Bottoms Up
Off the Wall, March 31,

When you read the title of this column, you may think I’m going to talk about drinking. As that expression is used with the idea that when one holds a shot glass full of an alcoholic beverage, those indulging with lift their glasses from a bar and quickly raise them to mouths, open wide, and down the hatch the beverage flows.

But that is the farthest from the topic I wish to touch upon.

Today, I want to talk about reaching a conclusion by first stating negativity and then arriving at my final conclusion, which in every state of the mind is, of course, positive.

I was recently talking to Latrobe resident Harry Botselhoffer who very much opposed to my even mentioning anything negative in our conversations. He would always get annoyed at my approach in my trying to talk to him even stating something he felt was not in line with an absolute positive thought process.

But this is my idea. In my opinion, sometimes people can grasp my point better if they ‘enter through the back door to get to the front!’

Any declarative one uses employing the word, “Don’t,” should always be followed with something positive, such as, “Instead.”

“Don’t swear in public. You are offending me. Instead, couldn’t you please try to omit that language?”

“Please don’t chew bubble gum around me.” Follow the statement by saying, “If you could be so kind as to do it when I’m not present, I would appreciate it.”

“Hey Eric Husenbleedah, watching TV all day will dull your brain,” a negative statement. Follow it up with something positive, “Try reading, you’ll enjoy it!”

Young children learn to mimic their parents by first watching them and then trying to imitate their maneuvers so they can become more skilled during their maturation process. From learning how to walk to actually jumping rope with friends is starting from the bottom, so to speak, and advancing to something more complicated.

There is one Latrobe resident who periodically calls my home to complain about a number of issues. She is always worried about something and seems that she is not happy unless she dwells on the negative.

One such example is the empty stores in downtown Latrobe. “What are we going to do about that, Pee Vee?” would be one issue. Or, “Look at this drug problem we have here in town. What can we do, Pee Vee?”

In short, I told her, “Let go and let God.” I continued, “You wait and you will see an improvement in the years to come in downtown,” and second, “This is a national problem that we have to let the authorities deal with.”

That reminded me of scripture taken from Mark 4 when Jesus talked to a crowd in a parable about the sowing of seeds. He stated,

“Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Now, I could leave it at that, for that explains my bottoms up theory, but Jesus didn’t, so I won’t.

“The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no roots; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones that hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.”

Could it be that my approach is a good one?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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