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Friday, October 25, 2013

The wussifying of America! AKA You don't have to try!

American Flags
I'm about fed up with the whole "everything has to be fair" fairy-tale we have weaved here in America.  It seems to have permeated every facet of our lives.  Oh, little Johnny has a lisp so we have to grade his test easier than the others.  Or little Susie has a hang nail so she shouldn't have to dress out for PE class today. Meanwhile, at your job your coworker has a belly ache from the bad take-out last night so he is a no-show today and that means twice the load for you.  Heaven forbid anyone do their job with a sour stomach.  After all, our Founding Fathers crossed the Ocean and fought the British for the right to use any excuse in the book to get out of anything and everything possible.  In two hundred short years we've managed to turn the land of fair opportunity into the land of whiny, excuse laden, slackers.

The source of my rant is this.  My 13 year old plays on his 8th grade football team.  The team plays in a small independent league.  There usually aren't organized football leagues on the state level below high school.  My Son's team has done exceptionally well this year.  So on this Saturday his team will host the first round of the league's playoffs.  Well the opponent contacted my Son's coach and said under no circumstances will they show up.  They know they can not win, so there's no point in coming.  Are you kidding me?  What lesson are we teaching the kids of the other team?  Oh good job boys, you made the playoffs but you can't win so we just aren't even going to try!  Really?  If you can't promise my kid a trophy then I won't let him go.  My older friends refer to this as, "the wussification of America".  The philosophy that says, "you probably aren't good enough so don't even try".  Just sit back and let someone else do it for you.  What if my Grandfather and his friends in the South Pacific had that attitude in 1941?  "Oh, those Japanese have really big battleships and they already beat us up at Pearl Harbor, so let's not even try".  Really?  What would this country look like it my Grandfather's generation had this wussified look on things?  How far has this country fallen in two short generations?

This whole notion of there are can't be any winners because it makes the other people (the losers) feel bad, is just some mamby pamby garbage.  If you have nothing to strive toward (winning) then we will all sit on the couch and become fat, lazy, apathetic, leaches of society.  In order to succeed you must take the risk of failing.  In order to win you must face losing head on.  In order to do anything in this life you must try, and if you don't succeed you must try again, and if you don't succeed you must try again.  The key is to try! Success does not come to those that wait or make excuses.  Good things do not happen to those that have the easy outs in life.  A strong America comes from hard work.  A strong country comes from strong competition.  It's time to stop giving out trophies to every kid just for showing up and start rewarding excellence again.  Then, just maybe, we will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be called the greatest nation on earth again.

Rant over!  For now!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Volunteerism. The backbone of children's extracurricular activities!

Volunteer Coaching.
In today's America it takes so much more than twelve years of education for a child to succeed.  Often times a child needs to be involved in one or more extracurricular activities.  These things can range from athletics such as baseball, football, tennis, golf, and others.  It can be music or dance.  It can be academics such as debate or math clubs.  They can be social clubs or hands on clubs such as Scouts or 4-H.  While all these clubs offer many different skills, they all offer something extra that is not taught in the class rooms of America. The thing these clubs most often have in common are the fact they are led by volunteers.

People are far to often naive to think that a Tee-ball coach is paid. Or the Merit Badge Counselor gets reimbursed for his time.  And contrary to popular belief, the chain gang at Friday night football games are not subsidized.  The parents that arrange for rides to the 4-H show often pay for the gas out of their own pocket.  This is truly the spirit of America.  Volunteerism and generosity is our calling card.  These people that do these things do them because they know the benefits that it brings to the kids. These people are willing to spend long hours booking hotel rooms for debate conventions because they know the long term implications.  These people are willing to sleep on the cold, hard campground because they know the value of the experience to the kids.  The problem is there seems to be a growing gap in America.  There are more and more parents that fit into the "show up and pay up" mold.  They don't believe they should have to lift a finger for these organizations because they have a life or a job.  This mentality is causing the numbers of volunteers to dwindle and thus putting more and more pressure on fewer and fewer people.  Sooner or later the numbers will no longer be able to sustain themselves.

It's all part of the elite/entitled mentality of America.  And it's like a cancer eating away from the inside out. Forget the fight in D.C., if the entitlement attitude has so permeated our society that we can no longer give freely of ourselves to our kids then we will fail in just one quick generation.  So I would encourage you to volunteer for you kid's PTO, Tee-ball, booster club, scout pack, 4-H club, etc, etc to give of yourself freely to whatever needs to be done to help not only your child but all children of these organizations.  And then go out of your way to thank the others that volunteer to lead these all volunteer organizations.  Those that have the vision to see past their own selfish needs.  Those that are willing to help more than their own flesh and blood.  Then we might become the true definition of the United States of America.

I hope you get a chance to help someone today.  Then I know it will be a great day.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A chicken in every pot, healthcare for everyone, it's all still a Genie in a Bottle!

The magic of unleashing the Genie.
Ever been sold a bill of goods that was to good to be true?  Have you ever fallen in love with an idea that turned out to be nothing but work in the end?  To often we see the positive side of a deal before we look at the price or negative connotations of it.  You can see it clearly on late night television infomercials.  The benefits of the new state of the art knife's ability to do all types of slicing and dicing are put front and center. The fact that you'll be charged and recharged over the next seven months is not disclosed.  It's what I like to refer to as the Genie let out of the Bottle effect.  My generation grew up watching "I Dream of Jeanie".  On the show, an astronaut finds a bottle and releases a beautiful Genie.  She seemed like a dream come true and was so beautiful no one could take their eyes off of her.  The problem was all her "magic" and help led to more trouble than anyone could imagine. Which interestingly enough holds true with the origins of Genies.  The concept comes from the Muslim world. A Jinn (which is plural) was a spiritual creature made by God but has a free will like man.  A Jinn almost always ends up tricking a human in a negative way in the folklore of Islam.

We are still to this day being promised Genies in Bottles.  Wouldn't it be great if we could give all the elderly money to live out their final years on?  Well sure it would.  Then you need to talk about how to pay for it.  Wouldn't it be just perfect if the richest nation on Earth would feed all the poor people for free?  Of course it would.  Now let's talk about who pays for that.  Wait, what's that?  You don't want to have that conversation?  You only want to be part of the feeding the poor not the paying for the food part?  How's that going to maintain it's self?  Well, maybe it was a bad idea.  Let's not do that anymore.  The problem then becomes, how do you put the Genie back in the Bottle?  Once all the poor people (and others) are used to eating for free, how do you stop feeding them?  Nobody wants to pay for this but nobody wants to be the one that says no more free food.  Same thing with universal healthcare.  Everyone wants all of humanity to benefit from the best healthcare on Earth.  But we only want to talk about all the good it would do.  No one wants to talk about the nuts and bolts of the actual implementation of it.  The new Affordable Healthcare Website is up and jammed.  It's not working and it won't do the job that it's supposed to do.  But none of that matters.  The laws are passed and the Genie is out of the Bottle.  There is no going back.  Now we must learn to live with this ill thought out mess that is going to impact every part of our nation, whether you are for or against it.

Sometimes it's best to not make promises.  Some things are better left alone.  If it sounds to good to be true then it probably has a price to pay on the back end.  Our Founding Fathers didn't talk about Utopia or a perfect world.  They fought for a place that everyone would be free to find their own path.  When you put us all in the same pot or healthcare system, then we are no longer free to find our own way.  It's time to stop asking Genies for wishes and do like our forefathers and blaze our own trails in this country.  Time to leave the bottle in the sand.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Caution! Beliefs are no longer a certainty.

Belief says the sun will rise again.
In today's politically charged world opinions and attitudes change with every newscast.  If the latest poll data show that one way of thinking is popular, then that's the direction we should all go.  A person's belief should be something that they stand firm in as the truth.  The dictionary actually states that belief is trust, faith, or confidence in something or someone.  In America, we've obviously changed the definition of belief.  We change our mind on what we believe in so much that the concept of belief is becoming as mythical as a unicorn.  The question is why?  Why don't our beliefs stand the test of time anymore?  Are we so advanced that nothing is true anymore?

The biggest problem with our belief system is our moods.  At certain points in our life we have a basic need to believe in something and have major convictions to take a hard stand on that belief.  Then at other points in our life, usually when things are very successful, we have a much more lax view of life, and our convictions wane because of it.  One of the key moods that kill our belief system is self pity.  We are all raised to believe that you should work hard to get ahead in life.  Then times get tough and we start to list all the things that we have working against us in life.  That's when we allow self pity to intervene and let us by-pass our belief of hard work.  Then we are free from the restraints of our belief system and can get ahead by any means necessary.  Most of us are raised to believe that a higher power is watching over us.  Unfortunately, when times get tough we feel like that higher power has abandoned us.  Then our selfish feelings push away those beliefs of a higher power and more importantly the self governing rules that come with that belief.  We will all to quickly abandon the rules that protect us and those around us from our selfish acts that come with self pity.  Letting your feelings govern your belief system can be harmful for all you come into contact with.

A solid belief system can lead to a happy family.
I guess the question is, if you change your belief for any reason at all, was it every really a belief of yours? Yes, I know we all grow older and make wiser choices and believe things we should have believed all along.  That's not what I'm getting at.  The issue I'm talking about is changing your beliefs with the change of seasons.  A belief should be something that can guide you through the ups and downs of your life.  Whether your feeling good or bad about your life, your belief should remain in tact.  No matter what your friends are doing your beliefs should still dictate your actions and reactions to this life.  If your belief is on uncertain ground so is your life, family, and friends.  A little discipline in your belief system will go a long ways to stabilize your life.  I hope you find the courage to stand firm in your beliefs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

We take connections for granted until one comes loose.

Cheap galvanized connections.
This weekend I went with my Son to see about his truck.  Starting it was becoming very weak so we went to the auto parts store to have the battery and alternator checked.  After some back and forth we determined a new battery was needed.  In the process of removing the old one the cable connectors were broken.  In the hustle and bustle the auto parts guy sold us some galvanized connectors instead of the ones made of lead. The lead ones are more malleable and fit around the post very snug.  Within twelve hours my Son had to stop and adjust the cheap, loose fitting connectors three times in order to start his truck.  He called me from work and asked that I replace the connectors with the more reliable, form fitting, lead connecting terminals.

We rely on quality connections for just about everything in our lives.  If you don't cut that coaxial cable just right, you won't get a good connection and a poor TV picture will result.  We take for granted all the electrical conveniences in this life, but let one wire come loose in your panel box and it can cut power to many places in your home.  It's easy to understand the mechanical connections needed in our lives.  It's a little harder to explain the need for connections with other people.  Whether you like it or not, and I'm an admitted introvert, you need connections with other people to maintain your mental, physical, and spiritual health.  We need other people to push us, challenge us, and just hear us out sometimes.  The right friend can be the connection needed to challenge you to loose those twenty extra pounds.  A good friend is the connection you need to push you to go after that job you've always wanted.  And a true friend will let you download your inner thoughts and be a conduit to feeling normal again.  Unfortunately, today's society teaches us to disconnect from others.  The idea that we should all stay in our homes and never venture out to befriend the neighbor is a real connection killer.  The fact that we think it's acceptable to go to church and just look at the back of some body's head, is scary in the sense that we don't value human input.  Do you know any of the parents of your kid's classmates?  What a great way to connect and share parenting experiences.  You just might find out you are not all alone in this child rearing experiment.

Some connections last a lifetime.
Connections require maintenance, effort and work.  There's the old saying that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.  You need to check your friendships, family, and other relationships regularly to see if there's in work needed to improve those connections.  Don't fall for the me versus the world attitude.  Isolation is a very bad thing for your overall health.  Maintain good connections with people and make new ones every chance you get.  The positive flow made by good connections with people can be just as important as the flow of electrons across your computer screen.  So I hope you take the time to work on your healthy, solid connections today.  It will serve you well.