Archive for October, 2011

When words end

October 28, 2011

Father/Son moment of insight tonight: There comes a time in every deep discussion between a father and son (read: heated argument) when words should simply cease, resolution notwithstanding – not because we give up on resolution, but because there comes a time when words should give way to silent reflection on what the other has said.

Neither father nor son, we can’t flow from the heart, when we’re spouting from the mouth.

(photo: Enokson@Flickr)

Relationships (all of them)

October 17, 2011

From the time my oldest son could understand, I began to teach him that all living things on Earth exist within three primary forms of symbiotic relationships.

I explained the ‘mutualistic,’ in which both organisms benefit from each each other. I explained ‘commensalism,’ where one benefits while the other does not but is not harmed.

Clownfish feed on small invertebrates that harm the sea anemone, while the fish are protected from predators by the anemone’s stinging cells, to which the clownfish is immune. Photo credit: richardminick (Flickr)

Finally I explained there are also ‘parasites,’ organisms that benefit while the other is harmed. Here I added, parasites break down further into two types; one that eventually kills its host, and one that relies on the host’s survival.



I taught him that with all living things on Earth, these are the three ways in which they relate to each other. This too, I told him, applies to man. Because modern man’s tendency is toward the parasitic, I taught him that we should always strive to cultivate mutualistic relationships with others – man and animals alike, and the whole of the earth, and live in a way that benefits ourselves as well as others, and avoid doing harm to either.



I suspect he, as well as all of us, will need to be reminded of this often, and I hope he teaches this to his children too.

Save tomorrow, today.

October 6, 2011

I remember some years ago, I was working a PR campaign for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Because of some unimaginably high adult drowning statistic, we were tasked with trying to come up ways to get more people to wear life jackets. At some point, during these meetings, we concluded that we would just give up trying to teach adults a common sense lesson that could save their lives, despite the stats.

So, we stopped counting beans, and we started planting seeds.

We went into schools, and took our message to the kids. In turn, the kids took the message home – and in years that followed, the drowning numbers dropped. Moreover, these children will carry that message with them throughout their whole lives.

Today, as adults – for all of us seeking change – I suggest we forget trying to enlighten Congress. Let’s give up on imploring Wall Street. Instead, let’s take our message home, to our kids, and teach them what it means to be an honest, compassionate, generous and kind citizen. And let’s teach them that it’s good to plant shade trees, even under which we know we’ll never sit.