Friday, March 02, 2007

New stuff...

I've been fooling around with blog editors this morning. Isn't it amazing how much time one can lose while trying to get a new software tool to work? Of course we blame the software, and, no doubt, it could be easier to use.

On the other hand, what if we view a new software tool like any other tool. "Some assembly required." Aside from coffee pots, can openers, and other kitchen appliances, there are a lot of tools that do not work out of the box. And many require experimentation before getting them to work.

Now, I'm no apologist for poor programming or design. I do think we could do with a lot more civility toward others and try to understand that "they" (whoever they are) are not out to get us at every opportunity.

I think the term is forebearance.

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The Power of You

Dr. Hayes was one of those teachers who could challenge and inspire students to greatness. One of the key lessons he taught students in his technical writing class at Southern Tech was the power of you.

His observation was that too many letters begin like this: "I am writing you today because I want you to know what I am going to want, need, try to sell, etc...." You see his point don't you? By the end of the first sentence, you know already that this letter is not about you, but "I."

He encouraged his students to re-work their correspondance from the perspective of "you." For example: "Shopping in your store was a wonderful experience. You helped me so much. The shirt you helped me pick out was wonderful. Could you help me exchange it?"There is a difference. It's not manipulative. It's about putting others first. The apostle Paul said it this way: "in humility consider others as more important than yourselves." Phillippians 2:3 (HCSB)

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Trash Day

Tuesday is trash day in our neighborhood. Like many communities, ours is sometimes hard on our local sanitation service. On the other hand, sometimes we just need to brag on these servants.

Normally, my wife rolls the trash to the street when she walks our son to the bus. One Tuesday, the can wasn't in place as the garbage truck rolled by. The driver blew the horn as they passed, and my wife realized that the truck would be returning in a few minutes on the other side of the street. She hurriedly rolled the can to the street.

When the truck returned, they stopped, dumped the can, blew the horn and waved as they drove away. We think they were laughing, too. It was a win all the way around: garbage gone, driver smiling, and we benefited from someone who went the extra mile.

There's some great "life-learnin'" in this story. The people around us often make mistakes, fall short of our expectations, or otherwise place themselves in difficult situations. We could "drive on by" and let them suffer the consequences. Or, we can take notice and do what we can to help them out. I think, when I look back on my life, I'd like to be known as one who took notice of others and was willing to pitch in to help them when I could.

For you see, that's what God did: "But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8 (HCSB)