“Prepare a full account of your stewardship” (Luke 16:2).
Phil 3:17—4:1; Luke 16:1-10
One of the hardest discernments in both life and religion is how to balance justice and mercy. This quandary is expressed many ways; a choice between law and leniency, letter and spirit, a hard heart and a soft head or a soft heart and a hard head, between enabling and tough love. Blaise Pascal wrote that “The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know,” and for liberality, Oscar Romero once noted that “the heart is on the left.” Yet, justice must be rendered, and we need wise judges who have experienced hearts, for hard decisions reveal that the greatest distance is from the head to the heart and back again to the head.
Jesus scandalized his critics by being too merciful, for undermining the need to deter evil with punishment and for diminishing God’s absolute role as Judge. When they accused him of misrepresenting God, Jesus offered an astonishing parable about a steward accused of squandering his master’s property and ordered to submit a full accounting. To ingratiate himself with his clients, he furtively cuts their debts. The fraud is outrageous, yet the master praises him for his foresight and ingenious bookkeeping.
The parable seems to praise dishonesty until we grasp its startling admission. Jesus is the steward who has been “giving away the store” by squandering God’s love on everyone, including sinners. This is the Gospel, the heart of an even more radical call to “love your enemies” in order to be like the heavenly Abba, who loves good and bad alike. Justice will be satisfied when Jesus takes everyone’s sins on himself. His death on the cross will reveal divine mercy as God’s plan to redeem the world.
The Gospel continues to scandalize us for its radical pacifism, rejecting “just wars” and capital punishment. Pope Francis shocks bishops for his openness to couples in second marriages receiving Communion or for his support for LGBTQ civil unions. We are left to grapple with Jesus’ parables of mercy, like yesterday’s about lost sheep and lost coins, and the third and most challenging one in Luke 15, the magnificent “Prodigal Son.”
Jesus stands as the balance point between justice and mercy, revealing both as expressions of divine love, one to purify, the other to perfect. God’s ways are not our ways, a mystery that gives us more questions than answers, more ideals than instructions. But we believe that Jesus was the human face of God when he showed unlimited mercy to everyone. He revealed just how scandalous and controversial it can be to forgive enemies and let sinners off the hook. He modeled for us how to be wise stewards of God’s love, knowing we will lose our balance at times, but that it is always better to err on the side of mercy.
Pope Francis received President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, today, Nov. 6, 2020.
According to a Vatican statement, the discussions were cordial and highlighted the good existing bilateral relations between the States.
“In this context,” the statement noted, “the contribution of the Catholic Church to the good of Kenyan society was underscored, with particular reference to the education and healthcare sectors.”
Attention, it added, then turned to the current situation of the country and the contribution it may make to multilateralism at both continental and international levels. They also discussed themes of common interest, such as the pandemic in the region, climate change and refugees.
The Kenyan President subsequently met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
By H. Ealy, M. McEvoy, M. Sava, S. Gupta, D. Chong, D. White, J. Nowicki, P. Anderson
Key Findings For Data Through July 12th
According to the CDC, 101 children age 0 to 14 have died from influenza, while 31 children have died from COVID-19.
No evidence exists to support the theory that children pose a threat to educational professionals in a school or classroom setting, but there is a great deal of evidence to support the safety of in-person education.
According to the CDC, 131,332 Americans have died from pneumonia and 121,374 from COVID-19 as of July 11th, 2020.
Had the CDC used its industry standard,Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting Revision 2003,as it has for all other causes…
Scientists, lawyers, medical professionals and academics are increasingly recognizing that the deliberate fear-mongering that has kept the COVID-19 pandemic alive threatens to replace democracy with fascist totalitarian models of government
Over the past several years, the threat of bioterrorism and viruses in general have been highlighted as one of the most serious threats to mankind, yet we continue to fund dangerous gain-of-function research — the very source and basis of this threat
The data tell us SARS-CoV-2 is not the existential threat it’s been made out to be. The big picture emerging seems to point in one direction, and that is the implementation of a long-standing plan to usher in and permanently establish a technocratic society
In a few short months, we’ve been dramatically shifted from a state of freedom to a state of totalitarianism, and the way that was done was through…
It is easy to see the weaknesses of your team. Sally may not be the most organized. Jim may be late 20% of the time. And Bob… don’t even get me started about Bob.
We are trained to look for the weaknesses of others. We need to see the weaknesses of others. If we don’t, how will we know what to work with them on to improve?
But what if we’re looking at things the wrong way? What if by focusing on your team’s weaknesses, you’re hurting your team?
It’s not a what-if scenario. It is a truth.
By focusing on the weaknesses of our teams, we’re hurting them. We’re constantly reinforcing what they’re doing wrong. They’re not dumb. They know the areas they struggle in.
Jim knows he’s constantly late. Bob knows he causes frustration in the office. And Sally knows she’s not organized.
You and I don’t have to point these weaknesses out. What we needto do is downplay the weaknesses of our teams and encourage the strengths of our team.
Encourage Your Team’s Strengths
While our team members often know their weaknesses, they can struggle to realize their strengths. People have a hard time seeing what they do well. Why?
Our natural skills and abilities, the things we excel at without thinking, are hard for us to see ourselves. I think of my proficiency in the Information Technology world or the way I interact with others. These activities flow from me. They are things I do without a second thought.
When I am asked the question “What do you do well?” I freeze. I stutter. And I don’t have an answer.
My natural strengths and giftings don’t come to my mind. The reason is confusing but makes sense.
I forget what my strengths are because they come easily to me.
You forget yours as well. So does your team.
Everyone has a hard time seeing and realizing their strengths. This is where you can do something great.
Watch your team members. See where they work naturally and get the most done. Study their work habits and what activities seem to flow from their hands.
BOOM! You’ve now seen a strength.
We’ll go back to Sally. Sally is disorganized. However, she is extremely creative. She designs the most breathtaking infographics you’ve ever seen. Her work tells the world how much she loves to create graphics that tell a story.
Now that’s a strength you should be encouraging.
Or Jim… He’s always, always late. It’s frustrating but you notice he closes more deals than anyone else on the team. He has a knack for relationships and he’s able to earn the company more than the bottom 3 salespeople combined.
Now that’s a strength you should be encouraging.
How To Encourage Your Team’s Strengths
Photo by Emma Matthews
We need to be aware of our team’s strengths. We also have to be willing to encourage our team members when they’re working in their strengths. How do you encourage your team member’s strengths? By doing the following:
Publicly praise team members for going above and beyond. Let the organization know how well and what Jill did. Publicly encouraging good behavior will see good behavior repeated.
Drop notes of praise anonymously. What’s cooler than getting a little Post-It Note with a word of encouragement? I can’t think of much better than that. To get a note saying someone noticed what you were doing goes a long way.
Send a letter to a team member’s spouse. Okay, I admit. I can think of something that’s better than personally receiving a Post-It Note recognizing my strengths. What is it? It is having my wife receive a note thanking her for letting the organization use my strengths (and naming the strength) and taking time away from my family. Honoring a spouse and letting them know what your team member is doing will blow their mind.
Director of Early Learning at Encyclopædia Britannica and award-winning author of Creating a Beautiful Mess: Ten Essential Play Experiences for a Joyous Childhood.
Try these tips from experts in social and emotional learning (SEL). And guess what? These strategies also work well for frustrated parents!
Occasional feelings of anger and frustration are normal, especially during stressful times. Learning to manage those big feelings is an essential part of SEL.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many children are facing new challenges such as online learning. In addition to the ordinary school challenges such as making friends and learning multiplication tables, children face tech problems like weak internet and login troubles. All this can easily lead to moments of anger and frustration.
Research in SEL provides guidance in how to help children understand and manage their big emotions. Self-awareness is a foundation of SEL. According to Greater Good in Education, a project by the University of California at Berkeley, self-awareness is the ability to be aware of one’s inner life. This includes one’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors, values, preferences, goals, strengths, attitudes, and mindsets, as well as how these elements impact behavior and choices.
In short, when we can name and understand our own emotions we are better able to develop strategies for managing strong feeling in productive ways.
Let’s look at a five key strategies for self-awareness that are frequently cited in SEL curricula: Name your feelings, practice calm breathing, take a break, try one thing, and reflect on what happened.
Name Your Feelings
When your child is angry or frustrated, try to help them put their feelings into words. Ask, “How are you feeling right now?” If they are not able to answer, offer some options, such as, “I wonder if you’re feeling frustrated?”
Words to offer younger children might include: mad sad tired hungry grumpy
Older children may understand and choose more complex words such as: angry hurt enraged annoyed furious confused embarrassed irritated offended
Another helpful strategy parents can try is describing what you see. “I see that you are covering your face with your hands,” or “I see that you’re kicking your chair.” Affirm that everyone has big feelings, but set clear limits if your child is acting in a way that could be dangerous. “It’s OK to be angry. It’s not OK to hit.”
When your child has been able to express how they’re feeling and those feelings have been affirmed, your child will be better able to calm down and move forward.
Practice Calm Breathing
Mindfulness practices help both adults and children feel calm. Belly breathing is a simple technique that even very young children can learn. This simple practice involves taking deep breaths that engage the large muscle in our bellies called the diaphragm.
Teach your child to practice belly breathing at a time when they are relaxed. Once they have had a positive experience with belly breathing, they will remember what that felt like. When they are upset and practice belly breathing, their body will already know what it feels to become calm and breathe deeply.
To practice belly breathing:
Have your child lie down on their back, relax their muscles, and place their hands (or balance a small toy) on their belly.
With their mouth closed, have your child breathe in for about four seconds, feeling their chest and belly rise and fill with air (or the small toy will rise).
Have your child hold in the air for about four seconds
Have your child slowly blow out all the air through their mouth. Repeat until the body feels relaxed.
You may enjoy practicing belly breathing with your child. For the greatest benefit, practice this technique every day. It only takes a few minutes.
Take a Break
If your child is feeling frustrated during remote learning, encourage them to take a short break. This can be difficult to do during a live lesson when students are expected to be logged in and visible on camera. Yet sometimes we all just need to step away from the source of our frustrations.
Check in with your child’s teacher and find out the expectations and options for student participation during different types of lessons. Help your child plan in advance for different ways they can take care of themselves when they’re feeling frustrated during class, such as standing up, stretching, and walking around the room.
Movement relieves stress. Encourage your child to take a walk, throw a ball, or knead a lump of clay when they are feeling strong emotions.
Try One Thing
Once your child has identified their feelings and taken a positive step toward calming down, they may be ready to try to solve the problem that caused the stress in the first place.
Perhaps your child is frustrated because they can’t find the link to a website they need for an assignment. Ask your child, “What’s one thing you could try?” If your child is too young or too frustrated to come up with their own idea, offer a few suggestions and ask them to choose one to try. For example, you might say, “Here are two ideas: You could look through your notes and see if you can find the link. Or you could email your teacher and ask for help. Which idea do you want to try?”
The important thing is to help your child make a choice and move forward.
Reflect on What Happened
When the problem has been resolved and your child is feeling calm again, help your child think about what happened. Ask open-ended questions such as, “If you could start the day over again, would you do anything different?” or “Now that you know how to fix that problem, how will that change the way you do things in the future?” These reflective conversations can help your child become a better problem-solver.
These are just five tips for helping your child when they feel big feelings like anger and frustration. The most important thing you can do as a parent is listen to them and affirm their feelings. Over time, as your child grows and matures, they will develop their own strategies for managing strong emotions.
One version of a famous quote about those who count the votes determining the outcome of an election is attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in his secretary’s memoir.
In 2006, Wikiquote dug up such a source: The Memoirs of Stalin’s Former Secretary by Boris Bazhanov, published in 2002. Translated from the Russian, the version which, according to Bazhanov, was uttered in 1923 by Stalin in reference to a vote in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was this:
“I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”
Other similar variations of the same thoughts:
“As long as I count the Votes, what are you going to do about it. say?” — attributed to William M. “Boss” Tweed in Thomas Nast cartoon, 7 October 1871).
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