Stimulating short stories in support of communication mastery

Updated/corrections/edits 2/7/18 (Viewing tip: Resize this window so that each line has about 10 - 12 words.)

The Homework Story   The Suicide Hotline Story
The Copier Story   To Cause or Not to Cause—a story
The General's Story   The Zen Master Bird-Poop Story
The Playground Story   Parole—The First 24-hrs—a story
The Carp Pond Story   Military Academy Scandals—a story
The Water Pump Story   Integrity of The House—a story
Conspiracy for Mediocrity   First Contact—acknowledgment—a story
king,kerrith—a story    

Permission to copy/publish/reprint these stories is always granted via Contact Us (no fee) with the following acknowledgment, "Contributed by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King" or ". . . by Community Communications."


The Homework Story —could also be titled, "Homework: Assigning vs. Communicating."

This story goes back to 1973 when I was teaching speech-communication part-time on the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii. Students reported on their Instructor Evaluation Form that they thought they learned more with me than with other faculty members. It was also a time of awesome struggle in my second marriage; coincidentally, the Sp-Com Professors were communicating much the same as my ex and I. The faculty members were bad-mouthing and making each other wrong about combining the Speech and Communication Departments. Most disconcerting was the fact that although my students said they learned a lot from me I knew that they were still withholding energy-sapping thoughts and childhood perpetrations (deceits, lies, & abuses) from their parents at the end of my course. [The majority of parents train their children to deceive them evidenced by the fact that most dating teens con each other into deceiving both sets of parents so as to have sex.] —in truth, my students mirrored me and my ex and the faculty.

Whatever we were teaching, thought I, it sure wasn't communication. I had just completed Werner Erhard's est Training and his Communication Workshop for Educators so I knew what was possible. I left the university and started my ten-person support groups as a Leadership-Relationship Communication-Skills Consultant/Coach. Since then I've had thousands of clients, the vast majority through referrals—with no paid advertising.

Although the interim stories are interesting The Homework Story takes place in 1987, 14-years later, with me moving to the Big Island of Hawaii and another part-time teaching position, this time on the Hilo campus of the University of Hawaii. Once again my subject is, "Introduction to Speech-Communication."

I was excited about the opportunity. I had just spent fifteen years working with some of the most prominent business persons on Oahu (multi-cultural to the max). I had thousands of first-person experiences about the communication skills needed to succeed in the cultural melting-pot of the Pacific Basin. I knew I'd be able to do an excellent job. I knew from personal experience that effective leaders, myself included, need constant daily support in telling the truth (honoring their word—keeping agreements), creating agreements that work, and restoring and maintaining their integrity (verbally acknowledging procrastinations and perpetrations, especially verbal and non-verbal abuses).

It's my first day. I have a fresh haircut, an ironed aloha shirt, and word-processed outlines. I'm cool and ready to go. The 22 students are great. We have fun introducing ourselves, getting to know each other; communication courses are like that. I'm on schedule with my 50-minute class and I've left a generous 5 minutes to assign the homework. They leave in good spirits and my next identical class comes in. I'm on a roll. Like the others they are mostly freshman from the Big Island of Hawaii's high schools. We have a fun time with lots of laughs (I enjoy the lyrical humor of pigeon English). As with the first class we co-create the Class Agreements and I assign the identical homework (read the first chapter). As always, I end classes exactly on time.

It's day two: After about five minutes of scheduled small talk, so as to create some space for communication to take place, I have them form into small discussion groups and share what they got from the reading assignment. I immediately noticed that the majority had not read the first chapter. And, none had raised their hand (per a class agreement) to say so. H'm, I could have sworn I communicated. Well, it's my responsibility. I had lapsed into doing my imitation of communication; obviously, I had not communicated that I meant for them to do the homework. So, I modified my outline, cut short the discussion groups, and allowed myself 10 minutes to assign the homework. This time I made certain they got that I meant it. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Class Agreements, one of which was to do the homework. They left in great spirits.

As soon as the second class was seated I asked, "Raise your hand if you did the homework?" One third raised their hands. I acknowledged those that did and those that didn't. For the remainder of the class I had them do small-group work on a subject I took from the first chapter, the foundation for the remainder of the course. Again I allowed ten minutes to assign the homework. I was certain they heard that I wanted it done.

Day three: I begin with, "Is there anyone who didn't do the homework?" This time about 50% of the class raised their hands. The same thing happened with the second group. Obviously their definition of the word agreement was homegrown. With both classes I now set aside 15 minutes to communicate the homework. We talked about the reasons they proffered as to why most didn't do the homework; they had graduated from high school without learning that reasons serve as barriers to getting, to acknowledging, the truth. Most had an understanding about the correlation between personal integrity and outcomes (karma) but few had had a direct experience that anchored in a commitment to maintaining ones integrity.

Day four: About five in each class didn't do their homework. Not always the same students either. I had them choose study partners and they exchanged phone numbers and times to call each other. They agreed to each be responsible for the other doing the homework.

Eventually, we spent the whole class talking about what this was about. They shared that most teachers don't expect everyone to do the homework, and, that they don't check homework consistently. They just say, "Here's the homework," but they don't mean it. The students also reluctantly confessed that other UH Instructors and Professors were "not as strict" as I was, and that ". . . high school teachers accept reasons." Another student candidly said, ". . . yah, it's easy to con teachers."

After class two students went to the Dean with tears in their eyes complaining about me. I got a call from the Speech-Communication Department Chairman "requesting" that I meet with him and the Dean. They asked, condescendingly, "What are you doing?" [as in, What in the hell are you doing?]. I glibly answered what I took to be a rhetorical question; "I'm teaching students how to communicate." They looked at each other and almost in unison said, "No, no, no! Your job isn't to teach them 'how' to communicate. Your job is to 'introduce' them to the subject of communication and teach them 'about the communication process.'" My jaw dropped. I felt embarrassed, humiliated, and upset. With both a B.A. and an M.A. in Speech-Communication I had never made that distinction before.

In one crystallizing moment everything became clear to me. No wonder most high school teachers have a difficult time getting students to do the homework, no one has ever modeled for them how to produce that result. It's not a leadership-skill that's taught to education majors at the university level; I was fortunate to have been exposed to many different leadership-support skills during my tours in the Navy and the Army.

The Chairman continued, 

"We can't afford to teach students how to communicate. We're not set up to handle the anger and drama. Students quit when they get angry. Two of your students want to transfer out of your class. They say they will drop out of the university if we don't let them transfer to another Instructor. We need their tuitions." 

I mumbled something about one of the agreements the students made on the first day—to communicate any upsets with me first—and, that I wished the Dean had asked them, "Have you talked to Mr. King about this?" I knew from their comments, and the fact that I wanted to be right and make them wrong, that it was hopeless. I should have gone to them both, at the beginning of the semester, and asked if they would support my students in honoring their agreement to communicate upsets to the person with whom they have the upset. Duh! As though I didn't know the university faculty communication model (appropriately referred to as the Adversarial Communication Model) supports (behind the back) blaming badmouthing.

The Dean then said that he and the Chairman would sit in on one of my classes the following day. I said that it would be OK as long as they would agree to sit in the circle and participate in the discussions and, be willing to be coached. They both said that they didn't want to be a part of the discussion, merely to sit in the rear and observe. I told them they would influence the student's participation. Unbelievably, they both argued that their presence wouldn't affect the students. I realized in that moment that I did not have the skills, nor permission, to remind them of something I had learned in a freshman speech class—that observers always affect outcomes (read about entanglement). I told them that it wouldn't work for me to have them observe. They were upset; neither verbally resolved their upset through to mutual satisfaction with me; they did not come to my class. 

The two students transferred to another class. I gave the rest of the students a choice, ". . . a watered-down easy course, or, the best I knew how." They unanimously opted for the latter. I finished the semester and founded Community Communications, a truly nonprofit (no one gets paid) educational organization. 

I later discovered that 19 of my 42 freshman students had been enrolled in remedial reading and composition courses, partly because their high school teachers had been afraid to insist upon homework being turned in neatly and on time—their teachers understood how to communicate subject matter but job-survival triggered fear resulting in mediocrity. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The Copier Story

For seven years I volunteered my services, four hours a week, at the est Office of Hawaii. That's another story. This one is about an experience with Elaine Cronin, the office manager, whom I hold in high regard. At age 32, including my extensive military trainings, and B.A. and M.A. degrees in speech-communication, I had never come across a leader, a genuine manager. It was a privilege to work with her.

One day Elaine gave me a stack of 300 letters to fold, add two inserts, and stuff into envelopes. She demonstrated exactly how it was to be done. I was a bit miffed that she thought I needed a demonstration, but watched anyway. She then had me do one. She then said, "No. This way." She showed me that I had not placed the fold of the letter in the envelope exactly as she had demonstrated. I was always discovering how unconscious I was around her. She kept me awake. Having satisfied her that I knew how to do the job as she envisioned she left.

About 10 minutes into the job Elaine came out of her office and asked me to make a copy of something.

It's significant to note here that we were working at the level of excellence, to get the job done exactly as communicated. Each job was an exciting opportunity, not only to serve but to show how great I was. Can you spell e-g-o? So, I went to the copier and placed the paper perfectly. I looked at the result. It wasn't centered left to right. I did three more copies, each one more towards perfection. I then sped back, like a second-grader having erased my first chalk board, with my great job done. She thanked me. She had no idea of the trouble I went through to do it perfectly. She really didn't care about how much time it took for me to learn how to do it correctly, just that I recreated her intention. The drama was mine.

I then went back to the table outside her office and resumed stuffing the envelopes. About five minutes had passed and Elaine came out and stood watching me for a few seconds and then, from the middle of a stack, took out one and opened it—they hadn't been sealed yet. She took out the letter and showed me it was missing one of the inserts. It blew my mind. I would have bet money that I had been doing yet another perfect job. Then, to my embarrassment, she asked me to get the master copy I had left in the copier. My jaw dropped to the floor. As I returned from the copier and handed her the master copy she said casually, with no emotion whatsoever, "Go though the stacks and double-check those you've done." I did and that was the only one I had goofed up on.

It was mind blowing. I couldn't believe what she had done. To be so in tune with things. And no, she could not have seen me make the missing insert mistake from her office nor could she have checked them while I was at the copier.

I had had enough experiences with Elaine, and other est staff members, to know it wasn't luck that she reached into the middle of the pile and found my one error.

How did she know to look for the error, the incomplete? She had found herself making a mistake at her desk due to her incomplete job of supervising me in doing complete work with the copier job. Magic happens in the space of integrity, when one is committed to doing complete work. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The General's Story

The Army hired a communication consultant to improve communications, specifically between and amongst the junior officers and enlisted personnel.

The consultant asked the generals how communication was between themselves and their subordinates. Almost as though rehearsed they replied that it was "pretty good." They all said they had an "Open Door Policy." They sincerely felt as though they were there for their men. The enlisted men could come in any time and talk about anything.

The consultant then asked the middle-echelon officers, the colonels and majors, what they thought. The officers said that they also had an open door policy for their men and ensured that the policy was kept all the way down the chain of command. They felt things were quite good with senior officers, they were however, ". . . always aware of being diplomatic and respectfully courteous when talking with them." They all said they were more spontaneously honest with fellow ranking officers.

When the enlisted men were asked what they thought was the communication problem in the military, they said they couldn't tell their superiors the truth. They were always worried about promotions and pretty much kept their opinions of their sergeants and officers to themselves. The Open Door Policy? Yes, it's there, but who's going to tell a sergeant or a general the truth? Whenever possible, " . . . you tell them what they want to hear."

The point of the story is that no matter what the leadership of an organization thinks, those dependent upon management for promotions and survival withhold certain thoughts, the personal-growth feedback, the stuff that really counts. Amazingly, a general can retire after a 30-year career and still be experienced as a dogmatic, arrogant, abusive, self-righteous bore to his/her spouse—in part, because no one (not even his/her spouse) had the skill nor courage to get into effective communication with him.

There is a communication model that supports open, honest, and spontaneous communication. It's not taught in public schools. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The Playground Story

My first recess, the first day of second grade in a new school. We had just moved. My parents had promised me wonderful new friends, excited to meet me. So far, the response had been cool at best. No one seemed to notice me at all, and everyone already had friends. So I sat alone at recess, in a safe shady spot, uncomfortable, anxious, assessing the mass of students, wondering where my niche was.

Then, a loud bell rang. The raucous playground jumped, and kids jumped down from tires, off swings, running in all directions, disappearing into different doors along the brick wall. I ran too, toward a door, following the crowd, but as I got closer I realized it was younger children streaming into it. Wrong door. I stood still as the crowd of kids washed over me, looking for a face I knew. They all looked like strangers streaming by. Suddenly another bell rang, and all at once the doors closed. There I stood, alone in the silence, in a vast concrete plain of playground.

I faced the red brick wall lined with orange doors. Maybe twenty doors. Each door looked identical; no words, no pictures, all the same orange. The silence and the wind, and my grief and fear, and total aloneness. Would anyone even know I was out here? Were the doors locked? Alone, abandoned, probably about to get yelled at if someone did discover me still out at recess. I stared hard at the doors. I searched within me to see if I knew it, could remember by instinct which one it was. I felt stupid and ashamed. Everyone else, even those smaller children, every single one knew which was their door. Every second I waited in that silence, the terror was building that someone was about to come out and yell at me, thinking I was bad and skipping school. Being new, no one knew I was good yet. I did not want to walk back into the second grade on my first day crying like a child before all those strangers, having been stupid. But I was crying. I tried to stop, but it was too late. There was no hiding it now, and no excuse for it. Only a medical emergency would do.

I picked a door and burst into it, covering one eye with my hand, into a quiet room full of staring older students, and an unfamiliar teacher. I felt a twinge of relief that it was not my own class. "Help" I sobbed to the strange teacher, "I have something in my eye!" Put out but concerned, she called on a boy and told him to take me to the nurse. He was gruff and contemptuous, but he escorted me through the labyrinth of halls to the bright office without requiring from me even a word, which suited. He left me there, with a real nurse, wearing a white outfit and everything. She had me lay down on a paper-covered cot while she tended someone else. My heart sang. I breathed in the cooling air-conditioned air, and the mint/disinfectant smell, and was comforted.

When she came to speak with me her manner was gentle, but when she said, "What's wrong?" I was undone. I cried and could not speak. She waited awhile, then began to question me. "Did you fall? Cut yourself on something? Twist an ankle?" Sobbing, I shook my head, but one part of me was waiting for her to name some hurt that fit. "Do you have to use the bathroom?" I paused in my crying, and realized that I did. So I went, and after I splashed my face in cold water, and collected myself somewhat. I came out. "I had something in my eye, but I cried it out." I felt bad lying to her, in her clean bright space, but better than having her, my only ally, know how stupid I was. She assessed me coolly, then said, "Very well, you may return to your class." "I don't know the way!" I said instantly, about to cry again thinking of the dark maze, twists and turns and strange doors. "I will take you," she said, and did.

But the next day I had the same problem, and was back on the paper couch after an identical incident. I did this for about a week, until I managed to latch on to someone I could recognize from my class at the end of each recess, and stay on their heels until I was through the correct orange door. The nurse wised up, of course and began to ask things like, "Is there a class you have now that you don't like? Math, maybe?" But after I evaded the interrogation, she always escorted me back to my classroom. I never told anyone the real reason. — by Kim Wilkinson, Board Member, Community Communications.

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The Carp Pond Story

Several years ago it became clear to me that our education system could not work if we continued to use the present leadership-communication model taught to education majors; even worse, I knew I didn't have the leadership-communication skills to effect a new curriculum. The more I learned the less I knew. It hurt deeply. It shattered my Yankee can-do-attitude to the very core, so much so that I checked into a Zen monastery in Japan. I had entertained thoughts of retiring there.

Appropriately on either side of the main entrance to many Zen temples are two fierce looking guardians. The one called Paradox the other Confusion. The point being, that to experience enlightenment one must pass through (choose to experience) both. It was no secret that I was escaping and seeking refuge. I rationalized that I thrived on serving so what better place to retire to than amongst people committed to enlightenment? The monastery surpassed my mind's picture of what one should be like. It was exquisitely beautiful and serene; to this day I often tear up in appreciation of the simplest of meals.

This story takes place one chilly morning. One thing I hadn't counted on, after living 13 years in Hawaii, was the crisp cold mornings atop Mt. Koya.

I was sitting on an L-shaped wooden porch overlooking a carp pond. Water trickled down into the pond from a near vertical dew-covered mountain side. For me it was quite close to nirvana. I was doing my imitation of meditation and not very well because I was easily distracted by a gurgling slurping noise made by some leaves that were stuck in a wire strainer at the far edge of the pond. The wire-covered overflow pipe was to prevent the water from getting too high. The sound and activity engaged me as I sat like a turtle warming myself. I was attempting to Zen the leaves away without success and the noise continued to echo in the amphitheater-like surroundings.

I hadn't been there but a few minutes when Happy Heart, that's as close as I could get to the translation of the Zen Master's nickname, came out. He looked at me and then towards the gurgling noise. Without a word he slowly turned and went back inside. Within a few minutes two monks came out, took off their sandals, and within seconds they had waded into the frigid knee-deep water and removed the leaves. The reverence with which they did this task was such that it was clear they were merely giving the leaves another place to play.

The two bowed towards me and left; then Happy Heart came out. He looked at me and I looked at him. And though an observer could have seen that not a word was exchanged, what I experienced was the most profound acknowledgment in my life. It was the first time I had ever been in the presence of what I call greatness or knowingness and not felt as though I had a long way to go. He was there to serve and honor me. I was deeply moved.

I wish there was some appropriate moral with which I could end this story other than I was there to serve and in turn was validated. I left the monastery shortly thereafter.

One of the reasons I left? It has nothing to do with the truth but it's interesting, at least to me. It became clear to me that a Zen Master considers himself to be a success if he can replace just himself before he dies. It's not the kind of communication model where there is room for input or change. The system works, to the degree it works. My commitment now is to incorporate the best parts of all the communication models of the world into one universal model, one that we can all drop into from time to time, especially when it's important that everyone feel good upon completion of a conversation. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The Water Pump Story

Crawling on burnt hands and knees across the blistering hot sand, his throat rasping in searing pain with each seemingly last breath, with only a couple miles to go before he reached town, a miner came across a rickety wooden cabin.  In the cabin was a rusty water pump. The pump handle was in the up position, as though it was waiting for him. Tied to the handle was a goatskin flask with at least a cup of water in it. Attached to the flask was this note.

Dear Traveler, I asssume you need water and shade; that's why I drilled the well and built this cabin. You may drink the water and it will see you to safety, or, you can risk pouring it down this rusty pump so as to wet the leather washers thereby enabling you to prime the pump and drink your fill and refill the flask for the next needy traveler.

The variables seem obvious. Far from any desert, with our thirst quenched, we are able to sit righteously detached and weigh all the factors. For example, we might think, "It would be too risky to pour the water down a possibly dry well." "What if the leather washers were so dry that they had cracked and broke?" "I know, I'll drink the bag of water and come back later and replace it."

Unbeknownst to the miner there are several fundamental success-generating principles at work. The miner drinks the water and promises to return and leave much more than a small flask. However, he gets bit by a scorpion and dies paralyzed not 100 yards from town. Obviously, he dismissed the thought that while he was gone another traveler may have needed the water—such a philosophy is referred to as survival at the expense of another.

What's the purpose of this story here in a website about communication?

Well, (pun intended) it's about integrity as a communication variable. When something doesn't go as envisioned one can't be certain, if it has to do with one's integrity or simply a communication problem, until one has eliminated the outcome as being a consequence of an unacknowledged out-integrity. "H'm, let's see. What could this broken agreement be about?" If nothing comes up it's most likely about your agreement-making skills. For most, the question reveals a thought about an incomplete, an unacknowledged perpetration, a broken agreement with another.

For example: Take the case of a mechanic "past due" for his monthly house rent payment, who opts for his own survival. The mechanic has valuable tools or a TV that he could sell so that his landlord doesn't have to sell something to meet his own monthly mortgage payment. But, the mechanic thinks, "I'll keep my tools so I can make some money so I can then pay my rent." He doesn't realize that he has had this survivalist philosophy, this ground of being, of his own survival being more important than his word, for many years. All people (such as D. J. Trump) who have filed for bankruptcy, including their spouses, have this survivalist philosophy. It's the source of their failure.

In the study of communication it's imperative that you study the subject of integrity. Look now to see what your philosophies ae.

1) Do you think the death of the miner might have something to do with the fact that he opted to drink the water without concern for another?

2) Do you think there's a possible connection between the fact that the mechanic doesn't have enough money to pay his rent and the fact that all along he's not been committed to keeping his agreements?

3) Is there anyone who would say you are surviving at their expense?

4) Do you have any broken financial agreements that are causing others hardships?

—by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The Suicide Hotline Story

Kerry:   Suicide Hotline. This is Kerry. Hello!
Tom:   Is this the Suicide Hotline?
Kerry:   Yes it is. What's your name?
Tom:   My name is, ah, Tom. I ah, I, um, I'm not sure what to say.
Kerry:   Yes Tom. What's up?
Tom:   Well, I'm going to kill myself. I mean, I'm thinking of killing myself.
Kerry:   So which is it Tom, are you going to kill yourself or are you having thoughts about killing yourself?
Tom:   Well, I don't know.
Kerry:   Ok. It's not important to me but I think it might be good for you to know.
Tom:   Don't you care?
Kerry:   Not really. Am I supposed to?
Tom:   Well, I thought you guys were supposed to care 'n stuff.
Kerry:   No Tom. You must be thinking of the police or perhaps the Salvation Army. We don't care whether you live or die. We're here, I'm here, to be with you if that's something you'd like.
Tom:   What do you mean you don't care?
Kerry:   Tom. I don't think your call is all about whether I care or not. It sounds to me as though you called to have someone talk to about the thoughts you've been having about killing yourself. Is that right Tom?
Tom:   Well, ah, sort of. I mean, I thought you guys cared.
Kerry:   Nah. Tom, if you don't kill yourself tonight because I care and then something happens to our relationship, if I say the wrong thing, if I get mad at you or stop caring about you, then you might threaten to kill yourself. None of us here at the Hot Line want that responsibility. Do you get what I mean Tom?
Tom:   Yah, sort of. Well what are you there for?
Kerry:   As I said Tom, we're here to be with you. Let me speak for myself. I'll tell you why I'm here; I suspect it's true for the other volunteers. I enjoy talking to people who call in as you have. The conversations are real, they are energizing. You know what I mean Tom? They keep me alive. They are really real. You are really living. How you and I communicate could determine whether you are around tomorrow. Our communications affect us for life. I like conversations that mean something. I like communicating as though our lives depend upon what we say.
Kerry:   Why did you call Tom?
Tom:   I thought I called because I wanted you to talk me out of killing myself but I see now that that's not it.
Kerry:   I got that Tom!
Tom   I think why I called was to just talk with someone who was truthful and real. As though I were real. Thanks.
Kerry:   Yah Tom, that feels good. Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Tom:   Nah, thanks. Thanks a lot.
Kerry:   Good. Feel free to call again. I enjoyed talking with you. Tom?
Tom:   Yes?
Kerry:   I love you!
Tom:   Yah, thanks. Bye.

—by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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To Cause or Not to Cause—a story

Once upon a time in the land of Be, where everything is perfect, there lived a young person. We're not sure whether the person was a boy or a girl. Anyway, this person had an amazing talent; believe it or not they could cause people to do exactly what they were doing.

Now you may smile, or even laugh at this unusual seemingly obvious ability, but it's true. No matter what someone else was doing, this young magician could snap their fingers and, POW! They could even get adults to do what they were doing. Actually, most of the time it wasn't necessary to do the finger snapping. To tell the truth, it didn't make any "POW" noise either. They just silently, non-verbally, intended it.

Can you imagine walking down the hallway in school and someone yells at you, "Hey stupid! Yah, you!." And you saying, to yourself of course, "Thanks. I obviously needed that. Somehow I knew I could count on you to say that." Or your mother, calling you into the kitchen, and before she can open her mouth you saying, "Yup , I'll go clean my room." Would that blow her mind or what?

It was cool. Everywhere this awesome young  person went it was the same. In school, with a teacher who was grumpy, they thought, "I wonder why I'm causing that? I sure did a good job." At other times, in fact quite a lot of the time, they forgot that they could cause what was happening to be happening. For instance, when they got in an argument with their best friend, who wouldn't let them borrow their bike, they'd have to stop the argument and remember that they were causing their friend to be stingy. How can you get mad at someone who's doing what you're intending them to do? Now you may be thinking, yah, but why would someone cause that? Why would someone cause another person to be stingy? Well, you have to remember they could only cause what was happening to happen.

Actually, you the reader have the same ability, this magical power. You can choose to be exactly where you are right now, this moment. Go ahead, choose it, right now. Kind of simple isn't it. Almost silly, yes? Well, it's not so silly when you see two adults arguing. It's easy to see that both have forgotten they have the same ability; to stop, listen, and intend for the other to say exactly what they are saying.

If you want you can spend a lot of time trying to figure out why something is happening, or why it happened, but it's not necessary. Really! You don't have to figure it out. When the time comes for you to know, you'll know. The answer will magically appear as to what the genius in you was up to, the one who caused something unpleasant to happen. Until then, just be willing to accept the koan—that you caused it because you caused it.

Here's your opportunity to be magical. The story's about end, would you like to have a shot at intending that? Once you choose to cause what's happening you too get to be magically transported to the land of Be where everything is as it is, perfect. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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The Zen Master Bird-Poop Story

Early one morning a monk asked his Zen master, "Sir, will you teach me how to manifest an intention? The Master replied: "We're always manifesting our intentions, I assume you mean a stated intention, a result you consciously intend?" The monk acknowledged the difference and that often he got something other than what he envisioned because he had not been clear about his intention; he replied, "Yes." The Zen master said, "Sure. Sit down. I'll show you how to cause a bird to poop in that bowl on the table, on my command. How's that?"  The monk said, "Way cool," or something like that. And they sat down.

As dusk approached, the monk said, "Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but you said . . ." The Zen master interrupted him and said, "Yes. And I will. We’re waiting for a bird to poop in the bowl. When it does, I’ll command it to poop."

To manifest a stated intention you must begin by intending what's happening to be happening, to choose what’s so to be so.

To create something you first must know how to create nothing. Until you know how to create nothing, the space (referred to as potential) from which everything is created, you can't be certain you are creating anything. Until you know how to create nothing life just happens.

For example: For most divorced couples love at the beginning just happened. We know this to be true because during the divorce process neither knew how to recreate the experience of love—at will, simply through communication. Some, not all, later discover, that they had become stuck, each doing his/her imitation of communication. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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Parole—The First 24-hrs—a story

. . . the motivation behind the Community Support Group Project.

With a clean slate and within minutes of leaving the correctional facility a parolee, sincerely believing they are intent on going straight, is often picked up at the gate by a spouse, family member, or friend. Quite possibly they are asked, "Would you like to drive?" They are elated. They accept the offer and cautiously pull out on to the freeway. The experience of freedom is exhilarating. Soon they find themselves being passed by those going faster than the 5 mph allowed over the posted limit. They dutifully obey the law resisting the urge to keep up with the flow. But their passenger says, as though they are joking, "Hey, you've been inside too long. You're holding up traffic." The parolee, now trained to follow instructions without hesitation, unwittingly succumbs to the peer pressure. And so, within minutes of parole they have been lovingly supported by a "true friend" in breaking a law, risking a sanction by their parole officer if they get a speeding ticket; most likely both forgot that the parolee's license had expired and that he doesn't have a Learner's Permit.

They ask their friend if they can stop off at a book store because they promised their parole officer they would buy a study guide for the upcoming Carpenter Journeyman's Test. The friend says, "Great, I'll treat you to some good coffee at Borders." He buys his book while his friend buys two cups of coffee and sets them on a table. His friend then leads him to the magazine rack and urges him to pick out a few magazines to read. Not wanting to be a stick-in-the-mud he does as expected, knowing full well that reading without paying is wrong, and that he's ripping off not only the merchant but the distributors and authors.  He feels uncomfortable doing it and keeps looking up, expecting, if not a Corrections Officer, possibly a clerk, to ask, "May I see your receipt please?" The friend notices his furtive looks and further encourages him, "Relax. Look around. Everyone does it." It doesn't occur to him that Borders is capitalizing on the unethicalness of customers—the implied but non-published browsing policy ostensibly generates more sales. A "No Browsing Please" or a "Please Browse" sign would support everyone's integrity. [Note: Borders has since gone out of business.]

The "friend" is unaware that twice now they have supported the parolee in resorting to the same behaviors that contributed to his incarceration. Later they will say to others, "Yah, it's too bad. I could tell he was heading back to prison."

The parolee then arrives at home and an old friend stops by and asks if he wants to go see some of the guys. He eagerly accepts the invitation. The guys, one of whom is wanted for a parole violation, are drinking beer, some are smoking pot; he refuses both. Everyone laughs but they understand and seemingly accept his decision. However, they keep kidding him, and offering him tokes, trying to assure themselves he's still one of the guys. Later, when a few whom he respects have left the party, he finally has one beer and just two very-stony tokes.

Later, on the way home, the slightly tipsy driver of the car almost rear-ends another car; he casually mentions, "That was lucky, I don't have insurance." This is a given for quite a few of the parolee's old friends so it's "No big thing." It's always been that way. The parolee remains silent, unaware of the friend's unethical dump, the unconscious test, to see just how straight the parolee is going to go. Silence assures the uninsured perpetrator that the parolee is still the same old accepting (enabling) friend.

At home, sitting around the kitchen table, his mother mentions how helpful his brother has been while he's been away, "He let me claim he lives here so I could get more food stamps and welfare money."  Again, silence is complicity. It is unthinkable to say anything about the fraud. It's always been that way with one thing or another. Nothing "really" serious, nevertheless, both illegal and unethical.

Each perpetration throughout the day eroded the experience of wholesome integrity that was there earlier in the morning. Each complicity having its own consequence. Each perpetration begs to be acknowledged to prevent compounding consequences. Not having anyone to clear with, to acknowledge the day's perpetrations, the parolee falls asleep, but it's not the healthy sleep of a person committed to integrity—his mind trails off as it did after his very first unacknowledged childhood lie. "Yup." When his mother asked if he had brushed his teeth. He is neither whole nor complete, "But what the heck," he mutters to himself dozing off, "nobody else is either."

All this occurs within less than 24 hours. For our parolee tomorrow will not be a new day, merely more of the same. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

Note: 42% of all parolees return to prison, in part because they have not been acknowledged (caught) for all of life's perpetrations—other than what they were incarcerated for.

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Military Academy Scandals—a story

With military precision (pun intended) one can count on an academy scandal every few years. They take turns—the Navy, then a few years later the Army. This story is about the Air Force "rape" scandal circa 2003. What follows is a point of view I haven't seen reported elsewhere; it's written by a former Army Airborne Infantry Officer. For many this is going to be extremely uncomfortable to read. It has to do with responsibility, cause, intention, and communication. Your challenge is to read the entire story, to be with, to choose to experience, the upsets that it triggers (find the truth in it rather than argue with it).

Following is an overview of the scandal: A female cadet reported that a senior male cadet had raped her, not once but repeatedly throughout the semester. When the female cadet finally reported the incident about 40 (yes, forty) other female cadets came forward and said that they too experienced similar, and worse, treatments by many male cadets.

The behavior of the male cadets is so reprehensible it's difficult to get to responsibility, to cause, in the matter. What has yet to be reported is the equally reprehensible out-integrity of each of the "victims" and, of the Academy's Commandant—the person responsible for communicating and supporting the academy’s code of honor.

America’s military academies operate from what’s referred to as a Code of Honor. Specifically: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The code defines exactly how to handle a perpetration. i.e. If a cadet observes another cadet or a staff member breaking a rule, the cadet has agreed (pledged his/her word) to confront the rule-breaker and ask him/her to stop. If the perpetrator refuses to stop then they must be told that they leave the observer no choice other than to report them; or else, and here’s the biggie, both the perpetrator and the observer will be punished equally, possibly expelled.

So we ask: How dare a male upper-classman make sexual overtures, let alone rape in the form of sex-at-my-command (a most heinous misuse of control and power), towards a junior female classmate, except with the fear of knowing with absolute certainty that it will be reported?

We also ask: If both the victim and the perpetrator are equally bound by the same code of honor what choice does the female have other than to handle the infraction (the first leer, the first untoward communication) as pledged by her word of honor? Would she even want to belong to an organization in which, if she reported such behavior, she was not believed? Didn't each female cadet give her word to the Commandant of the Academy that she could be absolutely trusted to support the code—or, were all 40 female cadets lying? Most would agree that they were all ignorant about the correlation between personal integrity and mission results; few high school grads, no matter how smart, have an experiential knowledge of the subjects of integrity and agreements. i.e. Understanding responsibility is as far from knowing as is not knowing. In other words, it's not the cadet's fault. The Code of Honor was irresponsibly delivered instead of it being communicated.

Next we ask: Who communicated to the male cadets that such behavior was acceptable? This is tricky because it addresses one's definition of responsibility, of cause. With these incidents the alleged "victims" did not make it absolutely clear, they did not communicate, they did not carry with them hourly, in their very countenance, that intimate socializing was absolutely not an option.  Ironically this, "Don't even think about it" communication, this position, is a leadership-communication skill that appears to come more naturally to most men. A homosexual male intuitively knows that there is virtually no space, no possibility, for a sexual relationship with a macho-acting heterosexual man; there's not even a tiny hint of a possibility. The same is true for a lesbian; most men intuitively know that there is no possibility—though many ego-bound males try. This countenance frees one to eliminate sex as a communication variable in their relationships. Just as men act differently around women so too do women (even unconsciously) act and dress different in the presence of some men. For women this difference in behavior is referred to as being "at effect" of men.

Now we ask: Who communicated to the cadets that such behavior was acceptable?  It was—unbeknownst to most everyone—the Commandant himself. How do we know? We know by the results he produced using his leadership-communication skills. It was in fact unconsciously communicated non-verbally. As Einstein might say, "it's spooky;" it's a nonlocal (no wires, no gravimetric or electronic signal) instantaneous ("Old-boy-network") kind of transmission—that he (the Commandant) doesn't know psychically emanates from his macho persona—until it's revealed.  Within a few conversations, during a typical three-hour communication consultation with a communication-skills coach, the Commandant would acknowledge that he held (and most likely still holds) unacknowledged prejudiced, biased and sexist views. Unawares (unacknowledged) these views get communicated non-verbally. Just as most women are addicted to unconsciously seducing men so too does a leader communicate his/her biases. Just because one doesn't know how they produced a result doesn't mean their leadership-communication skills didn't produce it.

Now here's big-time irony: The subject of non-verbal, to include conscious and unconscious intentional communication, is not included in any academy's leadership-communication curriculum. It wasn't until I left both the Navy and the Army, and the university education system, (see about me) that I even heard about the subject of leading (communicating) from intention. I first heard about this communication variable in the business world during a Communication Workshop for Educators presented by Werner Erhard (est Training, The Forum). It was not covered at all in any of my B.A. and M.A. speech-communication courses. Not even to this day do universities cover such important communication variables as acknowledgements, incompletes, integrity, perpetrations, withholds, and the biggie, responsibility—the variables that a communication-skills coach knows with certainty are the source of all breakdowns in communication.

This leads to the question: Why isn't the intentional communication model taught in our military academies and to education majors nationwide?

The answer is: A commandant, chancellor, university president, and a communication-skills coach, him/herself, must operate from impeccable integrity. Few leaders, professors or teachers who get paid, can afford spontaneous candor; fewer still would be willing to submit themselves to such rigorous coaching. A totally honest teacher is perceived as a threat to most everyone else in today's leadership positions, in part because his/her students must agree to be willing to go absolutely straight, to include cleaning up (acknowledging) a lifetime of perpetrations, from cause (zero blame).  In the presence of someone who operates from integrity any out-integrity soon reveals itself.

Herein lies (pun not intended) the rub, the cause of military academy scandals: The code of honor is not communicated. It is not delivered with an intention for it to be honored, therefore it’s only understood. It's not co-created; it's neither gotten nor owned, therefore it's not recreated. If it is honored it's because of fear (evidenced by the fact that such a cadet will still have withholds in his/her personal relationships).

Note: It would take a Communication-Skills Coach about three 17-hr days (a weekend-long communication intensive) to communicate the code to the academy's cadets, its staff, and administrators. A communication-skills coach is someone who has spent as much time studying/teaching communication as any professional has spent in his/her specific field including medical doctors and psychiatrists. Most college graduates (including education majors and mental health professionals) acknowledge that they've only taken the required Sp-Com courses, including the basic, "Intro to the Fundamentals and Principles of Communication"). I know of no university speech-communication curriculum that addresses the correlation between personal integrity and outcomes, nor any that require Leadership Training for education majors (Courses and seminars about leading? Yes. Training? No). That is to say, teachers are put in charge of 20+- students without having demonstrated the fundamental leadership-skills of the beginning level of an enlisted military leader (i.e. Private First Class/Corporal/Seaman/Airman).  For example: No Army Corporal would allow a squad member to show up without all their equipment squeaky clean; whereas a certified high school teacher will accept a student turning in illegible homework partially done ("accept" here is inaccurate—a leader causes/intends). 

Most academy commandants are stuck somewhere in the process of becoming a leader: What you say? —a general is not a leader, they are only acting like a leader? Yes. They were promoted without the validation of a communication-skills coach; the same pertains to your high school teachers from whom you did not learn. Senior military officers honestly (and arrogantly) believe that what they call communication is what it is. The way one can tell that an organization has a leader is that the agreements/rules are co-created and honored. This is because a leader co-creates/communicates the agreements as opposed to "announcing them," "putting them out," "telling them," "informing everyone," "saying them," "making them available," etc.  Just as a leader inspires integrity, so too do subordinates have no choice (WHATSOEVER) other than to mirror the out-integrity of their supervisors. An aura of integrity emanates from a leader. A leader can tell from experience if there is a withhold or an unacknowledged perpetration in a relationship. When a relationship starts from integrity any out-integrity is like a "mote in thine eye." It begs to be acknowledged (verbally communicated) and cleared.

For example: Most adults have yet to be acknowledged (caught) for their own first lie/perpetration. The majority of parents miss their child’s first lie. You might ask, why is the change (obvious to an objective observer) from a countenance of innocence on their child's face to a look of guilt, missed by most parents? It’s simply because most parents have accumulated so many unacknowledged withholds and lies that they have lost their ability to be-with, to hear, certain lies. Adults even have a category called, "white lies." At some point in time most parents and leaders lapse into their imitation of communication. A reader who experiences upset reading this denies the effects of both an unacknowledged perpetration and the correlation between personal integrity and outcomes; most likely they are both arrogantly ego-bound and out-integrity.  i.e. They are withholding one or more significant thoughts from one or more significant people.

Put another way, each Academy Commandant who has experienced a cheating/abuse scandal has his own perpetration for which he/she has not been acknowledged (caught).  All generals have deceived a superior and have not been acknowledged for the deception. i.e. Doing a half-assed job of cleaning their weapon after which they have been presenting themselves as honest, or lying so as to expedite a request/order. Cadets have no choice other than to mirror their commandant's integrity. There are no exceptions to this entanglement phenomenon. The prevailing military communication model supports a leader in hiding his/her perpetrations (accumulated throughout childhood and their previous command experiences) for fear of not being promoted. Few generals have acknowledged to any present-day superior the deceits they perpetrated that caused a former superior to think of them as clever and resourceful.* 

* As in the TV program Survivor, it's understood that in the military deception strategies are required. The problem is that no military branch offers clearing processes so as to eliminate the karma of personal perpetrations. i.e. A pilot who survives a crash in which others died, always wonders, for life, if the crash was a consequence of his/her mind being partially preoccupied with their marital infidelity or of having one or more "errors/sneaky omissions" on his/her application form. An officer can't cause (inspire) his/her troops to be any more honest than the officer is with his/her own parents/spouse.

Here’s an example of a few minutes of a proposed three-day weekend-long leadership communication-skills workshop to be given at the beginning of each academy year. It would be titled, "The Honor Code of Conduct—a communication workshop." It would be facilitated by a communication-skills coach with military experience. It would include the following:

"Let's begin. Will the following individuals please go to the rear tables, there is an incomplete on your Academy Application Form.

Note to the reader: Communication can not take place when there is an unacknowledged error, perpetration, or withhold in the space.  Nationwide 98% percent of all Job Application Forms  have one or more errors (to include a "lazy/accidental/purposeful" omission/error/lie) on them. It's not only that the cadet applicant made the error—that's what applicants do—it's that the staff is so unconscious they did not catch it. Such sloppy work condones sloppy performance and creates disrespect. With few exceptions a poorly performing subordinate has one or more errors on their paper work, beginning with their job application paper work.  

The following takes place some time on day-two:

". . . now I'm speaking directly to you female cadets. If a male cadet in any way imposes himself sexually upon you and you don’t handle it per the "code" you will be expelled. Typically a cadet will begin with a subtle testing-the-waters seduction, something you experience to be uncomfortable. Typically the communication is so innocuous it can be denied. It could even be an unconscious winking, something the male might be unaware of doing until it's pointed out. This is not hypothetical; it will happen. Some male cadet who needs to be caught for a life-time of sexist communications, condescensions, manipulations, abuses and unacknowledged perpetrations, will impose himself upon you in some fashion. More accurately, you will, using your leadership-communication skills (to include your unconscious emanations) cause a cadet to think there's a possibility; it's referred to as a setup. Women spend a lifetime purposefully not being too nice, too warm or too loving because it can be misinterpreted as a come-on; as such, they don't have much practice simply being, of not having an unconscious agenda to repel or to befriend, or to keep at arms length with no attachments. An unconscious woman who is not clear about how she attracts will "accidentally" give off misinterpreted vibrations. She most likely, during high school, abusively, argued with her parents (made them wrong) about the effects of certain revealing clothing. Walking around scantily dressed in a world full of men whom women know are unhealthfully preoccupied with sex is, as defense lawyers are wont to say, "inviting it." Such a woman is more interested in making men wrong for their behaviors rather than examining their own cause (her unconscious intentions) for unwelcomed advances. Immature women need their daily fix of making a man wrong for being sexually attracted towards them. Note: During the workshop these statements trigger upset and reactions; these thoughts must be verbally shared by all the workshop participants; they reveal certain points of view one holds. The point being, it's not wrong to have points of view; what doesn't work is to have them and not be aware of them thereby communicating them non-verbally and psychically (as in "creepy").

We can absolutely count on this happening. What I need to know now is whether or not I can trust you to ask the cadet to acknowledge his uncomfortable communication. If he argues, denies or invalidates your experience, then you must ask him to report himself to a senior cadet who will ask the cadet to acknowledge his/her inapproprate communication. If the "senior" can't effect completion he/she must report it to a staff member who in turn will report it to the next in the chain of command;  if I can’t trust you to do that then the military doesn’t want you. Leave now [a long pause here for anyone to leave]. We do not want covert saboteurs in the military. Silence condones. To be an honorable officer you must be willing at all times to not have the job. If you become attached to graduating then you will fail the Commandant. You will compromise your integrity. You will have thwarted and sabotaged the Commandant. We already know the male cadet of whom we speak isn't ready to be an officer. What's also true is the female who attracts and rewards by silence such behavior is also not fit to be an officer. We don’t need another "tail-hook" incident in which you, yes you, let something slide, for fear of . . . for reasons. You either maintain your integrity or you have your reasons.

Men, you are making the same agreement with me. If a female cadet makes a sexual advance towards you then your responsibility is to stop it mid-communication. Cleavage that would be inappropriate when visiting the President or the Pope is inappropriate here. Here, bras are required. There are no "accidental" reveals.

For example: You would say, "This feels uncomfortable." If she says, "Thanks, I got it." and stops, then you've both honored the code. The incident does not need to be reported. If however she argues, blames, or rudely dismisses you with a "whatever!" and leaves you not feeling whole and complete, then your agreement is to ask her to report herself. To not is to intend it. You must be willing to source, to elicit (to cause), to be a safe space for another to give you feedback, about your verbal, non-verbal and psychic communications. In other words, it's unethical to non-verbally support another in walking around all day with bad breath. 

Note: When you report yourself it does not necessarily mean you will be punished. Most often a verbal acknowledgment, without any repeat of similar behaviors, will complete the incident.

We are going to spend this whole weekend going over just what the code of honor means.  The floor is open for discussions throughout out the 51-hour "Honor Code of Conduct—a communication workshop." No one leaves except that all are clear. To not share a thought this weekend is as good as deciding to not be an officer. I need and want to hear your biases, your prejudices, your philosophies, your belief systems. I don't care what they are. What's important is that you have the courage to share them verbally with all of us rather than communicate them non-verbally throughout your career. If you hide your thoughts you are as good as washed out.

Examples of withholds and unacknowledged perpetrations:

—often males don't take "No" for an answer, which is tantamount to date rape.

—many men believe that a woman wants a man to take her.
—another perpetration for most men and women is that they have yet to verbally acknowledge to their parents that they conned their date/partner into having sex behind the backs of both sets of parents. This is unethical.

—for females it's often that they manipulated their date into begging for sex; their first "no" was a lie and part of their seduction of the man, and then, in deceiving both sets of parents.

During such a workshop there is an out-pouring (each cadet standing and sharing with everyone) all the thoughts and beliefs you can imagine; workshops continue past midnight until everyone gets that their thoughts (good, bad, sick, noble, sexist, judgmental, evil) about men or women have been acknowledged.

More about the Air Force's honor code:

Here's a headline from the Honolulu Advertiser: (5/15/04)

"Air Force Academy head takes blame in test cheating scandal"

Here it is, only a few months later and we see that a Commandant is still using his old leadership-communication model.

Still recovering from the rape scandal cadets once again unconsciously draw our attention to the academy's leadership. It's a shame because the source of the problem is not the cadets. Leaders lead and subordinates follow. Like misbehaving children the cadets are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Most students try to do as little as possible—in this case, study. Leaders know this; however, those in the process of becoming leaders (the academy staff) cannot tell when a cadet (a subordinate) is jerking them around pretending to play the game. Cadets have absolutely no choice other than to mirror the integrity of the leader of the organization.

In this case, Lt. General John Rosa, the Academy Superintendent at the time, was missing the leadership-communication skills it takes to communicate, inspire and support the code of honor.

Cheating is a powerful communication of disrespect; it's a way of bringing to someone's attention the fact that something is wrong. The Superintendent has become stuck doing his imitation of communication. The cadets are presently faced with a dilemma. They are bound by oath to support their Commander-in-Chief yet at some level it's possible that a few hold the belief that something about the U.S. invasion of Iraq is out-integrity; therefore, getting expelled for cheating is ironically the most ethical, albeit unconscious, way of getting out of the responsibility of leading men in a battle they don't agree with. A part of an American's psyche is that a man's home is his castle; we just don't assassinate other presidents. There are other ways of communicating that will produce the desired result. —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

Even more about the effects of the leadership at the Air Force Academy


The Air Force is once again confronting a sex scandal, this time at Lackland Air Force Base. 

". . . dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors."

Col. Glenn Palmer had arrived at Lackland last year and was in charge when allegations involving more than a dozen instructors began to appear within his 737th Training Group.

Colleen McGee, chief of public affairs for Lackland's 37th Training Wing, said, "But Col. Palmer did not create the environment that created the misconduct," This statement reveals the prevailing gross misunderstanding of the word responsibility; she herself is oblivious of her responsibility for the out-integrity existing within her organization. Within hours of assuming command a leader communicates his/her standards, agreements, and rules, whereas, someone in the process of becoming a leader does not. Subordinates have no choice other than to mirror the integrity of their superior. Also, no leader accepts responsibility for a group's results except that he/she, as a condition of accepting the position, insists upon releasing and rehiring his/her choice of staff.

Yet more:


This time it's a spousal cheating scandal by David Petraeus and his spouse.* David, a graduate of West Point, became a four-star general, who later became Director of the CIA.

The root significance of this incident has yet to be mentioned in the media—the omission of which is of even greater importance to us all. Here we have one of West Point's most successful graduates who graduated without the experiential knowingness of the correlation between personal integrity and mission outcomes. 

Again we see that the prevailing leadership-communication curriculum taught at our military academies doesn't effectively address the subject of personal integrity on outcomes; if it were, General Petreaus would not have dared risk the success of our military mission in Afghanistan, and subsequently, the effects of our CIA on our nation's security. In other words, David has an understanding about the correlation between personal integrity and mission outcomes but he had/has not learned it at the level of knowing, i.e. Understanding fire burns is different than knowing fire burns. Understanding responsibility is as far from knowing as is not knowing.

Given that all deceits have undesirable consequences we might ask ourselves, "How dare Petraeus risk the lives of all those under his command?" And the answer is—it's not his fault. He was designated as a leader without having been certified as a leader by a leadership-communication skills coach (a coach can, within a single three-hour sit-down consultation, experience a person's integrity and whether they are functioning responsibly). A coach facilitates Communication Processes that restores a person's integrity. The Commandants of our military academies are both unconscious and ignorant; they can't teach (communicate) what they have not learned from direct experience. They arrogantly believe that their understanding of communication is what it is. Like all cadets, Petraeus had been introduced to the subject of integrity but not as a communication variable that affects all outcomes. He himself, if given a choice, would definitely opt for a brain surgeon who wasn't cheating on their spouse.*  We can't know for certain the effects of Petraeus's unacknowledged perpetration against his wife; however, based upon personal experience we know that we are not as sharp, not totally conscious, when our mind is clouded (partially occupied with) a perpetration or a withhold (as was the case between himself and his wife); we intuit that karma will kick-in sometime.

*  I say spouse to remind the reader that a spouse is equally responsible for the integrity of the family and the results they co-produce—equally so of an officer's  spouse. A spouse leads by example; she either inspires integrity or not. If her own integrity is out she automatically creates out-integrities between her and her spouse. Hillary Clinton unconsciously created reminders (Bill's cheating and her losing the election) to restore her integrity. An excellent indicator that there's an incomplete in the space is when neither partner can look the other in the eye for a full 15 minutes, read The Clearing Process for Couples.  A spouse who operates with integrity can tell through a micro-tell facial expression when there's an out-integrity (an incomplete) between them (read Clues that predict bankruptcy). More about infidelity "victims."

Even more:


Air Force personnel cheating on proficiency exams. And the story continues...

For more read: Communication Skills Tutorial for Vets, Supporting a Service Member and, Communicating with a Veteran.

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First Contact—acknowledgment—a story

Picture if you will that you have been floating around in the universe for as long as you can remember, just floating along experiencing the mind-blowing scenery. And, that you have been alone. You’ve always been alone and as far as you know you are the only one in the universe; it could very well be this scenario isn’t far from the truth but that’s a bit existential for this simple story about acknowledgement.

Notice we don’t continue the story with, "And then one day . . ." because there are no days or nights, there’s not even time as we know it. So, all of a sudden, literally from nowhere, you see something different off in the distance and it’s coming towards you. It generates confusion and excitement. It’s new. The closer it comes the more experiences and thoughts it triggers. Then the reality of what you’re seeing sinks in; it’s something that looks pretty much like you; in fact He/She/It is quite attractive. As this other you approaches it triggers dozens of thoughts and questions.

Once "It" is within hailing distance you yell out, "Hi." But Self #2 doesn’t reply; it ignores you as though you weren't there. And so you repeat your greeting but a bit louder, "Hello! Can you hear me?" Without waiting for a reply you burst out with a flood of questions, "Who are you?" "Do you see me?" "Can you hear me?" "Am I real?" "Hell, are you real?" Still no reply, and as it floats by and off into stellar darkness you yell out desperately, "Where are you going?" Not a nod, not even an obscene gesture (which, dear reader, I think would be hysterically funny), nothing. Now you’re left with gazillions of thoughts and for the first time ever you are out-integrity; you are not whole and complete. A part of you seems to be missing (perhaps validation). Definitely something (curiosity) has been added. You are incomplete; you've had your first interaction, your first experience of intercourse and, it was not mutually satisfying. It will affect you and all your communications for life, such is the power of an incomplete relationship.

The End. Actually there’s lots more because it poses the question of whether or not you are real; without another to acknowledge you you can’t know for certain, such is the power of a simple acknowledgement. A nod, a smile, a purposeful avoidance, a condescending put-down, even a slap assures you that you are having an effect, that you are real.

So, before we drift away from each other, I say, yes! To me you are real. Yes you are having an effect, especially your non-verbal communications and our conscious and unconscious intentions; and yes, you are entertaining me—as in causing me to think in your direction (a reaction to the experiences and thoughts that have been triggered between us). You do have my attention; I teach and write stories for you. Without you I am both nothing and everything. And, the biggie, yes, I love you.finger —by Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

For more about acknowledging read — Acknowledging a Veteran and communication breakdowns.

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Conspiracy for Mediocrity—a story

This story is about teachers and communication and what appears to be a silent unconscious conspiracy in support of mediocrity.

It's assumed that all university speech-communication professors know how to teach education majors to communicate subject matter, yet each year, for the past several decades, more and more University of Hawaii freshman have required remedial classes to learn what they were supposed to have learned in high school—the same goes for 25% of the nation's college applicants. It begs the question: “What’s happening, why aren’t university professors and high school teachers teaching as we know they can?”*

Following sheds some light on this phenomenon; its purpose is to trigger conversations that will eventually make a positive difference.

Any new programs, such as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, and Every Student Succeeds Act no matter how brilliant, will only produce more of the same if they are implemented using the prevailing communication model taught to education majors. —Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

We begin with a truism: The majority of education majors will admit that most of their Sp-Com (speech-communication) classes were the easiest (the least challenging, requiring the least amount of studying). Few college grads will say that their Sp-Com courses were transformational, that communications with everyone were never the same thereafter.

Mo betta the reputation be: "The four-year Sp-Com curriculum for education majors (including Leadership Training) is by far the most challenging and demanding of all college courses; two thirds of all applicants don't complete the curriculum."

We also need to acknowledge another uncomfortable truth. Most education majors with teaching degrees are somewhere en route to becoming a teacher. The premise—a teacher both knows the subject matter and how to communicate so that students get it. On the other hand, education majors have no choice other than to continue doing their imitation of communication; they have become stuck emulating their high school "teachers" and college Sp-Com professors.

For example: Most who have a teaching degree do not yet know how to create an effective supportable Student-Parent-Teacher Homework Agreement, one that consistently produces all homework handed in on time and neatly. Why, we ask, is this basic skill not taught?

Part of the why is because such a curriculum addresses the correlation between personal integrity and results.

The majority of education majors performing as "teachers" are dragging into each student interaction their own lifetime of accumulated perpetrations for which they have yet to be acknowledged (caught). A teacher, one who operates from integrity, can experience another's out-integrity. A student whose family doesn't operate with integrity is always looking for someone he/she can respect, someone they can't con. When a student experiences an educator who is out-integrity (connable) it triggers unconscious disrespect; such a relationship is not inspiring. A student who is out-integrity (with dozens of unacknowledged perpetrations—including hundreds of house-chores not done or done poorly) automatically mirrors an educator's out-integrity, with the student and the educator each unconsciously using the other as a means of restoring their respective integrities.

Another part of the why has to do with ego.

College education majors have an understanding of ego but their own is unacknowledged and intact. Most education majors function as though their mind is the all-knowing self. Few have experienced the profound humbling realization that they have caused (unconsciously intended) all the breakdowns in communication between them and others, including the abusive communications within their own family.  Fewer still, are willing to acknowledged that they intend (albeit unconsciously) some students to do poorly; they honestly believe that they are in-communication with the students and his/her parents.

A Teacher, having confronted (acknowledged) his/her ego, will call a communication-skills coach and ask for support getting into communication with a student and the parents who send their child to school without the homework done. An Education Major, posing as a teacher, will keep trying and not ask for coaching.

Education majors will (like an arrogant self-righteous husband, who, when prodded by his spouse, refuse to stop and ask for directions) fail a student, honestly believing that their (the education major's) reasons are the truth; such lies (even though they are unconscious) compound the consequences for the following school year.

It might be tempting to blame education majors however, it’s not their fault. For one, they haven’t been taught how to communicate subject matter (no excuses no reasons). In fact, most believe that it can't be done; the belief has been reinforced through their student-practical-teaching semester.

Most importantly, each education major graduates with his/her own unique childhood definition of the word responsibility still intact.

Ask all the educators in any school the definition of the word responsibility and you’ll get as many different definitions as there are educators; ergo, when an "education major" is asked to explain why a student failed they proffer several reasons and excuses, but not the truth. i.e. “I see now that I honestly thought I intended for the student to learn." Or, "I failed to get into communication with the student and his/her parents." Or, "I arrogantly refused to ask a communication-skills coach for free coaching.”

Notice in the above paragraph the "I" point of view with its absence of blaming excuses and reasons.

This leads to another truism: An educator mirrors the leadership-communication skills of his/her principal. Few principals have participated in a Leadership-Relationship Communication-Skills Training Program (seminars, courses, workshops, classes, yes, trainings, no); fewer still have their own leadership-relationship communication-skills coach on speed-dial. An education major will go an entire semester doing what he/she believes to be communication and predictably fail several students. Seldom do principals set goals that effectively measure whether or not a teacher can consistently produce a stated intention; few principals keep daily track of each teacher's ability to consistently cause all students to turn in their homework neatly and on time; it’s a result that requires one to enroll parents in being aligned with a Student-Parent Homework Agreement.

It's obvious from the above that although Sp-Com professors understand how to teach education majors to communicate subject matter, they simply don’t know how teach to that skill level. The test? Most every teacher could, if assigned just 5 students, cause all 5 to get a passing grade. In other words, it's not that the majority of educators don't know their subject matter, it's that they haven't been taught how to communicate it to an entire class. The Interpersonal Communication Model for teaching 1-5 students is entirely different than the Leadership-Communication Model used to teach 20-30 students. And so once again we ask, why aren't education majors taught to communicate subject matter?

Let's begin with the fact that university Sp-Com curriculum descriptions typically include words to the effect, “. . . to introduce students to the fundamentals and principles of communication.” Imagine a surgeon about to operate on your brain who had merely been introduced to the fundamentals and principles of surgery.

To be clear, unprepared university freshmen, those who require remedial courses to teach them what their high school teachers didn't, are not only a Hawaii problem. Instead of addressing the source of the problem (leadership-communication skills)** universities nationwide have resorted to improving the required remedial courses for incoming freshmen. The problem has become endemic. Education majors are being loosed on the public without having mastered the fundamentals of leadership. More accurately, they do have leadership-support skills but they unconsciously use them to ensure mediocrity. One might infer that there is a nationwide conspiracy among speech and communication professors to teach watered down courses to education majors, why else do so few teachers know how to consistently produce, “homework handed in on time and legibly?” And the answer is, tah da — FEAR.

Here's more that helps explain our unconscious commitment in support of mediocrity:

  • Education majors are not taught how to co-create agreements; few know how to consistently cause homework to be turned in on time and legibly. It would take about 60 additional semester hours, over a period of four years, to produce this result. It verges on unethical to graduate an education major who has not mastered such a basic leadership-skill as co-creating agreements. A Teacher knows that broken agreements are never ever the student's fault.

  • Most Sp-Com courses do not cover the six variables that serve as barriers to the experience of communication (acknowledgments, incompletes, integrity, perpetrations, responsibility and withholds). These variables account for all breakdowns in communication, therefore, education majors are unaware of the correlation between their own personal integrity and outcomes; they have not learned experientially that their unconscious (messy) house and car, their less-than-satisfying personal relationships, and, their withholds and incompletes with family and friends, affect all outcomes with their students. An education major's admonishments to do complete work, when delivered from hypocrisy, gets gotten as a good idea, but because the education major's household and relationships are out-integrity, such wisdom isn’t experientially inspiring.

  • Most education majors have not acknowledged, or effectively addressed, their addiction to arguing and blaming; one seldom if ever reads in a newspaper, "DOE Superintendent Ms. _ _ _ _ acknowledges that her school's poor SAT scores and funding and salary problems, mirror her leadership-communication skills.” The communication skills it would take to effect satisfactory salaries and fundings are the exact same skills it takes to communicate subject matter.

  • Creating/restoring one's integrity (the single-most important prerequisite for mastering communication) is not addressed or required in Sp-Com courses for education majors. Education majors are not required to honor all agreements, to keep their relationships clean, to resolve all upsets through to mutual satisfaction, and to deliver all upsets (zero badmouthing or gossiping) to the person with whom they have the upset. In other words, as education majors, they hypocritically advocate, do as I say, not as I do.

I trust the above is sufficient for you to acknowledged that there is a conspiracy, an unconscious commitment to mediocrity; it begs the question, how can so many brilliant professors nationwide, especially from our Ivy league colleges, conspire to not teach what they know empowers one to manifest his/her stated intentions? It’s not much of a stretch to infer that the present State of the Union mirrors our unconscious commitment to mediocrity.

All it takes to move on is simply to acknowledge what's so (more accurately, what has been so). As with alcoholism, the first step towards mastery (drinking from choice) is denial, "There ain't no stink'n conspiracy!" It's not even necessary to know why or to figure out who's been in charge or who's to blame; there's no need for more studies, all we need are some new conversations in support of the intention to communicate subject matter. —Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

* It's understood that universities need the tuitions and so they lower the standards oblivious of the correlation between personal integrity and outcomes. Most would agree that if you are not doing the job you're paid to do then you (you here meaning the Chancellor, and all Professors and Instructors) are out-integrity. What's worse is, professors and teachers reward students for not performing to a ridged standard, thereby becoming cause for the karma students reap for such a con.

** Leadership communication-skills: We all have the exact same amount of leadership-skills. Some use their skills to forward others, some unconsciously use their skills to effect mediocrity, and still others use their leadership-communication skills to thwart and sabotage. The way to discover what you've been up to is to look at the results those around you are producing. Each communication model produces different results.

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Integrity of The House—a story

During the 80's, "Roger," a friend of mine, built a beautiful ocean-front house to serve as a combination residence and venue for the various events and workshops he sponsored.

Upon completion of the house he traveled to an ashram in India; while there he invited a well known enlightened Guru to visit his new facility to give a series of talks. The Guru accepted the invitation.

Upon arrival the Guru walked around the house. Strangely, he kept asking to see more rooms. Roger followed him from room to room until the Guru finally paused, and spread his arms to indicate everything and said, "This won't work." Roger's heart fell to the floor, he had invested a small fortune in building a first-class facility; he was shocked and surprised and said, "I don't understand." The Guru said, "Something's wrong—it's the integrity of the house." Again, confused, Roger said, "What do you mean?" The Guru paused a moment and then replied, "It's the nails."  In shock, Roger, having experienced the mind-boggling wisdom of the Guru, immediately excused himself and desperately called his contractor friend who had built the house. Roger explained about the Guru's visit and what happened, and asked, "What the hell's wrong with the nails? The contractor hesitated for a few seconds and then replied, "I'll be dammed. Some guy sold me a five-gallon bucket of roofing nails for an absurdly low price. I immediately suspected they might have been stolen but ignored my hunch."

Roger shared his findings with the Guru and together they did a blessing of the house so as to wipe clean the vibrations, the negative karma, created by its stolen nails. Roger paid the contractor for the actual cost of the nails and also followed through on the Guru's suggestion and made a donation to a nonprofit. —Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

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king, kerrith—a story

Most everyone would say that I have always been a good King, a nice guy, a relatively upbeat supportive person. My story has so many unusual twists and turns that relating it accurately takes considerable time. I'm not certain if you will get value from reading it; it's documented here for my grandson Jared. This is my first attempt at an autobiography; it's about how I became king, kerrith.

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have been adopted during my first year by two young female nurses. Later, at age seven, I was returned to the orphanage—followed with subsequent moves in and out of two foster homes, two boys schools, and three high schools, through age 18. Then I joined the Navy, later the Army. I received a B.A. and an M.A. in Speech Communication (notice I don't use the word earned). I've been a Leadership-Relationship Communication-Skills Coach here in Hawaii for about 44 years.

Part of my fortune was an early childhood living with two professional females. In 1937 my two mothers were on the cutting edge of what was to come; two Protestant women, one a bisexual the other a lesbian, adopting an Irish-Italian Catholic-born child, living openly together in a predominantly Catholic Boston suburb. Imagine the conversations I overheard!

Although I don't remember any specific conversations I can imagine the unique communications that have influenced me, beginning as the ninth child in my musically talented, emotionally conflicted (four marriages), birth-mother's womb; and later, while being pampered by two loving single women committed to healing and service, both fussing over whose turn it was to change my diapers. There are thousands of impactful, also forgotten, kitchen-table conversations that surrounded me. Aside from the daily concerns of WWII one nurse-mother had an affair; she, the one who formerly adopted me, had herself been adopted. She had retained her Scottish birth-mother's last name, King, ergo, she changed my name to Kerrith Haddon (Kerry) King. It wasn't just an affair—she, a Protestant, impregnated herself using a Catholic doctor; the very same dude who later messed up my scene, my ménage à trois, changing our relationships forever—it was a full-fledged religious and community scandal. The scorned mother left us to become a career Army WWII nurse. The other-mother (I love the alliteration), married the doctor. They had three children. For some reason (duh?) the doc and I didn't get along well and I was returned to the orphanage. As one might expect, I have a few considerations about same-sex couples and adoptions in general.

The even more fortunate aspect of my moving life (pun intended) is that time and again I've seen what happens to children who were forced to stay with a dysfunctional family (argumentative, unethical parents who were out-integrity from the very beginning); most of these children are now parents raising their own children using the same adversarial communication model taught to education majors nation-wide by all university speech-communication professors.

I recall being shocked when I first heard children talk about, or talk back to, their parents; they appeared to have no sense of appreciation and respect. Now I understand the source of this disrespect. Rare is a child who is not experiencing the mind-blowing hypocrisies of today's parents and society. Topics of death, God(s), heaven, hell, religion, Santa Clause, etc., are being presented as truths instead of being clearly identified as beliefs. Fortunately, most children are eventually driven away from the daily home-life interactions with their parents—unconsciously they are driven to experience the exhilaration and freedom of true intercourse—to "find" themselves, to discover who they are. With few exceptions, parents teach their children to deceive, to withhold certain thoughts from their parents; deceit was/is the norm, evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of teens con each other into having sex behind the backs of both sets of parents. Few draw the connection between their divorces and their dating deceits.

I'll insert military and college experiences and the my support groups here:

"King, Kerrith?" Yelled the Navy Instructor. "Here sir!"

And, this is how I came to be King.

My transition from orphan to being King, Kerrith came about from studying intercultural-interpersonal communication which transitioned into me becoming a Support Group Facilitator; specifically, how to support and be supported effectively. Now I see no difference between being a Support Group Facilitator and being an effective King.

Like yourself I knew everything when I was a teen. I could see all the hypocrisies. Compromising my integrity drove me functionally crazy. I'm still a self-righteous judgmental machine. I turned my addiction into a profession. This essay seems to suggest that I'm completing my interest/need to be an educator. Whereas before I was driven to "fix" everyone, or the world, now I'm resorting back to a teen talent—of being an entertainer, an edutainer; here I am entertaining your mind. I've decided to be a New-Age King—notice that it doesn't require your approval or support? 

I believe that an effective King is constantly willing to give up micro-managing. The job of a King is to support everyone in doing his/her job. A King doesn’t attract attention other than to do what an effective King does which is to share thoughts in a way that uplifts and forwards everyone. When I’m doing my job correctly being King is effortless.

As King I have my points of view and my intentions without being attached to the results. My job is to know what your intentions are and to support them. As when a child tells his/her first lie, a parent must intend that the child lie without adding even more guilt; so too must a King support the parade to go in the direction it’s going. Making grass wrong for being green is not very masterful.

Sometimes as a parent one must sit silently in the passenger’s seat while their child makes a wrong turn, trusting that they will soon figure out what works without being yelled at, corrected, or accidentally made wrong. I consider divorcing my first wife, when my son was ten-years-old, as one of the finest gifts I've ever given. My son didn't have to undo years of harmful coaching, all my good ideas of how to make it in the world. Most fathers do their imitation of fathering based upon experiences with their own father; me, not having a single sit-down conversation with any adult (male or female) during my entire childhood left me worse than clueless. I had few ideas of how to be or how not to be. In typical dysfunctional families a child tries to be like, or not be like, one or both of their parents. Ironically, this leaves a child at effect, not in choice. It takes a child a long time to discover who they really are. Who they really are is like both and not like either.

I see that my job is to tell the truth and to support others in telling the truth. I’m intending on being a New-Age King, one who has absolutely no authority, nor any ability to withhold or punish, I see myself as an advisor that only likes to be listen too, not necessarily followed.

This is one of those never ending stories . . . no doubt there’s more. I’m open to suggestions. –Kerrith H. (Kerry) King

* For more about king, kerrith

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Other recommended readings, Abuse and Some Thoughts About Spanking.

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