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Commitment

Ah the “C” word. Commitment. It can be a scary word. At least it seems like our culture today wants less and less to do with it.  Commitment is hard. Really hard. We don’t like hard, we like easy. Let’s be real, humans can be some lazy creatures.  Maybe I’m just speaking for myself on that one. Commitment means closing off other options, or not having an escape plan in place.

Over the years I have seen less and less people make and keep commitments. I honestly don’t know why it bothers me as much as it does.  Maybe it is a personal pet peeve of mine.  I have always felt a sense of responsibility once I make a commitment. Have I always got it right? Nope. I’m human so I fail, and I let people down. If I haven’t let you down you simply haven’t known me long enough. It is natural to fail, this isn’t what I’m talking about.  It seems more and more people are willing to walk away from commitments when it gets tough.  Anyone can keep a commitment when it is convenient, self serving, or doesn’t require much effort. The true test is when walking away is the easier path.

I really believe we need to reevaluate our views on commitment.  Marriage is one obvious area this has been huge. I have a hard time with people making a covenant and saying “until death do us part” and then walking out when someone is hard to love. Reality Check: We are all hard to love. Truthfully some more so than others. I understand that there situations with abuse and unfaithfulness that betray beyond the point of reconciliation. However this is a small percent of those nullifying nuptials.  I’m not down on people who have been divorced. However I think we should reevaluate marriage and take a hard look at making that commitment. Divorce shouldn’t be an option on the table once the deal has been sealed. My hope is the next generation will make amends in this area.  The toll divorce has taken on family and children is immense. I don’t think anyone (in their right mind) walks down the aisle thinking that the marriage will end in a few years after things get difficult. Here is some real honesty. What will keep you from walking out in the next marriage once that relationship hits some tough times? It won’t be easy, it may take getting professional help and time to heal. Marriage can be incredibly hard work, as are most commitments.

It isn’t just marriage commitments that are being walked away from. Our society is quick to walk away from anything that makes us uncomfortable. Even worse is when an opportunity arises that has a greater benefit and we chose to break a commitment we already had made.  I’m not talking about things like a better job and so on.  Unless you made a commitment to be there for a certain amount of time. It seems as though keeping commitments is a rare and valued trait in our day and age. I mean we all think highly of people who keep commitments. We are inspired and respect those who stick out a difficult or challenging situation in order to keep their word.  Why is it then we can validate every reason and excuse to walk away from our own?

I don’t mean to come across as cold or even a jerk but why make a commitment if we have no intention to keep it?  Have you ever seen the movie “Hook”? Peter Pan has left Never Land and grown up, and has his own children now.  Unfortunately he is so obsessed with his job that he has neglected his commitment as a father and husband. In one scene he tells his son that he promises to be at his next ball game.  He tells his son that “his word is his bond”, his son responds “junk bond”. Ouch.  It is easy to make the commitment but hard to follow through.  Talk is cheap. I know it is a difficult truth but we need to have a honest dialog as a society about making and keeping commitments. It isn’t sexy and it requires hard work. Keeping commitments isn’t something we want to talk about because it is uncomfortable. We all have failed and have let others down. My hope is that we begin to evaluate our desire to not only make but begin to keep commitments.

What are your thoughts on keeping commitments? Why do you think it is so hard to keep the commitments we make? Have you or someone you observed kept a commitment though it was a difficult path? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

clickI was thinking the other day of some of the stupid not so smart things I did in my youth. Sometimes I have fond memories of my youthful antics and the crazy times I had with my family and friends. There are some memories however that I would like to forget. That’s normal. In life there are times we wish we could have a do over, or a reset button.  Ah that glorious reset button on my original Nintendo. You know when you got mad at the game because you messed up so you just hit that button.  It unfortunately doesn’t work that way in real life. We all make mistakes in life, (Spoiler Alert!) and unfortunately it isn’t something that we outgrow.  Hopefully as we age and our brains develop we befriend wisdom and make better choices. As adults we can all look back and say “what were we thinking?!” Truth is the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed.  One of the last areas to fully mature is the part that has to do with reason.  So when asking a teen “what were you thinking?!” they truthfully may answer “I don’t know”. This isn’t to absolve teens from responsibility. It just might explain some of our more painful choices in our own past. 

I am truly thankful I wasn’t a teen in the social media age.  Most of my mistakes, failures, poor choices etc were only known by a few close people in my life.  Literally the people who were in physical proximity to us. Today our culture lives every single moment online. I mean you can actually see a picture of what dessert your friend is having at a swanky restaurant half way around the world. Sometimes it can be way TMI (too much information). Do we need to know every thought, action, meal, and on and on from all of our acquaintances friends?  I have actually seen pictures of peoples BM’s on social media.  That’s “bowel movement”, poop.  I’m not making that up. #IDon’tWantToSeeYourFeces 

So here is where this all gets complicated for those of us living our lives online.  Once it is posted online it is always out there.  This has huge ramifications for all of us.   That is why it is wise to think before you post. Being in close proximity to youth culture I have the pleasure of being connected with many teens on social media.  Sometime it is great fun, other times I am shaking my head.  Honestly not much shocks me anymore on social media.  I have developed sort of a numbness to the insanity that is social media. This is why I am thankful I didn’t grow up in the social media age.  When I had a “moment” it was just those in proximity to me that knew. Today when a teen has a moment it is plastered all over the entire world.  Yes, the whole world has access to the hot mess that was posted by ourselves, or by a loving, or not so loving friend. I am truly thankful that I didn’t live moment to moment on social media.  I mean lets be honest.  I can’t believe some of the emotions, thoughts, and actions that I had in my teenage years. I cringe to even go there. I am thankful that there isn’t a digital archive floating around for anyone to access at anytime. 

I encourage teens to really think about what they post on social media.  Sometimes being an open book isn’t the wisest choice.  I know of people who have lost out on jobs because of what they had posted on social media.  News Flash: Employers will check your social media accounts. I wouldn’t even be surprised if colleges aren’t doing the same. I mean can you hold it against them.  You can learn a whole lot about someone from what they are willing to broadcast out to the entire world.  Life is difficult enough without having to deal with a online persona that has been created over years. Even as adults we should think twice before we shoot off that angry tweet, or that questionable picture, or bitter Facebook post.  There is nothing wrong with being real but does it really need to be plastered all over cyberspace from now till whenever?

I’m sure some will disagree or feel that I am overreacting.  However I have seen enough in the last 8 years on social media to know that there will be some regrets.  I don’t think this completely trumps all of the good that can come from social media.  I love the TimeHop app.  It is so cool to see the good memories from years gone by in my feed. However my TimeHop experience would be totally different if it were full of negative, complaining, bitter, and questionable content. Once again think twice before you post it online.  Make a choice to contribute to the collective good of social media.  Decide to be real, vent, and so on with those close to you.  I know, an actual face to face conversation, it’s so retro.  The good news? Retro is in!  

Life has taken me through some crazy places.  Even the poor choices we make collectively make us who we are today.  I am just glad I didn’t have social media in the height of the “what was I thinking” portion of my life.  If you are an adult what do you think? Can you imagine some of the things you would have posted on social media when you were a teen that you would now regret?  If you are a teen do you think you are up to the challenge to think twice?  Have you noticed the trend in our culture to expose too much online?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Instagram & Postagram

June 17, 2011 — 1 Comment


So here are a few of my favorite Apps for the iPhone.  I have found that the iPhone takes relatively decent pictures considering it is a cell phone.  It eliminates the need to carry an extra point and shoot camera for basic day to day shots.
A few people have asked about the pictures I post on Facebook including these two.  Like what camera I use and what App I use to process them. The first App I use is called Instagram, it is great.  It has a few basic filters and effects, nothing too fancy.  It creates a feed similar to Twitter of your photos, and the photos of the friends you are following.  It is very similar to Twitter, but with pictures.  I highly recommend it if you have an iPhone.  You can share the pictures on Twitter, Facebook, email, or on the web.  It also saves a copy on your phone so you can do whatever you would like with it, like post them on your blog.  I like the subtle effects, and how easy it is to use.
Another good App that is actually tied to the first is called Postagram. It allows you to take pictures made with Instagram, or any picture from your iPhone and turn it into a postcard.  For only $99 they will print your postcard with your picture and message and send it to whoever you like.  I have only used it a few times but I have a few other ideas in mind for it.
I have a few other photo apps for my iPhone but these by far are my favorites.  They are simple and creative.  If you have an iPhone I recommend you check them out.

 

Well graduation has finally come and gone this year.  Here are a few of the senior pictures I did for Drew.  He’s a great guy with a really bright future.