Monday, April 26, 2010


During the week I have had conversations with friends about the technological gadgets our children have and how they are altering the quality of their experiences. One friend felt that her adult son will not know the joys of just traveling and enjoying the beauty of a vacation with all that it offers without being “connected” to some mobile device.

Their lives, being filled with all things digital (buzzes, ring tones, access 24/7), means that they are never likely to vacation without the devices and that they are ALWAYS ON to the beck and call of another. Further, they will pay a price for that. This is not exclusive to youth. It affects adults as well.

I realize that I cannot go to a public business luncheon or dinner event without someone plopping down a wad of keys, handbag, wallet, purse, or mobile phone on a lovely table set with linens, china, silver, glassware, and food. These are the new table accessories that most of us have to put up with during the meal by people who never realize how they detract from the aesthetics the host carefully planned for the enjoyment of all, or how they contribute to the unsanitary spread of germs. I dare to think of all the surfaces those items have touched that sit next to my food, silverware, and serving utensils. It is rude.

To sit with someone at a meal who has his/her smart phone on – buzzing away and frequently messaging above or under the table while he/she drops out of conversation with others, signifies to everyone at the table that they do not count to this person. It is a distraction to look at someone doing this while you try to maintain a conversation with others at the table above the drone of vibrating sounds or while you notice disinterest in what is being said.  It is a distraction to have a dinner guest in your home being buzzed every two minutes while you and your dinner guests watch him/her look to see who sent the message and each time re-adjust the gadget on your dinner table. It is annoying to see a person at a meal or gathering with a blue tooth in his/her ear, or an iPod earbud. It is out of hand. It is intrusive and just plain rude.

Brendan Greeley likened it to cheating: cheating on one’s work, cheating on one’s spouse; cheating on one’s home; and cheating on one’s kids.

We have heard countless people say of their smart handheld devices, “I can’t live without it.” I wonder, is this the new idolatry - to give technology this kind of power or have it signify our apparent importance in the face of others?

To see something that man created rule his Life with such intensity and to be given dominion over that Life, makes me wonder just that. What is the head and who is the tail when an object is elevated to that much power in one’s daily Life?

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010



On numerous occasions I have had the opportunity to talk to groups of graduating students. It is a wonderful time for them when they are in their senior year of study with all of the anticipation of what success will bring. It can be a scary time, too: Friendships will be taking on a new dynamic. Some will fade and some may stand the test of time.

Yet, for those facing the prospect of finding a job, it might be scarier. Recently, I heard a soon-to-be graduate, who will have an advanced degree from a professional school, remark that he/she did not go to school to end up with the same salary he/she had before starting school. If Life could be that simple! We are not entitled to employment or to a particular salary. We are not entitled to employment in our field of study.

We would like to think that earnest study will pay off with our dreams fulfilled. However, God has the plans for how He wants to use us. Sometimes, that fits our pictures and sometimes it doesn’t. The process of Life’s journey may have twists and turns in the road but we are always where we need to be for the lessons we are to learn and for the talents we are to acquire to be in position for what God plans for later on.

This is why I tell young people to put God first in one’s Life and to be attuned to the guidance He gives. Rather than seeking money first and foremost, do what you love and let the money follow. Doing what you love is where your heart is and that is likely to be aligned with your purpose for Being rather than the purpose of solely securing money.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming big and going for what you want in Life, but, the prayer should be, “God, if it is Your will.” It just might be that the success you dream comes after a few detours and later on in time.

© Dr. Ethel Drayton-Craig, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I recently attended an event highlighting the accomplishments of some young people and it was interesting to see their projects. Yet, none of them was in attendance for their event. I said to the instructor, “They don’t get who they really are. They don’t realize their significance.”

A sense of personal significance is what has you show up – ready, willing and able. It is what has you make a difference in the Life of someone else, and it is what motivates the desire to pursue excellence. A sense of personal significance is a key ingredient for success. It is also a necessary component to successful relationships.

When you do not think that you matter in a situation, it is easy to turn back, be absent, or not interact in a meaningful way with others. When you do not fully embrace your significance there is room to not give your opinion, not respond to others (like return phone calls, respond to mail and emails) and essentially you allow yourself to think that things don’t matter that pertain to you when others are involved.

There are a myriad of ways we can begin to build a greater sense of self-worth, or personal significance. It can start at home with yourself and how you treat yourself.

This past year has been a remarkable journey. As I found myself moving towards something new, I also began to assess the things around me. In the fall, I came across two Still Life pastels I created about 18 years ago. I thought they looked nice then, but I never did anything with them. Sometimes, I would have them out on a dresser or display shelf. Most of the time, they were in a plastic bag shuffled from space to space.

I looked at these two works of art of my creation with new eyes of appreciation last fall and decided that they were expressions of me at a key time in my Life and they were finally going to get their due. I took them to the craft shop and spent two hours playing around with frames and mats. I finally placed my order. It was an extra treat to hear the framer praise my work and inquire if they were for sale and if I show at galleries. No, they were just for me: after 18 years, owning my significance to create and have it be valuable to me, at last.

Where can you own a greater sense of your personal significance?

© Dr. Ethel Drayton-Craig, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Easter weekend has been inspiring, beginning with Friday. I went to a Good Friday service for the first time in my Life and stayed the three hours for the half hour segments that started at noon. I wanted to do this as part of my devotion this Lent to focus on prayer, meditation, and my work.

In the evening, I went to the First Friday merchant event in Bethlehem and visited the Banana Factory exhibit of Charles Stonewall’s photo documentary project for kids at risk. They produced INCREDIBLE bound books of their photographs with covers that they created. AWESOME talent. Then I visited two other gallery openings there and met many friends.

Later, I met loads of other acquaintances in the street. At First Fridays, hundreds of people walk the strip and it creates a Greenwich Village atmosphere for this artsy “left bank” type of section of Bethlehem. With the weather in the high 70’s, the world was out. I even bumped into someone who I reconnected with on LinkedIn this week that used to live here and is now in Massachusetts – and was here visiting this weekend! We hugged and kissed like old home week. The merchants know me, so it can be lively. They provide wine, cheese, punch, and cookies so that crowds come in to visit, talk, shop, and listen to musical artists.

Saturday was gorgeous and the love in the air had loads of grown adults stopping or slowing down in their cars to honk and wave to the Easter Bunny on the corner of a 4-lane intersection. The Bunny was waving to us as it stood next to a sign for the Easter flowers at the nearby nursery. I honked from the other side of the street and waved just before I made my turn. I honked and waved coming back. The number of fun loving adults honking was amazing. We see the Easter Bunny and we remember chocolate! Gotta honk.

Of course Easter service was auspicious with an inspiring message. Later, my walk in the park winding with the river full of wading fishermen, and the blowing chartreuse weeping willow trees in bloom created a picture postcard memory. Yet, nothing tops that better than a feast with friends for Easter dinner.

It was a beautiful weekend. May the promise of the season magnify in your Life this week.

© Dr. Ethel Drayton-Craig