Your actions determine who you are

Do something.

Even if it’s just little.  Just a finger twitch.

Move slightly in the direction you want to go.

Then tomorrow move a little more.

Build up some momentum.

It’s okay if you fall down.  Just get back up.

Help someone.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.

Hold the door for someone.

Let someone else go first.

Smile at someone.

Give someone the benefit of the doubt.

These are just little things, but they help make the world a better place.

Make sure the world is just a little better because you’re here.

Improve a little bit every day.

Be kind to others.

Be kind to yourself.

“Farting Philip”

I was in sixth grade.

I had burritos for breakfast every morning.

Bean and cheese burritos.

They were cheap, filling and tasty.

They also caused some digestive issues.

One day all the classes in our grade were in the gym for P.E.

At the end of P.E. we would sit cross-legged on the floor.  We would sit quietly for a few minutes to calm down before going back to class.

It was silent.

That was when it happened.  It echoed loudly off the hard floor and walls.

Everyone scooted away from me.  Some laughing.  Some making noises of disgust.

For the rest of the year my nickname was “Farting Philip.”

I stopped eating burritos for breakfast after that.

But the damage was done.

Thankfully I started at a different school the next year, and didn’t hear any more about it.

Gay?

In the past I’ve wondered if I was bisexual or gay.

I’m not the most masculine man.

I’m kind of effeminate.

I like cross-stitch.

I’ve sewn and done crochet.

I know I’m not gay, though, because I’m very attracted to women.

In the past I’ve accidentally downloaded gay porn.

“Phil, how did you ‘accidentally’ download gay porn?”

At the time I used LimeWire to download videos.  I had to rely on file names to tell what I was downloading.  Some of those file names were lies.

The feelings I got from watching gay porn were revulsion and nausea.  So I know I’m not bisexual.

I’m not trying to say anything negative about anyone who is gay or bisexual.

I just know that’s not who I am.

Learning

Teach children to speak.

To read.

To write.

Teach them how to think.

NOT what to think.

Teach them to think critically.

Teach them to ask questions.

Show them how to find answers to their questions.

Nurture their curiosity.

Offer them help when they need it.

Then, for heaven’s sake, get out of their way.

I’m not saying they should be allowed to spend all day on social media.  Or playing video games.

Give them supervision.  Make sure they’re learning something.

Make sure they know the skills they’ll actually need as an adult.

Give them the resources they need.

Don’t force them to memorize a bunch of facts, regurgitate them onto a test, then never use them again.

Help them find their talents and grow them.

Let them run around and play when they need to.  They’ll focus better afterwards.

Don’t turn learning into drudgery.

Someone who loves learning will become a lifelong learner and make a great contribution to the world.

Someone who hates learning will become a dullard who never picks up a book again after they finish school.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking isn’t taught in elementary schools.
 
It isn’t taught in secondary schools, either.
 
Students may learn it in college.  After having “Don’t Question Authority” shoved down their throats for over a decade.
 
Assuming they’re ever taught it at all…
 
I’ll define critical thinking for those never learned. It means not assuming everything they hear is gospel truth.
 
Consider who’s speaking.  What do you know about them?
 
Are they trustworthy?
 
What biases do they have?
 
Where did they get their information?
 
Is there other information out there which contradicts the information they’re giving you?
 
Are there any logical fallacies in their argument?
 
Ask whatever questions you can think of.
 
Do your own research.
 
Too many people think “being informed” means being spoon fed stories by some talking heads on TV.
 
They don’t question what they hear if they consider the “news” organization “trustworthy.”
 
They accept everything coming from the network as truth.
 
Too many people will accept what a government official says without question.
 
Maybe not if it’s an elected representative.
 
But if it’s someone from the FDA.  The CDC.  The USDA.  Everything they say must be true and unbiased.
 
Listened to and followed without question.
 
Who died and made them God?

I’m secretive

“People will make fun of me for the music I like.”

“I’m a disgusting porn addict.  If anyone finds out they’ll know how disgusting I am.”

“If anyone finds out I believe in conspiracies they’ll think I’m crazy.  No one will ever want to talk to me again.”

These are just a few examples of thoughts I’ve had.

I’m afraid of ridicule.

Of rejection.

Of confrontation.

So I hide the things I think people won’t like.

I’m trying do undo that now.

Forcing myself to disclose things I think people won’t like.

Maybe I will lose some friends.  I hope not.

But maybe some friendships will grow stronger.

Maybe I’ll gain some friends, too.

Why do you think what you think?

Your thoughts are not you.

Your thoughts may not even originate from you.

Thoughts come and go.

Some are bad.  “I want to hurt/kill/rape that person!”  Don’t be hard on yourself because of them.

Some are good.  “I want to save the world!”  Don’t take too much credit for those.  😉

Some thoughts we hold on to.  We label those our ideas.  Our beliefs.

Some people cling to their ideas without questioning whether those ideas help them or hurt them.

Some people share their ideas.

Some to control others.

Some to improve the world.

What is reality?

Everyone has their own model of realty.  It consists of their ideas and expectations.

This model is always different from reality.

The closer your model gets to reality, the closer your results will be to your expectations.

Some people think they know everything.

They won’t listen to anyone else’s ideas.

They end up frustrated because they don’t get the results they want.

Diversity of ideas is a good thing.  Someone else’s idea may be more realistic than your own.

Don’t try to fit in with the crowd.  The crowd is usually wrong.

When no one is willing to say so, that’s not good for anyone.