Friday, September 1, 2017

The Dot

I saw this posted on Facebook and it struck me as truth. It went like this . . .

On the first day of class, a professor went to an overhead projector and placed a piece of white paper on it. The paper also had a black dot. The students were to write or speak about what it was they observed. No other explanation or direction. Just to write or speak about what it was they observed.

I would like you to stop reading this post and try it for yourself. I’ll wait . . .

You can either do this exercise yourself or ask someone else to speak or write about what they observe.

Chances are you speak more about The Dot. You draw parallels to this. You come up with what The Dot might represent. But all in all, there is very little conversation, very little comment on the white part of the sheet of paper. Almost none, if any.

Hmmm . . .

Human nature, I guess. The way our minds work. We tend to look more closely at the speck, the smallest portion of the white sheet of paper, The Dot. The Dot consumes our thoughts, our energy, and our time.

I’m heading into my 41st year in education and I say that proudly. There is no other profession I desire to be a part of. There are no other professionals I’d rather rub elbows with. I love the kids. I love the challenges. I love the goofiness of youth (and my own, I dare say). I also know I’m on the backside of that mountain and the thought saddens me. I don’t fear it, no, not really. It’s just that I love what I do and with whom I do it with.

At the end of each year, I evaluate portions of my staff. These evaluations are based upon observations, conversations, phone calls- you name it. And each year, the portion of my staff I am responsible for come to my office for our conversation. And it doesn’t matter how gently I word something. It doesn’t matter how many superlatives I pack into the evaluation. I recognize that those who visit with me at the end of the year are anxious, if not scared.

And I am no less anxious and no less scared, because each year for forty years, and one more at the end of this year, I will have an evaluation. And no matter how many superlatives (hopefully there will be one or two) my supervisor packs into my evaluation, my teachers who see me, and I with my supervisor, share the same feeling.

We will focus on The Dot. That one comment or two that is less than superlative, less than positive, something for each of us to work on. The Dot. The smallest part, the speck on the white sheet of paper, and that will be their . . . and my . . . focus as they, and I, get up to leave the end of year conversation. Always The Dot. Always.

 We focus our thoughts, our energy, and invest our time and perhaps pay a portion of our soul to The Dot, the smallest part, the most insignificant portion of our lives.

The wrong someone did to us. The real or imagined affront. The careless word. The thoughtless action.

Sometimes The Dot represents something we did or said, something we didn’t do or didn’t say long ago. Time has passed. There have been so many other positive memories. There have been so many wonderful people who have entered, and sometimes left, our lives. Yet, we spend an inordinate amount of time on The Dot of long ago . . . or recently ago . . . and fail to recognize that we are not that person we once were. And neither is that person who might have wronged us.

We fail to realize that each morning we receive a gift. The gift of a Do Over (a former post). And we fail to realize that each evening we receive another gift. The gift of Reflection where we can examine what we’ve done and how we did it and resolve to try again. To do better.

So perhaps, it is better to only glance at The Dot and spend more time on the whole other portion. To recognize that we have done good, that we’ve done well, that we will do good. And recognize that mistakes happen because we’re only human. It’s in our DNA. And, what is a mistake exactly, but an opportunity to pick ourselves up, to strive to do better next time, and smile while we do it. I’d rather that than stress, and worry, and be anxious. Really. I think we all might rather that. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am busy having fun with my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness, and I’m more than 59,000 words and 251 pages into it.

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If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.     

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.     

 Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all.     

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers.


  1. This is a most interesting observation. Something like the forest and the trees, isn't it. Think of all we miss in life when we are held prisoners within the dot! Thank you, Joe!

  2. Thank you, Dan. I think we do this more often than not. And yes, it is quite like the forest and the trees.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe