Confusion

Congenial: (adj) a pleasant personality

If you will allow me to advance this theory–human virtue rarely travels alone.

This is what often perplexes those who are trying to improve their image.

For instance, someone says you are not kind enough, so you attempt to “go out and be kind”–only to return by mid-day, spitting, cussing and swearing never again to pursue such a farce.

The reason for the failure is that kindness does not work by itself. Kindness needs to team up with a couple of other contributors. Those two friends are patiencefunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
and joy.

Otherwise, you will find yourself being kind to the unkind, and rather than patiently waiting for your overtures to pay off with the next traveler, you will give up, not allowing your joy to give you the strength to be kind again.

Congenial is an idea, but not really one that is easily put into practice. We often regret being gentle when others respond in a gruff manner.

If you truly want to achieve the attribute of congeniality, then it is necessary to link your kindness with some enduring patience, knowing that the joy that will come through the victory will propel you on to a lifestyle of openness.

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Commentator

Commentator: (n) a person who delivers a live commentary on an event

His name was Walter.

People under the age of forty probably don’t even remember who he was.

His last name was Cronkite. He was a commentator. At one time, he was voted “the most respected man in America.”

In this age of controversy about the news media, Walter stands out as historically unique. Case in point:

I have no idea if he wore ladies underwear.

I have no private information on whether he ever sexually harassed his office staff.

I do not know if he was secretly gay.

These are things that seem to be important to us nowadays. We not only want people to do their job, but we want them to do it to our standard of morality.

But what set Walter Cronkite apart from the rest of the commentators of his day–and certainly of our season–is that he really believed what he was doing was valuable.

It was so important to him that he always delivered the news with sincerity, neutrality, gravitas and yet in a reassuring way, letting the American people know that the sky was not falling–there would be another day, and a good chance it would be better.

Maybe it was the bit of “gruff” in his voice, which hinted at crankiness, or the bristle of mustache, perhaps outdated–but aging uncles and grandfathers never seem to care.

Or maybe it was the fact that when the President of the United States was shot in Dallas, Walter, like us, was mortified–and found himself breaking into tears.

There are three things Walter knew about humanity:

  1. When you run across goodness, proclaim it. It’s not always easy to be human and good.
  2. Don’t expect humans to be good in every arena, but make sure they respect the holy ground of their calling.
  3. And Walter knew that as a human being, he needed to make sure he kept his ears tuned to the mission of his heart, and far away from the gossiping rabble.

Walter Cronkite was a commentator.

But history has shown his mercy, his faithfulness and exactly how uncommon he was.

 

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