Archive | February, 2013

An Exciting Time

28 Feb

In just a few weeks from now, my new book is released.  I am very excited to see how this book will open the doors of dialogue, nationally.  The topic of Teacher-Student Relationships is one not talked about much at the national level.  Schools of education at universities drop in a passing comment, here-and-there.  School districts are hardly on the radar, in terms of proactiveness and codes of conduct.  So, we shall see . . . Meanwhile, here is the cover of my book for the reader.  Hope to see you on the book tour.  if not, catch me on some cable and television stations in the near future.  I will keep readers posted and updated, as things move forward.  Blessings to all . . .  ~EZ

Front Cover

Front Cover

Ms. Construe Meets Ms. Interpretation

18 Feb

“He is a fool who thinks by force or skill to turn the current of a woman’s will.” (Thomas More)

I was sipping my coffee this morning and, in-between paying bills and prepping for the day, a bit of humor emerged from the midst of the mundane.  In other words, my brain was seeking its own entertainment.  Sorry people, my mind sometimes works to the chagrin of others and this blog will prove to be no exception.

The reader might very well consider most of what I write along the lines of “sigh”-chology.  Be that as it may (I love colloquialisms too), I am smiling at the possibility of the trouble I am going to get myself into this morning.  

Here is my first attempt at stirring up a bit of trouble:  I think women interpret things so very differently than men interpret things. Let me write it a different way.  Women have a higher tendency, or let us call it a gift, an intuition, to “read into things” much more deeply than we men read into things.

What could possibly result from this sort of “reading into things?”  Because of this intuitive “reading,” women may be more prone to misinterpretation.  Now, if you are interpreting what I just wrote, you missed the part where I said women MAY BE MORE PRONE.  Possibly emotions caused a bit of misreading.  For the record, men are also prone to shortcomings in this area!

Uh oh! I can hear it now. “What does he mean by that?”

See what I mean?

All the men are nodding their heads in agreement, folding their arms and loving that someone finally telling it like it is. The women are trying to figure out some elaborate and grand interpretation.

OK, stop. STOP!

Men are more apt to take things at face value.  We say, “I love you,” it is precisely what it means. If we say, “We love you,” we are not thinking compared to whom, or more than so-and-so, or she is better to love than Gertrude. When we love, we are not saying it to cause cognition, or interpretation, such as,“OK, what does he mean by this, and how much does he really love me?”

We are not trying to get something from you.  How shallow is that?  We mean it at face value.  Too often, men cease the use of words and favor “love-actions.” Actions speak louder than words, and are often less misconstrued.

Allow me to illustrate.  Women love diamonds.  They are told, “Diamonds are forever.”  Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” We get it. We really get it.  Women love stuff. By contrast, man’s best friend is “dog.” We love our dogs.  We love our women.  Face value, ladies!  FACE VALUE.  We do not love our women as we love our dogs.  In addition, we do not treat our dogs as we treat our women.  (I can hear the mumbling and gossip now. “Yeah, they treat their dogs better.” See? You did it again)  Now, just pretend you understand and we will buy you a diamond ring, or a set of earrings.  There!  Is that better?

There is truth in the statement that sometimes men think you love them as you love your diamonds.  Thus, we believe that you conclude we love you as we love our dogs.  Speaking on behalf of most men (and I surveyed millions of men just this morning), we separate the things and people we love.  This is called compartmentalization.  We love stuff.  We love people.  These are different loves. Get it?  Cool!  You keep this up, and we are going to throw in a necklace with the ring and earrings.  Are you smiling yet?

Second point to be made is this:  Women see body language, and they interpret. Not only do they interpret body language, but women also interpret another woman’s interpretation of body language.  Nuances in words are interpreted.  Looks are interpreted, always-seeking-meaning, and even motivation does not escape subtle deciphering.  Mind if I ask just what language is being used to “interpret” these things?  For men, it seems foreign.

OK, play a little game with me this morning.

It is nearly spring. Some birds are chirping, trees are blooming (No allergies are allowed in my game), and you are young all over again.  A guy sees your gorgeous visage, closes his eyes and drinks in your perfume.  He is lost in the rapture of your voice, and you are both 17, once again.  You watch all of this.  Your heart is touched.  He opens his eyes, saunters on over to where you are seated. He smiles and says, “I think I’m in love.” Your eyes meet and you smile.

INTERPRET PLEASE!

For the guy, at that moment he thinks he is in love.  What do YOU think?  Is he is love with you?  Is the young man in love with someone else, something else? WHAT?

Do you hear wedding bells? Are you seeing something that he does not see?  Is he a keeper?  Is he even yours at all?  Do you size him up, like a pair of shoes?  Does he have the potential to be an excellent father and grandfather?  Is he going to be rich?  I am waiting for an answer.

“The so-called weaker sex is the stronger sex because of the weakness of the stronger sex for the weaker sex.” (Anonymous)

Women and men are different and that is the way it is supposed to be.  Our brains and hearts are wired differently to complement each other, and not just for the couple’s benefit, either.  Raising children is a chore done best with both male and female present.  No apologies for that.  Children in schools have female teachers so much more than they have male teachers.  Students are taught from female perspectives more than from male perspectives.  I wonder what to make of that (flipping the tables on you).  However, I will save that discussion for another time.  Play nice, men.  Promise to bring the earrings if she brings the remote.   

I am just lost at how Ms. Interpretation and Ms. Construe have become best friends–soul mates, as it were.  However, men should take a lesson.  A good place to start is in the kitchen. Consider the old Home-Economics teacher who “espoused” . . .

“Help your wife . . . When she washes the dishes, wash the dishes with her. When she mops the floor, mop the floor with her.”

Stop interpreting, ladies!  We mean well.  For once, just once, would you mind sitting up nice and tall, open your mouths, begin to pant as if our presence touches your existence, and look at us, as we are sovereigns?  We have diamonds!

Interesting Times: 2013

17 Feb

These are interesting times.  Two-thousand-thirteen has been quite eventful, thus far.  Somewhere between the words “interesting” and “eventful” lies the reality that affects us all:  Nothing in this world stays the same.

Friends retire from their lifelong vocations and press into their permanent vacations.  Others have medical issues arise and leave work, and full-time ministry.  Personal and moral issues drive a certain number into involuntary retirement way too soon.  Still others switch jobs and look for additional excitement.  Whether work or ministry, such revelations seem the pointers that guide each sunrise during the early days of this current year.

The possibility exists that many of the changes I write about are age-related, and that this is the season for change for those in question.  However, most are changing by choice, and doing so for a variety of reasons.  For example, I have lost colleagues and co-workers, pastors and friends, and sports buddies to change.  Some of these changes are conscious and weighed, others compelled by circumstances.  Even sickness and death have reared their ugly heads in 2013.  In fact, far too many of my family and friends are now ill and battling with one dreadful thing, or another.

In the midst of all of this change, so many wonderful opportunities have emerged for so many–even for many of those I reference above.  We could easily find ourselves mired in the negative aspects of life’s shortcomings.  That would be understandable.  However, in so doing, we would miss the blessings of each moment we are granted.  I use the word “granted,” for none of us are guaranteed any breaths or heartbeats.

Focusing on despair means sometimes missing out on the joys emerging, from within whatever struggles we face.  We will have them, and most of us will endure.  Those of us who are older are realizing the blessings of new family members, grandchildren, job-changes, ministry opportunities, writing ventures, and the  joy of realizing we have affected many lives for good, along the way.  I thank God for the people in my life.  Specifically, for example, I am grateful for people who decide to overlook what I do, in favor of whom I am.  Aligning these two, indeed, takes more than a life time, and is accomplished best by the Almighty.  This year the losses might be great, but we are all dispensable in this world.

I was reflecting on this very truth this past week.  My wife and I arrive at work very early each morning.  One day this week I commented, “imagine putting a sign up on your classroom door that read, ‘Mrs. Z’s classes will not meet this week.  See you next week.'”  She smiled and then laughed.  We both understand that laugh.  I then said, “You know, within 24 hours of your last day on this job, the system will continue like you never existed.  Things will change and the new students and teachers will have no idea of your life’s work.”  In her wisdom, my wife replied, “I know.  But hopefully what I do will live on in the lives  I affected.”  She is absolutely correct!

I share this brief conversation to say that we are products of the many people who left us long ago.  We are also living proof of those who left us recently, as well as emerging souls by the efforts of our contemporaries, including family and friends.  In change, and in God, there are always remnants–seeds planted–that germinate and flower through the efforts of others, later in life.  We owe much to those who gave their lives–only to be left along the trail of dusty memories.  Soon we will all be in that class, as we are mere passengers on this planet, transients, and this is not our home.  

At the sunset of one phase of our lives, where will we stand?  In the words of John the Baptist, when asked about his followers, directed all of his affection toward the Lord:  “He must increase, I must decrease.”  Therein lies the beauty of a life-in-focus, and priorities-in-line.  Life is not about my presence.  Life is about His presence in me.

The tabulation of the bottom-line for 2013 has begun.  No one knows what lies out there for any one of us.  However, I can assure you that making choices to thwart the status quo, and comfort, is what drives my passion for life.  Care to join me in the possibilities?

Open the door, God, if only for a moment . . . Walking by faith and not by sight, should get easier with age and diminished eye sight.  [smile]

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