shortbread

short, sweet, and to-the-point — by Keith Elder

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

“Malala… Born on Third Base…and Degree of Difficulty”

malala

“I am Malala!”

It is now the battle cry of millions of young women across the globe. A cry for freedom and justice. A call for the right to education and opportunity for girls in the face of the Taliban and oppressive forces everywhere.

When Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan, women commiserated with her mother.  Men gave no congratulatory words to her father.  Why?…because she was a girl.  But, her schoolteacher father says that, from the beginning, Malala was bright and inquisitive—particularly questioning why girls did not get to go to school like boys. In October of 2012, she was singled-out on a school bus full of young girls and shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Why?  Because this “girl”, at the age of fifteen, had become a threat.  A voice for change and justice.

Now, just twelve months after her shooting–after what doctors agree was a miraculous recovery—Malala has spoken before the UN General Assembly, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, gone viral on youtube…and her story, “I Am Mahala”, released just this week, is already on the bestseller lists.

As I saw Malala interviewed by Diane Sawyer, my mind skipped to a comment made by Ann Richards during a run for governor of Texas.  Of course, she had no specific opponent in mind when she said, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”

The struggle of fighting its way out of the cocoon is necessary for a butterfly to become a butterfly.  There are moral muscles, muscles of conviction and compassion, which are developed only through adversity.  The privileged are rarely privy to them.  We remember the Malala stories.  The rich—with rare exception—are forgotten, because their stories are forgettable, unremarkable. Their one hope of glory is to stand with the Malalas of the world. (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates.)

In competitive diving, scoring is based on two factors: 1) a judges score of 1-10 for how well the dive is executed; and 2) the dive’s “degree of difficulty”. A simple forward dive has a degree of difficulty much less than, say, a back two-and-a-half somersault. Degrees range from 1.4 to 4.0.  So, even if both dives are perfect 10’s, the more difficult dive wins.

I’m giving Malala a perfect 10.0 after she started with a 4.0 degree of difficulty.  Way to go Malala! Your story comes in such stark contrast to what’s been going on in our nations capital.  Of course, 99% of those folks are at a disadvantage…

…they were born on third base.

–Keith   10-12-13

*  Want to read more about Malala?… http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-i-am-malala-by-malala-yousafzai/2013/10/11/530ba90a-329a-11e3-9c68-1cf643210300_story.html

website: http://keithelder.com/

Advertisements

“The Ultimate Occupational Therapy”

“Love one another.”

It was a commandment (the greatest according to Jesus), but it was also a sort of primal occupational therapy.  When a person is hurt or has a surgery that incapacitates them, occupational therapy gradually prepares then to resume their normal activities.  Love does that.

Example: You are depressed.  Then, love one another. Go out there and help alleviate the suffering of someone else.  Volunteer at the homeless shelter once a month.  Talk to the people.  Listen to their stories.  Go around to the tables refilling water or tea glasses.  You will feel better.

You are grief stricken.  Then love one another.  Reach out to family and friends who are hurting as well.  Call them. Drop by to see them. Share your stories.  Laugh with them, cry with them.  Grieving takes time—but love leads to a speedier recovery.

You are lonely. Then go to where people are—but go to places that will make you feel better and not worse.  It’s a club centered around one of your interests. It’s an art class or a book club or a church small group.  Once you get there, love one another.  Make it more about them and less about you.

You are angry.  After you have had a little time to cool down, get over it and love one another. Say a prayer for the person you are so frustrated with.  You may recall, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Maybe you write a note to them saying, “Let’s get together and talk—life’s too short to spend it mad.”  Nothing sucks the heart out of a good day like unresolved anger.

Maybe you have shame or regrets.  Maybe you have let yourself or others down.  Then, love one another.  Baby step your way out of those dark places by very concrete acts of care and kindness.  Altruistic acts have been documented to give people an endorphin kick, not to mention the fact that it reminds us we may not be so bad after all.

It’s pretty amazing how we can love our way out of most holes.  And as for the one’s we can’t?…well, God loves us out of those.

–Keith   10-6-13

“This is TV… This is Your Brain on TV…”

“Hello, My name is Keith and I’m a TV-holic.”  Well, maybe not quite–but I could be, and if I was, I would probably have plenty of company.

According to the Nielsen folks, the average American watches 34 hours of television per week.  A little statistical breakdown… (not a nerd dance):

“Children 2-11 watch an average of 24 hours of TV a week, or 31/2 hours a day.

That number dips to 22 hours for teens, ages 12-17, then goes back up to 25 for 18-24s.  After that it rises steadily until people over 65 average 48 hours a week, or nearly seven hours a day.” *

Let’s do a little math.  Say you watch even 20 hours of TV per week x 4 weeks per month = 80 hours of TV per month.  Eighty hours!  That is two full work weeks.  Waking hours.  Primetime hours for reading or writing the book, or painting or gardening or learning to play an instrument or getting in shape or going to the zoo with your kids.  You get my drift.  “But,” some say, “I do other things while I watch.”  Maybe…and maybe not.

I was in the fitness room at our local rec center.  There are seven screens across the front of the room and more on the other walls.  It occurred to me, one day, while trying to multi-screen, that it is literally impossible to focus on one screen while trying to keep up with what is happening on the others. We are wired to focus on one thing at a time.  Multiple “screens” fragment us.

Now, add one more screen to the conversation.  That would be the “screen” of your imagination. That place you dream dreams and hope hopes.  That place you see your potential works of art and solutions to problems.  That mental Etch-a-sketch where you conceive new ideas and plans to realize them.

But on other screens across the front of your room, you’re watching The Today Show or ESPN or CNN or “Duck Dynasty” (I know, I know—I just “stopped preaching and went to meddling!”).  Bottom line, the screen of your imagination—your seat of potential and greatness—gets trumped, short-circuited, upstaged by all of those lesser screens.

So, the average American watches 34 hours of television per week.  Might explain why most of us are just average when we could be great.   The great ones turn off the TV—or, at least, they don’t turn it on nearly so often.

–Keith   10-4-13

* If you are interested in more stats: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/americans-spend-34-hours-week-watching-tv-nielsen-numbers-article-1.1162285#ixzz2gkUHR100.

Post Navigation

Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humor and courgettes

Holy Soup

with Thom Schultz

Hey Preacher!

everything I forgot to say on Sunday

Mind's Seat

Set your mind on the things above

JUMP FOR JOY Photo Project

capturing the joy of the human spirit - in mid air - around the world

AIKIDO-NO-SEKAI

Non-violence. Talking Peace. Everything Aikido.

Tony Romano

Songwriter

Songwriting Pro

Helping songwriters turn pro.

4 Worn Passports

Inspiring Family Gap Years and Independent Global Travel