Simple Suggestions

Boiling life down into bite-size bits and basic ideas we can learn and hold on to day-in, day-out? Might just be a superpower secret to living a good and happy life. These are concepts we should not only live by everyday, but pass along to those around us, especially our children, if we have them.

One of my favorite people and friend for more than 30 years lives by simple principles. He’s the father of five kids. He’s a successful business person, self-made.

These simple suggestions can make a big impact, if you remember to follow them, apply them each day.

“Life is easy,” he likes to say to his kids (and others)…

1/ Make a friend.

2/ Stand up for someone who needs it.

3/ Smile.

And then there are three more below from my kids’ elementary school. The ethos of the school might be summarized thus; it lists what should guide the students’ behavior everyday.

They call them “The Three B’s:”

Be Respectful.

Be Responsible.

Be Safe.

Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador

Quoting James Martin, S.J., as we remember these brave men and women who were murdered 30 years ago this weekend, because they stood for social justice, social change for the people.

“These men and women paid the ultimate price for standing with the poor and marginalized in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:30). AMDG

— Read on :

On November 16, 1989, Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J. and Elba Ramos, a housekeeper for one of the local Jesuit community’s, and her 15 year-old daughter Celina Ramos, were murdered at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The lives and loss of these martyrs have significantly influenced the Ignatian family in the United States and throughout the world. Jesuit institutions have re-defined what it is to be universities, high schools, parishes, etc. in light of the martyrs, discerning new ways of addressing issues of social justice locally and abroad. Across the Ignatian family new ways of proceeding have developed over the course of twenty-five years. ISN is a direct product of the spirit of the martyrs, forming in response to their tragic deaths at the hands of many individuals who received training at the former U.S. Army School of the Americas.

It May Bear Fruit

This passage from Luke, chapter 13, resonates.

Don’t give up; try again; there is still hope; take action with care, try a different approach, Good can still result.

Yes. Yes it can.

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.'”

AMEN.

Thank You, Cokie

She passed on Tuesday at the age of 75.

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs.

The story goes that her older, 3 year old brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne” when she came home from the hospital, he called her Cokie, and that was that.

She had a keen, life-long deep understanding of politics, especially here in the United States.  She grew up in politics — her father, then her mother both held seats in the US House of Representatives from Louisiana — and chose the path of chronicling the many stories around public affairs rather than governance.

Not only did she choose a life in the “fourth branch”, but her voice and balanced, thorough analysis of issues — and broad public appeal therein — guided her to become one of the “Founding Mothers” of National Public Radio, and more broadly, one of the women in leadership roles in public journalism.

She was so good on NPR that commercial leader ABC hired her as well. She reported from both outlets for more than three decades.

Her voice remained steadfast and consistent in our public discourse, and even in recent years as she had begun to step back, I always felt a certain calm and certainty of what was true when I heard her speak on whatever the topic of the day was.

I was shocked when I heard the news of her passing on Tuesday morning while driving to work.  On the commute home at the end of the day, I was fortunate to hear on another public radio station, Classical KDFC, the afternoon DJ Robin Pressman pay tribute to Roberts with a dedication of the first 5:00pm Commute Song (what KDFC calls “The Island of Sanity”), Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of a Song 34 #2”.

Cool to hear that peaceful, uplifting music anytime, especially as nod to one of the great voices of our time.  Thanks for your insights and wisdom and positive effect on our national conversation, Cokie.  

Would that we can honor you as Rachel Martin suggested on Up First today, when she closed with what was perhaps your simple credo for living:  “Do the work. Be fair. Be kind. And lift each other up.”   

AMEN.

More on Cokie Roberts found here.

More on Cokie Roberts as one of the Founding Mothers found here.

 

 

Dadlife, Dark Side

I talk a lot about the positive. I promote the upside of things, look for the silver lining even in bad situations. That’s the fundamental credo of this blog: be positive, find positive, share positive.

But sometimes the dark side creeps in. Sometimes the dark side is strong.

Sometimes it’s been a long day, or a long week, and I’m grumpy, and irritable. And sometimes my kids don’t listen very well; sometimes they’re not very thoughtful, or themselves aren’t in the best mood.

Sometimes everything starts to come off the rails. And then what?

Then I’m irritated that the dishes are piled up in the sink. Then I’m annoyed the kids’ shoes and clothes are here and there in the living room. Then my fuse gets pretty short. I start barking at them instead of talking calmly. And my volume goes up a little.

The dark side wins for the moment.

Usually though, I catch myself pretty quick. Take a few deep breaths and reset my patience. But often I also tell the kids, “Grumpy Daddy” is on the edge, so it would be best for you all to do what you’re supposed to, you know the deal.”

Generally that works out OK. The dark side doesn’t stay too long. And I know I’m only human, so sometimes the dark side gains a little ground.

It’s up to me, it’s up to each of us to battle, to keep our emotions and ego in check.

CHECK.

Care Equals Quality

Attention to detail, active, careful listening, a particular focus over time. All require care, and demand sustained effort.

Put all these facets together and what do they amount to? Peace of mind, certainty of purpose.
They also have a direct relation to quality. Good quality, that is.

Much sought after, sometimes achieved, always valued.

It's right there. Take the time. The result will be GOOD.