Short Post For Christians

Around the dinner tables and around the water coolers – at gatherings of our families and friends there’s a common lament – the decaying social fabric of our country.  Our Constitution says we have freedom of religion, yet the group, “Freedom from Religion” is winning at every turn.  Why is that?  It’s two-fold.

Number 1:  A lack of spiritual knowledge in the newer generations.

When I was young, almost every kid went to church at least once a week.  If the dad was a drunk, Mom managed to get the kids to church by herself.  In our society, it was a given that Sunday mornings were not available for work or socializing because everyone went to church before doing anything else.  Regardless of how we lived out our spirituality during the week, Sunday was a day for God and rest and the family was offered a moral alternative to unfettered hedonism. Continue reading

It Could Get Ugly

Picture of an ugly manYes, it could get ugly.  I was thinking about the content of my blog posts and came to the conclusion that there was something missing.  I’ve been doing a lot of teaching about how we all became who we are and that understanding the beliefs and meanings of others with whom we associate would be  beneficial when we have disagreements.

I’ve thrown in a couple of “safe” posts about cultural things, but being safe is boring.  I’ve been told a million times, since my youth, that we shouldn’t talk about religion or politics.  As I ponder that admonition, it occurs to me that there are no other more influential aspects of our lives than government and spirituality.  The government is reaching deeper and deeper into our lives and our spirituality or lack thereof has a huge influence on how we live our lives and how we interact with others.

I just wrote a blog post about being offended.  When I open up the possibilities for new blog content, I guess we’ll see if my readers will get offended and leave or join in a debate.    So, “There’s a new Sheriff in town”.  We’ll be talking about new stuff – guns, prejudice, race, politics, religion, “rights” and responsibilities, white privilege, and the American Dream.  I think the next post will be call “Babies and Patriotism”.

Are you up for it?  I hope you are.

Whadayathink?

What’s The Matter With People? Pt. 1

What’s the matter with people? Part 1Pidture of a couple back to back

I was talking with a client of mine about the last blog (Just Doesn’t Matter 10/12) and he mentioned that he and his spouse had been bickering more than normal the last couple of weeks and that the last blog post was helpful.

Well, that’s a good thing – BUT… Knowing why the conflicts generally occur would be even more beneficial.  Then, we would understand other people and possibly avoid most of the conflicts ahead of time.  When I use the word partner in this post, that could include any kind of relationships you might have.

You may have picked up on an underlying desire of mine to have you all experience peace and joy more often than you do now.  I find that the more I learn about people, the more I can coexist with them in peace.

So, now we’re going to learn about “Sorting Systems”.  I won’t try to explain the origin of the term. We’ll have to let it go and just know that Sorting Systems define how we do life in some specific contexts.  I’ll talk about one Sorting System in this blog and continue with others in the next few blogs.

The first Sorting System is:

Sort by Self – Sort by Others

In each of these Sorting Systems there is a continuum that goes from one extreme to the other.  Keep in mind that most of the time we will fit somewhere in between the two extremes.  I’ll give examples at the extremes, because the concept is more vivid when you present a marked contrast from one side to the other.  Every area of every Sorting System can and should be managed so that we have balance in our lives.  Even though we can’t change our orientation in any give Sorting System, we can move away from the extremes of the continuum which will improve our relationships and reduce our personal struggles, as well. Continue reading

Good Moms – Bad Rap

Boys

There’s a side-effect that comes with being a good mom that nobody anticipates and few people understand.  I’ll be writing about mothers of boys, since this side-effect is more common and more pronounced with boys than it is with girls.  Considering the amount of time stay-at-home moms spend with their children and how much opportunity they have to manage their kids’ behavior, it’s logical that this side-effect is experienced much more quickly than with working moms.

If a woman wants to be a good mom, she’ll accept the responsibility of teaching her boys about hygiene, manners, nutrition, safe play, balance between video game usage and school studies.  Those are the basics.  Then, you have the values and principles specific to this particular set of parents.  Added to the basics could be spiritual awareness, charity, industry (working for money), saving money, volunteering, etc.

Let it be known – RIGHT NOW – none of these things comes naturally to a human boy, much less two or three of them living together. Continue reading

Why Do Whiners Whine?

Whining

Few things are more annoying than having a person in your group who whines about everything.  The weather is too hot, the walk is too long, they have too much to do, they don’t have enough money, they have aches and pains, they are disappointed with everyone and everything.  How can they be so discontent all the time?

Believe it or not, there’s a logical explanation for their thinking and their behavior.  It’s called “Calibrated Self-reference”.  There you have it.  Now, you know everything that I know.  Oh… I’ll bet you want me to clarify that a little, huh?

OK.  We all know by now that who we are is a by-product of our personal experience.  In our lives we will all experience different levels of physical and emotional discomfort.  As a child and while we’re growing up we will rate every new discomfort by comparing it to what we’ve already experienced. Continue reading

Balance of Influence

Scale

We’ve spoken before about how we form our beliefs and meanings about things – experiencing the same information over and over until it settles in our mind as the truth.  Well, there’s another element that must be included if we want to have an impact on certain people around us.

We may be modeling our values consistently in front of our kids, but there are others with whom our children associate, who model their values as well.  Who’s going to win the battle for the hearts and minds of those whom we cherish the most – our children?  Here’s one answer – whoever has the opportunity to model their values for the most amount of time.  This is where the Balance of Influence comes in to play.

It’s at this point that I have to qualify the content of this blog.  What I’m writing about is immaterial if your values and principles already match those of everyone else with whom your children will come into contact.  Or, if you believe that every religious belief is basically the same as all the rest and if you look at the world around you and determine that the moral fabric and general character of our society is what you want for your children anyway, then you have nothing about which to be concerned and you can stop reading right now.  If not, carry on. Continue reading

Beliefs and Meanings

Couple2

I pointed out in a previous blog that we, as children, observe our world and come to conclusions about what we see and hear. Over the course of time, we will all assign meaning to words and adopt beliefs about people and concepts. Whatever we come to believe is true or not true about anything would be of no consequence if we never had to socialize with anyone else. But, when we are forced to interact with other humans at a job, in a relationship or at social gatherings, we’ll inevitably find people whose beliefs and meanings differ from our own. Depending on the context, we can simply ignore our differences or we need to negotiate the differences in order to preserve the relationship. Continue reading