Not Appreciated…

One of the things that bothered me much when I was in the corporate world was that I often felt unappreciated. I put in more hours and produced more output than most of my fellow employees but seldom got any praise from my bosses. All of us need a pat on the back once in a while. Most of my bosses just seemed incapable of giving me that, at least to the extent expected.

So, when I came across this post from my friends over at the Drabble it got my attention.

We live in a new age, but old unspoken traditions trail us like a snake. Your smile disappears when your boss approaches her instead of you. They share a giggle about nothing. His touch on her arm lasted longer than it should. He praises her work as yours receives none.

You try to stow the fire raging inside knowing your seventy hours a week meant nothing to him. The money you earned for the company meant nothing compared to short skirts and tight blouses. You nearly boil over and unleash your anger when he announces your name. You made partner.

It’s nice that the story above ended up on a happy note. Not all of them do. I’m sure all of us have workplace stories we could give as examples of being unappreciated in the workplace. Many probably include sexual harassment.

I know things have changed pretty rapidly in the last decade when it comes to the workplace, so maybe I have no idea of the conditions. But, there are some things that just don’t change due to time. Appreciation is one thing and reward is another. It seems that what has changed is the very creative job titles around today. No one is just a secretary, factory worker, or office worker anymore. One of the TV shows I watch on a regular basis, the people hunting for a new house always give their job titles when they describle themselves. It takes a few seconds to translate the “double-speak” into job description from my work days. 🙂

The Wisdom of Jefferson & His Contempt For Stonewall Jackson

Thomas Jefferson Statue at Monticello

I have let it be know many times here at RJsCorner that Thomas Jefferson is one of my main heroes in life. He, and Will Rogers, are who I chose many years ago to how to cope in the best of times and in the worst of times.

Jefferson had a love of words from a very early age. When it came to the written word he was probably the most prolific of all the founding fathers. He was also recognized, even by himself, to be no better than an average speaker. He seldom spoke extemporaneously. In his time in the Continental Congress, he seldom spoke more than a few words. But when given the time to dream, write, edit and then edit some more he was a master of eloquence. It is a fact that even Lincoln used Jefferson’s writing as a pillar for his own.

I have been looking over his words as found in the book “The Quotable Jefferson” as I seem to do on a regular basis and ran across his thoughts about Andy Jackson. Before I get to them I want to re-iterate my contempt for our 17th President. I simply cannot fathom how the Democratic Party can celebrate him as their founder. I admit that I haven’t read a full-length biography but I have read many things about him and have visited his estate the Heritage and read most of the info there. I know from that that he was a threat to our young democracy due to his rash and boastful bravado.

I also know that a picture of Jackson is now hung in the Oval Office as it’s current occupant thinks himself able to compete with Jackson’s legacy.

Before this gets too long I have to give you the quote from Jefferson on his thoughts of Jackson as recorded in 1824, two years before his death and five years before Jackson occupied the Presidency:

I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson, President. He is one of the most unfit men, I know of for such a place. He has had very little respect for laws or Constitutions, -& is in fact an able military chief. His passions are terrible. When I was president of the Senate, he was a Senator; & he could never speak for the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatably, & as often chock with rage. His passions are no doubt cooler now; -he has been tried much since I knew him- but he is a dangerous man.

I don’t doubt that Jefferson rolls over in his grave every time his name is mentioned Jackson.

Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?

Never Stop Learning

I must admit that I sometimes don’t practice what I preach here on RJsCorner. As a background item, I spent a good deal of time in 2018 putting together my 10 Pillars as shown to the right. Following my hometown homeboy David Letterman, and also the Ten Commandments I was determined to keep the list at ten items only. That meant over a couple of months things were added and things were subtracted. The final form gelled about early October.

Looking at the list some might be surprised that I didn’t include anything spiritual, but that was done with a purpose. The entire list, not any single item, is meant to display my overall focus on living a God-pleasing life. I think you will also notice that several items are taken from my spiritual documents, one of which is the New Testament of the Bible.

Enough of the precursor stuff, the point of this post is

Never Stop Learning Or Growing

For some reason, I have had it in my mind recently that “What’s the point in learning now that I am in my last decade, why not just veg out and skip all that effort?” I don’t know what brought this on. Maybe, it was thinking too much about my own mortality. That in itself is a problem but not the topic here so I will stick with learning.

I eventually came to realize, or actually just reaffirm, that stopping learning is like stopping living. I know this happens to a lot of people, some tragically get to this stage very early in life, but it was not supposed to happen to me!

It doesn’t matter if I use what I learn today or not. As far as I am concerned, the practice of learning something new every day is what sustains life itself. I could die tomorrow or twenty years from now. That isn’t for me to decide and should not be a factor for learning daily.

What about you? Have you ever thought you don’t need to learn anymore?

Terrified Dinosaurs…

I continue to be an optimist, I believe I will live long enough to see some level of sanity return to US politics. I think one more national election and it will be totally obvious to all those old white men who currently control our political system that they are losing their grip on power. With that in mind, John Pavlovitz certainly gives me much to think about. His words below are a perfect description of the primary autocrat obstructionist in the country today.

I love the look I saw.

It was the look of terrified dinosaurs realizing that the meteorite is on its way; the dilated pupils in the eyes of leadened, lumbering prehistoric monsters who’ve had their run of the house, now finding themselves at the precipice of extinction.

Source: Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Mitch is thankfully one of the last of a soon to be an extinct breed. He is from the old guard of old white males who have dominated things for WAY too long. Will he go out peacefully, probably not. If his 76-year-old body has the strength, he will likely go out screaming and kicking. Will that happen in 2021, I think so, or at least I can dream of that reality. 🙂

In the year 2000 less than 10% of Congress were women. Now there are over double that. Almost all of this increase happened in the Democratic Party. The GOP has remained a party of terrified male dinosaurs. We still have a huge way to go before out Congress is truly representative of our nation, but I can see that day coming soon.

My biggest question for the near future is how much damage these dinosaurs can do before their extinction? That is the main thing that scares me right now.

A Corner On The Market For God’s Blessings??

I want you to know up front that I think there is a lot wrong with the practice of Christianity, especially in America. Despite the thousands of congregations and leaders who stick to the words of Jesus, it has far too often been polluted by the radical right/religous political extremists in our society. 

Now that you know where I am coming from I will explain the title above. I have come to be annoyed by the term “God Bless America”. It is almost as if we think we have a lock on Christianity.

The Bible is the story of an occupied and oppressed people trusting that God will guide them toward liberation. The main characters who modeled faithfulness most often were those OUTSIDE of power. Many of us have been taught (albeit subconsciously) to read ourselves into the biblical story as the protagonist when in reality — whether we like it or not — we have more in common with the antagonist.

We live in one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in human history. We don’t need to be ashamed of that, but we do need to be honest about it. And, if we are honest, we have more in common with Pharaoh than with Moses. With Pilot than with Jesus. With those on the side of empire extinguishing the good news of the kingdom. As my friend Tony Campolo says, “We may live in the best Babylon in the world, but it’s still Babylon.”

Source: Red Letter Christians

I love that the quote above helped me realize that America, me included, is more aligned with the antagonists of the New Testament stories than the oppressed. More in common with the Pilot than with Jesus. Those are startling revelations!

Getting back to my annoyance with the phrase “God Bless America”, yes I recognize that we in America are certainly blessed with material goods. We are all the 1% when it comes to the world’s riches. We need to claim that mantel and the obligations that go with it. We need to be our brother’s keeper, not just in our families or even country, but in the world. For that reason, I very much favor the phrase “God Bless Us All”.

So I close this post with the idea that everyone in the world is God’s family and

God Bless Us All