Identifying ‘Vampires’ In Your Community

Identifying ‘Vampires’ In Your Community

Of the many questions I receive from fellow activists, community workers and others, one of the most popular is still: How do I handle my vampire problem? That’s right. Vampires. Contrary to popular opinion, vampires really do exist. They hide amongst us at work, at school, at our place of worship and even within our families only showing their teeth when it’s time to feed. And because many have faced them not knowing who they are or have chosen to deliberately ignore the issue out of the goodness of their hearts, these vampires have had the good fortune to partake in a feeding frenzy. Not anymore. Here is what we know about vampires: They enjoy what they do. They’ll bite and pursue you in the most annoying way possible. They will hiss just a...

Drowning Myself To Overcome Fear

Drowning Myself To Overcome Fear

When I was younger, for one reason or another, I couldn’t learn how to swim as fast as other children. Like many, I wasn’t able to stay afloat or successfully hold my breath underwater because I feared I would drown. This fear of drowning captivated my every move and my every thought. It kept me from floating, it kept me from breathing properly, and it paralyzed my focus on going under. There were four routes my parents could have chosen: a) Enroll me in lessons at the local swimming pool. b) Stay patient and continue to work with me for several more weeks. c) Give up and accept that I would never learn how to swim. d) Throw me in the water and hope I’ll learn to move my arms. You guessed it. My parents took option D and I distinctly remember my...

Five Essential Tips For Every Activist

Five Essential Tips For Every Activist

No matter how noble your cause there will always be a group of people who will vehemently stand against you for no particular reason. Countless stories from history and the present day conclusively paint a picture of polar opposites when it comes to doing good. Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Buddha and others are everyday examples of noble people who faced severe opposition for advocating the ever elusive subject of peace. If people as popular as the above were confronted with groups who not only opposed, but took action to physically stop them from spreading their message, who are we to feel we won’t receive and shouldn’t receive any opposition? It is truly humbling to read about what they went through simply to spread...

Stop Creating Your OWN Problems

Stop Creating Your OWN Problems

Previously, I wrote about the importance of becoming more solution-oriented than identifying-problems-and-never-doing-anything-oriented, and I thought I should write some personal reflections on just how to achieve that state. Remembering the glass as half-full and other idioms of optimism have one theme in common: your world-view. The issue isn’t a problem unless you see it that way. By viewing your problems as a hurdle, instead of a giant brick wall, you jump on the fast track of tackling the issue. Through that simple mental shift you’re able to start finding a solution rather than looking at the size of the wall and giving up right away. Here’s another one: A problem is never a problem unless you make it so. This past Friday night, a program for young...

The Soviets are invading! What do we do?

The Soviets are invading! What do we do?

In 1939, in the middle of World War II, the Soviet military entered the small eastern European nation of Latvia en route to Germany. These troops, just as other Soviet troops at the time, were low on supplies including ammunition and food, and the vice-Consul at the U.S. State Department in the Latvian embassy wired Washington D.C. requesting permission to fly the Stars and Stripes over the Red Cross food warehouse. If our flag was flying over the supply depot, more than likely, the troops wouldn’t enter the building to loot it for food and other goodies. The good folks in D.C. responded with “no precedent exists for such action”. <insert a few choice words here> No precedent for such action? The vice-consul climbed the flagpole on the Red Cross...

Before Your House Crumbles

Before Your House Crumbles

The last Thursday of November is the day we set aside to specifically be thankful for all the blessings we’ve been given. It’s a nice time with family and friends, a gigantic meal, lots of pictures and good memories to create. I don’t know about you, but I find myself having moments of Thanksgiving throughout my week. Not the turkey and dressing, the apple pie or the nice wintery clothing, but the part about giving thanks. When I see a person without a home on the streets, I thank God I’ve been given shelter. When I see someone in a car accident, I thank God it wasn’t me. When I see someone getting arrested, I thank God my parents taught me better. And sometimes, I just thank God for being able to use my mental faculties to thank Him. In fact, in our...