurry to their jobs attempting to please a relentless boss and perhaps a spouse who is expecting more than we can possibly deliver. The camaraderie and cooperation we experienced as kids is slowly drained from us and we are left alone within our minds in doubt about how where and why we are navigating anyplace.

Now we re following silly rules we don't really care about. We have stopped attempting to understand the why's anymore and just do the jobs that need attention. We have in essence given up more of our own power of control than we should have given up. Understanding the reasons of life and living, is a more profound goal than buying a better home or trumping our friend or neighbor. We are not separate entities but actually one in our world. We  can help each other support each other and allow each other to be who they are. We can let go of the judgments and embrace the pleasure of each others company. This brings a profound enlightenment and a peaceful co-existence

I have faith that if we all opened up our hearts, our minds would follow and a deluge would ensue. We might find all the support and love that had been bottled up within each of us, spill out in all directions. The  falseness would disappear and the masks and costumes we display daily would fall. We would and could feel like the young child who could enjoy his blocks regardless of failure with the understanding that failure is a myth. None of us fail we just make mistakes that can most of the time be corrected. We can try again because nobody is keeping a tally and we can admit failure and victory because we are on the same team. We don't have to win alone. We actually don't have to lose alone. We can technically win all the time when we share the victories of life with each other.

Parents teach their kids, and siblings teach and inspire each other. Relatives of all kinds aid prompt and encourage each other at any point in time.  Friends are quickly here and gone but each leaves a mark on us regardless of the length of time of their involvement. Getting out of our heads allows us to live and begin each new day with high hopes of doing some awesome positive support for others.

Before we hang up rules or signs we should contemplate the reasons they inspire us. Understanding what it is about them that makes them valuable is crucial to our understanding life. Like a puzzle we have broken apart into a zillion pieces. The picture of our lives will become clearer as we place those pieces together and actually and finally look at the real picture. Alone we are a shining light for a moment until the light is turned off. Together we create an awesome bright luminosity  gathering all into the comforting serenity of love in action.

Kids love everyone and their love is unconditional. They  forgive everything and forget transgressions as they begin playing with a friend the next day after having fought with them the previous day. They don't judge who can or can't climb up the ladder they just send out the cry, "Let's do it." Together they work, play, live, laugh,  and love. There is a message here for us to witness.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I'm not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” C. JoyBell C.

SPANKING"Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory."    Will Durant

"Spanking and verbal criticism have become, to many parents, more important tools of child rearing than approval." Phil Donahue

"Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak."

 "Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children."     American Medical Association

How and why did the state of Massachusetts hinder the advancement of our human evolution? I truly was shocked to hear of the Massachusetts, Justices decision to promote the guidelines for the use of physical punishment by parents. As a teacher, I am aware that loving a child and displaying kindness works far better. How is there anything LEGAL in guidelines promoting physical punishment by anyone? I suppose it sounds good and appeases parents who choose this form of discipline.

They say it is permissible to discipline by spanking, so long as “Reasonable Force” is used, and the child is not harmed. Is this not ludicrous? How does one use force of any kind on a child, and then decide how much the child has been harmed physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually?  Who are we kidding? I am sorry if we are leading such busy lives that we anger quickly, have more burdens which frustrate us, and have little time to discipline because we have no energy, time or effort remaining by the end of the day. The quick fix of a Spank, which is also defined as a smack, slap, hit, strike, paddle, thrash, beating and paddling, is the solution which fits in nicely with our busy lives and perhaps uncontrolled tempers.

The justices of the court issued this Framework, while reversing the assault and battery conviction of a man who was seen spanking his almost three old daughter. Now the question comes to mind regarding the force of a grown man against a less than three old child. How angry was he? Is he very strong? Is the child little for her age? The Framework that was construed by the Justices also includes a parental privilege defense. How convenient that is. No more liability towards smacking our children, except our consciences which have apparently gone on vacation.

Does this mean if we strike our neighbor’s child for their ill behavior, we will be charged with battery? I know if we hit any adult, we will face consequences, yet our children are fair game with the courts blessing. If we can’t hit our neighbor, then why is it okay to hit our small helpless children? I have an issue with the degree of the smack, as well as the judgement of how harmful it might be, especially when the person making these decisions is the one doing the hitting.

One Justice, stated that two very important interests needed to be balanced. We must protect children against abuse, and not interfere with the parents in the way they see fit to raise their kids. Now some people may falsely believe this has made it easier to solve some court cases. It appears to me,  to be at the expense of our kid’s welfare. I also can’t understand how it will be easier to protect the children from child abuse when parents have just received a legal right to assault them. Using tame words makes it more palatable for the general public.

I use the word assault because how can we limit the extent of the spanking, if we are not present when it is given and only have the perpetrator's version of the incident. A hard smack to the back of the head may not display any discoloring. If one was brought up on charges the defense could be that the parent swung a bit harder than they realized, the child turned and the strike was given in a place the parent did not mean to hit. The list can go on. We don’t want to look at the details. We want something that works fast, easy and makes everyone comfortable. Kids don’t question or vote.

I am confused about the “Force being okay as long as it is reasonable,” "it is used for safeguarding the child", "it is promoting the welfare of the child"," or "it is punishment of the minor’s misconduct." So I think we are teaching the kids that it is okay for the ones they love to hit them, yet we don’t want our kids striking others. How are we actually making any sense? Do we see the paradox? Now we tell the children they can  thrash their own kids when they are adults. We have gone back to the old rules of do as I say but not as I do.

I think we have given offenders a free ticket at least for the first offense, if they used too much force. They can offer the defense that they did not feel it was that strong a hit. How can we judge these personal and subjective opinions? Has anyone thought of the emotional scars of the children who are beaten? No one is supposed to cause lasting emotional or physical harm. How are we going to fix this one? Do we wait for broken bones? Down the road do we blame the emotional problems the child is having on the spankings or do we call upon other issues in our defense? Balance of any kind has been tossed under the bus. It certainly isn’t balanced towards the children.

There is supposed to be respect for parental decisions. I profess that there should be respect for children and all life in general. It seems to me that we have disregarded the welfare of the children in favor of solutions, be they right or wrong. The end never justifies the means. I don’t see how anybody can come to the defense and protection of children with such a law in effect.

As I continued the reading I was confused upon hearing an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children, credit the justices for balancing views on both sides. Did anybody get the reviews of the children? Have we asked them how pleasant demeaning painful embarrassing, and at times terrifying it is to be at the mercy of an angry intimidating adult? There is always emotional and physical pain in this situation in my opinion. She also credited the Justices for their strong position on “Child Protection.”  I am shocked at that statement and really have no words to fit my shock and deep pain for the complicated lives the children are forced to experience.

Somehow in my opinion, people were sleeping on the job. Have we spent any time with kids lately? They are the ones who love parents unconditionally. They are concerned immediately when we are in any kind of pain. They accept everything we dish out and come back smiling and forgiving. If we love our children unconditionally, perhaps we might reflect on the plight of children who are going to be abused, in my opinion, because of this Law. It makes hitting legal. Adults are arrested when they hit someone. We are taking a big step backwards in becoming a more humane society. We are choosing brute force rather than talking, explaining, negotiating, providing understanding feedback tolerance and compassion to a dilemma.

If we want our kids to forgive and love others we must demonstrate this behavior. If we demonstrate force, control disrespect and intimidation, we will promote a society that reinforces these attributes. We have no right to complain at the world we are creating. The choice is in our hands. Parents are not bad people but if under duress, they must learn how to deal with their stress and anxiety problems rather than take it out on the kids. Model and teach the ideals you wish to observe in your children. Make no mistake; they will become what you teach. If you want compassionate, kind, tolerant, loving empathetic children, begin by showing them what that looks like and be that kind of person.

A transformation sends out sparks of love and enlightenment.  A wildfire burns relentlessly without remorse. We are burning away our problems.  I hope God doesn’t tire of us and our world. The simplicity of it is that love can perform miracles,  while fury succeeds in burning anything in its path.

"If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start."

"Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children."    Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School:

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