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Archive for April, 2017


“The quality of life is more important than life itself.”

Alexis Carrel

 

Live A Life That Matters

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. In the end, it won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.

 What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who love you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

 It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Vow to live a life that matters.

Author Unknown

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“We shall advance when we have learned humility; when we have learned to seek truth, to reveal it and publish it; when we care more for that than for the privilege of arguing about ideas in a fog of uncertainty.”

Walter Lippmann, c.1917


The Truth Will Set You Free

 There is a truth. There is a reality. Oftentimes, we think OUR truth is THE truth and OUR reality is THE reality, but it is only OUR perception of what we THINK is the truth. So who is right? Who is wrong? Who has the RIGHT way of governing? Whose side has the RIGHT answers? Who has the RIGHT God?

Look at the results. Don’t you see how impossible all of this is?

“There is no god higher than truth.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I think that all any of us want is a world that “works”, but works for whom? How and where do we find the answer?

Religious people look to their religious teachings – but there are many religions. The common core of most major religions is very much the same: “God (Allah/Buddha, etc.) is love”, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. But everyone fights and even kills, to claim their religion as the RIGHT religion and they deviate from the basic core teachings with their own perceptions of what these pure messages mean.

Governments form political parties that are diametrically opposed to one another and the value each can bring to the table is completely lost when focus is placed on their differences. Self-righteous positions are formed and the fight is on.

Look at the results. Don’t you see there is no way out of this?

This “right/wrong” thinking spreads throughout society, each person trying to be more powerful, more “right”. Sides are formed. We gather armies (people who think like we do) and ammunition (so-called “facts”) and soon we are at war and everyone claims, “God is on OUR side.”

That doesn’t work for me. Look around you. How’s it working for you?

Our country and this world is ignoring TRUTH. We are seeing masses of people being manipulated by what is known as “Perception Management”. We listen to, subscribe to and pass on Fake News and totally false conspiracies.

We only listen to and read news sources that agree with our own perceptions. We eat up “reality shows” on TV that are manipulated or scripted to provide entertainment (usually in the form of conflict). We listen to pundits and vote for politicians who

continuously contort the truth – (and down deep, we all know we’re doing this!) We surround ourselves with people who think like we do and disregard the rest as “stupid, illiterate, fools” or “elitist, entitled snobs”.

We have come to EXPECT the truth to be distorted and soon that becomes “normal”. If a lie is repeated enough times, we begin to believe it. We check in with Twitter, YouTube and other social media, see 10 million hits and think, “It MUST be true!”

That distortion actually becomes our new Truth and we soon find ourselves slipping into an altered reality and believing it!

We must get our heads out of the sand! We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into a lazy unconsciousness by those who are only out for their own win. We must be vigilant, stay alert and retain a connection with results, reality and facts and we must begin by being truthful with OURSELVES. We must admit to our own willingness to ignore the truth we know is right in front of us.

Ignoring factual awareness in order to be right ultimately never works because results, reality and truth don’t care about OUR perceptions/OUR truth. Reality and truth don’t have emotional reactions, feelings, beliefs or positions. Nor do they take sides. All they do is give us a RESULT and results don’t lie. Results tell us everything about how things are “working”.

Our society as it currently exists, doesn’t work for me. How’s it working for you?

What would it be like to have a world/society/community that works for everyone, a world where our commitment would be to collaborate and cooperate with one another, to seek mutual fulfillment of the basic wants and needs of everyone?

Why should one of us win at the expense of another? Which one of us is more important? Are you more valuable than I? Am I more valuable than you? I think not. At the core, are we not all equal?

What kind of society could we create IF:

  • We all simply committed to stand for the TRUTH.
  • We refused to listen to or believe the biased rhetoric.
  • We stood up to the surrogates’ twisted spin on anything and everything and voiced our disapproval to news agencies that allow this to happen.
  • We committed to listen ONLY to the facts: what was ACTUALLY said, what was ACTUALLY done, what science can actually PROVE.
  • We demanded of ourselves and our leaders to ONLY produce results that work for everyone.

Maybe, just maybe things could be different. Because I’m clear about one thing, the way our society is headed, a way that sweepingly disregards facts and entire sections of humanity as well as the well-being and health of our planet, doesn’t work for me and TRUTHFULLY . . . .

How’s it working for you?

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“Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion”

 

Teaching our children to fully understand the implications of giving, as well as the value of giving, is perhaps one of the most important things we can ever do as parents. The following article is particularly good and I ask that you take a few minutes to read it . . .


Let Your Children in on the Conversation of Charitable Giving  

Ron Lieber

Money is one of the most powerful tools we have to teach children the values and virtues we want them to adopt. Given how many of our own values are wrapped up in charitable giving, it makes sense to bring the kids in on some of the decision making.

This doesn’t need to be a conversation about how much money you make and what percentage of it you should give away. Younger children don’t have enough math skills and experience to grapple with five- and six-figure numbers anyway. But a family’s choices about how it divides its charitable dollars reflect its values.

So what’s the best way for parents to help their children see their values in action in this context? And how best to get them to question parental priorities and express strong feelings of their own?

Here’s what my family did as an experiment this holiday season: We put 100 dried beans on the dining room table, with each one representing 1 percent of our annual giving. Then we divided them up into piles to represent the causes and institutions we had supported in 2012.

Next, we looked through a pile of solicitations that had arrived in the mail, from organizations we had supported in the past and ones that hoped to persuade us to give before the end of the year. We also came to the table with new ideas, based on issues that were newly important to us.

Here’s what we learned by making this a family conversation about how to re-divide the beans for 2013:


WANTS AND NEEDS

One surprise was that our 8-year-old daughter applied the “Want-Need” test to this particular exercise. Normally, this comes up when we talk about consumer purchases more broadly and whether various objects of desire are things we actually need or simply want. The necessity of cable television is one we’ve been debating recently.

The test came up while discussing a pitch from the Public Art Fund, which helps place art in public spaces around New York City. Set against real human need, locally and globally, our daughter wondered whether this was something we really needed to support or whether we merely wanted to. It didn’t make the cut, though we agreed we can help improve our local park by participating in cleanup days more often.


TRANSPARENCY

Our family devotes a decent chunk of our giving budget to the educational institutions that gave me scholarships a couple of decades ago. We also try to give generously to the places that have helped shape our daughter, so they can help as many children as possible afford their tuition or programs.

Many overnight camps lack much racial or socioeconomic diversity, since they have no endowments or much of a donor base. Our daughter helped persuade us to support a scholarship fund at her camp. We also decided to give to an organization that helps homeless children locally, moved as we were by the New York Times series  about a young girl living in a shelter with her family.

We received a pitch from a dance company where our daughter took some lessons a while back. But the solicitation said nothing about its efforts to help children afford its classes, so we made a collective decision to pass on that one.


MARKETING

We’re well aware that by looking at the solicitations at all, we’re encouraging nonprofit institutions to send ever more mail each year. This clogs mailboxes, kills trees and wastes piles of the very money families like us donate.

This was an experiment, though, so we wanted to see what kind of impact the pitches would have on a child. It probably won’t come as much surprise to learn the clever folks at Heifer International were the only ones who managed to sway our daughter via a direct-mail piece. Like many children, she was moved by its catalog of smiling people around the world who are able to make money and feed their families with the help of a water buffalo or sheep the organization provides

One wrinkle here was she didn’t want anyone eating these animals, because she’s a vegetarian. Several pages into the catalog, however, she found a beehive she wanted to donate.

My guess is any family that tries this would hear their children echo at least some of the values they hold dear. If not, the conversation offers an opportunity to find out which issues and institutions matter most to every family member and why.

Our plan is to make the dining-table allocation exercise an annual tradition, albeit without most of the mailers. Any other tweaks to the bean exercise that you would suggest?

 

Ron Lieber writes the “Your Money column” for The New York Times. He is the author of “The Opposite of Spoiled,” about parenting, money, values and raising the kinds of children all parents want to push out into the world, no matter how much money they have (HarperCollins, February 2015). He hosts regular conversations about these topics on his Facebook page and welcomes comments here or privately, via his Web site.

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