Here in the Midwest, we’re in the enduring a serious heat spell and drought. We’re not alone; much of America is experiencing significant drought conditions.
The prevailing color of the world around us is brown. The grass is brown, the parched, cracked, dusty earth is brown, and the dessicated creek beds are brown, too. When we do get rain, as we did on Sunday, it’s in the form of a violent gully-washer that comes down in torrents, bounces off ground baked rock-hard by 90-degree temperatures and bright sunshine, runs briskly off to the storm sewers, and leaves as quickly as it came. We’re way overdue for a long, soaking rain; the kind that replenishes the water table, lets the earth become moistened, and returns the blades of grass to some semblance of greenness.
The weather is the weather, but when familiar streams begin to run bone dry you start to anxiously scan the cloudless skies, listen carefully to the weather report, and consciously root for rain. At times like this, I’m glad I’m not a farmer and dependent on the fickle heavens for my livelihood.
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Generally speaking, Penny is a well-behaved dog. But sometimes, the ancient appetites are just too strong, and the animal urges will overpower even the most careful training.
Consider when you discover the enticing aroma of Cheerios in the kitchen, and see a cereal box invitingly perched near the edge of the counter. How could any dog resist? And once your head enters the box, and you taste the delectable, heart-healthy, crunchy oat goodness, of course you are going to thrust your head in ever deeper, so that each little O finds its way to your ravenous stomach.
And when you are done — not sated, perhaps, but done, because there is nothing left in the box — all there is to do is wait in cellophane silence for discovery, reprimand, and freedom, all the while savoring your succulent snack.
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Posted in America, Politics, Reflections, sports, tagged America, Enablers, Penn State, Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal, Politics, Reflections, sports, Substance Abuse on July 17, 2012 |
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Psychologists and substance abuse counselors often refer to “enablers” — those who, in a misguided attempt to help, enable addicts to continue their self-destructive behavior by making excuses for them or helping them dodge the consequences of their conduct.
Sometimes I wonder if America has become a land of enablers. How often do you hear people respond to news of failures by others by making excuses or attacking the person who delivers the news? Whether the fault lies with their children, their chosen political candidates, or the school or church they support, people are often much too willing to condone or cover up misdeeds. It’s as if the enabler’s identity becomes so wrapped up with the politician, or school, that they simply cannot accept the possibility of failure — and therefore the blame inevitably must lie elsewhere.
I thought of this when I saw the reaction of some Penn State fans to the recently released Freeh report on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Even though the report was commissioned by the University’s Board of Trustees and was based on hundreds of interviews and scrutiny of extensive documentary evidence by neutral third parties, many Penn State fans refuse to accept the magnitude and meaning of the enormous institutional problems spotlighted by the report. They dismiss the report as a hatchet job, with conclusions motivated by some elusive, lurking ulterior motive, or argue that the report’s conclusions are based on evidence that wouldn’t be admissible in a court of law. Aren’t such attempts to explain away the obvious just another example of enabling behavior?
As psychologists and substance abuse counselors will attest, enabling behavior doesn’t help the abuser — it just allows him to move farther and faster on that downward spiral. Far better to hold the person, or the institution, accountable for their failures and their misdeeds, and recognize that there is nothing wrong with blaming the blameworthy. We shouldn’t be so ready to go all in for the politician, or celebrity, or football coach, to the point where our reflexive willingness to make excuses begins to say more about us than it does about the struggling person whose conduct we are foolishly enabling.
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