The Call of Distant Bugles
ISIS, Al Qaeda, beheadings, butchering of Christians and other religious minorities, the San Bernardino slaughter of innocent civilians, and turmoil throughout the world: This is what precipitated a 34-year-old woman who turned 35 during her Basic Training to enlist in the Army. You see, she wanted to make a difference, to stand for freedom and protect our homeland.
The story is quite similar to many of the enlisted servicemen and -women of today and in the past. Their commitment of placing their lives on the line and dedication to our country’s survival is paramount. Without this, we would never enjoy the freedoms that we have or the country that we all hold dear to our hearts.
While fulfilling their commitment, these military personnel have witnessed and experienced the brutality of mankind at its lowest level. Many have returned carrying the emotional (internal) and physical (external) scars of battles. Some have never returned home. Memories of them are etched deeply in the minds of their loved ones.
So, to all who are currently serving or have served in the past, or have given the ultimate sacrifice, God bless you! We, as a nation, can never thank you enough.
As we celebrate July 4th, our Independence Day, let all of us continue to keep in our thoughts and prayers our servicemen and -women. (The servicewoman in the article is my daughter, who enlisted in December 2015.)
If you have any questions, comments, reflections, or personal stories related to the subject of this article, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Culture of Lies, Deceit, and Irresponsibility
As I have mentioned in previous articles, while raising children, we teach them positive values not only through words, but also by our actions. By actions, I mean modeling various ways one can demonstrate values. One example is when we are confronted by a decision we have made: Do we take responsibility for our decision and consequential action or do we shirk it off on someone else?
As I mentioned about teaching positive values, we as adults also hold the power to teach negative values. If, by our actions, we teach our children to lie, be deceitful, and not to take responsibility for our decisions, we are increasing the likelihood that they will exhibit the same negative values in one degree to another as they go through their own lives.
Some parents would argue that the children do not know that they have emulated these negative values. On the other hand, children are like a tape recorder. They absorb a lot of information and observe much more than we might think. They may, as they grow older, pick up on these nuances and flaws in character, and begin to assimilate them into their own value systems. They ponder points such as “If it is okay for Mom or Dad to do it, then it must be okay for me.”
As taught either directly or indirectly by the parents or parent, these negative values create a family culture of lies, deceit, and irresponsibility. . If this negative culture is not changed in the children, then their lives will be laced with the same lies, deceit, and lack of responsibility that the adults have modeled in their lives.
If you see yourself in this situation and want to change, now is the time. However, if this applies to you and it does not resonate with you, then you quite possibly may reap what you have (intentionally or unintentionally) sown, and will be held accountable for your actions.
In Harm’s Way
“Help!” These cries for assistance are heard throughout all villages, towns, cities, and rural America. Like the Minutemen during the Revolutionary War, they will leave their jobs, homes, chores, and even families at a moment’s notice and travel to the call for help. They risk their lives, health, and financial future to keep all of us safe. They are the men and women who are our firefighters, both volunteer and paid.
This harkens me back to the day of September 11, 2001. Etched in my memory is the clip of firefighters climbing up the stairs towards the top of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, and civilians walking past them down the stairs. The firefighters knew that they were walking into harm’s way, and knew the danger and the possibility that they would never make it out. Many of them never did.
Like our law enforcement officers, the firefighters care about all of us. To hone their skills, they attend countless classes, receiving new instructions and techniques on how to be more effective and safe (not only for themselves, but others as well). Along with their classes, a huge amount of time is spent on drills and training. This practice is designed to effectively decrease response time, because that dramatically impacts loss of life, property, and injury.
Not only do they train, but they also instruct. For example, “The Smoke House” is brought to various schools in the area. The firefighters spend time explaining about The Smoke House and how to respond if there is a fire. They also provide assistance to schools during a fire evacuation or other emergency.
So, what can we do as citizens to show our appreciation? Here are a few suggestions.
God bless and thank you to all of our firefighters for making a meaningful difference in so many lives. No greater is the gift than to place one’s life in harm’s way to save others. Special thanks to Ray Hughes for his advice.
Finding your Significance
It is something you cannot touch, smell, taste, or hear. There is no monetary value that one can place on it. It cannot be seen, but is hidden in one’s psyche. It is significance. One’s significance is like a fingerprint, different from person to person. To me, my interpretation of the word “significance” is the self-worth that one feels when one is helping others, and, for me, that is the meaning of life. My life’s work has been centered on working with students and families, and I found that work to be so enriching and rewarding when I was able to positively affect them. Many people journey through life constantly in flux with feelings of being unfulfilled, empty, lost, lonely, unhappy, and unsuccessful. Their focus is on external reinforcement for fulfillment and support, which usually ends in disappointment.
Others, however, travel differently through life. They feel fulfilled, grounded, surrounded by friends, happy, and successful (not necessarily monetarily, but in mental dispositions). These people have found their significance. So, what is your significance and how do you identify it? Let us begin with what is my significance. For me, it is working with students, those less fortunate, and in the nursing home. I so look forward to spending my time with the above-mentioned people. When I do this, it feels great, like a wonderful fragrance that hasn’t been smelt before, or a comfortably warm pair of gloves, or the quietness outside on a wintry day, when the snow is deep, and the air crisp and clean.
When you have found your significance, you feel like that every day inside. Even when braced for life’s challenges, it keeps you at an even keel (and not leaning to either port or starboard). Below are suggestions for finding your own significance.
Finding your significance is both very uplifting and rewarding. It fulfills a purpose in life, where otherwise your life would be bland, hollow, and ungrounded.