Coach

Coach: (n) a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team

The same tenacity and grit which is necessary to make one successful can just as easily be used to commence a life of crime.

This is the difficulty the adults in our lives face when they train us, and of course, coach us.

They certainly know that initiative, spunk and creativity are essential for forming the building blocks of a prosperous lifestyle. Yet in the moment, these particular attributes, especially when spoken from the nasally nastiness of adolescence, can be obnoxious.

So our instructors often have to find out whether our conduct, being sweet and kind, is a foretelling of goodness or brain death–and if our unwanted opinions prophesy greatness or the possibility of time spent “upstate.”

Let me give you an example.

During a football game, when we were losing 48 to nothing, I ran to the sideline and said the following to my coach: “Come on, coach! This defense you put together for us is just not working!”

I was fourteen at the time, and he was probably in his mid-twenties, trying desperately to survive the humiliation of being drummed by his rival on this field of debauchery.

I noticed that my coach’s face began to twitch. His eyes expanded. The veins in his head popped out, and his countenance became crimson as he slowly said, “Please sit down. Our defense is fine.”

I noticed that he avoided me for the rest of the game, as I avoided many tackles.

Fortunately, he did not personally address my inadequacies and focus on them because of my snippy, snarky comment. He restrained himself, and therefore, I believe I grew up using my precocious nature for good instead of joining forces with the villains to destroy Batman.

It’s not easy being a coach. You don’t always win, but end up stuck with your team, no matter what the score. You can’t blame them or you look like an idiot. You can’t accuse the referees or you appear to be a sore loser.

All you can do is teach what you know, and hope, by the grace of God, it’s enough.

 

 

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Clod

Clod: (n) a stupid person

A novel, noble notion just came to my brain. If I could turn it into a lifestyle choice, I might just transform myself a decent human being.

No promises.

What if I could tell myself that I will not criticize, condemn, mock or marginalize any other person who is doing something that I have–at least once–done myself?

Can you imagine that?

Can you comprehend how much ammunition I would remove from my “judgment gun?”

For I will tell you for certain: I have been a clod.

I have been a stumbling, bumbling sweaty mess of gelatin, trying desperately to impress, as I proceeded to diminish any confirmation that I had a brain in my head.

I fumbled.

I bumbled.

I said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and failed to do what was right to the right person.

I have been a clod.

I have been a stranger in a strange land, and that land was “Intelligence.”

I am clumsy–often without excuse, still feeling the need to make one.

If I could just learn that such weakness is much more acceptable if I do not treat others differently than I want to be treated myself.

For you being a clod is no different from me being a clod, which is absolutely the same thing as “clod-dom” everywhere.

Yes, if I would just stop condemning those who have done what I have also done, I would lighten my emotional workload by at least a ton–every single day.

 

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Buck

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Buck: (n) slang for a dollar

I don’t know who gets to decide what’s important and what isn’t.

I’m not really sure how we place value on one thing while assigning insignificance to another.

For instance, a buck private in the army is the lowest rank, yet no war can be won Dictionary Bwithout thousands of them.

There are times when a single dollar bill seemed so unimportant to me that I joked around with a friend and took a match and burned it, just to see what it felt like.

Then there were occasions when I rummaged through the seat cushions of my car because I thought I remembered dropping a dollar bill down there.

Also, if there’s some sort of problem when “the buck stops”–and it more than likely will be here–maybe it would be a good idea to do more to prepare for buck stoppage.

  • What is important, what is worthless?
  • What is without value, and what is invaluable?

There is one constant mistake humans make which triggers all the afflictions that trouble our species: we misuse what we have because we’re either anticipating or demanding more.

Just solving that misdemeanor can set in motion a lifestyle which salvages the little … and transforms it into much.

 

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Beat-up

Beat-up: (adj) a thing worn out by overuse; in a state of disrepair.Dictionary B

I found myself sharing a message that didn’t match my lifestyle.

I was moved to proclaim the idea “Life With Style” while I, myself, was somewhat impoverished.

It introduced the possibility of hypocrisy.

In an attempt to advertise my slogan, “Life With Style,” I had purchased magnetic signs, which I placed on the side of my old, beat-up car, towing a trailer which short months earlier had been rotting in a corn field.

It was what I could legitimately afford, and I did my best to bolster it with repair and frequent cleanings, but to the average onlooker who saw my vehicle and trailer pass by, the advertisement, “Life With Style,” was an enigma, if not a farce.

I became convicted that I was misrepresenting my own cause with my beat-up situation, bannered by such a positive, exuberant concept.

Because let’s be honest–we’re human.We can’t envision a life with style without a decent paint job. Life doesn’t have style unless we are visually passable.

So I learned that you can call people hypocritical, judgmental or mean-spirited for the conclusions they draw upon eyeballing your circumstance, or you can realize that since they are susceptible to hypocrisy, judgmentalism and a mean-spirited nature, it might be a good idea to give them as little evidence as possible … for a case against you.

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Attitude

Attitude: (n) a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or somethingdictionary with letter A

Just last week, my new book, Within, arrived–fully published and ready to go.

When I was holding it in my hands, gently turning the pages in great appreciation, it crossed my mind once again why I wrote it.

I realized that the reason I had penned this particular volume was that I wanted to make the distinction between belief and attitude.

In my journey, I have grown weary of those who have beliefs, yet offer no consolation to either the world around them nor their own sense of well-being.

What difference does it make if you believe in a God who makes you obnoxious?

What possible justification can we have as Americans to preach our gospel of democracy while inequality and racism are still nipping at our heels?

I’m tired of belief. I would rather follow a devil with a smile than a cranky angel.

I’m sorry–that may not be politically correct or spiritually proper. But as I get older, I realize that our time is limited and we should use it wisely.

So when I wrote my book, Within, my goal was to address the attributes, values and the sheer joy that goes into living as a human being–realizing that as I did, I was thrusting to the forefront the beliefs that really matter.

I just don’t think I become a good citizen of Earth by insisting that the world’s about to end.

I don’t think I help folks by criticizing their lifestyle before I benefit their hearts.

I’m tired of belief that offers no relief.

Give me someone who realizes the value of an attitude that is both accepting and challenging, and I will show you a true believer.

If creeds, doctrines, holy books and constitutions are what cause you to find your righteousness, then I must say … perhaps you’re already damned.

 

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Archaeology

dictionary with letter A

Archaeology: (n) the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts

I am susceptible.

I am a product of my times and therefore the word “archaeology” conjures images of Indiana Jones and his whip.

I am ready to freely admit how shallow I am before you decide to dive in.

But also, I have found the subject of archaeology to be fascinating–that digging up objects from a former culture can tell us about their lifestyle and choices. Honestly, it more illuminates our study on what they were presently using when they went bye-bye and what that substance was made of, which enabled it to survive the span of time.

It caused me to think about the things that surround me.

Obviously, the elements in my life that would push through to another era are mostly made of plastic. So anyone studying me or my culture eons from now would contend that we were a generation that was obsessed with containers, bottles and all sorts of paraphernalia. For all of our papers would turn to dust; glass would be crushed and not survive.

Yes, in a thousand years, if they dug up our defunct civilization, they would ascertain that we really liked plastic and that most of it was formed into gadgets.

So comically, an alarm clock might survive, which would lead the archaeologist to conclude that we were a very efficient society, living off the clock, and probably extraordinarily productive.

If they found one of our computers, which survived the press, they would report that we were an intellectual culture, always chasing down the truth.

Gone would be:

  • The wrappers from our fast food
  • The pages from our silly magazines
  • And the most recent creams and salves we favor to prevent oldness, baldness and impotency.

So I have to admit I’m a little suspicious of archaeology. Just because something survives being buried does not mean it was predominant in the social structure of the time.

For after all, in a thousand years … what will be left of reality shows and the Kardashians?

 

 

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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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