The Sunday Sermon: Hank Green on What it Means to Matter

Check this one out, peeps! It’s worth your four minutes. I don’t have much to add to Hank’s presentation on this one 🙂

Have a great week! -Luke

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“The Little Black Girl in the Booth Behind Me” – A Poem

“The Little Black Girl in the Booth Behind Me” page 1, by Luke Austin Daugherty. Words and photograph copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

“The Little Black Girl in the Booth Behind Me” page 2, by Luke Austin Daugherty. Words and photograph copyright 2015: Luke Austin Daugherty

A Not-too-long, Boring, but Encouraging Coffee Shop Story

I often do some writing and editing at several local coffee shops. There is something about the energy I get from being around other people, mostly strangers, that draws words out of me.

Most of my visits to those diner-style coffee shops are uneventful. Some, more eventful. Others, very profound. (Even if only in a subtle way)

Two days ago, I stopped by my favorite local haunt to spend an hour editing the final draft of my new book, read a bit, and get a few cups of java down in me. The place was nearly empty when I arrived. After 30 minutes, I was the only customer there.

As I edited, I heard the shift manager complaining to the cook about the state of some other employees who call in often, are late, or just no-call/no-shows. The two men commiserated a bit as they swept the floor, rolled utensils tightly in paper napkins,  and did other tasks. Also, the manager called some servers on the phone in an attempt to shore-up the schedule for the rest of the week. He was only partially successful it seemed.

Then, a young (maybe 16 or 17 year old) waitress showed up. As she was walking in, the manager met her at the door, motioning with his arms in an “I don’t need you here” fashion. She walked in anyway, asking what the deal was. He explained that she had called in with only minutes notice a few days prior, put the rest of that day’s workers in a bind, and that he was considering firing her. She attempted to smooth the situation over, but wasn’t successful and left. A few minutes later, she came back in with a middle-aged man and  both walked toward the manager. I thought to myself, “This may turn into a blow-out,” and readied my camera phone just in case a video-worthy event took place. I have seen too many things get out of hand over the years and I am a bit edgy when I see people possibly heading toward a serious contention. I figured this guy might be “dad” coming in to straighten the boss out on behalf of his daughter.

The man and the manager started talking about the situation… and I was wonderfully surprised. I am a sucker for civil conversation. I absolutely love engaging in respectful discourse, even if the participants don’t agree on a particular matter. Also, I so rarely observe disagreeing parties in person or on social media who are able to succinctly present their case, hear the other’s, discuss both sides, and then achieve an amicable resolution, respectfully disagree, or agree on something that was previously disagreed on. Beyond that, observing a person change his or her mind on a firmly held position in 2015 is nigh to seeing a unicorn at the park.

Due to my persuasions regarding discourse, I was very happy to observe the manager express his concerns about the server’s performance and reliability in a respectful way and with an even temper. Then, the father-figure apologized for the issues on behalf of the girl. He asked for a second chance for the girl and gave credibility to the manager’s concerns. Also, the girl assured the manager of her commitment to do better and genuinely gave heed to his concerns. After some more conversation and consideration, the manager allowed for a write-up rather than firing. He clearly shared his expectations, which were reasonable, and the consequences present if they were not met. All parties ended the conversation respectfully, amicably, having reached a common position, and asserting a common goal. Not one voice had even been raised through the whole parley. I had to pinch myself.

I know that was a boring, everyday type of story. But, there is a great lesson to be gained. That being, our abilities to deal with other people, have conflicts, argue, discourse, and find common ground (or not) are “everyday” skills. They aren’t just for a college debate class, the board room, marriage counseling, or when some aspect of a relationship breaks down. Those abilities are for the coffee shop, for Facebook threads, for our home, for our friends, and even for our enemies.

Witnessing that interaction between three strangers encouraged me. I personally hope to do as well the next time I have some type of disagreement. Fellow humans, we’ve come a long way. We still have a long way to go. Pass the love on! 🙂

Here is a related TED talk by William Ury that I very much enjoy. If you have a spare 20 minutes, it would be worth your time.

-Luke

The Sunday Sermon- Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

It seems counterintuitive to welcome friends, business partners, and/or acquaintances who significantly differ from one’s own self ideologically, culturally, or methodologically. Who wants a squeaky wheel of dissent hanging around and being a distraction? Yet, by not allowing for interaction with those who are different, we risk falling into a state of intellectual atrophy, not only as individuals, but as a society.

Having relationships with those who are different or who disagree with us encourages conversation, re-evaluation, learning, and perhaps even changes of mind. Friction with those who rub against our own grain or who are simply not like us can produce wonderful effects if allowed and encouraged. Of course, both parties must desire genuine interaction and not just contentious banter or to “win” a debate. The key is a true and honest desire to understand, learn, share, revise, teach, and adapt for the better. The fruit produced by such a social virtue is good for individuals and good for the communities at large.

I am glad to know some people in life who, though we differ in many ways, are not xenophobic, crave deep discussions, AND actually find it refreshing to have a non-homogenized collective of people in their life. Such friends are rare roses among the thorns of the us/them masses.

For more information on Margaret Heffernan, visit this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Heffernan

Have a great week! -Luke

I Bless You My Fellow Man (A Poem Inspired By Good People)

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I bless you my fellow man

With no blessing other than I can give

I bless you by none higher than myself

I pray no gods to show you favor

Nor implore devils to stay their hands from harming you

I bless you only by myself

Praying you find not my benison wanting or having fallen short

Nothing I have to offer but my temporal frame

Conscious mind

And good will

I hope it is enough

No reward to give but my own

Unremarkable though it may be

I have no eternity to offer

So I must present but my life and loyalty

No set destiny

We must find our own purpose together

And no promise from above

As we must be our own guarantee

Regarding the path to follow

The lines are not always drawn so straight

With Cartesian form

Or providing convenient demarcation

We will have to sort it out as we go

But, still I bless you

 

 

Copyright 2014- Luke Austin Daugherty- All Rights Reserved