What Do You Miss?

One constant in life is change. And when things change, invariably you lose some of the things that bring you comfort or happiness. What do you miss?

The types of things you miss can vary quite widely. It might be a material object, like a child missing a favorite teddy bear.

Others might miss a person, like a particularly meaningful teacher, or a family member that is far away, or deceased. You might even combine a physical object and a person, like a shirt reminding you of your father.

Maybe you fondly recall your favorite meal at a restaurant that has since closed. Or attending a concert of a band that has broken up.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How do you think others see you?’


There are also more abstract things to miss. Maybe you wish you were carefree like you were as a child, before you gained adult responsibilities.

On the other hand, you might miss things simply because you have grown older. Do you remember when you were skinny, or had all your hair, or didn’t need glasses?

Adding to all of this, of course, are the restrictions that have been in place over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. Some of us haven’t been traveling, or spending time with friends or loved ones. Our lives have changed in many ways since we went into lockdown back in March of 2020.

So what is it for you: a object, a person, a memory of days gone by? What do you miss?

Related questions: Who do you miss? How have you changed? What was the best time in your life? What is the best part about getting older? The worst?

 

Why Are We So Divided?

No matter which metric you use, it seems like there is a yawning gap between people. We are more divided than ever. What is fueling this growing difference?

Short of an escalation into violence, it’s difficult to imagine a more divided population than exists in the United States and the world.

Income inequality means more families are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, wealth is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

There are more people leaving organized religion with each passing year. Those that remain feel persecuted.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


But by far, the most intense division is political. Individuals in different political parties can’t even seem to have a civil conversation. Each side believes the other one is destroying the country. As a result, we are self-selecting into opposing neighborhoods, cities, and states. Nuance, complexity, and compromise are forgotten or ignored.

How did we get here? What is the cause of this division? Is it a media that is chasing advertising money? Or political leaders looking to consolidate power and influence? Are the wealthy looking to collect even more money? Are the poor lazy and shiftless? Alternately, are social media outlets — a new technology — spreading misinformation in the interest of attracting viewers?

In your opinion, who is to blame for our current state of disunity? And more importantly, perhaps, how can we reverse that trend and see our commonalities rather than our differences? Why are we so divided?

Related questions: What do we have in common? How can we encourage meaningful conversation? Why do we hate? How do we know we are right?

What Are You Doing To Build Community?

It is common to feel a lack of belonging to any community beyond your immediate family. Are you doing anything to change that?

In the industrialized world, an emphasis is placed on he individual, or the idea of the small, “nuclear” family. It is common for children to move far away from their parents, and for people to settle down and raise their own family hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where they grew up.

This is a far cry from families that saw multiple generations living together under one roof. Or a clan being an extended family all living in the same village.

Under current circumstances, a sense of community can be hard to find. Many of the traditional institutions that provided that sense of community, like family and the church, are in decline. Even people who live in a densely populated residential area might not know many — or any — of their neighbors.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘Are we too busy?’


Things have gotten particularly bad as a result of the pandemic. First the lockdown limited social interaction, and then many of the more popular ways of socializing, like music concerts or sporting events, were canceled or heavily restricted.

And yet, human beings are social animals. We crave social interactions, and we feel the need to belong to a group that is larger than ourselves.

Do you feel that pull to join other people? In what ways are you trying to reestablish contact with friends and neighbors? What activities do you participate in, or what strengthens the bonds you have with others? What are you doing to build community?

Related questions: What makes a community? Why do we feel the need to belong? Why do people like games? What do we have in common?

How Do You Stand Up To A Bully?

Whether it is on a playground, in a board room, or in international politics, you are likely to find yourself, at some point, faced with a bully. How should you handle it?

There is one school of thought that the only language a bully understands is violence. The best way to deal with one on the schoolyard, as this theory goes, is to bloody their nose.

Of course, this is not universally applicable. If you punch a bullying co-worker in the nose, you are likely to be fired.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘Where does authority come from?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What does your favorite music say about you?’


Another possible way of dealing with a bully is to ignore them. Don’t let them goad you into an action you may regret. However, if an aggressive action goes unanswered, it might embolden more abusive behavior.

So what is the best way to handle this situation? How should you stand up to a bully?

Related questions: Why do we put up with unhappiness? How can we build confidence? Hold firm or compromise? How much power does an individual have?

 

Empathy Or Compassion?

Of course, both empathy and compassion are possible, and both are important. The question here is: is one more important than the other?

Share why if you wish.

Empathy Or Compassion?