open-mindedness: listening to new ideas

On the subject of open-mindedness we have raised the idea that listening to others is good for us as we hear new ideas and new ways of doing things.  If everyone was closed to new ideas think of the many inventions and other things that may have been delayed or never happened in our world.

Some are closed off though due to fear of change or they may just not want to be seen as having been wrong in the past.  Sometimes we just like to hear ourselves talk and we may even be trying to impress others with how much we know and so never get to hear the thoughts of others. 

There is a story in the martial arts world of a student who is visiting a master instructor who he really wants to impress with his own knowledge, thinking that this would bring special privileges as a student.  After listening for quite a long time the master instructor invited the student to have some tea.  He poured the tea continuously until the cup was overflowing.  He continued to pour until the student could no longer stand it and screamed for him to stop.  The teacher did stop and the student asked him why he poured to such an extent.  The masters answer is telling.  “Like this cup you’re full of your own ideas.  How can I teach you anything unless you are willing to first empty your cup?”  Is our cup empty or are we only filled with our own way of thinking?

Its not that all new ideas are good ideas.  Its not that all ideas are good for everyone.  It could be that some ideas may be good for some and not for others.  But unless we are willing to hear them out we will not be in a position to think about them and make a choice. 

The choice should be ours from a position of knowledge.  When we hear about something new or a way of thinking about something that is different than our present way of thinking we need to choose if this is a good or bad choice for us.  By the way just because an idea is new, bold, exciting, or innovative, does not mean that it may also be foolish.  Only by using our own mind and careful consideration can we come to a conclusion that would be good for us or our family.

Dependability: keeping our word

Our word of the month is dependability.  All of us know that if we are dependable then we keep our word, we follow through on our promises.  In our day to day life we make promises to others all of the time.  In fact many times the promises just slide off our tongue very easily and before we have thought it out completely. 

Many times that happens most often with our friends and family.  Why is that so?  I believe that we take for granted that they, because of our relationship with them, will ‘forgive’ us if we do not keep our promise just the way we said it or at least they will be more understanding. 

Is that really fair to them though?  What is the long term effect if we make this a practice?  I know as a parent that when our children said they were going to do something and they did not follow through it was disappointing.  Then when we asked them to give their word again we would ask them again and again.  (that can be annoying for both the child and the parent)  If it is a really big issue, like what time will you be home or if your home work is complete, it could lead to losing privileges. 

We have talked about this many times too that we may also lose the trust of the other person.  If you are a child reading this – there is nothing that is worse than losing the trust of your mom and dad.  Do everything you can to maintain that trust.

One more part of this puzzle too.  When you do not keep a promise there is the feelings that you have about yourself.  Do you know that feeling I am talking about?  That guilting feeling?  The one that everytime you see the person you promised something too you just cringe.  That has a long term affect that I will talk about later.  But for now we can all work on keeping our word and doing so as quickly as we can after giving it to another person.

What is fairness?

Fairness is something that we talk about throughout our lives.  When we are young it is about someone taking a toy or doesn’t let us play or not getting the same size piece of cake.  When we get older it may be about tests, sports, chores and privileges at home.  With us adults we talk about fairness too.  Unfortunately many times when it does not seem ‘fair’ it ends up in court.
What does fairness mean to you?  When is it fair for everyone to get the do the same amount?
Is there ever a time when individuals get a different amount?
What would happen if we treated everyone the same no matter what?  What would that look like and is it fair?
I will discuss what it means to be fair and unfair later this week here, as we discuss it with all of our students in their classes.