Veronica Bishop

baby steps to overcoming resistance

on creating good humans

I’d like to talk about the importance of critical thinking.

Attention spans get shorter with each advancing generation. It’s the age of instant gratification and approval addiction. Digital natives run the risk of being digital dependents. We are more connected globally than ever, yet never have we been more ill-equipped and unwilling to engage with people face-to-face.

Of course, that cultural immersion in technology can certainly be an asset. Research, if filtered through a critically thinking mind, can be done anywhere at any time. The world is at our fingertips. Creativity has more possibilities than ever before. Coding has become part of the cultural language as early as preschool. There is so much good that can be done in this age that we find ourselves in.

But to do good, the tools need to be in the hands of good people.

Frankly, we live in a divisive time, with the internet serving as an incubator. We can express opposing views behind the protection of a screen. I think there’s a danger of an empathy disconnect when you can’t physically be in the presence of the person with whom you are communicating. If there’s no face on the receiving end of your words, it becomes easier to speak to them like they are not a human being worthy of love and respect.

Respect and empathy must be taught and nurtured. It is everyone’s responsibility to raise up the next generation. It takes a village, as they say. I feel very passionately that we need to foster strong critical thinking skills in our young people well before high school, and certainly before they are old enough to vote, especially when there is so much bad rhetoric being thrown around; especially in an age where there is so much uncredentialed information readily available, an age in which anything can be counterfeited.

Training virtuous people with discerning minds is the key to a better world.

We need kids who are too smart to be duped by bad rhetoric and propaganda, and who have a willingness to work hard in the pursuit of truth. It is my dream that we raise up generations who are so wholeheartedly pursuant of goodness, truth, and beauty that it doesn’t occur to them to be selfish or litigious or lazy.

I want to see a generation rise up who have learned skills with their hands, who are scrappy and don’t feel naked without their electronics and the internet; a generation both content with solitude and silence and delighted by intimate in-person fellowship.

who live for the good of others;

who humbly seek truth and are open to all viewpoints;

who know why they believe what they believe;

who aren’t combative about their beliefs or their identity, and whose identities are not wrapped up in socioeconomics or gender labels or race or social media presence;

who see others for their spirit and character rather than societal labels;

who seek responsibility and shun excuses;

who wish to improve their character every day;

and who are motivated by love and commonality rather than our differences.

It’s never too early to teach kids how to be good citizens of the world, and you don’t have to be a parent or educator to be an influence. Children notice and absorb everything. They see how people treat one another, and will love or hate in the way that they consistently see those around them loving or hating.  They will pick up habits that they are rewarded for.

So read a lot, in front of and with your kids (or your friends’ kids). Encourage them to ask questions. Praise them for being polite. Let them play in a whole lot of different ways to explore what their gifts and interests are. Take an active interest in their individual learning style.

We need people in the world who can think for themselves and love others. Don’t think any idea is too big for them; give them the chance and they will rise to the occasion and become good people.

education as resistance

Knowledge is power. But power is only potential energy. It has to be put into action in order to be of any real value in the world.

I’m as guilty as anyone of reading too many books and articles, watching way too many videos, and taking too many online courses/webinars without actually getting anything done. I research the hell out of things. I always did this with term papers in college, too. I’d spend the majority of my time compiling information, with all of the real work happening at the eleventh hour. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty good at spinning my wheels.

You can be constantly acquiring information and knowledge, but you’ll never be an expert in your field unless you implement that knowledge. You have to DO your craft in order to hone your craft. You can be an expert at learning, but you’ll never be an expert at what you do unless you physically do it. Book learning and head knowledge alone can’t do what loads of practice can.

Learning without application is like watching a workout video from the couch. Don’t expect to see results if you’re only learning the moves instead of moving.

What sets apart the experts in any given field is that they’ve put in hundreds–if not thousands–of hours of practice. They are constantly honing their craft. If you want to be on the same playing field as the best of the best, it’s not enough to watch what they do and hear what they say. And comparison will only cripple you. You have to do what they do every single day. Implement your craft in your own unique style, and do it constantly. That is the one foolproof way to get great at anything.

Bottom line: be a perennial student, but don’t forget to do the work. Consistent practice is the key to mastering your craft.

persist

When you meet resistance

for who you are,

for how you look,

for what others assume you should give away,

When you meet resistance,

become the Resistance.

Persist in being a mighty citizen of the world.

Persist in doing good.

Insist upon your equal rank in the fight

for goodness, truth, and beauty.

Desist in carrying shackles

intended to keep you in your place,

designed to impress upon you

that you are less than.

Resist those instances

in which it’s hinted

that you should be pitted against

your own kind.

Persist in love.

Pursue empathy.

We can all walk in one another’s shoes,

they are unisex.

We are all humankind.

There is no “them,”

Only “we”

as we continue to be

the Resistance.

 

Happy International Women’s Day, with thanks and love to those who have made this world a better place.

responsibility

“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” –George Washington Carver

No one but you is responsible for your growth. Absolutely give credit where it’s due to those who have contributed to your success. But it’s no one else’s job to look out for your success.

Sometimes you show up like you’re supposed to, and get punished for it anyway. Today has been one of those days. I had written my weekly blog post, which was admittedly not the best, but I was relatively happy with it. (Spoiler alert: it was about Resistance.) Now I know to always always cut and paste my writing into another writing app before clicking anything in WordPress. I lost 100% of my work, and it was 100% my fault.

No one and nothing, including technology, is responsible for keeping track of your shit.

Taking responsibility for everything is a stay against Resistance. It’s adulthood 101, and the sooner you get comfortable with it the better equipped you’ll be to handle other forms of Resistance when they come your way. Whatever your goals are in life, passing the buck will keep you from growing. Own it when you succeed, and own it when you screw up. How can you learn from your mistakes if you can’t admit to them? If you can’t man up and accept mistakes in humility, then it’s not okay to take full credit in your victories. Success is sweeter when it’s tempered by integrity and an honest inventory of the (often ugly and awkward) steps that got you there.

If I don’t back up this lousy post, especially after what I’ve learned, whose fault do you suppose it is if I lose my work again? I own the mistake. I wanted to throw up my hands and decide not to even post this week, but I don’t like how it feels to skip something just because I temporarily felt like a website let me down. Excuses are, quite frankly, just super lame. Excuses are nothing more than lies, another form of self-sabotage, and they get you nowhere. I messed up, so I can fix it. When I write a better blog post next week, I can own that, too.

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