I’ve never learned to juggle beyond the simple mimicry of children playing, so it doesn’t occur to me to perform as a juggler or tell people to trust that I can. It doesn’t enter my brain that I should just be able to do it naturally, or that without training, I should take my show on the road and charge people money to see how many things I can successfully juggle.¬†You see, there’s not only an art to the way you propel and catch objects, but there’s years of solid practice. Go ahead, try it.

Scheduling work, home, and family is a lot like juggling. Knowing what objects to keep aloft and what ones that require your immediate attention and personal interaction is paramount to success. but, just like real juggling, I’ve not had any professional guidance or training beyond mimicking my professional colleagues or my parent’s example while growing up. So, there’s no expectation that I know what I’m doing. Nor should I convince my clients, my friends, my spouse, or my children that I can schedule all of my responsibilities, needs, desires, and dreams, keeping all priorities safely aloft, touching only those that require attention at exactly the right moment, taking care that important ones don’t fall to the ground.

What kind of training do people seek or need to be proficient jugglers of life? Do we include this essential skill in school? Should we? What about university? Surely the things we learn there set us up for a different professional path than if we hadn’t gone. One only assumes this means the juggling will get progressively more difficult. To answer my own question: Yes. People in the world need to know how to prioritize for themselves and it shouldn’t be a realization when they finally see this for themselves. Taking charge of our lives and living independently should be a normal goal. All our growing lives we are set upon by the expectations of parents, supervisors, educators, ministers, and our growing relationship. All vie for time. All externally prioritize.

Teach children, teens, young adults, and those fresh in the world to take charge of their lives. Teach them from an early age and reinforce all along the way that they have the power and the responsibility to learn to do this for themselves. If you fall into that group of people who have power over other’s daily lives, forcing priorities on others, be clear in communicating your expectation so it’s easier for them to successfully juggle. When you see them bobbling their objects, provide training, guidance, and support. Not everybody knows how to juggle, you know. We all have to learn it, whether we perform it in front of other, or just perform for our families in the garden.

And when you drop something, for Pete’s sake, pick it up and start over. You’re learning and eventually you’ll put on a show for all to witness.


Liberals and conservatives and…what else?

In America today, all we debate is the schism between Liberals and Conservatives. Whether on the nightly news, the national or local newspapers, online, or at the coffee shop. All we speak about is how far left or how far right politicians, politics, leaders, and common opinions slide along the scale. It’s both frustrating and infuriating!¬†Personally, I want to be able to talk about issues and make belief statements that don’t begin to define what camp I’m in; rather, I’d like it to lead to meaningful dialog between rational people.

And the labels are another thing. What I believe and why I believe it is not something that makes me liberal or conservative. In fact, here’s an example illustrating why I don’t like the labels. If I were conservative, I’d also be tentative. The very definition means “to hold back; to conserve.” That’s not the way I want to live my life, nor is it the way I want our society to evolve. We need to constantly liberate ourselves from old ideas and ideologies. We need to evolve, to gain ground, to search, and discover. These are not conservative actions or strategies.

I also want to be “liberal” without needing everything to be free for everyone in America paid for by everybody else in America. I want to live in a society where I can build personal wealth without it being taxed away, but I also want to able to give it away if I choose.

I want to live in a society that has respect for people and their views. I want to stop legislating for every eventuality. I want to own a gun and have a place to shoot it and for other people to stop being scared that I do. I want people to have rights about their own bodies; rights to live and to die and for those choices to be made by families and the people who love them. I want to be free to read, and to write, and to travel, and to absorb cultures.

Thomas Paine said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Why, when that was a founding principle around which our government was built, is my liberty under constant threat by my fellow Americans?

photo credit: “Argument” by Poppetcloset, Flickr Creative Commons. No changes made.

Figurine Credit: Gary Taxali