Thinking Out Loud

March 18, 2011

Conversations

Wednesday night we had dinner with a guy who lives, breathes, eats and sleeps hockey.  His sons play and he played professionally overseas for several years.  It’s (almost) all he talks about.  Fortunately, there’s been a hockey story making the evening news this week up here in Canada — involving the serious body check resulting in a head injury to a Montreal NHL player — and I was able to chime in on two occasions, but mostly I just listened.

Yesterday, I had lunch with someone whose position on Wal-Mart is the exact opposite of our own.  (I know it sounds like we eat out a lot, and believe me, we don’t.)   For us, the issues are primarily the whole balance of trade thing, especially as it affects the U.S., and the issue of cheaply made goods simply breaking down.  But she went past the “sweat shops” argument and stated that Wal-Mart suppliers are raising the quality of life for workers overseas, citing one particular place where factory staff who formerly had to walk to work were able to buy bicycles and were saving for mopeds.

I was so impressed by the passion that both these people had for their subjects even though (a) in the former case I knew nothing about hockey and (b) in the second case I still disagree somewhat.

So what are you passionate about?

Usually I don’t repeat material here that isn’t at least a year old, but I want to repeat three questions that I ran here back in April of last year.  Consider:

  1. What’s the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? — In Pat Robertson’s original autobiography, Shout it from the Housetops — before he became a target of both Christians and non-Christians for outrageous statements to the media — he was a local church pastor who had a church board member trying to make the point that Robertson was more obsessed with starting a Christian television network than he was with leading a church congregation.   (He jokingly added, “The first thing I think about is wishing you [the church board member] would get saved…”)    Still, regardless of what you think of Pat  — and I won’t post comments on that subject — it’s still a good question to address. What drives you from the moment your feet hit the floor?
  2. What do you talk about when it’s your chance to control the conversation? — I owe a debt to a Christian & Missionary Alliance young adults pastor for this one, but I can’t remember if it was Mike Wilkins or Bill McAlpine.   Analyze yourself and others to see to what people turn their attention when the conversation reaches a “redirect” point.   “Out of the abundance of the heart… “  “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say…”  (NLT version of Matthew 12:34) “It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words.”  (Same vs., The Message) It’s your chance to steer the direction of the discussion for the next few moments:  Where are you going to take it?
  3. What do you want your life to be remembered for? —  Everyone of us is writing a story, leaving a legacy.   If you could get a few paragraphs in Wikipedia after you’re gone, how would those sentences read?  If you could script your own funeral, how would you fill that time, talking about yourself in the third person?  (i.e. “He was so very concerned about…  and so totally passionate about…)  Would that be an honest appraisal of what people see on a day-to-day basis?
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