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In Other Words..., A Resource of Facts and Humor for Christian Leaders

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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

May 2023


COMPASSION: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) said, “I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it.”  Few people make you feel compassion more than moms.
DISAPPOINTMENT: When Charles Schultz finally got his break in 1950, the syndicate changed the name of his comic strip from “Li’l Folk” to “Peanuts.”  He never liked the name…but he didn’t let that disappointment keep him from drawing.  His last original comic strip came out on Sunday, February 13, 2000, the morning following his death.  Five decades of drawing for a name he hated led to a $1 billion empire viewed in over 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries with a daily readership of 355 million.  Don’t let disappointment hold you back. Beaumont Enterprise, 5/28/22, p.B7
HELP: Journalist P.J. O’Rourke (1947-2022) opined, “Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”  More world-change occurs in the kitchen than we realize and Mother’s Day is a great time to begin global transformation. Reader’s Digest, May 2019, p.22
HURRY: A study at London University’s King’s College found that distracted workers suffer a 10 to 15-point drop in IQ when rushing to complete multiple tasks.  That’s a greater IQ reduction than what’s caused by smoking marijuana.  In his 2012 commencement speech at Sarah Lawrence College, Adam Savage reminded the graduates about this myth of rushing to be more productive.  The industrial designer wanted these future leaders to know they have plenty of time: “You have time to fail.  You have time to mess up.  You have time to try again, and when you mess that up, you still have time.”  He then noted the irony of impatience: “Rushing leads to mistakes, and mistakes slow you down far more than slowing down does.”  Those are wise words for a world that seems to believe speed is a requirement for success. Saturday Evening Post, July 2022, p.8
LIFE: Kathryn Slattery wrote of the serendipitous experience she had when her mother moved in with their family due to issues of aging.  They were complete opposites in almost every way, yet she came to cherish this time together as a wonderful gift.  The years brought both challenges and sacred moments.  The most memorable time came when her mother entered the hospital for the last time.  She was surrounded by family as her frail body was shutting down.  It was then that Kathryn heard her mom softly say, “Help me.”  Her breathing became increasingly shallow, and she again said, “Help me.”  It made no sense until Kathryn realized her mom wasn’t asking for help to live, but help to die.  She had been helped in life as her health waned, now she was inviting help as she moved into eternity.  Kathryn leaned in with words of love & comfort as each breath arrived further and further apart.  Throughout that last stretch of life, Kathryn helped her mother walk into the presence of her Lord.  In our familiarity with helping others in life, we tend to forget that everyone needs help as they pass through the shadow of death. Guideposts, March 2012, p.70
LONELINESS: Just three days before the World Health Organization declared an end to the COVID pandemic, the U.S. Surgeon General declared an epidemic of loneliness.  On May 2, 2023, Dr. Vivek Murthy explained that “millions of people in America are struggling in the shadows.”  He compared it to hunger and thirst saying, “It’s a feeling the body sends us when something we need for survival is missing.”  He equated the health risk of loneliness to that of smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day.  God created us for community so one of the best ways to battle loneliness is to counterintuitively reach out to others…who may also be lonely. Houston Chronicle, 5/3/23, p.A4
MOTHERHOOD: Matt Tullos wrote about a mom he observed at the grocery store.  He talked about her finesse in managing five young kids - who wanted one of everything - while negotiating a basket full of groceries and checking out with enough coupons to nearly make the store pay her.  He noted, “It reminded me of how difficult mothering can be, if done right.”  He then explained, “In order to be a good mom, you must have the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the compassion of Mother Teresa, the financial savvy of Warren Buffett, and the defensive prowess of Chuck Norris…all in the same day.”  He then concluded by stating, “I think we can all agree that no one’s ‘just a mom’…there is absolutely no such thing.” HomeLife, January 2020, p.63
MOTHERHOOD: The Statue of Liberty is one of the world’s most recognizable icons…and it’s patterned after the artist’s mom.  Although Frederic Auguste Bartholdi never formally confirmed that his mother was the model, a portrait of her is almost identical to the woman overlooking New York Harbor.  Moms have outsized influence on their kids., 2/15/21
RELATIONSHIPS: Mention Elon Musk in almost any setting and a debate will most assuredly follow.  But this is simply about something he said that applies to us all.  In December of 2022, after he acquired Twitter on October 27th, he started talking about “unregretted user time.”  He noted a common refrain about social media: “I spent two hours on TikTok but I regret those two hours.”  He’s now pushing for a metric that critics call unrealistic, but we all understand the concept relationally – time with others that we regret…for things we did or things we wished we’d done.  Regardless of what we think about Musk, his emphasis on reducing regrettable time reminds us all to focus on wisely investing our limited time relationally. Wall Street Journal, 5/8/23, p.B5
SUCCESS: In her commencement address to the class of 2010 at Barnard College, actress Meryl Streep said, “You don’t have to be famous.  You just have to make your mother and father proud of you.” For some that may seem impossible, for others it might be too easy, but it does remind us that success is more about relationships than achievement. Reader’s Digest, September 2017, p.25


EMPATHY: Teresa Kiefer was teaching fifth-grade in Wisconsin when one of her students asked why she was wearing two shoes that didn’t match.  Kiefer blushed with embarrassment when she looked down and realized it was true.  The kids laughed, but did something their teacher will never forget: they all swapped one shoe to empathize with her. Reader’s Digest, November 2017, p.25
CHILDREN: Annette Olsen became frustrated after driving her son to an empty soccer field for the second week in a row.  She huffed, “Please tell your coach that we keep coming for practice but no one is ever here.”  Her son rolled his eyes and replied, “He’ll just tell me the same thing he did before.”  She asked, “Which was?”  Her son answered, “He said practice is now on Wednesdays, not Tuesdays.” Reader’s Digest, March 2016, p.73
MOTHER’S DAY: Four-year-old Annie saw her parents’ wedding picture and asked her dad, “Is that when you got Mommy to come work for us?”  The joy of motherhood is what a woman experiences when all the children have gone to bed. Mule Eggs & TopKnots, King Duncan, 1987, p.155
MOTHER’S DAY: After a series of wise reminders from his mom, Dennis the Menace asked, “How come you know all this stuff?”  Mrs. Mitchell replied, “ALL moms know this stuff.”  Dennis then asked why dads don’t know those kinds of things.  She smiled at Mr. Mitchell and answered, “Dads know a lot too…but they learned it from their mothers.” Houston Chronicle, 5/23/21, p.U4
PARENTING: In a classic Peanuts comic strip, Peppermint Patty raised her hand to ask a question in school.  She prefaced it by explaining to the teacher that this question has not only troubled her for years, but it “has bothered every kid who has ever gone to school.”  She then asked her quintessential question: “Why is it you never call on me when I know the answer, but you always call on me when I don’t?”  That’s how parents often feel. Houston Chronicle, 5/7/23, p.U1

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