Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 12.20.2013

Five 2

On Homelessness

The New York Times’ Invisible Child series that will blow your mind and have you running to volunteer at your local homeless shelter, and a response and personal story from one of the bloggers I have recently begun following which responds to the series by showcasing her own story of homelessness.

1.  Invisible Child, Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life, written by Andrea Elliot with photography by Ruth Fremson.  

It is Dasani’s belief that she and her siblings are the cause of her mother’s ruin. It never occurs to her that, for Chanel, the children represent her only accomplishment.

[Can we just put a pin here, to talk about the layers in these two sentences?  How children are a burden and a blessing, living in seemingly hopeless situations but also our only hope?  Oh my goodness.]

2.  Becca Rose at The Bookworm Beauty, with The Tent.  

Years later, my dad would tell me,

“I’m so glad we went through that time, because it really taught you kids about faith and trusting God.”

What I wanted to say but didn’t was that no, it didn’t teach me about faith. It taught me what it feels like when God abandons you.

 * * *

I constantly hear diatribes against food assistance, free health care, and other benefits that kept me alive as a child when I was homeless. I don’t think there’s a human face on the other end when people say things like this, because if they knew what it was like – if they knew how a child’s life would be affected when they vote to decrease funding for those things – I can’t believe they’d really do it. I can’t believe anyone is that heartless.

On Journaling as a Personal Practice

3.  Claire de Boer at The Gift of Writing with Five Questions to Take to Your Journal (and life).  

To stop, ask the question and either write the answer or ponder it throughout the day, has been the hearth to my cold wintry bones.

I’ve been trying many different journal writing techniques over the last few months—everything from writing letters, free-writing, dialoging and list-making, but to simply ask one of these five questions has been the most nourishing of all.

On Being Careful with our Words (and using our privilege and power wisely)

4.  Brad Littlejohn at The Sword and the Ploughshare with The “All I Really Meant…” Syndrome.  

None of this is to say that we always have to speak in carefully-measured, lifeless academese, with a footnote to define our every term so as to remove all cause for dispute.  There is a place for provocation.  But provocation must always be according to truth.  “I’m playing the prophet!” is never an excuse for non sequiturs, or false generalizations that have no basis in reality, or for sloppy language that would confuse even a well-educated, well-intentioned reader.  Moreover, even where it avoids these pitfalls, it must always be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis.  Just because you might succeed in getting the attention of some that you otherwise might not get doesn’t mean it’s worth it.  Not if you alienate many more whom you otherwise might have won, or sow division where you could have sown peace.

On Productive Meetings and Good Management

5.  Amy Gallo for the Harvard Business Review’s Blog with The Seven Imperatives to Keeping Meetings on Track.  

Valuable information regarding how to plan for meetings that are focused, productive, and positive experiences for your team.  Emphasis on “planning,” because if you aren’t planning your meetings, chances are they will not be focused, productive, or positive experiences for anyone.

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