Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … August 13th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: Hey, I got the message you wanted to see me.


Dear Man: Yeah, I have a job interview coming up and I wanted your insight.


Dear Woman: Okay…


Dear Man: You seem reluctant. What’s the problem?


Dear Woman: I’m not reluctant. It’s just that you’re really smart, you know what you’re doing and you’ve gotten jobs before…


Dear Man: I know, but this interview is with a man, and I thought you could give me some tips on how to approach it.


Dear Woman: (chuckling) You do understand, it’s not like there’s a real “Hair Club for Men” and we get together once a week to discuss our plans.


Dear Man: I know that. I just want to get an edge so I can get off on the right foot.


Dear Woman: Well, the wrong foot is thinking there’s a context for dealing with other people.


Dear Man: What do you mean?


Dear Woman: Once we start boxing people up by sex, race or any way at all, we’re showing both our disrespect for them and our insecurity about ourselves.


Dear Man: Gee, whiz, I just wanted some advantage…


Dear Woman: OK. Here’s an advantage. Work on your content. And here’s your content: “This is who I am, this is what I want and this is what I can offer.” In that order.


Dear Man: Isn’t that pushy?


Dear Woman: No, pushy is when you think you can look some magical way or produce some mystical dialogue that suddenly makes you appealing to a male boss.


Dear Man: There are prejudices.


Dear Woman: Yes, there are, but you won’t overcome them by giving into them. Find your content. Don’t try to outsmart. Instead, out-start them. Anticipate the questions and provide the information you know he will need. Then gently guide him to the questions you want him to ask you.


Dear Man: How do you do that?


Dear Woman: Balance. If you hear something you don’t agree with, say right out loud, “That hasn’t been my finding.” It will surprise him. It’ll make him ask questions about why you differ. Nodding your head and smiling is the best way to make sure that you don’t get a job. Stop worrying about the context. In other words, “I’m talking to a man so I should do this.” Focus on the content: “This is who I am, what I want and what I can offer.” Then if he is not in the same place you are…well, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, right?


Dear Man: I hear what you’re saying but I don’t know whether I can do that or not. I’ve spent my life trying to please.


Dear Woman: I understand. But it’s time to take steps toward clarifying your content instead of groping around, trying to find the context and submitting to it.


Dear Man: I’m so glad I called you.


Dear Woman: Oh, you would have figured it out. But in the process you might have missed out on a good job or two.


Dear Man: So, content, not context. Out-start them instead of trying to outsmart them.


Dear Woman: That’s it. Good luck.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 30th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog


PoHymn 9 30

A Well, Defined

Precious must confirm some value

Faith is better with substance

Love requires a commitment

Hope is energized by a vision

Kindness is empty without action

Belief, annoying minus fruit

Equality should prepare for the challenge

And peace must outsmart all war.

God is mean without mercy

Church comes alive through heart

Music is tuneless when heartless

Money mocks without a companion

Salvation begins in the here and now

Heaven, the sequel to a well-written Earth

Hell is always denying there is more

Romance, the culmination of great conversation

Failure is the chance to humbly succeed

Success, the spotlight on our remaining need

Parenting is God’s therapy for wounded children

Childhood, the time to question blind tradition

Freedom is what allows the truth to be told

Truth is what grants us the freedom to be bold

Knowledge is the book, but understanding, the eyes

Patience is the learning that makes fools wise

Time is our friend if we don’t surrender

Surrender, our savior when it’s time to remember.

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Outsmarted… July 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


chinese foodI don’t consider myself dense, unless you are referring to physical girth. Then, probably so, but in the realm  of intelligence, usually not. Matter of fact, I have learned to enjoy planning so that I can relax and be at peace with the process instead of wondering what’s going to pop up and smack me in the face. I would be so bold as to say that 75% of the damage we experience happens because we think we can handle things on the fly–and they end up stumping us, even though they could have been more easily plotted out.

So last night when I finished up at Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center, Minnesota, in front of a wonderful handful of folks who had come out from the community to see what benefit we humble artisans might share with them, I was somewhat pleased that I had already prepared for the evening meal by having Dollie call a small-carry out Chinese restaurant in the tiny town called the Hot Wok. She ordered our food so it would be prepared for pick up as we left the church, to be toted back to our headquarters.

$24.05–that was the tally. I pulled a twenty-dollar bill and a five dollar bill out of my wallet and gave it to Dollie. I was sitting in the parking lot waiting, when Jill, from the church, pulled up with her delightful two daughters, waved at me, ran inside and short moments later came back out.

Do you know what crossed my mind? This must be a good place to eat if the locals frequent it. (It was also just nice to see her again.)

Jill and her husband, Mike, had been our sponsors for the event and had not only put their hearts into promotion, but their backs and strength into helping us carry equipment in and out and their souls into receiving. They are inspiring people, who keep me optimistic in the presence of all the grumpers around who would like to see me become cantankerous.

Anyway, back at the Hot Wok… I waited for about ten minutes and finally Dollie emerged with our order, got in the van and handed me back my twenty-five dollars. It STILL didn’t register with me what had happened. She explained that Jill had overheard her calling in the order to the Hot Wok, and that she and her husband had decided to come down and pay for our dinner as a final blessing.

I was shocked, blessed, tickled, grateful and in awe.

I got out-smarted.

Usually when I say that phrase, it means that somebody pulled the wool over my eyes, taking more time and money from me than I planned on giving. We live in a society that thinks it’s cute to stomp around, spouting, “Let the buyer beware.”  We think that good business is when we squeeze the extra dollar from the unsuspecting consumer.

But Jesus let us know that there’s a better way to outsmart our fellow humans. He called it “being wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

As I look back on it now, recalling the countenance on Jill’s face as she emerged from the Hot Wok, I did see the twinkle in her eye. She had done something on her own for another human being without being forced or intimidated into the action.

Amazing, don’t you think?

So to Jill, Mike and all the good folks at Faith Lutheran, let me tell you that you’ve inspired me to outsmart my world–outsmart them by blessing them, touching them, giving to them, thinking about them, praying for them, creating for them, rejoicing with them and being gentle with them … beyond their expectation.

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