Category Archives: Uncategorized

Manners May Be Key to Getting Through Crisis

Something moved in me last evening to pick up Pass the Peas, Please; A Book of Manners by Dina Anastasio.  The cute illustrations by Katy Keck Arnsteen brought the fun rhyming poetical style of Anastasio’s version of manners to ease the tension that I had been fighting in my mind all day.  Well written children’s illustrated books have a way of doing that for adults.  While I no longer have a young child to read to, I have learned that the hurting child inside of me may need to be read to.


A recent event trigger painful personal hurts with my family of origin and experiences with the church.   Steady and deep emotional trauma shot through my mind wearied from 36 days of social isolation due to COVID-19 and impending severe weather that had been repeatedly interrupting my day with forecast predictions.  My reaction to a zoom meeting was steeped in irrational emotion that refused to be reasoned with.

Strong feelings so often extend beyond the realm of logic.  While the feelings in and of themselves are neutral, how we respond to them often tips the scales in a direction to make matters worse.  Because of this many have advocated that emotions must be ignored, denied, and run over by cold calloused facts/truth.  However, this teaching has led to many an unexplained illness, migraine, inability to receive consolation, anxious depression, and irreparable relationships.  It has also led to the age of self-help and perpetual personal counseling.

This age has helped to verbalize and validate pain for many.  I believe this very instrumental to overcome the pain in order to convert it into a platform for positive growth.  But unfortunately, how the wounded articulate their pain and ask for help often creates a vortex of greater relationship damage and self-fulfilled prophesy of victimization that is entitled to everyone else’s sympathies.

To make matters worse, some know that the emotionally wounded individuals are easy to recruit to enlist in activist this or that.  It creates a passion that propels a cause.  Some would also argue that this is what has corrupted many an organization.  It certainly has ruined many a budget as people vouch to give beyond what the coffers hold.  Wounded people are easier to manipulate through false hope and empty promises.  Marketing experts love to capitalize on this.

Currently the world faces the fears, uncertainties, and problems associated with COVID-19.   Ana Maria Rodriguez, Florida State Representative District 10 posted on her Face Book page an thoughtful elaboration that we are NOT all in the same boat.  We are in the same storm, but each in very different boats.  Good clear articulation helps a lot.  It circles back to the helpfulness of naming a problem that I expressed earlier through verbalization.

Assembly line skills and duties are helpful in producing the same product in mass quantity.  This is useful for industrialization but disastrous to apply to human needs, their emotions and relationships.  Consider how one size fits all clothing generally turns out.  It is usually not very attractive.  General clothing sizes offer a better solution.  Of course there are limits here too, but when dealing with mass scale worldwide trauma we have got to classify to be able to bring some order and solution.

I am not claiming to have the ultimate solution to the myriad of problems stemming from COVID-19 or any other crisis.  But I am advocating that returning to respect and manners would be the best way to find it.  In fact, I believe this is the key to healing the division in our land.

What if each of us refrained from jumping to conclusions and judging whether someone’s situation merits listening to?  What if we each acknowledged, validated, and took turns listening?  Obviously some losses will be greater than others, but each loss counts to the individual it affected. Validate whatever the loss or grief is even if it seems trivial to you.  Saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way” is one of the most counterproductive responses.  Please never say that.  It stabs an emotional knife into the person.   Also staying silent hurts too.  That communicates indifference.   Rather validate and encourage instead.  To hear affirmation of one’s pain with an encouraging word can make the burden lighter with a sense of hope.  Ask yourself, is my reply going to inspire hope or guilt and despair?

Based on what I learned from a boating accident my daughter and I were involved in each are really going to process the consequences of isolation, social distancing, cancelling of events etc. differently.  Click this story for more.

Fear, Emergency, Panic, and the Aftermath

In closing,  kindly respect and  take turns with self and others regarding the various griefs, losses, hassles, and aggravations that inevitably will surface during this time.  And perhaps a good children’s books on manners may help like it did me.  Here are a few other favorites by Munro Leaf.


And then of course there is

Rojo, The Baby Red Panda At The Zoo

by Hope Mucklow. #COVID-19 #Recovery #Trauma #Selfhelp




Turn to the Wildflowers to Lessen Your Anxiety


Wildflowers have captured my interest, respect, and awe for sometime.  But after a recent visit to The National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site Alabama this admiration flourished further.


1942 was a time of uncertainty too.  War shortages threatened the norm of living.  George Washington Carver responded by publishing articles and bulletins.  He starts Nature’s Gardens for Victory and Peace with the inspiring poem by Martha Martin called


The Weeds’ Philosophy and Genesis 1:29.   His point was that many wildflowers otherwise known as weeds are good to eat.

According to the Bible, the flowers of the field can also teach us much about our own lives.  For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on resisting anxiety.

So many are ridden with worries of how COVID-19 is going to impact them.  Will they survive it if they get it? Will their loved ones? Will they still have work?  What is going to happen to the economy?  These are valid concerns of which I believe merit processing.  For my own family’s sake,  I was inspired to turn to the wildflowers.

yellowthistle basil pretty1 wisteria2

Reflecting further, I decide to ditch the usual homeschool curriculum in order to design a special field trip for my daughter.  As with most instruction, the teacher learns the most.  In this Flowers of the Field lesson (photographed at the end of this blog) I challenge the learner to use two forms of art, photography and drawing to refine their observations skills.  Both fall short of seeing the real flower.

Technology has so many wonderful opportunities, but with all advancements it has its limits too.  For the largest, it seduces us into trading virtual for the real experience.  But I’m going to focus on some of the more subtle short comings. It keeps us indoors.

On a related note, Richard Hobday included some interesting observations in his blog Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.  Patients who were placed outdoors in the sun fared better.  What he says has been echoed from Dr. Ryan McWhorter at Alabama Functional Medicine who recommends getting outdoors for a least an hour each day.  I  think of how healthcare workers have no exposure to fresh air much less natural sunlight in their hazmat suits, high rise hospitals, and long stressful hours of work.  How much of this contributes to their risk of infection?

Back to the wildflowers. This lesson I wrote for my daughter helps you to experience the real deal and it also gets you outside.   But what I’ve found is that more than school age students have much to gain from it.  Anyone who is struggling with anxiety and concerns about the future will benefit.   So whether you are homeschooling during this time or not, check it out.  Go for a walk, observe, ponder, and most importantly, rest in the LORD Jesus.


Click Flowers of the Field to download a Windows version of this to print and use with permission in any setting by the author, Hope Mucklow.  And click The Weeds’ Philosophy to reflect on the wonderful and wise poem. #Anxiety #CopingwithCOVID-19 #OvercomeGAD





Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Click St. Patrick’s Day 2015 to download a blank copy of the following to color.


You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy celebrating what St. Patrick accomplished.  He wasn’t Irish either.   Find a great role model and inspiration in who St. Patrick was Romano British, not Irish.

He was kidnapped by Irish Pirates from his noble home in Brittan when he was a teenager and forced into Irish slavery.  He didn’t go by the name Patrick until he trained to be a Catholic Bishop many years later in France.  He returned to Ireland to share God’s love and knowledge with the Irish…the people who at one time kidnapped him. He most likely used the clover to explain God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct roles in the same one God.

Have fun, but don’t get caught up in the distortions and myths about four leaf clovers and finding gold at the end of the rainbow.  Gifts from the Giver, The God of whom St. Patrick spoke, often are turned into useless idols and symbols that mislead.  Pray for the Holy Spirit of which St. Patrick taught to discern what is true, noble, right, worthy to believe and to follow.

The Folly of “Don’t Be a Prude”

Recently I was asked what picture comes to mind when I think of patriotism.  The image that came to me was Lady Justice.  We saw a beautiful Greek marble sculpture of her at Jasmine Hill Gardens in Wetumpka, Alabama of which I later regretted not buying since it was sold when we went back.

This prompted me to look up images on the Internet which led to some fascinating learning.  Lady Justice is often accompanied by Prudencia .  Who’s Prudencia?  That’s what I asked.  I was delighted as to what I learned.  But first, allow me to explore why we are so ignorant of Prudencia.  It comes from the word prudence.  A virtue that has been mocked as of recent era.  Think about it.  How often do you hear, “Oh, don’t be a prude!”

This slogan is popular during times of entertainment and lighthearted desires that are more concerned with an immediate personal high usually at the cost of another’s misfortune of some sort.  This motto takes its victim’s down the slippery slope of poor judgement.  Take a look at the results summarized in this chart that it will ultimately yield.

Prudence Lacks

I created the visual above inspired from a summary Wikipedia’s overview on prudence.  The results are tragic.  So why do so many propagate this saying?  I believe it stems from the power of peer pressure.

When studied prudence and wisdom are synonyms.   They are more or less interchangeable in meaning.  But over time that they’ve been separated.  Otherwise who would listen to “Don’t be wise?”  Doesn’t in mean the same thing as “Don’t be a prude?”

Prudence is known as the auriga virtutum the power behind all of the virtues.  Why wouldn’t we want to be associated with that?  Is evil that popular?  According to the book of Proverbs, it is especially common with the youth otherwise known as pre-teen, teen, and young adult of today’s standards and the wicked.

So if you would take time and consider, what would be better for you, your family, your community,  your country, and ultimately the world?

Prudence With

Honestly assess what power is ultimately needed to pursue such virtue.  Then click on this link to hear a fantastic song by Michael Card that summarizes it well:The Way of Wisdom.

For further reading:

Setting Boundaries: Lessons from Nature

Last Saturday, we drove over to Jasmine Hill Gardens for “Attracting Backyard Wildlife” by Mercedes Bartkovich, Nongame Wildlife Biologist.

Ms. Mercedes led the attendees through constructing wooden bird houses and suet after she delivered a well researched talk.



She shared fantastic information to consider in her talk.  One was the statistic that 2.4 million birds are killed annually by cats.   Her solution?  “If you’re going to have cats outside place feeders up high where cats cannot get on top and near bushes so there is escape and cover nearby.”  Hmm that sounds like establishing more realistic boundaries than the popular advice to keep cats inside.

I love cats.  I grew up with one really special one.  I think the photos



explain why.  She was beautiful, cute, and fun.  Three character traits that can seduce and need to be guarded against.  Because she also was the neighbor hood terror to birds, mice, and chipmunks.

Let me clarify.  She didn’t seduce her prey, but she did seduce us into allowing her to do whatever she wanted which led to a never ending battle with fleas and tape worms.   It was the late 1970’s.  Back then the veterinarian advised she be given to a farm since we just couldn’t keep her inside and he didn’t want to keep injecting her with the poisons to eliminate the unwanted pests.  It was a heart break.  Did we really have to part with our beloved family pet?

Saying goodbye to certain toxic relationships is one of the hottest topic to talk, write, and blog about these days.  Is completely getting rid of certain relationships the answer? My cat brought much pleasure into our lives.  To give her away hurt us almost as much as her fleas and tape worms.  Aren’t many of our personal relationships similar to my family’s with our cat?  Limits, boundaries, and consequences I believe are the answer.  Unfortunately, like many of you, I’ve had to learn the hard way.

Post-modern western culture seduces so easily by beauty and cute. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…”   Proverbs 31:30 warns.  Yet the visual, fast pace, click a button culture continues to be blinded by visual looks.  We’re also humored too much by charm and cute behaviors.

Matthew chapter 7 has become one of my “go to” passages to remind myself of what Jesus admonished.  It’s ironic that the whole point of the teaching is to evaluate other’s behavior in order to be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves , but that the start of the chapter becomes the hallmark passage of tolerance and do not judge.   Indeed one needs to have good boundaries regarding how scriptures are taught as well.   (I recommend Untwisting Scriptures for more on this.)

Back to the dangers of “cute.”  Too many parents, relatives, and friends laugh at children’s attention seeking behaviors when the children really need to be disciplined.  I highly recommend addition reading further below on this topic.

Many in dating relationships wind up in hurtful relationships because good looking dates and funny cute behavior were never limited to start out with.   Sometime it happens in friendship and business.  The point is, we all need to develop good emotional boundaries in order to respect self and others.

Further reading: Surprising reasons why we need to discipline children.

#Boundaries #Healing #Relationships #Disciplinechildren













The Danger of “Cute” and “Beautiful”

I had been reading and writing to no avail for 4+ hours.  It was time to walk away,  get my daughter off her electronics, and get some fresh air outside with the dogs.  I didn’t get far when I noticed cedar Waxwing II Dead Cedar Waxwing I

Wow, it’s a gorgeous bird I knew nothing about.  After I respectfully buried it, I came inside and consulted my bird book to no easy match.  I then turned to a Face Book Group called Birding Alabama. In minutes the members of the group informed me that it was a Cedar Waxwing.  Not only that,  but one woman surmised that it died from eating from a Nandina Berry Bush otherwise known as Sacred Bamboo.  I immediately thought of a bush in my back yard.  I took this picture and asked if this was it.Nandina Berry Bush

Low and behold it is.  It took some time for me to realize along with more comments from the group  like this article from Audubon Society that if I care about these birds I need to get rid of these gorgeous berries and lovely little bush.  But they are so beautiful!

According to this article, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and most states classify Nandina domestica as a noxious, non-native, invasive weed from China and Japan. It has naturalized and invaded our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, city parks, and other habitats throughout the U.S. …In addition to bird deaths in Georgia, bird deaths have been reported in Houston and other parts of the country. Hydrogen cyanide is a painful and unnecessary way for birds to die. Nandina is also toxic to dogs, cats, and many other animals.”

“Non-native”  hmmm that’s an inflammatory adjective.  It is this term I know turn my writing.

As a former public school science teacher I’ve taken myself on numerous professional development opportunities as well as my classes on field trips to remove some of these non-native plants.  But the key to fully understanding which plants need to be removed are several other key adjectives included in the description of this Heavenly Bamboo.  “Noxious and invasive” are key descriptors.

“Noxious” in human relation terms is lack of respect for that which was there to begin with. “Invasive” means that it is “I”, “me”, “my kind”, “my way or the highway.”  This is so important in both the natural world and human.  Why? Well, first of all the truly native plants in each part of the world aren’t sufficient to feed us.  Yup, most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat everyday didn’t originate in the country you live in.  They came from another part of the world.  For example, consider this figure from

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In other words, non-natives and immigration are necessary for the survival of people.  The issue is what other characteristics describe these non-natives?  Are they respectful?  Do they politely integrate and get along?  Or are they there to rape, pillage, kill, and conquer? Do not judge on outward appearance of “cute” or “pretty.”  One must consider all of its characteristic properties.

Two points.  First, consider for nature and for self.  Not all non-native plants, animals, and insects are problematic for the natural environment they have come to.  There may be enough “checks and balances” or “predator/prey” for a healthy balance for the original community.  But is all that was naturally present good and worthy to keep?

This is one of the most confusing parts of the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible.  Why did God command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites, yet allowed the king and the people of Nineveh live in the book of Jonah?

Full Text (in English) of the Book of Jonah

Could it be that some are so vile, noxious, and invasive that they need to be denied, uprooted, and sent away?  Do they need to stay among themselves?

We truly miss out though if we close the doors to other cultures.  What are they getting better than we?  What resources, supplies, and knowledge do they have that might be shared without hurting any?  So it goes back to concept of balance which requires discernment and maturity.  Of which I wrote of in Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo.

balance 1balance 2

In closing,  let us strive to grow in wisdom and maturity.   Let us be accountable.  Appropriate checks and balances are needed for all. May we study and learn diligently, otherwise “non-native,” a completely neutral descriptive adjective is not understood and  not handled properly.  It needs more description.  Is it respectful? Beneficial to the common or just one or two greedy individuals?

by Hope Mucklow




Bad Attitudes and Beliefs: Lessons from Small Foot

My daughter and I came across Small Foot at Red Box last year.  We rented it, fell in love with it, and purchased a copy to add to our home library.  I’m thrilled to see places like Lakemont Park show it this past summer and most recently Coral Reef Park in Palmetto Bay, Florida. Why?

Small foot

This story,  masterfully written by Mark Mason Robledo, provides fodder for so many issues that are impacting our society today.  Those topics include social media, news, leadership, friendship, and family with the overriding theme that bad attitudes and beliefs prevent us from growing, getting along, and finding satisfaction in our innate calling.

First, we meet a group of Yeti friends.  Some who are questioning their personal worth and others who are questioning what they have been taught to believe.

Then we are transported to the world of humans and meet another pair of friends. Percy and Brenda.  Percy feels so desperate in his attempts to make an impact through social media that he stoops to creating a sensational lie.  Ironically, he learns that yeti’s do exist.  In the process, Percy undergoes personal transformation from a fame seeking individual to a martyr to protect others.

Returning to the Yeti’s we encounter two fathers.  One, the leader,  the Stonekeeper,  who perpetuates cultural lies and the other who is a humble production of these lies.  The Stonekeeper does not maliciously enforce the wrong belief about the truth.  He believes it is the only way to protect his people. This revelation persuades Migo to join along in the propaganda.  But it doesn’t stop the Stonekeeper’s precious daughter, Meechee.  She is resolved to discover the truth and feels betrayed by Migo who chooses to align with her father’s deceitful leadership.

How often do leaders take advantage of  false beliefs to secure and maintain order?  I propose that is one reason why religion has such a bad reputation.  It it suppose to be the portal of truth when instead it often is the means to instill fear and maintain social order.   Do we also fall into this trap like Migo as parents, teachers, and friends?

Humans spook easily.  Our fears lead to many misconceptions.  One is  that we need to be in control of everything especially our children.   Isn’t that what Biblical passages like  I Timothy 3:4-5 are all about?  But a closer look at what Jesus taught might mean something entirely different.

First in John 8:32 Jesus affirms that knowing the truth brings about freedom not control.  Meechee’s drive for the truth is good.  But sometimes the truth hurts.  It can cut deeply.  In a culture that is committed to avoid pain and to amuse itself this creates quite a challenge.

The Stonekeeper persuaded Migo by revealing a horrendous reality in history.  The humans violently attacked the yetis years ago.  Reality is humans have been known to  mistreat, abuse, and kill others from different human groups all throughout various points of history.  Sometimes they behave in ignorance and lack of understanding of one another.  At other times they do it to defend themselves.  And unfortunately, there are a few who did it for selfish gain, power, and/or pleasure.  These are serious offenses that produces traumatic responses.

Dealing with trauma is not easy or pleasant.  It is wrought with agony, bed drenching tears, and grief.  Emotional experiences that no one wants to go through.  The longest book in the Bible, Job, illustrates this.  At first, Job’s friends served him well, but their capacity (seven days which greatly surpasses most) to sit quietly and mourn with their friend expired.  They broke out into reasoning and questioning as to who was to blame for such suffering for the next 35 chapters.  Blame is nothing new it started in the beginning.

In Genesis 3: 12-13 Adam blamed Eve who then blamed the serpent for their rebellion.  It’s continued throughout history.  Instead of confessing that we would rather be gods of our own lives, we constantly push the blame on others whether it be the opposite sex, parents, teachers, or leaders.  We complain and test God, “If only…then I will…” even though He already created perfection in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve are the perfect literary symbols or representatives of all humankind.  Yet we keep blaming them instead of accepting our own responsibility represented by them.

This is why John the Baptist preached to repent and Jesus reinforced it.  Doctor’s cannot prescribe the right treatment until the right diagnosis is made.  The same is true for our spiritual and emotional condition.  The problem is no one wants to accept responsibility.  Entitlement thinking blinds, hinders, and masks. It prevents from making any necessary changes.   It feeds a false sense of “deserve” based on pity or victim mentality.  Think about it.  If we’re all victims of Adam and Eve’s poor choice then the faulty thinking is justified.

So back to Small Foot and the lessons we can learn.  Did the humans apologize for what their ancestors did to the Yeti and commit that they would not let it happen again?  How did the Yeti come to forgive them for treating them this way? How did they find the strength and motivation to forgive?   More importantly will we evaluate our own family and political history?  How does Small Foot encourage you to do so?

This is what I love about a good story.  They trigger thought to inspire reflection, learning, and change for the better.  Enjoy the hilarious humor of Small Foot and take time to think and discuss its deeper matters.  Let’s not embrace any more intentional lies to deceitfully lead and guide others.  Let’s face the truth through love which forgives as it seeks justice and reparations.

by Hope Mucklow, author of Rojo The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo


International Red Panda Day 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019 is the 10th International Red Panda Day coordinated by the Red Panda Network.

International Red Panda Day


This particular model is growing up.  Based on her current age and needs I will be hosting our local annual event in Central Alabama at the  Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts located at The Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery, Alabama.  The table of education and art will be in the Children’s Museum located inside MMFA from 1:30-3:30 PM.

The Park


“No, it’s not Labrador Day.  You’re not endangered.  Red pandas are.  And they are the original panda!”

Come on over to learn more, to draw red pandas, and make red panda masks.  There’s no entry or participation fee.  If you can’t attend, click here to download a fantastic activity guide filled with fun facts and learning. RPN IRPD2019 Activity Booklet

Hope Mucklow is the author of  “Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo.”

Red Panda Wisdom from a Cub called “Rojo”

#theOriginalPanda #IRPD2019

Understanding Complex Stories

Who doesn’t love a good story?  The best offer more than just entertainment.  They serve as conduits for life lessons, morals, healing, and a greater understanding of what it means to be human.  But many miss these opportunities because they get lost in the complexity of the form in which it is told.  Ballet is one of them.

Appreciation often comes with teaching and exposure.  Sometimes it takes hundreds of hours. This has been the case for me.  I had been taught that dance was dirty and unworthy.  Little did I understand until my daughter started to take ballet classes at The Alabama Dance Theater otherwise known as ADT.  I wrote  about  our experiences with their ballet productions of  Dracula and Beauty and the Beast in early blogs.  Today I am focused on the ballet La Bayadere.

ADT’s Summer Intensive finale will include some scenes from LaBayadere at their performance of Stars on the Riverfront in Montgomery, Alabama early next week.

Stars RR photo

My daughter was selected to participate in this shortened version of La Bayadare in a supportive role.  So she has been coming back from rehearsals with bits and pieces of her understanding of the story line.  I’m so grateful as without the time to research this ballet,  I would most likely misunderstand the story and opportunities to talk with my daughter regarding valuable lessons from the story.

First, let’s revisit how personal experience affects one’s understanding.  I wrote about this in another blog How the context of TV affects children’s understanding.  TV, Movies, and books as well as personal experiences are the very context in which many interpret new learning.  This is definitely what my daughter did with La Bayadare, which means “Temple dancer.”

She had first learned about temple dancers through The missionary, Amy Carmichael.  Amy spent much of her work rescuing children who’s poor desperate parents sold them to the Temple to live and work.  My daughter loves to dance, but not as a child slave in a Temple in India.  For my dancer this story surmounts incredible sympathy for the young girls that she learned about trapped in this lifestyle.  It also awakens her awareness that not all religions bow down to the same deity, much less the one that she chooses to.  She does not want to bow down to other gods and I applaud her for this.

What I had to point out to her is that participating in this ballet does not mean that ADT or any of the dancers are promoting the culture and religion featured in this ballet.  What they are doing is offering exposure to it.  And they are also delving into the depths of ballet history as this particular one connects the time periods of the the Classical and Romantic Eras of ballet.

In addition, Sara Sanford and the staff at ADT are bringing to Montgomery this history with local choreography and dancers in addition guest faculty: Shawn Black, Jonathan Chapman, Meghan Chapman, and Wendy White Sasser.

So go back and rightclick on  the colored words pertaining to La Bayadere to learn more about this particular story and then come on out with a lawn chair or blanket to the Montgomery, Alabama River front on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 7:30 PM or Monday, July 29, 2019 to enjoy the show.  It’s free and the gates open at 6:00 pm.  Vendors will be on site selling refreshments.

by Hope Mucklow  #MontgomeryAlabama #ADT #Ballet #LaBayadere

Hope Mucklow, Author, Song Writer, Teacher, Tutor, & Coach


Old verses New, Silver or Gold

*Green links are designed by the author for you to see original sources or learn more.  Unfortunately some companies have attacked my page and have put links to their advertisements in blue.  Do not give them any business.  They are stealing advertising from my writing.  I do NOT endorse any of them.  I have intentionally changed words and misspelled others in order to eliminate their access.

I heard growing up at Brownies, Girl Scouts, and my mom (who wasn’t involved in scouting), “Make new friends and keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

The best answer I could find to give proper credit to this poetic phrase is Sue Lynch wrote it and its the first line of longer more beautiful poem that is posted as a Scout Song.

I hear the song in my head as I mother my pre-teen daughter through the social ills of this stage of life just like other songs came to me when she was younger.

Motivational Children’s Songs

Music soothes and poetry has a wonderful way to concisely convey something that we need to hear.   Marketng experts call these sound bites.  Jay Wolf,  Pastor at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama is known by his congregation for “Jay-isms,” short pithy statements that discourage bad attitudes and stimulate positive God honoring thinking instead.

Popular Culture in 2019 has become very polarized from opposing political spectrum’s.  The neck breaking pace of society, bombarding messages of discard and consume, and then emotional trauma that prevents humans from maturing into adulthood has created a culture of “un-friending” people rather than seeing their value and maintaining the relationship.   This is nothing new in the big picture of the past.

The apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 2:14-26 that followers of Christ should be seeking mature living of value and warned that many make  poor choices instead.   This passage speaks spot on to the whole point of my take on the first verse of this poem. But, I want to extend our thinking beyond friendships with these lines.

Marketing geniuses love to bully you with technology, the latest fashion, etc…  in with the new out with the old.  And the first to do it wins and he/she who is last is deserving to be mocked.  But let’s think for a minute, while some advances in technology are great and worth keeping many have been steeping stones that quickly fade away and then others have been returned to.  How about the whole vinyl movement?  Who would have ever thought the old way of serving as a DJ would re-emerge?

Not all practices of old that resurface are good though.  I’ve enjoyed learning about essential oils and frequently use to stay well, but they were not the answer to restore my hearing in my left ear three weeks ago.  The essential oil books were just hocus pocus in this situation.  I needed help from Dr. Griffith and his assistant, Heather,  from to dig out wax that just flat out obstructed my ear’s ability to function properly.

It took me many years to trust a medical professional again.  I had experienced a disrespectful job departure from the profession, lost good income and therefore insuranc, and found incompetent care in the Affordable Act  that I was forced into in South Florida.  But it wasn’t just this, when I worked in the medical community in the Northeast,  I saw from the inside how flawed it can be.  I witnessed how human or full of ignorance, arrogance, politically motivated, religiously biased and greedy it’s leaders can sometimes behave. So, in my pain and immaturity, the temptation to throw it out presented for me.  But my essential oils don’t work for everything and I can’t give myself a full physical exam much less accurate diagnosis.  So, I had to step out, seek help, and trust again.

What I’m after is, any experience, belief, and training can fall from gold to silver or even lesser status, but it still holds purpose.  It’s like my first coaching job.  I thought equally about a great coach I had and one not so encouraging.  The first I choose to emulate. The other I kept as a warning to me not to show favoritism to the more talented swimmers and to take time to care for the not so fast.   Building personal discipline, character, and collaboration had to be more important than winning.

Finally, let’s consider the Apostle Paul’s writing seriously.  What kind of friend are you?  What kind of experiences are you extending to others?  Are you humble enough to see that perhaps you have hurt others too?  Or that you might have more learning and maturing to do?  Let’s invest in life long learning that exceeds the intellect by including emotional and spiritual growth.  Be open to the loving observations of others (not those out to belittle you).  The book of Proverbs quotes in several places that the wise heed correcting but fools spurn it.   And for those who have contributed to not so shining and valuable metal experiences give them healthy boundaries, prayer, and time.  Perhaps the blacksmith is still working on them too.

Then in conclusion the 4th and 5th paragraphs of this poem may hold true:

Silver is precious, Gold is too. I am precious, and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you and together we will see it through.

#Healing #Maturing #Traumarecovery