Say My Name: Tyrone, by Will Saunders

The things I write here usually are serious topics that strike me or are relevant to society or a subset of our community, or I write something of major significance in some way, larger than just me I like to say. Today, this post is none of that. I remembered a funny little anectdote that I want to share.

Several years ago, there was a lady at work who would always called me Tyrone. Doris Robb was her name. I have no idea why I remember her name, for it was a really long time ago. I was a sophomore in college then, around 1988 or 1989. I also have no idea why she called me Tyrone. She was a very sweet middle-aged Chinese-American woman. We were responsible for managing the reviews of discretionary government research grants submitted to the agency, but we worked on different programs.

Anyhow, I told Doris my name wasn’t Tyrone and that it was Will. Twice. But it never sunk in. After the second correction, I stopped telling her. Frankly, I liked her accent and the way she pronounced Tyrone. Almost a year had passed and she, as I was told, was having a conversation with a third party about me. When Doris mentioned  Tyrone this and Tyrone that to the third party, that other person evidently asked who she was talking about. She told Doris Tyrone wasn’t correct. Doris came up to me the next day and apologized for the name faux pas. She said she thought I was joking when I had told her my name was Will.

I never did find out what they were saying about me that day. I was always very curious. I was hoping they would have voluntarily told me. I figured it might have been a little rude to ask, don’t you?

 

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Since I Fell For You, by Will Saunders

I love how closely you can connect to a song and be deeply moved because of how it speaks to things, people, or situations you have faced. That’s something that is universal and everyone I know can relate to that feeling. Some songs hit you solely because of the beat and the tune. But other songs have a message that very poignantly slaps you in the face and in your soul and hits your spirit the way a tiger in the wild strikes its prey.

 One old song has done that for me, Since I Fell For You. I first heard it when I was in college on the Bob James and David Sanborn album, Double Vision. Al Jarreau made a cameo on the album to sing this song. I later discovered that many artists recorded it prior to and after this production.

 Some other versions I’ve enjoyed through the years include renditions by, Gladys Knight, Nicole Henry, Lenny Welch (you probably don’t know much about him…but you need to learn if you don’t know), Dinah Washington, and Barbara Streisand. Lots of others have also done it. I hadn’t heard it in years. I recently was looking around within the iTunes Music repository searching for other artists who might have recorded it, and I found another old version I had never heard before by Natalie Cole & Reba McEntire. As much of a Natalie fan as I am, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t know about it, until I realized it was on Reba’s album, not Natalie’s. I am not much of a Reba fan, but I enjoyed that rendition. They performed a great duet. It grazed my heart.

 This song reminded me of something I had recently endured. The basic theme of the song is falling for someone who doesn’t feel the same – unrequited love with someone who is no longer around. It proves how you can still feel deeply for someone even when they are no longer a part of your life. Perhaps it’s true that absence does make the heart grow fonder. This song is all about that life. Music can tell a story better than any other medium.

 Although the lyrics vary slightly depending on who is singing it, here are the basic words — followed by the James, Sanborn, and Jarreau recording:

Since I Fell for You 
When you just give love, and never get love
You’d better let love depart
I know it’s so, and yet I know
I can’t get you out of my heart
 
You made me leave my happy home
You took my love, and now you’re gone
Since I fell for you
 
Love can bring such misery and pain
I guess I’ll never be the same
Since I fell for you
 
Well it’s too bad, and it’s too sad
That I’m in love with you
You loved me, and then you snubbed me
But what can I do, I’m still in love with you
 
Well, I guess I’ll never see the light
I get these blues most every night
Since I fell for you

 

 

 

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Health Matters, by Will Saunders

The recent illnesses or deaths of some notable celebrities – with the exception of Larry King, all of whom are middle-age men, highlight the need to pay more attention to our minds, bodies, and our overall health, including our mental health. John Singleton, Luke Perry, and Kristoff St. John each faced a sudden death due to physical or mental health issues; Larry King, Kurtis Blow, and Peabo Bryson were hospitalized due a cardiac episode and as of this writing, are still in the hospital.

We can all do simple little things by ensuring we address any health problems as soon as we become aware of them. There’s a tendency for people to put it off or ignore important signs. But early detection and treatment are key.

The first thing is to be aware of your body and pay attention to even the subtlest of changes, not only physical changes but to your mind and ability to remember things too. Everything is connected in some way. Changes to or problems with your mind might not be just a mind problem in a vacuum. Changes with your mind can mean a vitamin B12 deficiency, early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, a tumor or blood clot in the brain, or alcohol abuse or drug addiction. A loss of memory could also indicate an early warning sign of depression too. I’ve heard some people say, “I’m not 20 years old anymore.” to explain away forgetfulness. Yes, forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. But there might be issues going on that are more serious than merely having a bad memory.

Second, seek a medical consultation regularly and not just when you feel sick or have a problem. This is particularly important when you’re not taking care of yourself. A middle-aged man where I work never goes to the doctor, and he maintains a very unhealthy lifestyle. Specifically, he (1) never gets any exercise; (2) follows a poor diet that is high in saturated fats and sugars; (3) and his activities away from the office are so plentiful that he seldom gets sufficient amounts of sleep. Any one of those things is bad by itself. But when you’re doing all three, it is doubly important to get a check-up. This man says it’s been about 20 years since he went to see a doctor. He, like many other people, uses the Internet to research health matters. That can be a good thing. I do that too. But most of the problems you might have could be a symptom of many different things, so you’ll want to have a medical professional check it out to be sure. I understand you not wanting go to the doctor, especially when there’s a co-pay involved only to tell you it’s nothing serious. An alternative is to check to see if your health insurer has an advice line where you can call to speak with an advice nurse. Most insurers have such a service. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. That’s a great benefit, and the nurse can talk you through your symptoms to try and identify if it could be a serious matter in need of further examination or something you can treat yourself at home.

Third, move more. That was First Lady Michelle Obama’s mantra. If the expense of a gym and a costly monthly membership is too much, you can workout at home. There are dozens of body weight exercises  you can do to challenge your muscles. You can find many vie a basic Internet search or look for videos on Youtube. Additionally, both Netflix and Prime have a plethora of exercise videos. If you have cable, there are exercise and fitness channels there too. Some of them are cardio while others are strength. You can easily incorporate them all from the comfort of your home. If all that is still overwhelming for you, get yourself a couple of small 2 or 5 pound dumbbells and go walking a few days each week. Don’t say you’re too busy. There’s always time to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise 2-3 days each week. If nothing else, it’ll alleviate any stress you may be feeling.

Lastly, look at your diet. You know what I mean. If you need help, look for a good food, health, and fitness Web site or fitness app that you like. Two that I recommend are Myfitness Pal and Sparkpeople; however, there are dozens of them out there. Look around and test drive a few. These sites can help you monitor your meals and plan them out in advance. They also help to track things such as calories, sodium, fat, or other things you may need to track. The other thing I like about these apps is you can connect to other like-minded folk and be a source of non-judgmental accountability for each other.

So, there you have it. We can fix our lives and get a little healthier. We can do this in small steps and make a huge difference.

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Mass Shootings In America, by Will Saunders

 

 There are many examples of mass shootings across the United States, many of which result in the deaths of victims. I won’t list them or single any of them out here. You can look that up for yourselves if you are so inclined. Following each one, there is an increased awareness of these senseless acts with a call to tighten up gun policies.

Our politicians seem to act concerned and unified and speak out staunchly for a moment, then they get quiet until it happens again. Then they act concerned again for a moment and get quiet again until it happens again. It goes that way over and over again. That’s the cycle. Violence, outrage, silence. Repeat.

 Although many of these incidents occur at grade schools, there are victims in other settings too. We see this at many places, including places of worship, in workplace settings, shopping centers, and on college campuses.

 While these mass shootings are tragic, all types of gun violence need to stop. On average, there are roughly 30,000 deaths lost every year due to gun violence. The discourse often focuses on ways to stop it.

 It’s probably not likely that it will be stopped completely, but I have some ideas that might help reduce the number of guns that get into the hands of people who should not have them. These are my own personal recommendations, recommendations I believe would make a difference.

 First, fix the private sale exemption, otherwise known as the gun show loophole. This is a provision in gun laws that allow gun sales without the requisite background check if it is a private-party sale to an unlicensed resident of the same state. This occurs a lot at gun shows. As long as the seller has a reasonable belief the purchaser is legally authorized to own or possess a firearm, namely, that the purchaser is not a felon or that the purchaser is not prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a court order. So, here’s the thing. If I am a gun seller, how in the friggin’ hell am I supposed to know this without the benefit of a background check? I’m certain that many people who shouldn’t have a gun obtain one via this method more often than we’d like to envision. Gun sellers want to make a profit, so I imagine they look at customers with blinders on, evaluating them in a vague and overbroad manner, a manner that’s just as vague and overbroad as the gun law is. This needs to be fixed. All gun purchasers need a background check.

 Second, everyone who owns a firearm must be required by law to (a) attend and successfully complete a government-sanctioned gun safety awareness program, and (b) safely secure their firearm at all times either via a gun lock or a lock box. Quite often, guns are “borrowed” from a friend or family member who everyone knows keeps their firearm in a shoebox on the closet shelf or in the dresser drawer. Gun owners who do not comply with these two requirements should be held civilly and criminally liable if their firearm is used by someone to commit a crime.

 Finally, police agencies need to have monthly “no questions asked” gun turn-in, buy back events. Many agencies do have them, but not on a monthly basis. Doing this monthly would be a big step in getting guns off the street. The first reported program of this nature occurred in Baltimore, Maryland in 1974. (Parry, Robert (December 8, 1974). “Guns of Baltimore: Why Did Bounty Stop?” The Blade. Toledo, Ohio: Toledo Blade Company. Associated Press). In that event, Baltimore purchased more than 13,000 firearms from citizens at $50 per gun. The current national average is around 925. Agencies need to budget for this. Many smaller police agencies most likely work with over-stretched budgets already. Moreover, agencies don’t realize the funding that is available from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (a component of the US Department of Justice), in the form of grants earmarked for criminal justice agencies. These funds could help stretch an agency’s operating budget exponentially.

 There are probably many other things that could be done to help curtain gun violence. But now, not much at all is being done. So, we can expect to see many more mass shootings before it gets better. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. But, you know how it is.

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Comfort Zone or Growth Zone, by Will Saunders

“Walk by faith, not by sight”

One of the greatest challenges to my comfort zone is attending a social event when I only know the person who invited me. If you ever invite me somewhere and that is the case, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll probably not go. I realize the host can’t spend all their time babysitting me when there is a room full of other guests. My level of anxiety skyrockets in those circumstances. I’ve been categorizing them as either comfort zones, where you have a mundane simple life – or growth zones, where you live the fabulous life you were meant to live. After all, nothing horrible has ever happened to me by stepping out of my comfort zone. But that hasn’t stopped me from hiding in the darkness.

A small handful of people are aware of this about me. I suppose I could always take a date. But, finding someone suitable is a challenge. I wish I were like Blanche Devereaux, with a little black book full of steady potential names I could call. But there can only be one Blanche. Occasionally, someone who knows this about me will reach out to me after the initial invite and encourage me to go if my presence at the event is especially important to them. Funny thing is though, once in a while, I’ll go somewhere and see a familiar face that I hadn’t expected to see there. I’ve also have made a new friend. But those two things don’t happen very often.

In June, I’ll be pushing myself. I was invited to an event, and I don’t expect to know anybody else there besides the person who invited me. I’m going. I didn’t RSVP right away. I took time to think on it and sleep on it. I’m glad the invite came early. The advance notice gives me plenty of time to prepare myself to go. Often I have missed out on what I know to be some really good times by avoiding things just because I won’t know anybody there. One of the many of life’s purposes is to grow, right? It reminds me of that line from that old Sheila E. song, The Glamorous Life, “She’s got big thoughts, big dreams.” Can’t do much with big thoughts and dreams in a comfort zone. Although I still have room for much improvement in this area, I’m getting much better at going places by myself. I’ll keep pushing myself. To paraphrase with a little embellishment an old Wintley Phipps quote, it is in the midst of our private sufferings and tense moments that we face our most enduring progress.

Since I mentioned it, lets play The Glamorous Life.

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Gratitude, by Will Saunders

 

I love receiving gifts. I’m always the biggest kid in the room when I get a gift. Getting them for no reason is always nice, but I like getting them also for special occasions, such as my birthday. Happy Birthday to Me! When it comes to gifts though, the only thing I love more than receiving them is showing gratitude to the giver.

I received this nice plant for my birthday, a plant that I adore immensely. It’s an Asian Dish Garden plant. I vow to care for it and make it last a long time. But I am unable to show gratitude to anyone. As you can see, It’s from You Know Who; only thing is, I don’t know who. But I appreciate it more than words can say. If you want to remain anonymous, I understand. Thank you.

I have matured in the way in which I care for plants. I used to treat them all the same: give them some water and a little sunlight, talk to them throughout the day, and sit back and let them grow. Until, they started to die on me. Plants are just like people. You cannot treat them all the same and expect the same thing from them all. Each one has different requirements. Once I realized this, the lifespan of my plants improved. My poinsettia from this past Christmas is still thriving. Those suckers are the most challenging of any plant I ever had. The blooms die, but the green leaves live on. If you have cared for them correctly, the blooms will come back. They call it re-blooming. Most people, myself included, don’t have the proper conditions in their homes for a poinsettia plat to re-bloom. A hothouse, or greenhouse, is needed. Some people use plastic bags to mimic a greenhouse effect. But I don’t have the patience for all that. So, I’ll have to be content with just the green.

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Bigfoot: Real or Fiction? by Will Saunders

Lots of people believe Bigfoot is real. There are many delegations that go on expeditions looking for this creature that, I think, is nothing but mythical-level folklore. But many don’t view it as folklore. Whether they call it Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch, or the Abominable Snowman, a whole lot of people believe the creature is real. Other names I have heard ascribed to this creature include Skunk Ape, Yeren, Yowie, Mande Burung (or alternatively Barung), Orang Pendik, Almas, and Barmanou. Aficionados of the species will note differences in these terms, primarily surrounding regions of the world where they may inhabit and subtle differences in their appearance; but for the purposes of this article, these terms are being used interchangeably. Personally, I prefer Yeti. There’s something inherently sexy about that one.

There have been several documentaries about Bigfoot: Finding Bigfoot, Bigfoot Files, Bigfoot Odyssey, Discovering Bigfoot, Chasing Bigfoot, and Expedition Sasquatch. There may be others, but these are the top ones that I found. All of these documentaries – along with the many scripted movies and television shows – are indicative of the interest that lies with this furry beast. The most authentic, believable account I’ve seen was in the 1961writings of Ivan T. Sanderson titled, Abominable Snowmen: LEGEND COME TO LIFESanderson uses bone samples and footprints as his proof that this creature is more than just a myth. That’s the only type of tangible evidence I’ve seen in the last 50 plus years. If Yeti was alive then, it likely is dead now, in my humble assessment of things. But alas, diehard believers still press on, even without any current physical evidence.

I was surprised to learn that Skamania County in Washington State has a law against killing Bigfoot. They classify the killing of the Yeti in this 1984 court document as either a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor, the former yielding a maximum penalty upon conviction of 6 months in jail and a $500 fine, with the latter being 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. I initially thought this was a joke. But my research disclosed the seriousness of the ordinance. It was originally promulgated in 1969, and revisited in 1984, reaffirming its validity. The revised 1984 law downgraded the offense from a felony, thereby reducing the maximum penalty from a $10,000 fine and a five year prison sentence. Neither the original nor the revised law criminalize accidental killing of the Yeti. The law addresses the “premeditated, willful, or wanton slaying” of the beast, declaring it an endangered species, thus making the county an official Sasquatch Refuge.

I think it’s kind of silly. The Bald Eagle is an endangered species, but there is a lot of evidence of its existence, also true for the Bengal Tiger, the Black Spider Monkey, the Asian Elephant, the Chimpanzee, and the Giant Panda. As rare as these animals may be, you can still set your eyes on them. A believer in Bigfoot argued this is why we need to have more resources to protect them, because they are disappearing and are almost extinct. Well, I’m not sure I would categorize the Yeti similarly as those other endangered animals. It’s fictitious. Isn’t it? If it isn’t, then surely its extinct like the unicorn. Like I always say, why is the Yeti so elusive? Doesn’t it leave footprints? Aren’t there any Yeti carcasses or does the Yeti disintegrate once it dies? Does it ever leave DNA in its travels? What about Yeti’s bodily waste?

Lastly, why can’t anybody capture any high-quality images of the Yeti? We always see old, grainy images. Sometimes, people claiming recent Bigfoot sightings use old images trying to pass them off as new ones. Doing a simple reverse image search can easily reveal that. I learned that trick from the TV show, Catfish. If the Yeti really does exist, then I’ll argue that leprechauns, vampires, the Lochness Monster, and werewolves are real too.

 

 

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Lent is Almost Over, by Will Saunders

Well, let me clarify. The Lenten period is almost over, just two more days remaining. Lent began on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Thursday night that precedes Good Friday. For 2019, that is March 6th through April 18th. If you have done it correctly, the practices you developed (if you in fact practiced Lent) should be incorporated all year long. Along the lines of your New Year’s Resolutions which benefit you most when you apply changes to your life at all times, Lent is the same way. Like I wrote in a post a couple of years ago titled, Lent Revisited, “Don’t stop doing it when Lent is over.”  Let any changes you make become a part of you and your life as you think, pray, and meditate. Lent should raise awareness for yourself so that you can grow and evolve from things that might be destructive to you or to those with whom you encounter. Even if you don’t eliminate those things forever, this exercise should help you recognize how to employ moderation. For me, some of the things I’ve focused on are only problems because I tend to do them to excess. Doing them in moderation would help improve my life immeasurably.

I identified some things, and I feel so uplifted because of what I chose. I don’t need to mention all of them here; but I’ll say that I focused on three big, specific things and a bunch of small, lesser important things. But they all play a role in helping me to grow, and one in particular overshadows the others, and that is being patient with others. Specifically, I become quickly irritated when people ask me for money, especially random strangers on the street. Given I work and live in the Washington, DC area, I encounter this a lot, and given I love vacationing in New York City a few times a year, I encounter it a lot there as well. Recently in Washington, a gentleman approached me and asked me for money. I told him I was unable to help him and I kept walking. He continued talking to me asking me to help him any way I could, and his persistence began to get my ire up, until I took a deep breath and remembered my goal to be more patient in situations such as this.

I offered to pray for that man. If he was really sincere when he said I could help him in any way that I could, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with prayer. Evidently he didn’t have prayer in mind and quickly objected. But I pressed on with my offer of prayer and he acquiesced and sat quietly as I prayed. By the time I was done, that man was in tears and thanked me for praying for him. He talked for a long time about how his choices got him in trouble and how he only want’s better for himself and his family. I thanked him as well. I explained to him how I was working on being more patient with others. He had helped me address one of the shortcomings on my short list of things I wanted to work on.

We parted ways and I prayed again, for myself, thanking God for presenting me with the opportunity to grow. I think I like it best, for me, by identifying a few targeted areas where I could benefit from growth. There are any number of different things a person could do for Lent. I highlighted many of them in a post I wrote titled, What Can I Do For Lent. I could have chosen many things, but I identified three specific things; the thing is, I discovered those three things fed into many other behaviors and activities that were weaknesses of mine, behaviors and activities I hadn’t considered. Nothing functions in a vacuum. Everything is interrelated.

In a blog post I wrote titled, Happy Lent, I highlighted a message from Pope Francis shortly after he was installed as pope, promoting the practice of Lent. Let me end by sharing an excerpt from that message:

May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are “as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10), sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy. In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and every Church community will undertake a fruitful Lenten journey. I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you safe.” ~~  Pope Francis, from the Vatican, 26 December 2013 – Feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr ~~

 

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Salary Negotiations, by Will Saunders


Take a look at job boards. There are a lot of them. Some are generic — everything you want in one place no matter the type of job you seek. Some are regional. Some are specifically for positions within a certain city or state. Still, others are for a given industry (i.e., medicine, education, law, information-technology, etc). One thing most of them have in common is the salary is missing. Either salary is missing altogether or there is a statement indicating salary is negotiable but still no specific dollar amount is stated.

Hiring managers (or perhaps it’s a decision by someone in the Human Resources Department) who decide to omit salary may not realize how much it wastes people’s time. I have personal experience with this. About four years ago, I applied for a job at an international global aerospace, defense, and security company headquartered in Maryland a short drive from my home. I found a position that read like it was created just for me. Everything they wanted from the ideal candidate were things I possessed. The background, experiences, education, certifications, and all, I had. I was excited. Among the long list of benefits, I was most interested in the medical, dental, and the “generous 401k” listed in the announcement as part of the benefits package.

I was in a rut at the time and was looking for a new job. So, I applied for the vacancy. I uploaded my resumes along with all my and transcripts.  I was even fortunate to get called in for an interview. Twice. The first interview was telephonic. It felt good. The person who would be my immediate supervisor led the interview panel (there were two other company managers on the call). Approximately two weeks later, I was called for another interview, a face-to-face interview. Again, I felt good vibes just like I had on the telephone interview.

I casually mentioned to someone that I was a candidate for a vacancy at this company. The person seemed shocked that I was considering leaving my “good government job,” as they put it. But, as I replied, the skills and competencies that I have acquired on this “good government job” along with the relevant Master of Arts degree entirely paid for by my “good government job” could give me some good experience at this reputable company – so in my mind if the position is fulfilling and adequately compensates me, it doesn’t matter the venue. Anyhow, time went by and I didn’t hear anything. Yes, my contact at Lockheed Martin told me there were lots of applicants, urging my patience as everyone was vetted. So, I tried to muster up some patience, something that I have had trouble with, of late. But I held it together.

Finally, I got the call to offer me the position. I would have been happy had they matched my salary. But they didn’t. They weren’t even close. The offer was about $7,200 lower than I was willing to accept. Bummer. That was such a disappointment. I made a case for a higher salary. After all, if salary is really negotiable as the announcement indicated, then I figured I may as well shoot my shot. He came up $2,500. That was still just under $5,000 lower than what I was willing to accept. Yes, I could have managed comfortably with the lower salary. There could have been positive outcomes for me. Number one, there is plenty of free parking at the facility. Second, the daily commute would be cut in more than half (that alone is a plus); and third, the new position would have afforded me the opportunity to telecommute 2-3 days a week (something I cannot do in my current job). There are a number of other bonuses too, but these would have been the main ones. These could have more than made up for the lower salary. I would certainly have come out ahead in the long run.

But alas, I declined. Just think of the time that is wasted, not only for me but also for the employees at the company. If they listed a salary, that would save everyone time and effort. I understand why this company and other companies don’t list salary. They don’t want to pay someone more than they need to. They could, instead of listing a specific salary, list a generalized salary range (i.e., $80k to 90k; or low $70ks). That way, people won’t even bother to apply for the job if their salary requirements are out of that range.

But it was a good experience, and the hiring manager invited me to apply to future opportunities. I will definitely do so. I may go and check out vacancies right now.

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Adult Children: We’re all the same inside, by Will Saunders

Adults carry on many of the same cliquish behaviors that are common for children. They say we are who we are by the time we reach the age of seven. That’s probably very true. I encountered something that solidified this for me.

Not long ago I facilitated a two-and-a-half-day seminar at work with approximately 30 participants. Most of them knew each other, and the socialization was probably more important to each other than the topic of the seminar.  They traveled to Washington, DC from various places around the country. Everyone knew one another from previous meetings, workshops, or seminars; they either comfortably inserted themselves into the various cliques around the room or were freely welcomed by everyone else. . .

. . . except one person. This one guy (I’ll call him Tony) was off to himself most of the time. During breaks or at lunch, Tony was a loner. When they broke off into groups, the other group members carried on as if Tony weren’t even there. They didn’t do much to welcome or include him, and I felt a little sorry for him. If it weren’t for the fact that I was facilitating the seminar, I would have gone and sat with Tony like I did in school. I said hi and offered some idle small talk between sessions and on breaks. I noticed he didn’t do much to make any effort to engage the others. Not that it was his fault. As the person on the outside of a clique, it’s not easy to join in.

That situation made me think back to school days and how things are with new kids. The other kids don’t typically make them feel welcome, and the new kids seldom feel comfortable enough to assert themselves to try to join the already-established groups. As a kid, I always looked at the interactions of adults and thought how much different (better) things would be and that I wouldn’t see those same types of biases. I didn’t realize then that adults face the same types of social struggles that kids face too. Adults tease and make fun of one another like kids do, and they can be pretty doggone rude, selfish, and thoughtless too. Of course, I don’t think that’s the norm. Most people step outside themselves and do a great job of being kind and collegial. Too bad everyone doesn’t do this.

Adults become the person they were as kids. Knowing this helps me to be a little more sensitive to others when I’m faced with this situation. When possible, I always try to make them feel welcome. If you ever see this happen, make an effort yourself to make outsiders feel welcome. They’ll appreciate it, immeasurably.

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