What are you doing about it?

July 9, 2019

I keep a file of quotes on hand as inspiration for writing posts. Most come from posts to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, but some I just stumble across while searching on the Internet. Sometimes, as is the case today, two or more quotes just seem to be destined to be used together.

From a recent post to Jack’s Winning Words comes this thought –

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral Mark Twaincourage so rare.”  (Mark Twain)

As I was adding that quote to my collection, another quote from Lou Holtz that I had found myself caught my eye and just seemed to fit with the Twain quote.

“When all is said and done, more is said than done.”  (Lou Holtz)

Moral indignation seems to be in good supply these days, while moral actions continue to lag behind. We see moral injustices documented every night on the news shows, many times based upon racism or prejudices against those who are “different”. Perhaps we have become “morally brain dead” to the events that we witness or are shown on the newscasts, or perhaps we think it is enough to sit in front of the TV and be indignant. But, what are we doing about it? Do we get out and protest the moral wrong? Do we contribute to the cause that is fighting that wrong? Or, do we sit in our easy chairs and go, “tsk, tsk, that is so wrong”?

andrew-robles-295224In many countries of the world, people take to the streets, protesting, erecting barricades and burning tires to demonstrate against the moral wrongs that they perceive their governments are committing. In America we saw that in the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting income inequity a few years ago and the Women’s March on Washington. We still see it in the Black Lives Matter protests that occur all too frequently after a questionable police shooting. Most recently, we have seen news reports of protests at the border detention centers over the deplorable conditions inside.

In the end, Lou Holtz’s quote may be the most accurate – much more is said than done. Politicians rush to the scene of whatever moral crisis is unfolding hoping to get a photoLou_Holtz op and, perhaps, a quick quote of indignation on the nightly news. Then you don’t see them again. You don’t hear of them introducing legislation to right the injustice. Perhaps they hold hearings of some committee in Washington, which gives them another photo op and the chance to be on the news, again.

So the real question is, “What are you doing about it?” You won’t get a photo op and you are unlikely to be featured on the news. What can you do? There are three roles available in any situation like this – be a leader in organizing the response, be a follower/supporter of the response or be a bystander and largely ignore the response. young-woman-furiousBeing a leader don’t necessarily being on the front line of the physical protests that may be occurring. It can mean being the organizer of a local drive to collect toiletries or food or money to send to the people in need at the border holding stations. Perhaps it means organizing a neighborhood group to work with the local police on diversity training. Maybe it just means being more open to diversity yourself or more sensitive to racial issues in your community. In some cases it may mean joining in the political movement to replace the politicians who have not been doing anything about what they see with new people that have the moral courage to act instead of just lamenting the wrongs and smiling for the cameras.

Whatever role you take on is better than just being a bystander or just commenting on how indignant you are at the wrong. By leading or joining a group of like-minded people who are trying to right a moral wrong, you are reinforcing the character and principles that this country was founded upon. So, just do something – join a movement or protest, collect supplies to be used to fight the crisis, give money, give blood, give time – these all help and give you an answer to the question, ”What are you doing about it?”

Another quote by a great coach sums it up well – “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  (Vince Lombardi)

Commit to do something.

What will you see when you look at the mirror?

July 8, 2019

“God is like a mirror.  The mirror never changes, but everybody who looks at it sees something different.”  (Harold Kushner)  From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Rabbi Kushner’s quote immediately brings to mind the question that is today’s headline. If looking to God shows a reflection of who you are, perhaps that is why so many turn away from Him. They just don’t like what they see in the mirror. Perhaps they see thearrogant things that they could have done differently; or, things that maybe should have done but did not. Maybe they see the ugliness of their prejudices or the hurt that their hate for others causes. Maybe the distorted face of cynicism stares back at them and they don’t like it. For many it may just be the look of guilt for having been away from God for so long.

Perhaps the mirror analogy is telling us that we see our own ego in the mirror and that mirror imagewe need to look beyond that reflection to find God in the mirror. Whatever one initially sees in God’s mirror; if you look beyond the ego that is reflected there and find God, the shame and guilt and remorse will all melt away as God forgives your sins and welcomes you back into the fold. Continue to look and ask for forgiveness and you will be rewarded with God’s peace.

Many are so wrapped up in themselves, in their own wants and needs that they do not take the time to look beyond the surface reflection in God’s mirror. They see only the things that they want to see and ignore all else. They may glance at God from time to time and see the things that they need for God to forgive; but, their reaction is one of “I’ll get back to you on that.” Many never do get back to God until it is too late.

So, take some time in prayer to look into God’s mirror and see what He sees. Ask for His man prayingforgiveness for the things you have done wrong or the things left undone that you should have done. Don’t start the day and the week with leftover baggage from the past. Unburden yourself and start anew by taking your problems to God. Look in the mirror and smile. You’ve seen the face of God there and he was smiling back at you.

What will you see when you look in the mirror – look deeply and find God there.

How would you like to be remembered?

July 5, 2019

“I’d like to be remembered for the way I went about doing my job.”  (Goose Gossage)

That quote, from today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, begs the question that is today’s post title. I suspect it is only as one gets older that they begin to think about that question and the answer that they would like people to remember them by.

There are all sorts of ways to be remembered – many good and many not so good. For many men the answer expressed by Goose Gossage might apply. Men tend to identify themselves with their jobs and most would probably like to be remembered as being depression 5successful at those jobs. Some are thrust into heroic acts in their jobs or lives and will undoubtedly be remembered forever for those acts. Most are not heroes, in that sense, yet you often hear someone being eulogized as being a hero or role model to someone else.

Perhaps that is the best way to be remembered – as someone who lived a life that others want to emulate. You hear them remembered as a good and kind and generous human being who cared about others and went about helping others. That is a great way to be remembered. So, perhaps the best way to rephrase what Gossage said is to change the ending and say, “I’d like to be remembered for the way that I lived my life.”

A good way to get on track to be remembered that way is to start each day with a littlewoman-praying prayer – “Lord help me live this day in a way that I will be happy to remember.” If you do that, others will remember you that way, too.

How would you like to be remembered?

I love a parade…

July 3, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this – “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation; indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”  (Churchill)

Jack went on to write – There are 10 National Holidays, but 4 stand out in my mind as days that especially define America: Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day.  The others are significant, too, but think today about these 4, particularly the 4th of July, a day to celebrate the history of a great nation, not perfect, but in the process.  😉  Jack

Parades are a way to pause and celebrate holidays in your hometown and in our p5nation. I organize the 4th of July Parade in my home town of Milford, Michigan. I march, as a veteran, in the Memorial Day parade and I work as a volunteer in the Christmas Parade, which always takes place Thanksgiving weekend. We don’t have a parade for Veteran’s Day.  We also have parades for the start of Little League Baseball, and the local high school homecoming. Obviously, we love traditions in Milford.

Huron Valley Middle School BandThe parades that we have in Milford mean that Main Street is shut down for s few hours and a crowd gathers to watch. The biggest parade, by far is our Memorial Day parade, which draws a crowd of several thousand to watch and which has almost 1,000 vets marching.  The Christmas Parade features the arrival of Santa Claus to Milford for the Christmas Season. The Independence Day parade usually draws a big crowd to watch, too.

Sadly, the Independence Day Parade on the 4th of July has been declining in both attendance and participation for the last few years. What used to be a parade with 70-80 participating groups is now down to about 50 groups marching or riding in the parade. The viewing audience is also down a bit. It seems that the same reasons thatHistorical Society marchers in 2017 parade are causing the decline in church attendance effects the parade on the 4th – people are just too busy with other things to do.

Of course, the summer months are vacation months, so many families are traveling while school is out. Still, the fact that fewer local businesses and groups participate is troubling. We used to have 6-7 Boy and Girl Scout troops and Brownies and Cub Packs, but now only get 1-2. We had participation by many of the local churches, but now again only get 1 or 2. Many of the local service organizations used to march, now we are lucky if any participate. The excuses are always the same – “We couldn’t get enough people to be in the parade.”

What we are really saying is that we are too busy, too distracted or overwhelmed by Bridge to Unity floatlife to pause and take a moment to just enjoy a shared celebration of thankfulness for things like the birth of our nation or those who served our country. We have become so wrapped up in ME that we don’t have time to celebrate the things that make us WE. I am not sure whether this is an indicator of, or a cause of, the state of unrest, distrust and hatefulness across the nation that seems to be reflected in nightly news stories.

Still, there is hope. We are carrying on the traditions, like the Independence Day parade, in the hope that providing events that allows us to celebrate the great WE20160704_114059 events of the past will once again remind us that we have more in common than the differences that want to drive us apart. We stop to celebrate the events that were put in motion by those seeking the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is still a work in process, as Jack said; but it is worth pausing and having a parade.

Maybe I’ll see you at the Milford Independence Day parade. The parade starts at 11 PM. I’ll be announcing the participants as they march by. Pause for a moment and celebrate WE.