"LISTS TO LIVE BY"
PORTLAND, Ore. - Dr. Steve Stephens is a
psychologist, a Portland Christian radio show host, and author of two
books that caught my eye last week.
The first is called ''Lists To Live By: For
Everything That Really Matters.'' The lists were compiled from many
sources by Dr. Stephens, Alice Gray and John Van Diest. It did not sound
particularly compelling until I began to read the lists which I found
thoughtful and often profound.
For example, on the wall of a concentration
camp were found three sentences:
"I believe in the sun even when it does not shine.
"I believe in love even when it isn't
"I believe in God, even when he doesn't
St. Paul wrote to the Philippians that they
should let their minds dwell on these eight things:
''Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is
excellent, whatever is praiseworthy.''
Most of the lists are longer. Often I will
quote only an item or two from each to whet your appetite for more. For
example, Theodore Roosevelt wrote ''10 Reasons for Going to Church''
for ''Ladies Home Journal'' in 1917. He said church attendance
''the habit of feeling some responsibility for others and the sense of
braced moral strength which prevents a relaxation of one's own moral
Here are two of 20 questions you can use to
strike up a conversation with a child:
''What makes you laugh? Has there ever been a time when you were
proud of yourself?''
How can you stay young while growing old? Five
of 15 items:
"Applaud others. Exercise daily. Play with children. Take risks.
An unknown author offered 12 sure-fire ways to
raise delinquent children. The first:
"Begin from infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this
way, he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.''
Another unknown author suggested six wise
steps to successful communication, that can be remembered using the word
Look at the person speaking to you.
Don't change the subject.
Respond verbally and nonverbally.
At the end of the Civil War this prayer was
found folded up in the pocket of a Confederate soldier:
''I asked God for strength that I might achieve; I was made weak
that I might learn humbly to obey.''
''I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given
infirmity that I might do better things.
''I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty
that I might be wise.
"I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was
given weakness that I might feel the need for God.
''I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life
that I might enjoy all things.
''I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost
despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
"I am among men, most richly blessed.''
The Prevention Index lists 21 factors for a
long and healthy life. The most important:
''Not smoking. Not smoking in bed if you do smoke. Wearing your
Columnist Abigail Van Buren offers four ways
to grow old gracefully:
''Fear less; hope more. Eat less; chew more. Talk less; say more.
Hate less, love more.''
Mother Teresa asked to be delivered from 16
things, three of which are
''Deliver me...From the desire of being loved.
''From the desire of being extolled.
''From the desire of being honored.''
Dr. Stephen's other book, ''Understanding the
One You Love: 101 Questions to Strengthen Your Marriage,'' is similarly
succinctly written and very provocative. The slender paperback is
designed to help couples add spark to their times together. Each
question has a series of follow-up questions, which my wife and I used
fruitfully last weekend. Ask your spouse:
''What is romantic to you? The most romantic song, movie, place,
perfume, flower, book?
''What is the nicest thing I've ever said to you? What was your
"What was the nicest thing you've ever said to me? What motivated
you to say it?
''What have I done that has upset you the most? What have you done
to resolve it? What have I done to resolve it? What have you done that
has upset me the most?
This little volume added spice to our romantic
get-away weekend to the rose-laced Victoria, British Columbia.
Copyright 2000 Michael J. McManus.