Off To College – A Father’s Wisdom

 

Thanks to Rob Lowe for his story and the quote.

 

inside out #1 2014

 

Empty Nest

My daughters are all long gone from the household.  The eldest left for college in the East Coast in 2000.  The youngest left for college in 2008.  I remember the last one really well.  It was traumatic for my wife more than for me, but it was emotional for all of us.

A Father’s Wisdom

I was reminded of those emotions yesterday when I read a fantastic essay on a father’s first child leaving for college.  The link to the memoir is below with the quote author. It is well worth reading. It was exquisitely written, full of memories and love, heartbreak and pride. The father thought the son was bearing it all very well until after a introductory session with all the students and parents. The son turned to the father, with wet eyes giving him away, and said, “None of the other kids look scared at all.”  The father said what I think is some of the best advice anyone can ever get when you are overwhelmed with emotion, “Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”  

The Inside is Not Out

It’s so easy to look at the bright colors, big smiles, hearty laugh, nice clothes, high energy and perfect style that is on the outside and think that is a reflection of the inside.  And yes, sometimes it is. But we humans are FILLED with emotions and feelings, fears and worries, that never make it to our outer surface. They are deep swimmers in the middle of the ocean. They don’t venture to the surface often, if at all, and thus are never seen by others.

But rest assured, they are there whether you see them or not.  Don’t assume, don’t judge. Just be open to discovering who those people around you really are.  You will find if you dive down just a bit, their deep swimmers might come up and be seen.

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Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote and memoir by Rob Lowe, 1964 – not dead yet, American actor. Rob Lowe on sending his son to college.

 

Photo courtesy of Rob Lowe

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The Haste to be Rich – Wealth #3

 

Not to be hasty, but we are on #3 of Wealth Week!

 

Wealth #3 2014

Metaphor

The drawing above is a metaphor for how some people will hurt and manipulate others in their pursuit of wealth. They are consumed with it and nothing will stop them. They will metaphorically murder someone who gets in their way.

No Metaphor

And at other times it is not a metaphor at all. People really do murder to get their hands on wealth.  History is full of stories of that sort of lust that blinds the person to moral or ethical boundaries. Movies and books are filled with fictional and true exploits of those who pursue money at any expense.

Drive

What is it that drive a person to that point? Why does the husband or wife kill their spouse for the insurance money?  Why does the dictator send his country’s young men to death in war to get to gold or oil or land?  How do you control your desire for wealth? What keep you from becoming that person?

I wish I knew why it happens and how to stop it because it certainly is one of the most pernicious and destructive impulses humans have and we would be so much better off with that under some sort of control and balance on the planet.

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Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote is from the Old Testament, Proverbs 28:20

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Surviving Prosperity – Wealth #2

 

I hope you survive day #2 of Wealth Week!

 

wealth #2 2014

 

The Good Old Poor Days

One of the things you can be most confident of when listening to an older couple talk about their lives together is that there will eventually be a moment in the story telling when one of them says, “We had nothing and were broke almost all the time, but we had love and fun in our household.”  It’s not a universal, and there are people who will also say those days were terrible.  But many will look back fondly on having overcome the adversity of little money, a crappy apartment, a lousy first job, or any number of other things that can befall us. 

When my first wife and I started our family we lived in a pretty crappy 90 year old rental home in downtown San Jose, California. There was 2 bedrooms, one bathroom, a pretty ugly backyard. We had mostly hand-me-down furniture and inexpensive or handmade clothing and other items around the house.  The 3 girls all lived in the same room. I worked 3 jobs, my wife worked one on and off, and we barely made ends meet. But still it worked out pretty well, the kids were happy and we enjoyed our lives.

The Bad New Rich Days

We moved to Oklahoma in 1994 when I got a new job. The cost of living was SO LOW that we were able to buy a big 4 bedroom house for the same price we were paying rent.  We weren’t wealthy by any means, but we certainly were prospering compared to back in San Jose.  And with that came not more satisfaction, but more dissatisfaction.  My wife reached her relationship breaking point with me within a few years of being in Tulsa and the marriage broke apart as a result.  

There were other elements to the break up besides money, but my wife especially was more than a little uncomfortable with a bigger house in the suburbs and all that went with it. As a matter of fact, when we separated she bought a very small house much more like the one we had in San Jose than the bigger suburban house were were living in.   This was partly due to finances of course, but it was also the type of house she had mentioned she wanted many times as we drove around the Tulsa area in the years before our split.

Question:

Why is it that many of us have such a hard time with prosperity? What is it that happens to make us more dissatisfied when logically everything should be pointing us to a greater level of satisfaction?

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Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote is mine and is an interpretation of a longer quote by Alan Gregg

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“Humans are great at surviving adversity, not so great at surviving prosperity”

The Moment of Good Fortune – Wealth #1

 

It’s the start of a new Wealth Week (I did one in 2011 that these will be added to) and I have a question.  We alway think wealth is filled with positives, but it can also be a test. Have you had great abundance of some sort come upon you quickly or unexpectedly?  Maybe it was money, or maybe it was property or some other material thing or a relationship that gave you much more than you ever could have hoped for.

What was your response? Was it a trial? What did you learn from it?

 

Wealth #1 2014

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Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Lew Wallace, 1827, 1905, American statesman and author of ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ’

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“A human is never so on trial as in the moment of excessive good fortune”

Laughter and Friendship – Laughter #5

 

It’s the end of Laughter.  Well, my series on it at least.

laughter #4

 

The Best

Recently an online acquaintance of mine, Deana Silk, moved 100 miles away to Oklahoma City from Tulsa.  She is friends with a number of my friends, so her departure was well documented in social media with photos of going away parties and lunches that I saw in my various feeds.  She has also been a well-known local newscaster here in Tulsa for 10+ years so there were on-air remembrances of her time at the station where she worked as well.

There were tears in the pictures and tears on the set.  But what was more in abundance than the tears were the smiles and laughs. I mean BIG SMILES AND BIG LAUGHS. Not only does Deana have a great smile and laugh but everyone around her did as well. I didn’t need to be at the parties to see how much fun they all had together. And the on-air remembrances, while mentioning her professional capabilities (which are substantial), were more focused on the fun they all had together on the set and on location.  

The Good and the Bad

Watching that move from afar made me think how much happier someone is when they depart with smiles and laughs than when they don’t.  I moved across the country with my family in 1994 and the departure from San Jose, California was filled with happy laughs and great remembrances.  But I also have been in a job where I had to be walked out the door (as is common in corporate offices) on the day I was let go. There was no joyous laughter, just a lonely walk out the door, cut off from a proper ending.  That sucks when that happens and I have seen it happen way too many times.

The Worst

But there is an even worse scenario, and that is when you are leaving and no one cares, perhaps because there were very few smiles or laughs. That would suck even more.  How do you avoid something like that?  Well, the key is in Deana’s on-air remembrances.  Her time on the job was filled with that joy and laughter. She engaged and had fun with her co-workers all through the years, even as she met her professional responsibilities.  In other words, it was an accumulation of love, not just a moment of it.

The Best Again

Just for fun, here is a clip of the going away party for the CEO of Net-A-Porter.  Take a look and think how much he was loved and how much laughter and joy had to been given and received over the years. Oh, and be glad you aren’t the man or woman who follows in his footsteps!

 

 

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Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Oscar Wilde

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