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Coercion and Consent

I am a proponent of many different religions and I feel that the devoutly religious often share the same values and goals no matter what their religion; but what I do find offensive is the use of coercion to punish and/or convert people who hold other as deeply held beliefs

This also leads to the radical members of some of these religions to doing offensive, repressive, and unGodly things to convert others to their beliefs or to try to rp_364105908_e38b34117b_m.jpgeliminate them all together.

I realize that for some people just by saying this I have lost my chance for a happy life in the hereafter or even here on earth.  I know this stance is offensive to some people and that they feel that I don’t even have the right to say, feel, or think this way.  Somehow I don’t think of this as practicing freedom of religion.  Oh, don’t let me forget, the rights of atheists, possibly even those of agnostics, idolaters, and people who don’t have any religious beliefs at all and may feel that they don’t need them or want them.

We should practice what we preach even if it makes us uncomfortable.  So far, I have a great admiration for Pope Francis even though I am not Catholic as he practices what he preaches and still reaches out to all.  Look at the ecumenical movement.  Pastors in some cities and small towns share their burdens as pastors, preachers, and priests, chaplains in monthly get togethers..

I believe we are all children of God.  you may not believe this; and both of us should be able to exercise these beliefs as long as we hurt no one.  I also believe in the ultimate sense that no one is innately better than someone else.     This to me forms a caste system where a group or groups by virtue of certain characteristics has privileges that are denied to others.

The most beautiful thing I have seen is when people of different religions share and help each other out rather than  shunning each other and inadvertently making each others lives miserable, both their own and other people’s.  Hanging on to negative thoughts can be as debilitating  as forcing them onto others in the form of guilt and shame.  Finally once you take a person’s life (even if in the name of God) you devalue the lives of all including your own.  War and the accompanying deaths of the “enemy” and civilians who “accidentally” get in the way  is a very serious thing and those who take it seriously and feel that such a thing is really necessary carry a heavy burden and they realize it.

This post  is not an attempt to answer the question, “Is war necessary or Godly.”  Think for yourself.  To me, thinking is a God given ability.  Don’t too easily give this (what I think is a right) away to someone or something else even though you also have the right to do this.  Also when it comes to the practice of your religion is it not a good idea to explore the “Word” (usually considered to have come from “God”)  that you may  base your religious beliefs on.

Find Yourself, Not Someone Else

Find yourself; not someone else.  It may be admirable to have a child or even children who are like you and follow in your footsteps; but he or she or they may not be comfortable in your shoes.  In times past, it was important for people to have children so they could pick up where they left off.  Parents trained their children to take their place someday and to be of help to them in a labor intensive time.  Parents usually were not happy if their children did not take over for them.

Now it is more a matter of self-validation.  It confirms to the parent that he or she took the right path when the children take the same path.  Sometimes it is like the story of the ugly duckling.  Remember that one turned out to be a swan, different, but beautiful.  You can feel like the ugly duckling if you don’t fit into your family, class in school, or community.  Some children like the ugly duckling even look different from the people that they are being raised with when if they were being raised with their own genetically kind (people who would probably look like them) wouldn’t look different at all.  Down syndrome children and some biracial children are even often seen as different from their relatives.

English: Vilhelm Pedersen illustration for &qu...

English: Vilhelm Pedersen illustration for “Ugly Duckling” in public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you study genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to child, you will often find that it is a very complex problem and doesn’t always work the way it seems it should.  Children can have the same parents and have surprisingly different traits.  This is also true of apptitudes and abilities.  Add into this what happens to them from the time of conception to birth which may not be like their siblings and the children and their parents will still be related; but can be very different.  Also traits may get passed down, but not to the desired child or sex (like first born male).

Children inherit tempraments which may or may not be like that of their parents.  Sometimes oil and water do not mix.  An “easy” parent may inherit a slow to warm up child and he or she can’t understand why his or her child does not easily take to new things.

Some talents or abilities which might be very strong can not be desired or appreciated in the family or society into which a person is born.  I was born on a farm and eventually married a farmer (after doing other things) and I can understand why he sometimes does not understand why a “city” boy does not know how to do things farm boys know how to do and he has difficulty valuing what the “city” boy can do by virtue of his college education even if it was not in agriculture.

As much as I love flowers,  I don’t want them to be all alike all the time.  I like seeing new and different ones.  Also some flowers that some people call flowers around here are called weeds by other people in other places.  This might even be true of people growing marijuana when flowers appear in their plots.  (I am not recommending that  you start growing marijuana however.)

Be yourself as long as you are not deliberately hurting yourself (or others for your own gain) and when you find yourself, you will make your contribution to the world and become what YOU were or are meant to be.  I believe finding yourself is why we were meant to be as we each have our own contribution to make.  If we pay too much attention to what others tell us we should be, we may get led astray.  It may not be easy, but it often will be rewarding.  For example, how many shoes at how many shoe stores do some of us have to try before we find a shoe that fits us, feels good, and wears well.  It usually is a personal thing.  What shoe style works for one may not work for another.  Also many people, especially women, pay the price for wearing shoes that they think they should wear because they are in fashion, etc.  (Check out Oprah on this issue.)

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Decision-Making Time

myopia

myopia (Photo credit: haglundc)

Adolescence is decision-making time for many.  These decisions might effect a person’s whole life.  Have you ever felt that you couldn’t take back something that you have said or done.

There is sometimes a cockiness to adolescence which gives them the power to make judgments, not only for themselves, but others as well, usually their parents or anyone whom they do not really understand.

What preparation do adolescents have for these often very enduring decisions?  “Do what I say; don’t do what I do,” some folks seem to imply when disciplining their adolescents.  Adolescents can be near-sighted and see things only from their own point of view.  They are quick to see the faults of others, but not their own.  Someone else’s problems, especially those of older adults, are easy to solve if they just did what the adolescent thinks that they need to do.

Knowing the repercussions that would accompany most decision choices are usually necessary precursors for making these judgments.  A lot of topics that adolescents need information about are not always covered in public situations but it is reserved for the family or church to do teach these things and ultimately if they don’t get this done, the electronic media or equally uninformed peers do it.

It is amazing who and what teaches our kids.  Their babysitters, preschool if it is a choice, and then there are the parents if they make to decision to keep the children at home and sheltered from outside sources of this information.  In the past, we tried to protect our kids from disturbing information only for them to get it elsewhere sometimes under less than desirable conditions.  Some parents take their responsibility very seriously and others do as little as possible and sometimes they can’t wait to kick the teenager out of the house and on their own at 18 with little or no preparation for independence.

Adolescents ultimately have to make it on their own.  They need to know who they are, what their values and talents or abilities are, how they view the responsibility of being sexually active, answering the question of, “Why am I here“,  and solving their own problems so they can live a happy life.  Also there are 0ften also the jobs of picking a life partner, parenting children, and finding a way to support oneself and dependent others.

What are some other decisions that adolescents usually have to make?  Are they prepared?  Also one part of the brain that has to mature in order for them to make good decisions and to be able to consider long-term over short-term effects of making decisions is not fully developed until sometime in young adulthood.

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Know Nothings And Status Envy

Know nothings, critics who don’t know what they are talking about.

English: A display of the academic regalia of ...

English: A display of the academic regalia of Harvard University. Top left: Harvard Law School professional doctorate; bottom left: Harvard Divinity School masters degree; right: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Ph.D. degree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Envy is the the price you have to pay for getting there when someone does not know the price you paid to get there.  As a female Ph.D., especially one from the 70’s,  I got “no respect”.  Automatically a man with a masters or less would assume that if a woman like me could do it then it wasn’t that hard to do.  Automatically they thought that if they went back to school to get their own Ph.D. or professional degree or advanced degree,  it would only take them a couple of years and it was not that big of a deal.  Women who worked under me and with me often thought I should do my own office work rather than depend on them to do it for me.  They did not expect a woman to be in charge.

I went straight through college and graduate school and it took me ten years of full time study and perseverence.  An “C” or even a “B” was not an acceptable grade and could get you “flunked out” of graduate school.  I took tough exams to get into graduate school and to get out of graduate school with my degree.  I had to qualify for scholarships all through my schooling and they were my sole source of support in graduate school.  They also accepted only so many applicants and I had to compete for one of those positions.

Lightner Witmer, the father of modern clinical...

Lightner Witmer, the father of modern clinical psychology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturally I focused on doing well in college so that I would be considered and offered one of these positions.  I was aiming on going into one of the graduate degree programs that was well respected and offered only to people who whose professional goal was to get their doctor’s degree, not a masters.  People who left the program with “just” a masters were considered in other words to have flunked out. Elitist, yes but I wanted to enter a profession and to have the best credentials.  Also I wanted to be a clinical psychologist not an educational or counseling psychologist as positions in those graduate programs were often considered to be consolation prizes for those who couldn’t get picked for a position in a clinical psychology program or did not want to work as hard as they might have to in a tougher program like clinical psychology.  Worse yet, another “back door” into the field was through social work.

I am being a snob but only for the reason of making my point about how hard it was to get in a clinical psychology program and get a Ph.D. in my field.   Where I stand now on the question of what direction my professional life should take is different than it was then.  It was very competitive to have to do that.  I was very competitive.  I survived and after much experience in life and in my field.  I see things from a different perspective.  What other people think is not always the best barometer of who you are doing in life in your chosen field.  Self satisfaction and self knowledge can be a form of protection or shield against the thoughtless opinions of others.

Graduate School Blues

Graduate School Blues (Photo credit: ChiILLeica)

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The Importance Of Problem Solving!

To learn and not to do is really not to learn....

To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. (Photo credit: planeta)

This post is finished.  I am done with the revising and editing; but I wanted to put it up early so a class I am teaching could use it to learn something about critical thinking.

Cognitive development continues in adult life and some of the crucial elements are the individual’s creative and learned abilities to solve problems.  Do it “My way; but nicely” as a musical comedy (The King and I) song says is the way many parents and supervisors lead.  Could it be that the problem-solving skills of these individuals are also underdeveloped not just those of their children or their supervisees?  A good work relationship requires an able boss and a good employee, an able parent and a child with undeveloped potential, an able teacher and a willing student.  In all of these equations, both the leaders and those being led have to participate and make contributions.

How do we help this along?  It is by not letting an “I can’t do this” attitude from hindering a person’s development.  Learning does not stop at 16, 21, or 35.  It goes on for a lifetime.  I realize that I have, when confronted with a barrier or an obstacle, have not taken the time necessary.   I just want to get on with it so I continue on with that detail not attended to and also on depending on someone else to do what I have not learned to do for myself and not bothering to problem solve and master what may be a new skill for me.

Obstacles and barracades are opportunities to grow and learn and to acquire new skills.  How often have you said I can’t when you probably could.  Being constantly dependent on others to do things for us which we can’t or have not learned to do for ourselves can lead to anger both at ourselves and for our helplessness and at others whose whims we see ourselves are susceptible to.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

Take on a new project.  Find one thing that you have not learned how to do for yourself and master it.  My spouse recently showed me for the nth time how to call up a missed number on the phone.  I had always depended on him to do it for me and if he wasn’t there I could get mad at myself for not knowing how to do it and at him for being in control of my life that way by not being able to return a simple phone call without him.

Now I have a growing list of things I should be able to do for myself which demands I usually met in the past with a feeble, “I can’t…”  Sometimes it is not easy; but, when mastered, these things give you more freedom to do it your way, not theirs.  Learning involves communication between pupil and teacher.  The student needs to build on what they already know in order to bridge the gap between themselves and teachers.  It is this communality that fosters learning.  The attitude, “This is so stupid.  Why can’t he learn this”, is often an example of the teacher’s tendency to give up and externalize the blame onto the student.

Finally, once you’ve solved the problem, remember to use what you have learned the next time you have that problem.  Remember practice makes perfect.  What you learn for yourself is often the best learning method.  You don’t leave any steps out or forget to define terms.  Focusing on the neuroplacity of the brain means that we can go on learning the rest of our lives.  It increases self-esteem,  it develops abilities you may be able to teach others as a legacy, it enlarges your sphere of life (now no more saying to yourself limiting yourself by saying, ” I won’t go there because I can’t do that and I am not willing to learn”.

Remember you sometimes can chose what you want to learn to do but you can’t always control others so that they will do things for you when you don’t know how.

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Maybe, You Are Where You Were Meant To Be

Did you ever wish you were in somebody else’s shoes.  I have.  But you know, they just might not fit.  With the internet, reality shows, newspapers, and magazines, we probably just haven’t realized that we might know too much about people we used to think that we would like to be and it’s not good.  Fame, things don’t buy happiness and some of these people have not learned this yet.

Do They Fit?

Do They Fit?

Envy and jealousy eat away at your happiness.  Society says, “Don’t be satisfied with what you have got.  Don’t cultivate a feeling of gratitude for these things.”  However, this is your real path to happiness.  Many successful people do this and then realize down the line that while they had stuff, fame, and fortune, they never had time to enjoy it.  They were too busy seeking more of the above and many have found out they were not working for themselves, but others who depended on them.

Do you choose your friends and admirers or do they seek you?  What is the payback?  Some hangers on depend on the fact that you have poor judgment and will take them on and will essentially work for you.  I know a reputable psychic who appears to be compelled to do readings (for which she gets a hefty fee), to support her own church, to keep releasing new books, and to keep up an exhausting schedule of appearances and she is at a point in life where she needs to sit down and smell the roses.  I used to envy her until I realized this.

People have been taught to idolize and sometimes even worship other people and have been encouraged to model themselves after them.  Today they are more often called teachers or mentors.  We all have flaws and the most saintly of us have readily admitted this.  Mother Teresa knew that she wasn’t always perfect and that her life wasn’t always perfect.  Even Jesus on the cross asked that his Father would take this cup from him.  Even if you are not religious, you still may realize that the most famous people, the most powerful people, the ones with the most influence and wealth can’t always have what they want or live the way they want and there is nothing they can do about it.

One of the biggest pleasures in life is to do what you love doing (hopefully making enough money to be able to keep doing this), to have true friends and family around you, and to have a philosophy about life that enables you to keep doing this.  One size does not fit all so wear your own shoes that you have already broken in.

I will take this further at www.mutualspiritualaffinity.com where I am more open about my spiritual beliefs.

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Creativity And Counterproductive Thinking

not who you are 344Is your thinking sometimes counterproductive?  Do you think the same old thing over and over and it doesn’t do a thing for you or your situation?  Do your thoughts often block your creativity and productivity?  How often do you think to yourself, “I can’t so why even try?”  It always keeps you from doing anything about it.

Counterproductive thinking often keeps one from thinking out of the box which is sometimes necessary to think of a solution.  Creativity is what it is all about.  Instead of thinking of one solution (even if tried and true) for a problem, think of many even if they don’t all work out then you have “exercised” your creativity.   I think the word is rigid for those who are stimmied when their planned for or go-to solution doesn’t work.

Some people have an incredibly difficult time changing gears when the first solution doesn’t work.  I always say, “If not plan A, then plan B.  If not plan B, then plan C and so on.”  The world is not designed so that “one size” fits all situations.  The brain continues to form new connections as long as you continue to use it.  Grow with me  Come share the excitement of a new ay of thinking, of possibility thinking.

Weddings are occasions when inevitably this type of problem occurs.  There seems to be at least one snafu.  The wrong wedding flowers arrive, the photographs don’t turn out, etc.  You can grin and bear it or try another way.  This ensures a happy occasion.  The guests might even think that you planned it that way.

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Just Do It!

Just do it!  Get more done.  There are two roadblocks to successfully getting things done.  One is not having the things at hand to do the task.  The other is being a perfectionist.just do it

I always have a good reason to not, “Just do it.”  I can justify forever not doing something because I don’t have what I need to do things with.  There are two ways to approach this problem:  1. Make a list of what you need to help do the task and take the list with you when you go shopping and get those things.  2. If you already have what you need to do the task, go get the things from wherever they are that are needed to do it and get started.   That takes care of the primary excuse I usually have which is that I don’t have right in front of me whatever I need.

One thing that is a major problem that gets in the way of my telling myself, To just do it”  is lollygagging.  When it comes to wanting to do the thing right, I can procrastinate forever.  It also doesn’t help that there are controlling people in my life who will welcome the chance to criticize my choice whatever it is.  It is always easier to criticize something after the fact than to figure out how to do it in the first place.

Why did you take so long to just do it? When you do get it done, you may wonder why you did without it so long.  The time spent procrastinating, could have been spent enjoying the end product.  I just put up a new picture of my granddaughter where I can see it when I write.  If I had procrastinated any longer, she could have grown up before I got it done.Just-Do-It-Now

One final thing you can do to help you to just do it is to write down what you have accomplished.  Nothing is too small to put on the list.  We often fail to do this because we say to ourselves that wasn’t anything great that I did.  Yet somebody had to do it, it took time, and somebody will enjoy the results.  For example, take unloading and loading the dishwasher.  You were not doing nothing at the time; you were doing something.

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Become A Problem Solver

Become a problem solver, a solution generator like the little engine that could repeating to himself over and over, “I think I can; I think I can.”  Our brains live up to our expectations of them.  If we think that we are dumber than a box of rocks then we will be dumber than a box of rocks.  My first words, when given a problem to solve, were often, “I can’t,” or worse yet, “I’ll try”.  You can try to do something forever and never succeed.  With enough work and a different attitude, you can master many things that you think that you can’t master.  Someone was talking about scuba diving today and what a marvelous experience that was.  You know what my first thought was that I am not a good swimmer.  That would be my first hurdle, the swimming and treading water requirements you must pass before before you even get to go into the beginner’s program.  But you know, I could master that and go on to have the fun and enjoyment that people get out of scuba diving.  I am lucky in other areas.  For example, I am not afraid of public speaking or writing.  But my lack of self-confidence got in the way of my considering scuba diving.

Swimming

Swimming (Photo credit: Luther College Photos)

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How You Give Things Away

homemade-bread-800x800Do you know when you give things away?  Do you give things away without knowing that you do.  Maybe you don’t just give things away for free but maybe you don’t sell them for what they are worth.  Are you aware of what you are worth?  Do you have something of value to sell?  Can you actually afford to give this stuff away?

If you are aware of how you give things away, then you can get in control of what and how you give things away and you can do so when you can actually afford to do so.  Have you heard the story of the little red hen who grew the wheat, made the bread, and then gave it away, but did not keep any for herself  so died of starvation and could no longer provide the bread for others.   Of course, the little red hen even liked to grow the wheat and make the bread; but she could not keep doing this when she did not get anything in return and ran out of resources to do it.

One way that you give things away is by offering free samples; but you need to leave your audience wanting more.  This is when you offer to sell them more by getting something from them.  You have to sell it for more than the cost of the ingredients because your training and experience, your knowledge, your time and energy are worth more.  In order to develop new products, to offer quality services, to make improvements in your existing product, and thrive, you must price your product appropriately.

Everybody does not know everything and there is a good chance that you know something about something that is not common knowledge and could be worth an appropriate amount of money to other people who need this knowledge.

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