A Teachable Moment With A Meaningful Message

I confess that for the past five months I have been so busy with my recent barbershop harmony hobby that I have not found the necessary time to create an entry in my blog. As a reader you are probably wondering … “So what events came into play today, which motivated you to write this blog post, when your commitments elsewhere have not decreased?”

Thinking child

Today my sister sent me the following email which I found extremely thought-provoking. Regardless of who is credited with creating this message, the concepts and ideas contained within are indeed profound.

Subject: READ SLOWLY : A GEM of A Reading
This is a master piece.  If you have not read it take the time to read it now.  If you have read it take time to read it again!

GEORGE CARLIN  (His wife recently died….)

Isn’t it amazing that George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent…and so very appropriate.

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. An embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don’t send this to other people….Who cares?

George Carlin

A Teachable Moment
After reading this thought-provoking message, I knew I had to share it with others through a blog post. However, as an educator who insisted that it is important to validate information, I decided to search the Internet to learn more about what prompted George Carlin to create this unique and thoughtful paradox. I searched Google for “George Carlin paradox of our time” and was rewarded with feedback from the following two resources:

  • TruthorFiction.com which claims to be a “a non-partisan website where Internet users can quickly and easily get information about eRumors, warnings, offers, requests for help, myths, hoaxes, virus warnings, and humorous or inspirational stories that are circulated by email”.
  • Snopes which bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation”.

Although I was not familiar with the “Truth or Fiction” web site, I was quite aware of the Snopes resource which I have used for several years to validate many of the email claims that were sent to me such as the American Cancer Society Hoax, Retirement Homes versus Living on a Cruise Ship, or various Phishing Scams.

The “Truth or Fiction” web site provided a background summary on this paradox of life message suggesting that this “eRumor” has been attributed to both George Carlin as well as a student survivor of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.

This web site actually traced the author of this “paradox of life” message to Dr. Moorehead, the former pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Washington who wrote it in 1990 and later published it in his book “Words Aptly Spoken” in 1995.

I always suggested that researchers validate claims by finding a minimum of two or three sources. The Snopes site confirmed that Dr. Moorehead was, indeed, the author of this “paradox of life” and not George Carlin.

So in summary, George Carlin did not create this profound and though-provoking message. Rather, Dr. Moorehead did and I’m glad it was passed along to me so that I could share it with you, the reader.

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

– Flickr – Creative Commons image “Think …” by Maria

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