Actions YELL

         

How does it feel when somebody tells you that they will help you with a project, then doesn’t ever show up to work on it?  How does it feel when somebody tells you that they care about you, then ignores you for the next few weeks?  How does it feel when somebody tells you that they will be there for you, then finds every excuse not to have to listen to your drama?

I have experienced a few of the scenarios above and I can tell you that they make you feel horrible.  When people say one thing and do another, relationships can fall apart.  Not only does this hypocrisy cause great confusion but also a great amount of pain.  I recently met a person who caused me to reflect a lot on this topic.  Soon after meeting this person, I became very close to them, as they said that they had similar interests, morals, and values as me.  However, their actions demonstrated morals and values opposite of mine.  This realization caused me to remember the following quote…

I have since decided that I will judge people based on what they do rather than what they say.  People’s words can lie, but their actions can’t.  I have also decided that I will be an honest person in both my words and actions.

The common cliche “practice what you preach” is something that I try to live by.  I don’t ever want to be accused of being a hypocrite and therefore, if I say I will do something, I do it.  If I teach something, I make sure that my actions show that I truly believe it.  I challenge all who read this to try to accomplish the same.  Ask yourself each day, “Do my words match up to the things I do?”  If they do, keep it up.  If not, work to make sure that they do line up.  It doesn’t matter whether you are the nicest person or the biggest jerk on the planet.  Whatever you are, own it in word and in action.  Not only will this change eliminate much drama from your life, it will allow you to be more confident in yourself as you know who you are and what you represent.

-Gabby

 

Mothers

I recently viewed this video in my physiology class during a career exploration presentation. A dental hygienist came into our class and discussed how her career decisions helped her to find happiness and fulfillment in life. As a mother of eight, she claimed that while she doesn’t always enjoy the everyday tasks of her paid job, she would never change it as it allows her to spend plenty of time with her children at home. She explained how she loves her job due to its flexible hours and security then proceeded to discuss how she has another job for which she doesn’t get paid in monetary value but rather in love and strengthened relationships. She is a mom. Like in the video, she spends hours cleaning up after kids, feeding kids, and listening to / advising kids and never complains.

The experiences she shared about being a mother reminded me of my own mother and helped me to realize all the sacrifices she makes on my behalf and on the behalf of my five siblings. Each day she wakes up early not because she has to, but because we have to and she doesn’t want to miss seeing us all off to school. Each day she does hours of laundry, not because she has a lot of clothes, but because she wants to make sure that we have clean clothes to wear the next day. Each day she spends hours cleaning while no one is there to help, not because she loves it, but because she wants us to feel comfortable and orderly in our house. This is only the beginning of a long list of the tasks my mother carries out each day. There have been times when I ask my mother why she decided to have six children when she knew that she would end up being a highly underpaid nurse/cook/maid/therapist/ect. Even when I question her, my mother never complains, she never regrets, and she never denies how much joy she receives from being a mother.

Her example has helped me to realize that true happiness in life comes from serving others and developing relationships. Someday I hope to take everything that I have learned from her and apply it to a family of my own and I too will learn to never complain, never regret, and never deny.

-Gabby

Language

Today’s post is dedicated to a topic that everyone can relate to; a topic that each and every person encounters and must experience throughout their lives.  It makes us different from others, yet like others.  It makes us strong but can also initiate debilitating weakness.  It is thought, it is said, but it also silent.  It is language.

Language is a broad term that describes how people expresses themselves and how they interact with others.  Sometimes language is manifest in words, sometimes in signals, and sometimes in silence and stillness. Language is always present no matter what the circumstances.  Lack of words, signals, and sounds is a language in itself.  Author Peter Drucker said, “the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”  This is a skill that only comes when a person devotes time studying various forms of language.

Recently in my english class, we have been reading the Catcher in the Rye, a novel that greatly analyzes the honesty of words in ones own language.  The narrator, Holden Caulfield often uses words to please others with no intention of demonstrating the qualities he says he will.  At one point in the novel, Holden is having a conversation with one of his professors who is concerned that Holden is not taking his life seriously.  ” Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future boy?” questions the professor.  Followed by Holden’s reply, ” Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all right.  Sure.  Sure I do.”  Holden pleases his teacher using this simple language however, later on Holden takes no action to save himself from getting kicked out of the school, demonstrating his true lack of care. His body language contradict his word language.  Which is more honest than?

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Throughout the course of this school year, I have explored the power of language as I took two AP languages (English and Spanish), studied a new vernacular in Physiology, and also had personal experiences with words.  After all of my studying, I have concluded that one of the powerful forms of language is one that combines words, signals, sounds, silence and actions.  It is music.  Music has always played a huge role in my life as I loved singing before I could talk, began playing the violin at age 4, and began playing the piano at age 8.  I am constantly listening to music, humming music, or making music. I have never been great at showing or even saying what I feel, however, I have never had a problem expressing what I am thinking by writing a piano song, or singing.  For years, Spanish was a rather monotonous class until I began to fall in love with the Hispanic culture through their music.  While sometimes I don’t know what they were saying, I can feel what they are expressing through the melody.  Music is a universal language that allows people from every background to relate.

What is your preferred language?  Is it fashion, dance, art, sports, etc?

The Dock

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Tattered, white, wood planks, rest side by side, gently kissing the water as it passes beneath them.  They are held together by hundreds of long, silver spikes that promise to never let go.  Allowing man to fulfill their lifelong dream of walking on the cool, cerulean water and watching children judge who can make the greatest cannonball splash.  All the while, it’s guarding careless boats from drifting down the winding river and aiding wake boarders getting in and out of the water.  The dock performs each and every one of its duties with poise and perfection.       

        The dock is a place where one can cry, where one can laugh, and where one can scream and never be judged. The dock is a place where families gather to spend much needed time together.  The dock is a place where excitement and serenity coexist constantly.  It is also the only place where there can be much commotion, yet the scene remains motionless.  Every emotion that one has on the dock, is felt, heard, and remembered by the dock.  Each time one returns to the dock, they are greeted with the most genuine friendship; a kind of friendship that one can only have with their most intimate of friends.  Everyone and everything considers the dock a friend.  The enormous, scarlet sun greets the dock as it enters the morning, with an honest smile.  Countless, silvery doves land to enjoy their morning meal on the dock.  Hundreds of stick-like, teal blue dragonflies bring their babies for tending and being blessed by the dock.    

        Along with its many duties and qualities, the dock has many talents.   The dock spends all day softly humming the most beautiful tunes ever purred; then spends all night dancing gaily, with the bright and lovely stars.  The dock has the rare ability to trump any writer’s block.  Because of the dock, the most divine and refined pieces have come to exist, the most elegant music has been composed, and the most angelic dances have been choreographed.  No other object has contributed more to the world than the dock.  The dock’s work is never done, but the dock never complains.         

– Gabby Johnson

Who Are You When No One’s Looking?

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Society as a whole seems to judge people based on the big decisions in life (such as career choice, marriage partner, or family) and disregard the everyday decisions that we all make.  I believe that it is these seemingly small, every day decisions that bring to light our true character.  After all, it is these choices that give us the experience necessary to make life’s more significant decisions.

One decision that we each make every day,  one of the most telling decisions we make, is what to do with our free time.  While we often complain about not having enough of it, we all do have it and must decide carefully what we do with it.  How we choose to use our free time speaks a great amount about our character.  It is in the moments in which we have no prior commitments that our true intentions and desires are shown.  What do you do in your free time?  Do you spend hours viewing others productive use of their free time on social media? Do you pretend to be learning great hand-eye coordination while playing endless video games? Do you play basketball with your little sister? Do you study extra for the big exam you have coming up? No matter what you do, whether you realize it or not, you are exhibiting your honest nature.  After spending the majority of the week at school or work, it is very east to feel that spending the weekend relaxing in front of the television is deserved, and it well may be.  However, these hours are precious; hours we cannot get back, hours we cannot relive, hours we cannot afford to waste.  We must treat these hours as such by being productive; by learning a new skill, by perfecting an old one, or by helping others to do the same.  There is not enough time in our lives for us to feel justified in misusing any time we are blessed with.

Another decision, similar in significance to the one discussed above is what we do when no one is around, who we are when no one’s looking.  When your boss gives you an assignment to do in your office all by yourself, what do you do? Do you work diligently on the project, perfecting it until the time it is due? Do you play around on your phone until it gets closer to the due date, then finish it quickly so you can say it’s done?  When you are taking a test at lunch and the teacher leaves the classroom, what do you do? Do you look on his desk at the answer key you saw when he pulled out a blank test for you? Do you continue to take the test with your integrity still intact?  In each of these situations only you will know the resolution.  This is precisely why these decisions are so important and why they model your genuine disposition.  It is in moments like these, that we decide who we really are and what we really stand for.

Month of Gratitude

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Each year around November first my mom encourages my brothers, sisters, and I to start a gratitude journal and write in it consistently throughout the month.  These journals, written in every day, simply contain a list of things that we are grateful for.  Every day we are to look for things in our lives that we typically overlook, that we are grateful for, and write them in our journal.  Sometimes our entry is composed of a description of the person, item or experience, while other times we just record the word.  Either way however, I have discovered that the more I look for things to be grateful for, the more things I realize I am grateful for.  In my experiences keeping a gratitude journal, I have found out that I am much happier when I am constantly searching for reasons to be thankful.

While writing down blessings that you’ve noticed in your life is a great habit to start, it means nothing if you do not share this gratitude with those who have made your list possible; whether that be people in your life who are on the list or people who have made specific things on your list possible.  From a very young age my parents have taught me to be gracious and to always say thank you.  While I am not even close to being perfect at this, I make a conscious effort each day to let people know when and how they’ve made a difference in my life.

Hard Work, Work

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“Hard work, work…hard work, work…hard work, work…”  Each Saturday morning these words ring throughout my entire house as my dad blasts the US Army Cadence: Hard Wok song through the kitchen speakers.  Though the cruel beat of this chant often frightens me awake, I have begun to value the suggestions of these simple lyrics.

From a very young age my parents have demonstrated to me the value and importance of hard work.  For as long as I can remember, I have had household chores and yard duties, intended to help me learn how to work and why to work.  My chores ranged from feeding the family pets to ironing my dad’s and brother’s dress shirts.  While I haven’t always enjoyed some of these monotonous tasks, I now greatly appreciate all of the skills and attitudes I have acquired from completing them.  Skills and attitudes that will allow me to be a successful human being and a contributing member of society.

I often wonder why so many parents nowadays steal these privileges from their children;  why they do anything and everything for their children rather than helping them develop the competence to achieve these same tasks on their own.  When I asked my mom about this she informed, “As a mother (and father), it is much easier to do the work yourself, than to try and teach a young, stubborn child to do it.”  She went on to explain how when you teach a child how to do a specific chore, you often end up having to recheck and redo their work multiple times as they do not finish it the way you would like.  Even though my mother experienced this difficulty hundreds of times, she never quit setting high expectations of her children.  Her unselfish dedication to teaching my siblings and me good work ethics has helped me to value hard work.

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While my dad hasn’t physically taught me how to clean bathrooms or do laundry, his example has taught me the benefits of hard work.  His dedication to his jobs has allowed me to understand the why of hard work.  There are days when I’m sure my dad is exhausted and would rather not take business calls, go to meetings, or send countless emails, however, he never complains.  Instead, he embraces his opportunities and is gracious that he is able to provide for his family so well.  Sometimes my dad assists us during chore time and has a strange way of making us all enjoy it more.  Not only does he try and make the work more fun for himself, but also makes everyone else love it as well.

There is no greater compliment than to be called a hard worker.  This is a trait that few posses yet many more need to learn in order to create a more successful world.  The development of hard work begins in the home.  Each individual has a role in promoting the growth of hard work.  For parents, your duty is to teach your children how to work, and then set expectations for them to accomplish.  For children, your obligation is to help out, while keeping the murmuring to a minimum.  Are you doing you’re part?

Believers

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Recently, a man was sharing a story with me about an experience that he had at work.  As a sales manager this man has a team of people that he oversees.  Occasionally people throughout the company will be moved onto different teams for a variety of reasons.  In one particular case, one employee, who had a bad record with his manager, was transferred to this man’s team.  Instead of approaching this new team member with a negative attitude, he told the man, “I don’t know what happened with your previous boss, and quite honestly, I don’t care.  You are going to be a great addition to this team and I can’t wait to utilize your abilities.”

Rather than focus on what his previous boss had said about him, this manager decided to give this man a chance.  A chance to prove he’s good a what he does.  A chance to do better than he had before.  A chance to be believed in.  Through these simple words of encouragement the manager demonstrated from the beginning that he was willing to work with and help this struggling employee succeed.  Since then, the employee has now worked in various positions on the team and has excelled in each position.  Because he knew that someone was expecting great things from him; he has accomplished much more than he had before.

This story made me ponder the power that positive encouragement towards others has.  In order for people to preform at their best ability, they need someone who believes in them.  Someone who tells them they can be better than they are.  Someone who shows them they care.  Someone who listens to the complaints and transforms them into opportunities.  We each have our own believers; often it is parents, family members, church leaders, or friends.  It is crucial that we figure out who these believers are, thank them, and always keep them close.

While we all have our own believers, we all have the chance to be believers.  We have family, and friends that need our support daily. Often times it can be difficult to believe in other people because we have been let down so many times before or because we have previous knowledge about a person’s character.  However, like the sales manager, we should focus on what people can be, rather than what they have been.  We should think more about what we can do to help people improve themselves rather than taunt them for past mistakes.  We should work harder to be believers.

EMBARK

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Twinning “embark” t-shirts given to my group of friends and me at a youth group conference.

Embark: A beautiful word filled with meaning that most don’t ever think to explore.  By dictionary definition, embark is a verb that means to begin; however, the word itself suggest much more than simply to begin.  From the carefully shaped e to the perfectly structured k, embark offers a feeling of mysterious and uncertain hope.  It recommends a positive and even an optimistic attitude about an upcoming journey.  While often applied to traveling (“embark on a ship or train”), each day we choose whether we want to go on a journey or embark on an adventure.  The key to this choice is our attitude.

Whether our daily journey includes vacationing at a cabin in the mountains, attending school, or even going to work, we make the choice to either embark on the events of the day or simply endure these same events.  It seems as though the better choice is obvious; however, I know many people (including myself) who often choose the more negative approach.  Why is this? Why do we choose to be unhappy and negative about situations or events in our lives that we have no control over?  Why do we choose to make ourselves miserable by acting as though we are?

Today in my psychology class we learned about how acting a certain way can make you become that certain way.  We discussed a principle that I like to refer to as the “as if” principle: if you want to be a certain way or think a certain way, act as if you are that way and eventually you really will be that way.  I believe that this is one reason that we chose to find misery instead of pleasure in our daily tasks.  It is very common for people in our society to talk negatively about a situation that they’re in, purely because they have nothing else to say.  They are afraid of silence so they fill it with negativity rather than leaving it in peace.

I have noticed that often times when a teacher gives the students time to talk amongst each other about whatever they’d like. the phrases “It’s hot in here,’ “I’m hungry,” “I can’t wait for this to be over,” “I want to sleep,” and “I want to go home,” are always echoed throughout the class.  I have been guilty of using these phrases repeatedly; even though much of the time they aren’t even true.

We need to get out of the habit of looking for the negative and complaining about every situation and instead choose to (or act as if we are) making the best  of whatever setting we find ourselves in.  We need to choose to embark on the thrilling adventure that every day life brings.

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Photo 2014 Vörös © (Zoltán Vörös)

  • Gabby Johnson

Words and Language.. What does it say about us?

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Does your choice of words and the way you speak define you?

Your choice of words and the way you speak are two definite qualities of your personality and the way you act. In the book “Catcher In The Rye” young Holden has a distinct plethora of foul words, and informal diction. These words he uses show us exactly who he is. He is a young man in a weird period of his life. An edgy soul who if fit for adventure and to challenge society.

At school, I communicate every day with classmates. Students use certain words and say certain things in certain circumstances. For example-Filters on our everyday vocabulary are put on when talking out loud to the class. We use intricate and elaborate words to demonstrate the point were trying to prove. (That’s how it is in AP English). If you think about it, the words we use everyday are different around certain audiences, only because the words we use show the type of person we are.
Now obviously I’m not going to speak to my friends the same way I would speak to my teachers because I want to leave a good impression on them. My vocabulary with my friends however is much different. I don’t go around saying negative, judgmental, and hateful things like Holden from the novel, but The way I speak is a little more lose and explicit.

Choices of words can also let people know how one is feeling about a certain topic. Without even reading into detail on what the stance of a journalists article is, you can usually tell within the first paragraph where they stand. For example, I read an article about global warming by NASA the other day, and I knew their stance was on the side that global warming is real, and we need to act now. The author of this article conveys his message through his choice of words and the way he delivers them.

Communication is key in today’s society, it helps get what you want, and it helps you succeed in all fields. Your choice of words, at a certain time, define who you are, and what goes on in your mind, just like Holden Caulfield, we too can speak our mind, and say how we feel through communication, and language.

It’s been a great year.
This is Connor, Signing Off.