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Having friends is what makes the world go around, or so it seems.
Earlier this week, I was tracked down while running around town and told
an old friend was passing through town and looking for me. I promptly
took off and met him and his wife at Flying J.
James is a trucker who I met and became friends with almost 30 years
ago. I haven't seen him or his wife, Dolores, in years so we have a nice
visit over coffee.
He - or rather they - were loaded with forklifts headed from Lubbock to
Sacramento. I say they because his wife who is now a retired school
teacher, has joined him in the driving chores and now they have an
opportunity to be together and take vacations as part of their trucking
Their family of five children is grown and gone from home. James - the
last name is Gilstrap for those in the business who might have run
across him over the years - has been driving all over the United States
and Canada for years and has hauled all kinds of freight.
He has probably broken every bone in his body hauling cattle out of the
north country back to New Mexico and Texas with the coming of winter.
Many times the hauling is taking place later than it should have and the
roads are iced over, causing him to go over more than one cliff in
Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
During our visit, I had the opportunity to check on several other old
friends with whom I have lost contact over the years. It turns out
several are not in very good shape and some have had lots of problems,
including one who has spent time in prison because of drug problems.
That particular man had drinking problems - not excessive - but a
problem during the years I knew him but I always thought he was too
strong to be caught up in the drug thing. That just goes to show you
that anybody and everybody is susceptible to these kinds of problems.
It also makes me wonder if I could have helped if I had been around. We
both had a deep and abiding respect for one another. I understand the
drug problem caused his parents all kinds of problems but sometimes a
friend can help where family can't.
Sometimes, we are all remiss in dealing with our responsibilities of
being friends. Yes, it is not only fun to have friends but friendship in
my mind carries with it responsibilities. Sometimes I believe I have
failed many of the friends I have made in many places over the years by
not keeping in touch and being involved in their lives like I had been
during the time we became acquainted.
However, there is a limited amount of time and money in life and so we
can't always do what we want to do. Many is the time I have driven
through towns where I used to live and think of people I need to stop
and visit and just check on. However, it seems I'm always in too big a
As I get older and visit with friends like James and Dolores, it makes
me realize I need to slow down and stop and smell the roses.
Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. His column
appears on Fridays.
By DR. JAMES DOBSON
QUESTION: My 4-year-old frequently comes running home in tears because
she has been hit by one of her little friends. I have taught her that it
is not right to hit others, but now they are making life miserable for
her. What should I tell her about defending herself?
DR. DOBSON: When youngsters play together, they each want to have the
best toys and determine the ground rules to their advantage. If they
find they can predominate by simply flinging a well-aimed fist at the
nose of their playmate, someone is likely to get hurt.
I'm sure there are people who disagree with me on this issue, but I
believe you should teach your child to defend himself or herself when
attacked. Later, they can be taught to "turn the other cheek," which
even mature adults find difficult to implement.
I recently consulted with a mother who was worried about her small
daughter's inability to protect herself from aggression. There was one
child in the neighborhood who would crack 3-year-old Ann in the face at
the slightest provocation. This little bully, named Joan, was very small
and feminine, but she never felt the sting of retaliation, because Ann
had been taught not to fight back.
I recommended that Ann's mother tell her to return Joan's attack if
Joan hit first. Several days later, the mother heard a loud altercation
outside, followed by a brief scuffle. Then Joan began crying and went
Ann walked into the house with her hands in her pockets, and casually
explained, "Joan socked me, so I had to help her remember not to hit me
again." She and Joan have played much more peacefully since that time.
Generally speaking, a parent should emphasize the foolishness of
fighting. But to force a child to stand passively while being clobbered
is to leave him at the mercy of his cold-blooded peers.
QUESTION: I am 13 years old, and I feel miserable about myself. Is
there anything I can do?
DR. DOBSON: First, you need to understand that you are not alone. When
you go to school tomorrow, quietly watch the students who are coming and
going. I assure you, many of them have the same concerns that trouble
you. They reveal these doubts by being very shy and quiet, by being
extremely angry and mean, by being silly, by being afraid to participate
in a game or contest, by blushing frequently or by acting proud or
You'll soon learn to recognize the signs of inferiority, and then
you'll know it's a very common disorder. It will give you more
confidence to know that everyone is afraid of embarrassment and
ridicule--that we're all sitting in the same leaky boat, trying to plug
the watery holes.
Second, I advise you to look squarely at the worries that keep gnawing
at you from the back of your mind or from deep within your heart,
causing a black cloud to hang over your head day and night. Then list
all the things which you most dislike about yourself. Nobody is going to
see this paper except the people you choose to show it to, so you can be
completely honest. Write down everything that's bothering you.
Identify your most serious problems as best as possible. Whatever
concerns you, write it down the best you can. Then when you're finished,
go back through the list and put a mark by those items that worry you
the most--the problems you spend the most time thinking and fretting
Third, think about each item on the list. Give your greatest creative
thought to what might be done to change the things you don't like. If
you wish, you might share the paper with someone in whom you have
confidence. That person can then help you map out a plan for
improvement. You'll feel better for having faced your problems.
The key to mental health is being able to accept what you cannot
change. After you've done what you can to deal with your problems, I
feel you should take the paper on which the most painful items are
written, and burn it in a private ceremony.
These questions and answers are excerpted from the book Dr. Dobson
Answers Your Questions. Dr. James Dobson is a psychologist, author and
president of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
the preservation of the home. Correspondence to Dr. Dobson should be
addressed to: Focus on the Family, P.O. Box 444, Colorado Springs, CO
80903.(c), 1982, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. This column is provided
for Enterprise readers by the Pecos Ministerial Fellowship.
The west has become obsessed with Pope John Paul II as a conservative
moral figure. His visit to Sarajevo showed how inadequate that view is.
More than any other world leader, Karol Wojtyla is able to understand
the divisions that have rent Europe in the 20th century and to appeal
with authority for them to be transcended.
Formed in the east under Nazism and communism before being translated
to the west as Bishop of Rome in 1978, he bestrides the gap not only
between Christians of various denominations but also between people of
different faiths. That ecumenical quality was evident both in the
preparations for the visit by the Muslim-Croat federation and in the
welcome he received from the Serbian member of Bosnia's Herzegovina's
presidential council and from the Orthodox Church.
The Daily Telegraph, London
Our tone of voice communicates a great deal. Tell someone we love them
in a flat, hollow voice, and it communicates nothing. Quietly look our
loved one in the eye, and those words are truly meaningful. Frequently,
parents miscommunicate to their children. Saying to the 5-year-old,
"Son, for the third time, will you please take your toys to your room?"
communicates that the child is in control. That's the wrong message.
It concerns me when a parent introduces a child who ducks behind the
legs of the parent as, "He's shy," or, "She's bashful." This reinforces
the child's conviction that he or she doesn't like to be around "all
those people." Parents would be more effective if they said, "Normally
he/she's smiling and friendly, and you will soon see what I mean." This
affirms the child's worth and the fact that they "fit in" with other
The use of humor to communicate can change a child from crying to
laughing. Once, when our oldest granddaughter (who is now 20), was a
2-year-old, she was crying about something. I suspected she was merely
trying to get more attention, so I stepped into the kitchen and, since
my name for her is "Sunshine," called out: "Waaaiiit a minute, Sunshine!
Don't shed another tear!"
Then, carrying a large mixing bowl, I said to her: "Sunshine, those
tears are so valuable I don't want to lose a single one. Let's collect
them in this mixing bowl, and perhaps we can sell them to the neighbors.
Now, cry real good for me, Sunshine!" Interestingly enough, tears
quickly turned to laughter. Note: Once we have a child laughing, we're
in position to bond with him or her and teach some valuable lessons.
Take this approach, and I'll see you - and the child - at the top!
"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." - Victor Borge
Zig Ziglar is a motivational speaker whose column is copyrighted and
distributed by Creators Syndicate Inc.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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