Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: God's Kingdom - Parable of The Two Sons
Volume 8 No. 493 August 10, 2018

III. General Weekly Features

Family Special: The Conversation Game

by Shirley M Dobson

"As a fair exchange… open wide your hearts." 2 Corinthians 6:13

My husband has used a single illustration to help parents teach the art of communication to their children. It might be useful to our female readers, as well, in explaining to their husbands how to talk to them. It goes like this:

Give three tennis balls to your husband and ask him to throw them back one at a time. Instead of returning the balls, however, simply hold them. He'll be left wondering what to do next. Obviously, it isn't much of a game. Then explain your point—good conversation is much like a game of catch. You "throw" an idea or comment to your husband (How was work?), and he tosses it back (Great! I finally finished that project for the boss). If your husband doesn't return it (Work was fine), the game ends. Both players feel awkward and wish they were somewhere else.

Of course, husbands and wives should do more than toss superficial details to each other. They should practice sharing dreams, feelings, marriage, spiritual goals, etc. But it all starts with playing the conversation game.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Family Special: The Day I Stopped Saying 'Hurry Up'

By Rachel Macy Stafford

When you're living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there's never enough time in a day to ever catch up.

That was my life for two frantic years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn't. But this all changed...

You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.

When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown.

When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat.

When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she'd stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma.

When I had 30 minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.

When I had a full agenda that started at 6:00 AM, she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently.

My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature, but I didn't see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision, only looking ahead to what's next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.

Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, "We don't have time for this." Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: "Hurry up."

I started my sentences with it.

Hurry up, we're gonna be late.

I ended sentences with it.

We're going to miss everything if you don't hurry up.

I started my day with it.

Hurry up and eat your breakfast.

Hurry up and get dressed.

I ended my day with it.

Hurry up and brush your teeth.

Hurry up and get in bed.

Although the words "hurry up" did little if nothing to increase my child's speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, "I love you."

The truth hurts, but the truth heals and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.

Then one fateful day, things changed. We'd just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, "You are so slow." And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself and it was a gut-wrenching sight.

I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.

My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children.

Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child's eyes and said, "I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you."

Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter's face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance.

"I promise to be more patient from now on," I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother's newfound promise.

It was pretty easy to banish "hurry up" from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young.

When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. When she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face I'd never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That's when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.

My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began my journey to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. And living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. My younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again.

The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand.

Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. "Do I have to rush, Mama?"

I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don't ever completely disappear, I thought sadly.

As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life... or I could celebrate the fact today I'm trying to do things differently.

I chose to live in today.

"You don't have to rush. Just take your time," I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed.

And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.

I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing, but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals and sweet juice for me. "I saved the last bite for you, Mama," my daughter said proudly.

As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime.

I gave my child a little time... and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life.

Whether it's ...

Sno-cone eating
Flower picking
Seatbelt buckling
Egg cracking
Seashell finding
Ladybug watching
Sidewalk strolling

I will not say, "We don't have time for this." Because that is basically saying, "We don't have time to live."

Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.

[Ed Note: Rachel is a certified special education teacher and New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama. Through truthful storytelling and simple strategies, Rachel helps people overcome distraction and perfection to live better and love more. ]  

Poem: When We Die
God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.


Finance: Wealth-Building Lessons from The Richest Man in Babylon

By Mark Ford

Babylon was reputed to be the wealthiest city of the ancient world. Not just in terms of its ruling class, but also among a large population who lived in beautiful homes, enjoyed produce from their own gardens, and retired well before they were too old to work.

So says George S. Clason in his 1955 bestseller, The Richest Man in Babylon.

The story begins with Bansir, "gazing sadly at his simple home and the open workshop in which stood a partially completed chariot."

Kobbi, a friend and musician, stops by to borrow two shekels.

"If I had two shekels," Bansir replies gloomily, "to no one could I lend them - not even to you, my best of friends; for they would be my fortune. No one lends his entire fortune, not even to a best friend."

Floored by the thought that the two of them haven't got two shekels between them, they begin speculate on the disparity of wealth in Babylon, and ponder why they are still poor after years of hard work.

They decide to consult with Arkad, the richest man in Babylon.

"So rich the king is said to seek his golden aid in affairs of the treasury," Kobbi says.

"So rich," Bansir interrupts, "that I fear if I should meet him in the darkness of the night, I should lay my hands upon his fat wallet."

"Nonsense," says Kobbi. "A man's wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it. Arkad has an income that constantly keeps his purse full, no matter how liberally he spends."

"Income - that is the thing," exclaims Bansir. "I wish an income that will keep flowing into my purse whether I sit upon the wall or travel to far lands."

And with that goal in mind, the two old friends go to seek the wisdom of Arkad.

The first chapter ends with Basir coming to an important understanding: "The reason why we have never found any measure of wealth," he says, "is because we never sought it."

When it comes to wealth, the two most common mistakes people make are:

Believing that if they want it badly enough they'll one day get it.
Believing that working harder and longer than their neighbor will achieve it.

Through all of my wealth-building endeavors I've worked with intelligent, energetic, and serious people who have spent 20 or more years working long hours, enduring great stress, and making enormous sacrifices - all to arrive at middle age with very little to show for it. Some memories, some good stories, but virtually nothing in the bank.

I recall an executive that worked for non-profit organizations all her life. And another that owned and ran his own business. A third spent 25 years trying to get an import-export business going. All three were smarter, harder-working, and at least as ambitious as I.

So why didn't they get rich?

Simply this: They didn't seek wealth in the sense that Bansir describes it. They didn't direct their working lives according to a proven method of wealth building.

In pursuit of wealth, most people make foolish mistakes - simple mistakes that add up to a lifetime of disappointment and, ultimately, failure.

Becoming good at producing wealth is no different from becoming good at any other complex skill - singing, acting, surgery, etc. You must develop specific skills. By practicing these skills, you become better at them. As you pair one skill with another, new strengths emerge. Gradually, you change from being a hardworking person who cannot seem to save money, to a wealth-creating dynamo.

It's all about developing specific little habits.

It takes 1,000 hours to master painting, dancing, or gymnastics. It takes no more time to master wealth building.

I know you can do, it because I did it. For the first 27 years of my life I worked like a madman, helping other men get rich. But it was not until I stopped to figure out how I could actually acquire wealth and made that acquisition plan a formal part of my life that things changed for me.

In the second chapter of The Richest Man in Babylon, we meet Arkad, "…far and wide famed for his great wealth. He was generous in his charities … with his family … in his own expenses … but nevertheless each year his wealth increased more rapidly than he spent it."

Bansir and Kobbi are not the only wealth seekers asking for his help. Some "friends of younger days," question why fate has singled him out "to enjoy all the good things of life and ignore us who are equally deserving."

Arkad says, "It is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth or else you do not observe them.

"In my youth, I looked about me and saw all the good things there were to bring happiness and contentment. And I realized that wealth increased the potency of all of these… When I realized all this, I declared to myself that I would claim my share of the good things in life."

But that desire wasn't enough. It was not until Arkad learned a lesson about wealth building from his mentor, Algamish, that his fortune changed.

Algamish told him, "I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you."

"But all I earn is mine to keep, is it not?" Arkad demanded.

"Far from it," Algamish replied. "Can you live in Babylon without spending? What have you to show for your earnings of the past month? What for the past year? Fool! You pay to everyone but yourself. Dullard, you labor for others. As well be a slave and work for what your master gives you to eat and wear. If you did keep for yourself one-tenth of all you earn, how much would you have in 10 years?"

"As much as I earn in one year," Arkad replied.

"You speak but half the truth," Algamish retorted. "Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that also can earn for you. If you would become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its children must earn, that all may help to give to you the abundance you crave.

"Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed, the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade."

And that was the beginning of Arkad's journey to wealth.

In The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach builds his entire wealth-building scheme around this one principle of "paying yourself first." It's an idea that is at the base of many of the best modern wealth-building programs, from Ben Franklin's writings to the principles we espouse at ETR.

It's very simple. The money you spend on the trappings of wealth - cars, boats, jewelry, etc. - may make you feel wealthy, but they don't add to your wealth; they subtract from it. If you want to increase your wealth, there is only one way to do that: You must save. And if you want to save regularly and well, you should put a portion of your income into savings first - before you spend it on anything else.

About the Author:

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. ...

Source: Early To Rise (c)


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