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Good morning, I refer to this picture this morning. 

 its not a challenge, that I ask are you red or white. But I am sure that the red tulip means something to you.  For me it’s standing for what you believe, not being mowed over by the masses. Or does the red tulip look odd to you? I believe there are many ways to interpret this picture,  and I am sure you will get out of it what ever is right for you.

I have never been a follower, although I have been a person that has said what I think people want to hear from time to time. You learn as life continues that it’s more important to listen than it is to voice your opinions. Listening I think is one of the hardest things to do, and listening to the words as opposed to listening to give a reply. Does that make sense.

  For the rest of my life I will endeavour to listen to understand, I really had to kick myself when I read this yesterday. As I try to improve who I am everyday I live, I try to be better today than I was yesterday.  But have I always pushed my opinion on someone by listening to reply. Or do I put myself in someone else’s shoes, and see what it’s like to be in that position that person speaks of.  We all want to be liked, but I never want to be liked for saying what someone wants to hear rather to be myself without imposing myself on someone. To be pleasant whilst maintaining my own principles. 
When Jesus taught his disciples, he did it in stories he called parables, he made comparasums to their then everyday life. It was then up to the listener to draw what they needed from Jesus teachings. I have seen many leaders try to impose their opinions on people. Listening to understand I don’t hear much of, this does not have to be in the spiritual sense it can be as parents. Hearing what children’s ideas are is as important, as what our own opinions are. I remember a person listening to her sons idea of building a rocket, they built one out of a carboard box and crayons. His vision was a make believe rocket, and it was made to come alive by good listening skills. 

  What you were does not suggest who you will be. You decide every day, it’s your choice to make every morning. What you were does not define who you will be today, what yesterday does is give us more knowledge of what we were so we can be better today. Today should always be better than yesterday, unless of course we are drifting. Hey it’s your life to achieve in. It’s your life to do what you like with, I myself will always stand for what I believe. However listening to understand it a skill I want to hown today, as opposed to listening to impose my opinion. We all have our own opinions and not everyone wants to change or indeed is ready for change. 

But I will listen more from now on whilst standing tall. What will you do?

Mark  

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