Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for… Unknown

Last night was another interesting night at Toastmasters. After the meeting, a bunch of us went out for a drink and some had a bite to eat. Over my peppermint tea, I listened as members waxed poetically about their childhood. They believe and I wonder if it is true that we enjoyed our childhoods more than our children have enjoyed theirs?

Is this what every generation believes? We need to let children play. Isn’t that what we did as kids, and what kids will always do when given the opportunity? I wonder about people in our midst who complain when they hear the exuberant sounds of children playing. What would they rather hear?

Organized activities are great and I am grateful we have them. But, they are not the only activities our children should be involved in. Children should be able to run and play, put together pick-up games, and pound on pianos without being expected to produce glorious music. Children should be encouraged to paint with exuberance inside the lines, outside the lines, and with no lines at all.

One of the big lessons members spoke of was being cautioned about living above their means. It is something we should learn and teach even though the nuances of living that way may be fluid. We can, of course, get into lengthy discussions on good debt, bad debt, what is an asset, and what constitutes a liability.

A member talked about how cons work and the man who sold the Brooklyn Bridge was brought up. Some say George C. Parker sold the Brooklyn Bridge at least twice a week, one time for as much as $50,000. How would anyone believe he owned it and had the right to sell it? A Nigerian scammer ended up on TV and he couldn’t believe that he with little education could scam educated people.

It seems we fall for scams and there is often a common theme:

Our need to feel part of a group is exploited.

Exclusivity and scarcity is used.

They exploit our knowledge gaps and pretend they can help us.

When all else fails they resort to intimidation and force.

Greed. We buy into the lure of easy money.

The people who do this get caught in the end. At least George C. Parker did and ended his life in prison.

Sometimes we may begin to get embroiled in something that doesn’t quite make sense.  We don’t listen to that still small voice that tells us “Whoa, are you sure about this, something doesn’t add up.” Instead, we forge ahead because we think we’ll look stupid if we stop now, and hope it will be okay. That is exactly what people who want to take advantage of us hope for. We lack self-preservation because looking stupid if we are wrong is more important than taking care of ourselves if we are right.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. Unknown

We need to be our own control board. Most of the time, we can’t be taken advantage of without our consent. Why do we consent? Why do we go along with what someone else wants instead of what we want? Why do we make their happiness more important than our own?

We think we need to be nice. We need to think of others. Don’t we need to look after ourselves first, so we can look after the other people in our lives? We need to remember to put our air mask on first, then offer help to those who need it. We need to be able to accept we’ve made a mistake. We’ve trusted someone we shouldn’t. We’ve made a bad decision, but instead of continuing down the wrong path we need to correct it. We will make mistakes, they are usually not fatal. We can adjust, change, acknowledge, regroup, and go forward, stronger, and, smarter.

We will make mistakes; they become part of the tapestry of our lives. If we learned from them they will be something we laugh at. Listening to people who have made mistakes and acknowledge their part in them makes us realize that is where the growth is. It isn’t hoping we’ll never make a mistake or beating our self up when we do, but learning from them that builds a great life.

We need to let go of resentment and self-pity and take responsibility for our lives. When we take responsibility for everything in our life we accept accountability, and we bear the burden of obligation. We can accept we have been hurt, and we have caused hurt. If we forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect, we can go forward, acknowledging our blessings and be better, not bitter.

Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart. That’s true strength. Chris Bradford

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life Paperback – Dec 23 2003

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