The Paradox of Positivity

Positive isolated on glassy green round button abstract illustration

🔱 I read recently that a new study found that people with sunny dispositions are often plagued by poor memory, impaired verbal fluency, and poor decision-making skills. Optimism, the study declares, may be a side product of the actual driver, low cognitive ability.
That is a puzzling statement! A sunny disposition bodes well for anyone determined to have a positive outlook. I have two family members who are pretty high on the “Smart” scale and have no cognitive decline, and they have positive attitudes. That had to have been a limited study because it makes absolutely no sense to me. The worrisome part is that I have always been optimistic, hoping for a better day since I was a lad. I’m disappointed that my sunny-day attitude will not pay off as I travel through my sunset years. At my age, there is some cognitive decline, but that is normal for advanced years, and it affects my daily life very little. Walt Whitman said it so well, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” I’m with you, Walt 😊!
🔱 I’ll bet you didn’t know that almost two-thirds of American parents with kids 22-40 years old give them financial support of about $700 monthly. It made me stop and ponder why that was true. My parents never received money from my grandparents, I didn’t receive money from my parents, and my children never needed money from me to survive. And I’m betting the adults today who get financial aid from their parents wish they did not. That type of help always seems to have strings attached, either explicitly or implicitly.
So, how do you financially help valued family members and friends without having them beholding to you somehow? I believe the way to accomplish that task is by gifting them the money before they need to ask for it. There are many ways to detect if someone is struggling. All we have to do is pay attention, observe quietly, and rely on our instincts. One of the best ways to help my family, especially the young ones, is to invest in their education. That always pays back dividends and creates a beautiful bond between the giver and the recipient. Gifting to the others allows hope to creep back into their lives and buoy their spirits. We all need hope, for, without it, despair invades and wreaks havoc, leaving us battling depression and loneliness. Og Mandino said it so eloquently, “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

🔱My stepson, Mark, passed away recently, and our family has struggled to deal with his passing. I feel like he now lives in the place within me where I go to be alone, and I need to learn how to sit with the void instead of trying to fill it. I don’t know if that’s possible because he was an essential part of us. I know I should never forget him, but I know also that life always moves forward, and he would want us to live our lives vigorously. Learning to sit with the void instead of trying to fill it is part of my healing process. It’s about acknowledging his loss, honoring his memory, and gradually learning to live with the void he left behind. I know it’s a journey of acceptance, healing, and eventually finding new meaning and purpose in life. I am confident he knows how much we miss him down here on this beautiful planet we call Earth and how much we want him back. Letting him go is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I know it’s time for that to happen. Dolly Parton said, “I think you have to work at being happy, just like you have to work at being miserable.” It’s time for me to do that very thing!
🔱 Are you good at sharpening knives? I am not, but my wife has some garden shears that need sharpening, and I have some very dull scissors; plus, she has knives in her kitchen drawer that have some difficulty doing their assigned tasks. I checked around to see how much it would cost to get them sharpened professionally, and it turned out to be about $10 per item. My quick calculations added up to about ten items for us, and I am unwilling to pay $100 to get them to where they can do their jobs well again.
First, I thought about replacing them, but that would only add to our landfill, and I want to do something other than that. Then, I thought about a friend I used to work with who was an excellent sharpener, but he’s in his 90s now and doesn’t need the aggravation. I have a sharpener in the garage that I bought about twenty years ago, and I’m tempted to take it off the shelf and give it another try. The last time I used it, my wife wasn’t thrilled with the results. I dunno why I think this time would be any different, but that $100 lingers in my mind, and I determined, at all costs, to avoid that bill.
I think I know what’s gonna happen here. I will take down that sharpener, destroy whatever I attempt to sharpen, and wind up putting them in the trash bin😊. First, though, I’m heading over to YouTube to get instructions on how to do that simple job properly and then find out how much I learned. Wish me luck! I think this describes me pretty well, “Most of my rebellions are against mediocrity.” ~Anais Nin
🔱 I’ll bet you didn’t know that, on average, teachers take home 74% of every dollar similarly educated professionals made in 2022. That is a sad commentary on the esteem we hold for those who teach the people we love. That begs the question of how we fix that problem?
We accomplish that by contacting our state representatives and telling them to sponsor a bill that pays our educators more.
The Virginia Lottery, where I live, was approved by a public vote in 1987, and the first lottery occurred in 1988. It has significantly contributed to our state’s public education, particularly K-12 schools. Since 1999, all profits generated by the Virginia Lottery have been allocated to public education in the Commonwealth, specifically for kindergarten through 12th grade.
However, the impact of lottery funding on education is complex. While the Virginia Lottery proudly highlights its contributions, experts caution the situation is nuanced. Critics argue lottery funds, rather than supplementing existing education budgets, may instead fill gaps left by insufficient state funding.
The Virginia Lottery’s contributions have undeniably played a significant role in funding public education. Since the lottery’s inception, more than $10 billion has been contributed to Virginia’s public schools. Virginia ranks 4th overall for both quality and safety. The sad news is that the national average teacher’s salary is $68,000 annually, and Virginia averages $62,000. That needs to change. This quote said it all: “Education cost money, but so does ignorance.” ~ Sir Claus Moser


  1. Nancy on February 12, 2024 at 5:14 pm

    Well said!
    That study implies that sunny dispositions are a result of bad memory. Maybe it’s good if we don’t remember every bad thing that happens. The two of you are an inspiration on how to live our lives.

  2. Betty Berry on February 13, 2024 at 11:18 am

    This is such a good missive……….speaks on many very important topics in our world today and to us. Thanks for sharing! Betty. Keep writing!

  3. frank shortt on February 14, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    We sometimes forget the One in Charge of all human activities!
    WE will not go any higher or any lower than what He deems necessary!

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