How To Make A Difference

I had planned to become a teacher.
I felt called to teach at the high school level: History, English, Spanish.
I would leave college with seccondary certification.

During my last semester of my senior year I was hired to teach in Florida.
Dream job. Or so I thought.
May came and I was informed of the teaching position I would fill.
A one-room school in Boynton Beach. Probably 8 students.
In grades 1-8.

I think I was a rather typical 21-year-old. Rather self-absorbed.

Something happened to me early in the first semester of that first year of teaching.
I discovered that my students mattered to me.
My mother had cared for other people’s children all of my growing up years. She treated them like they were her own. Give to meet their needs with little regard for her own needs.
Something she had instilled in me through her example took root in my spirit and began to grow.

I don’t recall a growing-of-the-tree named Teacher. It was like it exploded into my self, full-grown.

Forty-eight years later I left the classroom as my daily life.

Difference

What does it take to make a difference?
To meet the needs of others as a priority in my personal needs?

What if you didn’t have a mother like my mother?
What if, like me now, you are not 20-something?
What if you are not just starting out into the world?
I am now in my 70s. With another birthday this month.

I think there are some principles of making-a-difference that can be applied no matter your age.

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2. Look for a need outside yourself.
There are so many needs around us, right in our own neighborhoods.
Right in our own churches and schools.
Finding a need may result in overload.
The problem soon becomes, which one do I choose?

3. Get involved with an already-in-place opportunity.
State Farm Insurance has a program called Neighborhood Of Good.
One of their opportunities will likely fit you.

4. Be the person you wish to see in your world.
Begin where you are: You.
Set an example.

5. One Person Cared-for.
I was walking from the Garden Shop in Home Depot to the plumbing department. I had a question for an expert.
An elderly man in a motorized cart blocked my way. He was going full speed, which was a slow walk for me. I fell in behind him. He turned, saw me, and attempted to move to the side. There was no room for that.
I laughed and said, “Don’t worry! I’m in no hurry!”
We traveled that way until we came to an open area. He stopped. I came up beside him.
(Those of you who know me understand that I am not out-going.)
He remarked that items in his basket were marked one price, but the register in the garden shop had rung them up at a higher price. He was looking for a supervisor.
“My wife always hangs two fern baskets on either side of the fountain in our front yard,” he commented. He then kind of choked up and ducked his head. “Always hung,” he corrected himself. “She died in December. I just need to continue her legacy,” he said quietly.

I stayed there and talked with him (mostly listened) for a long time. “Tommy,” he introduced himself. He was lonely. After 50+ years of marriage he was unaccustomed to the condition of lonely.

I have his name and I will call him.

6. Each One Reach One.
Someone once said to me that if each person helped just one person we could reach every person in the world in a few months.
That detail is suspect.
Start with one. Look for an opportunity to make a difference in one person’t day.
Pay It Forward at the drive-thru, or the toll booth, or the coffee shop.

7. One Person Inspired
Your action may well inspire the one that you took care of to Be a Difference, too.
At work, at church, at the grocery or department store, at the restaurant, at home.
Especially At Home. Make a difference in the day of a family member. Maybe this could become a Family Adventure.

Caution: Don’t do any of this as a way to be recognized and thanked.

An Adventure like this will result in a Settled Peace within yourself. No fireworks. No applause. No awards or recognition plaques. Peace.

Is there a better reward?

Challenge

#Go.Now.Do.
#BestYou

Comments are appreciated.

Achieving Personal Development

When I was 8 years old my parents took me to live with my Aunt Clara and Uncle Ben on the farm.

It was there that I had my first encounter with the violin. On Friday evening, after chores were done, we took our weekly baths, and then Uncle Ben would take his fiddle from its home on top of the upright piano and play.

I was in love. Oh, how I wanted to hold that instrument and make it sing.

But it was forbidden fruit. Only Uncle Ben was permitted to touch.

Up to this time, the musical part of my personal development had experienced only my mother singing. I had probably heard other music during my 8 years of life. But nothing struck into my developing brain to cause me to thrill – until the violin.

I could whistle, and I am sure I could carry a tune. My sister and I sang a duet for a closing school program, and no one ran screaming for the door with their hands over their ears.

Personal Development: Working on the parts of my self that enable me to participate well in the human experience.

Even the restriction to not touch the violin was part of my Personal Development. It involved a pattern of obedience and respecting the property of others.

Personal Development engages you in many parts of your life. Some examples are –

Feelings
Anxiety – Peace
Acceptance – Tolerance – Dislike

Enjoyment of
taste
goal-setting
recreational activities
art – culture
literature (reading)
music
fashion

Personal image – view of others

Skills – a work ethic – a play ethic

Your Goal in each area and stage is to be Balance – Avoid Extremes.

I think of the four stages in the work of developing a person in this sequence:

1. Knowledge – Exposure to things and experiences for the purpose of knowing

2. Acceptance – Allowing and considering new experiences

3. Preferences – Deciding what you like and what you don’t like

4. Performance – Mastering skills to the levels of Accomplished and/or Expert

Parents control the beginning stages of Personal Development, as infants and children are subjected to the parents’ preferences and choices. Touch, taste, attitude toward ‘new’, sounds, music, activity, style, dress.

Parents pass on their own attitudes toward Knowledge and Acceptance, which controls the child’s Development in these stages. This embeds a pattern that will likely be followed by the child as the child becomes an adult.

The Preferences stage begins in the infant/child and continues into adult-middle-age.

The Performance stages of Personal Development have the best outcomes when Care-takers begin the work during the childhood years.

Before we reach our adult lives most of the foundations for Personal Development are already in place.

Parents control early exposure to the ingredients of Personal Development.

Parents provide a pattern for dealing with new experiences.

The child begins to accept or reject the parent’s patterns for dealing with ‘new’.

Adults determine their own response and actions toward development. It is often more difficult to acquire the Performance Stage when beginning a new skill as an adult.

HINT: Many old people tend to be stuck in their ways, with little acceptance of change. Don’t be an old person.

My daughter, at a young age, decided she did not like peas and beans. Unfortunately, a vegetarian diet makes liberal use of those dietary items.

She had the balanced diet of baby food items. Later, we placed some beans or peas on her plate, expecting her to develop an acceptance of them over time.

She would carefully work her way around the plate, avoiding the detested items.

We would make her sit at the table until she cleaned her plate.

She would sit there for hours, with her arms folded and her bottom lip pouting.

To this day she does not like them. Not everything works out the way the parenting books say it should. And some children have a clear understanding of their preferences early in life.

Adults need to have an openness to change in order to take themselves through all four stages listed above.

Personal Development needs to take into account our Personality Type.

Depending on which school of thought you choose, there are 4 basic personality types, or there are 12, or there are 16, or even more.

Human Personality has been studied quite thoroughly. Take an on-line test if you are unsure of your label.

Check out this link with several tests you can take.

https://www.allthetests.com/personality-tests-character-quizzes-psycho.php

Personality tests will provide you with some knowledge to help you in your interactions with life. But nothing in the results should make you give up with a dismissive “Oh, Well! That’s how I am.” Certain tendencies are identified, but you can change, you can learn how to adapt, you can move toward the center.

Your Personality (Temperament Type) will reveal strengths and weaknesses that you may have. Use the strengths to move the weaknesses to have lesser control over your choices.

Focus on cultivating habits/patterns that are “Good-for-me” and “Good-for-those-important-to-me”, in work and recreation, – in other words – in your Personal Development.

Share

I was in my 30s before I acquired a violin of my own. I can’t play any recognizable melody on it. Never had the resources to take lessons.

But my grandson is taking lessons and plays for me.

I hope this article will encourage you to work on your self – and your children and grandchildren.

What have you done with/for your children to promote their personal development? With what results?

What have you done for yourself?

I’d love to hear from you.

Email me or Comment on this post.

Good Habits Get Good Results

Did you make any Resolutions for this new year?

Often, people grow tired of, or frustrated with, making resolutions.

Maybe because they have tried and failed in the past.

Maybe because they have lost the dream.

Actually those two reasons are tied together.

We give up on the dream because we have tried and failed so many times – to continue the charade seems pointless.

Courage

But take courage, there is still hope.

Let’s take a close look at Habits, because…

That’s where success or failure comes from.

Habits come from repeated behaviors. Period.

The key to success in creating a habit is Persistence.

Anatomy of a Habit

A habit is the result of you doing, saying, thinking – something – over and over.

I get up in the morning, get dressed, make a hot drink, and sit on the couch in the living room. My digital reader is there where I left it the previous evening. I flip it open and start my Bible app. It opens to the place I bookmarked the previous day. I read for up to 30 minutes, or until I encounter a passage that asks for reflection.

My Habit Experience

That’s automatic for me now, after more than a year of repeating the behavior.

But at first it was a challenge. I wanted to do other things, maybe turn on the TV, maybe read something other than the Bible.

I struggled with creating the habit.

I believe that God wants to spend time with me. When I crowd Him out, He is disappointed.

While I was forming the habit I had to remind myself – often – that God was waiting for me to spend time with Him.

I don’t know how many times I said, “This is important! I won’t disappoint God!”

Repeated and repeated, until it is now a habit.

Whether habits begin in behavior or in thoughts – I’m not sure it matters.

Purposeful habits begin in the thoughts – you make a decision. It’s the will taking action. Making a choice.

Act on that choice repeatedly and you have a habit.

Actually, habits are responsible for just about everything we do during a normal day.

Changing a habit is the trick.

Take some quiet time and list your routine actions – your daily patterns. With that done, it is likely to be easy to identify some time – daily time – in which you could replace an old habit with the new one of God Time.

Bible reading on the couch.

Looking for evidence of God’s love in Nature.

Journaling to record your Spiritual Journey. Writing about it helps to establish some accountability in the Divine Relationship.

Respond

Write to me about your journey.

How to Respond to Change

Listen to this post:

[stextbox id="ValidID"]Download a PDF of this post:
How to Respond to Change[/stextbox]

Let’s assume that you read my blog last week on Tuesday and that you followed my example as suggested in the post. You made a list of all of the new experiences in your life over the past few years.

    • A list of changes that came into your life without your invitation.
      >A list including new things that happened to you.
      >Including changes in your health or the health of a family member.
      >Changes at work that required that you take on new roles or tasks or responsibilities.
      >Changes in your spouse’s life – because those impact you, too.
      >Changes in your children’s lives: sports, school or church clubs, music lessons, health.
      >Pets that have been added or subtracted.
      >Close friends that have experienced drama or trauma and you became a supporter.
      >Changes at church or work or school.

You get the idea.

I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by creating the list.

This exercise helps you to realize some underlying factors that may be manifested in relationship struggles, health deficits, patience changes with close friends and family, or lack of motivation that once enabled you to accomplish more.

If you did not create a list, stop reading and take the time to make a list now. I’ll wait.

Here’s the link to last week’s post.

What are the possible responses to a changes list?
I see two options:

  1. Learn from the changes and challenges
  2. Ignore the effects and try to shield yourself from events that trigger responses

Homeostasis is the wonderful word that means “things stay the way they have always been for me.”
But, since homeostasis is impossible, even for a rock, the idea of staying the same is an illusion.
Change is a fact of life. You can’t avoid it. Sometimes you can modify it. But you can’t stop it. Why not be a caterpillar?

You will Respond to Change one way or another. Let’s look at two options.

Option 1:  Learn. Change.

  • Accept change and enjoy the journey to see how the difference will work out, which results in peace and calmness.

Actually, the first step in learning from the life changes in your list is already done: you’ve acknowledged that life has changed around you.

How does one go about learning from life’s changes?

Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Change always shuts some options, but inevitably opens others. Search for the open doors. The opportunities.

When cancer came into my life, change was not an option. Things would change, I chose radical surgery. I had to give up my wedding photography business – at least temporarily. Probably permanently. A year after surgery I still cannot hold my big camera steady, but I’m working to re-gain my strength and stability.

How do you respond when life changes stop you from doing something that you have chosen to include? An important career or skill or hobby or life-style?

Replace it with another option. Review your sometimes hobby interests. Make one a direct choice. Cultivate the interest and skills that are needed to become – an artist, a writer, a gardener, a student. Gain skills and knowledge. Video on-demand courses are plentiful and inexpensive.

Create your own on-demand videos or webinars. The equipment to make that possible is not expensive nor difficult to master.

Attracting an audience or following of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – is not out of the question. But, even without a huge following, choosing and doing what you can will add meaning and satisfaction to your daily routines.

Option 2:  Ignore. Resist.

  • Fight against change and see difference as unwelcome, worry that the way others see you might diminish, which will cause your self-image to also suffer, and you to be nervous and fretful.

I will again use my cancer experience as illustration.

Once my diagnosis became known, I had many people who felt they should share their advice with me. Uncles, brothers, and acquaintances were paraded before me as proof that I should follow their examples.

With no surgery, my uncle has lived for 20 years after his cancer diagnosis.”
Just ignore it. Pray. God’s will be done.”
Take this herb or supplement or aroma therapy to get it cured naturally.”

Ignoring a life-threatening diagnosis is never a good idea. I chose to trust my doctors. Chemotherapy followed by surgery were scheduled. My life would never be the same. Different, but still good.

Resist

We’ve seen a big Resist Movement in the USA lately. I can speak from the point of human psychology regarding the effects on the resisters: their choices and efforts bring only frustration and anger into every part of their lives.

I strongly believe in resisting.

  • Resist the urge to Give Up.
  • Resist the urge to feel sorry for yourself.
  • Resist the feeling of helplessness that will come over you as you lie in bed, too weak to get up.
  • Resist the thoughts of rejection because God allowed this to happen to you.
  • Resist being an invalid.
  • Resist, I Can’t.
  • Resist Self Pity.

As Henry Ford said, Whether you think you can or think you can’t, youre right.”

There is wisdom in the prayer of serenity written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
(1892–1971)

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

You can do as much as you think you can. But no more. Dream Big! Fly!

Use this as a stepping stone to add to your life, to add to your repertoire of skills and accomplishments.

Turn your “Give up!” into a “Give Out!”

  • Find others who need encouragement and be their champion.
  • Volunteer at a school (I know, that’s becoming harder and harder to do.)
  • Volunteer at a hospital or managed care facility.
  • Organize a group from your church or club to meet a need in the church or community.

 

Find a way to get it done, not a reason why you can’t!”

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Share your experiences with me.

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Comment or email me eldon @ eldonroberts.com

Thank you for reading.

What Does EldonUp Mean?

Perhaps I should explain the Tag <EldonUp> on my blog: .

I have worked hard since I was about 8 years old. First on the farm in Maine, where I was expected to work every day at the tasks that had to be completed:

  • Hilling the corn, and chopping down the weeds at the same time,
  • Calling the cows in for milking, and making sure they were in the correct stalls,
  • Cleaning the gutter behind the cows after the milking, and cleaning their stalls.
  • Picking (selectively) cucumbers to be sold to the pickle factory. (Certain sizes of cukes are more valuable to the picklers. Our goal was to make as much money as we could.)
  • Haying chores: my Uncle Ben got a hay baler the summer of my eighth year. But some fields were still done the old-fashioned way – open-bed truck where one man stood to stack the hay efficiently, and a couple guys on the ground following the truck along the wind-rows, pitching the hay onto the truck.

We were pretty much self-sufficient on the farm. We grew most of what we ate. I was part of the team that cultivated and harvested. At age 8.

I learned a lot about work and family – and myself – on the farm.

To me, then, EldonUp means, Do your work. Period.

Then, of course, there’s the lawn mowing experiences. You will find a number of posts focused on those. To read one Click Here

To EldonUp means, Tough it out.

I attended a boarding high school in Mississippi. My parents couldn’t afford the tuition. I worked two and three jobs on campus, at the same time, making $0.67 per hour, to keep my bill paid. When I left there to go to college, the school owed me a couple hundred dollars.

To EldonUp means, Find a way to get the job done.

I entered teaching after college. I was not trained to do the grade levels that faced me each morning. I made mistakes, admitted them, learned from them, and didn’t repeat them. To read about this Click Here

To EldonUp means, Learn from experience, and get better at the work.

I worked in construction, as a CNA, in sales, in marketing. Success in each of these adventures was due to fast learning and hard work.

To EldonUp means, Push yourself to do more than you think you can.

There are always reasons why a certain task or goal cannot be achieved. Don’t look at those reasons; don’t focus on the reasons why you can’t.

To EldonUp means, to keep your eyes on your goals. And don’t neglect to recognize new opportunities. Look for new challenges.

Most importantly, I believe in God and the Bible.

Since I was a child I have trusted that God is in control and leads my life. The Bible encourages us to “look Up, for your redemption draws near.” I look for the evidences of the God who is Up, entering and guiding my life.

EldonUp means there is an Up in my life.

EldonUp means all of these things to me. My life experiences, what I have learned from them, and observations about them, are the focus of my blog posts.

This is not meant as a Brag, but as background about what has shaped me and my ideas.

I encourage you to join me on this journey.

Follow my blog by clicking here: Join Eldon’s Blog

Comment or email me eldon @ eldonroberts.com

Thank you for reading.