Dee's Blog
Fri 09/12/2008
The Real Perpetrator
Topic: Power

Sometimes, in stories involving professional abuse, I feel like we should bring back an old show, from the 50's, entitled "To Tell the Truth."  A contestant was brought on the show, on one side of the stage.  On the other, behind a screen that allowed the audience to see while the contestant could not, were three people who were introduced by the host with a one-paragraph teaser.  The contestant was allowed to ask questions of the hidden people, one by one.  Only one of the hidden guests was the real person, the only one who was telling the truth.

This morning, I woke up to the news that Eric McLean was found not guilty of murdering his wife's teenage "lover."  OK--on that I'll agree.   As the story shows, the shooting was not murder, though McLean was recklessly using a gun.  If he'd wanted to only scare the teen, Sean Powell, I don't understand why Eric was carrying a loaded gun to the confrontation in the first place!  Nor why he, an adult, would have been dumb enough to have his finger on the trigger, especially knowing it was loaded, when Sean reached for the barrel of the gun!!  Eric McLean made a HUGE error in judgment and brings into question the whole issue of why we so readily allow such easy access to guns in America, to start with!!

That's a sub-issue, however.  So before I get too far afield, I would like to be like Horton with his tiny little voice, and ask:  "Will the real perpetrator please stand up?"

At this prompting, if we had the whole scene on an episode of "To Tell the Truth," the person to stand would be MRS. McLean (I can't even quickly locate HER name this morning).  While she certainly didn't shoot her student, she certainly ABUSED HIM.  And all of the journalists and lawyers with big names are missing the main point of the story. 

Eric McLean was a victim, though a secondary one.  SO--especially so--was Sean Powell.  He was even a minor!  Teachers do NOT have affairs with their students.  Neither do ministers have affairs with their congregants.  PLEASE GET THIS STRAIGHT! 

The biggest perpetrator here may even still be teaching, or soon will be, the way things go!  Let's face it.  The real perpetrator--the one who betrayed her student and also her husband--got off without much notoriety at all.  Meanwhile her primary victim is dead, leaving a huge impact on the lives of all the secondary victims, especially his family.





Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:13 AM CDT
Thu 09/11/2008
Seeing through the Lens Backwards
Topic: coping

It's impossible to see much through lenses that are on another person's face. 

This is what prompts the rest of the message about Transition lenses.  Not only do we, as individuals, have to be patient with our own need for transition lenses.  We have to respect the need of others to have them--not just our own rights to have them--as we are adjusting to the light. 

Anyone wearing such lenses has the choice of removing the glasses at any time and putting on another pair that does not block the light.  Or just seeing things through their own bare eyes, if they are able to do so.  Choosing to remove the sunglasses or transition lenses either one IS a choice.  It allows us to see colors more brilliantly and to realize that there are many different shades of color in our world--each representative the complexities of our world and all of it's issues.

This is the part that is often hard for me to remember, but it carries a spiritual message.  No matter what my concern, I need to be very careful about how I try to "remove the log from another's eyes."  Or the lenses that may be self-protective or even in the process of coming off.  For the speck in my own eye may prevent me from noticing the subtle movements toward change in vision that another person or institution may be slowly making. 

I can actually, if too critical or condemning, delay the decision to look fully at the light of day.  It's a tricky work indeed.

It's a lesson very much applicable on 9-11.  For it applies to world affairs as much as individual ones.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:46 AM CDT
Wed 09/10/2008
The Tinted Lens
Topic: coping

Heard the term again just yesterday.  An elderly woman I've known for years said that she sees some things through jaundiced lenses now, after being betrayed by her church after experiencing clergy sexual abuse.  Jaundiced eyes or lenses can be caused by many experiences in life, of course.

Yet this friend of mine can be so much fun, so much of a joy to be with.  She demonstrates the wisdom of sages in many areas, with incredible insight.  Maybe that's because the lenses I use are also jaundiced in some ways. 

Sometimes I am more disturbed by people who see things with rose-colored glasses, however.  Whether steeped in idealism or cynicism, it's hard to carry on a real conversation about a lot of things unless both parties are willing to adjust the tint on their lenses.

I think some folks sell these lenses--under the name of Transition Lenses.  Good name and a great idea!  In fact, I had some Transition lenses years ago, before I got my contacts.  They are much preferred to having no sunglasses at all.  For our eyes do need relief at times, when the light of day gets too bright.

Transition lenses do not make our view jaundiced.  Nor rose-colored.  They give us time to adjust to the light and then to see things more clearly. 

As I see it, that's a very good thing!  As long as they adjust as needed to make the light bearable enough to really see and keep our eyes healthy.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 7:54 AM CDT
Tue 09/09/2008
Changes Cause Disruptions in Relationships
Topic: Making Changes

When we make changes, not everyone is happy with all of our changes.  Some people want us to consult them more often than we may think necessary as we make change.  As if their approval is essential for us to change. 

In an enmeshed family, people aren't allowed to grow without there being an uproar.  Sometimes change is allowed, though, as long as it's not for the better--that's what is so interesting about enmeshed families that are filled with addictions.  The addicts can just get sicker and more self-absorbed, and that seems to be fine with people who are "tolerant."

Same goes for enmeshed institutions. 

 Individuation and separation allow me to decide how much time I want to spend with people who have not taken inventory for a long, long time.  The older I get, the less inclined I am to make choices that put me in close proximity, for very long, with either the individuals or institutions that do not appreciate change.

Only problem is that life can be a little lonely sometimes, but never for long.  All I have to do is change the way I'm reaching out or relating to a variety of people that I already know, as well as to those I want to know better.  Or maybe to meet in the future.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 09/10/2008 7:40 AM CDT
Mon 09/08/2008
The Problem with Change
Topic: Making Changes

Just this morning, I was saying to a friend that change is important for healthy people.  We need to change our habits, our thinking, our beliefs, and even consider changing our feelings about a lot of things.  As we grow.  And as we age.

Taking a good inventory is important.  The more frequently we do it, the better.  Depending on how honest we are able to be with ourselves, change is going to happen somehow with almost every thorough inventory.  If our inventories are frequent, we are likely to make small changes without even noticing.  If we wait for years, thinking that change isn't necessary--like I've done at certain periods of my life--then making change is very hard.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:53 AM CDT
Sun 09/07/2008
A New Song
Topic: music

At our piano recital this year, one of my high school students is playing a rather complicated piece that he just composed.  It's awesome. 

While he composes new pieces, his younger brother listens and comes up with the titles.  This one is called "Distant Discoveries." 

Both the title and the music remind me of something I recently heard:  "In order to better predict the future, we need to invent it."  It helps to, anyway.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Fri 09/05/2008
Before You Start
Topic: Making Changes

It's quite possible that the only thing you need to do, in order to get what you want, is to stop doing the things that aren't working.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Thu 09/04/2008
Gandhi's Seven Social Sins
  • Politics without Principle

  • Wealth Without Work

  • Pleasure Without Conscience

  • Knowledge without Character

  • Commerce without Morality

  • Science without Humanity

  • Worship without Sacrifice

Those are the SEVEN SOCIAL SINS, according to Gandhi.   Each could be the title of a good book! 


The one that caught my eye this morning is "Knowledge without character."  It's closely aligned to the first:  "Politics without principle."  Both of these explain the hypocrisy that plagues all of us at times, as well as the hypocrisy of the institutions that promote much good, as well as cause much suffering. 


As individuals, we must be constantly examine our own lives.  Otherwise, we will become like those we may see as "the problem people."  For no matter how much knowledge we have, only by daily examining our own motives and actions, recognizing how quickly we can slip over the line and fail ourselves and others, can we build character and even hope to speak to the character issues of others.  Or to be effectively pro-active.


A few months ago, one of my readers contacted me for the first time.  She said that while she very much appreciated what I write in this blog and on the site, she sometimes has difficulty knowing who my audience is intended to be. 

"Wonderful!" is what I told her.   For I'd like to think that everything I say can be comprehended and incorporated into the lives of a very wide audience.   I want the choir to be huge in scope.   Certainly in an entry like today's!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 09/03/2008 6:32 AM CDT
Wed 09/03/2008
Begging to Differ with Gandhi
Topic: spirituality

In my own spiritual journey, I've found wisdom and comfort in the words of Gandhi.  I like much of what he says about many spiritual concepts.  Yet I'm not convinced he provides all of the answers (nor did he claim to), anymore than anyone else.  

For example, unlike Gandhi, I do not see God as ever being tyrannical, though I do see God as the most powerful spirit that moves among us to encourage persistent peace and love.  To see God as tyrannical, to me, would mean that God was the one who was supporting the physical wars of the Old Testament, even when the Israellites were on the offense and committing atrocities against their enemies--atrocities that they were convinced God had told them to commit!  While many fundamentalists see it that way, I ceased being a part of that thought back in college days.  The fundamentalists can blame my influential Christian professors back then in Oklahoma Baptist University, all men that many people eventually decided were heretics!

God, as I understand God to be now, stands firm on principles.  Allowing consequences, but not acting as a tyrant against those who do not choose to believe the Truth--Truth being the best definition of God, according to Gandhi.  On that point, as on many, many others that he has, I fully agree.   

Yet, when we step outside the bounds and try to become God or assume a characteristic that God would not--even for what we see as good causes--then WE become the tyrants.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 6:06 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 09/03/2008 6:42 AM CDT
Tue 09/02/2008
Private Matters
Topic: Power

Lots of discussion going on these days about what's supposed to private for people in power.  For me, it comes down to this:

When multiple personal matters show that an individual is likely to be over the top with stress from issues not related to the job, he or she is in no position to take on the responsibility of a powerful position that allows one to seriously effect the lives of many people, while having major stresses on the back burner.  One's health, one's family, one's personal lifestyle and habits--all of these together aren't entirely personal matters when they can ultimately effect the health and well-being of my family and many others. 

They are also not personal when one is "preaching" one set of values, such as Christianity, and showing symptoms of extreme hypocrisy.  Or showing that what one is so strictly teaching is not working.

You can take this as a political message if you wish.  It also applies to the church.  Character and morals and ethics and values do matter in both arenas.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:20 AM CDT

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