Chock-full

Chock-full: (adj) filled to overflowing

I ended up being a father to many sons. This doesn’t qualify me as an expert, but eventually it rescued me from the dangerous status of novice.

You can always pick out a newbie in the realm of parenting. Mother and father are always overly concerned about how the little one is
thinking or feeling.

Realize this: they haven’t lived long enough to create stable emotions. They drift from one shoreline of expression to another without any sense of meaning, trying to convince you that they are permanently scarred by the most recent disciplinary action.

Often, it was my job to take these children on trips–long ones, at that.

After surviving one car tour from hell, I realized that the key to a pleasant experience with children in a car is to either drug them with cough syrup, so they sleep (which I unfortunately found out was illegal) or chock-full the trip with a whole series of activities which wear them out, causing them to beg for a nap.

Once asleep, children in a car are unlikely to awaken for many hours. Matter of fact, you probably will have arrived at your motel, unpacked your suitcase, turned on the television set before it becomes necessary to carry them in.

If you wait too long, children will tell you they’re bored. At that point, you are at the mercy of their mood.

But if you plan activities, games, music, a stop at a rest area to investigate the squirrel in the tree on the left, creating an agenda chock-full of exhausting possibilities, you will be able to enjoy at least half of your journey with them lying in the back seat–nearly comatose.

 

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Chain

Chain: (n) a sequence of items of the same type forming a line

“A chain is as strong as its weakest link.”

That little piece of platitude is tossed off all the time. It’s really quite arrogant.

In other words, folks never speak this principle when referring to themselves. No, it’s always some sort of derogatory comment about the
weakness of others.

But in measuring the value of your chain, it’s always a good idea to realize that there are different types of weakness.

For instance, being tough and inflexible can be a great weakness if you’re trying to establish a tender relationship.

Touting your sexual prowess to a room full of bored hearers is equally annoying and comical.

Establishing the superiority of one gender over another is the propagation of ugly myths.

There is a reason that some things link. We don’t link together simply because “we’re all strong” and able to handle equal burdens. We usually link together because one of us feels the need for another, and the other requires our presence.

We err when we try for perfection.

No one likes perfect.

No one believes in it.

We appreciate it when weakness is acknowledged instead of denied. This allows us to build up the chain, and gives an opportunity to the link–to establish fortitude.

 

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Brevity

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brevity: (n) shortness of time.

Brevity is not only the soul of wit, it is also the heart of smart.Dictionary B

It is very important that all the sons and daughters of Earth learn at an early age about the dangers of boredom and how little attention span most people can offer.

When I first started traveling, I assumed that my presentations could last an hour-and-a-half. Even though I was careful to keep things interesting, and even surprising, I quickly discovered that with distraction and a bladder, the human being has limited tolerance for sitting patiently and “receiving.”

Matter of fact, I am frightened to the core of coming across repetitive. I look for any sign that I’ve lost the attention of nearby hearers.

I have even stopped in the middle of a sentence–and no one noticed.

I had to giggle inside, realizing that several paragraphs earlier they had obviously bailed out of the conversation (probably without a parachute).

Are there guidelines to help us avoid being overly talkative?

Here’s a clue: tell a part of the story. Leave it dangling on a cliff. See if anybody demands you continue.

Then create another cliffhanger–always providing an open door for the listener to be satisfied … and move on.

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Attention

Attention: (n) notice taken of someone or something dictionary with letter A

After a handful of decades of public speaking, I will tell you that human beings are not interested unless they’re interested.

That may sound silly, but if you stop to think about it, all of us are inundated with information which has little use to us in the moment. But we are challenged to believe that someday, at some place, it will become valuable.

So unfortunately, this puts us all in a conformity of boredom, feeling mature by enduring speeches instead of enjoying the now.

Here’s what I think about attention. It goes really well with two ideas:

  • Attention to detail
  • Attention span

I think these go together as a pair.

If I go into a lot of detail and lose the attention span of my audience, then no matter how righteous I feel in sharing my data, it is absolutely worthless because no one’s listening.

On the other hand, if I take some time and find out what really does interest people and put it in the context of what will actually help them, then I can use my attention to detail effectively.

People may have a limited interest in government, but they really want it to work and not interfere.

Folks may want to go to heaven, but nobody’s in a big hurry to get there.

And people are only interested in following instructions when it means they can put together something that will be fun.

I think we’re in danger of hating humanity because they’re so human instead of studying humanity and loving them for being human.

My attention is held by what seems to be pleasurable. If I can make love, generosity, tenderness and creativity a pleasant experience, then I have brought a great gift to my generation.

 

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Apathetic

dictionary with letter A

Apathetic: (adj) showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm or concern.

Even though the aspiration of many organizations is to gain the status of “institution,” we must realize that when this is achieved, those who participate begin to feel like inmates instead of followers.

I feel this when I go to church.

Yesterday I sat in the back of one of these “cathedral-esque” arenas and allowed myself to be the proverbial fly on the wall, watching, listening and taking in the ambience of what the American religious community calls worship.

Several things came to my mind immediately:

1. Everything was too familiar.

Once we gain familiarity, we have a certain sense of serenity–but also a deep and overwhelming realization of boredom.

2. Everyone had their own reason for being there.

In an atmosphere in which unity of spirit is meant to be the goal, there were so many ghosts haunting the room that we did not connect unless we were required to shake a hand or “pass the peace.”

3. Conversations were going on while discourse was being offered.

If the hearers were not convinced that something was important, they felt free to ignore the prattle coming from the pulpit and indulge in their own activities.

4. A certain level of misery was being passed off as devotion.

Human beings are not good at suffering and don’t become better by practicing it. The best we can do is pray that in the hour of our greatest need, courage will arise. Simulating our unworthiness through religious dependency only makes us bitter.

When I looked at these four actions, I realized I had arrived at the climate–and therefore definition–of apathetic.

For I will tell you that an apathetic lifestyle infests anyone who believes that they become better than others because of the level of their sacrifice.

 

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