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The Calmness of Courage

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.

Dr. Rollo May (1909-2004)

Dr. May shares some interesting wisdom here. According to Dr. May’s work, there are positive aspects to human potential and the will of individuals is toward self-fulfillment … unless they allow fear and confusion to overide their will.

If there seems to be a spiritual component to Dr. May’s existential philosophy, perhaps it’s because he was once a Congregationalist minister.

If we run faster when we have lost our way, then it seems that calmness is an attribute of courage … the courage NOT to run when every fiber in our being is saying, “RUN, NOW!”

I’ve heard of a calmness that can come over a person when they are about to die, when death is unavoidable and imminent. James Bradley, in his book, Flyboys, talks of an aviator who was shot down during WWII, was captured by the Japanese, then sentenced to be executed.

As the officer raised his sword to cut off his head, the aviator had not doubt at all that these seconds were his last. Yet he was calm, he later shared. He was spared, of course, or we would not have known the story.

Do we “collect” calmness in times of greatest stress. Is is a spiritual gift, a preparing of the soul when the body is about to expire?

If so, can we encourage our children, in times of dire need, to be still and call on the calm instead of running faster?

James D. Sutton, Psychologist

February 23, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rocky Mountain High

Whiloe on a 6:00am flight (YAWN!) from Monterey Bay, California, to Denver, I took to reading a magazine near the end of the trip.

Something told me to take a look outside.

At that very instant we were passing over the tops of the Rockies, the early morning sun glinting off the snowy peaks.

Words fail to describe it. And I came close to missing it completely.

There will be time and opportunity to read magazines. Even in our hurry-up, crazy, time-compressed world, we always can take a moment for a magazine, or to check our email (again), or take in another re-run. But sometimes the most beautiful parts of life are right there, just outside our window.

They don’t require a special trip. They don’t even require extra effort.

All we have to do is turn our heads, take a look … and take it in.

It’ll do more than make your day. It’ll make your life.

So, go ahead; take a look. What’s outside your window.

James Sutton, Psychologist

February 14, 2008 Posted by | family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A BIG Lift!

We try to teach our children that kindness never goes out of style. I was reminded of it just this morning. 

 When the 9th printing of my book, 101 Ways to Make Your Classroom Special, came in from the printer, I stood in for the publisher and met the freight truck. (Hey, that book has done a lot for me; why not return the favor, right?) Since 18-wheelers need a LOT of room to turn, they generally drop the freight off out front, and someone (ME!) has to break open the pallet and haul the cases to the unit. And it would have taken ALL morning.

As I was signing for the freight, a man appeared from nowhere. He was dressed in workclothes: roughout boots, jeans, work jacket and ball cap. He asked me if I was taking this load inside.

I told him I was.

“Listen, if I can get my forklift to start, I’ll haul it in there for you.”

Somewhat stunned, I believe I said something like, “Uh, okay.”

And that’s exactly what he did. He sat the whole pallet down inside the unit; I didn’t even have to remove the shrink wrapping. It saved me a morning’s work.

I thought of tipping him, but something told me NOT to do it. Good decision; he turned out to be the OWNER of this whole complex and a construction company that builds them! He had seen the freight truck pull in, and thought he might be able to help.

In times when a lot of folks TALK about customer service, this man DROVE the point home … with a lift truck.

He’s got ALL of my business.

 James D. Sutton, Psychologist


I wrote a couple of FREE e-books you might find helpful. Just click on the titles below to download them.

 Resolving Conflicts with Your Children (for parents and teachers)

Help Johnny WANT to Write (for teachers, helpful to parents)

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Educators, family, Inspirational | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NO SALE! The Price of Disrespect

Here’s a story worth sharing with young people. It helps sometimes, and is considerably less painful, to gain from the experiences of others.

A friend of mine shared an interesting story; it would be a hands-down entry for “The Best Thing I Ever Learned the Hard Way” Award.  He sold electric motors for a living, and he was good at it. One customer like his product and ordered a large shipment of the motors through the purchasing department of the company.

Everything was set for a BIG sale, or so he thought. The purchase order never materialized … as didn’t his plans for the fat commission check.

Concerned about it, he made a visit to the purchasing department of the company. It was then and there the director of purchasing explained why there would be no order for the motors.

I’ve seen you come in here a number of times to visit with our engineers and operations people. Not once did you ever stick your head in the door and say as much as a “hello”. It seems that my department and I weren’t important enough for even a few seconds of your time. That, sir, cost you the sale. I’m NOT buying your motors, regardless of value or price.

And he didn’t.

My friend owned up to his mistake and vowed to never repeat it.

From then on, he spoke to everyone.

James Sutton, Psychologist


I wrote a couple of FREE e-books you might find helpful. Just click on the titles below to download them.

 Resolving Conflicts with Your Children (for parents and teachers)

Help Johnny WANT to Write (for teachers, helpful to parents)

February 4, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Inspirational | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment