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Archive for the tag “judgment”

What was a life lesson that you never forgot?

What was a life lesson that you never forgot? Smaller FB

Remember any of your own? For me that lesson came very early in my life. Part of growing up is to make mistakes. That is how we learn best. Sometimes even the most well intended actions could turn into big mistakes. I found out the hard way how lies have very short legs and the truth catches up with you quite fast.

My most pivotal experience is from the time I was around 8 years old. Our neighbor had somehow managed to grow mushrooms on her lawn. They were edible and very nice to look at. So one morning I decided that we should have mushrooms on our lawn as well. I went over and yanked out the mushrooms one by one out of the carefully manicured lawn. Then I proceeded to “plant” them onto our lawn. I was so proud of myself and could not wait to show the result of my mushroom “rescue” mission.

Once my parents got up, I “surprised” them with the beautiful sight of mushrooms. “Hey look, we grew mushrooms too – overnight!”, I exclaimed in delight. Well, needless to say my dad only needed to look at the bare lawn next door and then compare it to ours with all the white speckles of mushrooms on it.

“Are you sure that this is the story you want to go with?” my dad asked me how only parent can ask who already knew the answer to their question. I totally caved and expected a great tongue lashing. Instead I got a brilliant life lesson: I was to go over to the nice neighbor and apologize for what I had done.

Boy did I dread meeting face to face with our nice neighbor. I was quite afraid of how she would react once I told her about the bad news. I knew it was the right thing to do, but it took all my courage to finally ring the bell. The poor woman eventually opened the door and she totally melted my heart by being understanding and totally nice about the whole thing. My dad made me offer me helping out in her yard as punishment.

I learned a whole lot from the incident. For one I learned that fessing up to your mistakes early on makes for a much better overall outcome and a fast recovery from it. Most of all I learned that the best lessons in life are learned on your own. I am glad my dad made me apologize personally.

How about you? Can you recall lessons like this? Please do share in the comments. My call to action is to ponder how you would handle situations with your children (or somebody else’s for that matter). Can you put them into a situation where they have to bail themselves out and apologize in person?


“Are Wealthy People Less Ethical?”

“Are Wealthy People Less Ethical?” Puzzled

That was the headline of an article on ABC News on May 18. It argued that drivers of luxury vehicles in general are less observant of traffic laws and perhaps a little on the nasty side compared to drivers of less expensive vehicles. Their evidence seems to support this assertion. Wow, can there be truth to this?

While I am not a fan of oversimplification or generalization, this phenomenon made me think. Reflecting upon struggles of local churches and other social groups trying to seek financial support in areas of known for their wealth I must say that there just may be something to this observation. I am not sure that it has a connection to being unethical – that part is still quite a stretch for me, but wealth may turn folks blind to certain issues such as giving money to worthy causes.

Just today I was speaking with a phenomenal person in the music industry working in and around a local area with folks where money should not be an issue. Yet, trying to obtain funding for her endeavor is a really tough undertaking – more so than I would have expected. I hear this complaint in church as well. There seems to be less participation in community help and also church funding. I have recently heard that around churches in lower income places the participation in community projects, but even more so church funding is much greater.

What possibly could lead to such a phenomenon? There are a few points that come to mind here:

  • Lack of awareness: Most of our interactions are very brief and there is usually a not a low of time for us to be in the moment. We do not listen well in the first place and sometimes we just would like moving on to the next point rather than getting involved in yet another thing that needs our attention. We are not aware and we choose to keep it that way. The only antidote is explaining early and often where you stand and what needs to be done by others. Asking for help is not a bad thing.
  • Assuming someone will take care of it (whatever it may be): This is likely the worst culprit of people choosing not getting involved. “There has got to be another person who surely has done something about this”, right? Wrong, most of the time. Ignorance is bliss and unfortunately it is an ugly stepchild of assuming that someone will pick up where you may leave off.
  • Who is rich anyway? One important thing to realize is that the vast majority of the folks we are talking about are folks who have no or very little of an idea how wealthy they really are. There is no point of comparison.

I do not know much and there are whole libraries that can be filled with books about things I know nothing about. This I do know though, whoever is attempting to entice wealthy prospects giving money for a worthy cause will find that this is easier said than done. For the one who asks it will be imperative asking in the first place, but most of all provide a background why you are asking and what you are asking for. Ask in person wherever you can. E-mail has a place, but here it is not a great start. It helps raise awareness, but nothing beats establishing a personal connection and meeting a need.

For all of us who are fortunate in being gainfully employed, let’s make sure we give. If it’s not money, let’s at least give our time.



PS: Meanwhile be careful walking out in traffic minding Benz’s and Porsches etc. Just in case the article mentioned above is on to something.

Judging people is so easy – too easy

Judging people is so easy – too easy Ralf a

Please take a look at this video. I found it online and it is actually pretty funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNdapXryZ98

Various main characters get into situations that look much different to outsiders that only took little time to make up their minds as to what is going on. And they are wrong.

The common denominator here is that no one bothered to ask any question. That is very common to all of us. We may all do this on a daily basis and it could not be more riddled with issues.

Let me illustrate this with a recent example of my own. I was in Germany on a train with my family and with my sister’s family. My sister and I were in stitches over the fact that she had fallen badly during a visit to a science museum. She wasn’t badly hurt, but it looked like a space shuttle launch. It had been extremely funny and we had the giggles right there on the train reflecting on it.

During this giggle-fest an African man (he was on the phone loudly speaking in his native tongue; yes, I know it is irony at work that her and I were assuming this) sat down not far from us. After about 20 minutes he got up to get out of the train and he passed right by us. He turned around and asked my in English were I was from. I told him and tried asking him the same question.

What then ensued took my breath away. He totally lost it and berated me about how I will get into trouble one day if I do not manage to calm down. I’ll spare you the other details. It was so bad that other train guest’s started to get up to intervene. Fortunately, that was not necessary as he finally got off the train.

I was stumped. That was until I realized that the man must have assumed that my sister and I had been laughing about him. I felt really bad about this situation, but a little while later I pondered the question as to why this person never asked us straight out if we had laughed about him. I would have been glad to explain the situation (I actually even had photos to prove the story).

Then I asked myself what I would have done had I been in the place of the other person. I am still not so sure that I would have done it. It is so much easier to think and judge situations and leaving them be, but getting upset about it anyway.

That is my call to action. Take a deep breath before you get yourself too worked up. Stay calm and cool. Try thinking rationally and ask questions helping clarify whatever misunderstanding may be at hand. The world will be a better place because of it.


Believe what I believe, or I will kill you

I am not sure if you have been following the court case of Mr Breivik in Norway you killed a total of 77 people because they were endangering his country’s mono culture.  If not, you should because there are many different people and organizations worldwide that think, feel and act similarly.  Though it could be argued that the person in question may be insane enough such that he will spend the rest of his life in a closed psychiatry facility, the jury is literally still out on that.  Where is the fine thin line between sanity and insanity?  Where the even thinner line that separates how much radicalism is too much?  The answer should be that no one should cause anyone any physical or psychological harm.  Yet, the harsh weekly reality has been that there are many people who crossed the line all the way. 

How many folks have you encountered that hold very radical views and try imposing them on you and the folks around them?  It makes me wonder often how many of them would be capable of snapping and doing harm based merely on different beliefs and core values.  If you are like most of us, we tend to ignore and avoid people like this and that partially explains why some perpetrators are not caught well in time before anything dramatic happens.  Recent shootings here in the States, hate crimes in Germany and France unfortunately seems to prove me correct on this. 

Really upsetting is when religious groups follow a path of radicalism.  I do not care what denomination you follow, but you had better allow for tolerance, temperance, empathy, compassion to never permit you hurting others when you practice your own beliefs.   Humans have a long history of struggling with affording people with different beliefs their own freedom.  Just think back to the times of the medieval crusades and then later the time period of the Inquisition and also of course Hitler’s and Stalin’s terror.  Any time that dogmatic views come in sight, misery follows for another fraction of humans.  In part we our country owes this phenomenon part of its existence and have afforded us with the beautiful multi cultural society of today. 

This is a mere request to ponder what your tolerance level is for radical people and getting actively involved when they cross the line and start bullying others.  Prevention is the key to avoiding major regrets and excuses later – for you and society. 


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