Evaluating

Next week I have signed up for two tasks at the Mediation Center. One is a Community Conference with two children involved and the other is a standard mediation. The Community Conferences (I’ll call them CC) are hard. It is so sad to work with these teens and hope to get them to see there are better ways to deal with conflict that violence. In some ways I am not looking forward to it. I will keep on doing them for now and may have to evaluate if it is for me.

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The other mediation is simple and sometimes it can be too simple but there is not stress involved. It is hard to weigh them against each other. I will just keep on for now and see how this goes.

Is church still relevant?

Matthew Fox writes:

The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions—including our religious ones—and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring creativity into religion.” [1] Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British Empire; and Martin Luther King, Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk. [2]

Fox wrote this a while ago but it is right on target. We do have to change. People are complaining about church. They say it is not relevant. They say the members are hypocrites. We have lost some idea of what it is all about. We need to look again with fresh eyes at the gospel. We need to think clearly about Jesus’s words and what he did. We need to reinvent ourselves and renew what it is all about.

Mistakes

I have three children. They are all in their 50’s now and that is hard to believe. They were born 3 years apart making the oldest 6 years older than the youngest. When they were about 10, 13 and 16 there was fun conversation going on at dinner one night. The kids were taking about each other’s mistakes…the older two pointing fingers at each other debating who had made the worst mistakes.

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Somewhere during the conversation the two of them realized that they had not said anything about the youngest…..and they couldn’t think of anything to say about her. One of them, frustrated that they couldn’t point at her asked: “Why don’t you make many mistakes?”

 

 

She responded: “I watch what the two of you do and don’t make the same mistakes.” An amazing piece of wisdom from a 10 year old. We could all learn from her.

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Too often we can’t see the wisdom of learning from the mistakes of others. If we did the world would be a better place. That is what history teaches us if we are willing to pay attention. Don’t make the same mistakes with the same outcome. Learn from the past and from the mistakes of others.

Live your beliefs

A number of years ago my husband and I had a house that we rented. Some people moved in and at first it was perfect. They paid rent on time and the house (from the outside) looked good.

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As time went on the husband told us that his wife was sick and they would be late with the rent. This went on with them occasionally paying something on the rent. My husband and I felt sorry for them to be going through such a tough time.

Then it got to where they were paying no rent but continued to tell us their many problems. We were worried but we were too kind to put them out. Two of their grown sons came and went along with other relatives. Now we were more worried. Then one day they came and told us they were moving. This actually was a relief. They left and we went into the house. Things were damaged everywhere. It took much money and lots of work on our part to fix the house up to rent again. We later learned that the sons were selling drugs from the house.

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Now we could haunt ourselves with how stupid we were to let this happen. And you are right…we shouldn’t. But here’s the thing…we consider ourselves to be good people….worthy of being called Christian and that is how we live. We wouldn’t let that happen again but they were the bad people not us.

I know that they left saying how dumb we were but being told of the wife’s illness ( and she really was sick) we lived out our commitment to be compassionate. It gives us a twinge once in a while but we lived what we believe.

Ethical dilemmas

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Recently I wrote about the things that will be coming in the future and there are still some things that I can see ahead. I wonder what will happen with genetics. Will we be able to solve and end children being born with serious defects? Will we be wise enough to use the research in an ethical manner? As our knowledge of our most basic programming grows will we be able to use it for good? It seems that there is always someone who can corrupt the good.

Will we use extending life for everyone or just the uber-rich? Will extending life be for the good or will it create issues we can’t even imagine?

There are so many ethical issues facing us as our knowledge of smaller and smaller particles put us at risk. The same is true of our understanding of the universe and all it entails. With ethical behavior seeming to decline how will we cope with information that could change everything?

'Yep, that does sound like an ethical dilemma, Phil. But relax... it's only a problem if you have a conscience.' 'That's just it! I think I do!!' 'Don't worry, I won't tell a soul.'

I probably will not be here to see how this all comes about but I pray that our ethical and moral decline will turn around and we will have the wisdom to do the right thing.

Intelligence and character

I am still thinking about the young people I am encountering in Community Conferencing. Since Monday celebrates Martin Luther King this quote fits right into my thinking

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What I am seeing in the schools here makes me wonder if we can find either one. Intelligence is nothing without character. The environment in school can be distressing to those who want to learn.  It is amazing that the teachers keep on. It has to be depressing to try and reach those who want to learn when around them is hatred and violence. It has to be nearly impossible to keep order in a classroom when there are so many things that you can’t do.

When I went to school the teacher was always right. My parents would come down hard on me if I wasn’t good in school. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the parents seem intent on blaming the teachers. Children are not held accountable for their actions.

There are some who are now realizing that teaching about character and accountability is crucial. Those traits are so important and often overlooked. For those raising children please have your children be accountable now or later in life they may end up being held accountable for something catastrophic.

Early to bed!

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Tomorrow I have to be up at “0 dark 30” to facilitate a Community Conference that starts at 7:45! My husband laughed when he heard this. I am usually not up until 7:30 in the winter. In the summer I can be up because the sun is up. I am totally sun oriented. I told the person who assigned me this that they owe me BIG!

Time was when I was at the hospital before 7 am but those days are far behind me. YEA! Being retired allows me to set my own schedule and I don’t do early morning. Oh well,….early to bed etc.

Today was a yard work day so I am already tired and going to bed early will be perfect.

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Pay attention to health

This week I have been asked to do one mediation and 2 community conferences. I wanted to start back but wow! They have cases that must be done asap and someone has the flu. it will be a challenge but also interesting.

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I am also taking control of my health after the surgery and the shift of not having a thyroid. It is taking some rethinking on my part but I have realized that I have been taking my health for granted.  I am now watching my diet and getting back to eating well…back to walking the dogs for exercise for all of us. They even seemed tired after walking today. I guess we all need to get back to reality.

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It is so easy to slip and let important things get away from you. The holiday season didn’t help but really it was up to me. We have to pay attention and not let the things that keep us well be ignored.

Change AGAIN!

It is amazing to me that things can be going along perfectly and the something throws the whole thing out of whack. This week has been like that so far. It is time to regroup and rethink.

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Life is never boring. There is always something that brings excitement whether it is good or bad. The trick is learning to back up, accept the changes and move forward again. Even the good things can move you off track. As someone who like routine I am always surprised by changes. It is as if my brain doesn’t even put it in as a possibility. My husband used to go to work at 6:30 in the morning when he wasn’t due until eight. He said he got lots of work done before everything started to fall apart. He planned for changes.

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Maybe leaving room for changes would help to keep me from being stressed by them. Just plan a space for things to be different than I planned. Even if that space is not on paper but only in my mind. Those of us who like order and lists resent changes. I think I will put “change” down on my list for each day.

Grow friendships

friends timeToday was the day that I finally relaxed from all the holiday, surgery, visitors, granddaughter’s accident stuff. I think I just let go. I am tired but this kind of tired feels good. It is nice to have all of that behind me and look toward what is next.

Routine is calming. As we get older calm and peace can be better than excitement. I still do things that challenge my status quo. It is important to not get stuck but, for me, a little bit is enough.

I depend on friends. They are the backbone I can count on. Life would be bare without them. We don’t need a lot of really close friends. A few will do. That doesn’t meant that we don’t have others who are an important part of our world. They just aren’t the ones who are part of the heart.

The only way that you find those kind of friends is by opening yourself to them. They will not stay close and grow with you if you don’t share your deepest self. If someone doesn’t accept that then you don’t need them.

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We also have to make the effort to communicate. Someone said don’t let the path grow up between your houses. Today our friends may not be that physically close but the idea is the same. Don’t expect others to keep the path open but do it yourself. We have to take the responsibility to keep reaching out. Friends don’t become close over night. The work must be put in to grow them.

Friends are a crucial part of life. Take the time and effort to share, communicate and help the link between you to grow. It is worth it!