Last week in an interview Senator Rand Paul dismissed criticism of trump as being holier than thou and warned people who live in glass houses. He justified this position claiming such criticism makes healthy discourse impossible.
That is odd defense when the definition of healthy discourse is the ability to speak openly, even critically.
Contrast Senator Paul's position with the words of Spencer W Kimball, discussing his duty as a church leader to admonish others.
In writing about sin and repentance, no intent is implied that [I] or any of those quoted, except the Lord himself, is without fault. But we would not have much motivation to righteousness if all speakers and writers postponed discussing and warning until they themselves were perfected!
To take a position that in order to have meaningful communication you cannot criticize is juvenile. It is the antithesis of meaningful communication. In his seminal book, How to Win Friends And Influence People, the first principle Dale Carnegie offers is “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” Sounds like Senator Paul is right, doesn't it? It does, if you only read headlines. This ideal Carnegie goes on to teach us is to be kind, thoughtful, and considerate of others. Show respect to get respect. This principle encourages empathy when talking other people.
Senator Paul makes reference to the adage: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Another less common but accurate meaning is: One who isn't open to criticism should not criticize others. Senator Paul's takeaway: don't throw stones. President Kimball's takeaway: don't live in a glass house, be open to criticism, or rather be mindful of your own imperfection.
I'd rather have Kimball on my team. I'd rather have someone who is mindful of their own faults while striving to better all of us. Throw stones . . . gently.
Like most turkeys, Hume's turkey lives on a farm. From this turkey's perspective life is good. Of course, there are bad days: the weather might turn cold, the older turkeys might box him out from the best seed and grass, a fox might get into the coupe. Life is good because of the farmer. The farmer loves his turkeys.
The farmer keeps the coup, which protects the turkey from the weather. The farmer defends the turkey from the fox. The farmer makes sure the turkey gets enough to eat. The turkey is happy because the farmer loves him.
The turkey lives his life, without concern for the future. The turkey has no way of knowing, based on experience, that he will soon be dinner.
We put ourselves at risk when looking to the past as a predictor of what will be. That is the problem with knowledge gained from induction, that is the turkey's dilemma.
Bertrand Russell is credited with the idea of the turkey's dillema in highlighting the holes in David Humes arguments about knowledge gained by induction.
Adapted from The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb.
A non-LDS friend of mine has been listening to the Book of Mormon musical on Pandora. That sparked some curiosity this week and I decided to write a reboot of a post I published . . . . a long time ago. #preIPHONE
The Book of Mormon Musical is about a Mormon missionary called to serve in Uganda. Of course he doesn't know Uganda is in Africa because he is a religious character in American media. In America people of faith are portrayed as one of two stereotypes: (1) uneducated & naive, or (2) bat-shit crazy. In Africa he is forced to confront the harsh realities of life. This experience reveals his religious dogma as insufficient at best.
The premise is that a faith based life is too simple and naive to offer real help for the complex realities of life.
Curiosity piqued. Just what does the church do in Africa? I looked up some numbers. Just the facts; no song and dance.
Number of Beneficiaries of Humanitarian Aid (2003 - 2010)
|Immunizations (with other organizations)||42,465,500|
|Neonatal Resuscitation Training||53,130|
|Other health initiatives total||100|
Africa Church Statistics
Total Church Membership
I don't know if you have ever seen someone receive a wheelchair for the first time. I've seen a woman drag herself across the dirt floor to climb into her first wheel chair.
It was transformative. She literally became a person in front of me. And it shames me to admit I couldn't see her until that point.
Looking at the facts, it looks like the church is doing a lot. And judging by the growth from 2010 to now, it looks like the message resonates.
I'm not hating on the musical. I haven't seen it. I'm listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. So far it's been really funny . . . and offensive. But still really funny. You know what they say? The book is always better.
The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.
I used to think this meant that the the leaders of the church were infallible: incapable of making a mistake or being wrong. It's easy to be snarky and point out that (of course) they are human, but to actually point something out as a mistake well that . . . that's pretty much apostasy, right? At the very least it's a demonstrable lack of faith.
<sarcasm> I find your lack of faith disturbing because you already know only the wicked take the truth to be hard </sarcasm>.
Can we be lead astray?
What does it mean to be lead astray? The work and glory of God is the immortality and eternal life of man (and woman). It isn't . . . to be right. It isn't to be above reproach. It isn't freedom from embarrassment.
Did Joseph Smith doubt that he had been lead astray when he wrote, "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?"
Probably not. But if Joseph Smith could suffer torment, isolation, and martyrdom I think public embarrassment is within the scope.
<opinion> The Lord will not risk the immortality and eternal life of his sheep, but he will not protect us from feeling sheepish in the short term. </opinion>
President Hinkley experienced it in a way few ever have or will. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was called as a third Counselor to the First Presidency on July 23 1981, when President Spencer W. Kimball as well as his two counselors were unable to attend to all their duties. By 1984, Hinckley was the only publicly active member of the First Presidency. After Kimball's death, Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church. Benson named Hinckley his first counselor and Thomas Monson his second. In the early 1990s, Benson developed serious health problems, removing him from public view. Hinckley and Monson carried out many of the duties of the First Presidency until Benson died in 1994. After Benson’s death, Howard W. Hunter became President and retained Hinckley and Monson as counselors in the First Presidency. Hunter died nine months later. At this point in 1995, Hinckley assumed the mantle of Prophet. Hinkley knew the limits of those called to the presidency better than most. His thoughts:
I have worked with the Presidents of the Church from President Heber J. Grant onward. … I have known [their] counselors, and I have known the Council of the Twelve during [these] years. All of these men have been human. They have had human traits and perhaps some human weaknesses. But over and above all of that, there has been in the life of every one of them an overpowering manifestation of the inspiration of God. Those who have been Presidents have been prophets in a very real way. I have intimately witnessed the spirit of revelation upon them. The Lord refined and polished each one, let him know discouragement and failure, let him experience illness and in some cases deep sorrow. All of this became part of a great refining process, and the effect of that process became beautifully evident in their lives.
2015 October Conference. President Monson is concluding his thoughts when his strength began to fail putting him at risk of a fall. Why doesn't someone help him? With the lights dimmed, very few can see the whole picture as the prophet concludes his remarks. Michelle Cope was there. Her story is a great example of how the Lord carries us at times. She gives the following account:
Most of you probably did not see what was happening behind President Monson at the end of his talk. I was on the floor, just a few rows from the very front of the Conference Center with a clear view of the scene. You might have noticed that President Monson really struggled to finish the last couple minutes of his talk and especially the last 30 seconds. I was afraid for him. I thought he might faint, pass out, or something worse.
And then, my heart melted when I saw behind President Monson was President Uchtdorf – on the edge of his seat, almost half-way standing up, with his arms stretched out, ready to catch the Prophet at any moment if he fell. You could see the worried expression on President Uchtdorf’s face as well as focused determination. He was on high alert and ready to catch him. As soon as President Monson said “Amen”, President Uchtdorf was immediately at his side and carried him back to his seat, safe and sound.
President Monson teaches us, both in word and example, when we are on the Lord’s errand, He promises, “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
When your life is difficult, when affliction leaves you wobbling and short of breath, don’t worry if no one is by your side, because He has your back.
Having the answers is not the mark of faith. It is only by asking questions that we gain our own greater understanding.*** I find these stories from the lives of two presidents build my faith in the leadership of the church as well as in myself. It is on you to work out your own salvation. The Lord will not put our salvation at risk but, you might by holding an expectation of infallibility in our leaders.
*** Answers are not necessarily included.
I keep telling myself that I am going to start writing about "work related" management and team building. And here is another post that is going to appear to miss the mark, at least on the surface. I say that because team work (I hate to use the term management, but if I don't it will not be clear that I am talking about leadership in management) is about building teams as much as it is about getting work done.
Elder Holland spoke during the Saturday afternoon session of conference. I resonate with what he said because this is the conversation we should be having. Instead, I blurted out, "This is the greatest talk I have heard in a long time #Amen."
— Rho 📈 (@rhoLall) April 1, 2017
Elder Holland confessed that he feels guilty singing of “blessings which [God] gives me now” amidst the world’s staggering economic inequality. “That chorus cannot be fully, faithfully sung until we have honorably cared for the poor." We live in challenging times:
"These challenges can come from a lack in us, a lack in others, or just a lack in life, but whatever the reasons, we find they can rob us of songs we so much want to sing and darken the promise of “springtime in [the] soul” that Eliza Hewitt celebrates in one of her verses [“There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” Hymns, no. 227]"
When we have challenges at work I will often chime in, "First world problems." It is helpful to put things in perspective and remember the assets, advantages and good fortune we do have. I'm not saying to put on rose colored glasses and gloss over challenges, I'm saying we need to take them off.
We build teams when we acknowledge the individuals on those teams. When we hear their challenges (and are supportive) we foster a strong team environment.
This comforting verse gets lost in an otherwise sunny, bouncy hymn. Just because your song can't be heard doesn't mean it's not there. Just because it does't conform doesn't mean it doesn't have value.
I don't mean to demean first world problems. Many suffer from mental and emotional illness and other debilitating health limitations. They must not suffer in silence. Elder Holland says,
“When we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes — stereotypes driven by an insatiable consumer culture and idealized beyond any possible realization by social media — we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when He created a world of diversity.”
These quotes underscore the value diversity brings to teams. Just as a choir needs a harmony of different voices, so does any team. It isn't enough to recognize the value, it is important to acknowledge everyone's seat at the table. A survey of CEOs asked about their role said their job is to maximize shareholder value. We should take a wider perspective on who we consider shareholders, they include clients & employees in addition to those who hold ownership interest.
“You are unique and irreplaceable,” says Elder Holland. “The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society.”
“And someday I hope a great global chorus will harmonize across all racial and ethnic lines, declaring that guns, slurs and vitriol are not the way to deal with human conflict.”
“There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, the married, for large families and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions.
A choir is a team, just like a SEAL team or . . . your team. Never abandon the choir, the sentiment is the same. Teams are stronger than individuals. A united team of poor performers will outperform a talented individual.
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The dangerous misconception is to interpret failing to respond as meekness. This is the appearance of piety, the face of righteousness, and too often is financed with resentment. It’s a loan with unfavorable terms.
Don’t confuse “not speaking up for yourself or others” as meekness. You can speak up without fighting & arguing. These are techniques. Reaction is not the only option, you can choose how to respond. Selectivity of technique is not the same as failure to speak up. To confuse them is to literally confuse a thoughtful response with failing to respond.
1: Putting up with wrongs patiently and without complaint (& resentment): MILD
2: Lacking spirit or self-assurance: HUMBLE
3: Having or showing a quiet and gentle nature: not wanting to fight or argue with other people
If I knew what I know now, I might not have taken my toddler to the ER. I definitely would not have taken him a second time. He could have gone to an instacare or urgent care center instead, because all we really needed was a doctor and a blood test (see note 2). We stayed at the ER for about 3 hours. In that time I googled several medical websites to learn all I could about types of seizures in children, and first time seizures. This article is what I should have found.
Monday May 9th. Just as I start my day I receive a text from my wife, Anna:
Little-Man had a seizure the paramedics are here call me.
Twenty minutes later I’m with my family at the ER. My son is responsive but lethargic. He is not talking. The doctor, Anna, and myself are unsuccessful in getting him to talk. I’m secretly wondering if he has some type of brain damage. After a while he makes a sound. And then baby noises. I’m still secretly envisioning developmental brain damage because I have no idea what a seizure is. Eventually he starts talking in sentences, complaining that he wants to go home.
And he wants a lollipop.
When I return with his lollipop he is right as rain, his usual energetic, happy self.
My first question is what caused the seizure? I google a variety of potential causes relating to my son’s seizure. Every detail I research reveals correlated but ambiguous relationships:
To identify a cause, first I need to know what type of seizure he had. Identifying types of seizures is not easy. The ER, urgent care center, or pediatrician’s office isn’t able to diagnosis a seizure disorder. You are going to need a specialist (who will not be at any of these locations). Even with a specialist, it is not likely the doctor will observe the type of seizure. The doctor must rely on the parent’s observations. Well, the parents don’t know what to look for! Mix in fear with confounded memory; it’s a challenge. To help, I created an infographic to help parents better communicate with their medical providers about the type of seizure their children have had. It isn’t that the information I found was bad, it just wasn’t intended for a parent to read on a smartphone while waiting in an ER.
Lack of a fever rules out a febrile cause. It is unlikely he has a viral or bacterial infection without fever. Physical tests and the lack of additional symptoms rule out meningitis and cancer. The doctor can’t identify a cause but is satisfied with his analysis. Often a cause can’t be determined. The most likely outcome given Little-Man’s lack of other symptoms is that the cause will remain unknown because this will be a one time thing. One caveat: “A child that has had a first seizure is more likely than a child who hasn’t to have a second seizure.” I bite my tongue*. The second most likely outcome is that he has Epilepsy.
Two hours later we are at home finishing lunch. Little-Man is playing in his room. I am preparing to give him a blessing. He calls out, “Daddy! Help, you!”
At first I think he is trapped in the corner behind the rocker. His eyes are rolled back and I can see he is in the same position my wife described earlier. His hands are clenched in front of him. He is arching his back. His muscles are contracted like a full body charlie-horse. I pick him up and lay him on his side in his bed. It can’t have been more than 30 seconds. I am surprised that his lips are turning blue.
Anna is on the phone with 911. They want to know if we need an ambulance. I ask them to wait.
I have my hand on Little-Man’s chest. Calm as can be I tell him,
“If you can breath, take a breath but if not just try to relax. Buddy, I know this is scary but, sometimes we need to do scary things. I’m here with you, daddy has you, you are safe. I know this is really hard buddy, try to relax.”
It appears that he does. The seizure seems to dissipate.
“Take a deep breath!”
He takes his first visible breath. I pause.
“Take another breath!”
“Just focus on breathing, you are safe. Daddy is right here with you.”
He continues to breath. We hang up with the 911 operator. A minute later he is asleep, resting comfortably.
An hour later two friends meet us in the ER. They were originally coming to the house to give my son a blessing, but plans change. Earlier, as I prepared to give my son a blessing I teared up, power literally welled up in my eyes. I felt like everything base, impure, and negative had burned up leaving only good. I prepared to bless my son and found that I was blessed.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
That is what we do. I call upon my wife’s faith, and my own, to bless our son.
The second ER visit goes a lot like the first. Little-Man recovers just like he did before. The only difference between the first and second visit is a blood test. Hopefully you will never have to draw blood from a little boy by force. The nurses try, but fail their first attempt. On the second attempt we restrain him with a blanket, and even then it takes four adults. Little-Man refuses to talk to the nurses after that. He only spits at them.
The blood test rules out nutritional imbalances as well as infection. After that ordeal, I can see why the staff was hesitant to draw blood the first time around. It was awful. I don’t know that there is another way (see note 1). One seizure just isn’t enough to warrant a blood test. Hindsight being what it is, we could have just made sure he drank some electrolytes: Powerade or something. But really, we wanted answers. Powerade wasn’t going to give us answers.
This time around the doctor tells us that we only need to come back to the ER if Little-Man seizes for more than 5 min, or if he has three seizures back to back in a 20 min time period. The ER has fast tracked our EEG appointment. Which means it will be scheduled within days, not weeks.
This is not good news.
More than that we are now at the end of a long day. I’m tired. I think about the coming sleepless night as we pack the kids into the car. I don’t do well without sleep. I struggle in the evenings . . . with healthy kids! I don’t know how we were going to do it. I just know it is going to suck. I am pretty sure I am not up to the task.
All i can do . . . is cry.
i am afraid.
Afraid for my son, that i will fail him. Afraid of my own limitations. I cry. These tears contrast vividly those I experienced earlier. My tears expose my fear for what it is, weakness. I resolve to be faithful. I believe both my son and I were blessed today. I am too tired to feel its effect, but I believe it endures. I am diminished, I trust the blessing is not.
Two days later Little Man had an EEG and saw the neurologist. We got our answers.
If you would like to know more details about the process, children’s seizures, or are just interested in updates on Little Man’s progress, subscribe here:
Because this is a sensitive topic, this will probably be the only public post I share. The rest will be through email.
These are a few of the takeaways I took from the experience:
I am not sure why the ER directed us to come back. Maybe they were playing the odds that Little-Man wouldn’t have another seizure. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have gone to the ER the second time. It is clear from this medical diagnostic aid, whether you go to the ER or a primary care doctor, the course of action is the same: referral to a specialist (see note 2). I expected to have an EEG during the second visit. But that was never an option.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
REFERENCES & NOTES:
Note 1: Since that day in the ER I have witnessed another way to place an IV on a toddler, night & day difference. If the need arises request a nurse from pediatrics. I have added details on my email list.
Note 2: I spoke with an EMT who I trust to give a straight answer. If we had taken my son to an instacare, in all likelihood we would have refereed to the ER.
*No pun intended.