Remembering To Think

I was cleaning out a bag a few days ago and came across a pin that I had forgotten about.  It says, “Think.”  Great, right?  Simple, to the point, and something that is easy to do.  Or at least it should be.

I got that pin at a convention and was thrilled when I did.  I used to wear a variety of them back years ago. These were popular when I was in high school and college — to wear favorite bands, sayings, and pictures.  I have seen many people over the years wear favorite pins.

After finding this word, I started to wonder how many people these days think before they speak, before they act, or before they interact with others.  Many seem to react without thinking and that gives me some concern.  I want us to think first and then take action.  I just hope that we can work on that.

Merriam Webster has several definitions for the verb think:

  • To form or have in mind
  • To have as an intention
  • To have as an opinion
  • To reflect on
  • To call to mind
  • To have as an expectation
  • To center one’s thoughts on

A lot of definitions for this small word.  It is small and mighty, isn’t it? My husband and I are trying to teach these concepts to Ian.  He has time to play, read, talk with friends, and to think about what he sees, reads, and hears.  We encourage him to ask questions and discuss things with us.

Remember the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”?  This was a great story of a teacher trying to help young men think for themselves.  The administration of the school and many parents didn’t want that, but the boys learned how important it was.

Also, in “Mona Lisa Smile,” students at a women-only college had an art teacher who came in and tried to teach them to think out of the box and to think beyond what was expected of them.  She too faced problems from the school and the parents.

Interesting.  Do we not want our young people to think?  Do we not want to help teach them what is right, what is wrong, and then for them to decide for themselves how to act?  Each thing we say and do has a consequence, whether good and bad.  As a parent, I feel it is my place, job and responsibility to help our son understand that and think about what he is doing and saying.

And as he is growing up, I want him to learn to think while I am there to answer questions, talk with him about his choices, and be a role model of how to act and behave.  I make lots of mistakes and that is okay.  I want him to know that as well.  I want him to not only learn from adults who are good role models but also those who are showing how not to behave or speak.

A few things I want for adults and our children:

  • Let’s think before we speak.
  • Let’s think of others and their feelings
  • Let’s think for ourselves
  • Let’s think when someone tells us something that we don’t believe is right
  • Let’s investigate these things
  • Let’s encourage our young people to think and find their own path in life
  • Let’s be there to support them as they do so
  • Let’s know and remember that not agreeing with someone does not make them an enemy
  • Let’s try to learn from others instead of tearing them down
  • Let’s not bully one another but instead practice kindness
  • Let’s stand up for what we believe but not attack or cause harm to others
  • Let’s practice love

A few quotes about thinking:

  • “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein
  • “Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons: we act without thinking or we keep thinking without acting.” — Unknown
  • “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford
  • “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” — Carl Sagan
  • “Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” — Plato

I have always liked Winnie The Pooh.  This sweet clip art picture from Power Point shows him thinking.  He seems to put all of his energy into it, doesn’t he?  I only hope that we too can think before we speak and act.  And that we can decide what we think and why.

What do you think?  I would love some comments.  God Bless and have a great day!

Love Not Hate

I have had so many emotions over the past few days — sadness, anger, hope, despair, fear, love, disgust, shock, and concern, but not hate.  I thank the Lord above and my parents who helped me know that hate is wrong and will not help.

If there is anything I hate, it is bigotry, racism, violence, abuse, harm to others, and hate of others.  I have learned though that hating these things cannot change them.  Instead action has to be taken to stand up against them, lessons have to be taught to others, ignorance must be removed with knowledge, and love has to be shown, given, and demonstrated.

Hate is a cancer that divides and conquers.  Hate seeps into everything we are and what we do if we let it.  So, I have tried my best not to hate.  For years I thought that hating someone or something was too strong an emotion to have.  I just didn’t think I could give that much energy to anything.

I have disliked things very strongly, have been furiously angry, and sometimes indifferent, but have tried to catch myself from slipping into hate.  It hasn’t always worked since I am human and have many flaws.  But I then worked hard to change my thinking, my attitude, and my heart.

I have prayed a lot during those times for the Lord to help me and show me that as Dr. King so wisely said, only love can remove hate.  And I have been praying in recent days.  And weeping, and struggling, and worrying.  And, I have been encouraged that Ian loves people of all kinds and he knows that the hate is wrong.

What saddens me is how quickly and easily so many people hate.  It seems to even be a badge of honor to some.  And, as I said in my last blog, I just don’t get that.  I don’t understand living a life when that is at the forefront of thoughts, actions, and activities.  I don’t understand hating someone who is different.  And frankly, I am thankful that I don’t.

I also want people to realize how wrong what is being done is.  There is such a long history of violence, brutality, and hate in our country and others in the world.  I want us to move on from that, learn from our mistakes, and not repeat them.  I want to remember where we came from and not go back.  We have made progress but there is still such a long way to go.

I am trying to do my part to stand up against the hate, the violence, the brutality, the ignorance, and the intolerance.  I am trying to instead encourage love, peace, knowledge, and respect.  I want us to talk with those who are different than we are.  I want us to do so without malice and preconceived notions.

This is a lot to ask, isn’t it?  After all, there is such deep-seeded feeling with these issues.  I for one think we can and must do better — for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and future generations.  I am hopeful yet skeptical and concerned.  I want us to move past the way it’s always been and try to improve and be kinder and gentler people.

My prayer and hope is that we can begin to heal and work on closing this divide that seems to keep growing.  Will you join me in choosing love not hate?  Will you join me in making a better world for our young people?  Will you join me in helping not harming?

Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught!

This song is from “South Pacific” and I have been thinking about it a lot this weekend.  Aren’t the words amazing?  They often give me chills since they are so insightful of how many people feel.  Whether someone is taught to feel a certain way, grows up hearing how awful others are, learns on their own, or decides to hate, it is still wrong and needs to stop.

Those who don’t hate must stand up against it.  Instead of hate, we must show love and that all of us are special, all of us are worthy of love, and all of us matter.  After the shock of this homegrown terrorism and hate, I am trying to make some sense of it.  And, I can’t.  I don’t understand wanting to beat up or kill someone who thinks differently than I do.  Or looks different than I do.

Instead, I want to chat with different people and find out about them, their interests, their loves, their struggles, and what means something to them.  I want to show love and kindness instead of the hate and violence that we saw this weekend.  And so does Ian.  Above he is pictured with one of his dear friends.  We were being arty with the photo.

The people behind the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence are involved in groups that have been around for years and have spread hate and racism for far too long.  The KKK’s mission is to harm, beat, intimidate, scare, terrify, lynch, and kill African-Americans.  The Nazis wanted to annihilate all Jews and make them cease to exist. They tortured them, tore them from their families, made them starve, destroyed their homes, property and livelihood, and gassed them to death.

And yet people still want to be involved in these groups?  They want to belong, and carry out the mission to bring harm to others, just because?  What the?  I am sickened and saddened to think of all of the people who have been harmed and killed by such evil.  I am touched that so many fought and died to make changes and try to stop these acts.  I am saddened that people feel that these are still good groups to join.

I just don’t get it.  I truly cannot relate to this level of hatred toward one’s fellow man.  After all, we are all human, all created equal, and all equally loved by our creator.  So, how is this hate possible?  How can someone loathe others so deeply and so violently?  How can people cause such harm, suffering, and loss to others?

Thankfully, I was taught the value of everyone and had friends of different shades, different races, and different religions.  I learned from them and loved them.  And, I am thankful that Ian’s friends are all colors of the rainbow.  He likes them for their personalities and that he has fun with them not anything external about them.

The title of this blog is in reference to a quote by the amazing civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only love can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Dr. King knew that demonstrations could and should be done, but in a peaceful manner without harm to others.  He spoke many times of dreams and hopes for the future.  He spoke of love, caring, and compassion and knew that hate wouldn’t get us where we need to be.

The full quote by Dr. King is “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.  Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.  Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

My hope and prayer is that we can come together at this difficult time of our country and stand together.  That we can realize we have more in common than not.  That we are all colors of a lovely rainbow.  That we can learn from different faiths and different ways of life.  That we can love and not hate.  That we can have peace and not violence or war.

People and Memoirs Fascinate Me

Over the last few years, I have been reading a variety of memoirs.  I have learned about some fascinating people — Dick Van Dyke, Lisa Welchel, Sir Elton John, Robin Roberts, Lauren Graham, Trevor Noah, Alan Cumming, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, and a biography about Dean Martin written by his daughter.

I am looking forward to a few more that I will be reading soon.  I have two books that Robert Wagner has written and a memoir by Ricky Martin.  I also want to read one about Amy Silverstein and her recent battle with cancer. I will have to buy that one.

All of these people I have enjoyed and have been entertained by. They all meant something to me and I watched them or listened to them growing up or more recently have found out about them. I liked learning about the real person behind the public persona.

Each book was unique, as is each person.  Each one had a slightly different take on life and what was discussed.  Some were funny, some were inspiring, and some were sad.  I laughed, I cried, and through each, I have learned more about people.

People do intrigue and fascinate me.  I enjoy learning what makes them tick, what they are passionate about, where they come from, what they believe, and about their childhood and own family life. I like hearing how others deal with life’s ups and downs, and joys and sorrows.

Here are a few thoughts on everyone who I have mentioned.

  • Dick Van Dyke — So funny and so positive.  I smiled while reading this book and have always liked him.  From Mary Poppins to Diagnosis Murder, and many other projects, I have enjoyed watching him sing, dance, and act. He makes me happy.  I hope that when I grow up, I can have as positive an outlook on life as his is.
  • Lisa Welchel — I loved her as Blair on the Facts of Life.  She was great at that part and I enjoyed the entire run of the show.  Finding out about her own family and her Christianity was interesting and full of fun stories and her memories.  I like that she is still acting and enjoyed a recent Hallmark movie that she starred in with Kim Fields.
  • Elton John — Love his music and his generosity and all he has done for the fight against AIDS and HIV.  It was a real and very ugly battle and I thank people like Sir Elton John for helping those suffering from it and their families and friends.  His friendship with Ryan White was very touching.  Honestly, I cried several times while reading this one.
  • Robin Roberts — I have watched her on Good Morning America each morning for years and years.  I remember her battle with breast cancer and then the blood disorder she had.  She is so strong and a role model.  She showed grace and class through these battles and taught us so much about the suffering she and others go through.  I love her idea of turning your mess into a message.
  • Lauren Graham — She is funny, my age, and will always be remembered as Lorelai Gilmore.  Her book mentioned filming the original series as well as the recent reboot, which I still haven’t seen.  Darn not having Netflix.  Can someone please let me know what happened?  Or how I could watch it?  It was fun to read about how much this character and all of the characters on that show meant to her.  And to read about the other parts of her career and personal life.
  • Trevor Noah — I was intrigued by the title, “Born A Crime” and was so glad that I read this book.  It is quite a look into growing up as a mixed race child and young person. He was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Can you imagine?  He paints a very colorful picture of growing up in South Africa.  He is now a comedian and hosts a popular show.
  • Alan Cumming — His memoir called “Not My Father’s Son” was one of the most well-written books I have read in a while.  It had a mystery, happiness, and sadness.  All emotions were on display as he talked about his abusive childhood at the hands of his father and how it has affected his entire life.  I was touched profoundly by all that he shared.  I have liked him on television (The Good Wife and the voice on Masterpiece Mysteries), movies (among them Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion), and knew he was on Broadway in Cabaret.
  • Julie Andrews — Amazing voice, amazing talent, and pure class.  I loved her as Maria in The Sound of Music, as Mary Poppins in that movie, and in the Princess Diaries.  I cannot count the times I have been singing at full voice along with her.  When she could no longer sing, I was heartbroken but happy that she is still doing other items.  She has written books with her daughter and is working on other projects.
  • Carol Burnett — The funniest woman around and a trailblazer.  I used to love watching her variety show.  The funniest ever was the sketch when she was Scarlet from Gone With The Wind wearing the curtain and curtain rod.  “I saw it in a window and just had to have it.”  Cracks me up every time I see it or think about it.  Along with the laughter, she talks about the death of her daughter Carrie Hamilton.
  • Dean Martin — Amazing songs, movies, and a part of the Rat Pack.  He had major issues that he dealt with such as drinking and other things but still worked hard and entertained many, many people.  His daughter writes a glowing but real book about her dad.  Favorite songs of his are “That’s Amore,” “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head,” and “Sway.”
  • Robert Wagner — When I was younger, I thought he was the most handsome man and every girl’s dream.  As Darling Jonathan on Hart to Hart, he showed what a happy marriage was, what a loving hubby could be, and how to solve mysteries.  I have liked him for years, for all the things he has worked on in Hollywood, and his most recent stint as Anthony DiNozzo Sr.  Kirk and I watch reruns of Hart to Hart and I enjoy them as much as I did as a child.
  • Ricky Martin — Heart throb and such a great singer and dancer.  I remember when he played Miguel on General Hospital.  He did a great job on that show in the 1990s.   Before that, he a member of Menudo.  I always have to dance when I hear “Livin the Vida Loca” and many of his other songs.  I look forward to finding out more about him, his partner and their kids.
  • Amy Silverstein — I know the least about this women.  She wrote a book about her relationship with nine friends who helped her through a battle of brain cancer.  Amazingly this is the second cancer that she has had.  Personally knowing someone who passed away from brain cancer will make this book extra poignant.

If you made it to the end, thank you.  I probably should have made this two blogs, but did want to share my thoughts.  Please share who you have read about and who you still want to.

I wonder if I will continue to be fascinated by people — both famous and not.  I have a feeling I will.

Are We Still Civil?

I have seen a few things recently on the news and on talk shows that stunned me and made me wonder if we are still a civil society.  Or if we have become so indifferent to each other and just don’t care.  I am curious what you my readers, friends, families, and people I don’t know think about this issue..

On one talk show, a video was shown of four teenagers watching another person struggle in a lake and eventually drown.  They did absolutely nothing but film what was happening and make fun of this person.  So a person died who didn’t need to.  Shocking and very troubling.

A young women texted her guy friend and talked him into killing himself after he reached out to her that he wasn’t sure about doing so. She was found guilty for this and has been sentenced to prison.  In addition to her punishment, I hope she will receive some counseling.  To me, it seems she does need it.

A young women was driving her car and texting, had an accident where her sister flew out of the car and was killed, and she did nothing but record it on her phone. This driver was very distracted and this tragedy was the result.  I was stunned at this as well.

I am not blaming social media, texting, or our obsession with selfies, but we have to remember there are times when we should put down the phone and help others.  There are times and places for our phones, our texts, our pictures, and our videos.  And then there are times when people in the real world need us and I for one think, we need to pay attention.

I grew up at a time when pictures were taken on film in actual cameras.  We had to wait until 24 or 36 photos were taken before we could take the film to the store to be developed.  So, my time as a teenager didn’t include recording each and every thing I did all day and night.  Yes, I am that old.  LOL!

The idea of having a way to stream and record everything in my day is foreign to me.  However, I know it is a way of life for many young people and adults as well.  I just hope that we can be smart about it, be kind about it, and be willing to put it down if our loved ones or others need our help.

Another thing that bothers me about our civility is all of the foul language and behavior that many adults and our leaders are displaying these days. Threatening others is not the way to solve problems, cussing at each other doesn’t seem to help anything, bullying others, and continuing to be rude and not consider each other are also wrong.

You see, I have a son who is almost 10 years old. He listens to and learns from adults.  He models the adults’ behaviors and sometimes attitudes. Thankfully he has learned to be kind and caring.  But he still has many years until he becomes an adult.  I want him to continue to grow into a loving adult.  Let’s face it, some of us are not to be learned from.  Instead we are to be labeled what not to do and how not to act.

I want those of us who have children to teach them that each and every life matters, whether it is someone who you know and like or not.  People are not to be bullied, threatened, hated, or ridiculed.  People have value and are important and are to be treated with dignity and kindness.  We should encourage each other, not tear each other down.

It truly takes a village of families, friends, churches, youth groups, schools and teachers, coaches, band and chorus teachers, pack leaders, and others to teach our children.   My family is blessed to have a community, teachers, and a village of people who care for Ian, who want the best for him, and are teaching him good values and life skills.

Among them is his school where each morning the kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  After that they recite a school pledge, which is amazing and teaches the students to decide to behave, and to be kind and considerate of each other.  I like it so much that I have memorized it.

It is, “We are here to learn with our school family.  There is a respect here that you can clearly see.  We are truthful, trustworthy, and listen actively. Giving no put downs, I promise to do my personal best as I work and learn today and everyday.”  Isn’t that great?  I think we as adults could benefit by reciting that each day and deciding to be a good and kind person.

I am heart-broken that those young people who I mentioned at the beginning of the blog may not understand that they did anything wrong.  They may not get that someone else was suffering while they were making fun of, threatening, or being indifferent to others.  Isn’t that sad and something we should change?

We cannot be there every time someone else needs us, but perhaps we could watch out for each other, lend a hand, and call 911 when someone is in peril.  Civility is still alive and well in many places and with many people.  I am just sad that I keep seeing and hearing so much negative, so much abuse, hatred, and violence.

My hope and prayer is that we can teach children, teens, and adults to be kind, to be compassionate, to be considerate of others, to not judge others, to be helpful, to be willing to stand up for each other, and to always, always love.