Mollypops

TED Talks is one of the coolest sites I have ever stumbled upon. Lots of wonderful, intelligent talks about a world of different subjects. I watched one this week by Erin McKean this week that is really fun and has inspired me (shared below). She’s a lexicographer (compiles dictionaries). She has a lot of fun basically making the point that this is our language and words that communicate are good words. I recognized myself in her description of people who ask, “Is that a word?” As if we have some governing authority who determines what are words and what are not.

Words emerge in our language all the time i.e. google. “I think I will google lexicographer.” makes perfect sense to us, but what would we have thought even just 10 years ago. When and how did it become a “real word”?

I’m going to try to stop asking if something is a real word and start trying to influence language by introducing some really good new words. And the first entry will be mollypops.

mollypops adjective – Containing both Molly and her maternal grandfather (aka Pops).

example: Did you see the precious mollypops photo on jimazing.com?

TED Talk by Erin McKean

More thoughts from Erin McKean about new words

We see, They see–Part 2

Whoops!

I am not sure how it happened, but I published my last post with comments turned off.  I have changed that and they are back on now.

A Quick Case Study

This mistake on my part might make an interesting case study of my last post.  My guess is that some of you saw the “Comments are Closed” notice and determined (based on my behavior of closing comments) that I was not interested in what you had to say.  If you did, you were incorrect.  Despite my behavior of turning off comments, my intentions were to hear from my readers and my desire is to make that as easy as possible.  One of the joys of blogging is receiving feedback.  I like hearing how my words affect you.

The prior post was about the “We see/They see” quote repeated here:

We judge ourselves by our intentions.
Others judge us by our behaviors.
We cannot see our own behaviors.
Others cannot see our intentions.

My intention was to share my thoughts and hear yours.  You saw my “closed comments” behavior.  I was blind to my own behavior until someone pointed it out to me.  Likewise, you could not have seen my intentions until I explained myself.

Communication is Key

I was also stirred by an email from a dear friend who’s expressed desire to begin to look for intentions more in the coming year.  I appreciate that thought and it leads me to ask how one looks for intentions.  I think it is important to note that the first and most important element in communicating behavior and intentions is communication itself.  The problem is not that we don’t try to see our own behavior, we really cannot see it the way others do.  It is not that we don’t try to understand the intentions of others.  We actually cannot know them.  The only way we can possibly know what our own behavior looks like to those around us is to hear it from them, and we can only know their intentions when they communicate them to us.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about being nice.  I’m talking about communicating on a whole new level, something that does not come naturally and will take risk and effort.  It mostly is not modeled for us and it feels weird when we do it (but it is worth it).

Here are two unhealthy ways I could handle a situation with you: Let’s say that you do something that irritates me.  I could determine that you meant to hurt me and react based on that assumption.  I lash out at you verbally and we argue.  In that case, I didn’t understand your intention and you didn’t understand my volatile reaction.  Now let’s roll back the tape and replay it again.  You do something that irritates me.  I give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that you didn’t mean to hurt me.  I conclude that your actions were unintentionally harmful.  I graciously choose not to respond to what you actually did.  While the first way may lead to unnecessary conflict, the second way can lead to being taken advantage of by the person who had ill intentions, but is never held accountable for his or her actions.

No matter whether one makes a positive or a negative assumption about the intentions of the other, the operative word is “assumption”.  Assumptions are not truth.  I hope I am not taking this verse too far out of context, but it reminds me of the words of Jesus in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The only way we can learn the true intentions of others is to communicate.

We see, They see

lady-justice.gifA few weeks ago, I heard the following thought and it rang true to me. I wrote it down in order to ponder it.  The more I think about it, the more important it seems to me.

We judge ourselves by our intentions.
Others judge us by our behaviors.
We cannot see our own behaviors.
Others cannot see our intentions.

To complicate matters even more, the “we” and the “others” changes constantly. At the same time that I am being judged by someone by my behavior, I am judging them by their behavior.

This miscommunication is the source of much fighting, loss of friendships and even wars.  Sometimes I wonder how we humans manage to get along as well as we do.  Mostly I wonder how we can do better.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

A good friend said to me yesterday, “I hope at the end of 2009, you will say that this was one of the best years of your life.'” What a terrific thought! It reminds me that, although I cannot control everything that happens to me, I potentially have more input into how my life plays out than anyone else.

My prayer for 2009 is that I grow into the person that I was meant to be and that I be an influence for positive change as grow in loving God and loving others as myself. For you, I hope that each of you look back in a year and say to yourself, “What an awesome year 2009 was… I think it was the best one yet!”

2008 Collage (click to enlarge)

Collage and News

In 2000, I started a tradition of creating a collage of photos from the year and a newsletter then posting them on the internet. It was my special way of getting out of sending Christmas Cards. Now it has become a “must do”. Click these links to view the 2008 collage and 2008 news. To see past years, click the Family News menu above.

I hope to write some reflections on 2008 in the coming days even though it’s all out of order that way. I can write them later, but Happy New Year has to be done today and it is almost gone!