Unanswered Question: Might our temperaments cause misunderstanding?


Yesterday, I brought up a video during a conversation that had impacted my understanding of people many years ago. I was talking with my mother and sister. I’ve always had the feeling that we each found the other’s temperament a little ‘off putting’.

If you have 20 minutes to give the video below, it may help you to understand others better. That odd, ‘off balance’, feeling we can have even with people we love (and/or like) might have an explanation. [The video is quite entertaining too!]

People are FAR more than their temperaments, but our temperaments are quite a baseline measure of how we approach life.
The varying approaches of individuals are fascinating, often maddening, to us. It’s nice to consider that we aren’t just ‘doing it wrong’. We may be approaching everything with different expectations.

I think this guy (Mark Gungor) pretty much nails down the ways we vary by temperament.
I was a person from “Fun Country” sitting in the same room with my sister, from “Peace Country” and my mother, from “Perfect Country”. [BTW… I married a man from “Control Country”.]

If asked, I believe we would all admit that we’ve had moments when our understanding of each other was strained. Recognizing our differences at the elemental temperamental level gives me a better plan for making myself understood to them… and behaving more patiently while trying to understand them.

So, I ask, “Might our temperaments cause misunderstanding?”

I think so. Enjoy!

Unanswered Question: Why did “boredom” have to become a ‘bad’ thing?

What an interesting morning in the ‘blogosphere’ I’ve had. It seems to have produced a treasure trove of thoughts and questions.

My Unanswered Question for today was inspired by one of those exchanges. A subject of great interest to me is the evolution of environments kids grow up in.

I’ve already examined the dynamic changes in the make-up and size of nuclear families. There’s still ‘meat’ on that bone to take up later.
But my unique vantage point afforded by providing childcare for 46 years, has given me a clearer view of the timeline of changes in the realm of ‘being a kid’ than most people would have had.

The most mind-blowing thing I discovered my granddaughter doing recently was observing her watching videos of other children playing. It didn’t seem to be a curious inquiry that might inspire a game that she could play. It was merely a form of entertainment.

Her response when asked (probably a little too judgmentally), “What the heck are you doing?!” was, “I’m just bored.”.

She predictably rolled her eyes at my ‘all too familiar’ response of “Read a book.” before I pulled out some paints and invited her to the table.

Then it hit me. How many of you had parents who answered the “I’m bored.” complaint with a chore or a request for us to “Go outside and play with your friends, then.”?

Kids just can’t go outside on an impulse anymore. And sadly, there aren’t a bunch of other kids nearby either.

We had something they don’t… The opportunity to explore and ‘boredom’ inspired some of our best adventures!

The changes to our children’s and grandchildren’s environment didn’t stop at ‘less safety’ and fewer friends. It came from an attitude adjustment inspired by those things. Exploration had been replaced by entertainment.

I hope those of you still reading this can imagine the tragedy in the last statement. One broadens the mind, and the other broadens the “behind”. One embraces curiosity and creativity, and the other discourages those things.

Too many ‘old folks’ tend to immortalize their childhoods as the BEST, but this ‘old person’ can’t imagine that this ‘kernel’ of change is a ‘good’ thing.

Knowing that kids are learning to require entertainment certainly explains a lot of our current troubles. It comes down to expecting ‘boredom’ to be a ‘bad’ thing AND suggests that a person’s environment has an obligation to offer ‘entertainment’ instead of it coming from within.

My head is banging the table as I consider today’s question.

WHY DID BOREDOM HAVE TO BECOME A ‘BAD’ THING?




Unanswered Question: Why has our “live and learn” philosophy gone missing?

Anonymous Quote: “You live, you learn, and you upgrade.”
This morning my granddaughter texted me from school asking to be “signed out” and for a ride home. It took only a few minutes by text to confirm her mom’s okay and let her know that I was on my way. How cool is that?
It probably doesn’t seem extraordinary to anyone under 25 but the development of technology during my lifetime has given us many good outcomes. That ‘good’ news is currently overshadowed by a flood of bad news about the ‘evil’ perpetrated online. Who didn’t imagine a ‘downside’ to something that brought us so much good? It’s there. Let’s learn and adapt.

We mustn’t ignore the ‘bad’. Gosh, it’s scary to think about. But it seems complaining and outrage has overtaken the old philosophy of “live and learn”. Any innovation to solve problems doesn’t seem to ‘rule the day’. Doesn’t anyone remember “necessity is the mother of invention”? Most of what we call ‘progress’ was born from a problem that needed to be solved.

But there’s more to this morning’s tale…
My daughter gave us the ‘thumbs up’ on the dismissal but my son-in-law wasn’t told about it in the interest of time. Before my granddaughter and I got home, I stopped for a gallon of milk at a convenience store. While there, my granddaughter’s phone lit up with a message from Dad.
“What are you doing at a store? You’re supposed to be at school.”

Ahhh. I remember during the early days of cellphones imagining ways kids could mislead their parents about their location. [ We were once teenagers ourselves. You can’t possibly imagine that they wouldn’t find that loophole.]

But the necessity of parents to keep track of their kids encouraged them to ‘learn’ and caused the development of an app that would notify them of their child’s cellphone location. Genius! That innovation has endless potential in favor of safety.

Bad things can be tamed, even conquered, when we promote innovation. [That’s a large part of our American spirit.]

Why does it lately appear that we’re trending toward just ‘banning things’ as the go-to, inefficient, and lazy solution?
Didn’t we learn anything from Prohibition?

Seems like our society is taking a really bad turn. There’s a lot of ‘banning’ proposed. Even worse, there’s a clear movement toward simply indulging our problems rather than creating solutions to them. This widespread surrender of problem solving isn’t going to end well. I don’t even know where it came from.

A rise in homelessness? Give them tents.
A rise in drug abuse? Give them the tools to use.
A rise in single motherhood? Offer them abortions.

I didn’t intend for this to be what many might consider a “political” post. I don’t think it is at all. “Giving up” isn’t a political topic. It’s a tragedy for us all.

I can’t imagine why “live and learn” has been replaced with “whatever”.

So, I am asking, why has that philosophy gone missing?







Unanswered Question: Do city people know what they’re missing?

I’d gotten a lot more rest than usual lately over the long weekend. We each have a personal quota so when my dog got me up at 2:00 am, I had a few hours of wide ‘awakeness’.
My thoughts started where they usually do with a stream of experiences I’ve had inspiring awe with the wonders of Mother Nature. Then I considered all the ‘urbanized’ people who might not have witnessed nature as I have had the privilege to do.
Oh, the places I went from there!

Much of the discontent, crime, and hopelessness, seems concentrated in urban areas these days. Why? People are people and I thought we needed the same things. Maybe we most urgently do.
My stream of consciousness eventually brought me to a profound (not necessarily correct) conclusion.

The over domestication of human beings is dangerous to their happiness and well-being.

The same thing has happened to animals. Wild animals can fend for themselves, and understand the natural world, but dogs, cattle, and parakeets, are at a terrible survival disadvantage since they’ve been kept for so long.

I’ve known some ‘city’ people who have visited places that were natural for the first time and been overwhelmed by all the things they didn’t know and didn’t even know they didn’t know.

There’s a rhythm in the natural world that human beings can, and IMHO should, know about.
One in particular is the awareness of a ‘line’, more like a pause, between night and day. Having tented and camped in forests throughout my life, I’ve witnessed it.
There’s a time about an hour before dawn when the summer night sounds pause for about 2 to 5 minutes. Crickets grow quiet, and owls stop hooting, leaving a dramatic silent pause before the morning birds joyously sing greetings to the new day. Witnessing THAT can change a person. The recognition of amazing forces at work that we humans cannot take credit for is humbling!

That pause was my personal choice for the most magical natural event (seconded by meteor showers) but there are countless others. I have no doubt human beings are meant to be part of those natural rhythms too. But how would city people even know about them? Their surroundings are removed and artificial in comparison to those who have access to the natural world.
I wonder if those seemingly lost people are starving for something they don’t even know exists. Could they be feeling incomplete? Might the lack of any natural connection be adding to the growing complaints about life having ‘no meaning’?

Well, at 3:30 this morning, my answer to those questions was “yes”.

My overall question is “Do those city people know what they’re missing?”

My Hometown: Where did you go?

This morning I decided to write from my head and heart. Writing prompts are excellent tools but often can lead us away from telling our own story. I’m going to add a new category to my archives named “Unanswered Questions”. Especially on Sundays, when the demands on my time are fewer, I lie awake in the morning and reminisce. I find I have so many questions that are unanswered. Most are unanswerable. The people, places, and certainly, the atmosphere of my past, have changed… many are gone. I’ve changed too, of course. Change isn’t a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing. It’s an inevitable one. Our memories are ‘spotty’ and tend to be sugarcoated if you’re a ‘dreamer’. But each of us can come up with questions we’d ask if we could address the past. So, here’s my first: Where did you go?

My hometown was once a bustling small city that was built by factories. Most Massachusetts towns in the 50s had the same heartbeat.
Our booming city once had a population of about 22,000. Today, it is just under 13,000. Where did everyone go? Why did you leave?
I have come to realize that I am a member of a rare group. I still live in the same city where I was born and also my father was born here too. Incidentally, I married a hometown man whose family set up stakes here at the same time mine did. (Our fireside chats are wonderful ones based on our shared roots. We were witnesses to the same heartbeat and changes.)
In an interest to keep this post short and to the point, I’ll take one single thread of many to follow. I’m sure my hometown will be a part of many topics in this new category because it’s a BIG part of me.

Gangs of kids roamed the streets and filled the neighborhood schools, in our day. The ‘gangs’ were mostly made up of kids having fun not what it currently brings to mind. City sponsored ice skating rinks and playgrounds were frequented. The average family had at least 3 children, but I’d bet the median number was 5. It was easy to put together an impromptu game of football or ‘kick the can’. I cannot remember any single-parent households back then. It just wasn’t a “thing”. The movie A Christmas Story could have been based on my own experience minus that large department store… that was coming to my neighborhood later on.


Our city streets were once alive with shoppers visiting local specialty shops at Christmas. There was a shoe store, a music store, a 5 and 10 store, a sporting goods store, drug stores, jewelry stores, etc. that lined a beautifully decorated main street of brick buildings. We still say “going to the market” when we head to the grocery store here too. Churches of many denominations were everywhere. One nickname for our city was “Steeple Town” because of some grand cathedral-like structures with 25′ ceilings.


But something happened. It was probably gradual, but our city seemed to change overnight. Today North Adams has almost no resemblance to the city from my childhood. Many buildings have been torn down and saltbox chain store buildings have moved in. The neighborhood schools have almost gone away too. Junior High and High School are combined in one location. The factories closed and many families spread out and moved away. The charm of happy single-family based communities has been replaced with housing developments occupied by people who have no roots in our city and no old-fashioned sense of community. It all doesn’t feel much like progress.

I don’t blame any single thing on those changes. As I said, most change is inevitable. As a direct observer to the transformation of my own city, I can testify that it doesn’t ‘feel’ that most of the change was ‘for the better’. My gut tells me that the changes to the size and make-up of the American nuclear family lie somewhere near the core of all this.

So, I ask my city, “Where did you go?” and wonder, “Why did you change?”

I’m still here and I fondly remember your good ‘ole days.