All children are born “gifted and talented.” While every child may not excel in athletic skill, artistic expression, or academic performance, every child does possess the resources of inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.
Poets, prophets, and philosophers have, for centuries, been pointing the way to true prosperity and successful living by using our inner gifts. We hear this wisdom in all of the world’s religions. We can even find guidance in fables and folk tales.
Consider the classic Sleeping Beauty story, for example. The princess, named Beauty, pricks her finger on a poisoned Read the rest of this entry »
Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues tells a story of young army recruits going through basic training at a boot camp in Mississippi during World War II.
It was the character named Epstein who most drew the attention of my heart as he demonstrated dignity and compassion despite being picked on by his sergeant and fellow recruits, mainly because he is Jewish and philosophical in his approach to life.
When the play open, Epstein appears to be a young man with a weak constitution. “Diagnosed with a nervous stomach,” he says, with a doctor’s report to prove it.
Yet, scrawny private Epstein stands strong and tall Read the rest of this entry »
One day Joanne noticed small dark spots on nearly all the leaves. Close inspection revealed that millions of tiny bugs had invaded her arboreal friend. She immediately called the homeowners’ association to report the problem and asked that the tree be treated.
Joanne was horrified when, a few days later, she came home to find the tree being chopped down. In fact, by the time she arrived, it was nearly gone, felled to the ground.
She regretted reporting the problem. “I should have sprayed it, tried some things myself, taken some other approach,” she repeated to herself and to all who would listen.
Day after day, Joanne mourned her missing tree. Where there had been beauty and vibrant life, there was now a barrenness in front of her home – no singing birds, no swaying branches, no soothing shade, no musical rustling of leaves – just a circle of stones, like a grave marker, around where the tree had stood.
Many months later, a shoot appeared from within that circle of empty red earth Read the rest of this entry »
I delighted in watching them add spoonfuls and scoopfuls of the ingredients. After the sugar, salt, yeast, water, milk, butter, and flour were mixed and kneaded, I said, “Oh, Alexis and Anthony. I almost forgot to add the love.”
Although lots of loving had been part of the process, I wanted to add love consciously. So I took a deep breath, smiled broadly, and kneaded a minute longer, while reciting, “Love, love, love…”
“I don’t see the love, Nana,” said Anthony. “Where is it? I want to see it.” Read the rest of this entry »