Every once in a while a story comes along that is so powerful it changes your perspective.

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.”

It seems like there are two kinds of people that graduate high school. Those that know exactly who and what they want to be, and those that have no clue. It’s not true, but it seems that way. The fact of the matter is that it’s a spectrum and everybody falls on it somewhere. The question really becomes what are we offering as the next step? A large part of high school graduates will be going off to more education but in this country, it has become a right of passage more than training up for a future. Parents feel that they only achieve the good parent seal of approval if they offer their children the right to choose any school in the nation even if it means subjecting their own future and the future of their children to a life of debt. Between the education and the princess weddings, many baby boomers have sacrificed any right to retirement.

Whiplash, the movie, confronts our perceptions of what it means to mentor the next generation. Boomers, having been the generation brought up with a spanking or a belt, embraced a kinder, gentler, more tolerant parenthood, and we may be paying the price for it. The question that Whiplash asked was as mentors, leaders, instructors, professors, do we look at the potential in our protege’s and drive them toward that, or do we assume that they are doing the best they can do and just tell them “good job”.

“I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity.”


Pen Ran Out of Ink

pen ran out of ink

The previous blog for Family Dimensions was December 1, 2014 and to those of you who have been dedicated followers, my most sincere apology.  There is a story behind the absence, but not one that can be told yet because I have not found the right words to tell it.  Let’s leave it that the pen ran out of ink, and I had to go to the store for another one.

So I was on my way to the store for a new pen, and I realized that I would need something to write about.  I had hoped that the store might have a good story section that I could just pick something up at, but no such luck. Desks, printers, computer paper, ink, but no stories.  What’s the essence of a good story?  It should be entertaining, captivating and make people think.  That’s a heavy order to fill.

Once I had a new pen, I looked for a place to get some inspiration for a story.  I pulled my notes out, I racked my brain, nothing came forth.  Even a writer has to be productive.  Going for minutes, much less hours, without a sentence creates a stress that can only be compared to the tension on the cable of a tow truck trying to pull a car out of a ditch.  Surely, the car will start moving soon or the cable will snap.  Nobody wants a writer’s cable to snap, especially his family, and since this blog is all about family … ha, see, I knew I could get to a family dimension eventually.

Stephen Covey used to talk about the role of stress in the creative process.  He used to say that sometimes the worst stress was having no stress.  I know people who have taken themselves out of the stream of life to avoid the stress, and have ultimately been faced by this greatest stress of all.  So if you are trying to get rid of the stress in your life, just give up and thank God for it, because it is what makes you creative and productive.  Embrace it.  Make it your friend, not your enemy.  And for God’s sake, stop using it as an excuse to beat up on your family and friends.

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