Archive for July, 2014

This morning before coming to work I looked down at my cuff links and smiled. They are a set of pewter cuff links with a circle shaped face. On the front of one face the word Jedi is stamped on the front of the other face you can read the word Knight. I see them and I smile because first and foremost they were a gift from my girlfriend and that is really nice and second because I am a geek and I love Star Wars.


In case you don’t know, (and I don’t know how you would) Jedi Knights are knights who work to keep balance in the universe. They for the most part have mastered the force.The force is the universe that everything alive exists in. Jedi Knights go on adventures in their efforts to restore and keep balance in the universe. It is rumored that the creator of the Star Wars movies and the Jedi them selves George Lucas, based the Jedi on the Samurai.

For me the Jedi Knights (and I know they are fictional) represent everything men and women should aspire to be. Selfless protectors. When I see the cuff links I smile because it amazes me that an exciting sci fi movie/book/television franchise can help teach us to be better people.  We can all be Jedi Knights.






Everyone has a job to do. We are parents, children brothers sisters cousins. What are you? You may be more than one of those. It is of course possible to be both a parent and a son. Or a Mother and a sister. What are your jobs in each role?

They are important and it is so important to realize what they are and do them. Our jobs that is. Just yesterday, I was speaking with someone who I work with about a news story he read that detailed how an 18 year old woman married a 58 year old man. The word news was loosely applied, I mean it is more like gossip than news. He asked me what I would say to my adult daughter. I let him know I did not know what I would say, because my daughter is no where near an adult, but I did mention how telling adults what they should or shouldn’t do usually didn’t work out. He went on to say that parents do not parent anymore.

I let him know that a man who was the leader of a great organization called “Youth Challenge Academy” let a mother of one of his students know, that it was the mother and fathers job to make themselves not needed in their child’s life. My work colleague let me know that this was stupid. Let me give you some context. The friend who runs the “Youth Challenge Academy” is an educator and leader of children and the Youth Challenge Academy is an boot camp style school for at risk youth who have dropped out of high school. He has seen the perils involved in parents not doing their jobs. Children become adults in age only and not maturity when they need their parents after they are adults.

For me and I guess not for everyone else the life cycle works like this. A child is born, he or she is nurtured and raised by their parents. The parents teach the child how to learn and life skills. The child matures, becomes an adult. The parents get tired grow older and then the child uses the skills taught by the parent to help take care of the parents. In the mean time when the child is an adult and the parents do not need care the children and the parents experience an adult relationship in love. Some times the natural cycle is cut by tragedy but for the most part this is it. Obviously this is not it for everyone. My colleague let me know that children always need their parents. I let him know that I do not want my children to always need me. When they are adults I want them to want to be in a relationship with me based on respect and not need.


I really feel like it is the job of the parent to make them self not needed. When a child becomes an adult and the parent is still needed. The parent failed to do their job and usually (call it karma or whatever you like) the parent pays for not doing their job because they are still taking care of their child (who is now an adult).

We all have jobs to do. I guess the key is deciding what your job is and I guess the key to deciding what your job is would be in deciding what you want for everyone involved. Do you want a child who becomes and independent adult?  Do you want to have an adult relationship with your child based on respect and love? If you answered yes than your job is to become not needed but wanted.  Now, do you want a child who suffers from a perpetual stage of arrested development? Do you want to always be charged with caring for at least two people? Then your job is to simply nurture and take care of all your child’s ills (by the way this is really not possible, there are certain mountains a man or a woman must climb alone)




It can be a good thing

Posted: July 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

If you live in the northern hemisphere of the earth it is nearing the end of the summer season. With the end of summer for most of us comes the end of vacation time. Schedules at home and at work will begin to change and get back to “normal”, or back on track.

Breaking from our routines is a good thing to do. Breaking from our routines gives us time to unwind and reflect, but routines get stuff done. With routines full of good habits schedules can be set and we can be seen as reliable. It was the prompt service and good scheduling that made train travel the harbinger of progress in the west and all across the continental United States of America. It is keeping to schedules that makes companies agile and capable.

Routines can be boring but they are needed. Routines full of good habits and needed actions are good things.  It is through routine of good things that we achieve the great things.

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

Now, routines made up of dull not needed things can be tortuous and deferential to things like our health and happiness.  Do your self a favor and develop a new routine full of good and healthy habits. Let our loved ones know routinely how special they are. Keep a journal. Run or swim or anything to get active. Learn something new everyday. Keep track of your goals. Make your life through your routine be this awesome force, but remember to figure in time to relax and reflect (you are not all work all the time)

“I am wary of the whole dreary deadening structured mess that we have built into such a glittering top-heavy structure that there is nothing left to see but the glitter, and the brute routines of maintaining it.”
John D. MacDonald, The Deep Blue Good-By

“I want to caution you against the idea that balance has to be a routine that looks the same week in and week out.”
Kevin Thoman






So yesterday was Sunday and as part of my religion we worship and study together on Sundays. I am a member of the baptist denomination of the Christian religion. Being part of the religion our religious text is the Bible. The religious text for the Christian religion was canonized and confirmed and while the old testament of the text has some differences depending on what denomination you are the new testament has all the same books inspite of religion. Yesterday we studied from the book of 1 Peter. 1 Peter is a letter written from Peter to the christian followers. Peter was the Bishop of Christianity in Rome when he wrote the letter and the part of the letter we read yesterday was a tough pill to sallow.

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” 1 Peter 2: 18

See what I mean? It is a tough one isn’t it? i mean slavery has to be among one of the most vile crimes that happens. Slavery has been and is still described as wicked and abhorrent. It takes away a man or woman’s power  often times violently. On first glance this scripture looks like an endorsement for the wicked actions but it is not. See the bishop Peter is not addressing the masters of slaves he is speaking to the slaves themselves. There were Christians all over the Roman empire who were enslaved and where hearing this letter. The leader of Rome during the time that Peter was bishop was Nero. Nero ruled Rome with an iron fist. He promoted the Roman culture created theaters and sports and it is rumored that he hated Christians. Under Neros rule the independent thoughts and culture of Christains, a culture of compassion and respect may have been seen as weakness to Nero and a threat to his culture of competition and pursuit of the best. Maybe Nero did not see the benefit in employing compassion for men or women? I am not sure but there was a lot of persecution going on simply for excising ones religion.  Among this persecution was slavery. It was not uncommon for a Roman to have a few slaves run his household.  These slaves were now being told by their spiritual leader that they should respect their Roman masters.

But when we read the bishops full letter we see that he mentions before this part of the letter the joy a christian will experience in the after life and we also see that the bishop asks that the followers of Christianity employ faith. Faith that for some reason this suffering, this slavery, was allowed to happen by God and that God in his time would end mans suffering.

Now earlier I mentioned that the Christian faith had both new and old testament in their religious texts and that all denominations agreeded on the new testament cannon but not all agreed on the old testament cannon.  One book included in some denominations and not in others cannon for the old testament is the book of Maccabees.  This book tells the story of the slave revolt in Judea. The slave revolt was lead because the slaves were denied the right to worship and exercise their faith. The slave revolt was successful and shortly after the success their was decession in the now free men ranks. The debate was as to whether or not the nation should continue to fight or not.  Some of the leadership saw the success and in that success saw opportunity to expand their nation. But see this expansion was beyond worship.

The bishop later in his letter mentions that one should never compromise his religion. The religion of Christianity to me in this letter from Peter is one of love compassion and faith and according to the bishop when we are permitted from exercising our religion then it is ok to disobey our masters. However the chance to employ compassion love and faith is more often not used than it is taken away from men and women.

Now I am not not sure what religion you exercise but I know this one thing. We as a society do not have enough people doing good. We have a lot but, not enough.

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
Charles Dickens

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou


No matter what your religious affiliation is I challenge you today to respect everyone and do something good.




What can we control?

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Ourselves. That is what we can control. Our actions and in actions are done or not done by us. This is our rudder with which we steer our vessel. They may seem small and insignificant but acts done now may set into morion events that will make all the difference in the world.

A 19 year old opens a 401 k, a 20, 30 and 40 year old puts in money every day and a 50 year old is chilling on the beach. See?

This week I had the wonderful task of working with the kids in our church. It was vacation Bible school week and we had a blast. I watched the kids do their studies and interact with each other. I noticed how at their age they were just beginning to realize that they could influence others through their actions and I thought how great is that?

I read a self help article that mentioned how saying that our lives our out of our control is a cop out. I have to agree much of our lives are in our control. Perhaps not the time line for our life but actions and in actions are and that is a lot




It can be easy to get all caught up with the daily grind making deadlines and moving onto the next big project, but I implore you to keep in mind that success is not crossing the finish line it is taking one step after another in the direction you want to goal.  Making goals is not a negative action it is a god thing but when we make and focus on goals we can sometimes forget how we get there, which is one step at a time.

The Budha says “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Now the origination of the quote has been highly debated however the philosophy of living in the moment and being present in the moment is a philosophy shared by almost every major religion. 

When we live in the moment it helps with our gratitude. Being grateful for where we are at right now is a powerful tool. Being grateful will help you gain a clear mind and perspective and can influence others as well.

When we live in the moment it helps us focus on what is right in front of us. Successful people all do this. They focus on the job they are doing. Successful people never multi-task.

Finally living in the moment helps us gain perspective on what success is. Success is completing each step. Popular culture and mans desire to apply some type of taxonomy to everything has maybe blinded us to what real success is.

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Do yourself a favor today take a breath enjoy this moment and focus on what you are doing knowing that whatever the outcome you can and will succeed




Earlier in the week I read an article that outlined the horrible way a Microsoft executive told his employees they would be getting laid off. The article is an interesting but long read because, news of the layoff (and this is a big layoff thousands of employees) was told to the employees in a lengthy email (over 11 paragraphs long).  Now, before you read the email and start to spew hate for microsoft, please keep in mind I have yet to vet the article and see how true it is. Microsoft is doing layoffs but how they told each employee is really unknown to me. So, why would I even bring up the article at all? I bring it up because it demonstrates a point.

The email in the article is over 11 paragraphs long and doesn’t really tell the reader he or she is getting laid off until the 11th paragraph. That is not proper etiquette.  I like to talk, and listen. I like most people and I really feel like Larry King was onto something when he said “everyone is interesting”, however despite my love for articulation I understand that often times the best route to take (especially when dealing with some bad news like layoffs) is the succinct and direct route.  Wlhen the writer or speaker tries to expound on a fact before making the fact know the reader or listener can feel a lot like the goose. We give the goose all the good meals right before they are slaughtered for our holiday dinners. Many words are not needed when dealing with the presentation of most facts. Many unneeded words lead to some obfuscation and a source of frustration for our audience.


(this is a picture of the Microsoft honcho who allegedly drafted the long email Stephen Elop he was the head of Nokia. A cellphone company acquired by Microsoft. In spite of the layoffs, I feel with Microsoft and Nokia deal, some very interesting things are going to happen at Micrososft we will see)


Becoming a good communicator involves a respect and that respect means we have to respect our audiences time as well as their feelings on the matter we are presenting. We have to find a way to present them with the facts that involves candor as well as compassion and that is a fine line. If you tow this line though. Your words can be some powerful tools that will inspire generations. See Patton and Churchill.  If you fail to tow the line you can come off as a long winded jerk see Kanye West.


I guess the biggest secret is to know our audience and respect our audience. My apologies to Knaye, but man you make it to easy.