What I want in the next president

Who cares?  Who cares what I want in the next president?  Everybody has an opinion about it, why should mine matter?

It doesn’t, other than the fact that I am just another of 330 million Americans and I think this is what you want, too.

I want a president who is going to administer a government that serves it’s people. I’m tired of presidents who think their job is to dictate rules that make people behave in the way they think people should behave. We have two houses of Congress for that. Our forefathers set up those two houses in different ways, so that no one way of thinking can override any other way of thinking. It’s not ideal, but it works better than most other manners of government, so let those people do their jobs.

A president has an awesome responsibility to administer agencies that protect the common person and allow that person to be a productive member of society.  That is why it is called an administration.

We need a military where a young person can go to learn skills and discipline that will make them a productive member of society the rest of their life.  The military protects from natural and man-made disasters that can hit our country as a whole  or any group within it. Examples are hurricanes, lunatics, and invasions from other governments. The military provides a safe environment, and within a safe environment we have the ability to do great things.  The solution to evil invading our lives (bombs at marathons, shootings at schools or theaters, etc.) is not gun control but the presence of visible personnel there to protect the common good.

The government also oversees the delivery of safe food and medication to our store shelves, makes sure that we are not abused by our employers or in interactions with each other, and provides areas and institutions where we can relax, appreciate and learn about the things that God and our predecessors have provided us. These things do not come without a price, so there needs to be a fair and equitable system for collecting the funds.

So it appears that what I am looking for is a great administrator who will have the best interest of an honest, productive person at heart, not someone who promises freebies and a better life. Give me a government that is meeting its obligations, and I can find a better life.

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The person you want your child to be …

I can think back on times when I exhibited really bad behavior, horrible moments of regret. Moments that I knew my children were watching me and I knew my behavior was sending the wrong message, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

It’s not so easy to think back on moments when I have really been at my best. It’s not that I haven’t had any, but my memory in those times is of the reaction of others around me … the smiles on their faces. I can remember taking great pride in other’s accomplishments more easily than my own, especially in the accomplishments of my kids.

It’s difficult when the amygdala is hijacked, and you find yourself in a fight or flight or freeze situation that you have already reacted to even before your brain could be engaged, to remember “hey, the kids are watching.”  Yet it is in those times that we leave the biggest impression. As Rudyard Kipling put it, “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …” you’re pretty darn amazing. 

So maybe I set some bad examples along the way, but I hope and pray that I set some good ones as well … like picking for your life mate a person who exhibits extraordinary good values and integrity.  Not always an easy find. My boys are still looking for a “girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad”.  I am very glad that I did not have to try to raise my boys by myself. I am proud to have always showed my devotion to their mom (even though she makes that easy).

So I can only hope that in this mix of good examples and bad examples that I demonstrated for our children, that they follow more of the good than the bad. These days I try to keep in the forefront of my mind that my kids, my wife, my coworkers, my boss, my clients, the world is watching and learning from my example. I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I came into it.

The focus is on you

Ever thought about being a star … all that fame, paparazzi chasing you everywhere?  Would it be nice to be the center of attention?  Or maybe you are just the opposite.  Keep the camera off of me, I’m too uncomfortable when people are looking at me.

Here’s the breaking news. You are on stage, every time you are with someone, but most especially in front of your kids. Do you want to see what a child’s home life is like?  Go sit in their preschool classroom for a couple of hours. Have a child that is out of control?  Have a home that is out of control?

Remember when you were on your best behavior whenever you were with your spouse before you married them?  Do you wish sometimes you could have the person you were dating instead of the one you married, even though they are the same person?  Why do we treat complete strangers better than the people we love the most?

When I come home, I want to be able to turn off Person Wonderful and just let my hair down and be me. Sounds wonderful. My suggestion, live by yourself. If there is another person in that house – parent, child, spouse, roommate, whoever – you have a responsibility to be on your best behavior with them and in front of them – always. Because you are always setting the example. Even leaving to go off by yourself is sending a message. Talking on the phone?  They are hearing every word you are saying.

So when can you just be yourself?  Here’s a clue. Be a fully integrated human being. That means someone with integrity. Be trustworthy.  Be loyal. Be helpful. Be friendly. Be courteous. Be kind. Be obedient (yes, I said obedient. Look it up.) Be cheerful. Be thrifty. Be brave (you know, like in the movie). Be clean. Be reverant. Then you can be yourself all the time. 

Every day is a gift. “Live like you were dying.”

It took me a long time to realize that every day is a gift. I think it is one of those things that you really don’t comprehend until you’re playing the back nine (golf metaphor).   Not that I’m on the 18th hole, at least I don’t think I am, but I am on the back nine.

It gives you a different perspective on the game.  For one thing, you realize it’s a Saturday morning with great weather so there are lots of other golfers on the course. Not everyone is watching your game, so don’t try to play like they are. Miley Cyrus will wish that she had not compromised her integrity to keep herself relevant. She is better than that. I am being judgemental, but when you’re playing the back nine, you know that you don’t want to swing that hard on the third hole.  If you put yourself all out there on the third hole, you’ve got nothing left to give when you reach the thirteenth. Learning that is part of the experience of playing the course.

Integrity is the moral fiber we all struggle with our entire lives.  It is the investment we make in every decision.  That investment either returns a dividend that contributes to our moral bank, or it spends our soul.  Society, our friends, and our family provide lots of conflicting incentives for making decisions.  We measure those incentives against an internal moral compass. In Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket says “let your conscience  be your guide”.

Life is a journey of continuous improvement.  At the end, our integrity survives. Will Rogers said that some men learn by listening, a few more learn by observing, and the rest learn by peeing on the electric fence.  We tune the moral compass instrument by what we learn, however we learn it. What are you tuning your moral compass with?