Thursday, August 6th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Beacons and Meacons


I am a believer in the concept, 'When the student is ready, the teacher appears.' So when I heard about beacons and meacons a few months ago, I listened intently. A meacon is what pilots and navigators call what appears to be a beacon but is actually intended to mislead.

Intended to mislead! The concept grabbed me. I don't look for signs that someone is intentionally misleading me, but hearing the words stirred something in me that I needed to contemplate. There have been people in my life who were meacons; I just didn't identify them that way.

The scary part is not that I didn't identify them as meacons; the scary part is that I thought they were beacons, showing me the way. I don't think there have been many meacons in my life but, on close examination, I realize there have been a few significant meacons in every aspect of my life.

It's easy to point a finger and blame
a meacon who deceived me into thinking
I had a beacon to help me. But I have to
take responsibility for allowing myself
to be deceived. I don't think I'm alone
- when our need to believe is great enough,
I think most of us ignore signs that tell us
our beacon is a meacon.

Do you get strong gut feelings about some people? I do. When my gut feeling tells me someone is a wonderful person, I have a peaceful comfort level when I'm with that person. The Reverend Chuck Moseley comes to mind, as do Peter and Angie Lowry, Senator Harry Blevins, Debbie Hobbs, Ken and Anne Ablett, Reverend Bill Austin, Sandy Paradelas, Mardie DeFeo and Jesse Williams - people many of us know and respect. These people are beacons and we feel it deep down at our core.

On the other hand, there are people whom we instinctively feel discomfort with even when we don't know why. When I look back at people who have turned out to be meacons, I realize I knew at my core there was something wrong - I just didn't know what it was. Maybe I didn't want to know.

When people are important to us, we make excuses for them, justify their bad behavior, tell ourselves we are not being fair to them - whatever works to maintain the relationship we think we need. I've known business owners who suspected an employee was stealing but were afraid to lose the income the employee brought into the business.

Grown children desperate for one parent's affection will allow that parent to cut them off from another parent. Spouses stay with abusive mates. Often people make decisions to ignore what is obvious reality to others around them: a meacon can deceive others for a long time.

There are examples of meacons in every phase of life. Shame on them for trying to deceive. Shame on us for ignoring our God-given gut instincts.

I am so thrilled to be more in tune with what I sense at my core these days. When I pay attention, I'm okay. When I don't, I pay in many other ways.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.