Archive for April, 2014

Two Appropriate “F” Words

April 29, 2014

During my days of teaching kindergarten, I was approached by a five-year-old who ran across the playground with a red face, intense eyes, and a mouth poised in preparation for a tattle. When she got to me, the words just spilled out. Someone had used the “F” word. Before I had a chance to ask any questions or follow up with the offender, the rest of the explanation came out. “He called me the F word and it isn’t true because I am NOT Fat!” She was correct. He had used an F word, but thankfully, it wasn’t the one I was dreading.

I had to hold back the laughter and deal with the situation, but the memory has stuck with me and I still chuckle about it. Recently, due to events in my own life, I have had occasion to think about two more words starting with the letter F; and these are acceptable words. One is Fear and the other is Faith.
Fear can paralyze you. It can stem from anything you have ever experienced, learned, seen or heard. Most of our fears come from past failures or experiences which have been unpleasant. They can also rise out of low self-esteem. Fear is learned. It has its roots in many things and those roots can reach right down into your gut and stay there in a big knot.

So how do you deal with it? First of all, you take a good look at it and decide whether what you fear is really based in fact, or if it is just something that you perceive to be threatening. Next, realize that you have the power to reduce that fear down to the size of a little speck and then squash it. You do this by taking steps to face it. Maybe you need to take baby steps or maybe you need to jump in with both feet; that is up to you. But, when you begin to deal with the situation, expose it for what it really is and understand that the chances are good that you are exaggerating the danger in your mind; fear loses its power over you. Visualize yourself conquering your monster, whatever it may be.

Faith can help you deal with fear….but it has to be greater than your fear. If you have a Higher Power in which you believe, then you must nurture your faith and turn to it when you feel fear’s icy grip creeping in. And you must have faith in yourself; who you are and what you can accomplish. You are probably stronger than you think and you have the ability to overcome challenges. But faith cannot be put on the shelf and just pulled off every now and then. It has to be used and practiced on a regular basis. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes and the Faith word can conquer the Fear word any old day!

Ostriches and Zebras

April 2, 2014

Nature is full of symbiotic relationships. For instance, looking at a zebra and an ostrich, we wouldn’t necessarily think that they were good buddies. They don’t look alike and I wouldn’t automatically assume that they would have much in common or even want to hang out, or get together for drinks after a hard day on the savanna.
I was surprised and delighted to learn that zebras and ostriches DO often travel together and they look out for each other. This relationship keeps them safe from predators, because they make a great team. Zebras have a keen sense of smell and hearing, but they have poor eyesight. On the other hand, ostriches have great vision, but their hearing and smelling capabilities are not so great. Each animal benefits from the strengths of the other and they warn each other of impending danger.

When I read about this phenomenon, I once again marveled at the amazing intricacies and relationships in nature. There are many examples of how members of both the animal and plant kingdoms work together and depend upon each other for survival. That started me thinking about humans and how we relate to one another.

The news reports are full of accounts of conflict between various people, countries, political parties, etc. and that isn’t new; it has been going on since the beginning of humanity. Even more troubling to me are the stories I hear every day from people who are embroiled in arguments, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, and other negative situations in their personal and/or professional lives. Some people seem to be so concerned with competition and being “right” about everything, that they have lost that precious element which makes any relationship work….symbiosis or mutual benefit.

It isn’t about helping someone so that they will, in turn, help you. It is about respecting the value and opinions of people in our lives and appreciating that when it boils down, we all really want the same thing out of life…we want peace of mind and it just might be possible to help each other in that quest. Sadly, some people are under the impression that in order for them to feel peace and joy, someone else has to give up those feelings.

Sometimes, I guess it doesn’t seem possible for problems between people to be solved. Egos become involved and things get blown out of proportion. Perhaps we would all benefit from emulating the zebras and the ostriches and all of the other creatures in nature who seem to have worked things out in more simplistic terms than the human race. Granted, we usually don’t eat each other….but are we willing to hang out with those who look and act differently than we do? Are we quick to lend them our strength in an area in which they are not as strong? And are we willing to work together for a common goal?

Think about that the next time you are at the watering hole.