Tag Archives: questions

Resolve to listen in 2018

park, Harrisonburg VA

Like a walk in the woods, listening is good exercise.

By Bruce Stambaugh

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. In general, I think they are just so much hype without much substance. For those who are serious about such resolutions, however, I wish you the very best at keeping and meeting those New Year challenges.

Not making resolutions doesn’t mean I don’t desire to improve the world and myself. I do with all my heart. I’ve discovered in my many years of living that it takes more than wishing.

Drive and desire are key ingredients to making the world a better place for all of us to live. And by all of us, I mean every single human being. In the eyes of the Maker, we all have equal worth. Those are His words, not mine.

With that in mind, I want 2018 to be the best year yet. Given the world’s troubles, that’s going to take the work of all of us to help make that happen.

That’s the thing with resolutions. They tend to be too individualized. However, working together creates a more substantial margin for success. If we want to improve the world, we have to help one another.

Let’s agree to make our surroundings more beautiful, peaceful, kind, inviting, welcoming. I can’t do it alone. I’ll need lots of help. You and you and you. Regardless of our political affiliations, religion, race, ethnic background, one by one we can together resolve to bring peace to this too troubled world.

We don’t all have to agree on how that gets done. Too often the details are what derail us from accomplishing anything good at all. Forget the details. If we are clear on the aim and outcome, a legitimate process is required. It doesn’t have to be complicated, however.

As ordinary citizens, we need to strive to do better than the ballyhooed politicians for our families, our communities, our country, our globe, and ourselves. It’s the least we can do for our children, our grandchildren, and all the generations to come.

conversation, listening

Listening requires full focus and attention of all our being.

What’s my grandiose plan for this noble goal of reconciliation and harmony? You and you and you, and me. Together we can help soften the rancor in the world if we only take time to listen to what others are saying, asking, claiming, even accusing. Yes. That’s it. Just genuinely listen to one another. It doesn’t have to be an inquisition, merely face-to-face listening. After hearing the other, ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding. And with that knowledge, we ask more delving questions.

I don’t intend noisiness. I mean sincere inquisitiveness that leads to a mutual understanding of each other. And yes, in the end, we may still respectfully disagree. But just because we may differ on how we see a given situation, listening should not lead to denigrating the other person or the belief they hold. Dialogue should lead to mutual respect for one another. Our integrity as human beings depends on it.

If we agree to focus on clarity of issues, truly listen to one another, and respond with personal respect and understanding, perhaps we can make not only our lives but also the lives of those we affect a tad better, conversation by conversation.

In 2018, can we all at least resolve to try to improve the world by listening without judging? Besides making the world a better, safer place, wouldn’t that also make each one of us better people, too?

I’m ready to listen. How about you?

Silver Lake, Dayton VA

Listening and understanding without judgement create a quiet beauty even on a cloudy day.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2018

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So many questions, so few answers

By Bruce Stambaugh

Some time ago I listed several questions over a wide range of topics that I had accumulated. Most of my musings were unanswerable.

Well, since I’m an inquisitive fellow by nature, I’ve done it again. My inquiring mind wants to know, and I thought April Fools Day might be a good time to ask. Should we let the questions begin?

northcoastbybrucestambaugh

The North Coast of Ohio is really the south shore of Lake Erie.

Why is the south shore of Lake Erie called the North Coast in Ohio?

Why do people feel compelled to yell “In the hole!” after a pro golfer hits a shot?

Are there East of Chicago pizza places west of Chicago?

Why do fans in line with the TV camera at baseball games wave and wave and wave once they realize they are on TV?

easterfullmoonbybrucestambaughBeside the letter “r,” what’s the difference between the word “wiggle” and “wriggle?”

If lights attract moths, why don’t these nocturnal winged insects come out in the daytime?

Do they serve Cuban sandwiches in Cuba?

What kind of wine goes with honey barbequed potato chips?

Why are the natives of the Philippine Islands called Filipinos and not Philipinos?

Why is it that when a teacher says the test will be simple, it will always be hard?

someassemblyrequiredbybrucestambaugh

Some assembly required.

Why is it that when directions say, “Some assembly required,” it usually is a lot?

Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to hang a roll of toilet paper?

Do you know which is the right way to hang a roll of toilet paper?

Did you know that Easter always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox?

Did you know the emergency number in Australia, the country down under, is 119?

If tornadoes in the northern hemisphere spin counter-clockwise, and tornadoes in the southern hemisphere spin clockwise, which direction would a tornado on the Equator spin?

Did you know that in Ohio it’s a law that motorized vehicles have to have their headlights on if their windshield wipers are operating?

How do bullfrogs know when the air is warm enough for insects to fly in early spring?

Did you know that the only direction you can travel from the North Pole is south?

When you sneeze, why do people say, “God bless you?”

hotdogsbybrucestambaugh

You won’t find these hot dogs at McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant for that matter.

Have you ever tried to order a hotdog at McDonalds?

Where did the idea of the Easter Bunny originate?

Is Allstate Insurance really available in all states?

Have you ever wondered who your doctor’s doctor is?

Why is baseball the only professional sport where the manager and coaches have to wear uniforms like the players?

Why is it when you are following a slow moving vehicle in a no passing zone, you don’t pass any oncoming cars, but as soon as it is all right to pass you can’t because there is oncoming traffic?

What is the difference between a day being “partly sunny” or “party cloudy?”

partlysunnybybrucestambaugh

Partly sunny or partly cloudy?

Why do emergency vehicles proclaim “Dial 911” when we no longer have rotary phones?

Why do we still say we’ll carbon copy an email, for example, when we no longer use carbon paper?

Do they serve French toast in France?

americanrobinbybrucestambaugh

In good weather or foul, American Robins still have orange breasts.

Why do people refer to the red, red Robin when the American Robin’s breast is orange?

Why do donuts have holes in the first place?

Why does it seem colder at 27 degrees in April than it does when it’s 27 degrees in January?

Why do we celebrate April Fools Day anyhow?

© Bruce Stambaugh 2013

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Looking for answers to some of life’s perplexing questions

By Bruce Stambaugh

From little on up, I have always been an inquisitive person.

One of the neighbor ladies from my suburban rustbelt neighborhood where I grew up must have noticed it. She called me “The Beacon Journal,” in honor of her favorite daily newspaper I presumed.

Seems I was always asking questions. If something happened in the neighborhood, I had to know all the assorted details, whether they were any of my business or not. They usually weren’t.

That inquisitiveness probably had a lot to do with my decision to major in journalism in college. Enjoying writing helped, too.

I still have the same inquiring mind today. The need to know is paramount from my perspective.

No matter what I’m doing, I seem to always be thinking of questions. Oftentimes they are totally unrelated to what I’m doing, which should come as no surprise either.

That mental process happens a lot when I’m on long trips, whether flying or driving. A big rig passes me and I wonder what the trucker is hauling. I see a jet cruise overhead and I wonder what were its points of departure and destination.

I ponder both the ludicrous and the serious stuff of life. In fact, I think about questions so much I started a list. I figured if I shared them with you I just might get some answers.

In no particular order, here are some of the significant questions conjured by my motivated mind.

• Once you pull those folded up canvas chairs out of their covers, does anyone ever put the chairs back in the covers again?

• How is it that you can put four pairs of socks in the laundry and when you retrieve the wash from the dryer you have nine socks and only six match?

• How far back should you stay from a car with the vanity plates H1N1?

• How many chocolate covered raisin clusters equal a serving of fruit?

• Why does it feel colder when it is raining and 36 degrees than it does when it is snowing and 26 degrees?

• Why do referees at high school basketball games wear jackets during the pregame warm-up when the gym is already stifling?

• Why don’t men know how to replace an empty toilet paper holder?

• Why is it that when you are driving with the windshield wipers going and they streak, the streak is always at eye level?

• Why do most people use the top plug in an electrical receptacle first, which blocks the use of the bottom plug?

• Do fish sleep?

• Why is the Big Ten Conference called that when it has 11 schools in its league?

• How can there be such a thing as “live video?”

• Even when they can see the road is inundated, why do drivers daringly head right into flooded roadways, often to be stranded and eventually rescued?

• Why did the Cleveland Indians trade Rocky Colavito for Harvey Kuenn?

• Why do rocks that are naturally imbedded in soil find their way to the surface while rocks that you set in flowerbeds gradually sink?

I suppose I could have Googled for the answers to these pressing questions. But I’d rather hear from you. I look forward to seeing your answers, I think.

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