Jan 29

When Opportunity Opens Another Door – Walk Through It

Life is full of twists and turns. Very few of us escape without going through the highs and lows – celebrations, joy, disappointments and grief.  We have wonderful moments that are embedded in our memories for a lifetime, and we also have tragedies that can make or break us. Through it all we usually will find that when one door closes opportunity opens another door. I believe everything happens for a reason, and although it may not seem so at the time, we learn from everything that happens to us.

Twenty years ago I lost my husband in a hunting accident. I had four children, three of whom were under 14, and I had just started working for a local weekly newspaper the week before his death doing cut and paste ads and layout.

Although I had college credits, I did not have a degree, nor any education in design, experience in advertising, and had never worked for a newspapers. To make a long story short, I took a small portion of the insurance money and purchased a computer, teaching myself graphic design and layout. It came in handy when two employees sabotaged the newspaper’s new computers when they were fired, and the paper was due to go to print that day. They may have underestimated my ability to get the paper out anyway – but I did!

After a couple years of learning the behind-the-scenes of newspaper publishing, and because I saw people were influencing the owner’s editorial and paper content toward their personal agendas, I decided to strike out on my own and start my own weekly newspaper. I informed my employer of my intentions, and assured him I would not take his advertisers. I wanted to be above board with him (and because I kept my word we remain friends today).

when opportunity knocksWith the help of a couple friends, I ran the paper out of my home for the first year, and it was successful – and popular. I then moved to a small office. Unfortunately, even though I did the majority of the work myself, print newspapers were becoming dinosaurs and financially it became too much, so I changed gears.

I never thought of the closing of the paper as a failure. It was a free paper, and most people at the beginning didn’t give me a month before I would fold. I never let someone tell me I couldn’t do something, it just spurred me on to prove them wrong.

I had to earn my acceptance into the Michigan Press Association, and I was able to make some significant changes in the community, expose graft and corruption in the local landfill, and save some jobs by getting people together to mediate instead of argue.

My tenure as a newspaper publisher may have only been four years, but it was the most gratifying time in my life. I learned I could succeed at anything if I wanted it badly enough. I set a goal, and attained it. It brought me the confidence I needed to become an entrepreneur in other ventures, and gave me the confidence to strike out and pursue one of my life’s passions, to become a writer.

Life is comprised of challenges, and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If my husband hadn’t died I may never have had the confidence, or the funding, to strike out on my own. It may be a cliché, but for every door that closes opportunity opens another door. You just have to be ready to walk through it.

Jan 19

Music Memories That Will Never Pass

Music plays a large part in many of our lives. It can heal the pain, at least for the moment; it can bring you joy; it can motivate you to move (and even exercise); it can spiritually life us; and it touches our soul in a way few books or movies ever can.

Before there was television and the big screen, there was music.

So many stand-out people in the music industry have passed recently – David Bowie; Natalie Cole; Glenn Frey of the Eagles; Dale Griffin of Mott the Hoople; Celine Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil – who discovered her and was her agent; Otis Clay, soul singer and member of the Blues Hall of Fame; Country singer Craig Strickland; and Robert Stigwood, manager for Cream and the Bee Gees before producing a string of popular musicals and films including “Grease.”

Each of these people contributed to hours of entertainment for us, and will be deeply missed. They bring back so many good memories.

Music_QuoteI am not musically inclined – although I certainly try to sing whenever I get the chance. I am especially known for cranking the volume up in my car and driving down the street singing at the top of my lungs. I don’t care if others hear me, or laugh at me, I just enjoy the way the music makes me feel. I even had a game when the kids were little that drove them crazy – they would say a word or phrase and I would come up with a song (of course I sang it) that had those words in it. It was stump mom, and I usually won.

Growing up in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s I was fortunate to be living during the ground floor of some of the most innovative music that will ever be introduced. I sat on my living room floor and watched the Beatles perform on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” and it was on that same stage I watched Elvis swivel for the first time on national TV (or at least his top half).

We always carried around a radio (no, boomboxes or MP players were not invented yet) wherever we went, and we all had a collection of singles and LP’s that we would play until the grooves wore down.

When I was sad or in a funk I would play Barbara Streisand, Neil Young or Barry Manilow. I would put on a sad song that would allow me to feel the pain, and wallow in my misery – and then the next song would bring me out of it.

I had just graduated from high school when Woodstock took place, and boy did I want to pick up and go see some of the greatest musicians, and listen to the best music that ever was played.

When I was in college I got into the Columbia Record Club, where they send you 12 free albums if you purchase one a month for a year. It was a bad decision, but I was able to get Janice Joplin; The Doors; the Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” (which we tried to play backwards to see if there was some devil-voodoo thing happening); Chicago; The Who; and so many more that are classics today. If I still had those original albums today they would be worth some money.

I can still sing the words to most of the songs back then. It was a magical time – in our country and in music. I don’t believe we will see an era like that again. Now, many of the players in these bands are passing away, and it feels like part of me is going with them. It’s not like when Janice Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix passed it was sad but different. Now that I am in my “golden” years the passing of icons I grew up with makes me more cognizant of my own mortality.

Musicians pass, and new ones come in. They are not being replaced, but simply being relegated to a higher position. Their music, however, will live on forever – on a variety of different technical devices.

I just wish I could figure out how to get the music I have on CD’s into my MP3 player, and work it (It doesn’t have any buttons!). The music goes on, but I may have to resort to sitting in my car and listening to the oldies on the radio.

 

#music #musicicons #musicmemories

Jan 17

Is Being Passionate Good or Bad?

Passion is the light that guides your way. Having passion – an intense feeling of excitement, or a strong and barely controlled emotion, can be both good and bad. Being passionate shows that you are deeply involved in whatever event or topic is taking place. There certainly is nothing wrong with having deep feelings of emotion.

My sons are passionate about the Denver Broncos NFL football team. They attend as many games as they can, have rituals and superstitions (They even banned me from watching the games one year because when I watched they lost, and when I didn’t they won.) that they are (almost) religious about carrying out before each game. This type of passion is fun, and does no harm. It’s a healthy passion.

I am passionate about my family, politics, education, and a variety of other things – as you can tell from my blog posts. Sometimes I do get carried away in defending my passions, but that only mean that I care deeply about what I believe is integrity and a good and honest code of ethics. I do not use being passionate as an excuse to do harm.

I am passionate about improving conditions, and leaving things better than what I found them. That includes people. We ARE our brothers keeper, and that means we treat them the same way we would like to be treated ourselves, and go out of our way to be kind and show compassion when we can.reason guides us

Being passionate is not a bad thing – unless we use it to harm others, or allow others to do harm and sit back and watch.

I recently saw a video on Facebook where a man picked up a dog and threw it off a bridge. It died on impact (hopefully it died and did not linger). There was another person who filmed it – and then must have thought it was funny because he put it on Facebook. This was nothing but evil – and a lot of passionate people who believe animals have the right to be treated well and fairly were outraged – as they should be.

I saw a video of a military veteran who stopped his car and confront a group of people who were using the flag (or a representation of the flag) to protest against the government. The veteran did not have a problem with their protesting; he had a problem with their misuse of the flag to do it (the flag was upside down). He was passionate about the misuse of the flag that he, and many others, fought for and defended. Those who didn’t see military service would not understand that passion. I believe he was right.

People are passionate about the fact that Michigan Gov. Pence would allow thousands of people to drink tainted water in Flint, and do nothing to help them – until he was confronted. People’s health was being harmed, and his policies were allowing it to happen. Those who fought to get him to give the town assistance, and ask for federal government disaster relief, were passionate about their cause – and they were right.

People have a right to have their own deep-seeded feelings about religion, race and morals, and we don’t have to agree with them, but we do have to acknowledge that they have the right to their own thoughts. What is wrong, and when being passionate is bad, is when people act on their personal feeling in such a negative way as to do harm to others. You have a right to your feelings and opinions; you do not have a right to act in such a way as to attack those who differ from you. Is hate speech free speech?

What makes matters worse is when leaders – either by speech or by force, incite in others who have their like-mindedness, to do harm (either by endorsing what they do or sitting back and allowing it to happen without response). They will agitate the crowd into a frenzy – by definition an intense and usually wild, and often disorderly compulsive or agitated activity. They are either taking advantage of those who are easily manipulated to react as they wanted, or they are taking their passion into a negative and evil course. Either way – it’s bad, and very destructive.

Being passionate can have two sides. Using your passion to improve conditions, or simply to have fun, is a good thing. Taking your passion to destroy or do harm is not. A negative response never turns out well.

Which way are you taking your passion?

 

#beingpassionate #passionatereactions #passiongoodandbad

Jan 10

Reasons I Can Not Support Donald Trump for President

I have accused Trump and Republican supporters in the past of only getting their opinions from Fox News. They counter that CNN, MSNBC and others are just the flip side. That may be true, which is why I get my news from many different sources. I’ve also studied our Constitution, and history – ours and other countries. Knowing what has come before allows us to learn and not make the same mistakes again.

I’ve been reading about Donald Trump for many years, and can’t find a lot of positive about the way he conducts business, or his personal life. He criticizes people for outsourcing, yet his entire clothing line was outsourced. He criticizes people for bad personal conduct, yet his is no pillar of integrity. He has hired people from other countries, yet his wife is an immigrant and he still criticizes immigration. You can’t condemn others for something you do yourself – you are not exempt.

Donald Trump’s business practices of utilizing eminent domain to get property he wants – even if it means casting out people who have been in their homes for generations, is inhumane, and shows greed is more important than human life. His need to place his name in EXTREMELY large letters on everything shows a need to be recognized and accepted – even perhaps feared. It also shows an immaturity level that should not be part of our leadership. The fact that he was to have a comback for everyone who criticizes him also shows a lack of self-esteem.

He is a great showman, I’ll give him that, he may even be a good manager, but he is not a great business model, and definitely not a great image for our country. Leadership

I agree a business leader, and not a politician, would be perfect for our country. We need someone who understands business; how to deal with employees; has excellent negotiating skills; and keeps an eye on the bottom line while maintaining integrity and balance in all other areas. The right one, however, has to also be kept abreast of world issues and who actually has taken the time to find out what really is happening in the world. Getting all your information from television news, as Trump has admitted to doing, is not a leader who takes the time and effort to do some homework. Ask him the names of world leaders. Ask him where a certain country is located on the map. Will he be able to greet other leaders in the style that does not show disrespect to their culture?

You can’t represent the majority of the people when you only listen to those around you, who only agree with you, and have never had to work for a living to know what it’s like to struggle.

A leader accepts viewpoints from all sides, and weighs the pros and the cons. He does not surround himself with “yes” men, because he won’t get another point of view that may be different – but work better. A leader accepts everyone, does not belittle anyone, does not judge on the basis of looks, and sees the value in all of us. Donald Trump is not a leader.

As for welfare – I don’t collect it, but I know a couple people who have and it’s not that great. They have to go to school, and show they have applied for employment, before they can receive it.

I HAVE had to resort to food stamps a couple times (when my husband was in the military), it is no walk in the park to qualify, and it’s embarrassing to have to use them. Very few people on them eat like kings, they don’t give you enough for that, and they have to support their families. If they buy a piece of steak, it’s to cut up into more than one meal, usually a casserole or stew, and that’s rare that you can buy a piece of beef. True, a few (very few) abuse the system, but statistically most on food stamps and welfare are people who WORK for a living and have children, but just don’t bring in enough to support their families; are older and on Social Security; or disabled.

Unless you have been in that position you can’t judge. Perhaps a trip to the DHS office, and talking to the people who sit in there waiting for an appointment, will change your mind – maybe just talk to the woman who does your nails, or a server at your favorite restaurant, they can tell you how hard it is to make it with even two incomes, let alone one.

I cry when I read people making comments about those on welfare or food stamps because I know they’ve never had to struggle that hard – or been at the end of their rope and had to resort to that. Sometimes struggling makes us more conscious of what others are going through. Most who are able don’t stay on them very long, and many have even gone on to great things. Welfare and food stamps are not meant to live on, but to help as we try to struggle to move on.

I don’t want our leader to send our kids to war just because he has a personal vendetta against another leader or country. War is the last resort, not the first one. It’s obvious the ones who propose accelerating the wars we are already in will not be sending their children (Donald Trump got 5 deferments so he didn’t have to go – my mother was the head of Selective Service (the draft board) in our county and later the State of Indiana, and she told stories of how rich kids got out of it.).

Having lived a military life I don’t want to see more families have a chaplain and an officer knock on their door because our leader does not have the integrity and personality to understand that negotiating works better than bullying. Personality plays a big part in leadership.

We are STILL the greatest nation in the world, that has never changed, but as in all countries throughout time, we have our struggles – and we come out of them bigger and stronger than before. We can NOT live in fear of people who are different from us – if we did we would NEVER have taken in people during the potato famine in Ireland, or Jews escaping from the Nazis. Yes, we are not perfect, but we can’t progress by impeding any type of negotiation or compromise – or by classifying everyone who is different from you as the enemy.

We are lucky enough to live in a time when we can easily research other cultures, and speak to them via social media. We fear most what we don’t understand. Not all Muslims are to be feared, just as not all Irish are drunks. Stereotyping people does not make it true.

Do I think we should take from the rich and give to the poor? NO, I believe if you earned it you should keep your share of it, but I do think the gap between the executives in corporations and the profits could be lowered. NO ONE is worth hundreds of millions, especially while their employees are working at minimum wage. I realize you have an obligation to your investors, but get real – if you didn’t take such a large salary your investors would still have their money.

Our tax system is ridiculous. I believe that a fair way to go is to have a flat tax system – where everyone pays the same percentage. I don’t believe in ridiculous earned-income incentives any more than I believe in large tax loopholes. That puts me in a quarrel with a lot of people, but it would put us back on the road to a middle class again, and where people aren’t angry that the rich get away with so much more.

Anyway, these are the reasons I can not support Donald Trump for President (and more). I could go on forever, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

GOD Bless America.

#Icannotsupportdonaldtrump #donaldtrump

Jan 08

Understanding What You Fear

It was Albert Einstein who said, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” He meant that the only way to find an answer that will solve problems – international, within a country, or in your personal life, is through communication and getting to sit down and talk about what is causing the tensions.

Fear is brought about because of a perception that we should be afraid of what we don’t understand.

In our personal lives, parents have learned that forcing a teen to do as they say does not accomplish anything. You can ground them, take away their cell phones and video games, and even force them to do chores – but it won’t (in most cases) stop them from doing something they think they have to do. They will simply find a way to do it anyway, but behind your back.Peace can not be kept by force

The parent thinks the child is wrong, and in order to protect them from themselves they use force (sometimes physical, sometimes emotional). The child feels as if the parent does not know what they are talking about, and they know what is best.

Neither one has taken the time to communicate their sides in a calm and open manner. They feel they are right and the other is wrong, and that’s it. It is then open war on each other – and neither side will win in the end. Neither tried understanding the other’s point of view.

This is how the world works too. Each person or group has an opinion, and they feel they are right and the other side is wrong. Neither will take the time to sit down and listen to what the other side is feeling or thinking. There is no gray area – it’s all black and white.

Imagine what the world would be if, instead of us making enemies of those who do not believe the same as we do, we actually LISTEN to their side (without jumping in to argue) and at least try understanding where they are coming from.

It has been said that EDUCATION is the best way to peace. That is what Albert Einstein is saying. We can only achieve some semblance of understanding by learning about others. We can always find common ground – and from that we can grow.

Instead of looking for the dark side of life – like assuming someone of another religion is evil, or believing that the color of the skin makes that person different from us in all ways, try getting to know them (and you can start one person at a time). Read about their culture. Read about their religion. Ask questions of people who are in that culture.

You will find, by taking the effort to learn and understand, that you are not filled with so much fear. What a weight that will lift from your life.

Try learning about what you fear, and you will find it’s not all that scary.

 

#understandingyourfears #understandingyourenemies #peacecantcomefromforce

Sep 28

Are We Raising Anxious Children?

My grandson is 6-years-old and he and his mother live with me. He is afraid of everything with a stethoscope, and anything that crawls or flies. He has gag reflexes when he thinks he has to taste anything different, gets anxious when he sees a bug; and spits constantly because he believes he has dog hair in his mouth (yet is constantly romping with his dogs).,

He won’t eat what we cook, won’t touch vegetables or fruit, and won’t drink plain water. At school, however, he tries everything they give him to eat. Somehow the same food, often made by the same companies, is edible – yet not at home.

If we tell him he has a doctor’s appointment, the night before he will ask dozens of questions and have bad dreams – even for a simple check up.

He is a very shy boy, but a teacher’s dream. He is polite, and listens (at least at school). He is kind to others, and shows compassion when someone gets hurt.

boy-biting-his-nails-He also bites his nails – I believe because he puts so much pressure on himself to not get something wrong or get into trouble – even though we tell him we don’t expect him to be right all the time.

Because of his attitude, I am afraid he is setting himself up to be a bully’s victim.

We have put him into karate, because although we don’t believe hitting is the appropriate response we want him to be able to defend himself if he needs to – he got bored. We signed him up for soccer – he was afraid to play when he found out there would be people watching the game. He isn’t interested in baseball, football or outside games – just video games. We have now signed him up for Cub Scouts (keeping our fingers crossed he will come out of his shell).

Do the anxieties of the parent become the reality of the child? I firmly believe these anxieties come from those around him. Although I calmly get up when I see a bug, grab a fly swatter, and either kill it or scare it off, his mother does do a dance when she sees bees and crawly things.

Neither of us are confrontational people, but are not afraid to stand up for ourselves and want him to be the same way. We confront when necessary – or when we see someone or an animal being mistreated.

Authors of the book Anxious Kids Anxious Parents say: “Worry and anxiety are normal. They show up when you are doing something new or different or challenging. Your job is to step into the uncertainty of life, not away from it. Knowing how to respond to your worry — not how to eliminate it — is the key. Parents must focus on raising children that can tolerate uncertainty and problem solve so that kids feel equipped as they grow.”

What can be done to bring a child out of their shell? How can we effectively stop their anxiety? Shy and anxious children often become depressed. We don’t want that to happen to him.

If anyone has any suggestions that they found have worked for them, please let me know.

#anxiouschildren #anxiety #shyandanxiouschildren

Sep 15

Facebook Has Opened My Eyes

Prior to Facebook and other social media I must have been living in a bubble. I thought I had lived a good life, and seen much more than many. I have seen man’s inhumanity to man in many forms, and also the goodness in people, yet I was somehow protected from so much.

I’ve read the history books (something our politicians obviously have not), and worked in politics. I’ve seen how corrupt and manipulative it can be. Still I tried to fight against the greed and inequality as best I could – through articles and owning a local newspaper.

I was raised a Catholic, which obviously is the “liberal” end of Christianity. I didn’t realize that the Jesus I was taught to love, and who loved and accepted all men no matter what, was not the same Jesus other Christians are praying to. Living in the Midwest I didn’t realize the degree of hate people had for people of color, or whose religion did not agree with them. They wallow in their ignorance of other cultures. These “Christians” forget that Jesus was a JEW – he was born a Jew and died a Jew. He did not read, or write, the Bible. He may not have read at all, and if he did it was one of the Aramaic translations. He was NOT white, he was of Middle Eastern descent – just like the Iranians are today that they seem to hate. I just accepted everyone as being HUMAN, and the differences were in culture and the varying degrees of color in our skin (underneath we all are the same, if you were to cut us open). I was naïve. I thought being a Christian was being “Christ-like” and not hateful and cruel.

I attended private and public schools, so I’ve seen how income can affect the way people perceive you. I’ve also seen what good teachers can accomplish, and how bad teachers can extinguish the desire to go to school. I attended a mixed school later in high school, and had (and still have) many black friends. We respected each other, and I could not conceive of them being treated any differently than I was (although I know now that was naïve of me).

facebook depressionI’ve seen bullying in different forms – mostly done by adults who believe their position gives them extra privileges. I have even been bullied myself, and it carried down to how they treated my children, when I did not write an editorial that pleased a teacher, school board member or local politician. Even though I learned in my 20’s that politics was slanted, I still had hope that the majority of people who served did it to help, and not for personal gain.

I have NOT, however, experienced the immense amount of hate, judging and acceptance of hate as I’ve seen since I joined Facebook.

I often sit in awe (and sometimes I don’t just sit, I interact with the computer) at how cruel people can be to each other. I watch videos of teens bullying other people, and nobody stepping in to stop it – but can still video it.

I’ve read horror stories about some parents unimaginable treatment of their children, and listened to politicians and preachers try to validate their opinions or increase their popularity by inciting hate and bigotry in others.

I am ashamed of some of the things people accept as truth because of the source it comes from, and not from finding out for themselves what is right or wrong. I’ve learned that if you repeat something often enough it becomes fact to some people (something Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and other Nazis have stated) – whether it is or not, and there is no changing their mind with the truth and facts.

I have become frightened for our county, one that once was thought of as a great and caring nation – full of hard-working people who accept others and embraced them for their differences as much as for their similarities. This is one of the reasons so many people want to come here – and why our ancestors came here.

I have lived through my best friend being murdered; advertisers to my small newspaper being bullied by larger ones and those in power who didn’t agree with my exposes to put me out of business. My children lived through being treated differently in school because their teachers did not like my editorial. I have been looked at and treated as stupid because I was not good looking enough, or rich enough, or did not have as much education as they think I should have. I have been a single parent, and a woman in a man’s world. This has not deterred me. I still had hope for the future I was raising my children and grandchildren in.

I also have been lucky, and grateful, for the wonderful people I have seen and met who have shown me what amazing creatures mankind can be, and what can be accomplished by working together for a good purpose.

Although Facebook and social media have a lot of darkness in them, and spending a lot of time on there can be very depressing, there is also a lot of light. Even though the number of wonderful things and miracles people do for others is not posted as often, there is still enough light getting in to keep the flicker of hope alive. These pieces of light show that there is a possibility that things will turn out for the good.

We can only hope.

In the meantime, I will spend less time on Facebook getting depressed, and more time trying to find the silver lining and work for a change.

#hopeforthefuture #facebook #howFacebookdepressespeople

Aug 15

The Loss Of Good Teachers In Public Education

Good teachers are not there for the paycheck and the summers off, it is a calling – and not just anyone can excel at teaching.

When I was younger I used to hear people say, “Those who can’t teach.” They were so wrong. It takes a special kind of person to be a good teacher. It takes a love for certain subjects, and a love for the children. It allows a person to take their passion and pass that knowledge down so others can learn and in turn teach it to others. Framing the curriculum in such a way that makes the subject matter interesting takes an art that not everyone possesses.

I’ve also seen a bad teachers change a student – and that experience alters their outlook on education forever. Fortunately, there are more good teachers than bad. It is not the job of the state or national government, however, to decide how well our teachers are doing at their job – that is the job of the school board. Leave it on the local level.

good teachersWhen good teachers decides that they have to leave their passion, it is not because they lost the desire to teach, it’s because there were too many obstacles placed in their paths making them unable to do their job. A good example is this article, which contains a letter written by a seasoned teacher, as to why she has to leave her beloved teaching job in a Michigan public school because of all the governmental restraints placed on teachers.

It is a sad commentary to our public educational system. We are losing our best teachers because government is taking over education. They aren’t doing a good job at governing, so why try taking over something they are not equipped, or qualified, to handle?

What SHOULD BE the most important job in our country (our world) is the teaching of our youth to be in a position to take over when the time comes. Education has been relegated to a line item on a budget that is constantly being slashed to make room for pork items (basketball stadiums, roads to nowhere, etc), that cost the taxpayers more money and for which most will not benefit.

We need to keep investing in education – not only public education for our younger children, but making it affordable for everyone through college. Our top priority is our children and their education. They shouldn’t have to go into debt to get through school, and they shouldn’t be regulated as to how they pursue their passion after they graduate.

Our good teachers are worth much more than we will ever be able to pay them. Their bonus is seeing a student understand what they have taught, and use that knowledge as they progress in life. Their rewards are the success of their students.

Anyone who thinks otherwise obviously never had good teachers. Let our teachers teach, and take away their restraints.

 

 

Aug 09

Football Hall of Famer Junior Seau Was Larger Than Life

Normally I have not gotten close enough to a professional athlete, or celebrity for that matter, to feel more than sadness for a passing of a life. Junior Seau was an exception, and his passing impacted me on a personal level. I watched his daughter give the speech she had prepared for his induction into the Football Hall of Fame in her hotel room (click here to hear her speech) and was not able to give on stage. It brought back one single incident that exemplified the type of man Junior Seau was. I have published this story before on other sites, but I want to share it again.

Many years ago I had the pleasure to meet Junior while he was still a senior at Oceanside High School in California, and not famous except in his high school and athletic circle. Very seldom does a brief encounter leave a lasting impression, but this one did, and I have never forgotten it, even all these years later.

My husband was a Marine, and we were stationed at Camp Pendleton. My oldest son was a freshman at Oceanside High School when Junior was a senior. In the world of high school that is a big chasm. Junior was BMOC, captain of the football team, best baseball player, basketball star, etc. He also was a very handsome young man, so very popular with everyone.

junior seau2Seniors don’t pay attention to freshmen, even if they are on the football team together. My son Todd was good at football, but not a first or second stringer at that time, and it was a large team.

One weekend our family decided to go to the local movie theater. Junior was standing in the lobby with a group of senior athletes wearing their letter jackets, and their girlfriends, when we came in. He saw my son, gave him a nod of acknowledgement, which would have been sufficient, but then left his group and came over to shake Todd’s hand and introduce himself to us.

This may not seem like much, but it was a big deal to Todd that someone as important as Junior in school would even acknowledges him in public. It certainly impressed me. He was a kind and considerate young man, and thought about others. No one was a stranger when Junior was around.

Years later, when Junior was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, we followed his career with joy. He deserved all the success he received, and all the community work he did outside the stadium just reinforced my original impression of him. You never saw him without a smile, and there wasn’t anyone he looked down on or felt better than.

Junior came from a large Samoan family, and they have a large community in the Oceanside and San Diego area. My heart goes out to them for their loss, and to the community to which he devoted much of his time.

One of the regular writing jobs I have done over the years consists of writing about the brain and things that affect it. I have written several articles on brain injuries, and concussions especially, among athletes. Every time I wrote about the NFL players fighting the league’s cavalier attitude toward the long-term effect of concussion I looked for Junior’s name on the list of defendants. I had hoped he was one of the lucky ones, but when I heard about his suicide in 2012 it saddened me to realize that something could have been done to help him before it ended like this.

Concussion damage may not be something that manifests itself immediately after the incidentjunior seau. It could be many years later, and shows up in changes in personality – especially depression.

People like Junior never want others to know they are having problems. Culturally the man was the tower of strength. It saddens me to think he could have been helped if he had only told someone he was having problems, and they had listened.

Goodby Junior Seau. You were an angel here on earth, and now you are wrapping those big arms around others and protecting them. Even in death you continue to leave an impact. You deserve the honor of being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame, and judging from your daughter – your legacy lives on.

 

#JuniorSeau #HallofFamerJuniorSeau #JuniorSeaulegacy

Aug 08

Is Anger How We Choose Our Leaders?

Are we the most productive when we are angry? Is it the motivator for getting things done? Some seem to think it is. The problem is, how can we channel that anger to be productive in a positive way, and not negative?

When one individual person gets angry he/she can often take it out on someone else, or they can incite others to be angry too. This can be taken out in a violent way, which could lead to riots and destruction – but, if it were channeled into a positive force it could move mountains.

Anger often results in change. If enough people get angry about something they organize themselves and work to do something about it. If enough voices are being heard there is so much attention it can’t be ignored. Then action takes place. If the result is still not what is what they set out for, they incite more people to get angry and more voices are heard – and the end result then could be what is wanted.

If people are angry enough at the government they will do something to change it – meaning organizing a movement to elect new leaders. If enough people getting angry at the current leaders, and if they can get motivated enough to get out and work and vote, this movement can lead to a positive change (at least for a short time).

angerThe problem with a group that organizes from the standpoint of anger is that they take in others who don’t always know what they are angry about, but want to be part of the change. They only listen to what others tell them is the problem, and don’t take the time to actually find out for themselves if they are angry about the right thing. They choose a leader who is loud and angry, and then stand behind him – even though in their hearts they soon realize that person is not the spokesman they would have chosen if they weren’t so angry to begin with and just want change.

There is nothing wrong with getting angry. It’s a healthy emotion. Some people take it out by releasing it in a positive way – others do the opposite. Either way gets results, but in the end the negative approach usually does not make things any better than what you started being angry about.

When you choose the leader for your country you want him/her to be empathetic to the struggles of the average person. You want them to understand what it’s like to work for a living and want to raise your family in a safe environment. You want someone who is compassionate to those in need, and doesn’t expect anything in return if he/she offers help. You don’t want someone who takes advantage, but someone who gives advantage.

A national leader is someone who will not send our children to war without a good reason, and will work with all their might to avoid it if possible (but not afraid to move quickly if necessary to protect our country). You want someone with tact and diplomacy, not someone who just says what comes into their head. Diplomacy is a very fragile thing. You want someone who will not jump first and ask questions later, but someone who takes their time to research the best alternatives for everyone, not just their own party or friends.

Anger may get us moving, but it can also make us react instead of act. Let it keep you fueled, but don’t allow it to get out of control. It’s really easy to start a riot, and much harder to stop it.

Choosing a leader we can respect and follow takes more than just agreeing with what they have to say. It takes believing they can follow through with a clear head and an open mind as they tackle issues that involve more than just their immediate following. You have the opportunity to choose, so choose wisely – not out of anger for a change.

Understand what you are angry about, and then be smart in how you are going to go about making the change. Don’t just pick up a stone and start throwing – but pick a group of smart and informed people and start strategizing.

 

#anger #angerinpolitics #angerisamotivator

Aug 03

No One Can Make You Feel Inferior

Are you allowing others to make you feel less than you are? Take control of your life now. Discount those who are negative in your life, and do not support you in your dreams. You are the only one who can hold you back. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “No one can make you feel inferior.”

 

no one can make you feel inferior

#takecontrolofyourlife #dontletanyonemakeyoufeelinferior

Jul 29

How do you define a hero?

I used to think the word “hero” was overused. It has been used to describe someone who goes above and beyond what is expected – to save lives or perform some type of extraordinary act. I sometimes scoff when the word hero is used in a way that really doesn’t seem to fit – but then maybe it’s me that should rethink the definition. There are varying degrees of heroism. How do you define a hero?

The dictionary describes a hero as:

  • A mythological or legendary figure, often of divine descent, endowed with great strength or ability
  • An illustrious warrior
  • A man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
  • One who shows great courage
  • The principal male character (protagonist) in a literary or dramatic work
  • The central figure in an event, period, or movement
  • An object of extreme admiration and devotion :  idol

My husband says he thinks a hero is one who does something for someone else when it would have been much easier not to. It could be a little thing, like plowing their neighbor’s driveway in the winter, or going to check up on someone because they are concerned. That’s a good explanation. Everyday people perform acts of heroism from time to time.

heroesOur soldiers, police and firefighters are heroes – they risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect. Their families also are heroes, because they make life easier for these heroes to return to a normal life after their duty is done – as well as worry their loved one will be injured or killed in the line of duty.

Our doctors and nurses are everyday heroes, giving of themselves so others can be healthy.

I do not think someone who performs their job well is a hero – unless they are also helping others to become better people, or teaching and mentoring others to become successful.

Does that mean all leaders are heroes? Not necessarily. Not all politicians are heroes. It all depends on the reason behind what they are doing. There are some who actually are there to help, while others are there to help themselves.

Positions do not make a hero, its attitude and perseverance. It’s the willingness to put oneself out there for the greater good, even if it is hard. It’s continuously being there to support and protect. It’s thinking of someone else first, and not of the consequences to yourself. It’s spending time with a child when you would rather be watching the game. It’s being someone to look up to for their good qualities, and someone you want to emulate.

If I were to actually think about it, most people perform some type of act, even small, that someone else will appreciate. They did something admirable, maybe even heroic, in some small way.

Good parents are our everyday heroes, as are grandparents, who teach you values you retain for the rest of your life. Teachers are everyday heroes. Even the clerk at the grocery store, who puts that extra change into the till from his/her own pocket because you just didn’t have enough to cover the bill. Small bits of kindness, done without an ulterior motive – those are our everyday heroes.

People who work for/with charities for the betterment of man and animals – those are heroes. Those who do their part to preserve the well-being of the planet – those are everyday heroes.

Do you have to perform exceptional acts of bravery to be a hero? No. You just have to be there for others. That’s a hero in my book.

Jun 21

Tribute To Father Figures Everywhere

My siblings and I were adopted by two loving people who tried to do the best for us. We were lucky to have the opportunity to go to good public and private schools; have a nice home and vacations; and learn from two of the mother, father and teachers a child could have. Things could have been so different.

I had just turned 19 when my father died. My brother was 16, and my sister was 12. He was strict, but fair, and probably one of the smartest people I have ever known in my (now) long life. I still speak to him and ask for help and advice – and I believe he has helped me through some very difficult times.

Dad worked a lot, but he came home at night to laugh with us, and he was always available to answer questions. He took us to the circus, and showed us how to skate (photo of my brother and I with our dad). He was there to catch us when he took the training wheels off our bikes, and he showed us the right way to hold a baseball bat and throw a fastball. He also taught us what a good work ethic was, and how to be responsible for our own behavior.

Dad was passionate about life, and although he had one of the most severe cases of psoriasis you can have, never let this stop him from being liked and successful. These lessons we never forgot, and have passed them on to our children.dad joe and I skating

When I met my husband, Jerry, I already had a son, then 8. He accepted my son as if he were his own, and even after we had three children together he never showed favoritism between my older son and his birth children. He too died way too early – he was 38, and our children were 24, 14, 12 and 9. Our oldest son took over the role of father-figure for his younger siblings. This is what good role models do.

Often a father’s status in the family is one of breadwinner – and seldom more. They are not appreciated for their efforts because they may have never learned to show emotions. We are doing them a disservice is we don’t make the effort to try to get to know them while they are still here for us to do so.

All too often a father is simply a name on a birth certificate – or absent altogether. In those cases a mother will assume both parents’ roles; while some grandfathers, brothers or uncles may take up the slack. These father figures are so appreciated, and often taken for granted.

I read somewhere that some fathers are angry because their children are thanking their mothers on Father’s Day. Perhaps it’s because the father wasn’t in the picture very much, or was not available when the child needed him. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances where the father was not allowed in the child’s life (and if this is because the mother is keeping them away – shame on her for being so selfish). No matter the circumstances, if the child feels the mother was both father and mother, there must be a reason.

My mother and I raised our children alone after our husbands died (and she was a great mother and role model as well), but we could not replace the fathers. We both were lucky the men in our lives established a good foundation prior to their early demise. My siblings and I, and my children, can now look at Father’s Day with fond memories of happy times shared.

Whether we realize it or not, a good father, one we can call “Dad,” impacts our lives in innumerable ways. They mold us, allow us to lean on them, and support us in all phases of our lives (even when we are not taking the right paths) with love.

To all the father figures in the world, we salute you. Happy Father’s Day.

#happyfathersday #fatherfigure #dad

Jun 20

Skin Tone Should Not Separate The Human Race

I can’t get it through my brain that someone would enter a church full of kind people praying together and simply start shooting them down – for no reason other than their skin tone. It is so senseless, and so unnecessary. Could the massacre in Charleston, NC have been avoided? From the statement the shooter, Dylann Roof made to one of the victims when she pleaded for him to stop, ‘No, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country … I have to do what I have to do.” Then he shot the woman’s son.

His statement sounds like a throwback to Civil War times – when the Klu Klux Klan formed. It seems some parts of our country never moved past these ideas. For some reason some white men still feel, as they did centuries ago, that the white race is superior to others. I wonder if Dylann Roof ever took the time to get to know anyone of another color? We are not born with hate in our hearts; it is a learned behavior and attitude.

I don’t understand racial bias because there are no real “white” people. Everyone is a person of color. We are only different on the surface because of different skin tone – most often because of the part of the country where the sun is more or less intense and our bodies have adapted over generations of time.

mixed-race-children-2Lighter skinned people live in climates where the sun is not as intense, and there are seasons – the less sun, the lighter the skin. Darker skinned people have more melanin in their skin because they have to be protected from the harsher sun beating down on them 12 months out of the year. The more sun exposure, the darker the skin tone. Underneath, however, we are all the same – same organs, same blood types, same brain functions, etc.

I listen to people speak about Christianity, and many of them speaking out of hate for other races. Do they not understand that Christ was dark-skinned (verified through anthropology)? He was born in the Middle East, where people naturally have dark skin, yet Christians in America see Christ as a white man – a myth that dates back through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and propagated through paintings from that period (the Bible does not go into physical characteristics).

When Martin Luther King was asked “Why did God make Jesus white, when the majority of peoples in the world are non-white?” he replied, “The color of Jesus’ skin is of little or no consequence” because what made Jesus exceptional “His willingness to surrender His will to God’s will.” His point, as historian Edward Blum has noted, is that Jesus transcends race.

We were taught in Sunday School that “God is Love,” and that we were ALL created in his image. How is that possible if we all have different skin tone? It is because, as Dr. King pointed out, God sees no color in man – only their hearts. The color, shape and abnormalities of our outer layer – our skin, is not important. It is our soul, our spirit, and how we treat others that count.

It’s too bad this lesson was not taught to Dylann Roof. He would have entered that church with a different attitude, and there would have been a different outcome. As it is, the victims are forever in a place where the color of their skin is of no consequence. They left a legacy of love, and taught their families who true Christians really are.

#skintone #hatecrimes #hatebecauseofthecoloroftheirskin

Jun 02

Being Poor in America

This current politically correct trend the politicians are waging on people who are struggling just to survive has got to stop. To make life even harder for who are already down is a sad commentary to a greedy and self-serving group of people who lack the understanding of what being poor in America is all about.

It seems we treat the poor in other countries with a lot more respect than we do in this country. As my mother always said, “Charity begins at home.” We clean up our house and we can work on yours.

When we have a country run by mostly millionaire white men, who never worked from the ground up for their money, you don’t have a representative government, and you have a fiefdom. Unless you have been in the situations of the people you represent you have no idea of what they go through, nor the struggles and obstacles they have to overcome in order to try to break away from these circumstances.

How many of these legislators actually put a meal together, much less go to the grocery store? Have any of them had to budget $400 a month to make it stretch for a family of six in this day and age? I can tell you, I have, and you don’t eat steak or seafood. You don’t eat nutritiously either. You try to be creative with your recipes by using spices, and you stretch the portions by using fillers.

Poor_Increase_USA_2010-09-12Your staples are hamburger, hot dogs, chicken and pork for meat. Seldom can you afford beef, and if you are lucky to get a special deal on a good piece of beef you cut it up to stretch it for more than one meal. For vegetables you eat a lot of potatoes (because they are filling and cheap), and you make a lot of stews and casseroles filled with carbs – like noodles, white rice, and potatoes. Chips and condiments are necessary fillers to compete a meal so your family doesn’t go hungry. Many often use tortillas, and they are not all of Spanish descent.

Some states, like Kansas, have forbidden the purchase of potatoes and ketchup on food stamps. Since when were potatoes and ketchup luxuries?

Kansas also limits the amount of money withdrawn from their TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) accounts to $25 per day. They say it limits their chances to use the money to purchase drugs and other non-essentials. It also costs people who are already poor $3.77 per transaction to take that $25 out! The average benefit is $354 a month (not enough to pay rent and utilities, much less anything else). If they were to withdraw this money at $25 per day they would end up making 14 withdrawals @ $3.77 per withdrawal, for a total of $52.78 in fees. That means they would actually receive $301.22 in benefits.

Not only is this ridiculous, but it is putting more people on the street – where they will get arrested for being homeless – as if it were a crime. Give me a break!

Legislators should never pass bills that they themselves would not comply with. Let each of these cold-hearted bastards who allowed this bill to go through have to live with the consequences of their actions – for even just one week. Let them experience what it is like to have to try to feed children who are crying because they are hungry, and to pay rent on an apartment that is owned by a slumlord who won’t fix the plumbing or leaks in the roof.

Being poor, or even having temporary financial setbacks, is not grounds for belittling or being looked down upon. These people deserve a hand up, not a slap down. It is bad enough they are often taken advantage of by predatory loans and practices. Isn’t that what states like Kansas are doing to them?

It is not a disgrace to be poor, and nobody wants to be in that position. Not ALL people who ask for help are trying to milk the system, or looking for the government to take care of them. MOST are people who are struggling, and even working, just to put food on the table and a roof over their families head.

People who are poor do not have self esteem. It is depressing to not have any money. It is a condition that, if not helped leads to more depression – and anger. It also is a difficult place to get out from under

These legislators often spend more that $354 on a lunch or dinner – yet begrudge this to a family for a month.

American became great because we embraced all ethnic groups and religion. We offered opportunities to everyone who wanted to take advantage of them to earn the American dream – a house, good meals, and an education. We are the first ones to respond to a crisis around the world, and are empathetic to the suffering of others – or at least we used to be.

Whatever happened to that America? It’s time to take back our country, and bring back the compassion and greatness that made us the place where the rest of the world admired. It’s time that being poor in America does not mean being kicked to the curb as if they were rubbish, but with respect – and to help them to live with dignity.

Being poor in America is bad enough. Being abused for it is inconceivable.

What are your thoughts?

 

#beingpoorinAmerica #feedingthepoor #abuseofthepoor

May 30

Are You Growing The Seeds of Compassion?

What seeds are you planting? I’m hoping I can grow compassion, kindness and empathy.

The-heart-is-like-a

May 27

Walk With Integrity

This quote from the Bible (Proverbs 28.6) tells it all: “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

Integrity can make a poor man rich. Lack of it can make a rich man poor. Which would you choose?

 

better-is-a-poor-man-who-walks-in-his-integrity-than-a-rich-man-who-is-crooked-in-his-ways

#integrity #values #walkwithintegrity

May 26

Revamping The Electoral System

I don’t think, as some do, that rich people are the cause of all the problems in this country. As a matter of fact, there are many rich people who give a lot of their money to helping those in need. It’s the ones who believe they are entitled to get richer on the backs of others – with no regard to their consequences, who are the problem. The problem lies in our electoral system.

Sure, since the majority of our representatives are rich (You have to have money in order to get elected) they are going to want to protect themselves and their friends. The laws are going to be made that benefit them. That is why our electoral system is so flawed – it doesn’t allow for the average person to become a representative. If our legislatures were filled with the average Joe/Joan the laws would be more centered toward their interests.

People who work hard for their money, and have taken advantage of what is available to succeed, should not be bashed simply because they made it. That is what capitalism is all about. That is what America is all about. It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave – or is it?

Just because the majority of us did not get the brass ring does not mean those who did should have to share with those who didn’t. It would be nice. It would be the “Christian” thing to do. It would be the humane thing to do. It would be the American thing to do – but it is not required.

your-vote-countsOn the other hand, being successful does not mean you should step on others in order to become richer. You should be paying your fair share of taxes – without all the loopholes those of lesser fortune do not have. I don’t think I should be paying a 19% tax rate while those with more money are paying less than 14%. I work hard for my money too, and I don’t have the deductions they can take to make their taxes lower. For this reason I believe in a flat tax rate.

What makes this day and age any different from any other time? There has always been greed and graft. What is frightening is the fact that it has gone unchecked for so long, and now the stronghold is so deeply embedded that we are scratching our heads as to why we didn’t see it before.

Suppressing the vote means that only hand-picked people will be able to have a voice in what goes on in this country. This means the “rich” agenda will be pushed through.

The question is how do we turn that around?

Most importantly – you have to VOTE. Although you may think your vote doesn’t count, if everyone felt that way the only ones who would vote would be the ones whose interests are being met. VOTING GIVES YOU A VOICE – just like them.

We expect our representatives to actually represent US. How crazy is that? They represent the people who got them elected. As soon as they are elected they have to start running again. The vicious cycle continues, and the need for more money opens up the opportunity to become more beholding to their larger contributors, and usually that means repaying them with favors that further their agenda and financial interests. These are not usually leaning toward helping those who voted to get them elected.

This type of government is for the special interests – not the majority of the people.

This is what I propose:

1) A live televised question and answer session will be conducted each month leading to the election, for no less than six months – with ALL candidates for each office participating. Because some people are better at debating than others, there will be no debate – just questions. The television channel chosen will be non-biased, and for now that station would be (PBS) Public Broadcast System – not Fox, MSNBC or CNN.

Each candidate will get the same questions to answer, and they will not have a chance to see them ahead of time. The questions will be chosen at random, and cover a variety of topics. There will be a total of 20 questions per session.

In this way the candidates will have to know their positions, and will not have the benefit of advisers giving them the answers in their ear. It will allow us to see them think on their feet, and work under pressure.

Any statistics they quote will be fact checked. There will be NO badgering of other candidates, or their records. The public will get a chance to see where each candidate stands on a particular issue – and not change the subject or back away from answering by hedging or bringing up the other candidates record. This will be based SOLELY on their thoughts, actions and goals.

2) A limit of $1,000 per person (and corporations are not people) can be donated to each candidate – and the authenticity of donors will be verified.

3) The Electoral College will be abolished. As it stands now, even if a region votes one way their representative is not obligated to vote that way. Whoever wins the popular vote will win the election. If the election results in a tie – which means there is a margin of error of less than ½% of those qualified votes, there will be an automatic new election.

4) Everyone over 18 will be qualified to vote. As long as they can show proof of residency for 6 months or more they can vote in their current district, and proof of citizenship. If residency is less than 6 months they will have to vote in their previous district – either in person or by absentee. Anyone is eligible to vote absentee, and no reasons need be given.

This is not a perfect solution to revamping our electoral system, and there will be kinks to be worked out, but hopefully it will eliminate a lot of the problems with disenfranchising voters; open representation to that who demographically represent their constituents; and eliminates corporations and mega rich moguls from furthering their agendas on the backs of the working classes.

Any suggestions? What do you think?

 

#electoralsystem #elections #changingelectoralsystem

May 19

Why Do People Choose More Liberal Leanings?

I hate when people label others “liberal” or “conservative” as if they were curse words. Not ALL people who lean towards liberal ideals, or ALL people who have some conservative leanings, can be categorized in either category. In reality, most of us are more centrist in our thinking, and don’t fit into any one category anymore.

I am a lifelong registered Republican, but don’t agree with most of what our current Republican leaders are putting out. I think religion should be kept out of business and government because there is no “one size fits all” religion. We are a country established to get away from religious persecution.

American politics

American politics

Over the years I have been through many changes, and hopefully they are for the best. I think that often, with age comes wisdom. At least, with experience you should learn to relate to others in the same situation, and find not all people fit into categories.

  • Not ALL poor people are lazy. As a matter of fact, almost everyone wants to work and take care of their family.
  • Not ALL people on food stamps are buying steaks and shellfish – unless they are inexpensive cuts and packages that can fit into an economy meal.
  • ALL people deserve medical care, even if they can’t afford it.
  • Many senior citizens are living on only Social Security because their pensions were lost to greedy corporate executives, or when the banks collapsed.
  • There are wonderful people in every race, religion and sexual orientation – and you have to look at people as individuals and not as their lowest common denominator.
  • Just because someone claims to be religious does not make them so.

My political leanings have moved along with those, and I saw myself transition from a dyed-in-the-wool Republican to a more centrist – bordering on the original Libertarian ideas. Now I have come to lean toward more Democratic ideals – mostly because the Republican Party that I worked for, and was so adamant about has fallen off a cliff in so many ways. Instead of working toward fixing the economy, improving our infrastructure, keeping less government out of our lives, and balancing the budget they are now working for the benefit of themselves, their friends, and those who support them (in all ways).

I have not lived a life of wealth, although some would consider my childhood to be upper middle class. I married a U.S. Marine, and we had our share of rough times – medically and financially. I sometimes worked more than one job at a time in order to make ends meet, and when my husband died I still had to raise three children (ages 9-14 at the time) on my own. My oldest son was then 24 and already grown, but although living hundreds of miles away, he helped me with his younger brother. I know what it was like to be a single parent trying to do the best they could while working full time.

I have known what it was like to have to apply and use food stamps when times were tough, even though I was working more than one job. It is humiliating, and humbling.

I know what it was like to have to work 12-18 hours days to get a business off the ground.

I learned that people do not change easily, and even if confronted with ideas that could help them to improve their quality of life they will choose the comfort of the familiar rather than make the change.

All of these were MY reality, and why I have shifted my views.

The best answer I have found as to why people tend to lean toward more liberal than conservative views in today’s world came from a writer named Taylor Batten of the “Charlotte Observer.” He wrote a piece on “Honesty Day” that required him to be truthful when answering the question as to why he supported the liberal agenda. This is a synopsis of his answer (read the full version here):

  • We believe that everyone is created equal.
  • We believe that children should not bear responsibility for the sins of their parents.
  • We believe people should not be treated as lesser citizens, with fewer rights, because of whom they love.
  • We believe discrimination is wrong in every instance.
  • We believe that police officers should act professionally, under incredibly difficult circumstances, regardless of a suspect’s race.
  • We believe taxes should be kept as low as possible while still providing a sound safety net for the neediest, a robust education for all, decent health care for the elderly and the destitute, and other basics.
  • We believe there are people of worth beyond our tight circle and there are neighborhoods beyond our own, with different histories, perspectives and needs.
  • We believe there are peace-loving Muslims.
  • We do not believe President Obama was born in Kenya.
  • We believe in the separation of church and state.
  • We believe if you’re a fan of a politician solely because he has a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ after his name, then you’re not paying attention.
  • We believe we have only one planet, and we should protect it for our grandchildren.

Looking at this list, I would think this is more a HUMAN agenda than a liberal or conservative one.

What do you think? I’d like to hear your opinions.

 

#liberalorconservative #liberalideals #liberalismvsconservatism

May 15

We Are Becoming A World of Entitlement

Having entitlement, by definition, is the belief that one is “inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” We re seeing this more and more with each generation.

The Urban Dictionary defines entitlement as “someone who thinks something is owed to them by life in general; or because they are who they are.”

Are we becoming a world of entitlement?

We hear of rich people treating others, usually people working in service jobs, as if they are beneath them. They feel entitled to treat people any way they choose because they have money. Money and position should NEVER replace humanity.

We hear many politicians refer to government entitlement programs, which to them include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs. Obviously they don’t know, or don’t see, the different between an entitlement and an earned benefit. Our elders worked for, and paid into, some of these benefits. Veterans paid for theirs in more ways than we can imagine. Politicians certainly don’t look at  their pension and medical benefits (just to name a few) as entitlement, yet they are. While our seniors have paid into their benefits for decades, these politicians become eligible after only one term. Hardly seems fair, does it?

americaThe majority of our law enforcement officers are fine, honest people who want to help and serve – and they deserve our respect. Unfortunately there are many who feel they are above the law, and are entitled to get away with things they would arrest the common man for. A teacher, police officers, and parents were respected.

How did we get here? What changed over the years that make so many people believe they are entitled to certain privileges because of their race, social status, or position? Perhaps it hasn’t changed as much as we think. There have always been the “good ‘ole boys” networks, and people who used their influence and money to get what they want. It wasn’t how most of us were raised. It just is more prevalent, or open for review now.

I once was working with a charitable organization and their president was a local police detective. I was riding with him to purchase some supplies when he ran a stop sign – didn’t even slow down. I turned to him and said, “Why didn’t you stop? If that had been me I would have been given a ticket.” He looked at me and laughingly said, “It’s kind of like being tax exempt.” That angered me. I always looked up to police officers as being examples of what you were supposed to be. They know the rules, and enforce them. How can you enforce and punish something you do yourself? There should be no exemption, or exception, unless there is an emergency.

Children, and society, have parents too afraid to discipline their children for fear of being reported to the authorities. When I was growing up, very seldom did you see a child have a temper tantrum in class, or slap the bus driver while the bus was running. Never did a parent enter a classroom full of students and start beating the teacher because she gave the woman’s child a failing grade (these things happened locally to people I know).  If we got into trouble at school we got punished at home as well. Parents never let their children get away with bad behavior.

When my youngest son got suspended from school for something (I don’t recall what) I didn’t let him sit on the couch watching TV or playing video games. He was not allowed to get away with bad behavior.  He had to wash all the walls in the house and work in the yard while he was supposed to be in school. He said he never wanted to get suspended again – he had to work harder at home. He never did again.

I owned a local newspaper. It wasn’t the largest one, but there is influence and power associated with the press. When my son was not turning in his homework – a requirement for his grades, yet aced all his tests, I told the teacher to flunk him. He knew the rules, he chose to ignore him. The fact that he knew the material well enough to ace the tests was irrelevant. Actions have consequences. If I would have allowed the teacher to give him a good grade, knowing he did not follow the rules, both of us would have been wrong. My son would have thought he was entitled to do the same and slack off in other classes. He was angry at me, but it was one grading period, and he could make it up. He got over his angry, and he learned a valuable lesson.

Children EXPECT their parents to buy them name-brand clothes and top of the line technology. They feel it is OWED to them. Their reasoning is that they did not ask to be born, so we owe it to them to provide the best. Although we would like to, it isn’t required. The problem is, we have given in and allowed this to happen. You can not raise an adult by treating like a child.

When my oldest son wanted to buy Bugle Boy clothes (in at the time) I told him I couldn’t afford them. I would buy him regular jeans, shirts and shoes, and if he wanted the name-brand things he would have to work to buy them himself. He did. It didn’t kill him.

All of my four children have grown up understanding that the world does not owe them anything. They have to earn it. That means working for what you want. If you want it badly enough you will get it. That also means that the world is not always fair, and some people get away with things because they are of small minds and lack the character and integrity to do the right thing. We feel sorry for them, we don’t have to associate with them, we don’t have to work for them, and we don’t have to vote for them.

 

#entitlement #privilege #expectationsofentitlement

 

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