Friday, September 11, 2009


“If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try skydiving!” (passed along by friend David Delgatty)

Ideas. Youngsters begin to separate the world from self. Human actions produce reactions. Babies immediately begin to experiment to learn what gets good results. Conformity to rules keeps us safe and minimizes correction or reprimand. Disobedience brings attention. Manipulation works: we cry and parents respond with food and clean clothing. When we get hurt, we get hugs and a soothing “There, there. You’ll be ok.” Or we hear, "Stupid kid! Why did you do that?"

The same action in different contexts can produce a variety of responses. We touch and get a stroke or a slap. Reach for Mommy’s hand, she strokes and smiles. Reach for the stove, she slaps and scolds. Environment begins to train us to acceptable parameters. Adventure and exploration rewards or hurts. Our intimate circle supports or restricts us.

Toddlers handle building blocks, stacks of mixing bowls, a sandbox. Children pass a ball between teammates. Rehearse a musical instrument from the solitude of a practice room into a group of musicians. Stomp or glide a smooth floor for gym or dance. Teens and young adults have coaches and instructions manuals that explain how to get a drivers license and maneuver a car. Work an appliance to wash laundry, use a circular saw, or plug in an I-Touch. Find sources, manipulate information, and systematize facts into categories for college or job.

Our responses to new stimuli and our interactions with others shape how we think. A child registers a parent’s word of praise for an innovative way of stacking blocks or bowls, or a parent’s frown for noisy play. She sees classmates walk toward her in curiosity or walk away in disgust. He wrestles or is wrestled to the ground to cheers and boos.

Gradually, subtly, most of us narrow our ideas to acceptable boundaries. The timid erect walls. The fearless learn caution. Those who thrive within margins become respected accountants and regulators, teachers who outline what is known, and engineers who shape applications and spaces. They create harmony, safety, and composition. Those who thrive on turbulence become artists, scientists, and other irritants, tossing out random ideas that prod the complacent, color across black and white outlines, and spark tinder into flame. Revolutions and innovations – in processes, politics, and tools – usually come through dreamers who refuse to be confined by what is already known or done.

In ideal environments, the orderly and the chaotic continually interact to create systems of lively creativity within sound structures. This uncomfortable interface produces sustainable local and global development.

Progress comes when we find our opposite, challenging and encouraging each other. Who will help us balance what can be thought and what can be built?

Read more:
*Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest." Proverbs 14:4 NLT

*Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 NLT

*Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV

*For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11


  1. Really great stuff here... THANKS for writing it!

  2. Loved this post. It so explained our conversation at lunch:

    Ashley: Give me a math problem.
    Mom: Add up a Tree, a Van and a Hippo.
    Caitlyn: About $1,000 in damage.
    Erin: Trees don't bend to catapult things.
    Me: in Africa they do.
    Caitlyn: you could put the hippo in the van and go to the tree.
    Ashley: treeavananhippopotomus