Approachable

dictionary with letter A

Approachable (adj): 1.friendly and easy to talk to 2. able to be reached from a distance.

Ten things:

1. Don’t be dark and mysterious. James Dean is dead and so is the “brooding human.”

2. Value the power of ignorance because it makes you more accessible to other people. There is no such thing as a know-it-all. Such a creature ends up knowing nobody.

3. Laugh. Preferably at yourself instead of others.

4. Don’t feel the need to be the savior of the world. Instead, start filling sandbags to hold back the flood.

5. Don’t be sure. People who are sure have to later lie about either what they believed or about how successful it was.

6. Do not be a respecter of persons. The minute you assume that someone or some group is better than another, you’ve cut yourself off from a large portion of the earth.

7. Don’t talk about God. Live God.

8. Show up in a consistent mood. It doesn’t have to be good–it just has to be predictable so people aren’t wondering whether Jekyll or Hyde will show up at the party.

9. Believe in something. It’s too easy to be cynical. It’s also very lonely.

10. Learn something every day–and be prepared to admit it.

Approachable is when we’re not afraid to be human, but instead, revel in the uncertainty of our humanity.

 

 

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Approach

dictionary with letter A

Ap·proach (n): 1. a way of dealing with something. E.G.: “We need a whole new approach.”

I find myself in Clarksville, Tennessee.

If you’re going to be a journeyman, you should be prepared to journey and become a better man in all situations.

I think I pride myself in the fact that I’m able to blend with various cultures and be of benefit to the people around me, as they also share their flavors and insights in my direction.

At breakfast this morning, there was a man who serves the food, who happens to be a fellow of color. I had been interacting with him for several days with a bit of conversation, generosity and expressing interest in his life.

Honestly, I felt quite cosmopolitan doing so, feeling that I was “a man for all seasons.” (Remember, arrogance is always more likely when one thinks one is being righteous)

As I sat at breakfast, two other young chaps, who happened to be of his hue, came into the room, sat down, and began to talk. I didn’t want to be impolite by listening in, but I did anyway, and it didn’t make any difference.

I was only able to catch about every tenth word and make out its meaning from my limited translating ears.

My acquaintance was a different individual around these two than he was with me. I realized that when he spoke to me he was more cautious, overly respectful and maintained a certain distance.

It wouldn’t even have occurred to me had these two gentlemen not come in and brought out his internal workings. I realized that through the combination of the Southern culture, his upbringing, racial tensions in America, and honestly, my ignorance, that he and I had barely brushed against each other.

I had deceived myself into believing that I was a “great communicator,” when really, I was still just a color, a shape and an obstacle.

It gave me pause.

What is the approach we will need to cross these horrible barriers we’ve constructed between each other, and to heal the inconsideration and atrocities of careless ancestors?

I’m not sure what the approach should be, but I know that somewhere along the line we will have to be honest about our lackings, laugh at our weaknesses and give some good ground to one another–or nothing will change.

 

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Apprise

dictionary with letter A

Apprise (v): to inform or tell someone.

So the girl you just met–who is very attractive–also has a large piece of broccoli stuck in her tooth.

  • Do you tell her?
  • Do you risk losing romantic possibilities?

You’re sitting in front of your potential boss at a job interview and he has horrible breath.

  • Do you offer him a mint?

Or you have made a severe error in calculating the family budget and have accidentally misled your wife to think that all the bills are paid.

  • Do you share with her so that she’s aware of the situation?

Ninety percent of the lying we do in life is caused by being deathly afraid and insecure about what would happen if we told the truth. Our conclusions don’t have to be realistic. After all, that is the definition for fear–an often-unmotivated sense of dread.

All we have to do is convince ourselves that the truth will not make us free, but instead, leave us stupid. At this point, we start the ugly process of elaboration.

Nobody has a situation in their past when if they had simply told the truth, a tragedy could have been averted.

So why are we afraid to apprise one another of the actual situation? It’s because we are all uncertain that anyone truly loves us.

Adam and Eve lied to God because they were unclear of the true depths of His love. That is sad.

I may not be able to have a totally clean relationship with everybody I know, but I certainly should practice candor with those who I am content love me.

  • Would I tell the girl that she had broccoli in her teeth? Probably not–unless I was willing to lose a dating possibility.
  • Would I tell my potential future boss that he had bad breath? Probably not, but shamefully, I would gossip about him later.
  • Would I tell my wife about the mistake in the budget? Absolutely–or the relationship is a joke.

I would hope that eventually I would apprise the broccoli girl of her tooth obstruction with a bit of flair.

I also would like to learn to offer the mint to my superior without feeling intimidated.

And I think the best way to achieve this status is to begin to apprise those I love of our true heart instead of making up fake emotion, and desperately trying to pretend it’s authentic. 

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Apprentice

dictionary with letter A

Apprentice (n): a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.

Perhaps it is too late.

Yes, maybe Donald Trump has ruined the word “apprentice” for all time by misusing it as the title of his NBC show.

But I will take a risk. Yes, I will step out and say that if we could return the word “apprentice” to our lives, and especially to our business practices, we would be much better off than we are today in our commerce.

For the truth is, we send people to college, hopefully to gain general knowledge and for them to finish wild-oat-sowing, only to place them in an occupation where they start all over again as an apprentice. Because after all, every company has policies and practices which are different from the competitor next door.

To think that we can teach art, business or education in a college atmosphere and transfuse the blood of the business world into a student is absolutely ludicrous.

What we are hoping is that a twenty-three-year-old is going to be more prepared to apprentice than an eighteen-year-old.

We are assuming that the four or five years of maturity garnered by attending college, being forced to interact with other cultures and races, will make our potential employee a more well-rounded individual. Truthfully, it is dishonest to convey that a college education prepares someone for success in the market place.

It does not.

It does keep them learning until they can finally arrive in a place where they truly do learn.

It keeps the edge and acuity of thinking in practice while we prepare a place for them in line, to see how they measure up against the other applicants.

Are there occupations that demand higher learning instead of apprenticing? I will probably frighten you by saying that even a doctor could apprentice a student. Certain things would have to be done slowly and patiently, but eventually terminology and certainly, more importantly, operations, could be transferred from physician to intern.

So am I saying that a university degree is meaningless? Absolutely not. For some people in our culture just aren’t ready at eighteen years of age to listen to anything but their ear buds.

During the time of Dickens and Mark Twain, young men were allready mollified by the age of fourteen. It is not so with our rendition of humanity.

So college gives young men and women the chance to be kicked in the face enough to learn how to handle a punch. At least, that’s what we hope.

But we will do better in this country when we finally admit that no one walks from academia into the board room.

Everyone spends some time sorting mail before they get the privilege of receiving it.

 

 

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Apprehension

dictionary with letter A

Ap·pre·hen·sion (n): 1. anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

A pall in the room.

This is what I created the other night when I casually mentioned that I was diabetic.

Some faces reflected horror; others, pity. But the general disposition of those gathered was that they would have to sit back and listen to a litany of my sad tale or a description of my medications and treatment.

I surprised them because I just don’t do that.

But rather than appreciating the fact that I did not bore them with the elements of my constitution, they looked on me with a bit of dismay. I think they found be blithe.

Yes, if any word has been thrown my way as an insult, it would be blithe and all of its friendly synonyms.

  • “Silly.”
  • “Not careful enough.”
  • “Short-sighted.”
  • “Immature.”
  • “Naive.”
  • “Overly optimistic.”
  • Or even occasionally, “Ignorant.”

But I do not find blithe to be the absence of awareness, but rather, the negating of apprehension.

Case in point: when my doctor told me I had diabetes, I deadpanned in his direction: “Well, now I know what’s gonna kill me.”

He paused, looking into my eyes to see if I was serious, and when I twinkled his way, he laughed. He also spent the next two hours explaining the rigors of my situation and the care I needed to give myself.

I don’t mind giving myself attention–as long as it’s half of what I give to others.

Apprehension has never made my journey sweeter or improved my situation. Matter of fact, it tends to do the opposite.

So if I were to be accused of anything, and I certainly will be, “blithe” would be my preference.

Because the power of living a life which “takes no thought” for certain matters is the realization that my thinking does not always produce positive energy and often fails to even release the serotonin that could make my thinking better.

Do I have apprehensions? Yes.

But I would consider them to be pesky mice in my house … instead of pet hamsters in cages.

 

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Apprehend

dictionary with letter A

Apprehend (v): 1. to arrest someone for a crime. 2. to understand or perceive: (e.g.) great art invites us to apprehend beauty

Occasionally, the dictionary offers us two definitions of a word, which seem quite unique to one another, if not at odds.

After all, what does being arrested have to do with learning?

Yet in a world where we “Cliff” notes, “Tweet” all thoughts and “abridge” our art into compact units, we must understand that somewhere along the line, the attention span of the average person needs to be stopped, frisked and arrested instead of just providing an “Amber Alert.”

Truthfully, we do have the word “comprehend,” which connotes that a reasonable person can consider an idea to determine if it has personal value.

But there are things in life which are so essential that they require a yea or nay. Yes, there are too many votes being taken in this country for us to move forward to progress our spiritual or human rights.

How do we communicate this?

  • I have rejected preaching because it is pompous.
  • Honestly, teaching takes too much time.
  • “Sharing” is a bit ephemeral for my taste.
  • I believe the only way to truly impact our generation is through illumination. Yes–turn on the damn lights and then explain why you have temporarily blinded the room.

Certain things in our society need to be apprehended quickly–arresting our attention–or the backlash from Mother Nature and Father God will be universal.

1. No one is better than anyone else.

Stop debating it; start believing it.

2. The Earth is the Lord’s but we are the caretakers.

Grab a hoe or a shovel instead of just using resources.

3. The greatest injustice on Earth is the inequity between men and women.

No, it’s not “cute” to fight.

4. We can’t keep killing and still call ourselves civilized.

War is a “grave” possibility.

There you go.

I suppose I could wait around for people to comprehend these ideas and come to some sort of compromise through debate and cajoling, but I do believe these concepts actually need to be apprehended by everyone immediately … to avoid the foolishness and pain that follow folly.

 

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Appreciate

dictionary with letter A

Appreciate (v): 1. to recognize the full worth of. 2. to understand (a situation) fully; recognize the full implications of.

I appreciate life being a blank canvas, allowing me the chance to paint.

I appreciate second chances, which are offered as long as I admit I screwed up the first one.

I appreciate friends who are well-practiced at knowing when to interfere in my life.

I appreciate grace given to me because I have shown mercy.

I appreciate a sense of humor which is able to cover a multitude of stupidities.

I appreciate that I am debtor to others so I don’t become obnoxiously self-sufficient.

I appreciate ignorance so I can value knowledge.

I appreciate the time I’ve been given, never assuming it has to be one minute more.

I appreciate that being wrong is even more powerful than being right, because it gives me the chance to be legitimately humble instead of falsely arrogant.

I appreciate that the rain falls on the earth without my consent, permission or consultation.

I appreciate that there’s something bigger than me so that I learn not to despise small beginnings.

I appreciate appreciation. Without it, I grow too quickly grumpy and old.

 

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