People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".


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What's so heartbreaking about this situation, besides the photos of the thousands of people trying to flee the country, is that the people, especially women, who've had a taste of the freedoms they've historically been denied, have no idea what the future now holds.

I've always loved history and believe that you can't understand current situations and challenges without understanding the past. And Afghanistan is no exception. And while I'm definitely not an expert on that part of the world, I believe that it's critical to recognize that the country has always been a "tribal society" with allegiance to those tribes stronger than to any centralized government. That may explain why the British left after their "unsuccessful" war, as did the Soviets, and now us. In addition, although it's human nature to believe how you do things is the "right way" and everyone else is doing it "wrong" (that's how my Mom treats me about everything!), when it comes to countries and types of government, that doesn't mean you'll be able to force people to see it your way, or even if you do, that they're prepared to do it.


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I know that the politics and accusations about our involvement in the war, and now our exit, are another example of how divided our elected officials have become, and the media feeds on it. But, I am guessing, prior to the U.S. announcing we were leaving, our presence in Afghanistan wasn't something most people even thought about, let alone discussed. (I feel it is important that we acknowledge the brave men and women of the U. S. Armed Forces who displayed courage and commitment in fighting this war and sacrificed so much – and, for some, they made the ultimate sacrifice.)

And, I cannot help but wonder what the "backward plan" was for this war, if there even was one. The U.S. government was clear on why we started and what they wanted to accomplish, but did they ever really plan for how to exit? People know how to plan to accomplish something but rarely think about the "then what" … and it seems every President realized there was no clean way out, and seemed to just "kick the can down the road" and leave it for the next guy.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • What can you learn from history? Do you believe history repeats itself?
  • Do you think all countries should be democracies? Explain your answer. And what challenges might a country transitioning to a democracy face?
  • Should we honor our military regardless of what we think of any given situation? Why or why not?

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".

With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, there’s no getting around that we’re in the thick of what Red refers to as the “silly season”. And the funny thing is, although we wrote this Conversation Starter last year, we had an almost identical conversation again this year. Some things never change – like Red getting caught up in all the things on her “to do” list …


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I can't believe how quickly the holidays are flying by. On one hand, all I want to do is enjoy them as I love this time of year. But I can't because there always seems so much to do. And I'm afraid that if I don't do everything on my holiday "to do" list, I'll disappoint people, including me. You don't have this problem as you don't have kids and you live alone, plus others aren't looking to you to make the holidays festive and memorable.

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You seem to start with your "to-do" list, whereas I think about the significance of the holiday and what will make it meaningful and memorable. Yes, it is a more pragmatic approach, but it makes the planning so much easier. You know that I dislike the over-commercialization of holidays, but it does provide a reminder that it is important to let others know how much you appreciate them.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • What's most important to you during the holidays? Why?
  • Describe your "perfect" (yet realistic) holiday celebration. What it would take to make it come true?
  • If you celebrate with others, have you ever discussed what's important to them?

P.S. – Since this is being posted in the midst of the December holiday season (what Red refers to as the "silly season"), you might be interested in these recent posts:

    Every holiday season seems like Groundhog Day to me, so this year I was relieved to be able to re-read my post from last year as it reminded me that I face the same challenges every holiday season. I also couldn't help but laugh at myself, knowing that all I have to do is heed my own advice. And as is frequently the case … I can learn a lot when I talk to myself.

    It's official! The holiday "silly season" (as I call it) is now underway and before I know it, it will be New Year's Day and I'll be looking back and asking, "Where did December go?!" This year's holiday goals …

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    Design by Sawyer Pennington

    People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".


    red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

    I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year since it felt like Thanksgiving was canceled last year. OK, maybe not canceled, but streamlined since I couldn't invite anyone who didn't live with us. The dining room table seemed incomplete, especially as mom couldn't join us. It's funny because, over the years, I've always taken for granted that even as life changes, such as the girls growing up and going off to college, Thanksgiving would always bring us together. So, I'm not sure that I truly stopped and appreciated each Thanksgiving Day as I was so focused on everything I needed to get done. I might stop and think about something I was specifically thankful for, but I need to start appreciating the day itself. To try to "be present", so to speak, in the present.


    Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

    I know that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, but what you just described is gratitude. Gratitude is "deeper" than thankfulness, and the best way I can describe it is … think about when you might write a thank you note – someone gives you something or does something for you. It is a fleeting event. Now think about if you were to write someone a note or letter of appreciation.

    You have repeatedly told me that mere mortals often need reminders, so what if this Thanksgiving you start a "gratitude habit"? Make a daily appointment with yourself to find a few quiet moments and write down at least one thing for which you are grateful. It can be as simple as sunlight on your face or the crunch of an apple. You are probably rolling your eyes right now, but it will only take a few minutes and can change your life. Or, at least, how you look at it.

    THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

    • Why do some people not appreciate and give thanks for the positive things in their life?
    • If you begin to appreciate the value of appreciation (pun intended), what might you want to be mindful of going forward?
    • Do you think a "gratitude habit" might be useful? Would you be willing to "test-drive" (Black's words) one for a month and see if your opinion changes? Explain your answers.