Why Wooden Doesn’t Work.

September 15th, 2009

As a teenager my older brother—now an accomplished artist—drew on our father’s workbench a picture of man’s head with an inscription below that read, “I’m bored, but only partially.”

I think my brother’s youthful pun unwittingly touched on a truth. Interfacing with others we can seem as if we are more wood than soul. Relationships are vulnerable ventures. Low-risk relationships have very little substance. As we grow closer to another we feel less protected and more vulnerable to being hurt, inconvenienced, judged or rejected.

Being wooden has utility. We’re less penetrable and thus less likely to experience pain and sorrow. In the movie Good Will Hunting, Sean (Robin Williams) says to Will (Matt Damon), “You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” The mostly-wooden Will has worked hard to shield himself from past, present, and future heartache.

Despite its utility, wooden doesn’t work for anyone who wants to fully live. We give ourselves and others a gift in resisting the temptation to harden against the inevitable suffering that accompanies any meaningful human connection. The less wooden teacher is honest about not knowing an answer to a question. The less wooden coach welcomes contributions from her players. The less wooden parent takes responsibility for being impatient. Embracing authenticity and vulnerability avails us to others, and allows others to enrich and enlarge our world.

    People Change People

    September 8th, 2009

    I chose to call my organization People Change People because I want to furnish a reminder, to myself and everyone who wishes to make a positive difference in the lives of others, that we are the most powerful agents of change—for better or worse—in the lives of those around us. How I relate to others and the choices I make have been most influenced by the people in my life who have cared about me. I would like to do the same for others.

    There is a tendency within all of us to substitute people for something else. In the education field “curricula change people.” In prevention fields “good information changes people.” In counseling “techniques change people.”

    There is no substitute for people. In your efforts to bring health and well-being to the lives of others the element with the greatest brawn is you. Curricula can be helpful. Certain techniques can enhance your efforts. But there is no substitute for you. Thus, when we consider how we might bear upon the life of another in the wisest, most valuable and long-lasting way, we must recall this axiom, People Change People.

    In my web presence I strive to draw attention to this reality. I want to welcome you to explore all of the resources here. My goal is to furnish thoughtful, insightful content you can practice. Please feel free to contact me with your feedback, questions, and ideas.

    I’m thrilled to begin this journey. Thanks for joining in.

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