Thank you for joining the Love Vlog! This episode investigates the modern assumption that “loving yourself” leads to more love of others. In fact, one wonders if “loving yourself” isn’t anything more than narcissism. But alas, it is just a thought…
Eight months have come and gone here in Guatemala, out in the mountains. Some things have changed, others not so much. Time here is different, allowing your thoughts to percolate and simmer until your left with some brilliant insights or the left over coffee grounds. Lets just say I’m leaning towards the coffee grounds side. I haven’t come up with any super brilliant ideas. I haven’t solved poverty (shocker). And I still can’t figure out how to hand wash my clothes in under an hour.
However, I have observed quite a few things that give me hope and infuse me with passion. I see Adolfo Torres wake up everyday before the sun rises to go work on his land. I see Benjamin building beautiful wooden benches. I run the trails of Moises’s ecotourism area. I don’t have to come up with brilliant ideas or solve poverty…the answers are in front of me every time I step out of the door.
And I suppose that if one idea has coalesced over the last eight months, it’s that my job here is to try and match the hardworking, industrious, and gorgeous work our Impresarios are putting in Every. Single. Day. My fears aren’t that we won’t change anything here, but rather that we won’t have equaled the passion the people here are already putting in.
Don’t worry about “Loving Your Job“. It’s not a thing.
Click the heart below to find out more
Thanks for signing up for our FTF blog
Click the heart below to watch “Being an Idiot Can Be Deadly“
Also, be sure to share with your friends. Add them to our vlog by adding their emails on our home page. They will get an email asking to confirm. We like people. Send them our way!
Support our work by clicking here!
Click on the heart below and watch episode #3 from…
So I recently had a surreal experience in the local community. A local woman had died and I was invited to the funeral (which is huge: people recognize us and feel comfortable with an outsider at a personal event). And so I went, morbidly curious and attempting to gain a deeper understanding of the culture. I arrived at the house where the body was being kept (embalming is not a thing here) and the plan was for the body to be carried from this house to another, then to the local chapel, before being finally taken to the grave. The men would be carrying the coffin the entire way as a sign of respect.
But, as so often happens in Guatemala, expectations don’t always meet reality and amidst the local mourners, children ran and played, and sitting in the center was the local drunk, thoroughly inebriated. I was shocked. My past taught me that funerals were a serious, somber affair that deserved the utmost respect. Certainly they’re not the place for laughing children and drunks… right? During the procession, while the women cried, the men chuckled at the stumbling and incoherent talk of the drunk man. It was accepted or tolerated or something. He was not forced away as I expected to happen at any moment. Eventually I moved him away from the pallbearers in fear that his stumbling would cause the coffin to be dropped.
Weeks after the event I still don’t know what to think. The contradictions baffle me. I thought I was well adjusted to this community and that I was close to a deeper understanding. Instead it served as a reminder to always be open to differences, to misunderstandings, and to the inexplicable. It also reinforces why FTF operates like it does: we are here as servants to gain insight and understanding. To be told how things work here, not be telling. This way, we might better help those that we serve.
Click the Heart Below to Watch the Video!
Love Vlog Monday: Love and Ligaments @ First Things Foundation YouTube Channel
Click the Heart to Watch the VLOG…
Every Monday, 8am @
I’ve been a teacher my whole adult life. I used to teach in the classroom, now I teach in the field. Of all the teaching moments that stand out, one stands out most. Back in the 90’s, after four years teaching in the Bronx, I realized something that would change my life. The teenage kids I worked with day in and day out never talked about love. Well, let me rephrase that. They talked about love all the time, if talking about sex is the same thing as talking about love. It was with one kid, a kid I’ll call Ralphie, that I came to realize that the one thing that my students needed to get right was the one thing they got wrong again and again. Not that they did wrong things. I mean, maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. You can judge that for yourselves. What they got wrong was this: They thought love was something purely personal. Ralphie thought that what he had for his girl was something only he could understand. The same went for his mother. He thought that the broken love between he and his mom something happening to him alone, something utterly unique, something like his very own fingerprint.
But of course, love is pretty much just the opposite. It is maybe the ONLY thing that we all have in common. In fact, it could be called, and has been called by many cultures from many epochs the source of humanity. The source of life. Love, as Tolstoy famously wrote, is “what all men live by.” And of course, he meant all women too. He meant all every-kinda-thing that dies.
Yet, for something so universal, my kids didn’t know a damn thing about it. Wait. I didn’t know a damn thing about it. And it struck me back then, in the Bronx, that no one in New York City knew a damn thing about it. And New York is really big. It was the most important conversation being had yet no one was actually having it. And as for us, the teachers, forget about it. None of us risked a teaching moment to delve into love. Sex talk was ubiquitous, love talk was like dirty underwear. What was going on?
Well, I’m not exactly sure what was going on, and what continues to go on, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I resolved to teach a class on the history of love. I’d call it The History of Love. But for many years no one was buying my History of Love 101 elective. Until Seacrest, a school down in Florida gave me a shot. And for eight years I taught this class, and for eight years I watched as the suburban kids pretty much thought about love as often and as confusingly as the kids in the Bronx. There was no difference. It was like we adults had hidden love in some plastic egg on Easter, and then jammed it in crawlspace under the furnace. About the only thing more toxic than teaching a course on love was teaching a course about religion. Kids were petrified, teachers bent over in fear.
Until they weren’t. Until they realized it was all they wanted to talk about.
And so it is that now, working as a teacher of a different sort, I’ve come to resurrect the notion of love in a VLOG. I just learned what a VLOG is by the way. I’m hip. Take a look at our new Love Vlog. It is an attempt to talk about the thing that we hope and pray animates FTF field workers, out there alongside the extreme poor. Doing it right is essential. We hope that love is the true metric of success. Furthermore, this VLOG is an attempt to get the conversation moving. We hope you like it. I hope you like it. I’m afraid of the crazy YouTube comments to come, but courage is the currency of the creative. So… let’s get rich and converse. Follow us at our YouTube channel here. Please like us if you like it. If you don’t, like us anyway. Is that even a thing? Is that allowed?
Peace to you. We don’t claim to have perfect answers on our Love Vlog. But we do claim that there is no more essential conversation than this one. It even beats out Trump tweets and CNN watch parties. It does. It must.