Opportunity Knocks

I was talking with my friend, recently, regarding the many opportunities that Southern Illinois University affords.

I recall, so vividly, being asked to assume the Assistant Superintendent position, when I had been a foreman for less than a year.  All of my foreman colleagues were senior to me…and I was just getting into the job that I had considered the capstone of my career.IMG_8207 4

I sat up all night…mulling over my decision to take the position or not.  I had interviewed with the Assistant Director of the Physical Plant and my boss, the Superintendent of Building Services.  The Assistant Director had conducted the interview and during the course of the meeting he had criticized my ability to follow through on custodial needs that occurred in my area of responsibility.

I knew that I had no problem in following through with my foreman duties and that in fact I had been asked to oversee, one of my senior colleagues’ foreman areas while he joined the Superintendent in extra curricular activity.

When the morning dawned…Mary Jane told me that if the job worried me so much as to keep me awake all night that I should refuse it.  I agreed.

I, subsequently, told my boss that I appreciated the offer but that after the interview I had determined that I needed to work on being an effective foreman before I became the boss of he foreman.

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My supervisor’s face fell and he told me how disappointed that he was…I liked my supervisor very much and appreciated all that he had done for me.

I proceeded to my area of responsibility and about thirty minutes later my pager went off and it was, Ray, asking me to meet he and, Dale, at Woody Hall.  When they arrived, Dale, asked me if I would join them at the McDonalds that was across the street.

Dale wanted to purchase my dinner…but I would not be plied by expensive food offerings.

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As Dale spoke to me regarding his sadness that I did not want to accept the Assistant Superintendent position…he noted that he had not determined that he was going to give it too me anyway…and that he had told, Ray, that I would not accept his constructive criticism, in the interview, well.

He went on to say that if I did not take the job that he was going to offer it to a custodial foreman, that was my age, from Northern Illinois University.  At this point I looked at Ray and he was shaking his head in the negative position and he looked very sad.

I accepted the job…I was 29 years old.

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Though there are often storm clouds on the horizon…there is always the sun waiting to break through.

There is an old saying, ‘Opportunity Only Knocks Once’, and I consistently found this to be true.

Twelve years later, the Director of Plant and Service Operations told me that I could accept the Superintendent of Building Services position…or that he might just contract the department out to an outside cleaning service.

I accepted the position and held it for the remaining 13 years of my SIU career.

My friend, Jo Ann, who was the chancellor of the University asked me  too consider accepting either of two administrative positions at the University…I probably would have accepted one or the other…to help her…if she had not been terminated two months later.

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It is impossible too for see, in your crystal ball, what life has in store for you and it is vital to listen to the…often…quiet knock on your door of opportunity.

Throughout my over 32 year career I discovered that the civil service staff are the backbone of the organization.

Administrators and faculty, often, work at several universities during their careers.  However, the civil service staff, have the most invested and longest outlook and the passion for success for their’ School.

Often, opportunity comes from places that you did not expect.

We all have a comfort zone…and we enjoy being ensconced in it.

But, what is the plan for our lives?

What did God have in mind for the gifts that he gave us?

There are few things that are more enjoyable than doing what you were meant to do!

 

 

 

‘Now Faith Is…’

‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’   Hebrews  11:1   KJV

‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’  II Corinthians 5:7   NKJV

‘And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard see, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.’   Matthew 17:20   KJV

Did you ever feel like that you were on the road of life alone?

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I think that this is especially true when life reversals assail our constructed myth of peace and harmony.

 

We are reared to believe that if we work hard and play by the rules that a comfortable and middle class life style will be ours and that this, mental photo torn from a Sears and Roebuck catalog, will  be our utopia.

 

We trust that if we can just build a high enough wall…the undesirables will not interfere with our, hard worked for peace and tranquility, and that we will be sheltered from the vagaries and horrors of the human existence that so many of our fellow travelers endure.

In 2011, Mary Jane and I travelled to the island of Jamaica.  From the air port to the Sandals Resort, that we were staying at for a week, was a ninety minute drive by bus.  During the bus trip we witnessed abject poverty and deprivation and Jamaicans that were ill clad and ill housed and ill fed.

When we entered the Resort…it was Nirvana.  Everything was beautiful and ornate and manicured to perfection.  We were offered a glass of champagne by our hosts and a damp towel to cool our brow.

During the course of our week stay…we luxuriated in the beaches and swam in the pools and had our choice of Jamaican delicacies in, no less than five, wonderful restaurants.

Food and drink…were unlimited.

At the conclusion of our week in Jamaica…we boarded the bus, again, for the ninety minute drive back to the airport…and the degradation and the sorrow…of the real Jamaica…was on view for every mile of the journey.

Even, so, with our lives…as we enjoy the temporal treasures that our labors and our luck have afforded us.

What is God trying to teach us…during our short time in this life?

The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…had no warning that complete and total devastation was going to fall from their sun lit skies.

 

Is the christian life supposed to be an endorphin high?

Or is it a life…in Christ’s example a life of sacrifice and suffering and realization that everything that we see and touch, including each other, goes back to dust…entropy.

What is the dynamic of church?  Is it a club where our many needs, both emotional and physical, are met and satisfied…much as the experience that we had at the Sandals Resort in Jamaica?

Or is the church a call to stewardship and working outside our comfort zone and reaching out to the poor and destitute and the mentally ill and the unwanted and unwashed and forgotten?

 

Are we seeking a minister that tickles our ears and salves our conscience…or are we looking for: ‘In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea.  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  For this is that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.’   Matthew 3: 1-4   KJV

 

 

 

 

Chapters

One thing that I have discovered, as a newly minted 60 year old, life has chapters.

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As a youngster my focus was on my nuclear family and my education…which I did not enjoy…until University.

As a high school graduate and living on my own I, soon became accustomed to the rhythms of responsibility and working for my food and shelter and heat and all of the rest…and walking wherever I needed to go.

Marriage came, to the love of my life,…and she was supportive of my ideas and endeavors and I wanted to please her and have her be proud of me.

Then, the birth of Aaron…and I was so proud of him and I thought that my son’s birth was so important and so significant and that my purpose in life was to be a good father and a good husband and provide for my little family.

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About, two and one half years later came Jonathon…and he climbed out of his cradle and jumped on to the floor with a hearty laugh.

He picked up every chat-ski that we had and admired it and subsequently broke it.

I was the father of two sons and I could not have been happier.

And, then, came the work years and the triumphs and the struggles and the challenges of both caring for our children and our aged parents.

There were accolades and victories and accomplishments in career.

There were illness and shocks…that had to be addressed…and there was a friendship with a former chancellor and her husband that was memorable.

So, now, there is the retirement years and the communications with my former colleagues, Elizabeth, and others, and the, kind request for my ‘senior opinion’  and my ongoing concern for my University and our State and our Nation and our world.

I wonder…when life ends…if this was but a chapter in our continuing story?

Why Is One Sentence More Important Than Thousands of Lives?

Wednesday, another horrendous school shooting occurred in Broward County, Florida, at the Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen people lost their lives.

  1. ‘Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
  2. Scott Beigel, 35
  3. Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
  4. Nicholas Dworet, 17
  5. Aaron Feis, 37
  6. Jamie Guttenberg, 14
  7. Chris Hixon, 49
  8. Luke Hoyer, 15
  9. Cara Loughran, 14
  10. Gina Montalto, 14
  11. Joaquin Oliver, 17
  12. Alaina Petty, 14
  13. Meadow Pollack, 18
  14. Helena Ramsay, 17
  15. Alex Schachter, 14
  16. Carmen Schentrup, 16
  17. Peter Wang, 15′               CNN

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‘Attack on a Florida high school is the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of the year.’   The Guardian

I am a gun owner.  I believe in the right to bear arms….but the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States of America has to be not only addressed with, ‘thoughts and prayers’, but real and concrete and significant action to endeavor to ameliorate this scourge that is overtaking our country.

Law enforcement, almost universally, wants to see semi-automatic weapons removed from our streets.

Semi-automatic weapons, such as the AR-15 style rifle used in the mass killing Wednesday, have no practical use, other than the privilege of owning whatever firearm that you please due to the sentence in the Constitution that promises the right to bear arms.

No other country on our planet has the regular occurrences of mass shootings that the United States does.

I was in high school…at one time…many years ago…I suppose you were as well.

It never crossed my mind that someone would enter my little high school in Eldorado, Illinois for the purpose of shooting and killing me and my classmates.

Each time that I think…that I do not want to see any gun restrictions…I visualize what if one of the students murdered was one of my sons….?

 

 

Money and the plentiful proliferation of it, to both democrats and republicans has caused them to be silent…in the face of genocide.

The majority of Americans want stricter gun laws.

The majority of law enforcement want stricter gun laws.

How is it that our elected legislatures and president can offer no more than…thoughts and prayers?

 

 

What is God’s Will…Not My Own?

I have been a christian for almost 50 years.

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During those years I have been both witness to many wonderful and christian acts and heard so many sermons and read so many scriptures…that I daily think in scriptures.

I have had the pleasure of hearing many, talented, ministers deliver spell binding sermons that compelled me to get up and go forward and attempt to live the compelling christian life that the minister spoke of.

Not a christian life of wealth and superiority and being a member of the elite…but rather a life following Christ’s example of suffering and service and caring for the poor.

 

There was a minister, years ago now, that headed a denomination that I had been a part of for eighteen years.

This minister was beloved by many…but he was rather aloof towards me…at least for the few times that I attempted to form a relationship with him.

However, his sermons, at times, were inspiring and some of the best that I had heard…at that time.

I decided…so many years ago…that this minister’s effectiveness was not about me personally…but it was about the results that he achieved in his home church and throughout the denomination that I was a member of.

I have served as an elder in three different churches.  I have worked closely with ministers throughout most of my life…even in the last few years.

Time and age and experience has taught me to look at the results that are being achieved in the church that I am attending.

How does the minister respond to the young and the elderly…are they at home and received with love and compassion?

What is the Message that the minister delivers…does it compel me to examine my christian life and my service to the poor and the homeless and those who are marginalized by our society?

Does my minister, consistently preach Christ’s message,,,and it is a hard to hear message…and it is a burdensome message…especially to the rich…?

‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’   Mark 10:25   KJV

Does my minister’s message move me towards social justice and fighting for the little guy and gal…or does it make me feel secure in my own emotions and dreams and upper middle class comfort?

 

I had a friend tell me, again…many years ago, that Policemen…were just men…and that they had the human foibles that all men and women have.

Our christian message is impossible for we fallible humans to live in it’s perfection and totality.

The same challenge goes for our ministers…they are human and have feet of clay and trials and tribulations and challenges that are inherent in our human flesh and experience.

‘Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.’   Psalm 105:15   KJV

I have been privileged to observe my Pastor, Rev. Janice West, a she interacts with young people…and it is a delight to behold the light in their eyes as she communicates so effectively with them.

 

Often, after hearing one of Pastor West’s Sermons…I am, inspired to write a blog regarding her effective and timely call to help the helpless.

I used to preach funeral sermons…perhaps upwards of 25 or more…in a past life.

Pastor Janice…preaches the most thoughtful and personal and considerate funeral sermons that I have ever heard.

My Pastor has a lovely singing voice…she sings a prayer almost every Sunday…it causes me to want to pray.

‘And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see?  A reed shaken with the wind?   Matthew 11:7   KJV

 

Excellence Is Part Of Your DNA!

One of the first things that I learned, as a manager, is that I was only as good or effective, as the people that I had working with me.

If you desire supervisor that care about people, then you must promote those who have demonstrated that people are important to them.

 

If you want leaders who have an eye for excellence and who can see the ‘ant in the corner of the room…as well as the elephant that is in the middle of the room,’ you must search for those who have demonstrated that ability in the job that they currently are holding.

So often we are impressed with rhetoric and empty platitudes that are uttered in a convincing manner.

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Strong words and bluster and promises…are mistaken for words the are supported by demonstrated success and promises that the promiser is committed to fulfilling.

Two popular sayings are: ‘Wing It,’ and ‘Fake It Until You Make It.’

A successful organization must be dedicated to a Vision and have a clear…bullet point outline…as to the goals desired and the methodology to achieve those goals.

 

There is another saying, that seems obvious…but is not.  ‘You do not know what you do not know.’

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When I began as the Superintendent of Building Services I set out a simple vision for the department.  ‘The customer is always right.’

Every action that we took as an organization was in service to that one, and one more sentence.

The second sentence was, ‘No one wants to hear why the cleaning person can not clean.’

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Again, seemingly obvious…but not really.

I had inherited a primary housekeeping organization that had been following a skip cleaning program that was artificial and that was hated by the Building Services staff.

When I took the shackles off of the eager and professional housekeepers…miracles happened.

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There is an entrepreneurial spirit in we humans…that is crying to be set free.

We, by and large, seek excellence and hunger to be a part of a successful enterprise that is dedicated to being the best!

As I wrote the Building Services Handbook, I said, that I wanted our custodial group to be like the old Hertz Rental Car Commercial.

In the commercial there was a man, who was wearing a suit and tie and hat…floating through the air until he was comfortably landed behind the steering wheel of a Hertz Rental Car.  The tagline for the famous rental car commercial was, ‘Hertz Puts You In the Driver’s Seat.’

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I also mentioned an old McDonalds Restaurant Commercial that exclaimed, ‘We do It All For You.’

And finally I likened our department to the Cadillac of Custodial Services.

There is a spark in all of us…that is waiting to be ignited.

 

We are desperately seeking a leader who has the confidence in us… for us to achieve the potential that is hidden deep inside.

I have likened Southern Illinois University to a Sleeping Giant…that is waiting to be awakened and to then demonstrate the inherent excellence that is smoldering like hot coals in a pot belly stove…you can feel the heat…and the fire wants to dance!

 

For many years Mary Jane and I shopped at Famous Barr Department Store.  Famous Barr was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and was owned by the May Company.

For several Christmas Seasons we took Aaron and Jonathon to the magnificent Christmas display that they had on the seventh floor of their headquarters in St. Louis.  The Display was entitled, Christmas Bears Trimming the Tree.  The animated Bears and their Holiday shenanigans covered almost the entirety of the seventh floor.  When you entered the Tree Trimming Splendor…it was a full immersion experience.  Famous Barr…did things right…they were the epitome of excellence!

When I walked though Famous Barr in Carbondale, Illinois…every salesperson greeted me by name.

Both in St. Louis and Fairview Heights, Illinois and Carbondale, Illinois…the women were dressed in suits or dresses and the men were attired in suits, as well.

I have purchased items at Famous Barr…for more money than I could have purchased the same item somewhere else, cheaper.

When I was at Famous Barr…I felt like I was at home.

 

We know that we are members of this life but for a short time.

We want to make our mark…make a difference…be a part of something that is much larger than us…and is special.

In the wonderful holiday movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, tells Donna Reed’s character, Mary, that if she wants the moon that he will lasso it and bring it down to Earth for her.

We all want to lasso the moon.  When a leader, unleashes and unshackles us and relies upon us to totally buy into the organization that we are, obviously, an integral part of,…then…miracles happen!

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Management That Works

Aaron and I were talking about a subject that interests both of us, management.  We both have an ongoing interest in the subject as I was a manager for over 25 years and Aaron has been a manager for over ten years.

When I became a supervisor, 1980, I was humbled by the responsibility of being the crew leader of three full time staff and nine student staff.

I first wanted to understand what my, new staff, needed to be able to accomplish the housekeeping duties that we were charged to accomplish on a nightly basis.

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I knew that I responded favorably to supervisors who spoke to me with respect and treated me as an equal…rather than a subordinate.  I remembered that a few kind words from a supervisor or a manager or the Superintendent of the department, inspired me and caused me to want to do an increasingly better and professional job.

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Also, I had experienced what it felt like to be, talked down too and criticized publicly and made to feel insignificant.  I had experienced a supervisor uttering profanity when they gave me work instructions.

I knew what it was like to be new on the job and nervous and apprehensive and trying so hard to accomplish a good  job…that the opposite occurred.

As a new supervisor, I wanted each member of the team to feel valued and vital to the success of the operation.  I wanted everyone to feel like members of a caring family.

 

 

 

The great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said, ‘I really do not care how much you know…until I know how much you care…about me.’

The Golden Rule tells us that we should treat others as we want to be treated.

Implementing the Golden Rule…is easier to say than do.

A a manager you may be doing the most thoughtful of things for a member of your staff and you may be patient with them and kind when there is a constructive correction needed and interested in their job satisfaction…and then you hear that the employee is openly and vigorously criticizing you and your management style.

 

 

 

You must treat the criticizing member of your staff as if you never heard the criticism.

I have been asked, numerous occasions, what my management philosophy was?

When I was, suddenly, given the Superintendent’s duties for the Building Services department, the Director of Plant and Service Operations introduced me to his immediate staff and then asked me if I would like to say anything.

I told the Director and his Associate Directors, that I was going to make Building Services enemies our friends and that I wanted our friends to love us.

 

 

 

I made it a habit, during my career, to treat those who were the most critical of me…as my friends and supporters.

One of my foreman told me once that she had noticed that I treated my enemies just like my friends and that if a person did not know, who was in each camp, they would never be able to distinguish by my interactions with them.

She went on to say that she wondered that…if at times…I did not treat my enemies better…?

I felt no greater satisfaction than when a person told me that they had not trusted me or cared for me…but that through the years they had grown to appreciate my dedication to everyone in Building Services.

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As a, human, when people say bad or negative or untrue things about you…it hurts.

I told my foreman, more than once, to not relay to me the personal negative comments that they heard regarding me…unless they overheard that someone was trying to get me fired or killed.

However, management…leadership, is not about you and it is not about me.  It is about treating everyone in a fair and caring and considerate manner.  It is a stewardship position…you do not own people and they are not your subjects.

If constructive criticism is required it must always and only be about specific job performance and it must always be done in private.

If there is praise and commendation to be uttered regarding a successful professional member of your staff…exclaim it from the top of the tallest’ mountain for everyone to hear and appreciate.

Don’t be given to rhetoric or bluster or speak of personal traits that are not job related.

Everything that you tell a member of your staff that you are going to do for them…you must move heaven and earth to ensure that you do exactly what you said that you would do.

If you are told something, confidentially, you must…lock it in the vault and throw away the key.

As a supervisor and a manager/administrator I believed that I was simply the University’s representative to the members of my staff and that it was my awesome responsibility to portray SIU as the caring and compassionate and stellar and elite institution of higher education that it is.

 

 

 

For the entirety of my 32 years and 2 months and 3 week career at SIU…I believed that I was associated with colleagues that were the best of the best and that their wisdom and dedication and professionalism was unparalleled.

I understood that it was a humbling honor to be allowed to work with such an Housekeeping Team that were at the height of their skills and paramount among their peers throughout the State of Illinois and throughout the United States.

It was not hard or difficult to treat these wonderful and caring and first class professionals with total respect!

 

 

 

 

 

Share Your Talent Boldly

Please enjoy, another, Great Jonathon Brooks Blog.

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One of my favorite quotes from my favorite author Ray Bradbury is as follows: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” I enjoy fiction immensely. I’m a reader and I have been since I was in my late teens. Also around the first year of college I decided to try my talent at fiction writing. I’ve since been published a few times and written a good deal of other works that are unpublished.

The beauty in the fiction world is that it’s whatever the author desires it to be. Anyone who’s read my short stories would verify that I write happy stories. The great teachers have always said to write what you know. There’s so much sorrow in so many lives. If I can bring joy to anyone through the art of fiction, while entertaining them and causing them to smile, then I’ve done my job…

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The Olympics is Inspiring!

I was watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, last night.

I have found the Olympics both inspiring and energizing, since I was a child.

‘If ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s sister would be favored to win gold.’

‘With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.’

‘I hope Pyongyang and Seoul get closer in our people’s hearts and move forward the future of prosperous unification,’ she said in her guest book message, referring to the capitals of North and South Korea.’   CNN

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‘Jaw, jaw and war, war Jaw, jaw is better than war, war.’

‘Winston Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, speaking of this quote, noted that Churchill actually said, ‘Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.’   winstonchurcill.org

The dedication of Olympic Athletes and the rigorous dedication to the fulfillment of their dream…is inspiring and a catalyst to…get up and do what needs to be done.

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This Winter Olympics, being held in South Korea…which is just 60 miles from North Korea…could either be the beginning of peace talks and agreement between North Korea and South Korea…and the rest of the world.  Or it could be the last glimmer of hope…before devastation and suffering and carnage and ‘fire and fury’, as president Trump promised…earlier this year.

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Vice President Pence, sat stony faced as the sister of the leader of North Korea sat just behind him, for the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

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In a glimmer of hope,South Korea has united with North Korea to field a unified Olympic team…for Korea.

The Summer Olympic Games were held in Berlin, Germany in 1936.

Many, though out the world, were watching Hitler with a wary and fearful eye.  Herr Hitler attempted to portray his government as, inclusive and caring, but the athletic prowess of United States Olympian, Jesse Owens, enraged him.

1936-08-Owens-long-jump-thumbnail-21936-08-Owens-100-m-thumbnail-2It seems to me that the Olympics has given the people’s of the world…a last chance to, ‘jaw, jaw…rather than war, war,’ and we must avail ourselves of the opportunity that the young people of the world and the purity of sport…have afforded us.

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When I was a manager of a large housekeeping organization…I was often told negative things about persons who were transferring into our department.  The descriptions were chilling and explicit with reasons why that I should not like the person being maligned and why I should seek to discipline them and perhaps fire them at my earliest convenience.

Often these desperate accusations were aimed at minorities or women and the carrier of the bad recommendations swore that they were simply trying to protect me, as the boss, from the poor job performance of the ‘evil person’ that they were warning me of.

More often than not, I discovered the individual being criticized and gossiped about, was a wonderful employee…and often one of the strongest members of my staff.

North Koreans…do not know anything about us but the lies that they have been told.

Could it be that we do not know anything about…or understand…North Koreans?

The majority of people, in any country, are lovely human beings.

To paint a country or a nation or a people…with a broad brush…is a fool’s errand.

The Brutal, Kim Regime, is a terrible government that starves its’ own people and is responsible for the recent death of, United States citizen, Otto Warmbier.

But, to negotiate with a dictatorship…is not new for the US.

Our president has, already, expressed admiration for several dictators across our planet.

The stakes for humanity…have not been hirer…since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

‘Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breath the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future.  And we are all mortal.’   President John F. Kennedy

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Note: Photos are from Google.

Good Children…Or Blind Obedience?

I enjoy observing the English Parliamentary Political System, operate.

 

The House of Commons, which we were privileged to visit in 2012, is the home to vigorous political debate.

When the elected, Prime Minister speaks, he or she is greeted by jeers from the political opposition and cheers from his/her own party.

Religion or personal faith…plays little part in the United Kingdom’s politics.

‘Thirty years ago, it all seemed very clear.’

‘American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression’, announced a Washington Post headline on Aug, 5 1964.’

‘That same day, the front page of the New York Times reported. ‘President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and ‘certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam’ after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.’

‘But there was no ‘second attack’ by North Vietnam – no ‘renewed attacks against American destroyers.’  By reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.’   FAIR

As a child I could see that the Vietnam War was a political contrivance and was primarily at the whim and behest of Presidents Johnson and later Nixon.  It was painfully apparent to me and members of my family and my friends…that young men were dieing to facilitate the ego of our benevolent leaders.

 

Osama Bin Laden struck a catastrophic blow on our country on 9-11-2001.

 

We quickly understood that Bin Laden was hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan, and we retaliated accordingly.

Then…we began a war in Iraq…that was basically to avenge the president’s anger regarding the fact that Saddam Hussein had attempted to assassinate his father, former president George H.W. Bush.

Lies were perpetrated and promulgated, by the Bush administration, that Saddam had nuclear weapons.

We discovered…after thousands of deaths…that he did not.

I heard a woman say, during the Trump Candidacy for President, ‘that he is soon going to be the leader and he can do whatever he wants to do,’…and sadly this is the mentality of many Americans.

Issues that are true should be able to be supported by verifiable facts.

The plea to, ‘Trust Me’ or ‘Believe Me’…should not be the controlling criteria or rationale for a Trump Doctrine.

I often associate my years at SIU with our countries governance.  I hope you will indulge me…as the two have distinct similarities to me and the corollaries are patently evident.

Constructive change should be able to be supported by direct evidence of success.

SIU is almost 150 years old and has a rich and vibrant history.

Productive and lasting enrichment of the Campus and the increasing of enrollment and retention of students…will be directly tied to that illustrious history.

A collaboration of ideas and a blending of demonstrated success is the key to the revitalization of a our country and our wonderful and pristine Southern Illinois University.IMG_8378

 

I was at the public firing of former chancellor, Jo Ann Argersinger, and a member of the Board of Trustees admonished, us…in the audience, to trust them.

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Since the untimely and unwarranted firing of chancellor Argersinger…enrollment has declined…almost every year…for 20 years.

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To take on the mantel of being an informed citizen of your University and your Country and your planet…is an awesome and rewarding task.

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Whatever you are a member of…whether it be a church or or a nation…keep a critical ‘eye peeled’ for Bullshit in the guise of truth from the mouth of the leader.

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‘Fact – a thing that is indisputably the case’

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‘Evidence – the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.’   Dictionary

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As a youngster I loved to watch the popular television show, Star Trek, and my hero was Mr. Spock.  Mr. Spock could cause a person to fall to the floor by simply placing his hand on their shoulder and squeezing.

Mr. Spock often told Captain Kirk, who although he was the Captain of the Starship Enterprise…was a man who was basically ruled by his passions,….that a plan that he had…was illogical.

I marveled at the intellectual superiority of the pointed eared, Mr. Spock.

It is fun and rewarding to think for yourself.  You will make some mistakes along the way…but they will be your mistakes.

One of the all time great singers, Frank Sinatra, sang his, very popular song, ‘I did It My Way.’

‘To thy own self be true.’

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