Scene 13: “Paralapomenon”

Joe: “Paralapomenon (pah-rah-lah-POH-me-non) is a nice Greek word meaning “things left out” or “leftovers”. The day after Thanksgiving open the refrigerator and say, “What’s all this paralapomenon”.

So what’s left over in this website that we didn’t say?”

Joe: “I can hear it now: “But you are not married how can you tell us what to do?” This website is not about marriage, although it’s been reviewed by married couples. It’s definitely not about the workplace. It’s not about “The Seven Habits of Successful People”. In fact it’s limited in scope:

It’s about CONVERSATIONS, including conversations with the clerk at the check-out. If you want to apply it to your spouse or children I would say that’s a smart idea. In fact try it for six months and see what happens.

Steve: “And so this website is not about problems like alcoholism or adult children of alcoholics or any other major problems. You’ll have to go somewhere else for that. It’s about our conversations.

Joe: “A good friend of mine often reminds me: “Love happens in the trenches. It is bloody, draining, discouraging, painful. Often there is no time or opportunity for pretty “communication”. I agree with her first part totally. Jesus showed us that. But as for the second part “no time for pretty communication” hmmm… I once saw a married couple who were both blind and deaf. They were communicating by drawing letters in each other’s hands. And laughing. I thought to myself, “True love finds a way.”

“Communication (sharing your thoughts) is a very important component of love.”

I was always taken by the Greek myth of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche. Psyche is the goddess of the mind… of our thoughts. Through many trials she is at last joined to Cupid the god of love and they live happily ever after. Beloveds must share their thoughts with one another in order to have fulfilling love”

“Cupid Awakens Psyche” The Louvre, Paris

Patti: “There are different kinds of conversations: Breakfast conversations: quick, plans for the day…

“Lunch conversations: Getting caught up with the news. Sometimes some discussion of things and plans. Business lunches.

“Dinner and evening conversations: longer stories more acceptable. Conjecturing about the future.”

Krista: Pillow talk.”

Dave: “Conversation in hunting camps among the guys: matching stories… Football statistics… long funny stories.”

Joe: “Then there is debating. You never know when it is going to break out. And it’s fun. It is a favorite pastime of the French… “discuter”. They sit around usually in the evening in wine bars and someone brings up a topic and every one disputes… they debate. They find something wrong with what the other person is saying and they can go on all night contradicting and correcting the other person’s statements. And this is considered fun… and it it is. I do it all the time on Facebook.

But outside of this context, contradicting people can be very depressing. Say you’re just having an ordinary conversation at lunch and someone breaks in and says “You’re wrong”. It’s a little blow… one of your precious thoughts is being crushed. We need to learn not to contradict so much. It’s not our job to straighten everybody out. Even if the statement is wrong let it ride. Correcting it brings negativity into the conversation. If it’s not important… let it go.”

Patti: “Then there is texting. Texting is a form of conversation. I think everything we’ve covered in this workshop can be applied to texting too. For example, somebody sends you a picture on their phone. How will you respond back? How can you show enthusiasm over what someone texted to you?”

Dave: “There used to be telephone conversations. They’re outdated now. Now people prefer messenger chats or some other FaceTime calls.”

Krista: “Healthy conversations should be 50/50 like a badminton match. no one should do all the talking.”

Steve: “The opposite of negativity is not positivity. Being positive all the time is just as annoying as being negative. If your friend is moaning about something let him/her moan.”

Joe: “I started putting this workshop together quite a few years ago. Have things changed since then? Perhaps there is less sitting around the dinner table now than there was 40 years ago but what takes its place today is the sectional sofa. Today the whole family sits together on the sofa watching TV. I am very impressed with this. I never sat that close to my mother and father. This is bound to bring families closer together.”

“I am impressed with millennials and generation X and the upcoming Z-generation wherever I run into them. There is far less cynicism now than there was years ago. This means people are more authentic and forthcoming and this is always a good thing. And they don’t appreciate sarcasm. I am hoping that being cross and angry will soon be a thing of the past, too. I think it will… I don’t see as much of it.”

“I’m impressed with parents who have brought up teenagers to be free of drugs and even smoking. Having to be strict in order to accomplish this and at the same time not be insufferable is an accomplishment. Let us know how you do it.”

Steve: “Beware if you’re tempted to give advice. It is actually teaching. Teaching is a put down for the person being taught. If you must teach, realize it is a put down and apologize for doing it and keep it brief. This is true with children, too, especially with teenagers.”

Joe: “Ricky, we haven’t heard from you. You’re sixteen, right?”

Ricky: “Right.:

Joe: “Tell us what your parents told you when you turned fourteen.”

Ricky: “It wasn’t my parents… it was my mother. She told that my great grandparents, when they got to be fourteen, finished school and went out to work. My great grandmother worked in a shoe factory in Boston and my great grandfather went to work in the woods. That’s the way it was for thousands of years. So my mother told me it’s natural when you are fourteen to want to be independent. She said, “Your father and I will respect you but we are going to have certain rules. We’re going to forbid you to smoke, forbid you to drink and control your behavior in other ways. You aren’t going to like it but In the end you will be very, very grateful. We will try to find different ways to give you happy experiences and opportunities to get you ready for independence.” Then Mom and I had a tete a tete.”

Joe: “Thanks for sharing that, Rickey.”

David: “If you pride yourself on being logical and you resent your spouse’s emotionalism… beware. (Both are necessary.)”

Patti: “If you notice that you are nicer with strangers than you are at home,.. beware.”

Krista: “Even one angry outburst can damage a relationship. You can survive but It will not be as lovely as it was before.” George Reedy

Gainsborough: “You guys must live on another planet.”

Dave: “Some people follow rules too precisely. Rigidity is a habit of controllers.”

Krista: “Even though negativity may be a small part of our total character it is the part that affects people in a big way.”

Joe: “Soap Operas and TV dramas are deliberately filled with conflict to make them interesting. And the way the actors deal with conflict is by telling someone off in an angry speech and then storming out. And for this they win oscars. But behavior like this is extremely childish and destructive.”

Steve: “When someone offers you something or invites you to something and you refuse, remember this is a blow to one of their ideas. Try to accept invitations (and gifts) and if you must refuse apologize.”

Krista: “We all have a deep seated desire to share our thoughts with someone else and we will do so when our communications are met with a nurturing response.”

Dave: “And if we are bringing up children remember Longfellow’s quote: “And a voice of a Lapland song… I hear it in memory still… A boy’s (girl’s) will is the wind’s will… And THE THOUGHTS OF YOUTH ARE LONG, LONG THOUGHTS.” Find time to enjoy your children’s thoughts; this is what grandparents do.”

Patti: “After years of being attacked or contradicted or ignored by someone, we do not enjoy being in that person’s company.”

Steve: “We’ve all been taught to respect one another. What does that mean??? Respect what??? Our hands??? Our face??? No. Our thoughts… our precious thoughts.”

Joe: “Now that we have explored all the issues what is this website all about?”

“It’s about something pretty awesome: that mankind has evolved to the point where we can think fantastic thoughts, compared to jewels in their preciousness. And it’s about a call to all of us to treat people’s thoughts with the respect they deserve.”

“When all is said and done if we just remember two things about this website we can change the world: (1) people’s thoughts are precious jewels to them and should be treated respectfully. (2) When people share their thoughts it is nice to respond to them with enthusiasm. (3) Well there’s a third: when you get up in the morning be determined as much as possible to let people be.”

Turn to Scene 14: “To the Promised Land”