3 Major Misconceptions About College

In the “Wish I’d Known That When I Was Younger Department:

Kids,  you need to read this before you get yourself all twisted in knots about going off to college.  Anna Harte speaks truth:

3 Major Misconceptions About College.

Keep Everyone Close …

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Mario Puzo   The Godfather, Part II  

Footnote from Great-quotes.com: Often misattributed to Sun Tzu, it is actually spoken by the character Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II. The quote begins, “My father taught me many things here…he taught me in this room. He taught me…”

Ahhh, The Godfather … as Tom Hanks so memorably tells us in “You’ve Got Mail“:

Joe Fox: The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” What day of the week is it? “Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.” 

… and the featured quote is simply more evidence of this.

Keeping our friends close is probably a no-brainer.

We need the support of those who we trust and draw energy from the closeness of intimacy.  When you already consider someone an ally, shared moments only bring you closer to them, for the most part.

It’s easy to keep our friends close, because we seek that closeness.  Facebook allows us to reconnect and stay in connection with friends from long ago and far away.   This is a major part of the appeal of social media networking in general.

Keeping our enemies closer is somewhat more counter-intuitive.

We usually do not enjoy close contact with our enemies.  We may respect them in some ways, but we do not like being around them.  So why should we do so, based on advice from a fictional character in a movie?

1)  Closeness can provide opportunities to learn about others and to develop more nuanced relationships.  Interacting with others in proximity provides valuable lessons in the range and variety of behaviors and emotions which exist in every human.   

2)  Keeping everyone in your world close breaks down the myth that friends are close and others are not.  We live in a world of change and yesterday’s enemy is sometimes tomorrow’s valued ally.

3)  Doing so challenges the traditional perception of what an enemy is.   While I think it simplistic to say things like “A stranger is just a friend you have not yet met”, we do have to acknowledge how getting to know someone changes your perceptions of that person, often in positive ways.

After all, getting to know people who are different from you is a basic tool in fighting stereotyping, prejudice, bias, and discrimination, isn’t it?

Trying to make room for everyone in the Heartland ….


Find Your Helpers …

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Probably Mark Twain  as quoted in I Meet Mark Twain (1938) pg. 66.

Who surrounds us creates us

Who do you work with?

Yes, I know you do not always have much choice about who you work with.

You do have choices about who you let influence you.

The people who share your work life with can be tremendous influences on your outlook, motivation, and accomplishments.   Who do you allow to influence you?

Who do you hang around?

Think about your old friends, relationships that you have maintained for years or decades … the people who you might not see every day or even every year, but the bond abides.

Consider those who you know through an accident of birth, or vocation, or geography.  More of our relationships are dependent on random characteristics than we like to think.  Just being born somewhere determines much.

Who are your newer friends, those people you have let into your life and whom you enjoy getting to know?

Who do you trust?

Who do you listen to?

Look at your bookshelf … not the one for show or “I’ll read this someday”, but the one where you have the keepers.    Look at how you receive your daily news.

What books do you read and reread, remembering and sharing the message?

Look at your music … where does it take you?

Look at your interests … who do they put you in communication with?

Our lives are affected by many people, some of whom we choose to allow in and others who are just “there”.  Recognize this influence and change the “mix” as needed to produce the most effective support ssystem, no matter what your title or position is.

So many questions, so little time:)

Thinking about who I let in and who I keep out in the Heartland ….


Social Media Day – June 30, 2012

What is Social Media Day?

People who are “into” social media should meet the old-fashioned way every once in a while …

In person …  offline … visible rather than virtual … what a concept:)

 542 cities around the globe … groups of people ranging in size from a few to a few hundred getting together … Linked by social media networking.

For more details or to find a meeting location, check out Mashable.

I’ll bet a group is meeting near you sometime today.   Why not join some folks who are “into” social media for some talking, some refreshments, and some sharing.  

Can’t hurt … in the olden days, we almost always had to meet this way;)

Looking for a meetup in the Heartland ….


Giving a Hand or a Boost?

“You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

William Boetcker in The Ten Cannots (1916)    From Brainyquotes.com:  Often misattributed to Lincoln because the leaflet upon which it was published also contained words from Lincoln.

Time is short today and computer problems abound.

This is a fine statement on the face of it.  Of course, people should help themselves, as most research supports.  Those who have a hand in determining their own destiny and earning their own “keep” are happier and more engaged.

However, sometimes this sentiment is misinterpreted.

“Could” and “Should” are conditional terms indicating the presence of ability and responsibility.  If you have the ability to do something for yourself, you have the responsibility to do it  … no argument so far.

However, the above and similar statements have been used to justify all manner of cruel and  inhumane treatment of those who suffer.

A small child or a disabled person may not have the ability to help themselves in the same way that an able-bodied adult does.  A person suffering from an illness (and yes, I consider drug addiction an illness) is sick and does not have full control of their actions.

Individual responsibility is fine, but not at the expense of our humanity.

A little compassion and a little discernment, please …

At another time, I’ll discuss the role of education in addressing the concerns of many, but be warned – it will involve talking about more support for public programs which help people learn how to help themselves.

Discuss amongst yourselves while I continue my efforts to avoid having to buy a new laptop.

Working hard to the best of my ability in the Heartland ….