A good home

Home is a special place, and of course everyone wants one that is good. But no one has the privilege of choosing the home into which he or she is born. And during the first decade or so of one’s life, there isn’t much that anyone can do to change one’s home.

It’s nice to have a good home

It is nice if one’s home is comfortable, cozy and warm when it needs to be and fresh and cool when it needs to be. It is generally expected that one’s home is a safe place in which to be. And that safety would probably be provided by the adult residents of the home who love each other and you and your siblings. So a home is expected to be a comfortable and safe place in which a family can live in loving relationships. It is these qualities that make a home different than a house, which is only a physical structure.

But everyone may not have a good home

Everyone may not have a special place where they can be comfortable and safe. Some people today are “homeless”, which means that they don’t have a personal permanent comfortable and safe place in which to live. Some infants and young boys and girls have been denied the blessings of living in the home of the parents to whom they were born, so they are orphans. Maybe some of them have been adopted by other adults who will provide them with a home, which should be a comfortable and safe and loving place in which they live.

In this holiday season of the year, and during this time of extensive economic stress and uncertainty, it is well to give some thought to what makes for a good home. What makes your home good? How much “stuff” does it take to make a home good? What could make it better? Let’s talk about this.

WikiLeaks

If diplomats didn’t lie to their own people and insult each other and their contrary associates in “private”, then the publishing of these “classified” documents by WikiLeaks wouldn’t get much attention or there wouldn’t be many such “secrets” to publish. As long as diplomats from both sides of the “battle lines” feel that they have to communicate with each other in such ways in order to maintain and to strengthen their personal positions of power and pleasure, then such private remarks will be waiting to be published.

The struggles for power,  control, and personal and corporate riches and comforts are well recognized and generally acknowledged by most people around the world who see and experience their pressures everyday. Everyone wants to be on the “winning” side in these struggles, but the real “games” are extremely dangerous to the participants and they have severe consequences for even their fellow associates and citizens.

WikiLeaks allow us to see deeper

It might help if diplomats would only discuss the facts regarding what they and their political leaders and fellow citizens are doing in these “struggles”, keeping their personal opinions and verbal “bullets” to themselves. Total honesty and transparency between the diplomats and the “players” in these “games” for power is probably not possible or even wise on the “playing fields” of this world.  But there certainly must be a better way for grown up diplomats to communicate with each other regarding these serious struggles than what they are currently practicing.

The leaking of these documents by WikiLeaks appears to me be quite similar to the playing of some audio tapes that some kids have been able to make as they secretly recorded some frank conversations of their relatives regarding the family squabbles or conflicts that trouble some family relationships and hamper the peace of the family.

What to do about the Wikileaks?

I wonder when our diplomats and leaders are going to grow up and begin to communicate with us and with each other in intelligent and mature ways of diplomacy to seek to resolve these powerful struggles that threaten us all. These WikiLeaks are clear evidence that many of our diplomats and world leaders don’t know how to do this and they haven’t reached a sufficient level of maturity to even recognize the dangers of their “gaming strategies”. And censorship and more secrecy are not the solutions to this problem.

What do you think of this matter? Should those who “leaked” these documents and published them be prosecuted as criminals or terrorists? How can we teach our diplomats a more mature way to conduct our diplomatic business? Let’s talk about this.

Good personal freedom

Bristol Palin received a lot of support and credit for the progress that she made in her ability to freely express herself on the stage of dancing with the stars during this year’s contest. But was it good personal freedom she was expressing? Her transition from a shy non-dancer to an expressive amateur dancer was apparent to everyone who watched her week after week. And she admitted the challenge of this transition in many of her personal comments during numerous interviews.

While she can be admired for demonstrating some growth in her personal abilities to freely express herself, I think that it is well for her and for us to recognize that there is a big difference between a young woman’s freedom to “shake her bootie” and her freedom to restrain from using her sex appeal to manipulate others and to draw inappropriate attention to herself. I hope that Bristol hasn’t lost her sense of modesty in her transition.

Personal freedom not only affects one’s sexual attitudes toward themselves and others, but it has a lot of effect on other aspects of our lives as well. It would be well to recognize that there is a big difference between being free to vote and being free from self-serving desires for financial benefits and power when one votes. There is a big difference between being free from the fear of flying and being free from the requirement to be searched before boarding a plane. There is a big difference between a plane that is free to cruise through the air from the thrust of its powerful jet engines and a plane that is cruising through the air free from the controls of its rudder and ailerons. Some people in Iraq and other places in the world are learning that there is a big difference between the personal freedoms that are offered in a democratic form of government and those that are offered by a dictator, even one who may have some popular support.

It is well to recognize that good personal freedom should be modified by good self control

To be free of many of such controls is to be “out of control” and no longer “free”. Most of us want our children to grow up to be free independent men and women, but the process of reaching a mature level of personal freedom is not easy for anyone. And there is a big difference between being “free” and being “driven” in one’s life.

What are the qualities of good personal freedom that you prize for yourself and your children? Let’s talk about this.

Good advice

ome words of good advice:

Be thankful; you have probably been given more than you realize. Be a good friend; you can’t buy one on “sale”. Be positive; few problems can be solved with a negative attitude. Read the manual and follow its instructions; this will avoid a lot of frustration from trying to do it your “own way”. Tell the truth; then you won’t have to try to remember what you said before. Be forgiving; you will probably need to be forgiven from time to time. Be dependable; someone needs you. Work hard; nothing of value comes easy. Be a good citizen; we’re all under some authority.

Share; you can’t get everything that you need by yourself. Be prepared; this advice is good for everyone, not just for scouts. Be slow to speak; a word spoken cannot be silenced. Listen carefully; you may gain a lot of wisdom. Don’t waste a minute; the now moment is all that you have with which to do anything. Love one another; life is very painful without it. Be respectful; everyone is different in some ways. Be patient; hasty action is very risky.Take care of the environment; we all live in the same space “bubble”.  Pray a lot; politicians can’t solve many of our problems. Trust God; he knows what is ultimately good.

That is probably enough for now. What is the best advice that you ever received? What is the best advice that you ever ignored? What is the best advice that you have to offer anyone? What constitutes good advice? Let’s talk about this.

A good self image

Everyone needs to feel good about themselves. But such feelings are not acquired automatically. They begin to be felt as a growing child develops a sense of his or her place as an individual in the social structure of a family. The initial feelings are generated by the child’s perceived relationship with his or her parents and how they treat him or her. The child knows that it is good to be cared for and loved, so initially that produces a good self image. But then as the situation in the home changes, another child or more enters the social circle and the issue of competition is felt, the initial good feelings may be impaired or threatened.

Or the busy schedule of the parents begins to interfere with the caring attention that they can give to the child, and he or she may begin to wonder why and conclude that something must be wrong with him or her. And this effort to be loved and to be accepted in one’s social circle continues as the child’s circle of other individuals expands to include other relatives, other children outside of the family, classmates in school, and associates in the work place. An individual is constantly striving to achieve and to maintain a good self image.

What makes a good self image?

Part of your self image is generated by how you are treated by others. But it is also affected by what you see when you look into a mirror. In one’s struggle to achieve and to maintain a good self image, when that image is damaged or impaired, it is natural to begin to wonder what is wrong. And one of the first places an insecure person may look for an answer to this question is in a mirror. They may conclude that there must be something wrong with the way I look that causes people around me to reject me or to be mean to me or to withdraw their love from me. Individuals who are going through such a crisis of appearance may go to a lot of effort and expense to try to improve how they look so that they can win the acceptance of those who are important to them in their social circle.

Or if they are a child with limited resources to make some changes that they think might help to solve this problem, they may become depressed or very angry with their inability to improve their social situation and their self image. We all know individuals who are struggling with poor self images or we have gone through times of such struggles ourselves. Perhaps we’ve seen the struggle in our teen-aged children as they try to find their places in a very critical crowd of other teenagers. Or we face the issue and the questions as we try to adjust to a broken marriage or a lost job.

And in many cases where an individual is struggling with a poor self image, he or she seeks to find something that will enable him or her to escape the bad feelings, something that will dull the pains, cloud the bad image in the mirror, or attract some attention that may for a moment provide some experience of being accepted. For many girls and women that personal commodity is sex. For many boys and men the solution to this problem is found in drugs or violence.

What do you think helps a person to develop and to maintain a good self image? What can a person do to correct a poor self image? What should parents be doing to help their children grow up with a good self image? Let’s talk about this.

A good deal

Brand named merchandise for sale at 50% off. Is that a good deal? Accepting a credit card when you don’t have a job; is that a good deal? Being able to sign a contract for a new home with a flexible rate mortgage; is that a good deal? Being able to buy necessary items for one’s family members at big supermarkets of “foreign made” goods; is that a good deal?

What makes for a good financial deal these days is not a simple matter

Our politicians  are urging us to buy, buy, buy. They are trying to boast our economy by giving us financial benefits and tax breaks so that we will spend more money, claiming that this will create jobs and really get the American economy back on track. But is that a good deal?

What makes for a good deal is a very personal matter, and it is a very political matter. Your answers to the question, “what is a good deal?”, will probably determine the financial status of many merchants this approaching holiday season and the election of some political candidates in the approaching elections.

What is a good deal in your opinion? What is the best “deal” that you ever got? What made it so good? What criteria are you willing to apply to a possible purchase to determine whether or not it is a good deal? I think that these are very important and timely questions. Let’s talk about this matter.

Renewable Spiritual Energy

I’m thinking of faith, hope, love, prayer, and worship, not solar power, wind turbines, or thermal heat. I want to draw your attention to some sources of renewable spiritual energy that can help you to make it through the day. Everyone recognizes the need for various sources of energy to power all of the machines and labor saving devices that we use everyday in our homes, the energy required to make and to keep those homes comfortable during the changing seasons of the year, and the energy required to power our cars to move us from place to place. But many people fail to take seriously their need for sources of personal mental energy each day or to see where some good sources of such energy can be found.

How to know if you’re lacking Renewable Spiritual Energy

If you wake up in the morning still exhausted, you are experiencing this need for some personal renewal energy. If your kids drive you to the brink of patience after a short time of dealing with their selfish demands or rebellious moods, then you can recognize this need. If the attitudes and behavior of some of your associates at work really get to you every day and make your work environment an unpleasant place in which to be, then you should admit to having this need. If the pills and vitamins and enjoyable breaks that you squeeze into your daily routines don’t give you the lasting energy that you need before it is time to get some sleep, then you need some new sources for a special type of energy.

Most of us human beings have heard stories about how a person’s will to live pulled them through the rigors of intense physical pain and discomfort from a severe physical injury.  Or how Helen Keller was able to overcome her severe handicaps of being born blind, deaf, and dumb by her personal persistent efforts to do so with the help of her teacher. Or how a well trained athlete was able to find the extra shot of energy that was able to push him or her through the physical pain of exhausted muscles to cross the finish line in first place. These accomplishments are due to one’s personal mental energy.

Where to find Renewable Spiritual Energy?

And whether we are willing to admit it or not, the good sources for this energy are to be found in the spiritual disciplines of faith, hope, love, prayer, and worship. You see the daily life of faith can give you a lot of relief from the debilitating effects of worry. A daily dose of hope can give you a mental boast to get you through a rough period of time. An available supply of God’s love and that of your family and friends can give you a source of energy that will enable you to ignore or to forgive the unloving or unkind attitude or behavior of an associate at work.  And prayer for your kids when their behavior is about ready to drive you to the edge of your patience can give you an extra shot of faith and hope that they are eventually going to be OK if you don’t give up in the hard work of raising them. And brief daily or extended times of weekly worship and spiritual devotion can give you a source of energy from knowing that you are not alone in your daily struggles.

Faith, hope, love, prayer, and worship are really very practical sources of personal energy, and they are renewable every day and available to you every moment.  Some of the posts on this blog or statements on my website directly address these resources. Let’s talk about these sources of renewable spiritual energy.