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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Contrasting Views.

I find more and more in this life, we teach/preach one thing to children only for them to find out this is different in the real world. It is truly a world of say one thing and do another.

Many know my involvement with Boy Scouts borders on obsession. 10 days from now I will leave for our annual Summer Camp. This year will be a new twist. We are forsaking our normal camp grounds to "do something different". We are going to Camp Wilkes in Biloxi. The problem will be with one of the classes I teach. I teach a merit badge called Environmental Science. The lessons include things such as ecosystems, weather impact, erosion, living organisms, need for water, and most notably, pollution. So as I teach these ideals to 22 young boys on the edge of Biloxi Bay, how is it going to look when the oil is washing ashore?

How do you tell young men to "do their part" in reducing environmental impact while the powers that be sit around and let an entire region of the country be destroyed? How do you teach young men to be accountable for their actions in this life, when we don't hold corporations accountable for their mess? Why instill in young men the need to stand up for what's right, when we don't expect our elected officials to do the same? Isn't it amazing how low our standards are when we hold them up to the things we teach our children?

I don't know when this country turned it's back on it's own ideals, but it has. We all think we are above the law. Or the rules don't apply to us. Or most common, we have an excuse not to do what we say. Is it any wonder our kids feel like their are no boundaries anymore? These kids need to see some adults stand firm in their beliefs. They need to hear an adult say no excuse is acceptable. They need to see a country that is willing to do without rather than forsake it's ideals. This is not a new cry, a song from the eighties, "Give me something to believe in" speaks of generations that have lost something to put their trust in.

So, I honestly ask for your input. How do I explain environmental responsibility to these boys, while the oil washes ashore? It is something I don't know how to spin. Isn't it time to stop spinning things??

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Patriotism! A thing of the past?

I only watch the news occasionally these days, as I have a tendency to get angered by the absurdity of it. So I turn it on the other day to hear this lovely little piece of Americana. Five kids are sent home for wearing shirts that have an American Flag on them?!?! Surely this can't be? Surely, they are raving lunatics that are promoting hate and worshiping the devil! Nope, turns out some administrator (why are all administrators idiots?) decided the American Flag has no place in public on May the 5th. Mexican Independence should trump all rights of a free Republic!?!

What's next? No freedom of speech on Canada's Boxing Day? No one should own firearms on Hugo Chavez's Birthday? And absolutly no free press on the holy day of Ramadan! Is there no end to the madness? I help maintain a Scout Troop therefore I am racist against homosexauls?!? If you are a devote Catholic you support child abuse? On and on!

What happen to the tie that binds us? Is it not the American Flag that protects all of these rights? Are all of these rights not what helps us to celebrate our ethinic origins? By the way this is not a tirade against Spanish people. I have some Spanish friends who I would give my life for and they for me. This is about an ideal that has been lost for some reason. That you can be anything you want to be in this America. As long as you follow the law and don't impede on other's pursuit of happiness.

I see no reason to banish the Flag. Or for that matter the other things that have held us to a higher standard for centuries. (prayer in school, statues of soldiers, etc.) How far removed are we from the cost of these freedoms we enjoy? The greastest generation (WWII) never forgot the price paid! A war on the other side of the globe to secure our freedom is apparently not in our face enough!

We are all participants in this crazy dream of freedom and self rule. The problem is to many see themselves as above the price of these freedoms. If the participants are greater than the dream, then the dream is dead!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Material Value!

A number of  years ago a mentor of mine asked a question of me and my friends. What is the prevailing motto of our generation? After a fairly short discussion we were unanimous. "Get all you can get!" This motto seems to not only be the cry of a generation but a nation. It crosses all race, age, and creed boundaries in America.  Jealousy is a relentless task master! This creed dictates that we must do whatever is necessary to get "it". Even if we must forsake our family, our friends, our beliefs, or even our own health, we "must" prevail in getting our materialistic fix. Then we apply phrases or conditions to justify our greed quest. "Well, you have to have that" or "we can't do without this". Personally I hate the phrase "have to" it is applied to far to many things. So many have gained so much and yet find so little happiness!

So many have achieved the "American Dream" of possessions only to end of in the nightmares of family disasters. What good is a big house and 2 cars? The sad answer is something to fight over in a divorce. What is the price of climbing to the top of the corporate ladder? A phone call in the night to come get your kid out of jail and the realization of the gang life he now leads!  What is even worse is we now seem to measure the value of our family and friends against this materialistic rampage. Some let their greedy quest decide who they should be friends with and which friends to part ways with. Seems like everyone has a pyramid scheme or get rich product to sell you, and if you don't buy in then you are not a friend worth having.  If the only reason you call me friend is because I help your checkbook stay in the black then we won't be friends for long. Others look at family and contemplate can this loved one get me to where I'm going.  Everyone knows at least one person that divorced one spouse for another because of their career path or family trust fund.  Yet we blame the crooks in D.C. for the erosion of family values?

One of my favorite sayings is "Is there nothing sacred to you?". There must be limits and boundaries on your relationships. If there is no line you won't cross, then sooner or later that so called loved one will realize that they are nothing but a stepping stone for you. Then with more and more family parting ways we find alternate ways to fill in the gaps. This is where manipulation comes in. Since you hold nothing sacred you must use the ideals of others to use against them. You must become the master of their world in order to keep them in line. The alternative is to sit in your lonely materialistic castle with nothing but regret as your companion.  Through my journeys that involve teenagers I've come across a number of young people who have shatter families beyond comprehension. They would give anything for an ordinary family. They already know what is important and it's not things. Some of us have families that are to good to us. Some of us need to see life through the eyes of these young shatter people.

If you have family, please let no materialism come between you and them. When you get married the pastor says "let no man separate". Make that your motto with your entire family. Instead of dreaming about the newest toy you want, why not invest some effort into bettering your relationship with your spouse, kids, and family members?  In the end your ride to the cemetery will not be accompanied by you possessions. It will be accompanied by your family and friends. Live each day with that thought and you'll live know what is truly valuable!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tranquility base.

I've often read that some of the things that separate us from animals is our self awareness.  That we are efficient enough to take the time to reflect on our thoughts and the world around us.  But is that true of humans today?  How many take or have the time to think about their place in the universe? Most people have one or more jobs. (actual employment) Then most have kids in school, that brings things into your life such as homework, PTO, fund raisers, and the dreaded science projects. Some also sit on boards or committees for anything from sports to academic clubs to scouts. Let's not forget the one's who have to care for loved ones, whether it's a child with a learning disorder or an elderly parent that needs attention. These are all very good things to be involved in, but when do you find the time to immerse yourself in things that sooth your inner soul?

I'm talking about things that not only bring happiness but also bring a peace deep down inside of you. These things are usually not materialistic. They usually involve things that some would consider primitive. Finding the time to find inner peace is not selfishness. In fact, it's usually just the opposite. If you find a gift that you have a perfect harmony with, it often ends up bleeding your peace and tranquility onto others.  A number of friends, as well as my Son, find it in the playing of music. If you ask the ones who "love" to play music, how it makes them feel, they'll give you some responses that sound a little out there. Such as having connected with their roots. And I feel like I'm playing with angels. These people have found something that causes a harmony in their inner soul that no amount of materialistic gain could accomplish. I have one friend in particular that can sing with the best of the best and hit any note on the scale. Yet she has no interest in seeking fame or fortune. She's happy to sing at church or family gatherings. It's not about the gains it's about the peace.  Of course, there are other avenues to find peace. Personally, I find peace in gardening. To put your hands in the earth and feel the life God has placed there is an experience I have a hard time explaining. To know the value of ten minutes of rain and see a plant respond with it's fruit is priceless. Others find it in being counselors or mentors to less fortunate. Many find it in their quiet prayer closet. Some find it at the summit of a mountain where they feel closer to heaven. A rare few find it out in the open expanse of the ocean, where the vastness of our world puts them in touch with their place in it.  Oh to be on the Apollo 11 trip to the moon and report back from tranquility base.  Now that truly is a place to be alone with your thoughts.

There are many ways to find inner peace and harmony. I hope you make time to satisfy your soul. What good would it do to amass everything you could in life and be as hollow as a fallen tree? A world full of people that have filled their inner soul with peace is a world that has no need to try and take away peace from others.  Peace of mind and soul is such a precious commodity that you should seek your own.  I hope you find your own tranquility base without having to fly to the moon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Financial Pretenders

Are you a financial pretender? This is a very murky question in today's America. The political powers that be would have us believe that it is all cut and dry. That it is a country of rich versus hard working and hard working versus welfare recipients. I say that this is not so. There are those who pretend to be any of the three.

Let's back up a step and look at the recent Obama Foreclosure Loan Modification Act. At first glance most would say this is another handout to welfare cases. But very few welfare recipients own homes. Then one would think this is for hard working people that struggle. The truth is hard working people either find a cheaper home or cut corners to make sure their mortgage is up to date. You must be 3 or more months behind to qualifiy. Ninety percent of the hard working people would be so embarrassed at being 3 months behind they would abandon the home. You would say surely this is not for the rich, because they have money to pay for their home. I say just because you have money doesn't mean you know what to do with it!

Yes folks, this is for the pretenders! These people are the ones who keep up with the Jones' and neglect their bills. They must have the latest style of shoes, clothing, cars, and hobbies. Sacrificing anything that would affect their popularity is just beneath them. They can tell you what and who is "hot" but, can't tell you what their mortgage interest rate is. These are the same people that think bankruptcy is no big deal and screwing someone out of their earned money is "just business". They quickly tell the mortgage company "I don't have the money for this months payment" and then invite all their friends over for steak night. Their version of "have to" applies only to material fads and fashions, not to paying their bills. I assure you that you know someone like this.

My wife is a realtor and, some of the things I've heard people tell her over the years would bend your mind. One person told my wife "I would rather go into foreclosure than not make a huge profit on my house". Another said "now is the best time to have a house foreclosed on"! She had to pick me up off the floor after that one.

The problem is these pretenders pose a danger to all of us. Their bankruptcies cost us in higher prices for everything from credit card rates to repairman bills. Their foreclosures bring the value of our homes crashing down. Their example causes our children to ask why we don't live like them. Worst of all, even though these people bad mouth welfare recipients and government handouts, these people will vote to keep this Socialist Administration in power. How else are they going to keep up the shell game without him?

Are you a financial pretender?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Constitutional Rights??

I hear so many things said about Constitutional Rights these days, I often wonder if anyone has their "own" knowledge of these rights? It's so over played in media and political rhetoric that it's becoming a mythical thing. Constitutional Rights is up there now with the likes of Zen and the Force! How many Americans can quote any of their rights? Most wouldn't trust a politician to watch their goldfish but we leave the defending and interpting of our Constitutional Rights to them!

No where in the Constitution does it say that Republicans should keep Democrats in check or vise versa. It is our duty and right as Americans to keep all elected officials in check. We must hold them accountable for all their actions, both in legislative votes and public declarations. Their actions are the representation of us, the voters. When one of them supposedly sells their vote, we as electors have all sold our vote! When one of them uses their title to gain favors, we all have committed malfeasance!

The media is quick to distance us from the actions of politicians. Saying "don't get emotional about a Senate vote" or "we need to tone down the rhetoric" is not the words that should be broadcast. I should take it personal because, they are by law my representation! How quickly we could turn around the actions and personnel in government, if we would all take it personally!

Do not be put to sleep by smooth talking politicians or, their smooth talking media spokensmen! Stand up on your own two feet and defend your own Constitutional Rights!