10 March, 2022

My Contribution to the Speak Easy Gavel Club's March Newsletter

The Speak Easy Gavel Club used to have a newsletter. During my brief turn as interim Vice President Public Relations in 2021, I resurrected the years-dead practice. (The VP PR is responsible for maintaining the club's website, but since ours is a prison-based club and lacking Web access, I figured a newsletter to be the next best thing.) Every month now offers helpful or informative excerpts from Toastmasters International, a member spotlight, a vocabulary-building Word of the Month, and articles on the monthly theme, written by club members.

I'm pleased to say that our newsletter just entered its second volume and is flourishing. Not only does our membership eagerly await new issues, we've been given ongoing permission by the administration to display current issues in a rack of pamphlets in the institution's programs/chapel hallway. Anyone can pick one up and enjoy the nuggets of wisdom within. That, and they'll get an idea of what Gavel Club's about.

When the new Vice President Public Relations asked me to contribute a piece on "growth" for the March issue, I enthusiastically said yes. I figure that it has a broad enough applicability to share with you, so here it is.

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The Astonishing Availability of Growth Opportunities
By Byron Case, Vice President Education

This month's theme for our club is growth, the enlarging of our being. Growth means building on everything we've learned in the past and allowing ourselves to be shaped anew in every moment. Growth means changing to be more than we were. Every day – every moment – is a fresh opportunity for it.

But change can be scary. We get stuck in a mode of thinking that we have to be a certain way just because that's who we are. There's an old saying, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." By doing the same-old, same-old, we'll stay exactly as we are. That's the very definition of stagnation.

Think of a bucket of water. When water sits for a long time without moving, all sorts of things end up in it – leaves, dirt, bugs, algae. After a while, it'll even start to smell bad. Now think of a river. Even though the river gets all that stuff in it too, it stays much cleaner. The difference is that the river is constantly refreshed. It's constantly flowing, fed by freshwater from upstream. The river exists in a state of continual change.

Of course, people aren't rivers. We can't always pour fresh experiences into ourselves and be renewed. We have responsibilities that stick us in routines; there are habits that we let ourselves get stuck in. But even though our day-to-day lives might be lacking in variety, we can still open ourselves up to new perspectives and ways of thinking.

Try reading a book about something you aren't especially interested in the library's full – and occasionally open! Learn a new skill; there are teachers all around you. Have a conversation with someone you might disagree with, and listen without debating or arguing.

There are countless means for growth available to us. We just have to be open to them, every day, every moment.

1 comment:

  1. Love this piece.♥ I'm gonna try reading a book I've been putting off for a while now.


Byron does not have Internet access. Pariahblog.com posts are sent from his cell by way of a secure service especially for prisoners' use. We do read him your comments, however, and he enjoys hearing your thoughts very much.