Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


  Tall Poppy Basics Lesson 4: Charity

(I have had several people ask if men can be Tall Poppies. OF COURSE they can. I am simply using "she" because the majority of the readers here are women AND because men play by different rules (therefore making the occasional "she" Tall Poppy rule inapplicable to men.) But yes, any man who has ever found success in ANY field will tell you that male Tall Poppies, Short Poppies and Weeds are alive and well...)

Tall Poppy...

Is most comfortable when those around her are happy and at ease.

Learned long ago that "I’m sorry" is as magic as "Please". Tall Poppy understands the power of these three words and is not afraid to use them.

Understands that other people love talking about themselves and Tall Poppy gives them plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Is always willing to give credit where credit is due.

Never loses "the common touch".

Char-i-ta-ble adj. 1: full of love for and goodwill toward others 2: liberal in benefactions to the needy 3: merciful or kind in judging others:

When an elderly and widowed Duchess of Windsor was asked to reveal her secret to a long and happy life, she replied, "Fill what's empty, empty what's full, and scratch where it itches."

I find that the more patient and charitable I am toward others, the happier I am, as well. And I don't just mean giving the requisite "feel good" monetary contributions. No. I mean the THIRD definition of charitable up there. The one that says, "merciful or kind in judging others".

Do I make harsh judgements about others? Of course! Do I wish they saw things MY way? Of course! And I must say that being charitable is a full-time job! However, I know that I have been the benefactor of others' charity on numerous occasions and I know that what goes around REALLY DOES come around. The most difficult cases are those indominable Weeds. Bless their hearts. Whenever I see some pitiful soul who tries to raise their own stock by trashing others, that quote where Jesus prayed to his father on behalf of his persecutors, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" always comes to mind.

And then there are those perfectly nice people who are just SOOO misguided or ill-informed. Bless their little hearts, too. You feel sorry for them. You may discuss their faux pas with your closest friend. But ya' really DON'T have to parade them out in front of everyone.

Yesterday, we attended two inaugurals: First for our new county officials, and then for the state. I had my camera in my lap. And I have to tell you, it took TREMENDOUS restraint NOT to take a few pictures that I wanted to take--and then share with you. Yesterday was a veritable Mr. Blackwell Special Edition of what NOT to wear when your husband is being sworn into office. About a quarter of the wives (who hold the bibles for their husbands--AND are in the center of every press photo taken) looked great. The rest? Well, let's just say, it took all the charity I could muster not to parade them here--especially one wife who came to the swearing-in wearing a polyester pull-over sweater with polyester casual pants and what seemed to be her gardening shoes--complete with mud!

I would have, of course, only posted the pictures from the neck down. And you WOULD have been astounded. Truly. But I had a sudden flash of those little bracelets that were so popular with Christian kids a year or so ago that said,"WWJD?". And I decided that Jesus would have kept his camera in his lap.

So, yes, that's a VERY simplistic example of Charity in the Tall Poppy sense of the word. But acts of charity, more often than not, ARE simple. They are small things we do (or DO NOT do)EVERY DAY to set others at ease and help them feel better about themselves. You DON'T need to lie to people to make them feel better. As Girl From Florida said when commenting on yesterday's post, "I believe you have to be careful when *only* speaking positive words... when they are so lightly & easily given, they will become less valued and cherished. A fine balance is imperitive to maintain, which is why Tall Poppies are so unique and exquisite." And that balance comes in knowing that saying nothing at all is usually at least half the battle.

If you're working on #1 and #2 from yesterday's post, you're probably covering your bases with this one, too. But in addition, today let's read "If" by Rudyard Kipling. Twice. I discovered this poem when I was in 5th grade and it has inspired me ever since. And even as a child I was NEVER deterred by the fact that it said that if I became a good, charitable person I would become a man. So don't you be either....And have a FAB day! Ya' hear?

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