Can We Talk?

198709092168Did you hear?  Just between the two of us…  You won’t believe what I just heard…

These and many like them are phrases that kill:  They kill relationships.  They kill trust.  They kill integrity.  If you’ve said one of these before, or you’ve heard them coming from someone else, you know what I mean.

These words come from big mouths that have no filters.  They come from hearts that have no conscience.  They come from minds that have no intelligence.

These words are always about others and hardly ever about something good.  They burrow into the soul.  They leave a dark mark.  They have a foul odor.

These words represent gossip in its worst form.  They may be true or they may not.  They represent nothing more than slander.  They whisper shame.  They detail destruction.

These words are evil.  They come from bad intent.  They destroy careers.  They devastate families.

A person who begins a conversation with these words has a small mind and a cold heart.

The next time you hear those words, take action.

Did you hear?  – No, and I don’t want to.

Just between the two of us… – Just keep it to yourself.

You won’t believe what I just heard… – You are right.  I won’t so don’t even tell me.

 

 

 

 

Dance Fever

Jonathan was a great dancer but I suspect he was in it for the outfits.
Jonathan was a great dancer but I suspect he was in it for the outfits.

When our son was about five years old we signed him up for tap dance classes at the Cole Dance Academy.  He was really into Savion Glover who was big on Sesame Street and it was good for his coordination, or so we were told.  But somewhere along the line, the instructor lost sight of the kids and their program and roped in the dads.  They had this great idea: What if the boys and the dads dance together in the final show?

That idea sounded perfect to everyone but the dads.  They forgot that we didn’t sign up as a team.  This is for the kids.  They are the ones who needed the activity, help with their coordination and rhythm.  I grew up in the age of Disco.  I didn’t need help with my rhythm.  Besides, you weren’t going to strap a pair of tap shoes on this guy and shove him out onto the stage!

Unfortunately, we were over-ruled by the mothers.  The song, “Everything Old is New Again” was selected.  The instructor choreographed a cute little number that involved the dads and the boys dancing beside, behind and in front of one another.  And there was no getting out of it.

The only surviving picture of our dancing debut at Emens Auditorium, Ball State University. circa 1995

Please understand that I’ve been on stage many, many times.  I’ve spoken to crowds in the thousands without any problem.  But TAP DANCING?  Are you serious?  I was terrified.

So, in preparation for the big night, we practiced for hours and then practiced some more.  We bought special taps to nail into the bottoms of my shoes.  I rented the outfit and practiced some more.  And on the night of the performance, I straightened my bow tie, laced up my shoes and stood next to my son who was much more confident that I.

I gave Jonathan a reassuring smile and then the music started.  Together, we entered, swinging our arms and tapping our toes to the beat of the music.

And I don’t remember anything after that.  It all goes black.  I’m told that it was a great hit with the audience.  I really don’t know.  I just know that even typing with the tapping sound of the keys ringing in my ear, I’m experiencing a horrid nausea to the pit of my stomach.  The memory has caused me to become light-headed.  The thought of that night has caused my lips to go numb and my arms to ache.

My son dropped dance class shortly after this performance.  And I can’t say that I blame him.  But don’t worry…We worked on his rhythm using my 8-track tape of the Village People in the comfort and safety (and solitude) of our living room.  Now THAT’S music to dance to!

Flying

My youngest and one of his greatest moments of flight.

Too often we allow gravity to hold us down.

Too often we fail to take the risk.  We can fly, if only we take the chance.

Perhaps its been the experience of failure that prevents us from trying.  But, like a great chef creating works of art with food, the risk of getting burned by the stove doesn’t keep him from moving forward.

Sure, we might fall to the earth, scrape our flesh, jolt our joints.

But we have to try.

Swing higher.

Jump further.

Stretch out.

Reach.

Perhaps this time you might soar!

Your Move

According to the website, CHESSVIBES, the game of chess is very beneficial to the player.  And I believe it.  I just look at a chess board and I feel smarter.

Nearly 35 years ago my Aunt Sue crafted a chess set for me.  She made it using ceramics and despite three decades of moves, the porcelain pieces have survived.  Oh, sure, the blacks have have a few chips but a quick touch-up with a sharpie makes them good as new.

To be honest, I don’t use the pieces as often as I should.  I suspect my memory would benefit from an occasional game, not to mention my creativity and problem solving skills.  But finding a worthy opponent has been quite a challenge.  When my youngest, at the age of 14, started beating me regularly, he lost interest.  When my “play-by-mail” friend stopped writing, I put the board away.

But as I age, I have come to realize that my mental acuity is flagging.  My ability to recall names and dates is beginning to wane.  And so, out comes the board.  It’s time to polish the pieces and start searching for a new challenger.

After all, life is short.  We might as well make the most of every moment.  Fancy a game?

The Change Challenge: Checking In

So?  How ya’ been?

Several months ago we started the Change Challenge.  We started looking at our decision making, our choices, our direction in life and realized we could alter the course of our world if we took calculated, determined steps.  Some of you took this to heart and tried it.

Some of you tried reading books.  Some of you tried having a different attitude.  Talking to family.  Eating better.  Moving more.

Some of you even gave up TV or tried to quit smoking.

I don’t know one person who has all of life figured out.  No matter how “together” we might appear, we still have areas in our life that need a little attention, that need a little focus, that need a little help.

And so, now that summer vacation is over and we’re back to the routine of life, what is the area that you will work on?  What is the struggle that needs some resolve?  What is the one thing that you can do this week to make you a better You?