Sunday, December 13, 2009

#35: Teaching them how to fish

"Feed a fish and people eat for one day; teach them how to fish and they feed themselves every day.

From the standpoint of the social justice advocate as well, teaching someone to fish presumes that the person a) has access to a lake, b) that a corporate conglomerate has not fished out that lake and c) that our industrial waste has not poisoned all of the fish. Teaching someone to fish, in other words, presupposes a redistribution of power within a society or, at least, sufficient unexploited nooks and crannies (untapped lakes) where new fisheries can be established. Capacity building, in other words, requires both compassionate service and social justice advocacy."

-- Charles R. Strain

"Moving Like a Starfish:
Beyond a Unilinear Model of Student Transformation in Service Learning Classes"

Journal of College & Character VOLUME VIII, NO. 1, November 2006

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

#36: Mean People Suck

I was thinking today about posting and this really just stuck in my mind.

But the more I dive into this subject, I wonder-- are people really inherently mean? Do they intend to be mean in all they do, are they always mean? Sometimes I think this is true. Sometimes someone is literally always awful to me and to others I care about, which makes me lump them into this mean category. What if they think happy people suck? This is definitely not my conclusion, because I am happy and don't suck (okay, not sound evidence but this is not the point of my post)

So then--- why are they mean? Is it their countenance, their upbrining, or maybe just something going on in their life? I know nice people can act mean, heck I have a mean streak when I am angry enough. And I don't hate nice people because they act mean sometimes, I guess I just hate the meanness.

After careful consideration, I think there are no mean people, just people who act mean. This may be the idealist in me wishing, hoping and naively believing all people are good, but it is how I want to view with world so I am content.

I think there are some people who act mean frequently. Maybe theirs is a burden I will never understand, but I am sad for them nonetheless.

So I thereby edit my lesson.
#36: It sucks when people are mean.

What do you think? Do mean people existent, or do people just act mean?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

#36: Never Suppress a Kind Thought

About 2 years ago I went to stake conference for my church and was counseled to never suppress a kind thought. That really struck me, because often I was filled with kind thoughts but often I let them pass. Why? Because my act of kindness might be awkward, inconvenient or even ill-received. I worried about how someone my perceive my action or how they would react. Could I muster up the courage to do it anyway?

So I took the counsel. I (for the most part, being imperfect and limited in many ways) have very intentionally acted upon the kind thoughts that enter my mind.

I was reminded of this just the other day. I walked home from school and saw someone I had once talked to who I knew was in the business school. I smiled instantly and said "Hi! How are you doing?" He looked at me like I was kind of crazy and continued walking. I just smiled and laughed. Because yeah, there are still some awkward moments, some that make you question your kindness. Those never quite go away. But then, there are in numerous moments where you did some something kind for another person, and you made their day. You may have answered their prayer, or just left a positive impression. You may have just made them smile. And that, my friends, is why you should never supress a kind though.

Oh, what joy this counsel has brought to my life. Never suppress a kind thought.

#37: How Much I Love my Family

One of my greatest realizations during college was how much I love and miss my family. I don't know why it didn't click before I left, but I really took for granted how much my family meant to me. Heck, I was excited to go at the time. But a lot of things struck me after being away from home. I missed my sisters so much. I tried to connect with them via phone or facebook, but it just wasn't the same. Sometimes I felt sad or lonely and just needed someone to talk to, and that would have been when I plopped on my moms bed and talked her ear off. Sometimes I wanted to explore nature, but I really just couldn't enjoy it as much without my dad.

Our family has gone through a lot in the past few years. I love them so much, and I hope they realize how much they mean to me. I am not always the kindest to my family. It is a hard truth that sometimes we are most cruel to the ones we love most. It is also true that often we take for granted that which we love most. I have learned both of these things in my college experience, but mostly to appreciate the the people you love, and let them know how much you care often.

This past weekend I spent with my family was incredible. I took long walks with my dad, Heather did my makeup. Lauren and I fought over covers sharing a bed, Mom and I worked on a craft together. What a perfect weekend.

How grateful I am for my family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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