Over the last three weeks, we have proposed serendipity as an alternative to control, stewardship as an alternative to ownership, and "synergicity" as an alternative to independence. While we are all for control, ownership and independence as economic and political principles, we believe that when it comes to the personal spiritual standards by which we live and through which we view the world, serendipity, stewardship and synergicity are much better and produce greater happiness. They also make us better and more caring (and more inspired) parents. We call these three 11-letter "S" words the Three Alternatives to the Three Deceivers.

Today's short poem is an attempt to summarize the differences between living life by the three deceivers and living life by the three alternatives. Neither way is bad; it's just that we think one way is better than the other.


Living, Type A

Be proactive, be in charge, be self-confident,

Take control of your life.

Depend on yourself and go get the things you want.

Act, don't react.

Plan your work, then work your plan.

Only you can know what you want,

And only you can decide what your life will be.

Set your goals, make your plans and let no one change them

Or stand in your way.

Cultivate strength and knowledge,

For these are the differences between man and Maker.

View your life as a series of competitions that you hope to win,

And as an ongoing effort to prove yourself,

And rise above your rivals.

Understand that achievements are life's measure,

And wrap your identity in positions and possessions.

Acquire, Achieve, Accumulate, Accomplish, Attain!

Let the "W&P" phrases be your guide:

Work and Plan

Will and Purpose

Winning and Pride

Worry and Pursuit

Wealth and Power

Seek and develop your capacity for

CONTROL of circumstance and surrounding as well as self,

OWNERSHIP and obtaining the good things of this world,

INDEPENDENCE and being able to think and to act for yourself.

Living, Type B

Be spiritually active,

Seek guidance, be humble, turn your life over to God,

And depend on him.

Strive to understand his plan and seek his will,

For only he knows what is best for your eternal Soul.

Be aware of his nudges and impressions,

Notice the needs of those around you,

And try never to win at someone else's expense.

Cultivate awareness and perspective.

For these are the differences between man and Maker.

View your life as a series of opportunities to serve,

And an adventure in discovering

Who God wants you to be and what he wants you to do.

Understand that relationships are life's measure,

And wrap your identity in your family.

Model your life after a different set of W&P words:

Watch and Pray

Wander and Ponder

Wonder and Probe

Worship and Praise

Waken and Perceive

Wait and Procrastinate (selectively)

Width and Perspective

Wisdom and Peace

Seek and develop your capacity for

SERENDIPITY to see the blessings and opportunities that fill you and surround you,

STEWARDSHIP to be grateful for and generous with all you have been given,

SYNERGICITY to love being dependent on God and interdependent with all.

Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No.1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Their three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers."