WE ARE STRONGER.


As the sun rises above the gray misty sky I remember. I sit facing the sun with the warmth slowly climbing up my arm and bathing my face. There is a cool breeze that ruffles my shirt and the stars and stripes above me. There is peace in silence. The chirp of a distance bird can be heard and there is peace in her melody. I put my feet up and accept the gift that nature is giving. I accept because I have no control. I accept and love it because love is my only outlet.

I love because I need love. I am a lover because she requires it. Mother nature gives as she gets so I give love. Mother loves because she knows no other. I accept because I am her son.

There is loss but we have her gifts. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit. We are more resourceful than others credit us. We are more resilient than we can imagine. We are powerful, but only if we believe. We are greater and stronger than our loses. Our tears express our strengths. In our tears is expressed our resilience. In times of great loss we may crack, but we will not break. The cracks only serve to expose the depths of our strength. We hold ourselves together in spite of the tears. We hold ourselves together because of our tears.

We are sad and we are happy. We are complex and simple. We are strong because it is required. Our strength is required and is ever-present because we know no other way.
Mother nature gives and she takes, but we are strong because she has strengthen us.

Happy are our days, because we have the strength of our tears.

ENJOY YOUR EASTER.


Often life gets in the way of living and we get carried away with the emotional. The beauty is in the living not in the life. Our experiences are the sum total and the after life is irrelevant. That view of life is much disputed, but it is my view. The constant attempt of the religious to guilt us into prescribed behaviors is admirable only in that it has so thoroughly succeeded.

The complaints that will spring from my expression of this opinion is so perfectly conjured, by the religious, as to make even the most noncommittal give credit to those views. The oddity is that the same people who believe in the absolute power of scientific evidence in the care of patients ignore the validity of those rules to justify their beliefs.

As I tell the story I lost my religion in the sixth grade when a teacher seeing I was bored gave me a book about the solar system. Not far into reading about our tiny part of the universe the story of creation as proclaimed by Genesis lost all meaning. As a 9-year-old I was not sure about what I was reading, but the seeds were planted.

Those seeds grew into my love of science and evidence. I will allow you your belief structure as long as you do not attempt to guilt  me into compliance with your view of the universe. I will acknowledge the evidence and your freedom to do otherwise. I am comfortable with the knowledge that I am not in control of the universe. I am comfortable that your religious convictions do not give you any more understanding of the universe.

Religion is about ignoring the uncertainty and providing platitudes to explain the unexplained. I will stand with the evidence and follow it where it leads. I can live with the uncertainty and strive to find the evidence to answer the important questions.  Because I am looking for evidence does not make me any less of a person than you are. It makes me less ideological.

Enjoy your Easter, while I continue to look for the evidence.

GIVE THEM THE CASH NOT THE TOY.


I have a difficult relationship with children’s toys. My difficulty maybe born from the fact that I did not get many toys as a child. At least I do not remember getting many. What I do remember is making “stuff”. I was never really good at making “stuff” but it was fun. I never felt deprived, I just did not know any other way. I do remember once asking for a plastic pickup truck. I received it and promptly took it apart. I am sure I got more than that, but I do not remember any others. What I remember to this day is the “stuff” I tried to make and the “stuff” I succeeded in making. The experience was my reward.

How to replicate that experience with my two daughters is going to be a challenge. They already have more toys that I had in my entire childhood and they continue to receive more. I hate toys not just because I consider them a waste of hard-earned resources, but because most toys are disposable objects of materialism. Most toys teach our kids to be comfortable spending money on goods that are disposable in content and quality.

The peer pressure to give our kids toys is immense and unrelenting. It is ever-present and both subtle and obnoxious. The subtle pressure is suggesting to us that not allowing our kids toys will make them stand out as different, that it will harm their self-image. This suggestion is without evidence and contrary to the facts. The challenge to all parents is to prepare our children for the full breath of experience that is adult life. How we execute that charge will determine our children’s chance of success in life.

How do we face down the pressure and give our children that running start? I would suggest that we embrace the toy giving culture. It may seem counter to what I have said so far but we can always use popular culture to our advantage if we look carefully for the diamonds in the rough. I suggest that we give toys sparingly and only items that are educational and multi-dimensional. All toys should meet these criteria; teach scientific facts, have varied uses and be challenging and reuseable.

Toys should be special treats. They should be significant and memorable. One or two memorable toys per year should complement a year filled with memorable experiences.

Go make some memories while finding those extraordinary toys.

ENJOY THE CLIMB.


It was a long arduous climb but I had gotten to the peak. The view of the valley was breathtaking. As I looked around the beauty of the valley below stood in sharp contrast to the plainness of the mountain top. The wide open expanse of green was awe-inspiring. The many hues of the expansive forest reminded me of why I loved the hike. This was a very special day. It was the challenge of my life and I had gotten to the top by mastering my fear of failure and confronted the ultimate question. Was the effort worth it? Feeling the warming of the sun and the cool air placed my challenge into perspective. The risk of my climb would have been in not taking the challenge. I am glad to had taken the climb.

We all have a challenge, will you embrace it? Will you be able to look down the valley of your life and see the beauty of the experience? Will attaining the peak be your prize or will the journey be the ultimate gift to yourself? I want the journey to be the prize. The risk of life is in not living. How we live is in our hands.

The ultimate question is, will your valley be lush and colorful or barren and gray? I want my life to be about the memories created, not the things left behind. I want to turn the tables and do the unexpected. I want always to be hungry for the next challenge. I want to be willing to take the risks since the reward is in the experience and not the contemplation. Once we get to the peak there is no next time. There is only today and yesterday. Live, for the risk in life is not taking the risks as they come.