Monthly Archives: January 2010

Quote of the Week

The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.
               – Simone Weil
                  French philosopher and social activist
                  1909 – 1943

Why I Don’t Like Reality TV Shows

Why don’t I like so-called “reality” or “actuality” TV shows?   Because they’re mean.
They are intended to be mean, because “mean” is entertaining to some segments of the audience, and that scares me. 
Throwing Christians to the lions and watching gladiators fight to the death used to be considered wonderful entertainment in ancient times.  And while I’m not comparing actually killing someone with humiliating and demeaning them, there is a continuum here. 
Christians and slaves didn’t volunteer to become fodder for death to those eating popcorn in the stands.  The people on TV do volunteer to put themselves in situations which contribute to the demise of public taste, humane behavior, compassion and sensitivity.  They humiliate themselves for attention and profit.  That they volunteer for it doesn’t make doing it to them right.  It just makes them terribly pathetic.
When people go on an “American Idol“-like program in the hopes of being discovered for their talents, a simple “winning” or “losing” seems sufficient to me.  However, having judges who become popular by hurling horrendously insulting comments seems to be the real motivation for these programs.  Hurting people in front of others is an egregious act.  Televising it, or making money off of sponsors who support it, so that people at home can feel superior and powerful (because they’re not the ones being attacked) is purely disgusting.
These shows bring out the worst in people.  Martians watching our entertainment media would probably choose not to come to our planet, or else just wipe us off the face of the galaxy, because of how humanity displays itself on television (much less the Internet and the United Nations). 
No one is ashamed anymore.  They pass it off as giving the audience what it wants.  “It’s only TV,” or “it’s only a way to make a living,” they say. 

Apologizing Long After the Offense

Lately, I’ve been asked quite often by callers if it is “okay” to apologize to someone for a wrongdoing even years after the offense.  I can understand why that question might be asked.  It can feel a bit embarrassing to have to face someone and face up to what you’ve done.  It is worrisome that they might not be gracious about your apology.   It is possible that they might “lay into you.”  It may be that they say “You caused me so much grief and pain that I can’t forgive you.”  They might not even be willing to talk to you.  Or, they might say, with tears, “Thank you.  That means a lot to me.”

It IS a big risk to take.  But the most valued things in life do come with a big risk attached.  That’s part of what gives them value.

You must remember, however, that whatever their response might be, you are doing the apology not to wipe the slate clean (damage is damage, and some never goes away), but because true repentance requires that you do what it takes to repair the damage.  That includes the sincere…sincere…apology.  None of that “if you were hurt, then I’m sorry” nonsense.  That is pure annoyance!
So, if you truly have remorse (and are not just trying to manipulate someone into a situation which benefits you), then apologize…anytime…and tolerate their first and maybe second unpleasant reaction. 
Seeds take time to germinate, and coping with an apology means the whole thing is brought up again in their minds.  Be patient and understanding.  While they may never forgive you, know that you still did the right thing.

Bocce Ball and the Joy of Learning

My birthday was a little over a week ago, and my husband actually got away with setting up a surprise party for me.  I went to the party location under the guise that we were going to use a “Happy Birthday” coupon for a free dinner.  It was wonderful to see the many people who have meant, do mean, and always will mean something important to me (and the cake and dancing were great too)!

I want to mention one particular gift:  a bocce ball set.  I sent out all my gift “thank yous,” and when it came to the bocce ball set, I said something like “”Thank you so much for the bocce ball set.  I don’t know how to play it, but, heck, learning yet another sport is a great idea!  Ha ha ha!”

I added the “ha ha ha” because I hike, I play tennis and badminton, I shoot pool, do yoga, race a sailboat and work out…and do at least one of these daily.  But then I thought about my “joke” and realized it IS a very good idea to learn yet another “whatever” all the time.  Part of the joy of being alive (and a large part of what keeps your brain and body healthy and your mood positive) is having purpose in your life and learning something new all the time.

People who don’t continue to grow, be challenged, learn and be involved in activities tend to “contract,” have depression problems, and compromise the quality of their aging and actual life span.

So, while this blog is not an ad for bocce ball, it is a suggestion (and don’t forget who’s making it!) for you to constantly challenge yourself with everything from crossword puzzles to chasing butterflies.  The more you are invested in the opportunities of living, the more you will enjoy it and be alert and happy.

Quote of the Week

There are more things…that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality
               – Seneca
                  Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist
                  c 4 B.C. – AD 65

There’s No Growth Without Some Pain

Guilt and longing are two very human emotions that often blend into a desperate glue that keeps people stuck in situations they ought not to be in.  Whether it is with family, friends or a prospective spouse, trust that small, smart voice inside of you which repeats the mantra you try to ignore:  “This is destructive or dangerous.  Let it go or get out.”

Decent people feel guilty about pulling away from a relationship because “it will hurt the other person’s feelings,” and decent people just cringe at the idea of causing another emotional pain.  That’s nice, but guilt is a cue that what you’re doing is wrong, not that what you’re doing is something somebody else just doesn’t want or like.  There is no intent to hurt in this situation.  There is only the intent to preserve one’s own emotional and physical safety and/or well-being.

Longing is a natural condition – i.e., wanting something to be right and good because you’ve invested in it, and because it is a good thing to want:  a great, happy, healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship is always a blessing.  However, when that is clearly not the case, then withdrawing is the healthiest and, therefore, right thing to do.  It is difficult for people to give up their dreams, but you have to remember that the dream is not the problem.  The current object of that dream is the problem.  Take your dream and plant it where it can actually grow well.

Remember, there is no growth without discomfort or outright pain.  Consider growing pains of the emotional sort just a natural course of events as you mature, and make wise decisions. 

Choose wisely; treat kindly.  Treating kindly won’t work if you haven’t chosen wisely.

Children Today Are Overly Anxious and Depressed

There’s a new study out from San Diego State University saying that children and young adults today are the most anxious and depressed of the last seventy years.

I’m not surprised at all.  Having too many choices is chaos.  Morals and values have been sacrificed in favor of infamy and fortune.  When sports heroes are infamous and rich because they took drugs to increase their performance, that is demoralizing to kids who work hard to aspire to athletic greatness simply by practicing a lot.  When other young people get famous for flaunting drugs and anti-social behavior, it makes it difficult for the kids who simply work hard.

When you have a major Hollywood producer/director putting together a movie to excuse and explain Hitler (in context, he says), you have a generation that has no clear understanding of evil.

When you have military dying in the fields of foreign countries because we are at war with a religious ideology that wants to terminate western civilization, and one of their combatants is caught and tried only as a common criminal, you have a generation that is confused.

When you have a culture that does not support the basic building block of education – the family – we have children turning to equally confused peers and pop culture.

When the people in positions of power, authority and fame turn out to be of little character, you have a generation that doesn’t know what to respect or whom to emulate.

It all matters.

Our kids pay the price.