The Seed Bag, painting by Patsy Thyssen  
 


THE SEED BAG



Compiled by Allen Thyssen

Dedicated to the Students of NationsUniversity & beyond
"May you learn from both my successes and my failures."

 

Forward
It is a worthy adventure to bridge the past and discover practical truths lived by those who blazed the trail of life ahead of us.

"Seeds for Growing the Life You Really Want" can become a fast track to a surer life foundation. We will all make plenty of errors along the way, but perhaps this will help the reader to travel further in less time and with less stress than will the 'lone ranger' who refuses to learn from others' successes and mistakes (or their own).

Where my personal actions fall short of my own words, I will entrust the conflict to the reader's merciful judgment.

A life is grown. It does not just happen or appear over night.


Prologue
A life is grown. It does not just happen or appear over night.

Each of our lives is like a garden. They require thoughtful preparation and tilling before the seeds are planted. A garden must also be tended as the seeds sprout and while they produce the intended fruit.

Poor native soil and poor initial preparation can be compensated for; but that will be more difficult than preparing the soil correctly the first time. In life's words, it is easier to form a habit than to change one!

 


Section 1. Seeds From a Life Coach

  • The Wisdom of Age
  • Wisdom Sayings
  • Seven Habits
  • 12 Teen Assets
  • The Shopping Cart

 

The Wisdom of Age
"The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person." Andy Rooney

Senior citizens have learned that much of what is good in the world is worth orienting their lives around.

1. Hearing the melody in music.
2. Taking pride in one's appearance.
3. Love that never looses the spark of romance.
4. Parenthood that always includes responsibility.
5. Family that includes togetherness.
6. Education that includes learning.
7. Patriotism and service go hand in hand.
8. Rulers must live by the Golden Rule, too.
9. Civility is a part of worthy behavior.
10. Refinement is a part of language.
11. Ambition comes before achievement.
12. Everyone deserves to be greeted with a smile.

 

Wisdom Sayings

Hang around with people who give you energy, not those who drain you of it.
Trust that you are not alone. You're not.

The natural progression of life grows one from a position of 'dependence' (childhood) through a position of 'independence' (John Wayne character) to one of mature 'interdependence'. Interdependence is the most valuable of the three.

The 'world' is continually sending us signals. If we ignore the signals they become issues; if we ignore the issues they become problems; if we ignore the problems they become crises. Thus, we create many of our own crises. By continuously responding to the signals, one can prevent a life filled with crises. You can have an essentially crisis-free life. Establishing self-protective boundaries is the first step.

Before you create a future, resolve the past and perfect the present. It is ok to start where you are today.
Remember the past, plan for the future, but LIVE in the present.

Honor your parents by learning from both their successes and their mistakes. But don't over react.

You will accomplish more, with more ease if you take the time to first strengthen your personal foundation:

  • Come to terms with past pain and wounds.
  • A life which is based fully on integrity.
  • Needs which have been identified and fully met.
  • Personal boundaries between you and others that are ample and automatic
  • Biblical standards which bring out your best.
  • An absence of 'tolerations'.
  • Choosing to come from a positive place.
  • A family which nurtures you.
  • A community which develops you.
  • A life fully oriented around your true …(Christ based) values.

If you want to succeed, invest 10% of your time to make the most of the other 90%

Life's choices come with both duties and responsibilities. Learning how to choose well and take responsibility for the choices we make is an essential skill that few of us were taught.

Choices (i.e. decisions) are best made by focusing more on what you don't know than on what you do know. Work to reduce the chances that something important has been overlooked. When your vision is clear enough, so to, will be the path…and the solutions.

Your problems are sometimes thrust upon you, but they are yours.
Life becomes simple when you put your integrity first, your needs second, and your wants third.

Set goals based on your values, not on wants or shoulds. Clarify your values…and their source. Is there a better source?

"A crisis does not make us men, but it shows us what kind of men we are." Thomas Jefferson

Enormous discipline is required to control extraordinary appetites. A willingness to seek and accept appropriate external support in this matter will improve one's quality of life.

Relationships are more important than rights.

In addition to a garden, one's life is also like a ship.

If you prevent barnacles (otherwise called 'tolerations') from growing, you will reduce the friction on your hull and traverse life's ocean more smoothly. What 'barnacles' are slowing you down? Pausing at a dry dock from time to time to scrape them off is good preventive maintenance. Remember to recalibrate your 'compass' as well. How do you define 'true north'? What brand of compass do you use? How does the Bible fit in here?

Who I was is less important than who I have become and am becoming (reflect on "transformation").

Quality of life is largely determined by the balance of ones' appetites and one's discipline, especially in the areas of what we eat and drink, how we rest and exercise, and what we think and say.

A family is for nurturing. A community is for creating. Have both.

The Christian church exists for a reason. It is both a family and a community. Respect it. Grow in it.

You never build yourself up by tearing someone else down.

Your environment needs you to educate it.

People are more important than possessions.
Relationships are more important than rights.
Being kind is more important than being right.
Who you are is more important than what you do.

The gift you have to share with others is worth reorienting your life around. What is your gift?

The easiest way to grow as a person is to surround our selves with people smarter than we are.
One cannot perform at a higher level than the people with whom he surrounds himself over time.

Just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day…and vice versa.

No matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

To ignore the facts does not change the facts.

Rapid change is here to stay. A 'reserve' of everything helps manage it.

Seven Habits

There is a lot of value to making Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People YOUR habits.

1. Be Proactive. (Get ahead of the ball.)
2. Begin with the End in Mind. (Get focused and stay focused.)
3. Put First Things First. (Balance the 'important' with the 'urgent'.)
4. Think Win/Win. (It is possible.)
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. (Listen for more than you listen to. Listen. Listen.
Listen.)
6. Synergize. (Network both skills and people. 1 + 1 = 3)
7. Sharpen the Saw. (Never stop learning.)

12 Teen Assets

1. A solid nuclear family. Caring interaction with one's parents and siblings, especially if they function within a Christian family life model.
2. A caring spiritual (church) family. Positive peer support and modeling comes out later in positive ways.
3. Parental support. Teens talk with their parents and know that they are heard. They know their neighbors, and know that their neighbors and community care about them.
4. Empowerment. They see themselves as valued by the people and community around them. They see themselves as able to have an effect.
5. Contribution. They spend an hour or more every week contributing to their community in one way or another.
6. Boundaries and expectations. Both at school and at home there are clear rules and consequences. The adults around them model positive, responsible behavior and convey that this is expected of the teens, also.
7. Constructive use of time. They spend three or more hours a week in music or other arts lessons or similar activities, and fewer than two nights a week "hanging out" or doing nothing.
8. Commitment to learning. They are motivated to do well in school and read for pleasure more than three hours a week.
9. Positive values. They are concerned about social issues such as equality, hunger, and poverty. They are not involved with drugs or alcohol and are not prematurely sexually active.
10. Social competencies. They know how to make plans and choices, how to relate to others, and how to resolve conflict without violence.
11. Positive identity. They have high self-esteem. (This is not the same thing as arrogance, which is often a cover-up for low self-esteem.)
12. Purpose. They report that they believe their lives have purpose.

P.S. When properly presented, the teen's church connection facilitates a spiritual underpinning that instills the conviction that there is a purpose to the teen's life. If one's purpose is not spiritually driven, it might come from anywhere and that is a risk not worth taking.

The Shopping Cart

1. Don't answer the telephone, emails or text during dinner.
2. Express love every day. It will always come back to you.
3. Laugh more often.
4. Eat only when hungry.
5. If it is not delicious, don't eat it.
6. Surrender expectations.
7. Exchange security for serenity.
8. Shift from being 'happy' to being 'joyful'.
9. Search for your authentic self until you find him or her.
10. If you don't love it, live without it.
11. You cannot relate to another's pain any deeper than you have to your own.
12. Water the seeds, not the weeds.