Competence

Competence: (n) the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

Sometimes those two words do war.

I’m talking about “successful” and “efficient.”

They aren’t the same.

After all, many things in life appear successful, but they’re hardly efficient. The government immediately comes to mind.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

And there are things that are extremely efficient–like the daily actions at your local ant hill–but will probably not make the nightly news as successful.

To achieve both–in other words, to have a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of relaxation while achieving your aspirations, demands that you stop listening to the world and cease to submit to your fears.

The world wants things difficult.

It is an atmosphere believing without tribulation there is no true progress.

Our fears want to convince us that we are incapable, ill-prepared or insufficient to achieve anything resembling our wishes.

When you take the pressure the world brings to complicate matters and add on your own fears, you have the formula for failure or the makings of stress and debilitation.

I want to be successful.

I want to be efficient.

I want to achieve my purposes.

But I don’t want to do it through strife and vanity.

It requires me to turn my back on what the world considers to be truth, and ignore what my insecurity contends is correct and find my own system, which is free of fretting, minus manipulation and taken away from terror.

 

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Comparison

Comparison: (n) the act of comparing

“Most of the world …”

I think we all have to agree, that’s a pretty bold generalization. To claim that “most of the world” does anything or is anything might be the soil for the seeds of prejudice.

But it is safe to assume that a good portion of this planet gets up every morning not certain there will be anything to put in their food bowl by nighttime.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Even though in the United States we have poverty, hunger, to some degree, has become a choice. There’s always someone offering something at some location for individuals who can’t put together enough “bread” for their bread.

But there are people in the world who cannot benefit from such altruism and generosity because those around them suffer under the same lack, and there are a limited number of ways to divide up a tomato.

So when we make comparisons between people in our country and the souls that live on other parcels of land on Planet Earth, we need to be cautious.

Because when you remove starvation, deprivation, filthy water, constant exposure to the elements and inept and often dangerous government, you discover that you possess a treasure trove of blessings.

We are America.

We must learn to judge ourselves by our own talents, fortunes and abilities–not by producing a comparison with countries that dig in the dirt, attempting to grow one single plant from which to eat.

 

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Coddle

Coddle: (v) to treat in an indulgent or overprotective way.

What a difference a vowel makes.

If we cuddle, it’s a good thing. If we coddle, it’s over-indulgent and ridiculous. So…

When do I know that my cuddling has become coddling?

It is a standard joke in relationships–that women like to cuddle after sex. Actually, if a woman has had a full workout and an orgasm, she wants to pant for a few moments, roll over on her side and go to sleep.

Women who want to cuddle need to be coddled. They need to be reassured that they’re still loved even though they’ve been cheated out of a full sexual experience. They need to be shown that they’re appreciated for being submissive enough to be used for pleasure, with only limited gyrations tossed their way.

So I think I’ve got it.

We actually cuddle until we’ve done it so often that it’s predictable, and also a little bit condescending, and therefore, turns into coddling.

We can do it with our children; we can do it with our government.

We can even do it with God, as we apologize on His behalf for all the destruction in the world.

What a difference a vowel makes…

So should I be careful with my cuddling, since it can so easily turn into coddling?

Maybe I should just make sure that the people around me are so overjoyed in what they’re doing that they don’t need to be petted. Like dogs.

 

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Civics

Civics: (n) the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.

I was a freshman. At least, I think I was.

The class was called “Civics.” I’m pretty convinced that it doesn’t exist today, or it’s absorbed into some other aspect of social studies.

It was a combination of history, government and propaganda.

History in the sense that it took the time to explain why the founding individuals decided on the choices they pursued.

Government in the sense that it broke down what was referred to as “the balance of power” among the executive, legislative and the judicial.

And propaganda because it strenuously attempted to convince us that this form of representation was the best in the world, and that the balance of power was actually balanced.

But for balance of power to work, requires balanced people. Sometimes we forget that government is just an idea until folks of integrity and single-mindedness honor it.

So referring back to my civics:

  • The legislative branch is supposed to make the laws.
  • The executive branch enforces them.
  • And the judicial branch interprets them.

Well, you might immediately see that the whole system is out of whack.

Perhaps it would be a better idea to interpret the laws before we pass them and enforce them. Otherwise we put ourselves through the agonizing strain of legalizing activities which later have to be found unconstitutional.

By the time I got out of Civics class and looked at the history of the United States–too many wars, too much indecision, too little compassion for all its citizenry–I realized that every system put together by committee is rarely suitable for the individual.

And since we are a country of individuals, trying to work in union, the greatest civics that we can institute is a pair of ears with a mind to cooperation.

 

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Citizen

Citizen: (n) a legal personage of a country

He loves his country but not to the exclusion of others.

She salutes the flag but well knows the weaknesses of her government.

He is offended but doesn’t become offensive by dishonoring the nation.

She works very hard to overcome her prejudiced training, to welcome those from all colors and walks of life.

He learns from the past, to bless the present, to set in motion a better future.

She weeps over those who have been wounded by history and joins them hand-in-hand to make sure it never happens that way again.

He doesn’t demand that everybody do things his way, but instead, tries to understand their journey, their perspective and their patriotism.

She stops complaining about inequality and every day proves through her life that she is equal to the challenge.

He freely admits where his homeland has failed.

She celebrates the times when common sense overcame political patronage.

They joined together to believe in a country that has heart and soul, and not just mind and strength.

They are citizens.

They make us great.

They make our country possible.

They are the currency of this nation’s wealth.

 

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Choosy

Choosy: (adj) overly fastidious in making a choice.

Oh, there goes Webster again.

For some reason, the dictionary feels it’s important to offer a certain amount of social commentary in describing the words that are showcased.

Here is the truth of the matter as far as I know: if you are not choosy, eventually you don’t get to choose, and you’re stuck with what’s chosen for you.

Welcome to Earth.

So portraying “choosy” as a negative attitude is the propaganda of governments, religionists, politicians and Madison Avenue agents, who would really like to plan your entire life, but feel that saying this bluntly might scare you away. So instead, they connote that you are “choosy” if you do not choose what they want you to choose on any chosen occasion.

If the dinner menu for the night is barbecued baked beans with barbecued beef and barbecued corn bread with barbecued pudding for dessert, folks might frown at you if, in a choosy way, you insist you prefer not to “go barbecue” tonight.

The problem in our world is not that people are too choosy. The difficulty lies in the fact that we’re not given enough choice.

  • Politics is divided into two major parties, with a whisker’s difference between the pair.
  • Churches insist they offer varieties of services, while simultaneously delivering the same spiritually tone-deaf message.
  • And the clothing in the department stores settles into shades that are determined to be this season’s preference, with stylings which are the “hit of the catwalk.”

What would happen if Americans actually did become choosy?

If we decided not to let the critics determine the best motion pictures?

If we didn’t leave it up to aging librarians to pick out the top books?

What if we had an open marketplace, an open discussion, an open spirit and an open mind–to give things a platform and see how they fared?

What if the whole world were a blind taste test? How would McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Apple, Democrats, Republicans and the religious system chart?

I’m choosy–and pretty proud of it. I often disagree with other people about my choices, but never in a disagreeable way.

But I’m not about to believe that something being popular gives it any more credence than I am to think that the hula-hoop was meant to last forever.

 

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Chinese

Chinese: (adj) relating to China or its language, culture, or people.

My daughter-in-law is from China.

She is the wife of my godson. They have two beautiful children. I don’t see them much because they live in China.

My first encounters with this dear lady were enlightening. We struck up an immediate friendship, and I was deeply impressed by her work
ethic, her respect and her honoring of those who have more age then herself.

But she is Chinese. She was raised under an absolute totalitarian form of government, which discourages people from being inventive. Now, the Chinese diplomats would probably take issue with that, but the danger of trying to make everyone the same is that they take you up on it. And once sameness has been achieved, the desire to excel, be different or discover an original path seems pointless.

In our capitalistic system, discouragement comes from a different arena. We are constantly pumped full of the helium of hope–that anyone can be wealthy and successful, while simultaneously closing doors of finance and opportunity on ideas coming from ingenious folks who weren’t born with any spoon in their mouth.

I suppose the controversy rages over which system hampers the human spirit the most. Is it more vindictive to quell creativity, or much more punishing to be creative and unable to find the means to your end?

I suppose my daughter-in-law and I could talk about this for hours. But the real issue is free will. Although many religionists and politicians would persist in trying to steal it from the human condition, God is intensely committed to free will.

So where the Spirit of God exists, there is liberty.

I have the choice to be lazy, productive, genuine, fake, kind or mean. Then I also have the responsibility to rise and fall on my choice.

It would be amazing if the Chinese people, with their great traditions and immense passion for excellence, could be unleashed with creativity and complete freedom, to choose their own path. Would they maintain the quality of their passion, or become complainers like many capitalists?

I don’t know.

True spirituality is feeling responsible without being confined, and being creative without insisting you’re entitled.

 

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