Thursday, September 30, 2010

Consequences: Time in Jail with Grampa

One summer morning, I remember that my dad (Grampa Milo) took me down to the Albany County Jail in Laramie on Grand Avenue when I was about 9 and could understand. 

It started as an interesting field trip--and ended in a life lesson I have never forgotten.

We toured the jail (located on the top floor of the county building with big windows allowing folks from the street to see who was in the cells) and ended up outside solitary confinement. 

I remember to this day the silver painted crude 3/8ths inch steel door with a three inch hole and a sliding cover.  Gently, Dad invited me to step inside.  It was clean but completely black.  With the permission of the Sheriff, he slowly closed the door and threw the bolt lock--and through the hole in the door he quietly said, "I want you to know that if you ever get picked up and taken to jail, I will visit you.  I will pray with you, but I won't bail you out."

I wasn't in trouble. I wasn't upset and I don't remember being scared.  It was a mind sticking adventure. In the following fifty plus years, that unique experience was unforgettable  I found out later that a railroad friend of his had bailed his son out of jail again and again for petty theft, then little burglaries then bigger and bigger crimes.  This visit to the jail for me was Dad's pretty effective effort to put a stop to any temptation to steal in my young life. So far, it's worked.

I've taken both my sons into a cell and sat with them when a little car suddenly went missing from a store shelf and showed up in a little pocket when we got home.  It's been a "scared straight" lesson we've gently administered across the generations.   A little kindly, tough love.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grampa's Feigned Helplesses - brings the best out in Gramma and our Son!

Just WHO is getting FOXED?
I think the phrase is "Crazy like a Fox!"

In our family, dexterity and physical skill is highly prized.   Like the German people revere a fine mechanic, a world class wood carver or a craftsman on an assembly line -- the Howe family near worship's Grampa Milo's bicycle repair expertise and Grampa John Miller's trimphant achievement patiently hammering a squashed French horn back into fully formed existence--and taking the time to actually learn how to play it well.

Some families cherish academic achievement.  We value genius from the wrist down. Being handy is a whole lot more praised among the Howes than being smart.

Gramma Rosie jokes to anyone who will listen that all the "technical skill" passed Grampa (me) by and landed in Jeff's hands. (with a little on the side, just for her)  Oh, little does she know.   I've avoided the temptation to build fine furniture or tinker with our vastly complex, computerized automobile--and concentrated my tactile expertise wholly and completely into the mastery of desk top publishing, video production and Microsoft office software on my computer.

(Our son has devoted much of his professional training to those same skills--so we have much to talk about)

Now to the payoff--

I'm convinced that Tom Sawyer enlisted all that fence painting support from his little buddies in Missouri by faking a broken hand, or a blind eye and deaf ear.

I've discovered on the last two especially, that all I have to do is buy the put-together-kit from Walmart or Shopko--and the good genes kick in.   Rosie will read the plans, the blue prints, keep track of every screw and bolt just for the challenge of it.  Then the mighty Jeff shows up.  She feeds him instructions and screws.  He handles he tools and boom boom crunch crunch new projects get done!

I'm afraid that if I put my oar in--feelings get hurt, there's shouting, differences of opinion get magnified.

I do best getting the project complete by retiring from the field--sitting at the edge and doing something completely unrelated like writing this post.

Did I mention they put together my new table in jig time--and not a cross word was spoken.

All I really have to do now is show my appreciation

P.S.  Feigned helplessness is great for complex paperwork--if you can weaken enough to enjoy it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How can you go to Finishing School only twice a year?

Perfectly Perfect Posture!
I have a new young friend. I'll call her Cat.  She is older of two daughters of a business associate.  During a recent promotion,  Cat and I got quite well acquainted.  I couldn't leave til the time was right.  She couldn't leave til her Mom and Dad packed up the van and rolled off into the sunset.  We were stuck, and she decided I was her new geriatic best friend.

What do you talk about with a pint sized courtesan.  With Cat, it was way too early for sex--most inappropriate-- Pretty early for boys, but she had favorites.  We talked about school, clothes, make up and church.  Cat is very outgoing--has a great future ahead of her--already has modeled her great mom at the early age of eight.

I learned to my quiet sadness that she only went to church twice a year: Christmas and Easter with her folks--and it really wasn't even a proper church.  It was the gym of their church school.  More of a community gathering, really.

My mind went forward to the next day when I would be attending church at my H2W (Holladay 2nd Ward)  Another sweet little friend named Beth would be there again, as she was every Sunday in a kind of Finishing School--knocking off the rough edges and becoming steeped in scripture and doctrine that would serve her the rest of her life.

Time was in the world that several exclusive Finishing Schools flourished, taking young women in their late teens and early twenties in hand to polish and mold them into what politically correct young women should be--following a conservative recipe that stressed class, understated culture, polite, courteous manner and always proper posture.

Church is like that-- a finishing school for our spirits.

My now dear Father in Law once asked me rather gruffly, "Why do you Mormons go to Church so much?

It's not just church--It's Weekly Family Home Evening, Temple attendance, Mutual in the middle of the week, Home teaching, Welfare farm, Campouts, Scouts, Cubs and a host of gatherings to help Finish our souls.

I couldn't help reflect on what's available to us in the Kingdom and what my precocious young friend Cat has available to her in the two times every year she makes a ceremonial visit to see and be seen at her church.

If life is measured by one opportunity cost against another, Beth and Cat will be able to measure themselves against that standard. Who will be found wanting?  By the time she is 21, Beth will have attended enough "church" to become thoroughly grounded in the arts and crafts of solid motherhood, wifery and scholarship.  She will be able to raise children to the Lord and share her background that has literally taken all her life to produce.

Cat's parents may be able to afford the last minute cramming, spit and polish of a Finishing Experience for her.  They may set the same wonderful parental example for Cat that Beth gets from her folks--but at twice a year, what kind of spiritual finishing will she really have?  It is for this opportunity cost that I gently share whenever I can.  I imagine Cat's change of heart as she immerses herself in what the Kingdom has to offer and I look for ways to interest her and others like her in this great gospel. JWC

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"There'll be Pay Day, Some Day!" Billy Sunday

If you sow the wind you eventually will reap the whirlwind

When you're young you seem invinceable.  If there is no one to tell you no! or wait! every little thing can be covered by plastic!

J. Reuben Clark's comment on interest:  If you understand it, you harness it to work for you...if you don't, you pay it, to your detriment.
J. Reuben Clark Jr.

"Interest [on debt] never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. ... Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you"  LDS Conference Report, Apr. 1938:103.

Einstein said the most important invention in the 20th century was compound interest.

Companies, law firms, collection agencies and up until recently mortgage companies want you to spend and spend.  You want to charge it--run up the bills, especially education loans.

Budget? You don't need no stinkin' budget.  Makes WAY too much sense!

A young married couple I know split the sheets because, among other reasons, they were way too deeply in debt. Neither one of them could say no! (and neither one of them could get in the last word!)

An officiator in the Bountiful temple said it best to a long married couple who was getting sealed for time and all eternity: "How you deal with money together will be in large measure how successfully you show your love."

He started out trying to help her get every THING she wanted when she wanted it.  She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it.  They fell out of trust when she repeatedly charged large batches of cosmetics for resale to please a sibling--and let them sit while he had to pay the bill month after month.  She left the marriage to borrow several thousand from a brother in law.  He got so frustrated he rammed his fist through their bedroom door.  Together they started teaching a youth Sunday School class.  Working extra shifts on Sunday to cover mounting bills led to her refusal to let him go to their Bishop out of shame.

Looking over his shoulder he would not have bought the house that went into foreclosure for her.  He would have gently, lovingly enforced their stay in a little, affordable apartment until he had finished his education.  He would have dropped out, paid his tuition bill and saved money as he paid his tithing. Instead he has learned as she has learned to deal with loud insistent attorneys, collection agencies and judges.

The paltry thousand dollars it costs to declare bankrupcy and stop the drumbeat of pressure seems like such a small price to pay.

If the couple had loved one another t'would be sad that rampant selfishness and massive debt destroyed all that.   Fortunately for them it was just a trial marriage of two immature youngsters who still had a lot to learn!  JWC

Why Complain? Avoiding the First Person Singular!

Thorn stuck in your paw?
"I'm so Hot!!!" Gramma Rosie complains.  "Are you using the first person?" say I.

"You don't care if I'm alive or dead, do you?" she shouts back and stalks off.  Fortunately the "burn" passes like a summer storm.

She cranks up a couple more fans--and we get back to the business of sweltering.  It's near the end of August and the swamp cooler is humming night and day.

Why do we complain, anyway?

Stephen Covey sets aside time on family hikes---3 minutes every mile or so to "hear" complaints.  He says it "gets the negative out of their system and they can go on having unburdened themselves  (Eventually the complaint sessions dissolve into laughter)

H. Wallace Goddard, Ph.D. teaches that that a complaint is another bid for connection.  It's like asking your wife to join you on a trip to Home Depot.  It's cuz you want to be with her, not that you really expect her to measure, cut and carry.

After tempers had cooled and time had passed, I asked Gramma Rosie what she had expected me to say; what she was hoping for from me.  She took a cold look at the question and launched into a discussion of my accident, last Friday at the Sugar House DI.  When paramedics responded to my fall off a stationary bike, cracking my head and wrenching my back, they turned to Gramma Rosie.  "Was he dizzy or heat overwhelmed?" they asked.  She was not aware of either.

She did know about my colossal bad judgement in trying to mount a bike and dismount wearing the klunky post surgical shoes the VA podiatry department had velcroed on my feet over the compression wrappings from knee to toe.  But paramedics aren't equipped to deal with just bad judgement in the field.

The Sweltering Suffering we go through every year about this time is just another test.  We rarely complain when it's too cold.  We just turn up the thermostat or put on another sweater. 

I've likely made a mistake imposing the NO FIRST PERSON rule during the superheated months of July and August.  A more sympathetic quiet understanding or that mournful sound you make with your mouth when you sympathize would not go amiss.

We all tend to hobble along on verbal crutches--The most common one is the ubiquitous, "Have a Nice Day!" usually uttered by high school kids as cashiers at one store or another.  I love to stop them cold with, "And suppose I have other plans?"  Most don't know what to say in response.  No real sentiment, no real listening going on. No real brain activity--just verbal automatic pilot. 

Telemarketers will ask for Rosemary Howe.  That's a dead giveaway that its a telemarketer, so I ask the Breaking question, "Do you know her?"  Stops 'em every time.

The function of a comic is to listen--really listen, understand the nature and intent of the comment and then turn it on it's ear with an adroit turn of phrase.   Most comics are extremely quick.  Most people are not only slow they're gliding along on life from verbal crutch to verbal crutch.

Teaching in the church is filled with some distrubing conventions.  As a Gospel Doctrine Teacher I got into the thick of things asking people to compare and contrast.  Most senior citizens (the bulk of the members of our ward) left compare and contrast back at the starting gate for entrance into a good college back in the 60s.

Most of what passes for thinking, especially among Grampas and Grammas  is verbal crutch reactions.  They've gotten by without thinking for so long, that they depend on emotion, how it sounds and if it is harmless to get along in life.  Thomas Paine would have had a hard time rattling his saber of rhetoric and raising a revolution among the complacent senior set in our neighborhood.  Propsperity has turned our brains to mush.  No wonder so many hereabouts die of Alzheimers or Dimentia.

The poor senior who has left with doing word find on a dinner date with his wife--could no more sustain glittering witty dinner conversation that fly to the moon backward his bed socks on.

Why complain?  Nobody wants to hear you complain!  So why do it?  You need, you need!   Find another way to need.

It's said that no less than President Richard Nixon had built in a reflex action. If he was really mad at you, his Quaker mother had taught him to fall back on generosity.   The more upset he was at you in person the more times he offered another cup of coffee in Presidential china, or tossed you another set of presidential gold cufflinks.  The recipient of all this presidential courtesy would think they're riding high only to be shot down by a henchman after---with some nice parting gifts.

Merrill Osmond's used to keep a good sized cookie tin filled with rich, thick beautifully decorated cookies,  in a big drawer of his executive desk when he was President of the Osmond Studio where he oversaw the video taping of the old Donnie and Marie Show  (1976-79).  The cookies had a purpose.  Merrill hated confrontation (who doesn't) so when he thought someone needed firing, he would invite him/her into his big office with "the executioner".  The conversation (as with Nixon) would center on the victim's accomplishments.  Praise was lavished.  Everything was positive until the sign was given, "Hey, you want a cookie?" The tin would be opened and the END COOKIE wouild be offered. The henchman would get proof positive that after the meeting, the final check should be cut and the firing should take place as privately and definitely as possible.

(When I left the Osmonds (or they left me) the last time in Branson, I bought a big tin of cookies and gave them to Merrill at our last meeting.  We both knew what it meant and had a good laugh over it.  One technique exposed happily.

Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the Golden Plates,  protested to whomever would listen that he hadn't left the church, the church left him.  (In fact he became the caretaker of the Kirtland Temple when the bulk of the saints went west to Nauvoo.

Gramma Rosie, who makes a good case for continuing her complaint tradition, says that I (and other male spouses) need to observe conditions more closely.  If you can tell the EMTs that your spouse was complaining of (fill in the blank______________)  She's all for honest and open communication.   I guess I'd like to hear some thinking going on.  Avoiding the 1st person singular makes you work--and thereby overcome Alzheimers and Dimentia for one more day.

Bob Dole had this technique down!   You may remember during the campaign of 1996 he simply referred to himself in the third person as in, "Bob Dole will represent you; Bob Dole feels your pain; Bob Dole has been around the block and Bob Dole knows how to serve!  Maybe his mother had challenged him not to complain..and never use the first person.  Makes you think,  yes? JWC

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monitoring the Body Grampuncular Extraordinarie

I've seriously thought about giving all my shoes away!

In Bible times one way to determine a man's relative wealth was to count the numbers of pairs of shoes he owned.  

About a month ago, my feet turned into squishy basketballs. My shower shoes were the only ones that would fit to go to church.  My normal size 11s suddenly gave way to size 15s.

Swollen Orange Feet at 6:12 AM

 Though the swelling burst skin on one toe--the extra water weight has made it even more challenging to get socks on. (A pedicure would likely not go amiss) It doesn't cause me any pain, but it's, well, inconvenient.  The orange color of the feet is a spray-on tan that went terribly wrong (lol)  The numbers are the digital time (AM), date and temperature on top and the current weight below.  Though I have been a blogger,  graphic designer, writer, musician and man of stage and screen, I find medical research strangely attractive when it comes to my own body GRAMPUNCULAR.  As with design and production, finding out and fixing what needs attention so that the final outcome is first rate matters a lot to me.  I love a well crafted Excel spreadsheet, for example..  Today, I begin a quest to regain my former somewhat flabby and unathletic form--with UNSWOLLEN FEET, hopefully.

A little research on the Internet and I discovered that to solve the problem, all I needed to do was ingest less Salt, avoid sunburn, elevate my feet and crank out quite a bit more exercise. When the heart functions to improve circulation, the water would drain from the feet at the cellular level--and I would be cured.

Sorry, no such simplistic luck!

Meet my doctors:

Dr. Rojas, a native of Argentina, left,  is the supervisor of the Blue Clinic at the George E. Walen Memorial Veterans Hospital.  She gets help in a teaching hospital from interns like Dr. Ligia.Onofrei who speaks a perfectly unaccented English is from Romania and did her medical school in Denver, Colorado.

(OK, a medical prankster of sorts, I plead guilty as with this photoshopped joke and faux memo)  It appears with a little more instruction in my Clausonian training blog:  Santa's Cosmic Sleigh, Howe to Build Your Own North Pole.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Purity is Vastly Underrated!

I went to heaven for a few minutes soon after noon today.

Peter and Shauna, dear friends of Gramma Rosie and me, had seven children with other spouses before they married a few more than a dozen years ago.   He had moved to Utah from a prosperous Real Estate Career.  She was going to school after her doctor husband left her and their three children.

The first of Shauna and Peter's youngest is Cole.  He and his brothers Noah and Jackson are beginning to come of age.

In our neighborhood when your young man reaches his twelfth birthday he becomes a man.  As the boy, Jesus, taught the elders in the temple in Jerusalem at twelve, a young Jewish boy is Bar Mitsfaed.  A young Mormon boy of the same age is interviewed to see if he is worthy and willing to accept the responsibilities for the confirmation of the Aaronic Priesthood in the office of a Deacon.

By the time Cole turned 12 he believed he was ready and our Bishop put his name before the congregation, who voted unanimously in favor to support the young man in his new responsibilities.  You see, we know Cole.  We know he's ready for this next big step.  Since he was baptised and confirmed four years ago, Cole has stood before the congregation in Fast and Testimony meeting and offered his beliefs in simple, pure, loving ways.   There are many other boys his age in our congregation, but Cole has always stood out as a pure soul.

He's not a goody two shoes.  His purity does not come from a "Look at Me" self centered demand for attention.  He is just pure. He has always been a kid who wants to do the right thing for the right reason--as long as I've known him.

Last week, the full Deacon's Quorum led by both it's several adult advisors and it's peer Presidency swooped down on the Primary (by prearrangement) and honored Cole (as they do every other 12 year old boy) and escorted him out of the Primary and up to the room where the Deacon's Quorum holds its meetings.  It was a simple but highly symbolic calling out that like Paul, Cole was done with childish things.   That day he became a man.

It is Cole's father's privilege to ordain him--but Peter was in Nigeria on business--bringing green industry to the third world.  Peter was way out of town after our block of meetings last week--so Cole went ordainless.  When he got up this morning, he begged his father to make arrangements to ordain him BEFORE the Sacrament Meeting so he could pass the sacrament for the first time.   It just didn't happen.   These things follow tribal time tables...and the ordination traditionally is done AFTER the Three Meeting Block.

So, Cole sat on the sidelines this morning, the first time in priesthood meeting, champing at the bit, knowing that this would be the last time he attended priesthood meeting without being ordained.   At Sacrament Meeting, Cole watched especially carefully as his new quorums of young men blessed and passed  the emblems of the sacrament.  Next week, surely, he would be among those who serve.

Now to heaven.

At noon I had returned to the building after a visit down the street to the care center where services are held for the ailing and dying.   Big Bill Gassner, my friend for more than seven years conducts the services--with another great friend Jerry Curtis.  There were nearly ten in the congregation this morning, and that in spite of a broken elevator.  It's been nearly four years since I've been to a service--and Bill called on me to play the piano and bear my testimony.  (I haven't played piano for a meeting for nine months since my little stroke last November 22nd)

In the lobby waiting for the Bishop was Peter.   We hadn't visited since his return from Nigeria. (He travels back and forth between Holladay and his third world outreach in Africa)  It is dangerous but noble work.  As we visited, Peter said in passing, "I hope you'll come stand in the circle with us for Cole's ordination."  I was so moved.  This kind of invitation only comes to those as close as family--and while I had assumed I was, I was so pleased that THEY thought so to!  We pray for Peter and his family, especially when he is out of town.  I so hope he will succeed in bringing his green technology, jobs and western advantages to this deserving country.

I approached Cole and put my gentle arm around his shoulder.  "Cole, " I whispered, "Your sweet dad has asked me to join the circle when we ordain you a Deacon.  Are you OK with that?"

"Oh, yes!" he replied, his face shining up into mine.   This young puppetteer and football player, this natural, gentle leader of the youngest of the three brothers was ready for the next big step in his life.

We gathered in the good Bishop's office and the ordinance was done.   There were a few tears in both the Father and the Son--sniffles, really--and what was said is known only to us and to God.   That is my report on my visit to Heaven early this afternoon.

It is said that Jesus, at twelve, in the temple explaining the Law to the elders, was ready to govern Israel--but his earthly father, Joseph helped him understand that he ought to wait a while and grow up some.

Several months ago, Cole again bore his simple, sweet testimony and Sister Marge followed the young man to the pulpit.  She and her husband have had more than their share of challenges with little men in their family.  "How do you raise young men llike Cole, she asked.  " Would somebody please tell me how?"

This pure young man still is mischevious some times; he enjoys a good joke and good fun--but like Jesus must have been at his age, he can be serious and understand "the weightier matters of the law!"

On the day he was approved by the Congregation, he took the pulpit again, serious, slim and grown in a black suit and silk tie to bear his testimony.  I published the three or four lines with other, adult, testimony nuggets in the Sacrament Meeting Program this morning.  As you read these simple, you may understand the pure soul who spoke them barely a week ago:

"I am grateful to be able to receive the priesthood, so grateful for the love of my father and mother, for the example of my brothers and sisters and the young men of this ward.  I am grateful that Jesus Christ sacrificed his body for us,"  So said my young friend, Cole.

What is the cost of such purity in a young man?  What are his uses in the plans of the Lord. Like other boy prophets Samuel, David, Nephi, Mormon and Joseph Smith before him, Cole underrstands something of how  The Holy Ghost can work through such an one.  Purity like that is Vastly Underrated! .JWC

Friday, July 23, 2010

You can't have Quick and Cheap and Good Today!

A Triplicate of Choice?
My dad came up with a most interesting and insightful observation when I was in high school.  I've thought about it often..and pass it on as one of the truly great practical pearls of wisdom he passed on to me.

Some might call this a TRIPLICATE of CHOICE--narrowing a decision for a prospect or friend--but I don't think so--these are "Choose two and one just doesn't fit!"

I'm proud of my father, Milo S. Howe.  He was an enthusiastic man with many gifts.  Like my son, he was a genius from his wrists down.  He could fix absolutely anything--and into his 80s he was still perfecting the mechanical skills that he started developing in a comfortable barn at the machine shop on a rainy day in Nebraska farm country.  He loved the rain for what it did for his crops--and for what it allowed him to do indoors during the day.  He took on extra work for extra family dough--a bicycle shop, a key business-- He even cut hair with hand operated clippers after his service in Europe was over at the end of WWII.  His tips paid the downpayment on our first little house.    

His Father, Grampa Walter was a mechanic who could fix anything at the Alphalfa mill--almost til the day he died.   I inherited some of--but most of that skill jumped me and went into my two great kids.   

One of my greatest memories of Jeff and Sally was the Autumn night they tore on the motor in her Colt Vista and spread the parts on a clean white sheet in the basement--and polished and re-oiled every single spring and washer.  It's great when you raise kids who can DO THINGS!

Chris and Ellen's second child--James is our BOB THE BUILDER.   He's 7 and already learning to mow our front lawn.  He loves to measure and saw!  He is a dervish hammer jockey!  It's great when you raise gramkids who can put tools to work and DO THINGS!

Here's the Pearl of Wisdom from Milo:  "You can't have Quick and Cheap and Good all at once."  He taught me that summer afternoon that you could have two of the three along these lines:

1.  You could have GOOD and CHEAP if you didn't want it Quick.  We took several days to lay tile in our basement when most folks would have slapdashed it down there.   He wanted to have it just so he took his time and put up with my impatience.

2.  You could have it QUICK and CHEAP as long as you didn't want it GOOD.   Made in Japan in the 50s was a pretty good example of that concept.   Everything fell apart.   Japanese manufacturers kept shipping inferior junk over--and tried to make up for in quantity what they lacked in quality.   It took Quality Guru Edward Demming to get them to change their approach--today so much of what we buy of quality comes from the land of the rising sun.

3.  You could have it  GOOD and QUICK if you didn't care how CHEAP--make that how much extra you had to pay for the item or service in question!  As I learned to work in the Osmond quality SHOW BUSINESS factory, I was amazed at how they threw money away that my wife and I would have to plan and budget for the same things in our marriage.    Make no mistake, the Brothers and Marie are all thrifty--sometimes squeakily so--but when there's an opening night looming they think nothing of calling one of their friends in the business and taking delivery on an expensive prop or costume--no matter what the cost--and only if they can have it on a plane and to the theater by noon the next day!

This Good and Quick no matter what the cost afflicted my last employer.   He never used a budget--which is reckless for a CEO of more than 100 emplohyees.  It was a CASHFLOW business, after all---even if he had to wait a week or two to have enough uncommitted money to buy stamps to send out his receivables!  It eventually did him in--and after riding high for years and years, he couldn't adapt to a downward marketing (The real estate bubble burst all over him)  He closed his doors and called the Bankrupcy attornies!

My long term goal in life is to win the Irving J. Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards.  Thalberg was the planning and production genius that made the movies run on time when Louie B. Mayer was the boss at MGM.  He lived the mantra that Proper Prior Planning prevents panic.  I've seen his production charts for some of the greatest movies ever made.  It was his industrially developed version of Microsoft Project.  Every little detail had a place, a process and an outcome--that he could follow up with a few good conversations and a phone call or two of follow up.   

Acting attracted me to show business--me with a great face for radio --Playwriting Scripts, Promotion ideas and Rules has kept me involved all these years (In the beginning was the Word etc., but being a Producer-- that's my favorite part.  Life can be "produced" if you develop the planning, execution and follow up skills.  If it absolutely doesn't have to be done this week, I can usually turn it out for you--or get someone to do it.

Brigham Young was the ultimate producer.  Said he, "It is good to do the work of ten men, but it is greater to get ten men to do the work!"

God, I believe was a producer in an earlier life.  See the post about what occupation our Heavenly Father from the point of view of Chicago Author/Attorney Scott Turow, "Grampa, what did God do for a Living?"  

God, the Father and his Son, the Savior of the World know that you can't have Quick and Cheap and Good Today!  But with a little planning it can be "produced"! JWC

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"IZUPPA2U" the Drill Sargeant Screamed at Me!

Your Friendly Momma Substitute
Taking responsibility for your own life is not as easy as it seems.   It takes an open-hearted recognition that nobody else is gonna do it for you when you "grow up".

I was a more mature 25 than most of the 18 year olds at Ft. Leonard Wood's Basic Training when a Drill Sargeant from Philly screamed at a group of us waiting for a truck.  It was a lecture born of frustration with the  things that happen when kids leave home for the first time and expect mom to be there to clean up after and anticipate their every need.  I happened to be in the same group--and got the same verbal blast.

"IZ-UPPA-2-U!" he began and ended his Philly flavored diatribe.  "U-GOTTA-Take-RSPNSIB-ILITY fer ur OWN LIFE from here on out.  Yo' Mamma ain't beside you anymore!  Those apron strings have been slashed!  Whaddayagonnado out there on the front lines--turn around and ask for clean shorts when you take enemy fire for the first time.    Hey, if you don't carry dem witchya--nobody else is gonna!

Military counseling is as brutal as the slaughter of the English Language used to do it.

Grampas may be called upon to help facilitate a transition--for a young father or tender new Mom--or more likely a high school age buddy he's watched grow up since he was a pup.  The story of the Drill Sargeant might be an interesting way to bring the subject up.

In time of war, they say, the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed on the front lines.  Pray God we don't ever have to involve one of your near and dear on foreign shores---by the time yours grow up Afganastan will be a distant memory and Iraq will be handling it's own security and government.

Emptying the trash without having to be told sometimes escalates to the moral equivalent of War in some mother's minds.   I chuckled at a friend recently.  She has three at home from 12 to College age--with a girl in the middle--and she marvels at how all three of them can pass an overflowing can of trash without stopping to take some responsibility.

Wise parents like Chris and Ellen have been encouraging little chores and jobs and duties for a coin or two since their kids could walk.  This otherwise terrific mom couldn't bring herself to start a Jobs and Duty Chart--or a rotating chore spinner.  "They'll never do it, she whined.

With that attitude, of course, they never will.   She called me the other day with an amazed tone--her youngest finally got sick of the ants and the stink--and after making a big deal about it with his brother and sister--he yanked the bag out of the can--tied it off with a jerk and heaved it outside into the trash.   He took some responsibility.

My friend, Psychologist Lee counseled us to make the duty clear, get an agreement (even write up a little contract) and then just leave the trash to smell and draw bugs.  CONSEQUENCES was his mantra...and he hummed it often.  Most moms will just roll their eyes and throw up their hands--and empty the crummy thing themselves, but they do their offspring no favors.

Tough love demands CONSEQUENCES in the young before they leave home and discover them biting them in the bottom in the REAL WORLD.  If things get dicey after a contract is signed, he suggests you put the rotting can in the middle of the kid's bedroom and stand back for the explosion.  Stand your ground.  My loving mother stumbled on that principle neglecting the can accidentally on purpose.

Training when they're young will hopefully save them from a frustrated Drill Sargeant screaming inches from their faces--or worse depending on someone else to take responsibility in a front line situation until it is too late.:  IZUPPA2U!!!   JWC.

Do-It-Yourself Liposuction (1.4 lb. at a time)

As I was climbing out of the shower I noticed something: my belly has actually shrunk a couple of inches.  Hooray for the Body Grampuncular!  Used to be that I had to turn sideways and wedge in to our narrow little downstairs shower with a pop and a HOORAH! when I finally squeezed this chubby little body grampuncular in for a wash, soap and rinse!

This morning---wow! Clearance!!!

It's true-- I may be gaining and losing that yo-yo pound and a half--but I noticed a little less of me--the inches are finally descending!!!.

All that dinner table sacrifice, mid day swimming and walking with my trusty walkin' buddy, Tim 2-3 miles every day is finally paying off.

If you are struggling with the bulbous, fatty goo, the enemy of your heart that precedes you every where you go-- and floats above water like a frowning beached whale; if you are one of us--take heart! DO-IT- YOURSELF Liposuction, done gently day by day for all the happy reasons that will prolong your terrific life, CAN BE DONE!

Let the woulda-coulda-shouldas go by. Ask yourself, like you did your kids (and get to ask your gramkid on your regular cell phone calls):

1. Where are you, right now?

2. What are you doing right now?

3. What are you doing about right now?

Concentrate on the day-to-day and the long term.  Learn to humbly live defiantly in your imagination about 80% of the time!

Let thoughts and discussions of the negative..the stresses and what's not working, just go unsaid.

Remember that we ALWAYS compare our selves to others--using their best selves and victories...and our worst selves and often unknown failures known only to each of us.

The old idea that you can conquer fear of speaking by imagining the audience sitting there in their underwear-- By the way, make it realy drab grey underwear so you won't be concentrating on EXACTLY how some of the lovlier look!

Imagine yourself thinner like you used to be. (Images from the past help a lot. I have a little 3x8" glossy black and white of my old high school body hanging on the wall near my desk.  My trim young self is dressed  in a svelte black swim suit, fists clenched and stomach flatter than I can remember.

I barely tolerated gym class.  I played baritone in the band at the football and basketball games.  Never actually suited up for anything --except once in my long un-washed gym clothes for a deacon's basketball torture one snowy winter's night in what we used to call the GIRL'S GYM!!!  (See what I mean about private unknown failures,  that we alone remember in excruciating detail?  Psychologists say we dream based on images. Try that!

In the meantime, enjoy the simplest of pleasures like going in and out of a narrow shower door without having to suck it up to wedge inside. I did--and I will again! JWC

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gramkid Enterprise-- Bread is better than Lemonade!

Every Grampa worth his salt has purchased more than a few cups of homemade lemonade from a Gramkid's roadside stand.  

It's a mercy mission, right?  Almost a pity purchase.  The lemonade is either too weak or too sweet.  The homemade sign is cute, after a fashion-- but if you're worth your salt as a good grampa--you want a good end, so you go out door to door advertising and cajoling the neighbors to come and participate in the favorite kid money maker of hot summer days.  

Always in the back of your head is the hope that ones so young will learn good business lessons.  

Most of 'em try it once.  They learn HOT and HARD WORK and STICKY.  They learn begign' for more money to buy lots more more drink powder,  sugar and cups.  They learn how hard it is to get passing traffic to stop and give them good money for their questionable product.  They learn discouragement, and so often, they give up, go home and never do it again.   You're lucky if they wash up after and get all the gear  back where it's supposed to be in the kitchen.

Tim, my walkin' buddy and I had done our 8,000+ steps this morning and were in the home stretch when we came upon a hard workin' tween--a little blondie struggling with a folding table, a bulging backpack and a great big empty pitcher holding a couple stacks of paper cups.  Tim thought maybe  junior masseuse--but the pitcher told the story.   It was about 1:30 PM and we were witnessin' the end of what likely was a failed lemonade stand.  The other girl down the street must have been in charge of the hand lettered sign--cuz our little friend was packin' everything else.

She overheard me correct Tim and properly identify the popular tween enterprise of the summer, and she nodded between gasps for breath, toting her heavy load.

Our mutual boss, Vernon Thompson gave us a monograph about a young lemonade stander who parlayed a varied product line and incredible data base with outstanding customer service into considerable stock holdings in IBM.and a little chain of stands--each one cuter than the last.  Only the best of Big Business ever learns the lessons of the humble little successful lemonade stand--and gets employees to produce the results the best of young stand owners learn by trial and error.

I honestly don't know about my diligent little girl buddy on the street this morning, but she likely found out that big bucks only come after a lot more work than she or her little partner were willing to do at the age of  9.

So I gave her an idea.   Her perspiring young brain likely didn't pick up on it, but here's what I told her:

The Sucker Patrol of the Princess Pagoda (about her same age) are profiting year 'round from a Bread Subscription business and splitting the take between their college funds and some modest spending money.  

Their talented baker mom and canny MBA Bond Trader Dad helped get them started...and it's been just clickin' along like a little income producing machine for almost a year now.  Compound interest on this little moneymaker will teach them some pretty good business skills and pay for their college!

I even divulged the simple business plan as we ambled by:  Help your mom bake 20 loaves of aromatic white ,full grain bread-- you know the kind you can't get at the store or any nearby bakery.   Buy the loaves for fifty cents each and sell them on a weekly subscription for $2.00 each.  That's a $40 gross and a raw net of $30 minus the cost of bags and delivery gas etc.

The internal business muscles that the Bread Subscription enterprise develops runs rings around the once-or- twice-a-summer bound-to-be-discouraging lemonade business.  

To illustrate the real world lessons they're learning: James, 7, delivered two fresh baked aromatic tasty loaves to my Samoan friend Ta's home.  The second loaf was a mistake.  Ta had only bought one.   Ta and his Jayne were hosting a bunch of , well, freeloading Samoan friends that were there in the middle of the day when James delivered the bread.   They fell on the first loaf--and there was nothing but crumbs and an empty paper bag when Ta got home from work.  About that same time, the 7 year old bread subscription entrepeneur dropped by with his Dad in the van to correct his earlier mistake.

Ta told me, "All at once I saw the empty bread bag, the happy well fed smiles on my friends faces..and James gently demanding the other loaf.  I offered to buy it from him, but the young businessman was surpizingly tough."

"Nope, " the seven year old told me flatly.   "It's already been sold on subscription to someone else.   Sorry, Ta, but I gotta have it back!  I cried a little inside knowing that this Wednesday I would NOT be enjoying fresh baked subscription bread that has been delivered to my door for months and months"

You can't buy that kind of integrity training in one so young.  It only comes in the hands-on doing, of  kind, far thinking clever parents teaching correct principles and letting their budding young businessmen and women govern themselves.

My little exhausted lemonade broker cocked one eyebrow...and thanked me (she thought) and kept lugging her lemonade stand gear up the hill.  Sweat dripped off her forehead.  She blew away a stray blond strand of hair that had dripped into her face. As we passed,  I imagined her she wondering if there was a better way to earn bigger bucks with bread instead!  JWC

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grampa's Treasury of Chore Solutions

A dear friend complained that the garbage can in her kitchen had been overflowing for a week.  None of her three children ranging in age from 12 to College age took enough interest to take out the trash.  Here's a guest post treasury of chore solutions from the editor, Jen Hubley.  I plan to send this to my friend--but it could help you too!

From Jen Hubley, your About Today Editor
My sister called me the other day with a brilliant plan: "I'm going to sew a mop head to your nephew's pants. That way, while he's rolling around on the floor playing with Elmo, he can actually earn his keep."

Age-Appropriate Chores
My nephew, it should be noted, is two. So his contributions mostly extend to putting toys in a box and then emptying it.

5 Easy to Use Chore Charts
Older kids, however, can and should lend a hand. (By the way, my sister says "older" is two years and five minutes old.)

How to Counter Kids' Excuses To Get Out of Chores
When I was a teenager, I tried to convince my Mom that the chore chart was incredibly medieval and anyway, unnecessary, since I was obviously going to help out anyway. This worked just as well as you think it did.

4 Reasons Your Family Won't Help With Chores
If you're the tidy person in your household, well, I can only imagine your pain. Also, you should check out these tips to get your messy people (like me!) to do their share.

Grampa Throws a Birthday Party on a Budget!

With birthdays come birthday parties, gifts, and sometimes a cash shortage.  But, there are ways to help minimize your costs and still have a great birthday party on a budget.  This guest blog from Christian Personal Finance has some great ideas if you're pinching pennies til they holler "Uncle".

10 Ways To Control the Cost of Birthdays

1.  Anticipate expenses.

I know. Parties are supposed to be fun.  Here I am trying to spoil the fun, but you should budget for birthday expenses.  Sit down several months early and estimate the cost of the party(ies).  Start saving a few months in advance.  In our family, we have gifts as a line item on our family budget.  Each month we save for gifts even when we don’t buy gifts.  We know that eventually our gift savings and our gift giving will one day equal zero.

2. Be creative.

I think creativity is one of the best money saving tips of all time.
With creativity, you can turn any bland household item into hours of endless fun.  There is nothing wrong with going out and hiring a clown or bubble machine for a birthday party – as long as you have the cash to pay for it.  But, if you’re broke, you’ll need to be a little more creative.

A few weeks ago, I put a cup of flour in a bowl and my kids doused me with “snow”.  We played for almost an hour with a cup of flour as our only source of entertainment.  Think about how much fun 10 kids could have with a open package of flour (be sure to play outside).  For $5-10 you can get enough bubbles to entertain kids for an afternoon.

3. Limit the activity or the guests.

Making an invitation list can be extremely difficult.  We all feel pressure to invite every kid who had a party in the last year.  That is all good and fine, but if you are planning to go to the bowling ally and have pizza, that could add up fast.  If you can’t afford it, either limit the activity or guests.  If you don’t think it is right to limit the number of guests, then choose a cheaper party alternative.  Head to the park or go to the beach.

4. Have two parties.

This one doesn’t seem to make sense as a money saving strategy; however, it works.  Following up on the point above, you could have two parties.  The first party is open to all of your kid’s school and church friends.  That is going to be a morning at the park with hotdogs.  Then, later in the week take your family and go bowling.  I’ve never heard a kid complain about having two parties.  If you have trouble saying no, this could be a good way to cut the birthday party costs.

5. Remember where kids are at developmentally.

My youngest just turned one.  She got a boat load of clothes and toys.  At the end of the day, she was pushing around a plastic container that used to house one of her toys.  The toy sat idle, but the container was the real source of enjoyment.
While kids love playing with toys, younger kids also love playing with anything you can convince them is a toy.  In the bath, our kids use cups and empty hand soap containers to pour water all over each other.  Don’t try and tell them those aren’t toys.  Don’t get a second mortgage just so your two year old can have a $500 car that drives down the sidewalk.  They could have as much fun in an old wagon.

6. Don’t equate love and money.

There is a way to show love without money.  I’m not anti-gifts, but sometimes there are families that have so distorted their view of gifts that they associate their worth with what they give – they feel insecure if they don’t have the most expensive gift.  Personally, I think giving kids an excessive number of gifts will backfire when they get older.  We already have an instinctive lust for more – there is no need to feed that by over gifting our kids.
My wife and I buy our kids one birthday present each year.  Our oldest is five, and we’ve never heard our kids complain about their gift.  However, grandma and grandpa with aunts and uncles do get the kids their fair share of gifts.  That’s great if others want to bless our kids in that way.

7. Teach your kids to give when they receive.

Every birthday our kids know they have a job – to give away some toys.  As our kids get new toys, we ask them to find old toys to give away.  Since we live in a third world country, it is always easy to find someone who is happy to receive a used toy.  In North America, just ask someone at your church if there are any benevolence opportunities where kids can donate toys.  Parents should always be teaching kids about money.

8. Set expectations.

As parents, I think we can help our kids understand what to expect during the birthday season.  Yes, even when planning a birthday party parents can say, “No. That is too expensive.”  Saying ‘no’ can be as loving as saying ‘yes’.

9. Shop year round.

Time is another great money saving tool.  Often times when we know a birthday is around the corner, we rush out to buy a present.  However, if you are looking for presents in advance, you can often find some much better deals that will help you save money while shopping.  Hey, it’s not too early to start buying Christmas presents.  That is a great way to be able to celebrate a debt free Christmas.  Next time you see clothes for 75% off, go ahead and try and find something for your kids’ birthday.  Remember, you can also shop for other kids early too.

10.  Consider homemade gifts and invitations.

My wife is the homemade gift giving queen.  She has fantastic and creative ideas for presents.  Often times those gifts are more meaningful and a lot less expensive (but they cost more time).  Here are some homemade gift ideas to help you think about some ideas for your own kids.  While I’m writing this article my wife and daughter are making homemade invitations.  They seem to be having a great time.  JWC

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grampa's Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips

Old duffers like us need every bit of help we can get--as time marches on and our memory becomes more like a sieve.  Here's a guest post that gives some interesting insights into ways to get more out of the gray matter we have left:

Improve Your Memory With These Great Top 10 Tips

By , Guide

Before you study for your next exam, you might want to use a few strategies to boost your memory of important information. There are a number of tried and tested techniques for improving memory. These strategies have been established within cognitive psychology literature and offer a number of great ways to improve memory, enhance recall and increase retention of information.

1. Focus your attention on the materials you are studying.

Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order for information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music and other diversions.

2. Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions.

According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session’s gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better that those did all of their studying in one marathon session.

3. Structure and organize the information you are studying.

Researchers have found that information is organized in memory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information.

Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song or joke to help remember a specific segment of information.

5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying.

In order to recall information, you need to encode what you are studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, your recall of the information will be far better.

6. Relate new information to things you already know.

When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.

7. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall.

Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts and other graphics in your textbooks. If you do not have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.

8. Teach new concepts to another person.

Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own studies by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.

9. Pay extra attention to difficult information.

Have you ever noticed how it's sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the position of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect. While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information or try restructuring the information so it will be easier to remember. When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.

10. Vary your study routine.

Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot to study. If you study in the evening, try to spend a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gramkids Gottawanna! (Grampa can HELP!)

An ad for a Massage Therapy School features a cute brunette pixie telling the camera, "I chose what success looked like to me and they showed me how to get there."  Such a good advertising line has the seeds of success in it.

Youngins including our own, seem to want OUT of a bad employment situation much more than they want IN to a better one.   As I listen to our near and dear pray to, "Get OUT of a tough job--I learn about the gap in their logic. (It's been said that most folks will work harder to hold on to what they've got than gamble on the possibility of reaching out for something better) 

In D&C 9, a revelation informs Oliver Cowdry that not only did he NOT continue as he commenced--he took no thought save it was to ask the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon's Golden Plates.   After watching Joseph Smith "easily" translating the plates as he took dictation, Oliver must have learned a new dimension in heavenly education that "dried up" for him when he did not obey the laws involved in getting the Holy Ghost's help.  There is a bit of a heavenly formula at work here. Sudy it out in your own mind, make a decision and take it to the Lord in prayer.  Then he will either confirm it with a warm feeling (Burning in the bosom) or a Stupor of Thought.   In that formula the GOTTAWANNA precedes the Study step.

Suffering often precedes the Faith that precedes the Miracle!

Gramkids suffering from low resources and skint income--sometimes learn that if they pay their tithing, obeying the laws of wealth and heavenly partnership--they find their wallet blossoming in unexpected ways.  For many, money dribbles in year in year out--and the lessons goes unlearned--angst builds--drinking, smoking, discouragement all increase... It's wantin' out---with no willingness to wanna learn the truth about real wealth and getting in.

The late LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, former secretary of Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration once shared the secret of escaping this pigmy thinking:

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

That principle of choosing a path and following direction is more powerful in a Grampa-Mentor-Gramkid Follower relationship than stumbling around alone in a well meant but superficial and feeble effort.

Bumper sticker philosophy applies:  DISTRACTIONS ARE DANGEROUS.  Though this three word warning applies more to driving than life planning--the danger of distractions is the opportunity cost that stall better life plans while gramkids (and gramparents) chase the flibbertygibbits and fly-by-nights!

How does a Great Grampa take the slum-like thinking of ESCAPE  and turn it to POSITIVE PROGRESS?  Section 9---Study it out by listening and discussing options in kindness.  Proper goal setting and better crafted prayers and follow up--these all figure in.   Remember a good idea is only a wish until it's written down--When a written goal is combined with a plan--leaning forward --progress begins!

Rather than yearn to escape the tough job situation, we've learned to talk about the top three companies where the job seeker would really like to work.  Thank takes Faith, imagination, research--in short HARD WORK. (The sad reality in this age of instant resume transmission  is that unemployed or wanna-be-better-employed send out a wide net of resumes only to be rejected for months and months.)  Hoping for the right job to open up is leaning backward.   A "leaning forward" plan works far better.  Stealthy job seekers should take a page out of the CIA--and "go to school" on at least three companies that have the the job they want--whether it's currently filled or not.

The Co-anchor of the Number 1 KSL Local news in Salt Lake City,  Nadine (Deenie) Wimmer did it this way--  She decided she wanted to work in broadcasting.  She found out the best station with the best salary and benefits.  In her study (a class project at the University of Utah) she learned that entry level assignment editors and reporters got a chance to anchor on weekends and, if they were good enough, could become a high paid local anchor star.

Deenie's strategy after all the research, was to build a "contact" on the inside--and she used the Chinese Water Treatment method.  Every two or three days, she would call the assignment editor and ask for a job on the assignment desk.   The first thirty or forty times she got a cold shoulder and a courteous, "Oh, it's you again..." treatment.   Slowly her persistence began to make an impact. 

Finally after a month and a half of regular calls from Deenie,  the Assignment Editor changed her mind.  "OK, Deenie---I've thought about it--and if you're this persistent as a job seeker--you'll do well working here.   Promise me one thing, though.  If you come down today and fill out an application, will you promise not to call me any more?"  They both laughed...and Deenie was "IN"  She's been principal anchor at 6 and 10 for the last ten years--including anchoring local coverage of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.  (Her brother in law shared with me some inside information--that management was thinkin' of replacing her and bringing in a "name" for the international event.  They never did!)

So how do you actually help the older child pull off such an employment miracle?  The key is a christlike virtue for you to improve in practice--It's all about changing one special mind to think "THINK FORWARD!" enough to pick three ideal companies and  "KINDLY FOLLOW UP!" in building an inside friend and launching Chinese Water Torture.  

(As much as the head gets it---it takes a while for the heart to buy in---and the skill level to be ABLE to do the kind of diplomacy and proactive follow up--for some folks, this may just be TOO HARD!  Maybe they need to suffer under the old ineffectual system ) 


Instead of raising your voice over the blare of the TV--and using that Inquisative Interogative tone in a negative, guilt loading way---try turning the TV off and letting the kid get whatever is on his chest---OFF! 


2.  REALLY LISTEN--for clues about the direction of the job search--and lovely distractions that may be getting in the way.

3.  BOB AND WEAVE WITH CARING QUESTIONS that help encourage the heart to recommit to the 3 company water torture follow-up process

4.  ONLY GIVE ADVICE WHEN ASKED--then make it short--even in Question Form.   Leading the witness is only technically wrong in a court of law.  Anything that gets a child of any age to come to a conclusion--a new resolution---that's just fine.  

5. KINDLY  LISTEN TO THE HEART FIRST--then the head!  It's all about the relationship you have nurtured for so long.  The best relationship scripture I know is the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It is the best key to avoid nagging and building great relationships for success.   In verse 43 below, what is it that greatly enlarges the Soul (of both the Grampa and the Gramkid?)

  42 By KINDNESS, and pure knowledge, which shall GREATLY ENLARGE THE SOUL without hypocrisy, and without guile
  43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
  44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

Nagging is pulling up the flowers to see how the roots are doing--but the selected  flowers die in the process.

Dear pediatrician neighbor  John Siddoway dropped by one winters night making up for our regular home teacher.   the kids were teenagers who loved him.  He'd examined them and treated them ...His lesson was mostly for the parents...and Rosie and I got this message.   When he had our full attention he knelt down on the carpet and encouraged the kids to do the same.  He pulled a little six inch cord out of his pocket.

"What's the best way to move the string ?  he asked us.  "Can you push the string to get it to move as you wish?" Then he pushed the string with his finger. It just bunched up and lay there on the carpet.

Ever the teacher, Brother Dr. John asked the kids, "What do you think is the best way to move the string?"  Somewhere between the end of his formal medical schooling and that day,  John had learned a valuable teaching and sales tool ---'HELP THE STUDENT/PROSPECT DISCOVER THE SOLUTION AND SAY IT OUT LOUD!  Sally blurted out, "Pull it! 

"Yes, that's right!  Does that same principle work in relationships --like between you and your folks?"

"Jeff spoke up--"It does--I hate to be pushed."   Dr. John tried to keep a straight face..."Well that's something you could talk about after I leave-- Could we say a word of prayer?

What an excellent, brief lesson that got us thinkin'. 

Sometimes we are afraid to break out of the nagging-guilt loading that almost always leads to failure.

FEAR is an acronymn:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  All fear does is prevent you from making progress toward your dreams.

At this writing, Lindsay Lohan has just been sentenced to 90 days in jail (Like her cruisin' buddy Paris Hilton), and come to think of it, like Martha Stewart--for other excesses.  Jail can sometimes give an opportunity for sober reflection.  It's an adult time out.

Lindsay Lohan ---  The time to "fix" the problem that's landed the young starlet-corowser in jail for 90 days---was back before she re-made the Parent Trap.  Back when Vitamin N (NO) would have made a difference and taught the young star how to apply some of Vitamin N to herself!    Interesting that an expert in courtroom behavior believes that Lohan is only bitter and vindictive--not truly feeling.  Her only un-bidden tears were when the gavel came down on the session and she realized that she would be out of circulation! 

Where's the trusted Grampa in that situation? JWC