Archive for August, 2019

August 16, 2019

Love and trust are not a trade

by Rod Smith

Love and trust are gold and glue in all relationships.  

The one who says “I love you; I trust you” is the one doing the loving and trusting. 

When I love and trust my sons I am the one who is choosing to place my fallible love and my capacity to trust in them. 

My willing choices have nothing to do with them but reflect the kind of person I want to be. 

By loving and trusting my sons, and anyone else for that matter, I am minding my own business. 

My sons, and anyone else, do not have to do anything in return. 

They do not have to love or trust me back. 

Of course it is wonderful when things are reciprocal but love and trust (and honesty and truth) are not currency in a trade.

As a consequence of exercising my fallible ability to love and to trust my capacity for both has been stimulated and rewarded and, even though I often fail, it’s made everything, everywhere  more beautiful. The return on investment has been well rewarded.

If a son, or anyone, breaks my trust or tests my love I am faced with the challenge to love and trust again and again because that’s the kind of person I want to be. 

May I join you in this journey?

August 13, 2019

Is he or she a “healthy” date?

by Rod Smith

Several ways you can tell you are dating a really healthy person (or not):

  • He/she has a life already and is not waiting for you to complete it. There is no desperation in tone or behavior. There are no threats if you are unavailable!
  • He/she has a job and is not looking to you for a loan. There is no talk of the big sale that’s just about to occur or the ship that’s coming in or the horse that’s going to win. If there’s talk of incredible international fame waiting in the wings you’ve just seen a red flag. 
  • He/she has ongoing and positive and frequent and open conversations with his/her family. It may not be perfect but there are no permanent cut-offs or talk of hating anyone. A person who says things like, “I hate my brother / mom / dad,” is showing you the menu so you know what will be served.
  • He/she is both planned and spontaneous – yes, it is possible. Planning occurs because it’s wise (you get more done) but plans can be modified if something more exciting comes up. Emotional health and spontaneity are very close cousins.

(All of the above are in response to real (usually on-line) dating circumstances.)

August 8, 2019

Endure….. this is not an insult

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Friday

Endure with me – this is meant to be helpful and not an insult:

Keep in mind as we evaluate our lives and relationships that we are mammals.

We are individually loaded with instinctive drives and have group behaviors that make this evident to even the casual observer.

But, we are each much more than a mammal; together, much more than packs, flocks, droves, crashes (rhinos) or herds.

Deny this and we limit our self-understanding, understanding of others, and of groups.

You may have noticed:

We herd. We love to get together. We quickly establish hierarchy, pecking orders. Observe large crowds and you will identify behaviors that parallel behaviors observable in game parks.

We are territorial. Look no further than the fences around homes; watch elders suss out to accept or reject new members.

We desire leadership. We recognize it in some, not in others. We respect it until we challenge and dethrone it.

We flock, storm, intimidate, and, when necessary, we freeze or take flight.

We have routines, habits, and expectations of nurturing and protecting when it comes to the young and the elderly that are mirrored in the wild.

So what?

Our mammalian traits are inescapable assets.

But, we are more: we are human.

We can think, plan, learn from errors, record history, exercise vast imaginations, and offer our communities amazing cooperation and generosity and, individually and collectively, enter enduring dialogue with the very Heart of God.

August 5, 2019

Seen any poor parenting lately?

by Rod Smith

It’s easy to judge what appears to be poor parenting: the mother who can’t let go, the dad who can’t say no to a three-year-old, the elderly parent who gets scammed by an adult son or daughter and on and on and on….. 

I’d suggest some caution. 

You probably have little idea of what the family has endured to deliver them to this point. What you observe has history. The most powerful forces may predate the participants by generations who may themselves be unaware of the generational tides giving rise to the behavior. 

Off-spring, of all ages, usually have inordinate power over parents. They have our number and know our hot buttons. They know we usually ache when they do. They know we have to resist involving ourselves in things that are none of our business. What you are observing is people on a tight-rope of love, compassion, dreams, desires, successes, heartaches, and failures. Rational behavior, especially to the outside observer, is not that easy. 

The parent is simultaneously trying to enjoy the present, while hoping for the future, and scaling the walls of the past. Many a parent was never reared with any plan, skill, or imagination. He or she simply “got older” and now, in trying to do better for his or her children, is fighting battles to which you, the critic, may be absolutely blind.