Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why do small children cry?

Q. Why do small children cry?

A. Because they haven't yet learned how to swear.

I know, I know. This sounds like the ramblings of a cynic or a liberal wacko, but I truly believe that children cry over simple things like a stubbed toe or bumping their tush on the ground when they fall, because they haven't learned how to express themselves any other way.

For most adults, stubbing a toe or a simple fall is an inconvenience but not a grounds for shedding a tear. As adults, we might say "sh**" or the more politically correct "poop" or "crap". That simple syllable is enough of a release to get over any minor pain that was caused by the stubbing or fall.

Children on the other hand have a limited vocabulary and useful expletives are not yet part of that vocabulary.

So what happens when a child cries. We typically assume that somethings wrong and understandably head to their rescue. We say things like "it's okay" or "its just a little bump". Does this really help? I don't know that it does. We wouldn't think of saying that to a 42-year old construction worker who had just dropped a wrench on his big toe. Like the adult, the child usually gets over it pretty quickly without our even noticing it. So why do we feel the need to make a big deal of it with the child and not with the construction worker? In other words, let them have a quick cry and move on. Obviously we need to make sure that the reason they're crying is not life threatening, but give them enough room to experience the little things without having to make them big things.

Understand that I'm not advocating that we teach babies how to swear like a sailor. But let's put "expletives" into context. I hope I never hear a three-year old drop an "F" bomb. It's not appropriate and, to be honest, perverse. They can not even begin to fully understand it in any context. Is there a reason to teach them to swear? No. Will they one day do it. Yeah, probably.

Maybe if they realize that it's not that big a deal when little things do happen that perhaps they'll be less likely to have to use expletives as adults. And if they do use the occasional 4-letter word, understand that they've only expanded their vocabulary and that the world hasn't ended.

Photo credit - Flicker

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two lessons from the summer...

My journey to a new career has been both enlightening and frustrating. In fact the latter has been a major contributor to the former. In other words, my frustration has led to discovery or in many cases to rediscover things about myself. Valuable experience, but at the moment it isn't paying the bills. So what have I learned that might one day pay the bills and make the world a better place. Two things immediately have become obvious to me.

  1. Joy is at the core of our existence.
  2. When you feel like crap or get frustrated, quickly find any way possible to get over it.
It goes without saying that people who are happy tend to be more productive in the long run. Are much easier to be with. And in general make the people around them feel better. Face it, its a lot of work to be sad when you're surrounded by happy people. The experience of joy makes the day less stressful, we sleep better and we physically feel better.

On the other hand feeling like crap or let things frustrate you (which quickly makes you feel like crap), can drain the life right out of you if you're not paying attention. Feeling bad serves no useful purpose, and in fact only feeds our personal self pity machine. Self pity gets old fast which often pushes others away. The loneliness helps reinforce our bad feelings and we slip into the quicksand, having pushed away the very people that could have helped pull us out of the muck.

I'd spent several days at home feeling sorry for myself. Even with my loving and caring wife Christina sitting next to me or only one room away, I felt isolated and alone. I was so lost that it was like having my life drained from my soul. An emotional Nosferatu. It was not productive and certainly not fulfilling. It had become in Christina's words, "A life, not worth living."

Those words sent a shock through my system and helped remind me of the Ghandi quote, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." As I have always believed that joy and fun can and will change the world, I only had two choices, stay and be miserable which obviously wasn't working, or be that change, to be joyful and fun.

It only took a second or two to make that shift and it was immediate. I won't say that it was easy as there were several days of muck to shake off. But like making a commitment to climbing out of quicksand, slowing things down, letting the people around me help and staying focused on my intention allowed me to break free.

Life is better for sure. I have more energy, less aches and generally sleep pretty well. From time to time I do step in a small puddle getting goo around my ankles, but its a lot easier when I feel it tug at me. I can quickly regain my footing by refocusing on the joy and fun and being that change that I want to see in the world.

In the end, life is perfect. It's not flawless but it is perfect.

Hummer photo credit -

Monday, September 10, 2007

Einstein was right, time is relative

Okay, so it's been more than three months since my last post. While that's not the end of the universe, the realization a few minutes ago was a wake up call. Time is slipping by way too fast.

Do you remember when you were a kid, it seemed like the days would last forever, and things we were looking forward to, like birthdays, special trips and summer vacation would never get here.

Somewhere along the line, things shifted. We seemed to get busier and busier and there was never enough time in the day to get things done. Suddenly, rather than always looking forward to things, we were usually looking back and saying what happened. Where did all of that time go? It still clicked by 1 second at a time, but our perception was that it had for the most part slipped past unnoticed. Einstein was right, time is indeed relative. Reflecting on the last few hours, I'm coming to believe that wonder and joy are in fact, two of the keys that help slow time.

Wonder lets us to look at things openly and in minute detail. This openness creates a feeling of control like nothing else on the planet. Is it possible to open to wonder and feel anything less than being in full control of our senses and in absolute awe at the universe around us. One of the byproducts of wonder is joy.

True joy gives the sensation that time is standing still. It is a state of mind that is so natural for most, that you never want to let go. This creates a problem for most of us.

While it's true that with age and maturity come responsibility, there is a perception that there is little if any room for joy and wonder among the responsible. As this mind set begins to take hold, our experience of time begins to shift from abundance and anticipation, to scarcity and loss. I know I've been there for the better part of the last 40 years. Not sure the precise moment that it happened, but I do know that it happened.

In the coming days, weeks, months and years, I am all about rediscovering wonder and unbridled joy. I am about creating a better world through joy and fun. Its the only way that I can truly make a difference in the world and to make this happen I need your help. If you ever see me being anything less than joyful or fun, you have my FULL permission to give me a swift kick in the bottom and call me on it. There's a catch, you also have to give me a shove in the right direction. That might be something as simple as asking what's up and then asking what's next.

I know this is a lot to ask as we all have really busy lives and responsibilities, but I truly believe that if we can help light each other up, if only for a moment, that time will indeed begin to slow down, become abundant and fulfilling without having to be irresponsible. It is how we were created and wouldn't the world be a lot more fun if we could be both joyful and responsible.

I'll provide an update on the summer with my next post along with a personal promise to being accountable for providing updates on a regular basis.

I welcome your comments and when needed a good swift kick in the pants.