January 2012


I realized, while sitting down to write this, that at least phonetically there isn’t a lot of difference between doom, gloom and boom. I think a lot of the difference is state of mind.

We have been wringing the last drop out of terrorism, the stock market, corporate greed and misbehavior. The pundits have worn the term “recession” like a comfortable old jacket that has been around so long it has holes in both elbows. Newspapers and the media are in a feeding frenzy for bad news—be it social or economic. Why is negativity so absorbing?

As parents, we learn a lot about human nature. Small children are really just miniature adults with less in the way of communication and motor skills, but humans all the same. My favorite age in kids is about three-years-old. The view into a three-year-old’s life is fascinating. Their simplicity is their charm. A three-year-old wants to improve his control of the world around him, but doesn’t realize that control is elusive. Children, early on, may start to think that the only way to totally control anything is to destroy it. Anything other than total destruction requires maintenance.

If he wants to control the conversation, he can… with an ear piercing shriek. If he wants to control the table top, he can… clear it of all objects with a sweep of his extended arm. Destroying uses fewer resources and its usually final, sort of a “‘nuf said” approach to life.

Terrorists get their attention the same way three-year-olds do, but with bigger tactics and more gruesome results, yet they gain control—with no responsibility. The news media employs tactics that may not be all that different than the terrorists they publicize. They get your attention by whatever means necessary. Apparently the networks by now are so desperate for news to report that someone jokingly asked an official Pentagon spokesperson if they would be willing to read the weather report to fill airtime. The offer was declined, I’m happy to say.

We can’t forget that three-year-olds, in their simplicity, still have a lot of natural balance. They still have a sense of wonder, they absolutely believe in Santa Claus, and they have a sense of how to control in very positive ways, too. I am amazed by the power of a three-year-old’s hug or kiss, the energy in their laugh, and their thrill in a game of hide and seek. We adults often lose our perspective in worries, bad news, and the hope that someone else is worse off than we are.

My New Year’s resolution… to not to let the terrorists, the naysayers, the doom and gloomers get any more of a toehold in my life or the lives of those I love. For this whole year, I’ll resolve to spend more time with people who say, “If I were any better, I’d be twins” and no time at all with Geraldo Riviera, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich or people who act like them, thank you.

Go ahead, turn gloom and doom into boom! Liberate the three-year-old inside you! Live for what you want to be, not what you’re scared of becoming. Have a Happy and Prosperous 2102 from all of us at Shepley!


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