G-22: Complain or Comply… May 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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baby and parentsWhen a man loves a woman and she returns in kind, often the by-product of such an encounter is a kid.

It is procreation. It is the little surprise offered to us which pops up nine months later at the end of a seven-second orgasm.

First, let’s establish some ground rules: No human being is born to be a parent. We were born to be children who hopefully learn to function in an adult world.

Much to the chagrin of those around me, I must state that the notion of a maternal or a paternal instinct is at least elusive, if not mythical. Matter of fact, those who tout that they can offer seminars on parenting are perhaps some of the more dangerous individuals in our society.

Here are two basic principles about the process of bringing human beings into a world based on our own desires:

1. Ideas and actions transfer well from parent to child.

In other words, kids are more likely to pick up on your prejudices and your vices than anything else.

2. On the other hand, feelings and beliefs are often lost in the translation of growing up.

So even though you may insist that you taught your children to feel a certain way and believe in God, they will either deny such training or rebel against it. This is why ideas get overblown from one generation to another and actions are exaggerated.

For instance, a father who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day will probably end up with a son who smokes two. A mother who is prejudiced against a certain race will raise a child who is much more demonstrative in his or her hatred.

So all feelings and faith have to be born again in each and every human. There is no transfusion of God from one individual to another. Yet at the same time, hate passes freely and bad deeds, fluidly.

So what can a parent do?

This was the problem for man and woman when they ended up with two sons. Even though both children came through the same birth canal, the tide and flow of their lives was quite different. One ended up being a complainer and the other, a complier.

I cannot truthfully tell you that one of these choices is better than the other. It seems more righteous, certainly, to comply–but at the same time, on some occasions it is essential to question.

And even though complaining is normally a whiny vice, it does afford time for reflection instead of just blind faith.

But in actual time–in other words, real life experience–complaining has a tendency to close down the door to learning, while complying at least puts us on the field of play for possible growth.

Two brothers, raised in the same household, with different philosophies, who are destined to collide.

What can mom and dad do? When could they have done it? And how effective would it have been?

This is the trio of questions all parents end up asking themselves–especially after some contentious, or even disastrous, results.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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It Takes a Knife… February 2, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Bowie knifeSelfishness, prejudice, politics and apathy.

Trying to avoid being overly dramatic and resisting the temptation to fall into the cliché of deeming them the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” let me just choose to refer to selfishness, prejudice, politics and apathy as the Four-headed Buffoon.

Of course, no one would admit that our country is plagued by this off-key quartet. So we have come up with different names for the vices:

  • Selfishness is disguised behind self-esteem.
  • Prejudice is marketed as cultural pride.
  • Politics is pushed onto the unsuspecting public as “the great debate.”
  • And apathy is perhaps the worst of all because it hides behind the beauty of “family,” leaving behind the needs of others.

Can I tell you what I’ve learned over my forty years of traveling the country? Railing against the rabble is similar to spitting in the wind and picking off a scab before it heals. It all comes back to haunt you.

So my way of resisting the short-sightedness of selfishness, prejudice, politics and apathy is to bring a knife–something to cut through the foolishness.

For instance, I don’t want to argue with you about what’s selfish. I just want to joyously, almost comically, pursue generosity. And I’m talking about silly giving–a quarter to a kid on the street, a dollar to a street-corner beggar. Anything to cut through the delusion.

Likewise, I don’t want to jump into the argument of race, creed–or sexual orientation, for that matter. I just travel around proclaiming, “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Slice, slice. You can sort it out from there.

And politics is simple. I don’t follow any party–you are in danger of becoming drunken on the liquor of self-satisfaction. I talk about what’s best for the heart of human beings. You know what happens? Sometimes that’s conservative and sometimes it’s liberal. Get my point?

And I take out my great big Bowie knife of being interested to overcome the cloud of apathy that darkens our skies. Yes, I spend an extra minute asking one additional question of another living soul about his or her dreams instead of merely focusing on the weather or “how are the kids are doing?”

It takes a knife to cut. And if we’re ever going to trim away the foolishness of selfishness, prejudice, politics and apathy, it will take the sharpness of generosity, knowing that NoOne is better than anyone else, bringing true emotion and being interested in life … instead of acting like a damn tourist.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

The Box Created for Me … February 8, 2013

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contentsDecember 18th, at Mercy Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, I arrived in this world as the fourth son of James Russell and Mary Adele Cring, weighing in at a whopping twelve and a half pounds. I was a big blob of chub.

Before I had completed taking my first breath of human air, already deposited into my being were weaknesses, strengths, predilections, inklings, chromosomal domination, DNA damage and family traits such as skin color, eye hue and even baldness.

This was my “born” identity. Every one of us has one. To ensure that this particular package of information is reinforced, we are basically surrounded for the first six years of our lives with only a handful of individuals, teaching us how to do everything from holding a spoon to the correct position for crapping. We absorb their culture. It becomes ours. And because it is ours, in our minds it is preferred above all others.

We are taught to have devotion to one set of people who have granted us this identity over, the other individuals we come into contact with who are equally as human, and maybe a more suitable blessing to our lives. I learned the manners of the Cring clan. I absorbed the fears. I heard the jokes. I retained the prejudice: “Eenie-meenie-minee-moe, catch a nigger by his toe…” (Later, arriving in school, I discovered that the more acceptable word was “tiger” instead of “nigger,” but deep in my soul I rejected it because after all, my DNA masters had taught me differently.)

These family members wasted little time trying to influence my destiny. By the time I was six weeks old, they were already guessing at my personality by the expressions on my face (which really were reactions to excess gas, but they interpreted them as personality quirks.) I became a “good baby”–or was it a “quiet little one?” Maybe I was a “real handful.” Could it be that I would be an athlete–because my legs seemed really strong when I kicked my booties off?  Aunts and uncles joined into the barrage of suggestions with their own interpretations of my unformed thinking. Entering the schoolroom made little difference–just exposed me to more ideas and more individuals who insisted that I should stay within the box created for me, and of course, coloring within the lines.

By the time I was thirteen years old, I had taken my twelve and a half pounds at birth and accelerated them to three hundred. No one intervened. Since I was playing on the football team, it was assumed that I was just “one of those big boys.” Or maybe it was because no one wanted to admit they had raised a fat kid. Who knows?

But when I left the security of this conclave of seeming protectors, I was unprepared for the world, which had little toleration for my vices and even more varied demands for my destiny.

My box was delivered into life–but it seemed to arrive postage due.

The result? I am confused. I was told that I was a Cring and everything would be all right if I just followed the household rules. And now, even my family is wondering why I just don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the world around me.

I have outgrown the box in which I was created, but I am frightened to lift the lid and escape.

My God. What’s next?

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