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Like everyone else ...

If we were all the same, then there would only be one fingerprint on record. If we were all the same, we would not need photo ID’s. If we were all the same, why bother with DNA samples and testing.

Margaret Mead said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” We are unique, like everyone else, and that uniqueness allows us to differentiate and distinguish our selves from one another. We distinguish our selves by how we look and how we act. And people make the distinction, they determine who we are and how they will relate to us based on our looks and actions.

You might say that we are always on stage. Whether it is a perfect stranger, our children or friends and acquaintances, they all have an opinion on our performance. It is best to give your best performance.

Some people prefer to distinguish them selves by their looks. They change or enhance their looks to make a statement. They may decide to wear make up or a special shirt and jacket. They may choose to alter their body. Having surgical procedures like liposuction and injectable fillers or just moving, removing or adding parts.

We see a prevalence of tattoos and facial/body jewelry today. It is perfect for a specific environment but can give an undesirable response in another environment. It’s like wearing a bikini to church. Right look, wrong place. The jewelry can be removed but tattoos are forever.

Some people distinguish themselves by their actions. Our actions represent a 24/7 performance. We are always on stage. From snoring at night to snoring during your boss’s presentation, it is the same performance but two different theaters. One performance gets a nudge while the other performance gets you fired.

The action may be the same but the presentation varies. The mood of the day, the emotional state at the moment, will affect the response to your performance. Greeting the kids when you come home may be a little different if you just ran over Johnny’s bike and got a flat tire.

Did you ever hear a young person say that some day I want to be a soldier or a doctor, or a fireman or ‘just like you, dad’ ? They may never have met a soldier, a doctor or a fireman but they see what they do. Those professionals can have a generational affect on peoples lives. And what about parents? What a great compliment to a dad or mom when their children emulate them. That is a generational response from how the parents relate to each other, to the people around them, and most important, to their children. Mom and Dad, you are always on stage. The little eyes see much more that the little ears can hear.

It’s important to remember that we are always on stage and that we want to give our best performance. There is always an audience out there. The actor prepares and practices for every performance. We don’t have that luxury. We get the script and walk on stage. That means we must be ready to perform 24/7.

In the new book, “Grandpa And Andy … a grandfather’s handbook” Grandpa explains to little Andy about being respectful, looking his best, and making Grandpa proud. He says, “Andy, you and I are always on stage.”

Next: America is the place where equality permits us to strive to be unequal.

Under the Circumstances

How often do we get a chance to read stories of unsuccessful people? Not often. Not too many authors take up the challenge. There is little value to the story other than reading about someone else’s problems with an unhappy ending. Stories written about failure, that we find interesting focus on overcoming failures on the way to success. They have a happy ending.

The most successful people are the people who failed the most, learned from their failures and never quit. They don’t wallow in their circumstances. We listen and may identify with where they have been but we are excited about where they end up. It’s not where you grow up … it’s where you end up that counts. You can’t change where you grow up … but you determine where you end up.

Everyone has circumstances and some people don’t mind telling you all about them.
Circumstances are the descriptions of our past and present. They can’t be changed but they do have value. Circumstances can be used as excuses or reasons. They are excuses to continue on our current path or reasons to choose a new direction. We make the decision.

But you don’t understand my circumstances. My teachers were not very smart. Or did you choose not to study your lessons. But the teachers didn’t tell me to study. But why did you think you were going to school? Because my mom told me I had to go to school. People with out vision live in the past. They know their circumstances.

But you don’t understand my circumstances. I do understand your circumstances. We gave you a free education. We gave you schools, teachers, books, transportation, and meals and you decided not to take advantage of these gifts. I do understand your past. But there is a lesson that you can learn from your circumstances. You can change. Make your circumstances the reason to grow, to focus, to dream and to achieve great things.

There are many stories of people who never had a formal education and still achieved success. They went back to school, learned a trade or developed a skill. They started a business. They raised a family. They taught others that they can achieve their dreams. Success starts with a decision. Success starts by shedding the cloak, the weight, of your circumstances.

It’s not where you grow up…it’s where you end up that counts. You can’t change where you grow up…but you determine where you end up.

In my new book, Grandpa And Andy…a grandfather’s handbook, Grandpa tells Andy that it’s OK to be bad at something so long as you keep learning from your circumstances. You can’t get good at something until you try it once. That’s Grandpa’s logic. He says that circumstances are stories of the past. Write your own story about your future. It will be the roadmap to success.

Grandpa sits down with his pup at his side

When Grandpa sits back, with his pup at his side
He remembers the days, and many to choose
When dreams of the future were many and distant
When the dream could be changed with a blink of an eye
When things could be better with hard work and pride

Dreams of success, of family, friends and the future
Often measured in numbers by others
But only experienced by the dreamer
By the comfort one feels deep within
When he opens his eyes and his pup at his side

He remembers the dash, from then until now
The good times, the tough times, and even the sad
Because each time, is only a moment
We declare good or bad
But the next moment is ours to do what we choose
We live it regardless, win, draw or loose.

Coming soon: Grandpa and Andy … a grandfathers’ handbook

Remember When You Held Him Close

Grandpa remembers the moments when he picked him up, held him high, and let him drop into his arms. He was tiny and scared. But, by the third time, he was laughing and wanted to do it again. Grandpa would keep him safe.

Grandpa remembers holding his hand when they went for walks in the garden. He remembers reaching for the wobbling handles on the bike as he learned to ride. Grandpa remembers that first hand shake, such a little hand but a big smile. He was growing up.

Grandpa remembers that strong handshake, a grown mans grip, when they looked eye to eye. Grandpa hasn’t been able to pick him up in years. But Grandpa’s spirits are picked up everyday as he remembers the little guy that he used to hug, hold high, then hug again. These are puffed up moments.

Coming soon: Grandpa and Andy … a grandfathers’ handbook.

It's Tough Being a Grandpa

We get one chance at being a Mom and Dad. We also get one chance at being a Grandpa. Since we have more kids to choose from, Grandpas have options. The other side is that, since we have a bigger audience, we have two generations of critics.

Grandpas know how to deal with criticism. By the time he is a Grandpa, he has been in training by Grandma for at least 20 years. Grandma is convinced that Grandpa is ready to graduate from her training program. After all, it would take too long to train another one.

Grandpa learns to get the last word in. “Yes, Dear!” Grandma thinks he has finally learned. Grandpa calls it wisdom. Grandma thinks Grandpa is getting a little forgetful. Grandpa just remembers the important things. Everything else, Grandma will remind him!

So when the grandkids come around, they like to listen to Grandpa. He tells all the neat stories. He tells about why things happened in the past and what things are going to happen in the future. He has a story for almost every subject. Sometimes the story changes but the subject is the same. Other times, the story is the same but the subject changed. Never could figure out how he does that.

Grandpas have that little twinkle in their eye when the grandkids are around. He may have a two-day bristle, a missing tooth or two, and glasses that need cleaned. But he always has a smile. He always has a “come here, give Grandpa a hug.”

Coming April 2017: “Grandpa and Andy … a grandfather’s handbook”
Green Ivy Press