Children Are Not Corn … May 26, 2012

 

English: A display of six ears of field corn w...

English: A display of six ears of field corn with dented yellow kernels (Zea mays var. indentata) which won ribbons for “best of show” at the Steele County Fair in Owatonna, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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No, children are not corn. Good soil, seed, water, sunshine and care do not guarantee a plentiful harvest. Unlike corn they rarely take “stalk” of themselves and certainly are not “all ears.”

 Good corn  comes from good seed. But bad kids can come from good parents. We all know this, right? You can read books, study habits or even develop a life of piety–it will not ensure the results you desire.

I thought about this last night because my son and daughter-in-law are about to have a baby.They are excited. They will get over this and when they do, what will they need to know about fostering the growth of another human being instead of thinking that they are merely raising corn? Here is  short list I put together based on my experience with raising six sons:

1. Instruct following a failure. Don’t critique mediocre effort, but do use the moment to enhance results.

2. Encourage progress. Spend twice as much time exhorting brilliance as you spend fussing about “dimness.”

3. Praise success. Yes, celebrate. Don’t assume the benefits of the experience are sufficient without your words of acknowledgment.

4. And finally, in their presence, always believe the best. In their absence, always prepare for the worst. There is no benefit in being an optimistic parent. The only thing that will make you useless to your child is if their behavior surprises you, producing shock, which greatly resembles disappointment. And disappointment is poison to the spirit of a young human. Always have a contingency plan for what you will do if your children end up being … crazy.

So to my fine son and his wife, let me say that being the adult means standing firm in your support but being wise enough to never be  caught off guard, which can lead to accidentally becoming abusive because you were not rehearsed for any possibility.

Children aren’t  corn. You can’t butter them up and they don’t always en up lining up with all their little, golden nuggets in perfect rows.They are unpredictable. So make sure you have taken the time to predict what they’re able to do. 

  

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Fearfully and Wonderfully… April 4, 2012

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The Psalmist declared that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”–fearfully in the sense that the same energy that can empower us can also blow up in our faces, scattering our dreams into oblivion; and wonderfully made because even though we continue to gain great insight on the human condition, we still remain the final frontier for discovery.

Over the past several days I have presented human life in six twelve-year packages. Let’s take this morning to sum it all up and also conclude what might be better choices in applying these precious dispensations of time.

From birth to twelve we have the chilled-hood–a time when boys and girls are so similar that it is often difficult to tell them apart–both visually and certainly in ability. But it’s also a dangerous time, when the prejudice can be planted in the young, fertile soil, promoting a lifetime of  begrudging appreciation. For understand this–prejudice is not an idea. It is a disease. And once you allow children to be infected by this germ by alienating members of the opposite sex, then the disease of bigotry continues in their lives and they will find it difficult not to apply the same principle to people of color and people who vary in size. What’s the best thing you can do for your children? Teach your boys to rejoice over being equal with girls and your girls to enjoy equality with boys–AND that this could be the norm for our species, not the temporary. Yes, the message of chilled-hood is that we don’t require antagonism between boys and girls, which can lead in the future to the disease of prejudice, turning us into bigots. Let me be bold–there is no one who thinks that men and women are different who does not also have the inkling that black people and white people are from separate worlds and that the size of a human being determines their value and intelligence.

And when thirteen years of age comes along, in that phase I dubbed addled essence, an introduction of the drugs of testosterone and estrogen permeating the bloodstreams of emerging adults, it is a great occasion to draw a line in the sand and insist that these “addled essence” individuals tolerate tolerance. I love that phrase. What do teenagers hate to do? Enjoy things they didn’t come up with. So the greatest thing we can do for those between the ages of thirteen and twenty-four is place them in situations where they need to tolerate tolerance. In other words, they need to understand that their future primal relationship will be with someone different from themselves, and the more they learn to understand, the greater the compatibility will be. To the addled essence, we require that you tolerate tolerance.

And when twenty-five years of age rolls around and the human being moves into the phase of “you’re kidding,” where procreation seems more important than being creative, we should remember that birthing your own life, and THEN another, is the key to being an excellent parent. Nobody can help anybody else be happy if they are discontented. So before you bring another human being onto the face of the earth, make sure of your own joy about being here yourself.

We move on to years of  thirty-seven to forty-eight. I dubbed this Re-Spend-Ability. The solution here is really quite simple. Love and money don’t mix. Do you want to talk about your love, your romance and your relationship? Terrific. But no signs of the dollar should ever come into the discussion or you will taint the beauty and sanctity of love. And honestly, when it’s time to talk about money, a pencil, paper and a calculator is sufficient rather than memories of your honeymoon and misgivings about whether you are appreciated and heard. The best way to sustain a long, living love affair is to make sure that love and money are never in the same room together.

Just around the age of forty-nine, estrogen in a woman and testosterone in a man begin to wane, hinting towards a loss of the feminine mystique and the macho persona. People get scared so they start picking at each other and blaming each other for their condition–dissing in action. What is the goal? To get older but not old–because even though as a man you are losing some of the ability to run races and lift boxes, and as a woman you are not going to be giving birth to children anymore, what you have gained is experience and wisdom, which enables you to keep a cool head in times of crisis. Can I repeat the by-line for this group? “Get older, not old.” And the best way to stay young is to be current and funny.

Which leads us to our last twelve-year period, which for many people extends even into their nineties. Eco-quality–where nature and human creation were meant to come into peaceful unity, returning us back to our chilled-hood spirit of cooperation. It has a simple and delightful slogan: learn and play. Unfortunately, most people who find themselves in the post-retirement era become grumpy and unwilling to learn, and think playfulness is immature. But if you can escape the urge to be cranky, you can realize there is still much to learn because a whole world of possibility is being invented right in front of you. And there is more time to play because you aren’t lifting boxes and don’t have to wipe the runny noses of your offspring.

There you have it. Now let’s put all the by-lines together and see what we come up with:

We don’t need the seed of prejudice but instead should learn to tolerate tolerance, birthing our own life to joy before we welcome another into our fold. Separating love from money while getting older but never old, we finally arrive at the true wisdom of the human journey, which is to learn and play.

It is a great system that first removes the antagonism that exists between the sexes, which relieves the pressure to be superior and frees us to live a life of true spirituality, which is:  “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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