The first quote was contributed by my brother, Darrell Holbrook.
Joycelyn Elders, president Clinton’s surgeon general.
“…most of the people that die with heart disease and cancer are our elderly population, you know, and we all will probably die with something sooner or later.”
Most of us hope to die later rather than sooner. The idea of a “full life” is quite appealing. It seems that there is much less sympathy for an elderly person dying as opposed to a child or anyone short of 40.
Granted, many older people who are in the throes of diseases such as heart disease and cancer will tell you they are ready to die and wonder why they are allowed to drag on and on.
Tell me, at what age is it categorically expected that you have lived long enough and your passing is not as important as someone younger? Many people would choose the biblical estimate of “3 score and ten” or 70 years.
My father is 80 years old. He is in great health and takes a long exercise walk every day. He has been happily married to my mother for well over 50 years and has many things to look forward to.
Does his 80 years mean that it is more fitting for him to pass on than the average 20 year old? As a son who loves him and my mother both, it is easy to say no to this, but a yes may easily come from someone who doesn’t know him or the amazingly influential life he has lived.
The aforementioned 20 year old could be a rapist or murderer. Or a minister, or a person who may have been president. What if they were doing something truly stupid that led directly to their death and maybe one or two others in the bargain?
All this being said, what right do we have to decide who actually “deserves” to live and die?
We really don’t mean to be cruel, but it is so easy with strangers to draw generalities and give the thumbs up or down, like in the Roman games.
Human life at any stage is sacred. Old or young, we all want to live, and have a primeval imperative to want life to continue.
There is also the issue of what a person could accomplish if they did live. Whatever your feeling on abortion, a cartoon I saw can offer food for thought. It had a man shaking his fist toward heaven, yelling, “….and why haven’t you sent us a cure for cancer?” Then a voice came out of the cloud that said, “I did, but you aborted it.”
Human potential is amazing at all ages. Let’s all work together to maximize it, no matter how old or young a package it comes in.
“So when I do Chinese cooking, I mix everything together, then the kids have to eat their vegetables. They won’t have the patience to pick them out.”
What method do you use when someone really needs to do something for their own good, but need convincing of the importance of it?
Most egotistical persons immediately go right to the nuclear option, the direct order. If you move in hard and fast, they will so shocked they will obey out of habit and fear. Sometimes this will get the job done at this moment, but does little to foster a good relationship and does absolutely nothing to change the habits of those you are lording over. They will just wait for the next order before they move again, since you have taken the place of their conscience and have taken from them the responsibility of correct behavior.
There is another way, a better way I think. What if you can make them WANT to do this? It is much more simple than you think. If you pay a little bit of attention to human behavior and adapt your tactics, you can have large scale success that will help those you are in charge of learn and repeat good habits. That way you can be confident they are behaving correctly when your back is turned.
Dale Carnegie published a book in 1936 called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. It has sold 15 million copies worldwide, and is still in print. From Wikipedia, here are the main points that pertain to our current discussion:
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”
If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Appeal to the nobler motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise every improvement.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
Links to the Wikipedia article and the book in Amazon.com with be included in the show notes at daggersofthemind.com
If you order an action, you may force them to do it right now, but you create a dependence on your authority for action of any kind. If you can create the desire to perform, you change their habits for a lifetime.