Important People Will Disappoint You and Other Life Observations For My Children

Some brief life observations for my children, in the not-so-distant future:

KidsPeople will always disappoint you. Your capacity to be disappointed is directly proportionate to how important you perceive them to be in your lives. Parents, friends, teachers, prophets–be wary of how much expectation you invest in them. Do not expect more of them than you can rightfully take for yourself. We can be selfish or lazy in expecting gifts that they do not have the right or the capacity to give, even if they say they can. Study these people closely, though. You still depend on them for various things. You should expect love from your parents, support from your friends, learning how to learn from your teachers, glimpses of Zion from your prophets. But don’t expect miracles from human beings, even if they tell you they can provide them. And yet–miracles do happen. People often surprise us in redemptively humbling ways. The opportunity to revise our preconceptions and judgements of others is a joyous gift we should gratefully receive. But this isn’t because they suddenly changed who they are; it’s because they gave themselves to us in ways that we couldn’t previously see or that we had refused to see. Pay attention to these moments and learn from them. Engrave it in your psyches that people are not so much more than you think they are (though they often are) but beyond what you can comprehend. And remember–you’ll do plenty of disappointing others yourself. Remember that when someone doesn’t rise to your expectations. Continue reading

Charity for Charity

npr_empathy-1_wide-0ebdb0bf218bbb222706a17f12fe185ce982d8a3-s900-c85It seems as though a “Law of the Vineyard” is that there is always someone (usually many someones) whose challenges and sufferings appear far greater than your own. It probably isn’t possible to truly compare any two lives in this way, but we are all familiar with the experience of observing or encountering people who suffer in ways we cannot begin to imagine.  Continue reading