Once upon a time…………

I would like to tell you a story.  It begins………..Once upon a time….

Once upon a time there were 2 words, these 2 words were welcome, even respected and heeded.   They were important words in our society because they were part of the way people conducted themselves.   They spoke to the character of a person.    People who didn’t have these 2 words weren’t well thought of or respected.   They tended to lean towards the lazy, maybe even criminal elements of society.

Once upon a time people understood the concept that everything they did had a consequence.   Some consequences were personal, others affected a multitude.   Some consequences were positive, a few were neutral and some were very negative.  People understood that if you hit your hand with a hammer it would not only hurt but might break a few bones, they understood that if you committed a crime you were most likely on the fast track to the penthouse suite at the local jail.  They also understood that if they were honest, loyal and kept their word they would be respected and more than that could live easily with themselves.

Sadly these 2 words have had a rather hard life and it does not look like they will end with ….Happily ever after.

I am speaking of Personal Responsibility.   That character trait that defines people who understand that not only do actions have consequences, but that the person doing the action should accept the responsibility for the outcome.

I am very disturbed by the trend I see in our society today.   Not only are is everyone behaving like victims in every respect, we are enabling them to do it.   No one accepts responsibility for anything these days.   If someone picks up a rock and throws it through a store window in retaliation for some perceived offense towards them or someone else, we rally around and defend the person and say it wasn’t his fault, he was forced to by this or that.

This is a scary place to be.   You can’t talk about it because that makes you a bigot, a hater and a whole host of other, many unprintable, words.   We need to work to restore some common sense back into our world.

I am not afraid to talk about it.

Here is what Personal Responsibility used to and should still mean:

  • It meant considering your actions before doing them
  • It meant owning up when you did something that had bad or unintended consequences
  • It meant looking at your situation and stepping up and doing everything you could to make it better
  • It meant saying your sorry and meaning it, not just saying it to save your job, your marriage, your friends etc
  • It meant making restitution when necessary
  • It meant understanding that some things can’t be fixed by saying you’re sorry

When did  we begin to believe that we could move beyond this and not have it affect our society negatively?   We have come so far away from this that not only don’t we understand, we actively fight against the notion that our actions or behavior should have any consequences at all.

Well I am here to tell you they do!

Our words and actions are under a microscope more these days than any other.   We are being scrutinized by our family, friends, employers and the rest of the world.    Our words are taken out of context and used to show what horrible people we are with no understanding of the truth.

There are some hard truths’ that we need to relearn and it’s time to start now.

We no longer understand or accept if we deliberately put ourselves in a dangerous situation bad things may happen.    We are not responsible for the choices other people make, however if we knowingly put ourselves in a place where those sorts of things are known to happen, the the chance that it may happen to us goes way up and THAT is our direct responsibility.

Now some may read this and accuse me of saying that the victim is to blame for what happened to them.   That couldn’t be further from the truth.   There is a distinction between putting yourself in a place where it could happen and actually causing it to happen.   If I knowingly walk through a neighborhood that is known for it’s high percentage of mugging’s, MY actions have now significantly increased the possibility that it will happen to me, maybe even high enough to turn it into a probability instead of a possibility.    I could still get mugged even if I don’t walk through that neighborhood, but I haven’t increased the chance that it will happen by putting myself in a place where it’s known to happen.

We can no longer be unwilling to believe that we can say anything, behave any way, dress any way and not have any responsibility for our choices.   We can’t continue to believe and teach our children to believe that you can walk into a lions den and come out unscathed.    We can no longer believe and teach our children to believe that we can say anything we want and not have any consequences.  Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing but the flip side are the unexpected consequences of what we say.    We can no longer believe and teach our children to believe that they way they cut their hair, decorate their bodies and dress themselves won’t garner attention and some of it negative (this is a topic for a short side post).

In a perfect world we could walk down the street and not have to listen to people say inappropriate things about us or to us.  We could go about our day without worrying about being robbed, carjacked or killed.   We don’t live in a perfect world though.

And one last thought, when you wake up tomorrow, what are you going to change and what are you going to start accepting responsibility for?

 

 

 

 

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Oh Brother where art thou?

In the sadness of the past couple days, since the unspeakable act that happened in Charleston, I have done a lot of thinking.

It’s time to start talking about the truth.  Our leaders aren’t talking about it, our media isn’t talking about it, the community leaders aren’t talking about it………….

Someone needs to talk about it.

Hatred is an ugly word and an even uglier condition of the heart.    It blinds us to the truth, it keeps us from stretching out a helping hand.   It eats away like a cancer inside until there is nothing left but the hate.   We are seeing a lot of hatred in our world.  It jumps out at us from the pages of the news with screaming headlines, with hateful abhorrent words, terrorism, racism, murder, torture and more.

It has been said that prayer can accomplish anything and I believe that this is true.  But prayer also requires action.  If one man prays for things to change and doesn’t himself change, will a fire for change be started?

I say that prayer for change must also be accompanied by action.  It must first change the heart of the one praying, then it can spread one to another and another and another.

There is a truth that must be spoken and that truth must spread and the chant must be heard by our leaders and by the media and it must be so loud it can’t be ignored.

In order for people to begin to think about each other as brothers and sisters without color, we have to STOP giving people special privileges because of color, we have to stop grouping people together because of the color of their skin and then telling them they aren’t capable of controlling their behavior or that they aren’t capable or smart enough to attain their goals.

We have to stop the processes that lean towards preferential or negative treatment based on color. It is absolutely critical that this happen.

People will never look at each other with acceptance until we have leaders who will speak up with truth, even when no one wants to listen to the truth.

  • Who will speak the hard words and will lead by example.
  • Who will stop telling the people that they deserve to be treated specially.
  • Who will stop telling the people that they are oppressed.
  • Who will stop telling the people to examine everything for signs of racism.
  • Who will tell the people to stop making excuses for their bad behavior.
  • Who will tell the people to clean up their own neighborhoods and accept the hands that are outstretched to help, instead of expecting it to be handed to them on a silver platter.

Not until there are leaders who will speak these words to a hurting people and tell them that responsibility for brotherhood lies on both sides of the fence.

Prayer equips God’s people, so let’s pray and then let us be the ones to start the fire.

Money, what’s not to love?

It is said that Love makes the world go round.  I would like to point out though that without money it’s going to be a hungry, uncomfortable trip.   In order to live in relative comfort one must have money.  Money provides us those things that we need to survive and the extras that make our days a little brighter.    In order to have a place to live, food to eat and clothing to wear, we have to have some money.   We like to have more money to have what we call ‘creature comforts’ also.   Appliances to help us cook our food, clean our home and clean our clothing.    A little something to entertain us, a television, a computer, a grill, books, toys for the kids etc.     Maybe even a little more for a vacation, a boat, or a second car.

Ok, so maybe you want a lot of money.   You want to live in a big house, wear fancy clothes and own your own plane.  Nothing wrong with that.

Greed, envy, lust…………   Such ugly words.   Do you hear the murmuring when it’s announced how much some CEO or executives of a company make,   the complaints when shareholders make a profit when a company does good?    We live in America where people can succeed to the tune of great wealth.   It’s not reserved for those who come from wealthy families or who have some special connections somewhere.     The opportunity is there for anyone.   With perseverance, hard work and good decisions, money can be made.

The Bible says ….for the love of money is the root of all evil…..   It doesn’t say money is the root of all evil, but ‘the LOVE OF money’.

In this world some form of currency is a necessity.  Regardless of whether you use a barter system, or shells or pesos, dollars, francs etc, some form of currency is necessary to survive.   Having money and desiring to have more money in and of itself isn’t wrong.

We all like to have the things money can provide.    But what does your love of money cause you to think or do?

Do you love money or do you LOVE money?

The LOVE OF money is a heart issue.

When you read or hear about someone else who has earned a lot of money, or even inherited a lot of money what goes through your mind.   Do you take to Facebook or Twitter to voice your dissatisfaction to the world, maybe even stir some people up?

What would you do to get or keep more money

  • Have it taken away from someone who earned it
  • Lie on your taxes
  • Lie on a welfare/food stamp application
  • Keep a wallet you found instead of turning it in

Most of us think we don’t have a problem with our thoughts about money.    But, stop just a minute and look at the first item on that list.     How often have you thought it’s just not right that some CEO or shareholder or company executive makes the amount of money they make?  Have you gone as far as thinking that maybe the government should draft some regulations to stop that?   How about determining that because it’s a ‘publicly traded’ company that you should have some say?

If someone points out that these are free enterprises and can pay as little or as much as they want to their executives, to continue to make the decisions that make the company profitable, or that publicly traded simply means that anyone can purchase stock, do you quickly try to drown them out with your comments on how it’s not fair and not right?    Do you start name calling or worse cursing that person?

Do you look at things like taxes and applications for welfare/food stamps and think that it won’t hurt anyone to lie and besides, ‘I pay taxes’ so I’m just keeping my own money?    Have you ever found a wallet or a large sum of money with no identification and kept it because ‘no one’s going to be able to find who it belongs to anyway’?

Do you let dissatisfaction creep into your life because someone has more money than you?   Is your ability to live, work, find enjoyment in life diminished because of how you feel towards those who do have more money than you?

Money by itself is not good, it’s not bad, it just is.  Loving money becomes ‘the LOVE OF  money’ when we allow it to alter our thoughts and actions in ways that consume us to get more and more even at the expense of others.

What is in your heart?

 

DISCLAIMER:   When I reference Corporate executives, I am NOT referring to those whose companies had to be bailed out by the taxpayers and still received enormous sums of money.   That is a different issue altogether.

Rules (Of course there are rules!)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to have rules?   If everyone knew how to comport themselves in a manner that is fitting for polite (or not polite) company?

Unfortunately there are those who need to be reminded so…………

Honest debate is great and comments are welcome even if the opinions differ from mine.

The following are prohibited and comments containing these will not be published:

  • Name calling (sorry, I don’t tolerate it with my kids, grandkids and not from you either)
  • *Four* letter language
  • Threats of any kind
  • Spamming
  • Advertising

 

What is Courage?

Up for examination today is a sports related award that is given to people whose contributions ‘Transcend Sports’ and is given even to those who are not athletes.    It’s called the Arthur Ashe courage award and is being given to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.   Bruce Jenner has ‘transitioned’ into Caitlyn Jenner and is now living life as a woman, although genetically he will always be male.

There has been outrage expressed over this award in the face of other, possibly better candidates such as Noah Galloway or Lauren Hill.

To me this begs the question, what is courage?

Is it courage to take an action for which you know you will receive fame and fortune and be celebrated and feted and heaped with praise

or

Is it courage to take an action which may or may not be recognized, which isn’t ‘newsworthy’ and which won’t give you financial gain?

Is it courage to wait until almost all the obstacles have been removed before acting

or

Is it courage to take action in the face of sometimes almost insurmountable obstacles?

I have to come down firmly on the side of those who face obstacle after obstacle in moving forward.  Sometimes financial, sometimes medical, always mental and emotional these obstacles can be never ending.   True courage is to push forward regardless of the obstacles and without knowing what they will be and if they will ever end.   True courage is moving forward regardless if someone notices, regardless if you make the news, regardless if you are showered with praise for your choices.   True courage is acting with or without the support of others.

True courage can’t be bought, doesn’t require adulation and doesn’t need to be noticed.    It comes from an inner strength and determination to overcome things that might otherwise kill you.  It means that you push forward whether or not you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and not knowing if coming out the other side means that you have passed through this life and are facing the next because the other side was death.  It means not giving up regardless of the obstacles, the negativity of others, and the physical and mental exhaustion.

 

 

 

Stuff!

So I have come to discover that Facebook isn’t always the best way to express myself, especially when what I want to say is more than just a few lines.  I am finding that there are more and more things that I would like to share my perspective on in a way that isn’t really Facebook friendly.

So with that, I hope to be adding some interesting reading here.