Contemplation of a Vice

This has become a transcription of Andy Stanley’s thoughts on “Killing It!”

Being in the Festive Season now, at Year End, and thinking about the year that has gone. Thinking about how to be better next year, how to not repeat mistakes and how to inspire and uplift next year, more than I break down. I came across the following set of thoughts on personal improvement and I wanted to share them:

What keeps me From… and Causes me to…

What keeps me from celebrating someone else’s success…

What keeps me from initiating an apology whether I am 5% wrong or 95% wrong…

What keeps me arguing a point no matter what…

What keeps me from admitting I lost…

What keeps me from admitting that I have weakness…

What keeps me from admitting I need help…

What keeps me from admitting that I don’t know what I am doing, even though everyone else knows that I don’t know what I am doing…

What keeps me from being honest with myself and others…

What keeps me from learning new things, or keeps me learning many things, because I want everyone around me to think that I know everything…

What causes me to feel good when others fail…

What causes me to power up when I should be opening up…

What causes me to cheat before giving up or losing…

What causes me to exaggerate the story…

What causes me to lie about my past, lie about a failed marriage, lie about the fact that I didn’t qualify without fail, lie in telling the story…

What causes me to have to have the final word…

What causes me to buy things to impress people who aren’t even paying attention to me…

… PRIDE …

Not the inspired by my children and good and honest things pride, but the “yucky” pride. The pride that is connected to the C.S. Lewis quote: “Unchasity, anger, greed, drunkenness… are mere fleabites in comparison… Pride leads to every other vice.”

This is the pride that we all have inside ourselves. We have all been the victim of it, in family and relationships. It is something we see so easily in others but battle to see in the mirror. Pride is ugly and insidious. For a contented and peaceful life, insidious pride, should be killed.

Stanley lists the following points:

Pride diminishes you. It makes us think we are bigger and better than we are, “it puffs us up”, but in reality: pride makes you smaller and diminishes our capacity to admit to things and apologise when necessary. “I know I should apologise…” but there’s an internal battle, and if you don’t apologise, then pride has won. It’s difficult to say what we need to say, and pride makes us smaller when we let difficulty win us over, instead of what saying what we should.

Pride diminishes our capacity to say what needs to be said. A compliment, without a jibe, without a nasty comment, without personal bitterness tagged on the end of it, is the result of pride. In the state of succumbing to pride, you can’t say what you need to or hear what you need to, or give what you need to give. If you give pride the remote control of your life: then when those moments come where you know inside yourself that you “need to” – you won’t, you don’t, you can’t… pride is really that strong in you, you genuinely can’t; and it can only go downhill from there.

Pride essentially diminishes our capacity to love.

Pride diminishes our capacity to receive love as well.

When you are full of you, there is no room for anyone else, and you don’t even know it when you are practising it. People walk on eggshells around you. People don’t know how to respond to you. People around you feel pressed up against a wall around you at work, or as friends, or in your family, because the slightest word from them and there will be conflict. Not necessarily in audio, but in passive-aggressive behaviour, in silence, or even in aggressive behaviour. Pride deprioritises everyone else in the room, there’s no room for anyone else but you.

Along with crowding people out, Pride also has the ability to crowd God (a higher power / a set of values higher than yourself to aspire to) out of your life too. Thus, in some cases: it is your pride, and not your intellect, that is keeping you from God. It is not how smart you are that is keeping you from faith, but your pride. One thought to gauge by: If the issue is intellect or pride? With your two or three valid arguments against God / a higher power; you take God / the higher power out of the equation: If you stiff arm the people in your life with your intellect, then it’s a pride thing.

In pride, prideful people seek what is best for themselves. In all of the proud man’s thoughts, there is no room for anyone else at all. The proud man is the centre of his universe.  Thus, pride is a prison that shuts others out. It’s a prison to your emotions – it doesn’t “feel” good to apologise, so pride gets you reasons not to; it doesn’t “feel” good to let the other person “win”, so pride gets you reasons not to “give in”.

Is your goal to have no-one love you at all? Sadly, that’s what bowing to pride creates…

If you aren’t sure if you have pride blocking your progression, ask those close to you: “In what ways do you think pride manifests itself in me?”

Or take this New Year to ask yourself: What does pride masquerade as in me? Confidence – masking arrogance? Intellect – masking feelings of inferiority? Fashion – masking insecurity? Sarcasm? Commitment to excellence? What is the reason behind why you practise what you practise? If it is healthy, great. If it honestly, is not, then it’s time to break up with pride and move on to better, healthier things. Why would you want to follow on with the something that has the potential to kill everything of true value to life and living?

To be able to enter Christmas in the truth of the Season, and the radical awesomeness of love, of a better approach to work, to your colleagues, and to your family and friends (how many are left?), take the steps that will help you say what needs to be said, hear what you need to hear, give what you need to give and be all you can be – do all you can to be the ultimate you…

http://killinitseries.org/

http://northpoint.org/messages/killin-it/

Pride says: “Wait” … Love says: “Initiate”

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Uplifting those who want to do good things for a better South Africa

As 250 delegates in the South African Parliament Buildings unite peacefully from 13h30 to 16h00 today (24 Nov), I am grateful. I am grateful that there are people willing to put their words into action. I am grateful that there are still people around who practise insurmountable faith. I am grateful that there are people living in my country who know the power of positive thoughts, who trust in the goal of peace, who know that South Africa is a beautiful, amazing and wonderful country that is worth holding on to and praying for. South Africa is worthy of praise, it is worthy of love, it is full of incredible, persevering, resilient and faith-filled individuals, many of whom will be joining their hearts and minds, together with the 250 people in the parliament buildings, to show that they believe in better. To show that man does not need to bow down to and accept the egos, selfishness, materialism and injustice of men living for themselves alone; that man can choose to acknowledge and be governed by what is Higher than broken men; more Worthy than criminality; more Loving than hurting men; more Grace-Abounding than revengeful men; more Trustworthy than selfish-ego-driven individuals; and more Wise and Awesome than the limited capacity of man. I am grateful for those serving more than a consumerist Black Friday, more than a bank account that has no meaning in eternity, and more than the instability and unreliability of themselves. I am so very grateful for the Amazing Power of Jesus Christ and Our Father in Heaven. I lift up hope, faith, peace, love, and all the things that my home country needs, to The Provider, The Ultimate, The ONLY who won’t let us down, and I am Thankful for the privilege and freedom that my country gives me to publically state this, and openly acknowledge that I LOVE my Country and My Father. I pray that all those around me will – in word, deed, action and thought – let victory be found in LOVE and a regeneration of the inherent goodness of South Africa and South Africans. In the Awesome Name of God, I lift up great thoughts and gratitude. AMEN!

Are teachers-in-training making themselves redundant?

This is a fairly long article for the just: Student teachers live on their cell phones, even in the classroom. Who needs a person dedicated to their phone, more than the children they are teaching, sitting at the front of the classroom? With projects like ‘Hole in the Wall’ taking off and granny clouds of retired individuals skyping en masse learners, should the upcoming teachers be so attached to their phones, that they actually can’t give the learners the 100% attention they deserve and need? If the phone is more important than the educator, why have an educator there, when Google can supply information? Why hire teachers who don’t focus 100% on engaging learners, when children can be given phones / tablets to stare at too?

It has been terrifying over the last decade to watch the new student teachers coming into schools to do their teaching practicals. Not only in South Africa, but around the world. Upon chaperoning a trip to Europe this year, along with my other international teaching experiences, it was evident that this is an international wave, not just a South African one. I also read an article recently at how high the new teacher drop-out rate is overseas.

Looking at the London schools I taught in and the metal detectors I had to go through. Listening to a teacher at a school in America where children get marks for arriving in class, and for putting the correct information at the top of the page they hand in. Hearing at one point that Australia had the highest teenage suicide rate in the world. Having our Greek Tour Guide tell us that she believed we were good teachers and that there weren’t many of those left. Has left me despondent at where the ancient practice of teaching is heading.

Our Greek Tour Guide spoke of the many school tours she had guided and how the unruly children usually had teachers who did not care, or teachers who were just there to do a job and take home a pay cheque. She spoke of how the teachers even went to nightclubs with the children. Yet, there we were, three seasoned teachers with a group of teens who had a Greek Town ice-cream shop giving them free ice-creams because the owner was so thrilled that they were so friendly, polite and well-mannered! Our Greek Tour Guide told us that this was only because of the teachers, us, taking our roles seriously and being dedicated to our role as role models, thus creating the well-mannered learners that we had brought with us. Of course, the trip was not without the usual need to curb teen behaviour, but for the most part, times were kept, discipline was maintained and education was happening.

From our side of the conversation, we were confused, because being a teacher was a calling with a purpose to be role models and upskill young people to be the best that they can be. We knew our role was to be the parent in parental absence (and not the ‘friend’), so discipline would be issued when the need arose and rude behaviour would be dealt with immediately. Our Tour Guide told us that few of the tours and teachers she had encountered saw their roles as we did. As we listened to Ancient Greek history, we were told that the Olympics were for the body, the Universities for the mind and the theatre for the soul and moral teaching of the nation. As a drama teacher, I know that Dramatic Arts is always on the bottom of the selection list for learners (and budget for schools), yet that is where morals are discussed in depth through text and empathised on stage. As I watch new teachers making themselves redundant through the umbilical cord to their mobile phones, and their inability to empathise with the learners wanting to engage more, I am terrified at what the future holds. Machines to teach a textbook, no discussion. An elimination of the Arts as they aren’t ‘reason’ subjects, but reality-empathy-internally focused subjects, creates an environment for computers alone. A creation of a generation of individuals who are unable to engage with others; and their inability to engage is affirmed by their teachers, horrifies me.

The Tour Guide’s opinion was then confirmed on our ferry ride to Italy, where a teacher with another group left the teenagers to do what they felt like, include pester our young boys, right next to our teachers’ cabin. We literally went out of our cabin numerous times to ask them to leave us alone and go to bed, but they were relentless in being annoying and showing themselves as desperate to get to the boys, it was a horrible experience, especially as one of our boys was badly seasick in the process – the foreign girls, however, felt nothing, and have probably never encountered the concept of empathy, their teacher did not assist us or even check on any of his learners once. Having seen illegal refugees climbing under the trucks boarding the ferry and later having things stolen on the ferry (not that these two things are connected, by any means), we were surprised that the other teacher really had no interest in the safety or behaviour of his learners.

In having worked through other situations, and having personally seen the power a teacher has to create the entire ambiance and ethos of their class’s behaviour; I know the great power that one human being has to change the way an entire class of children see, face, deal with and encounter their daily life. How can this happen if the teacher’s focus is “self” and “phone”? An example of my ambiance point from many years ago: One group went through our high school starting in grade 8 together and moving on up to grade 12 through the years. In the one subject, there were two classes, each with a different teacher. The one class entered a final practical examination supporting each other and sharing information and helping each other, the other class held onto their information, wanted to ‘be the top student’, and were underhanded in some of the things they said and did. After observing what I had, I spoke about my observations to a colleague as I couldn’t figure out why the two classes were so very different: what would cause such discrepancy, when they were all of the same year? My colleague told me to move my thoughts to the teacher in charge. When I did, it became clear to me what she meant. She said that our classes become who we are as we lead them and those two classes had each had the same teacher for that subject for three years, thus they had taken on the life approach of the respective teachers. The one teacher being a sharing, caring, let’s do this together teacher, and the other being a controlling, competitive teacher who preferred to work in isolation. The realisation scared me. Who was I as a teacher? How were the learners be manipulated, and changing their approach to life, through what I was subliminally teaching them? Which was the better approach to have? Looking at the classes, the sharing and caring ones were undoubtedly happier and far more relaxed than the ones who were fearing failure and building up insecurities they may never even realise they had.

This influence that a teacher has, that goes beyond the intellectual and academic, is very real. What would a computer-taught child thus become? Human beings who are becoming teachers just to get a pay cheque at the end of the month are fast becoming a norm in the classroom. Student teachers came in to a school do their practicals a couple of years ago and some of them slept in the computer room during the day. On several occasions they ‘forgot’ or ‘didn’t know’ that they were supposed to teach a class. Even with a bare minimum timetable, they were unable to be prepared enough to teach the lessons. I have even had student teachers where I have had to correct them because they weren’t teaching correct factual information because they didn’t understand the concepts themselves. There had been no initiative to find out, only the thought that the children will believe whatever they were told.

My honours lecturer came into one of our lectures the one evening ready to break things because about 50% of her education major undergraduates had sat messaging their friends on their phones throughout her lecture, not even looking up to read the presentation slides on the screen. New teachers and interns are continually asked not to be on their phones in class. I have had observation lessons where a student has spent about 75% of my lesson distracting me as they sat on their phone at the back of the room, barely even lifting their head. Showing no desire to learn, no desire to grow, no respect for the teacher and no respect for the children.

In an altercation at yet another school: the live-in student teachers / stooges / interns decided that they shouldn’t have to do night duties in boarding and that the school should give emergency phones between the duty student teachers’ area and the boarding house, so that if there was any emergency, then the children could phone them. What shocked the experienced staff even more than the idea of leaving children without an adult present, was the self-orientation of the future teachers. It was like all the years of devotion and sacrifice of the older teachers to create helpful, considerate and giving individuals, who put others first, were a complete waste. The new era of up and coming teachers were showing them that the safety of the children was less of a priority than their personal comfort and the use of a phone. That knowing the children had an adult present was less important than the students being able to be where they felt like being. That behaving like an adult / a parent / a person who can be trusted to look after children was less important than being a teenager themselves. Thankfully, the ruling remained and the duties stuck so that the children would have adult presence 24-7, but even so, the shock of the truth in the approach of these soon to be teachers was like a punch in the stomach to those who teach out of love and sacrifice to make the world a better place for all and not just themselves.

Maybe, if the future of education is now in the hands of selfish and immature individuals, then maybe this idea of electronic education with no unsuitable role model on their phone at the front of the classroom, is not a bad idea after all… I know I had teachers who changed my life through their love and selflessness, and I’m not sure real teaching can happen without those gifts.

Thanks / Apology – you pick – Car service dealerships causing me anger

A year ago I had all those hassles with purchasing a second-hand car from a reputable dealership. Unfortunately, the purchase did not go smoothly and I had to fight for the dealership to sort out the problems with the Suzuki. Notably the damaged caliper pins, the shaking car idling and the paint scratches. This followed on to include faulty windscreen wipers, a stiff steering wheel, and a car where the engine stayed on after the ignition was turned off.

After eventually getting into the dealer principal’s office he took it on to sort it out. He took it to the Suzuki Mount Edgecombe, Flanders Drive group, who had previously seen the car. The problems were fixed and the car has run well this year.

Then today, as it is 12 months later and I am doing a long road trip next week, I took the car in to the people who ‘fixed’ the complaints I originally had. Unfortunately, I was dealing with them this time and not the dealer principal. It took me three different people to get to someone who could give me directions and half an hour for him to call me back. This morning in trying to get there in delayed traffic the receptionist panicked at my call and couldn’t help. When I was lost and called, she needed to transfer me to someone to help me, I couldn’t hold in case I ran out of airtime, so I stopped on the side of the road to ask builders where I had to turn to get to Suzuki Service. 07h50 I arrive. I check in the car.

09h00 we get a lift to Gateway because they were short on drivers and cars to lift people.

In the morning I get a call to seal nicks in my windscreen.

Later I get a message at 13h45 that my car has gone into the service section. Then at 14h45 they phone to ask me to pay over R4000 for two CV Boots! Then over R3000 for an ignition clean! To ask me to pay over R10 000 in total! I turn them down, knowing a CV boot costs R650 from my last car ordeals.

I get the car back and all that had been fixed a year ago has been unfixed! The engine runs briefly after the ignition is turned off. The car now revs at 1000 when it is parked in neutral!?! At 80km it sits over 3500 revs! Never has it done this in the whole year! The steering wheel is tight again and the car isn’t as smoothly running as it was. Even the windscreen wipers are a problem again 😦

I now know that it was the Suzuki guys and not the dealership’s fault a year ago! But this time I don’t have a dealer principal to fight for me.

SUCKS!

Sending Prayers BIG time at the moment for God’s provision to help me rectify what Suzuki Service Centre have mucked up – at more cost of my own – Dear Lord, Help, Please. Amen

 

 

I can’t figure out why #frustrated #stuck

Friday 23 June 2017

Well, here I sit. 18h27 in a classroom on a far off farm, 20km from ‘civilisation’. Where the bore holes have run out of water. Thank-You Lord, for my showers when I get them! Amen!

And what am I thinking: “Why? Why did I end up here? Like this?” I know ‘how’ I got here, what decisions I made, the course of progress that brought me here. BUT, I can’t figure out the ‘why’.

I can’t act out here, there isn’t even a group of people to start an Amateur Dramatic Society with. In addition to that, if there were, my 24-7 workload between teaching and boarding keeps me so exhausted I merely function. My writing has gone out the window to stress and over-work. My poetry has dried up with the drought we are having. Voice overs are not a thing that anyone here has even heard of. There is no staff bonding, no staff development as human beings, no staff Spiritual upliftment or get-aways like my ex-colleague has at her school. Nothing. It’s just meeting, meeting, meeting, do, do, do, emails, emails, emails, work, work, work 😦

It is a spot in the world from which everyone seems to perpetually try to escape. All because it’s like they want to drown you in work and deadlines and expectations that are super human. The only way to keep up is to be at work and doing work ALL THE TIME. And you aren’t even getting a tenth of what the bankers and execs get paid for all their hours and hours. We haven’t even signed off reports for the second term and I have to put together budgets for 2018 (bearing in mind the 2017 budget was only received last month and my department lost the money because our performances were in March!). I also have to set my entire timetable for five grades by next week, along with my testing timetable! All this for over 5 weeks away!

So I sit here – shattered from all the work. Demotivated for never having any quality human adult time. Sending email after email after email to parents for irresponsible learners. Wasting my time – literally. Literally wasting THE MOST PRECIOUS resource I have. Wasting it, like it means nothing, like I mean nothing. Like every word and every request from me, means nothing. It’s so very depleting, especially when I am doing the best I can without actually falling apart (God is the glue right now). I have told ‘those in charge’ and then get told I’m not working quick enough? I have to kill myself more and mark faster! … Wait for it… so marks can be ready more than 9 school days BEFORE reports go out! Never mind that my Grade 12 work meant having to take my Sunday afternoon to another teacher 150km away from the school to get it moderated… (Thank-You Lord for her help!)

So why? Why am I in a place where I can’t write, I can’t act, I can’t do voice overs, I can’t sleep in case a knock arrives at my door because I am on duty. I can’t get to a church, purely because I can’t actually find the physical energy to do so. I’m hesitant to drive the 20km to get to anything in town, as the trucks and traffic on the street-light-less freeway is just not the easiest to drive.

How do I force myself out of fatigue and overwork to do anything, when everything seems to be pushing against me? I know I am not to lean on my own understanding. I know that I need to trust God. I know that He is good. I know that He won’t leave me… But now, here, so often it crosses my mind that I am not a believer. That I missed some prayer somewhere, or some dunking under water, or something that would make me know why. (And my gut replies that this is not the case…) Know what I am doing here, when it feels worse than the Ancient Guy who was doomed for eternity to push a boulder up and hill and watch it roll down again; and repeat; and repeat; and repeat…

I have been here a year now. I have not written what I wanted to. I have not settled in to find any joy. I have not found anyone or anything here to be a source of inspiration for anything: I have not made many crafts, I have not coloured much or painted or made any “Pass It On” books. I have not been inspired with any projects like I used to be. I have not created poetry, I have not been invited to join any social events I could attend, and I have not written anything of substance, or meaning, or relevance to anything in the world at all… It feels like a waste being here, like my precious time is literally being wasted… Yet, another force seems to tell me to stay, seems to be wanting me to be here, right here in this place…

So Why? Why am I on this farm far away from everything, frustrated and believing that God is saying “Wait through this”… I do not understand – AT ALL.

I never imagined this. I never forethought anything like this. I never manifested anything like this. I absolutely do not recall anything in my mind or past that could have created where I am now, nothing. So why? If not manifested, if not pre-created, if not visualised, if not prayed for, if not desired, why? And then maybe back to the question I thought I could answer: “How”? How did the options that arrived with me and led me here, arrive with me in the first place?

I’m only blogging this because I have nothing in me to blog. I have nothing in me that is inspired to be created or dying to be written. Not even a Twitter Poem 😦 Inside me is a blank nothingness of the frustration of not understanding why all seems to have been taken from me, to now make me be just an unappreciated servant.

Dear Lord, for whatever reason you have placed me here, or need me here, please let it be short-lived Father, please. For You know the plans, but I have reached unmotivated, duty-orientated nothingness where all my time is draining away with nothing being achieved or created. Lord? Oh, Lord 😦

Biggest disease of 21st century: Selfishness

This disease of “me, me, me, me” has bothered me for a VERY long time, not excluding myself as a sufferer, and it seems to be getting worse!

Take for example my living circumstances. I am a boarding mistress at a school 20km away from a shop. There are two people ‘managing’ the boarding establishment facilities. In lieu of monetary payment I was told I would get accommodation, food and use of facilities. I arrive. No, food is only when the learners are present. I have no kitchen in my boarding room.

No, we do not accommodate gluten-free individuals, you have lived with this in your life and you need to make a plan. With my picky food choices and temperamental constitution, I said fine, I will make a plan. I am making plans with left overs or what I can get when I can drive out to the shops and what I can cook in a microwave, what I can cook that won’t set off the temperamental fire alarm.

Accommodation, I learn, that the water is‘on’ in boarding when the learners are there – term time. Then it gets switched off. So I have had to make plans whilst staying there with regards to showers, because I LIVE there outside of learner terms. I am hoping that now that I have bothered the maintenance man a few times to turn on the water, I may now get to have the water. I am waiting to see.

I was chaperoning overseas and received a WatsApp message that I would not be able to use the laundry on my return with 3 weeks of washing. After a load of requesting, (no pun intended) those of us returning from tours eventually got permission to use the laundry. Upon arrival the room had been guarded and the locks changed and the room literally now hosts only: a washing machine and tumble dryer. The tumble dryer is necessary because of the mould and mildew problem in the boarding house.

I go there this “FREEDOM DAY”, the irony! And they have put an inserta lock in the door so I may not wash my laundry where I live. I am not ‘free’ to do my washing. That’s sheets, towels and 4 loads (between darks and colours) of 10 days of living-activity-wear-dirty clothes!

Beyond angry that on top of a teaching load that was distributed between three full time drama teachers last year, which I now have to do on my own at this school, I now have to add, to my day and night boarding duties, extra support classes and afternoon lessons, more washing because ‘they’ won’t keep the laundry room open over a long weekend?!?!

I asked the bank teller what she thought and she said that it is COMMON SENSE that people need to do their washing! I asked a friend’s mom and she said that is just thoughtless and that the management haven’t locked themselves out of their own washing machine. I told a teacher at another school and she said “That’s ridiculous!” I told another teacher friend at a different school and what did she say: “That is so selfish!”

Indeed – SELFISH! No consideration for other human beings and what they need; and this is when it is there job to consider other people because they are in charge of “BOARDING!”

Selfish in that if there is a reason for this, then why hasn’t anyone been told? Selfish in that I have recently had a meeting where boarding management hauled me over the coals for asking too many questions and wanting too much information! Apparently, if the learners need to ask me questions, because I am the “boarding mistress” I must tell them that I don’t know, and I must look like I am incompetent because my superiors want to hold INFORMATION to THEMSELVES!

This school is the Twilight Zone for me! For those old enough to remember the TV show of bizarre happenings. Complete Twilight Zone.

It is bizarre that the world is PUMPING: “Communication, communication is the key to everything” and it has made communication WORSE. Like a literal example of THE BLIND DO NOT SEE and the DEAF DO NOT HEAR.

So many other examples of selfishness all around: Smokers, where their secondary smoke is more hazardous for those around them, than what they are inhaling. Where their desire to die early through cancer, means they are actively deciding that someone else should take care of them when they are hooked up to machines and riddled with cancer. They are actively depriving their families – if they have them – of extra income for everyone to share, due to the cigarettes themselves and the higher medical aid rates, or the transport costs to hospitals, or whatever one can whittle it down too. “I earn the money I can do what I like with it” – I, I, I, mine, mine, mine! Self, self, self. How did the world get to this place that is destroying relationships?

Phones and “Selfies”. More and more and more Instagram sites are purely pictures of the Self. There are literally no other photos, no awareness of any beautiful sites around, just photos of the one person who owns the phone. Why? Narcissism? Am I just not a fan of looking at myself and now I can’t understand why others are obsessed with themselves?

Depression? The desire to focus only on myself and wallow in self-pity about me… how is that healthy? Even David in the Bible suffered from depression when his son died, but he made sure he got up each morning and washed and ate and got on with his day as king. A son born later became the one who furthered the genetic line to eventually lead to the birth of Jesus Christ. If David had have stayed focused on himself, committed suicide, locked himself away, been selfish, both the Old and New Testament would have fallen apart and a story aging thousands of years would not have been.

Divorce? I married him/her because s/he made ME happy. I’m divorcing him/her because s/he doesn’t make ME happy anymore. Is the problem monogamy or selfishness? We raise girls to be ‘independent’ now, has that been over-enforced to now create a group of women who don’t know how to love? Who don’t know how to care for others / about others? Who don’t know how to handle sharing dependency? Women who think about themselves first? Is all this hype about ‘know yourself’, be with ‘yourself’, hear ‘yourself’ really what propaganda cracks it up to be? I am still super single, spinster of note, and this ‘be with yourself’ stuff has caused me more headaches and doubt than anyone else I know. It’s selfish. When do epiphanies arrive? When I am helping others, engaging with others, conversing with others, that’s when.

Suicide? I can’t do this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t care that a large group of people are going to be distraught, broken and irreconcilable for the rest of their lives because of my actions.

Addictions? A lack of desire to control self. A lack of ability to speak out to others and ask for help. An inability to see outside of self and see the damage being created – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually. And others who don’t want to help, or don’t bothering helping properly and continuously, because “I don’t feel like it”, “I don’t want to”, “Why should I?”. I, I, I.

War, power, control? I must be ‘right’. I have to ‘protect’ myself. Who defined that ‘right’? “Protected” from who? From what? Why? I must keep my “stuff”? Why? It’s going to be out of reach when you are dead anyway. I must have ‘money’? Why do you need trees broken down and turned into paper with a particular picture on? Why do we need to be surrounded by stuff to be comfortable? Not excluding me, I am a terrible hoarder.

Entitlement? I deserve x, y, z, because I think I do. Can you even get more selfish? One who has done nothing but take from others and thinks that it is ‘right’ to do so? “I must get what I want purely because I want it”? Selfishness – staying in the mentality of a two-year-old, mine, mine, mine, without doing any work, without earning, without deserving, just ‘give it to me’. Someone else must sacrifice, someone else must work, someone else must organise and then just give it to me, because I haven’t graduated from my diapers and I don’t want to … We are moving to a state where there are going to be no more ‘someone else’s’ left because they would have died off.

Selfishness – a disease indeed, and one the majority of the world supports, contributes to and encourages. A disease that is breaking down everything that is so beautiful into the nothingness of Self. Self will die. These bodies will rot. The ‘stuff’ around us will decay. So why has it been made so important?

Hold both hands open and give, leaving self to last, receiving so much more in love of others.

Aeroplanes and Mobile Devices – Boom, Bang, Crash?

As a teacher and aunt of 4 children aged 3 and under, it has come to my attention that many adults have not left their two year old self behind. Take the more-than-plump (she couldn’t put the middle arm rest down for the size of her hips and thighs), fake-flower in her hair, no-eye-contact little woman sitting with me in row 23 on my flight yesterday; or the Ray-Banned-two-phone-holding-tall-my-rules-my-way-only post-teen who sat in front of me on a flight last Tuesday…

The latter, even after being spoken to thrice by the air-hostess and once by myself, did not desire to turn his cell phone off for take-off. Eventually he, and his equally participative – also only post-pubescent according to a birth-date – friend, conceded and turned them off.

On the other hand, the former, plump-fifty-ish, self-absorbed individual, faced a different, non-fighting airhost and she did not turn her phone off for take-off. Not only did her little head-flowered outfit and plump physique remind me distinctly of my two-year old niece, but her mannerisms did too. She turned her head and shoulder away from me as if trying to ‘hide’ from me in her seat near mine – which is humanly impossible. She had her phone in her one hand holding it so tightly that the sweat was beading off it as she tried to open her bag and deviously hide the phone in it – with one non-phone-holding hand, with her eyes not looking at the bag because she was turning her head from me. Seriously? Fifty-odd and acting like a guilty two-year-old?

Why? Because she was selfish and guilty, and she knew it, yet carried on her behaviour. She was putting an entire plane in jeopardy because she didn’t ‘feel like’, or was incapable of, turning her phone off. “Rules are made to be broken”, “Why should I?”, “I don’t want to”, all the lines of someone who is immature, selfish and guilty.

I can’t put my head in the sand and say these people who exist as adult-by-birth-date, child-by-maturity aren’t around. Nor can I ignore that they are potentially causing great harm to others. Have these recent plane crashes actually been because people have left their phones on? Have the signals interfered with the plane electronics? Aeroplane flaps interfered with? Bang, boom, crash?

Unless, seeing as the flight attendant didn’t seem fazed on the second flight, maybe the “turn off your cell phones” is actually redundant and has no meaning. If it had meaning, then surely the flight attendant would have made sure the phone was off?

So, possible solutions:

1) Include the reasons for turning off cell phones in the “Safety Procedures” demonstration presented by the airhosts.

2) Use a device on flights that can detect phones that are on (I have seen this used on international flights) and use it, shaming those who disregard other human life and have zero respect for anyone’s safety. . . if these phones even are a safety issue, as I now have huge doubts.

3) Publish articles in ALL the in flight magazines as to WHY we have to turn off our phones. Maybe add articles about the potential result of cancer from all those waves bouncing around the little tin shape we are flying in?

When we landed, I was even more infuriated as the woman kept watching me then her bag, then me, then her bag. Eventually, after everyone else had had their phones on since touch-down, the same woman who the airhostess had to again ask to turn off her tablet before landing, quickly grabbed her phone out of her bag when she thought I wasn’t watching and in a touch of the back of the phone, she was on WatApp in about two seconds. What phone on earth turns on and starts and has your App ready in two seconds? Surely that phone company should be marketing the brilliance of zero waiting time to turn their mobile device on to be spontaneously active?

Children: no qualms in lying through their teeth either, especially when adults let them get away with it. Lying: a sign of complete immaturity and selfishness if ever there was one, I reckon anyway.