Thursday, January 31, 2008

Organizational Health: Part Two

I was going to do a long post with my views but I'm not going to anymore. This is for two reasons:

1. My wife said she got bored with my first post and didn't read the end of it.
2. I think I only have part of the puzzle to this huge problem, and not enough to post a solution.

Yup, that's it. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Organizational Health: Part One

Lately I've been hearing about "politics" in several organizations and so I've been thinking and talking with others about organizational health. What is it that makes one organization "healthy" and another not? I have a great burden for the organizations around me that are not doing well. Often when one looks at a church, business, non-profit organization, school, etc. one can see that something is not quite right. Often we will blame certain individuals (usually the leaders). I like to think beyond individuals though. Sometimes it is the system itself that is sick.

Of course it is individuals who contribute to a bad system, but eventually in an unhealthy system all of the individuals will get "sick." Why? Because they enable the unhealthiness to continue. Then they react negatively to all the unhealthiness around them in unhealthy ways. Here's my take on what often happens:

1. Someone in the organization starts doing something that hurts others, is unhealthy, or is contrary to the mission of the organization. Unaddressed, the problem becomes the elephant in the room.
2. Instead of bravely speaking the truth in love to that person (not letting them get away with it/giving them the opportunity to change), others "hope it will just get better" but it doesn't. Or if feedback is shared, it is too subtle and is misunderstood. People get more and more upset.
3. Eventually gossip begins. Because no one takes action, the temptation to gossip becomes impossible to deny. Gossip is one of the absolute worst things that any organization can do to harm itself. Gossip kills unity and creates ten times more problems then the original ones! Once widespread gossip exists, the organization is officially "sick." If the problem person/persons is not a leader and the leader doesn't intervene to fix things, the leader is gossiped about and any remaining team morale is destroyed. If the leader is the one doing wrong, usually the rest of the group is afraid to confront and things are about to reach the boiling point.
4. Eventually things blow up; people will leave the organization, instigate rebellion against leadership, or the organization falls apart.
5. Everyone blames everyone else (we want a scapegoat, right?). Everyone is hurt. The mission of the organization remains unfulfilled. The reputation of the organization is damaged.

Ever seen something similar to what I've described? What happened? In Part 2 of this series I will share my ideas about how to keep your organization healthy and what to do if "sickness" invades an organization (and how to help it).

May Light increase!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy 300th Post (To Me!)

Today is a special day because it marks the 300th post here at Random Enlightenment. It's hard to believe that just over a year ago I started up this whole blog thing. What started as an experiment became both a discipline and a record of my thoughts and life. If you are a regular reader, thanks for choosing to stop by! If you are a commenter, thanks for the conversations! If you are lurker, well, thanks for lurking! Later today, as a trip down memory lane, I will post some links to some of my favorite (and most reviled) posts. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.


Most Popular Posts (by Comments):
Premarital Counseling, Jbo Knows: Introductions, The Bachelor Rant, What Would Jesus Drink?, What Would You Do?, Separate Beds

Most Humorous videos:
German Prank, Waiters Who Are Nauseated By Food, Word Association

Most Authentic Posts:
The Madness of Money, Peace and Feeling Unwise, I Hate Cancer: Part 1

Most Disagreed With Posts:
Prius Worse For Environment Then Hummer, Who Can you Control: Part 2

Favorite Series:
Christians and Tipping

Most Unappreciated/Ignored (but genius to me) Posts:
Secrets, "Poisoned" Series , Father's Day Sermons

May Light increase!

Monday, January 28, 2008


We were coming back from staying overnight at my parent's house this morning. Jobina was driving and in our family whoever drives gets to choose what we listen to. Jobina was driving and so I was being forced to listen to CHVN, a local Christian music station. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against the idea of Christian music stations. But I find CHVN to be so "happy" that it literally makes me feel ill. The message I get is "if you are a Christian you'll be excessively happy all the time, just like us!" The whole concept of "suffering" is usually pooh poohed, ignored, or given a positive spin. It might just be me, but if feels inauthentic. Sure faith in Christ is a reason to be joyous, but life itself is filled with both up and downs. Listening to CHVN for too long gets me agitated.

Anyway, this morning one of those ultra-cheery, always happy radio hosts was on and said something was stereotypically super positive but for some reason her words landed on me. She said she wanted to start a revolution of TGIM, "thank goodness it's Monday." Instead of whining all the time about how bad Monday's are, we should celebrate Monday excitedly as a time to reengage normal life and tackle all the challenges and work that come our way. The week is full of promise, so let's get to it.

At first I wanted to reject what she was saying simply because it was from CHVN, but I decided to accept it instead. I like the idea of changing our perception of something that is usually bad into something good. Reframing a bad day as a potentially good one is something that I agree with. I'm choosing to celebrate the start of a new week. TGIM everyone.

May Light increase!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Worst Job At The Restaurant? (Part 2)

(Click image to enlarge)

I found this from gregnog who once worked as an Olive Garden Host for awhile and made some comics up about it . . .

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Worst Job At The Restaurant?

What do you think the worst job at a restaurant would be? Dishwasher? Cook? Manager? In my mind they all have significant minuses, but they all have pluses as well. In my humble opinion, the worst job is held by the hostesses/hosts.

I started thinking about this when I went to the front of the hostess station to ask if a table was mine and the host said "Don't hate me, they made me seat 17!" with a genuine look of fear in his eyes.

In many ways hostesses have no friends at a restaurant. They are continually in conflict. First, they are in conflict with the guests. You come into the restaurant and want to be seated - they make you wait. They are continually under the icy glare of patrons waiting to be seated. If they underestimate the time for a wait - bam, angry people! Also, guests can be incredibly unreasonable when it comes to waiting. "What, our party of 20 has to wait an hour after we came here without warning on a Saturday night? Are you out of your mind?!!" You'd be amazed at the abuse hostesses take from guests. Guest are ignorant to servers as well but at least they know the servers have control over their food and have some incentive to attempt civility. Hosts and hostesses are just obstacles to be overcome and by any means necessary. Hostesses just take crap, that's their unwritten job description. I believe that I have seen all of the hostesses cry or break down at our restaurant after being screamed at by angry guests. Yikes!

The hostesses are also in conflict with the servers. We either want them to seat us (cause we're bored) or not (because we are weeded). (Weeded means completely overwhelmed by the way). Hostesses are supposed to space tables out (5 or 10 minutes between new tables being seated in a servers section) but if a hostess is under pressure at the the front to get people in they will double seat (seat two new tables to a server in a short time frame) or triple seat. This kills most servers (leading to the aforementioned weeded state). Thus the server gets angry and freaks out at the hostesses. Also, servers usually want to get off their shift as soon as possible so if a hostess seats them when they want to go home - look out! Servers are usually emotional and expressive so when they get angry it's always fireworks. Servers see hostesses as a necessary evil whom they bless when times are good and curse (literally!) when they are bad.

Managers are always on the hostesses for getting more people quickly into the restaurant. Managers hate to see people waiting in the lobby. This pressure on the hostesses leads them to make errors like double/triple seating servers intentionally or by mistake. Sometimes in their haste to get people in they'll seat guests in a section that has no server yet. When this happens there is anger from 1. guest 2. servers 3. managers.

Lastly, hostesses when they are not busy stand around at the front where they gossip incessantly about . . . well . . . lots of things but mostly about each other. Thus the hostesses are actually often in conflict with . . . themselves! It seems to me that they are harsher critics on each others performance then anyone else in the restaurant. Stabbing each other in the back is both common and savage.

Through all of this stress the hostesses are supposed to be charming, warm, friendly, helpful, patient and professional. They don't (usually) make tips either. So the next time your sitting in a line at some restaurant, full of rage at the hostess who quoted you 15 minutes and it's now been an hour - remember; you are just one of her assailants today. Have pity on her, she's choosing everyday to be verbally abused and attacked so that you can have your dinner. Be gracious when the urge to be cruel to her comes up, you'll be in the minority who treat her well.

May Light increase!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Premarital Counseling

I love premarital counseling. I liked it when I went through it myself and I like facilitating it with other couples. I find it incredibly satisfying. There is something about working with an engaged couple as they ponder the excitement and mystery of marriage that is very encouraging to my soul. There is so much hope there. Newly engaged couples are a lot of fun and I count it a great honor to hear their stories and help empower them for a new life together.

I was a little bit surprised to find out that many people do not share my passion. Some of my fellow counselors view it with distaste. And many people are downright frightened by the prospect. They don’t like the idea of being under the microscope or they worry the counselor will tell them they shouldn’t get married. Others have had bad experiences with it and harbor bad feelings about the experience.

So here’s the thing, I’m wanting to encourage more couples to do it (premarital counseling that is), and I’m wondering if there’s anyone brave enough out there to share their opinions and experiences of it (good or bad). Maybe you have some advice/cautions for others? Or maybe you are a person who didn’t do such counseling and I’m curious to know why. What put you off? Maybe you are single and not engaged but have an opinion on the subject? Lastly, perhaps you are one of my fellow counselors (or a pastoral counselor) - I’d love to have your thoughts and experiences as well.

Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it!

May Light increase!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Macheads and the Cult of Mac

I have often told people that mac users are part of a cult (the cult of Mac, the cult of Apple). Mac users are unusually passionate about their choice of computers. This "zeal" is often annoying to others as I have posted about before. Apple fanboys and Mac zealots, although frustrating to others around them, have to be admired for their dedication and outright love (yes, love) for their platform. Seriously, do you ever see anyone get super excited about their Dell laptop or HP PC and try to convince others around them to "convert?" I think not!

There is a new documentary about the most radical of the radicals called "Macheads" coming out soon. Here's the trailer for it:

Will I see it? Of course.

My own "conversion" to Mac came during my first year of Bible college in 1993. I had some friends who were mac users and I was experiencing "powerbook envy" (apple laptops were called powerbooks at that time and PC users were jealous of their sharp looks). Although I was a PC user, I was on the fence and waffling. Should I try Macs? There was just something about them that is hard to describe which made them so different. I had money for a new computer but I wasn't sure. Since I was such a huge Risk fan, I decided that when I went into a computer store, I would look for the game Risk. If the system requirements were for a PC, I'd buy a PC and if they were for a Mac, I'd buy a mac. I ran into the store and picked up the first Risk game I saw; it was for macs. I have never looked back.

Apple is kind of a media darling right now. Everyone (even Sony!) wants to be them. But I remember "the dark years" when people thought Apple was dead in the water and thought they might even go under as a company. It was tough being a zealot back then. We were always on the defensive, always the target of jokes and jabs. Now, Apple is hugely successful (the iPod, the iPhone, iTunes) and there marketshare is almost 8% and they are the 3rd or 4th largest computer manufacturer in the U.S. Their OS is super reliable, free of viruses, and easy to use. Their hardware designs are not just functional, but esthetically pleasing. I'm glad for Apple's success, but I kind of miss the old days. What are you thoughts on Apple these days?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Expelled: Intelligent Design Fights Back?

An interesting looking movie/documentary is coming out next month:

Ben Stein is doing an "expose" on the scientific community's oppression of all scientists and theories that question Darwinism. It looks compelling. Here is an extended trailer if you're interested for more (or go to the website for details on this project).

I have mixed feelings about what this movie is trying to do. The things I like about the movie: they are attempting to point out biases in the scientific community, the movie tells the stories of oppressed scientists, and Ben Stein is standing up for something that he believes in (even though it will bring him a lot of ridicule). The things I worry about; can a documentary (any documentary) really do justice to such a complex issues? It doesn't seem right to discredit a theory just because of its historical context (old imperialistic Britain), and the sensational/conspiracy theory vibe that is the medium seems subversive. These things aside, it will be interesting to see how people react after watching it (if people watch it).

May Light increase!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vacation Planning: It's Tougher Then You Think

Jobina and I are trying to figure out where we are going to go for our big 10th Anniversary trip (sometime after I graduate in April). We've got about 12,000 air miles which we want to at least take care of most of our airfare. We also don't want to spend too much on top of that, so we're trying to find really good deals. We've been thinking of somewhere hot and so far Hawaii and the Dominican Republic look good.

The problem with Hawaii is that the island we really want to go to is the Big Island and air miles won't fly us directly there. They will only get us to Maui or Oahu and then we'd have to pay to fly 40 miles (which costs more money) to get the Big Island. Maui might be OK too. If we go to Hawaii we would rent a condo (or maybe even a yurt!) and then make lots of our own meals/eat out.

The problem with the Dominican Republic is that there are just way too many resorts to choose from. Is 4 stars really that different from 5? How do we know if we are getting a good deal? Which resorts are good and which ones aren't? I wish I knew more about choosing a good place. Of course we are open to going somewhere else as well. Maybe you have some ideas or advice for us? We are open to anything, as long as it isn't too expensive.

May Light increase!

Monday, January 21, 2008

MIssing Your Client

X-Head Concept

Well, the 2008 Detroit Auto Show has wrapped up and we have a new crop of vehicles and concept vehicles. As a student, pretty much all of these vehicles might as well exist on another planet, but I still enjoy seeing what's coming down the road in shiny new cars. I browsed through what's new and only one vehicle tugs at my heart strings; the Suzuki X-Head.

As described at Canadian Driver:

Detroit, Michigan - First seen at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the funky Suzuki X-HEAD concept cross-utility vehicle is a serious off-roader, says the automaker. Resembling a very large Tonka truck, the rugged X-HEAD concept combines the off-road capabilities of the Suzuki Jimny and Grand Vitara with the load-carrying capacity of the Suzuki APV van from Japan. The X-HEAD features a full-time four-wheel-drive system with limited slip centre differential and has a four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC powerplant matched to a six-speed dual clutch transmission. It also is fitted with aggressive off-road tires featuring an "X" tread, along with steep approach and departure angles that enhance its go-anywhere-anytime capabilities. Its airy cockpit includes a rear vision camera with wide monitor display and neoprene seats with net sheets for waterproofing. The X-HEAD also comes equipped with a portable multi-utility toolbox that includes a combination flashlight/hammer. The X-HEAD concept can be coupled with three distinct purpose-built modules, the "Camper," which allows two adults to sleep in comfort; the "Fashion" which provides "stylish urban mobility"; or the "Rescue" which is designed for emergency search and safety operations.

I like the "Tonka-ish" look of this vehicle. Although I don't have many tools, I'd buy some to put into my cool little truck. Please Suzuki, build this.

May Light increase!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Caging Animals For Our Pleasure

My kids loving going to pet stores. They enjoy seeing all the different animals; petting some of them, being grossed out by some, and continually asking "What's that?" They love visiting the pet store as often as they can.

To me, though, pet stores are kind of evil.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think having a pet animal is always a bad thing. We had cats and dogs growing up on the farm and I am so glad we did. But when I go into a pet store I always have this urge to free the animals. Usually they look so sad. Saddest of all are the puppies and kittens in their tiny cages. Usually they look hopeless and tired, consigned to their fate of living in a cage for the rest of their life. The word "inhumane" comes to mind when I see these poor pets who are designed to roam free trapped in a 4 X 4 cage. No wonder people buy them, they want to rescue them. I expect that slave traders used the same compassion from buyers to sell their wares. Even rodents, which I have no affinity to, get compassion from me as I see them sold in cages and then living out their short existence in a tiny box at someones house. Poor vermin.

I suspect that pet stores could house pets more humanely, but it is not cost effective to do so. Sure, they could give a dog a large 500 square foot area to run and play in, but that would cost too much. So they keep them in little cages under fluorescent lives. The sadder the puppy looks, the easier it will sell (as long as it doesn't look sickly of course).

The same thing goes for zoos. As A Thinking Reed says about them:

"I’m against ‘em, basically. Any practical benefit they serve (education, entertainment, scientific research, species conservation) can be provided in other ways that don’t infringe the natural liberty and well-being of wild animals. I mean, I’m not fanatical about it, and there are plenty of other more pressing issues, but I think it’s a practice that’s pretty hard to justify."

Some day I dream that we will live on an acreage in the country and we can get a dog and cat. But I probably won't buy these pets from a pet store. How could I? Every time you buy one (even if you do it to rescue some poor animal), you reinforce the system. The only way to change things is to demand the stores make things humane or withhold our business. That would get their attention.

May Light increase!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Consider the ant . . .

Here's the link.

When I watched this I was both amazed at the ants and also at the cruelty that the research team applied. Check out these comments about the video at Neatorama shared about the video to hear the measures taken to save as many of the ants as possible. Impressive video, eh? Before you get "all proud" about that recent bathroom renovation you did, consider the ant . . .

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Son, The Sailor, My Son, The King

Riker is in kindergarten (French Immersion actually) and so we are daily treated with tales from school. For instance, the other day I was walking to the bank with Riker and he matter-of-factly asked "Dad, what's a motherf***er?" I was shocked, but attempted my best therapeutic calm. "Um, where did you hear that," I asked innocently although I was seething inside. "My friend taught me." Taught you? That's not what I'm sending you to school for! Arghhh! What followed was a difficult conversation to say the least. How do you explain what that means to a 5 year old? I hate the helpless feeling I get when I think off all the evil he is learning from his classmates. You want to protect your kids from it but you can't. The illusion that I can control my kid's socialization took another big hit. He's learning to curse like a sailor way earlier then his mother even did!

Another interesting development is that my son is attempting to become a monarch. Apparently at school he has asked the other kids (peasants?) to refer to him as their king. The day before he got them to give him drawings that showed him as king. Today they actually made him a crown (it's quite nice actually) and they obey his commands. Though I think Jobina is a bit concerned, I can only smile. I remember another little boy who wanted to be king (actually ruler of the world) and he turned out OK. I just hope I don't have to call Riker "you majesty" too much longer.

May Light increase!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


In my first Theological Foundations class this semester our professor asked us the question "What do you think is the most important question in theology?" There were a few good responses actually. I ventured one myself: "How then shall we live?" To me our theology is only as good as the application of it in our lives. My professor gave one of those "ah, good question" noises and looked thoughtful. After pausing a moment he said, "What do you think, should sermons have an application part at the end?"

This question floored me. Of course you should! As an evangelical and a former youth pastor, in many ways the application is one of the main points of a speak, sermon, or teaching time. The professor told us that this question was one of great debate within Christendom and within theological circles? I was shocked. He explained it this way; the application section of a sermon (as we have now) is mostly a modern thing. The early church fathers, the medieval Christians, and even the reformers did not have application parts to their homilies or sermons. Apparently some people think that adding an application section to a sermon is wrong because:

1. The person writing the application has no idea how a passage of Scripture should be applied to every individual Christian.
2. The Holy Spirit is the one who applies the text to a person's life.
3. The theological biases of the preacher/teacher, which are already difficult to keep at bay when expounding the text, always come through in the application
4. Some other reasons which I forget.

Anyway, I found this whole "anti-application" argument very interesting and am going to give it some thought. Perhaps you agree or disagree with this sentiment. I'd be interested to hear other thoughts on this. By the way, the image at the top is of a preacher doing some cool Kung Fu stuff, it has little to do with my post but I found it striking and interesting.

May Light increase!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reflections from Calgary: Spiritual Abuse

"If I were asked for a yardstick to discern good from bad spirituality, I would suggest three criteria to be detached from; material gain, self-importance, and the urge to dominate others. Unfortunately, much of what is labeled spirituality in America today moves in the opposite direction. It means using the names of God and Christ to promote one's own importance, material gain, and right to oppress others."
- Rosemary Radford Reuther, Professor of Theology

During my time in Calgary I heard lots of stories about spiritual abuse or what Arterburn and Felton refer to as "toxic faith." Ever heard of it? Spiritual abuse has been defined as "a kind of abuse which damages the central core of who we are. It leaves us spiritually discouraged and emotionally cut off from the healing love of God." Another definition of spiritual abuse is "the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that person's spiritual empowerment."
Here is a good introductory article on it. Also, check out Toxic Faith, a great book resource.

For some reason I happened to run into 3 or 4 people over the weekend who with tears, told me stories of oppression by their churches. Many of them were wounded severely. Others can not even bring themselves to attend a church of any kind. The sad fact is that there are a lot of churches who have leaders in them who are not there to humbly serve the faithful. Instead of being a servant, they are become cruel masters who wield their authority like a club. When they are challenged they attack. They are legalistic, deceptive, enforcers, etc. I have never been under the authority of such a leader or leaders, but I have heard way too many stories of those who have. Even in the land of milk and honey (or oil), these stories still came to me.

May God help these abusive men and women and the people they have wounded. One thing that caught my attention in these stories is that wounding happened wether the person fought the system or not (many spiritually abuse people are cowed or manipulated into being silent "to protect the church"). If you find yourself in this position, I say fight it! Secrecy and silence are the hallmarks of the abusive system. Stop enabling the abuse to continue is my line of thinking. Maybe you making a ruckus will help others to break free before they get hurt as badly as you.

May Light increase!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Calgary Reflections: A Walk To Remember

The area in Calgary where I was staying is called Tuscany. Mike and Rayna have a nice little two bedroom home there and it seems like all the houses have been built within the past five years. It's easy to get lost there. To make it even more maddening, all of the streets in Tuscany have the word "Tuscany" in them. Tuscany Springs Boulevard leads to Tuscany Heights SW, which leads to Tuscany Avenue E, etc. One night I felt like going for a walk so I asked Mike if I could borrow his GPS and grabbing my iPod I stepped out, looking for a recommended path that went through a ravine. In minutes I was disoriented but knowing that I had the GPS I just walked wherever I felt like it.

I selected the "enlightened" mix on my iPod (fast paced "spiritual" music) and began power walking. Somehow, although unplanned, my walk became a holy experience. Here I was out walking in the dark, having no idea where I was (and loving it), breathing the cold night air, and listening to powerful and inspiring music. I felt my spirit quicken and focus on God. At one point after running for a few blocks, I just knelt down on the path and prayed in the darkness. I'm not sure why, but not being able to see much, hear much (except my music), or know where I was going helped me to focus on God in a whole new way. I daresay it was the best part of my trip.

May Light increase!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Reflections from Calgary: Boom Town

Calgary is a boom town and it feels very different from Winnipeg. Calgary's prosperity and phenomenal growth is being fueled by the oil industry and you can feel the energy and optimism in the city even as you descend into it. When I was in Calgary I got a sense of progress and confidence from the people and the city itself. Not smugness (it's not been successful enough to become like Toronto), but an honest confidence. As I drove the city I saw new development everywhere. I joked to Mike that I wanted him to take me to the slums - after seeing new homes and buildings everywhere I wondered if they had any old ones. I'm sure they do, but I didn't see any. Calgary is beautiful too; the rivers, the mountains in the background, and the rolling hills/parks/trail systems. And don't get me started on the mild weather.

Ambrose College, where Prov has their satellite counseling program taking place, is in the downtown and so Mike (who works for an oil company) and I commuted down there by taking the bus. Why did we take the bus? Well, besides the obvious ecological benefits, its mostly a cost thing. It costs over $450 to park in downtown Calgary, per month. Calgary's downtown parking is the most expensive in Canada. This results in Calgary having the highest amount of bus commuters in Canada as well. In Calgary over 250,000 people take bus trips everyday. Even if all of those people were doing two trips (work and back) that would still be over a 10th of the population (Calgary has about a million citizens)! You see lots of professionals on the bus, something that is more rare in Winnipeg.

Every time I come to Calgary I dream about moving there. Ah, to be near the mountains, to enjoy the high wages, to be in the center of prosperity and wealth! It sounds too good to be true. But Calgary has its dark side. Housing is incredibly expensive there, it's difficult to find a decent detached home in a decent neighborhood for less then $300,000. That's a lot of money for someone who is just moving into town. They also don't have rent controls, one of my classmates, a single mom told me that she had to move back in with her parents because her apartment rent went from $900 a month to over $1500 in less than a year. Crisis lines are incredibly busy dealing with all the fallout from this other side of prosperity too. One (just one) center got over 90,000 calls in 2007. When financial trouble hits, relational problems are usually not far behind. Yes, Calgary is beautiful and I enjoyed it alot. When I arrived back in Winnipeg I felt both sadness and relief about leaving Calgary at the same time. Would I move there? I don't know. But I sure want to visit again.

May Light increase!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thanks A Million (times 2)

Well, I'm back. I have returned from my week long course in Calgary and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I think of my trip to Calgary as a kind of "cross cultural" experience and in the next week I'm going to describe a few of my experiences. In the meantime though, I want to send some thanks out.

First of all to my gracious and long suffering hosts and friends in Calgary, Mike and Rayna. Do you have the kind of friends who you could show up at 2:00am in the morning and say "Um, can we stay here overnight?" Those are the kind of people they are. They took me into their home for 6 days and gave me lodging, food, transportation, entertainment, and best of all friendship. Thanks guys. Thanks too for letting me in your lives. Having a guest in your home kind of disrupts your whole existence, even if they are your friend. I totally enjoyed my visit and playing with Rhys (an energetic and cute two year old) was awesome.

I also want to thank Jay for doing such an awesome job guest posting on the blog. I see that my hits went up higher they have ever been! What happens when the guest blogger is better than the original blogger? It's easy, he should have his own blog. Or he should do a weekly post. Either way, I'd say the experiment was a success. Thanks Jay, you truly are a witty and enjoyable to read writer. I look forward to hearing more from you.

I feel most blessed to have such good friends.

May Light increase!

Friday, January 11, 2008

JBo Knows: Children's Movies

Well folks, it's been fun, but I think it's my time to ride off into the sunset. I'm not sure if I was supposed to do a Saturday post or not, but here's my thinking; if I'm supposed to post on Saturday, well then consider this my Saturday post. If I'm not, well, then I decided to do two posts on Friday. Either way, I think we're covered.

Am I the only one who wishes that real life was like a children's movie?

Sarah and I watched the Curious George movie tonight. Okay, I watched it and Sarah slept on the couch. Anyway, I would love to live in the world of Curious George. Things are so bright and vibrant and welcoming.

Ted (the Man in the Yellow Hat if you haven't seen the movie) gets evicted from his apartment, and by the end of the movie the landlord lets him move back in because George is a good artist. Not because Ted sued and they had a massive court battle, not after yelling and screaming after each other. They settled their differences because of a monkey.

That's the kind of world I'd like to live in!

Really, if we all lived in a kid-run world, I think we'd be better off. Ever watch a 5 year old with his friends and a dollar? They figure out how much they can buy with that dollar for all of them.

Do children's movies present a simpler outlook on life? Absolutely, and I think that's what I like about them. People help each other simply because it's the right thing to do. Strangers are nothing more than friends you haven't met yet.

If you're looking for an in-depth plot, don't watch Curious George. However, if you want to see one of the cutest movies you'll ever see then go ahead and watch it, kids or no kids!

Anyway, I'd like to thank you folks for having me, as I turn the keys back over to the one, the only, Mr. Mark Westman! It's been fun!

To Infinity and Beyond!

-- JBo

JBo Knows: How To Get Good Service

Something I've tried to be conscious of when coming up with things to talk about during my tenure here at Random Enlightenment is writing about topics that Mark might discuss. Each post I've done I've been able to "Tag" without adding any categories that Mark hadn't (with the exception of the "Guest Blogger" tag, that was me), and today will prove no different.

While it's been a couple of years since I was a server in a restaurant, I have spent most of my working life in the hospitality industry. In fact, it was yours truly who got Mark hired on at the Olive Garden (I hope I don't need to apologize for that Mark!). To be honest, I've never left a job where I didn't get someone else hired on there before I left. If my employers knew of this trend they might never let me recommend anyone...

Anyway, using my experience as a server, I'm going to give you a few tips to help you get better service while you're out at a restaurant. Keep in mind these won't always work because quite frankly you might have a bad server.

1. Acknowledge your server.

If you're in the middle of a conversation when your server approaches the table, put it on hold for a moment and talk to your server. You can always pick up where you left off. As a server, standing there while your guests chatter away when you have other tables that need you as well is a huge frustration.

2. Listen to the person taking your order.

One of my biggest pet peeves working at the Olive Garden was the following conversation:

Jay: Can I get you something to drink while you look at the menu?

Guest: No, I'll just have a water.

You have no idea how much the smart alec that lurks within me wanted to bring out a glass full of ice.

3. Don't up and change tables without asking.

"Oh, that booth in the corner opened up, we should grab it!" If you want to be hated, please, change tables without asking. Actually, let me clarify; during the afternoon when the place is empty, not a big deal. Change tables unannounced when the place is packed? Hatred.

There is a reason for the hatred. When a restaurant is busy, there is a system to how people get seated. It's a combination of the following factors:

- Spreading tables out so the server doesn't have to start serving multiple tables simultaneously

- Ensuring that all servers get a table before starting the rotation over

- To ensure there is a server still working in that section (as business winds down staff start going home)

-To ensure you get seated as soon as possible

The Olive Garden has a sheet they use to help time how long you will have to wait for a table, and usually you get seated at the quoted time or sooner. People arbitrarily moving throws that all off. As well, the server that started serving you is now taking a table away from another server, or they'll have to trade, and either way it's a headache.

Just ask first. They won't say no. But they won't hate you either.

4. Put your cell phone away until you've ordered.

If you get seated and are talking on your cellphone, often your server won't approach your table until you're done; they don't want to interrupt your conversation. If your phone goes off, give them a call back once you've ordered. You'll get faster service that way.

5. Be cheerful, or at the least polite

If you treat your server nicely, they will do things for you. I know if I personally had a very pleasant person(s) I would do little things for them like bring them extra after-dinner mints, maybe give them their coffee for free, things like that. Now, it's not your job to make the server happy, you are there to receive a service, but if you're polite then there's no reason for the server to not provide you with great service.

Really, you can boil all of these down to "be polite", now that I think about it. If we all treated each other the way we'd like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

With great power comes great responsibility!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

JBo Knows: Reading

Y'know, I've been enjoying my time here at Random Enlightenment, but I admit I'm having a bit of a problem. I have a habit of checking in here pretty regularly since I know Mark updates every day, but every time I do that lately I find no update then remember the only way I'll get one is if I do it!

So here we are, ready for a new day. I thought that today I might discuss something that I just finished reading.

The book I read was kind of a darker book; I'm going to with "grim 'n gritty" as my adjective. The lead character, Matthew, is a lawyer, who has something of a mystery on his hands. The man he is defending is charged with murdering two of his fellow inmates while in prison. The defendent, Melvin, is found in the same room as the victims, who have buzz saw blades sticking out of their backs; Melvin's MO.

The thing is, Melvin denies he did it. He has a condition, one where another personality sometimes takes over and he gets homicidal tendencies. Nobody believe him at first, except for Matthew. In the past, Melvin has always taken responsibility for what his other side does. This time, he swears he didn't do it.

Later in the book, we the reader clearly see Melvin break free from his restraints and murder the two prison guards escorting him. Melvin again denies he did it. In his fear and panic he manages to escape custody and is on the run.

To make matters worse for Matthew, his wife Milla is growing increasingly frustrated with their marriage. Like he has countless times before, Matthew has let the case consume him. He is up all hours of the night working on it as well as during the day. Unfortunately, things get even worse for Milla as she becomes a target.

Melvin, or rather Melvin though a man named Cranston who we discover is manipulating him, goes after Milla as a way to get to Matthew. Matthew shows up to find his wife and gets kidnapped himself. The book ends there on the cliffhanger.

Pretty riveting stuff, eh? Would you be disappointed if I told you this was actually a comic book?

That's right, this is a story about Daredevil, a blind lawyer who doubles as a superhero. Now, you might be asking, why would I mislead you, gentle reader, in such a fasion? It was to make a point.

Comic books are often labelled as "kid's stuff", or written off as mere picture books. Impossibly muscled heroes and unbelievably curvy heroines running around in capes and tights catching people falling out of planes and pulling victims free from raging fires, right?

Yes and no. Sure, there are some comic books that are like that. But just like any other medium, there is so much more to comic books. Writing comic books off as immature kids' stuff as a whole is like saying that all television rots your brain, or that you don't like music, period. Comic books are the medium, not an all encompassing genre.

There are superhero comics, and they are the most widespread, true. But there are romance comics, science fiction comics, horror comics, dramatic comics; pick a television genre, there's probably a comic book equivalent. But still, genre's overlap; before I revealed that I was writing about Daredevil, did you know I was talking about a superhero comic? I think the exact same plot I summarized could be seen on an episode of Law & Order or CSI.

Like everything else I've written this week, I could keep going for a long time, but I'll cut things short here. I'm not expecting you to run out and grab this month's Captain America as a result of this article (though Captain America is an excellent espionage read these days, if I do say so myself), but I'm again just trying to challenge your thinking and perception on something you may have had a preconception about.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

JBo Knows: Thinking Cap

Alright, we're at the mid-way point of our week together, and we're going to be taking a sharp left turn from the previous posts. I have no wisdom to impart or knowledge to share on this topic (though let's be honest, I rarely have wisdom to impart anyway!); rather, my goal today is to get the gears of your mind a'cranking. So pull out your Thinking Cap and get comfy!

Today's discussion was inspired by a cramp I suffered in my leg last night curling. Not quite the existential inspiration you were perhaps expecting, but it's true. While delivering a stone, my right leg (the one I push off from the hack with) cramped, which makes it pretty difficult to concentrate on your shot!

On every subsequent shot, I would say a little prayer to God. "Lord, please be with me and my leg and help me not to cramp up" is what I would say every time. Later in the game I wiped out and semi-twisted my ankle, so my prayer became "Lord, please be with me and my entire body and help me not to cramp up or injure myself further". I decided not to even throw any stones in the final end (we had already lost anyway) to prevent further aggravation.

In addition to prayer, I also stretched my leg as best I could (and yes, I did stretch before we started curling) and ran inside to down a few cups of water (as dehydration is one cause of muscle cramps).

Now, what deep question am I pondering after all of this? Here goes; to what extent are we to rely on God, and to what extent should we look after ourselves? Should I have relied on prayer alone, or on the physical measures I undertook to correct the problem?

Clearly God has the power to alleviate my muscle cramps, but like any Father I think God wants me to learn to take care of myself as well. Here's an analogy; when kids are used to being spoon fed and are starting to learn how to feed themselves, they might try to revert later to being spoon fed. The parent knows that the child has to learn to do this on their own and as such does not spoon feed them.

We're taught to rely on God's power rather than on our own, but then there's free will. Since we are free to choose our own actions, we must also bear some responsibility for our well-being as well, right?

When thinking about this topic, I was reminded of a post over at "Notes To Myself" that echoes this one. Alyssa wrote about a family that had a broken stove. Rather than going out and picking out a new one, they waited nearly 2 years before they purchased a new one, as they were waiting for God to show them one just like the one that no longer functioned. (if you want to read Alyssa's thoughts on this topic, head over to her blog via the link above and enter "stove" in the Search feature)

Let's break down the stove scenario then. This family believed that they had to wait for God to show them the perfect stove. Assuming that the family could afford a stove (for sake of argument let's say they can), God gave this family the tools needed to hold down the jobs needed to pay for said stove (intelligence, skills to hold down a job, etc), and the wits to buy one. So really, aren't you still buying this stove through God?

I could go on and on and go deeper and deeper, but I think I'm going to halt this one here. I don't have any answers for you, but I hope that maybe I've made you think in ways you may not have before or have very often. Sometimes simple contemplation is reward in and of itself.

Feel the magic, hear the roar!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

JBo Knows: Acceptable Behaviour in Sports Part 2

Wow, yesterday ran kind of long eh? I had thought it best to adhere to the "write what you know" philosophy, but perhaps I should have picked something I'm not quite so passionate about; I had trouble keeping yesterday's post as "short" as it was! Anyway, I'll try to be a little briefer today and also try to wrap up this topic!

I'm going to touch briefly on coaches here, and then get to the real meat and potatoes I had intended to serve up all along; how we as adults impact our kids' in sport.

A lot of what I said about referees goes for coaches as well, with one exception; coaches generally aren't paid. A coach is a volunteer, a volunteer who in addition to running practices and games had to obtain certification in the sport, obtain a criminal record/child abuse registry check, take the Respect in Sport on-line course, and quite possibly find time to take off of work, all to enable kids to play sports. Again, I'm not saying that all coaches are great; there are coaches who are quite guilty of the offences I'm about to discuss, but in general coaches do have the best interest of the kids at heart.

I attended a conference last November and greatly enjoyed the keynote address by Dr. Colin Higgs on Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD). What struck me most about his address was the stressing of the importance of teaching kids while they're young the basics of sport movement; running, jumping, and throwing. Almost all sports hinge on some, if not all, of these skills. What was also interesting was the revelation that if a child does not learn these skills by the age of 10 or 11, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn them.

Dr. Higgs made clear the need for children to play different sports at an early age, not only so they can try out different activities to see what they like, but so they learn all these skills. The best athletes played more than one sport growing up; if you followed the World Juniors this year you may have caught mention of a few Team Canada players who play both soccer and hockey at a provincial/national level.

So what does this have to do with the behaviour of adult spectators? Allow me to pose this question; how best do children learn? The answer; when they have fun! When your child is struggling with their math problems, do they respond better to you coaxing and encouraging them, or to getting screamed at?

I am of the belief that the purpose of children's sports is the following:

1. To promote an active lifestyle

2. To have fun

3. To learn basic motor skills

4. To have fun!

5. To learn teamwork and problem-solving in a group setting

6. To have fun!!

As adults in the stands, we can play an important role in our kids sport development. I think if we concerned ourselves with our kids having fun and learning rather than winning a lot of problems would be solved.

A quick side note (and bear in mind this is my opinion and I have nothing on paper to back me up), please, please, please, do not reward your children for scoring goals or for winning! I cringe whenever a parent tells me their kid gets a dollar for every goal they score. By rewarding goal scoring, we are not encouraging teamwork. If your child is playing defence, why should they try to learn how to do that properly when they can get a reward for abandoning their post to go for the goal?

I could go on and on about this topic and I've barely scratched the surface here, but I hope it gives you something to think about. If this is something you struggle with or just want to discuss, please feel free to drop me a line at capped.crusader @ (just remove those spaces around the "@"!). Or if you're looking for some literature on the subject, I recommend reading "Just Let The Kids Play; How to Stop Other Adults From Ruining Your Child's Fun and Success in Youth Sports" by Bob Bigelow.

In closing, please remember that I'm referring primarily to children aged 12 and under here. I could do multiple articles on how things change as kids grow older in sport, but if I do it definitely won't be this week!

The Power is Yours!


Monday, January 7, 2008

JBo Knows: Acceptable Behaviour in Sports

Good Monday to all of you out in cyberspace! Today is a momentous day indeed, one that is marked on many a calendar. One that is dreaded by some yet frantically anticipated by others. Truly, the very heavens themselves will shake and the firmament below will shudder!

The kids are back in school!

What, did you think I was going to use that build-up to herald my first "official" post (if you don't count my intro)? Please, I'm more humble than that; I just felt like warming up with a little hyperbole. And with the hyperbole out of the way, let's move into the segue way; today, we're going to talk about parents in children's sports.

First, a little background on why you should even be bothered to pay attention to me on this topic. I started playing sports at the tender age of 5, and all through school I played nearly every sport that was available to me; soccer, badminton, curling, volleyball, basketball, and track (though admittedly I joined the track and field team to get out of school for a day) are all sports that I've competed in. These days I'm down to playing golf and curling regularly, but now I probably coach more than I play.

I started coaching when I was in Grade 7; my mother volunteered to coach my youngest brother's soccer team, then promptly turned to me and told me that I was running practices. Since then I've coached soccer, volleyball, badminton, and curling, and boy do I love it. I am also certified as a youth soccer and volleyball official (I've tried to repress the one time I was asked to referee basketball *shudder*).

Now, I may not be a parent, but as an athlete, coach, and referee I've seen lots of parents in action at a game. As an official and a coach I like to see parents out at games, supporting their kids (and in the event their child is injured they can take care of it instead of me!). To those parents that stretch out on and under blankets on the side of the field on a chilly day, who brought a cooler full of cold drinks for the whole team, who bravely volunteer their mini-van as a mini-bus, I salute you! To those that holler obscenities at the official, who berate the coach, and most disgustingly hound their children to attain the pinnacle of success they could never achieve, I'd ask you to sit down, be quiet, and listen up. Please.

First, let's start with the officials. Do you really think screaming your head off at the poor guy or gal with the whistle is going to help anything? Just because your omniscient, faultless vision spotted some infraction that the official didn't doesn't give you the right to scream it out to the heavens. A person in a black and white striped shirt is still a person. Picture this, if you will.

Boss: Johnson!

Johnson: Yes sir?

Boss: This memo you sent out has a typo! A TYPO! What kind of moron are you?!

Johnson: I'm sorry sir, what was the typo?

Boss: You spelt "colour" wrong! Where did this @#^$ "u" come from?!

Johnson: Actually sir, only Americans spell it without the "u".

Boss: Who are you to tell me how to spell Johnson?!

Johnson: I did minor in English Lit...

My point is this. Do you want someone to come into your office and scream at you for every perceived mistake you may or may not have made? I think not. And also remember, in most cases an official will have had to taken a training course to even be allowed to oversee a game. Unless you've had some sort of training, who are you to talk? I wouldn't try to tell my mechanic how to fix my car just because I have experience watching cars on the road.

Another practical reason for not screaming at an official is this; is it really going to help your team by angering the sole arbiter of the rules? Would you lecture the judge at a trial when your fate rests solely in her hands? I think not. With an inexperienced referee, sure, you might rattle them into serving your purpose, but with an experienced official they might just get annoyed and take it out on the team you're rooting for. If you're lucky they'll just eject you and continue to call the game impartially.

Did you know that there is a shortage of sports officials? Ever wonder why? This is purely my opinion, but I'm pretty sure the abuse officials take is a prime reason. Why should that kid reffing a Novice hockey game want to keep his whistle when the adults in the stand are screaming at him?

It basically boils down to this; if it's not acceptable off the ice/field/gym, why is it acceptable on?

Please understand, I'm not saying that everyone is cut out to be a good referee. There are some bad ones out there. But simply seeing how loudly you can correct them is not going to make them any better.

Wow, this is running long. I guess we're going to have to go ahead and make this puppy a 2-parter! Next time on Random Enlightenment, "JBo Knows: Acceptable Behaviour in Sports Part 2"!

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!


--PS, if you want to know the answer to Sunday's question, highlight between here Perhaps most famous for playing both professional baseball and football, "JBo Knows" is derived from "Bo Knows" as associated with Bo Jackson! Growing up watching the Pro Stars cartoon, there was always an information segment entitled "Bo Knows". and here to see!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

JBo Knows: Introductions

Good day my fellow Blogaholics! The esteemed and erudite Mr. Mark Westman has gone on a little vacation to warmer climes (and by vacationing in warmer climes I mean he's out of town taking a course for school, but I'm assuming Calgary is warmer than our own friendly Manitoba), and while he is away he has bestowed upon me the honour and privilege of entertaining you by updating his blog!

For those of you who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jay Boaz, although some of my friends like to call me "JBo" (pronounced "Jay-Bo"); and yes, I did have that nickname before Jennifer Lopez stole it with "J-Lo". I'm 24, live just outside of Riverton Manitoba, and am engaged to an enchanting and beautiful school teacher by the name of Sarah Hayward. I am currently employed as the Recreation Director for the Riverton-Bifrost area, and I've got to say it's a job that I very much enjoy. Where else am I going to get paid to take groups of kids curling?!

Why has Mark entrusted me with the awesome responsibility of maintaining his blog while he's away? While I like to think it is because of my keen intellect and sharp wit, it's entirely possible that I was chosen simply because the word "sucker" has been tattooed on my forehead while I wasn't looking. For now let's just go with the the intellect thing; although upon reflection it is possible that Mark wanted to be sure it was a Mac updating his blog and not a filthy PC. But I digress...

So what are we going to talk about while Mark is gone? I'm still working on that part, but I have a few ideas that hopefully will keep you coming back daily and not simply waiting for Mark to return. Mark and I think similarly on some subjects (such as the awesomeness of the groom at a wedding entering on a silk ninja rope from a skylight up above) and quite differently on others (our differing strategies in Risk, for one thing). So if all goes well you will get exposed to some new ideas, some familiar ideas, and maybe a new perspective on something Mark would write about. "The journey IS the adventure", as it has been said (and if I remember who said it I'll go ahead and edit that in later), and I hope your week-long journey with me will prove to be more enjoyable than anticipating the end of my finite run here at Random Enlightenment.

We will close this introductory post with a little pop culture quiz. Whose catchphrase am I parodying with my "JBo Knows" header? While there isn't a material prize, you can reward yourself with the acknowledgment that, much like myself, you have a great command of thoroughly useless information.

'Til all are one!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

On Being and Doing

What is the essence of our being? I thought this series of philosophical quotes on the subject were deep:

“To be is to do” — Nietzche

“To do is to be” — Sartre

“Do be do be do” — Sinatra


"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." - George W. Bush

I've heard that one of the most important financial principles there is involves the maxim "don't spend more then you make." Although it doesn't surprise me that many people choose to ignore this (after all, what else would credit cards be for?) it does surprise me that many people actually have no idea if they are spending more then they make or not. The truth is that some people just don't keep track of their spending at all. What do you do? Check out my poll on the sidebar.

Ah, tracking what you spend. There are a couple of ways to do this. My friend Jonathon told me that he and his wife have 5 different jars (one for house, one for car, one for food, etc). At the start of the month they distribute the money they have into those jars. If the money runs out (or is about to) they know they've reached their financial limits. I don't personally like the method, but I think it does what is needed; it tracks how much money is coming in and out.

Another way to do this is to budget your money. I don't know how many of you have a personal or family budget but I do know that they are extremely helpful. Pretty much any organization that has more then 5 members has some sort of budget (businesses, charities, churches, governments) and yet its remarkable how so many people submit themselves to a personal budget. Why not I ask?

My guess is it's too painful. Budgeting is tough because it takes time to save and add up receipts. It's also tough because you can't just spend whatever you want (or feel you need to) anymore without feeling guilty. Ignorance is bliss afterall. When doing premarital-counseling, I find that one of the topics that is the most hated and resisted is budgeting. Couples look at me like I am trying to ruin all their fun! It's no wonder that one of the top 3 sources of marital conflict is money.

For most people, it takes about 4 months to move from not budgeting to budgeting consistently. If you have never done it before, it may seem impossible to track every thing you buy. But its worth it. Once you get into it it becomes a habit and a discipline that actually brings freedom. How you ask? Because you only have to feel guilty when you truly deserve it. You know quite accurately where you are sitting and when changes have to be made. Also, you can plan for things like giving, saving, and other noble efforts. I often hear the excuse from people that they don't budget because they don't know exactly how much money they are going to make that month "I'm not on a salary you know." I'm a waiter and Jobina's income from babysitting varies quite a bit but we have successfully kept a budget (just budget low) for about 10 years now. If you don't currently keep track of your income/expenses, why not start budgeting? It's not as scary as it seems. And if you don't like budgeting, there's always the jar thing . . .

The Truth About Budgeting
12 Reasons Budgeting Can Improve Your Life
Guilt-free Budgeting: No Blame, No Shame

May Light increase!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Years Resolutions: Part 2

I've decided to go with a theme this year for my new year's resolutions; "specifics." So here they are:

I want to be able to run 4 miles without having a heart attack (get in shape).
I want to have three 24 hour "solos" (spiritual renewal).
I want to take my wife on a romantic "10 Year Anniversary" trip (prioritize my marriage).
I want to buy one new investment property (taking action).
I want to buy one small business (for profit and for fun).
I want to graduate with my Masters in Counseling Psychology (Lord willing).
I want to do two multi-day adventure trips (because I love the outdoors).
I want to put siding up on my house (maintaining my possessions).

There they are, simple and measurable. Ambitious yes, but certainly doable. Talk to me in a year and see how I did!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years Resolutions: Part 1

(Youtube Link)

The above song and video shows the general view most people take towards the idea of New Year's resolutions: they don't work so why bother. Though I smiled while watching I was also kind of disturbed. OK, I'm going out on limb here. I think New Year's Resolutions are a good thing. I figure that if one in one hundred people make some sort of meaningful change, then they are worth it. Even if the change doesn't last forever.

Think about how this is worded "New Year's resolutions don't work." Of course they don't work, people are the one's who work (or don't) and it's their choice. To blame the resolution itself is silly talk. Personally, I'm excited about my resolutions (or goals as I prefer to reframe them as). And maybe I will make some permanent changes and maybe I won't. But I'm not going to blame the resolutions for my success or failure. I am personally responsible for it all.

May Light increase!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Two New Beginnings (A Rant)

Today at work I heard two stories. One was encouraging, the other saddened me.

First I was talking with a waitress and asked her how her Christmas had gone. "Good," she said, she got a new hair style, new clothes, and she dumped her long time boyfriend. When I expressed my condolences she said it was OK. When I asked her why she broke up with him she said that basically he 1. had no ambition to do anything in life, 2. was always negative, and 3. he did "too many" drugs. This waitress is going to school to be a nurse and I never understood why she was going out with this cook who was crude, a substance abuser, and basically just a mean guy. She said that she broke up with him because she had to do it for her. He's told her that he will change for her (which of course he doesn't) and is imploring her to give him another chance. She told him that he needs to get off the drugs and change his life for himself, not for her. It seemed to me that she took a courageous step and will look back at breaking up with this guy as one of the best things she chose to do while in school. Good for her!

As I was reflecting on this, I found out that one of our bussers, a girl who is a hard working innocent teenager just started going out with one of the cooks. I don't know him as well, but I do know that he too is into drugs. I don't want to judge him, but immediately I was sad for this girl. I'm worried that she is making a mistake. Why are women attracted to the "bad guy" persona? I have seen this too many times where I work; a fairly innocent girl with the whole world ahead of her gets attracted to by a bad guy who leads her into all sorts of trouble, introduces her to more bad people and bad habits, treats her badly, then breaks her heart.

I wish I (or someone more knowledgeable) would do a seminar called "How to choose a good partner/not choose a bad partner." Maybe I should write a book! Watching a good girl (or guy) self destruct when they pair up with someone who is not good for them is soooo difficult to watch.

I'm convinced that too often when we are in love, we believe that our love can change the other person, make them better. The truth is that only that person can change themselves and it is rare for major change to happen. If we are honest enough with ourselves, we see sometimes that the object of our affection has some serious issues. To cope with this, we ignore them and reason with ourselves that we/time/God/etc. will change them so that we can be together and things will be good. Instead of choosing not pursue the person or waiting to see if the person will change, we assume and believe that somehow they will and then we're devastated when they don't. Ironic, isn't it?

May Light increase!