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Connection vs. Isolation

Connection vs. Isolation

I have sat back for the last few days reading the articles and posts in response to the horrendous shooting in Florida. I get that we as a people feel compelled to do something to fix the problem right away. Unfortunately, the cause as to how someone could have so much pent up emotion that they could be capable of randomly taking innocent lives, is extremely complex and has been formulating for a long time. Understanding some of the possible causes of this never seen before level of violence is a starting place. Taking that info and working backwards towards a solution, to me, makes the most sense.

Here is my opinion of what over time has added so much violence and isolation in our world:

• Violent, unsupervised video games that results in desensitizing the emotion of killing for sport and points in a game, especially during the years when the brain is being formed. Psychology Today article, ‘Yes, Violent Video Games Do Cause Aggression’ states several studies showing this to be true. In addition, inappropriate watching of not only violence, but other high level emotions on TV and in movies. All without adult conversing as to what is being portrayed as right and wrong. CONNECTION OR ISOLATION?

• Overstressed parents under pressure to work long hours to make ends meet and the nuclear family being completely disconnected. How often do families eat together? How often is the cell phone or other device the main companion? How many families talk together about joys and challenges? What family traditions are being lived and passed on? Is the family the anchor to a person’s life, a safe haven, a place where all foundation is being created? CONNECTION OR ISOLATION?

• Is there a reason that the common profile of these killers is a Caucasian male? How have the boys in our society been conditioned to handle emotion? By repressing how they feel…’don’t cry, you sound like a girl’. The New York Times ran an article, ‘The Boys Are Not All Right’ by Michael Black (Feb 2018) that points out several powerful points about society’s expectations of boys and how this leads to confused and isolated boys. Our girls have been elevated to be achievers, motivated, expressive. We have not changed as to how our boys, generally speaking, have evolved beyond archaic views of what a boy should feel and act like.

These are just 3 components I feel strongly about. However, here is the concept I feel is worth considering:

• Each person taking on the awareness and responsibility to connect in some way with those people in each of our worlds that are lonely, isolated, disconnected people. I keep hearing, “WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO?” Who is they? Everyone else but themselves? Is it the lawmakers? Is it about gun control? Yes, I agree, certain types of guns do not serve a purpose in society and yes, someone with a violent history of mental illness should not own a gun (another complex issue).

Is it the teacher’s responsibility? NO, teachers are expected to do way too much without being expected to learn how to fire a gun and having that responsibility! Especially when it could possibly be one of her/his previous students. I believe we have a powerful source of influence in our classrooms, actually beginning in our preschools, to develop a culture of care by teaching the components of emotional intelligence.

According to Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, emotional intelligence CAN be raised in children and adults. Empathy CAN be taught. Social skills CAN be taught. Identifying and managing and expressing feelings in appropriate ways CAN be taught.

I firmly believe this is the root solution. Instead of the discussion of ‘emergency school board meetings open to the public having an agenda of deciding do we put police officers at every entrance of our school and do we train every teacher to fire a gun so she can be armed if needed or do we have routine drills what the students will do if a killer is in their school killing people?’ NO!

Has the suggestion been to shift our curriculum and priorities in our education system?

What if from the first days a child is in any level of school, an emphasis is on creating high emotional intelligence in all students. What if we added more not less recess time to develop social skills and a vent for pent up energy?

What if we actually taught teachers instead how to incorporate mindfulness such as meditation and breathing activities? Every one of those killers attended some sort of formal education. Just ‘what if’ someone had taught them to express anger?

‘What if’ someone, both the teachers and their classmates, had shown to them love, care, and empathy that maybe they did not get at home. Many of the next serial killers and mass killers may be sitting in a classroom right this minute.

‘What if’ something could be done with shifting focus to a culture of caring and helping the troubled by shifting the expectations of every single person to feel for others, take the time to include, and be the person to everyone we would want others to be for us? Instead of fighting violence with fear and more violence, let’s become a society that connects and cares more about others than about ourselves.

What a wonderful world that could be!

Make a Difference in the World…One Ripple at a Time

Make a Difference in the World…One Ripple at a Time

What legacy do you want to leave when you look back, at the end of your life? Want to make a difference, know your life mattered? Want to be remembered because you made the world a little bit better?

I believe we all do want to know our life and its influence does matter. Then why is there so much confusion as to how to create certainty about this for ourselves? Perhaps finding some clarity in 4 key areas could help.

 

PURPOSE

Every one of us have our own unique, blueprint of a life that fulfills the purpose for which we were created. This blueprint was designed even before we were in our mother’s womb. Each of our jobs is to find clarity as to exactly what that purpose looks like. Have you struggled trying to determine what that purpose of yours is? Meditation each morning, while your mind has not become distracted by the world is a great way to begin. Within each of us lies so many seeds of desire, yearning to be planted, fed, and harvested. The Latin meaning of desire is, to birth. Pay attention to the desires that emerge as being a part of your purpose, yearning to be expressed in your life.

COURAGE

So many, in fact most of our deepest desires are based on actions we have never taken, ways we have not lived before. All new ways to walk, things to try, are scary, would you not agree? The biggest deterrent of walking down the path of your purpose if FEAR. Fear of failing, fear of rejection, fear of basically looking dumb. To overcome fear, courage is required. This means looking fear square in the eyes and pushing through even though you may fail and knowing that by not quitting will eventually get on the other side. This place is where transformation and huge personal growth happens. You are not the same…instead, better than you were before.

SIGNIFICANCE

This word has powerful meaning. I truly believe, this is why we are on this earth, to produce significant lives for ourselves. Significant means what you do matters to others and to the world. This is where the concept of ripples in the water of life comes in. To me, ripples symbolizes the kind of influence we have in the world, every single day. We ALL have influence, the minute we wake up until the moment we lie our head on the pillow at night. However, our influence can be either positive or negative. Both Hitler and Christ had influence. See the difference. Part of living a life of significance is one that is a life fulfilling your purpose by building your muscle of courage. Why does all of this matter? That leads to my last part.

LEGACY

I believe the reason we are born is so we create, teach, impact, model…whatever it is for you, a life that leaves ripples that carry on long after each of us are gone. All people’s lives are living examples when filled with character and good choices, as hard as they may be, and the way they have handled failure, conflict, sadness, injustice, success…every component of life. All of these will be a part of the legacy imparted on future generations. How will you look back on this very chapter of your life? Will it be written in a way that leaves important ripples? Every single person you touch on a daily basis is affected by who you are, the example your life shines in the world.

I have only dipped our toes into these thoughts about ripples in the water of life. What will you do with these thoughts? THAT is your choice.