Archives for posts with tag: behavior

As soon as I hung up the phone I felt bad. I had been rude and wished I could apologize but I could not.

I usually do not answer the phone when the number is not one that I recognize but sometimes I am not sure. This number was familiar. I knew I had received calls from it before so I answered. I have learned that if there is a pause after I have said hello, then it is usually a robo-call and I hang up.

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Like everyone else I get my share of calls from telemarketers and folks taking surveys. The past few weeks there has been a massive number of calls related to the current political campaign. Now they use local numbers and call you by first name to disguise the purpose of the call. Also, I guess this helps to get by the “Do Not Call” list.

Anyway, when the phone rang this morning I answered and waited for the pause and the delayed request to speak to me. My response was not polite and I hung up. Immediately I realized this was a company with which I do business and the call was legitimate. I called back right away but the person who answered my call was not the one to whom I had spoken to rudely. Since it is a large company the person from the previous call could not be identified.

The person who called me was just doing her job and trying to be helpful to me. I spoke too quickly and rudely but it was not possible to offer her my apology. I was guilty of a harsh and inappropriate response to her call.

 Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck was right when she said, “Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.”

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Feeling guilty is not always healthy. I suspect that everyone has had someone “lay a guilt trip” on them making them feel bad unnecessarily. Ayn Rand offered words of wisdom when she said, “The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.” It is important to separate a “guilt trip” from appropriate feelings of regret for your actions.

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Guilt can paralyze you or cause you to make necessary changes. It can be a warning sign to help you realize the need to change your behavior. This is “healthy” or “appropriate” guilt and it serves us well to pay attention. The rational purpose of this guilt is simply to try and convince you to change your behavior. 

John M. Grohol, Psy.D, says, “Guilt’s purpose isn’t to make us feel bad just for the sake of it. The feeling of guilt is trying to get our attention so that we can learn something from the experience. If we learn from our behavior, we’ll be less likely to do it again in the future.”

Dr. Grohol continues, “Guilt is one of those emotions that we feel is telling us something important. Be aware that not every emotion, and certainly not every guilty feeling, is a rational one that has a purpose. Focus on the guilt that causes loved ones or friends harm. And remember to be skeptical the next time you feel guilty – is it trying to teach you something rational and helpful about your behavior, or is it just an emotional, irrational response to a situation? The answer to that question will be your first step to helping you better cope with guilt in the future.”

Jamie Jenkins

I grew up on the Gulf Coast in Mobile, Alabama. Except for five years in New York, I have lived my life in the Deep South. I have always enjoyed sports and in my environment that meant baseball, football, basketball, and tennis. Because of the temperate climate in the region ice hockey has not been high on my lists of competitive sports.

Atlanta Flames 1972-73 hockey logo

I saw my first live hockey game in the early 1970s at the Omni in Atlanta. The Atlanta Flames were a professional team of the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1972-1980. The team struggled to establish a fan base and were finally sold and relocated to Alberta, Canada.

NEW OLD STOCK CCM ATLANTA THRASHERS HOCKEY JERSEY JR L / XL NHL LICENSED

The Atlanta area’s growth and the migration of many people from the northern states led to a second NHL franchise being located in the city in 1997. The Thrashers played their home games in Phillips Arena, which had replaced the Omni as a downtown sports venue. I attended one of the team’s games before they met a similar fate as the Flames. They were and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 2011.

Eight years before the Thrashers moved out of town a minor league hockey team relocated to the Atlanta area.  The franchise originated as the Mobile Mysticks but were rebranded as the Gladiators and moved to their new home in suburban Gwinnett County. In 2015, the Gladiators became the affiliate of the Boston BruinS, an NHL Team since 1924.

My two sons, my grandson, and I recently attended a couple of the Gladiators games at the Infinite Energy Arena. We knew none of the players on the Gladiators or their opponent the Florida Everblades. Prior to this, collectively the four of us had attended only a handful of games. It was a first-time experience for my grandson.

Gladiators Hockey Game Dec 2018

None of us had any real attachment to the team or much knowledge about the rules or how the game is played. Nevertheless we joined in cheering our hometown team. When something good happened for the Gladiators we shouted and applauded. When the referee called a penalty against “our” team, we booed. When the same call was made against the other team, we shouted our approval.

Hockey fans at stadium : Stock Photo

I have reflected on the experience of those two hockey games over the past few weeks. I have thought about the way we claimed the home team and was pleased when things didn’t go well for their opponents. We could have just enjoyed the game. The skating ability of the players. The speed of the game. The energy of the teams and the fans. We had no connection to the home team except that they were the Atlanta Gladiators. They represented us and the match was between “us” and “them.”

I wonder how many times the scenario of the hockey game is repeated in other facets of my life. How often do I see things as competition between “Us” and “Them?” Do I view the attitudes and actions of myself and others like me as “right and good” and those of others as “harmful and wrong.”

In examining my behavior at the hockey game I realized how easy it is to “see the splinter that’s in my brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in my own eye.” How easy it is to say to another person,” Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in my own eye.”

God, help me to guard against the “US vs. Them” mindset. Help me to see others as my brothers and sisters, creatures of equality and deserving of honor and dignity.

Jamie Jenkins

 

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Keeping the rules may be a requirement of an orderly society but it is not enough just to “keep the rules.” Actions are sometimes just a way to put up a front that disguises the real person. Appearances do not always present an accurate picture.

Our actions are often prompted by political correctness or for personal gain. We must be careful not to prejudge the worth or value of something, by its outward appearance alone. A person may “act” right but in unguarded moments their true self is revealed. Judging a book by its cover is often misleading.

quotes by Confucius

Confucius said, “I have yet to meet a man as fond of high moral conduct as he is of outward appearances.” Jesus suggested that “keeping the rules” is just the starting point. It is the outward manifestation of how one should behave. But more importantly is how one thinks.

The Imitation of Christ by a Kempis Thomas:

“A sure way of retaining the grace of heaven is to disregard outward appearances, and diligently to cultivate such things as foster amendment of life and fervour of soul, rather than to cultivate those qualities that seem most popular” (Thomas a Kempis).

We may obey all the laws and rules of society but harbor hatred in our heart. God calls us to be more than “good law abiding citizens” but to be equally concerned for the best interest of others as we are for ourselves.

Amber Benson is an American actress best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She says, “There is so much more to this world than outward appearances. Our society basks in the illusion of normalcy every day, and hides from the truth every night.”

Ten Commandments Tablets

Observing the “thou shalt nots” (Exodus) is fundamental to right living. But Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) instructs us more fully on right behavior: He teaches us that

  • Resentment and bitterness is always destructive
  • Lust and violence have no positive value.
  • Faithfulness in marriage involves more than monogamy
  • A person’s word is their bond
  • Retaliation is never appropriate but love and respect is always right

The “Law’ is our school master that teaches us the baseline of right behavior. But it is only the starting point. It important to observe “the Law” but it points us to a deeper truth.

God judges persons differently than humans do. People look at the outward appearance; God looks into the heart.

Jamie Jenkins

 

A religious leader prayed, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like these other people” (Luke 18:11). He went on to enumerate some of the ways he was unlike others. He was not “greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer.” Those are certainly undesirable qualities and it is alright to express gratitude to God for enabling you to avoid such practices. But the Pharisee’s prayer was one of arrogance, not humility.

Most likely if you are reading this you can rightfully acknowledge good qualities that you possess and point to behavior that is honorable. With God’s help you have avoided some of the undesirable conduct and destructive attitudes that can be observed in others. But if we are honest with ourselves we recognize that we are no better than any other human being regardless of who we are or what traits we exhibit. It is a good thing to give thanks for God’s help in shaping our character but arrogance is never appropriate.

During this holiday many of us will also pause to give thanks for the things we have that enrich our living. We know that “Every good gift … comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator” (James 1:17, Good News Translation). It is right and a good thing to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all of our blessings.

At the same time we express our gratitude to God for the many things that enrich our living, let us be mindful of others who are not so fortunate. Whether it is good health or possessions or privilege, there are many other equally deserving people who lack those things for which we are thankful. Our thanksgiving should produce humility in us as we realize how blessed we are and lead us to discover how we can share our abundance.

On this Thanksgiving Day (and every day) “It is a good thing to give thanks to God, to proclaim God’s constant love every morning and God’s faithfulness every night.” (Psalm 92:1-2).

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes

Jamie Jenkins

 

I have just returned from Washington, DC. Along with my grandchildren (and their parents), my wife and I spent one day in the area at Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington. The mansion built by the first president of the United States is situated on the banks of the Potomac River on land that had been in his family since 1674.

When George Washington’s ancestors acquired the estate it was known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation, after the nearby Little Hunting Creek. Washington’s older half-brother, Lawrence Washington inherited the 5,000 acre estate and changed its name to Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, famed for the War of Jenkins’ Ear. When George Washington inherited the property he retained the name.

George Washington came into possession of the estate in 1754. The mansion that sits on the property now was built in stages between 1758 and 1778. It occupies the site of an earlier, smaller house built by George Washington’s father Augustine.  Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Among the many things I learned during the enjoyable visit was that sometime before the age of 16, George Washington transcribed Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation. The list of 110 principles by which, supposedly, proper decent people must abide, comes from a French etiquette manual written by Jesuits in 1595. As a handwriting exercise Washington copied word-for-word Francis Hawkins’ translation which was published in England about 1640. Some of the principles seem dated but others are very appropriate guidelines for social interaction today. Below are a few that I believe are timeless (original language and spelling is retained):

-Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.

-To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the cheif Place in your Lodging and he to who ’tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

-Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

-When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.

-Wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.

-Be not hasty to beleive flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.

-Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.

-Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy.

-Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof.

-Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

-Undertake not what you cannot perform but be carefull to keep your promise.

-When you Speak of God or his Atributes, let it be Seriously & wt. Reverence.

-Honour & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor.

-Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.

Jamie Jenkins