Back to School

I have never understood people who complain about going to school.

Never.

 

I’ve only been in classes for about two weeks now and I’ve learned an insane amount. No, no the “temporary tattoo” kind of learning where you stamp facts in your head for a test. When I say these classes have taught me a lot, I mean that entire premises in my head that I had held to be facts were shattered, destroyed and completely reformed. When I say these classes have taught me a lot, I mean that every time I attend a lecture or sit down with a book, it feels as if I’m wrestling with my misconceptions.

It’s intense.

And I’ve only been attending class for a few weeks.

 

One of the more fascinating things I’ve learned isn’t on any of my syllabi either. Human Beings, often unintentionally, transcribe themselves onto everything around them. In decisions and judgments of others, for example, the more sensitive of us will ‘put ourselves in the other person’s shoes’, forgetting that we could never possibly dream of imitating or understanding the other person completely.

What do I mean by this? Well, think about it.

Each person has a different way of responding to the events they’ve experienced. So even if you could understand past events in the lives of other people, applying your personality and decisions to this wouldn’t help you understand them per say. It would help you, however, know what you would do in those situations.

Also, when it comes to understanding other living things, human beings apply their own mind processes to their actions. In Anthropology we were examining birds and trying to discern whether their communication system was a language or not. So we looked at Mockingbirds.

Mockingbirds, in case you didn’t know, are given their name because of their ability to imitate other bird calls. They are born with this ability and, when they hear the song of a robin, for example, they respond by singing the Robin song. This keeps the Robin from attacking it while it’s in the territory.

Now, this Mockingbird isn’t thinking, “I am in Robin territory, I should sing the Robin song–how does that go again?” It is stimulated by the sound of the Robin call and responds immediately–otherwise it would be mobbed.

People, however, have a difficult time understanding this because it’s hard for them to think of anything working differently than they do–especially another living creature. Isn’t that fascinating?

Advertisements

Dreams Versus Aspirations

Working at McDonald’s is teaching me that “Dreams” and “Aspirations” aren’t the same things–even though we sometimes use the words interchangeably.

 

Dreams are ideas we like–ideas of ourselves, of where we want to be, of how the world should be–but don’t strive toward. Dreams can be simple, but more often, they are far-fetched and difficult to reach.

A perfect example of a dream is the slothful McDonald’s worker who claims they will “be rich when [they] grow up” or will “be going to college someday.”

People with dreams are like Eugene O’Neill’s “Jimmy Tomorrow.” They want something but they don’t plan for it.

“I’ll have it/do it someday,” they say, “but not today.”

 

Aspirations, however, are goals that we want to reach.

There are three differences between having a dream of becoming a doctor and aspiring to become a doctor. Aspiring to become a doctor means that you have researched (or are willing to research) how to become a doctor, you are on the path to become a doctor and you are willing to pull yourself over and around obstacles to become one.

These are the McDonald’s workers who tell you, “I’m doing this to cover college expenses for now” or “I’m saving up money for medical school.” They view their undesirable situation as a stepping stool rather than a job–and yet they’re often the harder workers.

 

Hopefully you don’t just have dreams, hopefully you have aspirations that you are working toward.

The Deer Syndrome

The heart of Colorado beats with wild-life. Mountain Lions, bears, skunks, dragons–you name it, we’ve seen it.

Especially deer.

Driving to work, it’s not uncommon to see a family of deer crossing the street–especially since the recent fires have chased them away from home. I’ll be honest: I never used to care about deer. My mother or father would usher me over to the window with an ecstatic, “LOOK, THERE’S ONE IN THE BACKYARD,” but I would usually respond out of obligation rather than genuine interest.

Until today.

Today, it dawned on me that I have more in common with deer than I thought. I suffer from The Deer Syndrome. Psychologists have probably given the condition a fancier name, but I think I’ll stick with this one.

How To Know If You Are Suffering from Deer Syndrome:

Doe especially seem to run from everything

1) People suffering from Deer Syndrome, or deer as they are commonly referred to,  are always at the bottom of the food chain.
Like actual deer, people suffering from Deer Syndrome don’t fight back. They don’t argue. Rather than try and smack an attacker in the face, they prefer to run away from conflict.
This often puts them at the bottom of the food chain. People take advantage of them because it’s common knowledge that they won’t fight back. They’re easy prey.

2) Things that probably shouldn’t frighten deer actually do.
The hint of a frown on someone’s face can drive a person suffering from Deer Syndrome crazy. They dwell on the opinions and thoughts of others, uncomfortable unless they know the other person is happy. Just like real deer who tense at the slightest rustle of leaves, these people are always tense, always anxious and almost always miserable when they think others are on edge.

3)  Putting Deer on the spot is a terrible idea.

Why hello there

Have you ever seen a deer stuck infront of a car’s headlights?
They freeze.
People suffering from Deer Syndrome end up this way when shoved into the middle of a conflict or, sometimes, when the attention is focused on them and them alone. They have no idea what to do. They break down. They break. They stop working. And, unless the driver of the conflict decides to swerve and hurt themselves, the person suffering from Deer Syndrome will be hit.
Hard.

 

Creating God in Your Own Image

People try to fill a void of self-confidence different ways. Some people try to fill it with money or fame. Others will try to build themselves up with vocabulary or achievements. The people who infuriate me the most are the ones who manipulate Christianity to fulfill this purpose.

These people twist Christianity into their own demonic concoction just to say , “it doesn’t matter what you think of me because God loves me and hates you. Everyone is going to hell if they don’t agree with me.”

What’s so upsetting, is that when these people harm others “in the name of God” they’re actually destroying their neighbor’s opinion of God–even though their idea of “God” is themselves. They claim to be ambassadors of the one true God, but instead create lies and attribute it to him. It’s like when one of your friends tells others that you said something terrible that you didn’t.

Think back to highschool. Back to a girl you like. You tell your best friend nothing but good things about that girl, but when the three of you are together your friend feels insecure and says:

“Oh, well John thinks you smell bad. Not me, though. I always take showers.”

Nothing you can say will undo what your friend just said. The girl of your dream will think any denial on your part is a lie and will be extremely hurt.

Of course, insecurity is a sin no matter how you go about it, but I believe that trying to manipulate Christianity to make yourself feel better is very serious. We must always be careful that we don’t fall into this trap as Christians. We are not God. Our wisdom is foolishness in His eyes. If we never do anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, we’ve probably created God in our own image. If we feel that our hatred or anger is justified, we’ve probably created God in our own image. As Anne Lamott says, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” (Bird by Bird)