Variety: The Source of Creativity

I truly believe that a variety of activities and interests keep one’s mind active and productive. If that is so, my recent and current activities should keep my brain from ossifying. To wit: (I have always wanted to say that!)

Last week I attended a great conference   in New Orleans, sponsored by Public Health Law Research. The conference was well-organized by a very helpful staff of professionals from Temple University. I am amazed at how much a good, stimulating conference with can recharge one’s intellectual batteries. As Hedley Lamarr said in Blazing Saddles, “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” I’m sure the students in my Public Health Law and Policy class at the University of Kansas School of Medicine will benefit.

Speaking of waterfalls of creative alternatives, Last night was a Laughing Matters workshop. We are preparing for our annual Valentine’s Day show. If you can get to Topeka on January 10 or 11 you really should make an attempt to be there.

Just finished helping the Northeast Kansas Muliticounty Health Department develop a visioning story. And speaking of stories, Laugh2Learn is about ready to roll out a new product to help employees develop and present stories about their products.

I’m quite sure I have enough things to do that I can put off cleaning my office a bit longer.

MLK Reflections

As I think today about Dr. King and what he stood for, I’m reminded of a lecture I heard many years ago about inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes.

Suppose I said, “I was tired when I got back from my vacation.” This is a comment about my being tired. But suppose I said, “I was tired when I got back from my European vacation.” Now the emphasis is on going to Europe.

Now consider the following:

  • “I consulted a lady doctor about my condition.”
  • “The ruling was made by a woman judge.”
  • “This black guy ran a red light.”

In all these cases the emphasis is on the adjective, making it the most important part of the statement. We are suggesting that it is significant that a woman can be a physician or a judge. In the last case, why is it significant that the person who ran the light was black?

I suggest we honor Dr. King and his quest for equality for all humankind by becoming aware of how our language can reinforce stereotypes.

Speaking of Dr. King, if you haven’t done so, you should really read “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.”

I have put a copy below for your convenience.

Letter_Birmingham_Jail[1]