Thursday, October 4, 2012

Civility, Down For The Count

What do they call these things, avatars?  Yeah, that's what they are.  Wonderful things aren't they, little pictures that represent who we are.  These things usually come with some sort of name attached to them that is supposed to identify us to others.

My avatar, the one that i use has just about always been a picture of myself.  I'm under the impression that by using my own face that i am able to keep bugs and viruses away from my computer.  of course, it could be that I'm using linux at the moment rather than windows.  The name i most often go by is beej or beej mcl.  The reason comes from my name Brian is represted by the b while my middle name is John, there's the j.  putting those two together gives us beej and that mcl, comes from having the Irish last name of McLaughlin.

So, where am i going with this.  The title ought to give a hint as to where and what this write is all about, but hang on for a second.

Back to the avatars and names.  How many of us on the internet (no need to raise our hands) actually represent who we are and what we are about with our avatars and screen names?  after all, the internet is a place where we can be whoever we want to be as long as we don't have to physically answer to anyone we come into contact with while we are here.  We can meek and mild if we want, (how often do you see that) or the meanest SOB in the valley.(I don't need to repeat that question, do I)  The point is that here on the internet a person can enjoy a certain amount of anonymity.  That's a good thing, right?  Or maybe not.

Here's a little three liner for you.

Where ever has gone our civility
Often ready to fight and seldom polite
We have only to blame anonymity

Well, there we have it, that's where this was going.  That problem that we have here on the internet known to and experienced by many called a lack of civility toward one another.  And there is the
cause of it right before our faces, anonymity.  Anonymity has given us a license to be rude, crude and down right mean to each other if we please.  As long as no-one knows who I am, I can say anything I want to them without worrying about any repercussions.  Using the words of SNL's Church Lady, "Isn't that special".

What can be done about this is very little when we see others abusing their anonymity, but if we want to make a change, we have to start with ourselves.  None of us are perfect and there are buttons that get pushed that often set us off, but if we can act in a civil manner during these times, a little bit of that civility might just rub off on another.  This world and it's problem with intolerance and it's lack of civility toward one another can be healed, one person at a time.

Please help eliminate this problem, let it be your turn for the healing today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God Bless the Child

“God bless the child who's got his own”. Most people think wow I remember that song, Blood Sweat and Tears, right? Well, yeah but long before that Billie Holiday. That's not what matters though, what matters is the child and how he gets his own.

A child who's been given every little bit
will often treat his toys as he doesn't give a shit.
He believes he is entitled as he's been given all he's had
and then we wonder why within ourselves he often acts so bad.

Strange little problem we have with those who have been born into money and fame. It's really not their fault though these children were born into a society that believes they are the privileged few. They've been treated from day one that they are better than those other people. They've been given a head start in life because of their parents money and really don't have their own. These kids haven't made their own place in this world, they've been thrust into the place of another’s making. This whole scenario becomes a huge problem when it gets to the point where children born to privilege show that they have no care what-so-ever who they hurt along the way while extending that which their parents have birthed them to.

Now on the other hand, there are the children born to what we might consider the norm. Brought up in families where the parents could not provide their every little whim and wish. Brought up in a situation where they learned to respect the dollar because it had to be worked for. These “children of the norm” grew up realizing that the work for what they get had to be done by themselves and that along the way, they had to consider that others in this world were in the same boat that they were. Generally they learned that we are all in this together and we somehow have to see others with the same respect we wish to have. They've had no head start. It's not their parents money and place in society that they have.

They've got their own.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Many measure their success by the amount of wealth that they have amassed in their bank accounts and material possessions. Many of these people are so busy building this wealth that they don't have the time to sit down and enjoy what they have. Their lives are filled with so much work that they seldom have time for their families. The children of people who fall into this way of looking at success learn young and hold onto the idea that love is expressed through money and possessions. The bonding that they form with the family unit becomes based on what is being given to them rather than with those who are providing for them. 
Now don't get me wrong, providing for and giving to your children is a wonderful thing to do. It does not however replace the love and personal bonding that children need in order to grow up to be a responsible adults able to pass this love onto their own. This personal bonding takes time, it takes the attention of the parents showing the children that they are more important than the things found in the driveway and around the house. They need to see that their parents are placeing their needs of time, attention and love as more important than their own wants. The children need to see that they come first. 
So, what other measure is there of success? I see success as being happy and satisfied with my place in life. Whether my children have grown and found happiness. I see success in statements from my children that say, “dad you raised me well, even when I might not have agreed with you”. Success shows itself to me when I see my children able to go out on their own to repeat the cycle, giving the love and attention to their family in a way that brings joy to their hearts. 
The love and happiness of the family is my measure of success. What good is all the money and all the toys doing for a man if he has nobody to share them with. 
Have you thought about your own measure of success?

Taking the High Road

Ever spend time in the low lying places found in a field that has been fertilized? Yeah, it stinks. The smell of the air makes it hard to breathe and is definitely unhealthy for you. There is a feeling of being miserable after a steady diet of that type of pollution. The same feeling comes from the pollution found in the cities we live in when we walk past the alleyways between tall buildings. The bad air settles in and tends to make us sick. That is what pollution does to our lives, makes us miserable, sick and unhappy.
After spending time in these basins of polluted air if we take a trip to the tops of buildings or to the mountains we find that the air becomes easy to breathe and healthy for us. We find that we gain a feeling of euphoria. We find ourselves to be happier about our surroundings and our selves. It becomes a feeling strong enough to push away our problems for the moment and give an inner peace that increases our happiness even further. This air is also found along the high road rather than along the low road of life.
Throughout our lives, we make many choices concerning taking the high road or the low. Our decisions made in these cases determine how we feel, happy and filled with joy or miserable. Those decisions are based by the way we look at life. Whether we take a positive view or negative view of what we have before us and then how we react to the situation facing us will form how we feel about ourselves. Zig Zigler wrote in his book “See You at the Top” that “stinkin’ thinkin’ causes hardening of the attitudes”. When a person allows this to happen, (the stinkin’ thinkin’ that is) feelings of disgust, misery, anger and frustration set in. Once they do, the stinkin’ thinkin’ seems to amplify itself and the feelings that you experience ride right along with it. This tends to make a person miserable and stay that way, never happy with anything.
Take this negative viewpoint of life over to your golf game and watch what happens to your scores. When you say I’m going to hit a lousy drive in your mind you will. Sometimes when you say I’m going to hit a good drive it’s lousy. What you do after that lousy shot is what matters. If you stay upset with stinkin’ thinkin’ your next shot is sure to learn from your last one. If you take the high road and look at it as that shot was lousy, but this is a new shot and I can make better contact with what I just learned from it, you have a decent chance of following that bad shot with a good one. If you say you can’t, you most likely won’t, so don’t let it enter your mind that you cannot make that putt. You still may not make it, but how many times have you seen pro’s like Phil Mickleson and others miss a three footer.
Your happiness with your golf game and life in general does not have to be reigned in by stinkin’ thinkin’. It becomes a choice that you make for yourself through your decision of looking at them through positive (the high road) or negative (the low road) viewpoints.
Don’t miss the three footers of life because of taking the low road. You’ll never be sorry for taking the high road, that is where happiness is found.

Are We Free or Are We Tolerated

Steven Stills wrote the words Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground, Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down”. 
Freedom has a price, but it is something that cannot be bought. Sure, if you have enough money, you can buy your way from the powers that be to do and get away with doing just about anything you want. That is not freedom though, that is called tolerance. So, the question must be asked. Do we have what can be considered true freedom or do we have something that should be considered tolerance? 
What is freedom? Old webster defines it as “the quality or state of being free”. I was taught that you shouldn't use the word itself in defining the the idea that you were trying to understand so let's look at the word free. Are we really free? Going back to webster we find the primary definition of free is a : having the legal and political rights of a citizenb : enjoying civil and political liberty em>free citizens> c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another. 
The statement that strikes me is d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another. “Not subject to the control or domination of another.” This suggests that to truly be free, that we would never be subject to the rules of another, never be dominated by laws governing our actions. A society cannot exist under that type of scenario. We must have a system of rules, regulations, laws if you will to be able to reside peacefully with our neighbors. These rules and regulations give us a restricted ration of that which we call freedom. They set boundaries of tolerance of what is and is not allowed concerning our behavior towards others and our country. 
So, again I ask are we free or are we tolerated? 
We have what is said to be 5 core freedoms. Freedom of assembly, speech, press, religion and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 
Do we have the freedom, the right to assemble, or do we need to obtain a government permit? 
Do we have the freedom to say whatever we wish or are there restrictions as to certain words when they incite others to a behavior that results in violence? 
Do we have freedom of the press or are we subject to the opinions of the editors when they don't care for the reporters article? Can the press just print what they want or are they subject to the need of secrecy at times to protect our servicemen and country as a whole?
Do we have freedom of religion, does that right only belong to certain religions? 
Can we actually petition the government to redress grievances or are we simply starting a process that gets put right into the hands of of the people we see as the problem? 
Are we free or are we tolerated.