Making and Keeping Friends – Friendship #5

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The Other Thing I Did

While I was drawing on napkins for my daughters back in the 90s I also was doing something else. I was saying goodbye to them at the door. Each day I would say pretty much the same thing. I would say I love you then I would say “Don’t forget, Make good friends and keep good friends.”  Why I came up with that particular phrase, I don’t know. But I would say it every day.  And I meant it.

Community

What I wanted for them was a growing, vibrant community. A community doesn’t happen without friendships, a growing community doesn’t happen without new friendships and a vibrant community doesn’t happen without diverse friends. That is why I said that to them.

The Purpose of Diversity

When I say diverse, I don’t mean you have to have a rainbow of skin colors to prove it. I think that would help but only insofar as it’s an outward visual of what is an internal diversity. In other words, the important thing isn’t that your friend has dark brown, red, orange, alabaster or freckled skin. What is important is that you are experiencing, at least some of the time, a person with a life experience different than yours. A life experience you can learn and grow from knowing AND that your friend can benefit from by knowing you.

Courage Over Fear

How do you gather such friends? Yes, by going out into the world. But that isn’t enough. You have to go out into the world with courage and an open heart or else you will simply be carrying your fear around with you and will miss meeting those new friends.

Bonus

Sometimes serendipity stares you in the face. My cousin Sam posted this video this morning right after I posted this. I think it fits and is beautiful so here it is.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Yours Truly


 

Fate and Choice – Friendship #4

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Xenophobia

One of the reasons people are xenophobic (fear of foreigners, people of other cultures) is because they only have friends who are exactly like them. Maybe they are the same color, maybe the same economic status, maybe from the same town or city, maybe the same religion, maybe the same age or the same gender.  They may look a little different on the outside, one is bald, one like bright clothes, etc. But in truth, their friends are actually just themselves in other bodies.  People who are outside this homogenous group are the ‘other’ and since you don’t know them and they seem so different, they are feared. This can easily be the case with the refugee or immigrant, the person from the north side of the city, the person who speaks another language, the retiree, the person from another religion.

Periscope

The question is, how do you get to be friends with those people?  Astonishingly, one of the best ways is online. You can find everyone online, and if you join groups, chances are the group will have all sorts of people. Get to know them.

One of my favorite things about doing live streaming on Periscope app is I never know who is going to come into my broadcast. Sometimes it’s a dreadlocked African-American from Chicago, next moment it’s a Putin-loving person from Russia. Then in comes an Australian housewife living in Germany, a Latina actress from LA, a stay at home dad from St. Louis, a single mom from Paris with a bi-racial son, a teenager from Spain, a hardworking artist from Philadelphia, a famous blogger from the UK,  an intellectual from Hawaii, a Native American from Oklahoma.  They may be online, but they are all my friends and I get to know them and do my best to understand them.

Of course that is not the only way to know people different than you are.  Joining an interest group in your town might be a way to do that. Volunteering for a cause could work as well.  There are many ways, but it takes a decided effort in many cases to make it happen.

Knowing

The point is, we live in a diverse world. It’s more interesting and fun to embrace it. It is healthier to embrace it as well.  Because when you have friends who really ARE different than you, then you will come to see them as multi-faceted people, just like you are.  And that in turn will allow you to think about all other religions, races, ages, genders, orientations, etc. with the sensitivity that comes from seeing them as real people, just like your friends.

 


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Jacque Delille, 1738-1813, French writer and poet


 

The Blue Woman and the Red Bird – a Friendship Story

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The Blue Woman and the Red Bird 

One day the blue woman was walking to the edge of the volcano so she could jump in and kill herself. On the way she came across a red bird standing on a dead branch near the trail she was on. The red bird started talking to the blue woman and what she said made her cry. They weren’t tears of sadness but tears of joy because what the red bird said was that she was lonely being the only red bird in the area and wanted someone to talk to who would understand her. She saw the blue woman walking by and since she had never seen a blue woman before she figured she had to feel pretty lonely as well. She was right. The blue woman felt very lonely.  But thanks to the red bird noticing her and saying something she didn’t feel that way anymore. The red bird and the blue woman became great friends and accompanied each other everywhere together until the end of their days. And they were never lonely again.

The End


Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

Sharing Your Blessings – Thanksgiving 2016

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Sharing Your Blessings

I hear ‘I am so blessed’ often here in the bible belt. I say it myself sometimes. I say it to others when I hear them talk of something good happening. But until I read this quote I had never put blessing and thanksgiving together like this.

Of course at Thanksgiving you bless the meal.  But do we think about how each person’s individual blessing has contributed to the meal?  Did we consider Uncle Bob’s amazing ability to impart joy to the kids by playing with them is his blessing he is sharing?  What about sister Eleanor who has spent a lifetime cooking the best damn pecan pie in the world? She didn’t hide her abilities, she shared them.  And what about that young precocious son of your brother, who is funny and sharp as a knife with his wit?  He probably doesn’t know it yet but he is sharing that which has been given to him.

Even more importantly, once we step away from the Thanksgiving meal, do we share our blessings with the wider world?  I hope we do. Because the truth is if you really want to show your thankfulness for the blessings you have been given, whether by God, the universe, genetics, the capitalist system, wherever you believe they came from, then there is only one way to show it and that is to share it, right?

Lets share our blessings in love. Happy Thanksgiving!


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by W. T. Purkiser, 1910-1992, American Preacher


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The God Complex – Friendship #3

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Being God

You know what is great? To have a friend who will fish you out of the water when you fall in. That is great. But what is not great is if they threw you in the water in the first place.

Have you ever had a friend like that?  I call this the God Complex. They thrive when they are helping someone but to do so they need to get that person in danger first. So they set up a scenario where they nurture drama in a person’s life, maybe by encouraging them to date someone they know is not right for them, or maybe to take a job they are not suited for. It could be anything. All that matters is that they work it so they are able to come to the rescue and seem to be the hero or shero.

My Hero Fantasy

I have known one or two in my time. And even though the quote refers to a woman (Mme De Stael), I have noticed it just as much, if not more, in men. I think this might be because men grow up told it’s the highest accomplishment to be a hero.  I remember in Jr. High I had my first and only hero fantasy. I imagined the bus I took to school getting in a crash and me coming to the rescue of Julie, the most beautiful girl in school (in my opinion). I helped her out of the bus and took care of her as she lay on the ground.  As an adult I respond as best I can to circumstances where my help is needed. But I don’t ever want to desire or cause something bad to happen just so I can do good.

Here’s the point. It’s not wrong to be a hero or shero. It’s a good thing. But it’s not if you are manipulating people and situations so that you can be one.  That’s a bad thing.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, 1754-1838 French diplomat and politician

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The quote refers to Mme. De Staël (Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baronne (baroness) de Staël-Holstein), 1766-1817, French-Swiss author and politician.  She is definitely worth reading about!

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