Posts tagged " Adam "

Bouncing Back from Failure

November 22nd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 29 comments

One of the big reasons that some people flourish while others just remain frustrated by their painful circumstances is shame.  Shame about failing or about having failed.  The mortification is painful enough to prevent any further attempts.

Of the hundreds of world cultures identified and studied by the great social anthropologist, Joseph Daniel Unwin, by far the majority associate failure with shame.  Feeling embarrassment and shame after failure is common precisely because it is the normal and natural reaction to failure.  Normal and natural it may be but that doesn’t mean that we should regard it as acceptable.  Many things are normal and natural yet we correctly confine them to the private.  Similarly, a private sense of humiliation upon failure is certainly normal and natural.  But rising above those feelings is our human challenge.

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S.O.S. – Save Our Souls

November 17th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools 19 comments

When I was a teenager, my parents sent me to study Torah in Israel with my great-uncle, Rabbi Elya Lopian.  Watching and listening to a man who was a giant of ancient Jewish wisdom opened my eyes to spiritual reality.

Large numbers of young men from around the world flocked to study with him at his yeshiva, Knesset Hezekiah. A student, on one occasion, sought permission from my great-uncle to miss yeshiva while he returned home for a family wedding. Reb Elya inquired whether there would be young women dressed immodestly at the wedding.  My friend responded honestly that there was every possibility of this. However, he assured our teacher that his spiritual level was so high that he would be immune to whatever exposed feminine charms he might encounter.  He barely noticed attractive women, he concluded.

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Money & Marriage Maketh Man

November 25th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Try persuading today’s university students that making money is both dignified and moral. That’s what I did last week when I addressed 13,000 students at the Liberty University Convocation in Virginia. I not only told them that making money was a virtuous activity but I proved it. And they whooped, hollered and cheered. But remember, this was not Dartmouth, Yale or University of Missouri. There’s hope for America down there in Lynchburg.

My dear friend, the late Jerry Falwell, founded Liberty University in 1971. It is a beautiful campus populated by God-fearing young scholars who play as hard as they pray. Their Flames football team competes successfully in division 1 of the NCAA in the Big South Conference. (more…)

You Made Me

August 17th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

A few years ago, a large construction company was uneasy about having to change managers in the middle of an important project.  They consulted me after they placed Jennifer in charge of developing the new financial controls system.  I soon discovered that though she was familiar with the work plan and project definition, she was convinced that the venture was already a month behind schedule.

After warning the board of directors that the job would fall even further behind as Jennifer got up to speed, I advised them to grant her the authority to reset expectations and schedules. Only then could she take ownership of the project.  Without exercising authority, Jennifer would never feel truly responsible.

It is not only in business that authority must be granted. Occasionally fathers and mothers also forget this lesson.  Parents sometimes try to share a hobby that they nostalgically remember from their youth.  However, they turn their child into a spectator rather than a participant when they make all the decisions themselves.  When the child loses interest and abandons the project, the parent is disappointed.

It is appropriate for parents to expect children to participate in some of the household’s chores.  The results are invariably best when some decision making power comes with the job.

Though it is hard for many to do, whether at work or in the family, it is vital to grant authority so that subordinates or one’s own children begin to assume responsibility.  Without an opportunity to properly assume ownership of an undertaking, not only won’t people see the job through but they will also often resent otherwise wonderful opportunities.

For a compelling instance of this timeless truth, listen to Adam’s response to God’s challenge:

…Have you eaten from the tree that I prohibited you to eat from?
(Genesis 3:11)

Adam responds:

…the woman whom you gave me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.
(Genesis 3:12)

Adam could merely have responded, “The woman gave me from the tree and I ate.”  God would have known which woman Adam meant; after all there was only one in existence.  Why did Adam stress, “the woman whom you gave me”?

Ancient Jewish wisdom answers this perplexing question.  As you can imagine, Adam was infatuated with Eve.  Her arrival utterly transformed his life, filling it with passion and creativity.  Yet, on some deep level which emerged during this crisis of disobedience, Adam resented not having a voice in choosing his life partner.  This emerged in his words, “the woman whom YOU gave me.”

“This wasn’t the wife I chose for myself,” he is saying.  “You made me marry her.  So, what did you expect, God?  Look what happened!”

Obeying our parents’ wishes is a big part of the Fifth Commandment.  One exception, however, is if they try to tell us whom to marry.  (It is a really good idea to heed parents or friends when they tell you whom NOT to marry!) The reason is that marriage is tough enough without having a spouse who hasn’t ‘bought-in’ or ‘taken ownership.’  There are too many challenging moments, particularly early in a marriage when one or both partners might silently say, “If only I hadn’t listened to my parents; they made me marry this person.”  Every married individual needs to know that he or she made the decision freely to marry and therefore is responsible for that decision.

Whether in business or family, withholding authority stunts people’s growth, blocks achievement and is downright disrespectful.  Both children and employees reach full potential when they are gradually granted increasing authority to match the increased responsibility they assume.