G-Poppers … January 12th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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As a boy, G-Pop recalls how beautiful and powerful six inches of snow was in Ohio. It usually meant that school was canceled for the day and the winter wonderland was available for walking and playing.

Yet with all the potential, it was G-Pop’s profile to go outside for a few minutes, but then to come back in, pull out the Monopoly game and play, by himself, using three different pieces, so he was only competing against himself.

It was so much fun. No yelling, no arguing, no fussing and lots of surprises.

Outside it was cold, crowded and competitive. The air was frigid and the surroundings were full of children looking for a way to create mischief with the snow–and the hillsides for sliding were soon lined up with people waiting their turn to get the best “slick trip.”

G-Pop just didn’t like to take most of his glorious day and spend it waiting, freezing and sometimes arguing

G-Pop wants his children to understand that we now have the same situation in our country. People have defined the thrills and chills of our era–so everyone bundles up and goes out into the cold, where it’s crowded and competitive. Of course, it can become so cutthroat that people start getting hurt.

G-Pop recommends to his children that they slip back into the house and play a better game. It’s named “Kindness”–and it is so unusual, so ignored and so set to the side that they will find themselves succeeding by surprising everyone with the choice.

It has three parts to it:

1. Return to “courtly.”

Reinstitute phrases like, “if you don’t mind.” Or, “if you would be so kind.” And of course, “it was so nice of you to do that.”

It doesn’t matter if other people are saying the same words. It gives a sense of well-being, purpose and gentleness.

2. Lead with a smile.

The usual grimace just doesn’t cut it anymore. If everybody’s frowning at one another, the possibility for negotiation or business is nearly eliminated.

Is there a danger in leading with a smile? G-Pop supposes so–there are always con men and women who will try to play off weakness, but if you can see them coming, you can keep a nice grin, welcoming people in.

3. Set aside a blessing.

Yes, every week, put a little extra money to the rear. A little extra time. A few things no longer used, to give to somebody who would benefit from them.

We are so interested in giving to charity, but often we don’t know where that money goes. If you set aside some of your charitable funds, and place them strategically where you desire, it is so much more fulfilling.

The world is cold, crowded and competitive.

Come inside the love of God and discover your warmth.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn Orlando

To He Who Robbed Our Pulse

(Dedicated to the Souls in Orlando)

How easy it is to kill

To end the dreams of Jack and Jill

Who went to fetch some fun

‘Til confronted by your gun

Removing all their will

 

You claim faith in God

But then prove you’re a fraud

By destroying His greatest desire

You make the message a liar

Placing the young in a tomb.

 

Did anyone see your hate?

Could they stop the fate?

That crushed the hopes of so many

And produced the graves aplenty

Making the children helpless

 

It is time for a simple path

To expunge the bloody math

And let us look for a friend

Instead of promoting the end

Of God’s great human embrace

 

So as we contemplate the morrow

Let us rise from festering sorrow

And push to find something brighter

Lifting burdens, making things lighter

Listening instead of yelling

Laughing instead of cursing

And talking instead of shooting.

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Recess… November 8, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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children playgroundThe bell rang. Time for recess.

I looked around the room into the faces of twenty-nine other young souls like myself, in Mrs. Arnold’s third grade class and realized that the ringing meant different things to each and every one.

Some were smiling, wiggling in anticipation. Others seemed resigned, as if bored with the prospect. And there were those who were terrified–fully aware that in a few short minutes they would be out on the playground with their peers, trying to compete and falling short of the glory of childhood acceptance.

  • There would be interaction.
  • There would be competition.
  • There would be challenges.
  • There would be ridicule.

It is part of the process. And as we pursue a much-needed campaign against the brutality of bullying, we must be careful not to hamper the interaction among younger folks when they are separated from grown-ups–an exposure that brings about the necessary evolution toward character, confidence and realization.

For when you discuss “peer,” there are three different categories. If you think that each and every time children fuss, argue and fight, it is wrong–bullying–you are disrupting the human jungle that DOES provide a great barometer for cleaning out abnormalities and setting apart better paths.

For instance, I failed to be called a “fat boy” enough in school to rid myself of obesity. I was TOO well-liked, too personable and in some ways, too talented to be challenged over a weakness that has now plagued me my whole life. It should have been taken care of by:

1. Peer presence.

This is just the blending of kids getting together to discover solutions on the best way to get along. It is characterized by talking. This is why sometimes it’s stupid in school, to tell kids to be quiet. They are trying to find a way to blend with each other. Not everything can be solved by an adult guidance counselor. We need our friends to talk with, to blend with and to discover solutions. And sometimes this leads to:

2. Peer pressure.

It is essential in the human race that we learn how to bend. We must discover our differences and even be willing to argue about them in order to produce adequate compromises. Too many teachers think that because kids are arguing, it’s a sign of severe difficulty. The truth is, peer pressure teaches us to bend, acknowledge our differences, and if necessary, fuss our way through them.

I certainly agree that peer pressure can go too far and can lead to the promotion of violent behavior. But I will also tell you there is no person who appears to the youngster to be old, who can intervene and produce the results that they can hammer out, on their own, together.

When you live in the adult world, the only power you have over the young is to teach them right, wrong, manners and gentleness. Then they must go out in the midst of peer pressure and work out the specifics. Occasionally this can get carried away and lead to:

3. Peer persecution.

Some kids feel compelled to bind other children by bullying them.  How can you identify what’s bullying and what is viable peer pressure?

Bullying is when the arguing stops, one person ceases to speak and becomes the target of the other one, who dominates.

That’s right. If two kids are arguing, give them a chance to work it out. But if you come across two kids and only one of them is yelling, ridiculing the other child, who is standing there, without speech, just taking it–you have just come across bullying.

It is a mistake for people who are no longer in school, no longer youthful and no longer understand the playground, to try to come in and make things right for everybody by keeping things calm and on an even keel. You are just making matters worse. Learn the difference.

  • The young students in our country need peer presence. They must be given a human mixer to blend, discovering solutions.
  • Sometimes this leads to peer pressure, where kids will argue, trying to bend to one another’s inclinations, and in the process, uncover differences which eventually are included in the flow.
  • But we should never let it go into peer persecution, where one kid binds another one up with bullying. This is easily identified by the absence of the persecuted child offering any verbal defense.

I recently heard about a young man who felt he was being bullied, so he committed suicide. Here’s my problem with that: why wasn’t there a climate where this young man could express to his parents, family or teachers his need for assistance?

And why are we attacking the very delicate procedure of peer interaction, trying to eliminate anything WE would consider negative, just because in this case, the system failed one young man?

I am saddened by his death, but alerted to the fact that the problem here was not just bullying. It was a fellow who didn’t think he could argue back to the peer pressure, and also did not feel that anybody outside the playground would either hear or have the power to change his circumstances.

We need peer presence. Students must learn to blend.

I think we need some peer pressure, to bend, where kids have the chance to produce some of their own solutions through argument.

What we do need to stop is peer persecution, binding, where one person is silenced as the others continue to rail against him or her.

Can we make these distinctions? If we can’t, we need to stop calling ourselves parents, teachers and leaders.

Our society is overwrought. Some things are necessary to create the cultural revolution in each generation that progresses the idea of humanity instead of trying to keep everything calm, but stalled.

I know it is possible. I did it with all six of the sons I raised. I let them blend and I let them bend. Only when they began to bind each other with persecution did I step in. Because of that, I think each one of them has grown up with a better understanding of who he is and how he fits in.

Bullying–it’s when one person stops talking and runs for cover, only to be chased by an assailant.

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Yellin’ … February 11, 2012

 
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Yellin’ is what we do when mere shouting proves insufficient to propel the magnitude and importance of our necessary opinion. It is an exercise which seems brutally–yet reverently–valuable in the moment while rendering us rather embarrassed upon later reflection. So humiliated are we at times that we choose to “re-write”  the tale of the event, using much softer tones. 
 
For instance:  “We weren’t yellin’–we were having a discussion.” (That is one often used to explain to the children when Mom and Dad have increased the decibels so much that the young ones hear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a child born since Cain to Adam and Eve who actually buys that particular excuse.)
 
The new one in our society to describe yelling that really isn’t yellin’ is “we were involved in a heated debate.” Of course, the difference between yellin’ and heated debate is that in any form of proper exchange, space for breathing air and allowing the hearing of your opponent is provided.
 
Then there is the more spiritual approach, which is calling it a “disagreement” or the famous “we just agree to disagree.” Of course, none of us ever do agree to disagree–we just take our complaint to someone else and talk about you behind your back.
 
I bring this up because I was involved in one of those “yellin’ sessions” yesterday. Now, it’s always been my intention with jonathots to be as forthcoming with you as possible, so as to keep our lines of communication pure in heart. So even though I’m not proud of the fact that I was involved in a heated debate fostered by a disagreement further nurtured by an avid discussion, giving me a sore throat–I must be truthful that such outbursts in the human expression are real and part of our lives. The only true danger is when we are so ashamed of our own part in the childish rant that we try to disguise the event or even pretend that nothing really happened.
 
Yellin’ is important. The reason it’s important is that we know it occurred because talking had stopped, thinking was on vacation and respect had taken a holiday. When we have respect for ourselves and others and we think about what we feel and what they must feel, the normal response is to talk. But when respect has gone into the wind and thinking is clouded by fear and ego, talking seems quite inept–especially when our newly-found opponent has already ramped up the volume.
 
Here are the main reasons we yell at each other:
 
1. We don’t understand, and rather than asking, we have already developed a scenario that suits our fancy.
2. We are offended and haven’t taken the time to express our pain but would rather live it out in vivid description to the offender.
3. We are jealous but find that childish, so we opt for some moral, spiritual or mental high ground to justify our nastiness.
4. We are drawn to this other person, but feel they do not care about us and therefore our affection is unrequited.
5. We have some half-baked notion that God is angry at our adversary and will really be happy if we “go get ’em.”
6. We need a nap or a good dinner and we opt for a riot.
7. And finally, we have convinced ourselves that the best way we are heard is by screaming.
 
Now, when you look at those seven motivations for verbal mutilation, you begin to humbly understand how yellin’ comes to be. It’s going to happen, my dear friends.
 
And the best thing we can do is avoid the shame, check over that list and find ourselves, and then, as Jesus suggested–heal the inner parts of our heart and purify our own motives before we next hop on any train of thought towards our brother or sister.
 
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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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