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Archive for the ‘values’ Category

A Mother’s Consolation

At least I know they’re all good kids. I hear it from everyone. All three have learned to be good, decent humans. It didn’t happen by itself. I had something to do with it. Their father only taught them that there are selfish, self-centered people in the world. I get compliments on the kids all the time. Everyone tells me what great kids I have. That’s my consolation. They’ve turned out to be dependable, decent, and caring people AND they learned it from me!

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Is It Ethical?

On another site someone published a photograph they took of a homeless man, sleeping on a piece of cardboard, in New York City. She said she was so moved by the sight that she had to “capture the moment.” She goes on to say that she would not have taken the photograph if the man had been aware of her doing so, which clearly implies that she did not have the man’s permission to take the photo, written, verbal, or implied. (more…)

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I often come across irrate people and people that whine and complain about everything and it always reminds me of a story I came across years ago. It was in one of the Chicken Soup For the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.

In the story, the writer (whose name I am not aware of) relayed that he lived in the east San Francisco bay area and worked in San Francisco. He commuted daily, traveling across the Bay Bridge. He told of the daily dread he faced getting in his car and knowing he was going to be stuck in traffic on his way to work and then at work he’d be surrounded by rude, unhappy people who would complain and whine all day long. He didn’t ever look forward to a day surrounded by negativity. One day, as Business Man was in line at the toll booth on the Bay Bridge, he noticed that all of the toll workers were going through the same repetitive motions and they looked bored to tears. He felt sorry for them having to work a full shift in the tiny 3×4 booths, doing the same monotonous thing over and over again. Business Man thought there was no wonder why they were sometimes rude and didn’t even look at the person handing them the toll. As the line moved and he got closer to the toll booths, Business Man noticed one toll taker that stood out from the others. The man was wearing a brightly colored bandana around a head full of dreadlocks. He was moving around as if dancing and appeared to be singing and was definitely making eye contact and smiling at everyone. Business Man paid his toll and fought traffic, arrived at work and had to deal with the same rude, negative people all day long. The next day, on the way to work, Business Man maneuvered his car into the toll lane of Dreadlock Man. And yes, that day the man had the same positive, upbeat demeanor. Dreadlock Man was singing and as he accepted the toll from Business Man’s outstretched hand, he smiled and said “thank you; have a great day” and continued to dance and sing, waiting for the next car! Days went by and Dreadlock Man remained his happy, positive self. One day the following week, with few cars behind him in the toll lane, Business Man asked Dreadlock Man how he could remain so happy doing the same boring task all day, every day. What was the secret, Business Man wanted to know. Dreadlock Man smiled and told Business Man that as he stood in the bland 3×4 toll booth each day, he reminded himself that everywhere around him there were countless people in poor health, with no job, no roof over their heads, a hungry stomach, no family and nothing to look forward to. And then he compared himself to them and his happiness that he had his health, job, home, food, family, and his freedom, made it impossible to stop smiling; to stop dancing; to stop singing; to stop being thankful.

I read that story at least seven years ago and it has stayed with me. It makes sense. It reminds me that, while my life may not be full of luxury and “things”, I have a lot. It reminds me that I should be joyously singing and dancing and smiling.

I try to remember this story every day.

It does make a difference.

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Many years ago, I saw the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird. I was six years old. Although I didn’t understand everything that was happening on the big screen, I did understand Scout and her love for Atticus and Jem and her innocent acceptance of and fascination with Boo Radley and the people the town folk looked down on and judged.

Later, in middle school, I read Harper Lee’s simple, honest, and amazing book upon which the movie was based. I understood so much more than I had at six years of age. I appreciated the writing and the innocence portrayed by the characters. And I still loved and worshiped Atticus, perhaps more than at age six.

In high school, I read the book again. I understood more. I enjoyed more. I questioned more. And I loved Scout, Atticus, Jem, and even Dill so much more than in previous encounters.

Since then I have read the book countless times and seen the movie repeatedly. I am convinced that it is probably one of the top ten books ever written. It transcends time, race, class, gender, age, and so much more. To Kill A Mockingbird is an incredibly memorable encounter with honesty, heroism, good versus evil, right versus wrong, justice versus injustice, and simplicity.

To portray things in simple and honest terms is a gift. To live life in a simple and honest way is a goal.

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