Why is the West Degressing?

Having lived in various countries in the world at different times of my life, I have made it a habit to study people. I very much enjoy learning the local customs, tasting the local cuisine. I have found that, although people in different parts of the world vary in their architecture, habits, mannerisms and religion, they are still people with very much the same inner desires. We all need to  love and to be loved, to be appreciated. Most people want to belong to a family or be a part of a group of friends, those who have a family want the very best for their children.

With all the “globalization” and open market that has been taking place around the world it is interesting to note a shift that has been occurring in the wealth and success of certain nations. I recently read and article in which it brought out, in my opinion a very valid point as to why this might be happening. I will share this from own personal perspective.

In the west, and I speak of the United States and Europe in particular, we have grown up in affluent societies since after the great depression. Each generation has, up until most recently, enjoyed a rather comfortable lifestyle. We have raised our children for the most part with everything that they might need (and even want). While growing up, in the 50’s and 60’s in the US the economy was mostly on the up and up, those who had endured the hardships of the World War and the great depression had gone through a great period of austerity and they had to just be happy with what they had, and they were.    I was happy perfectly to have a ball or a bike and friends to play with. History tends to repeat itself, and whenever there is a generation that has had to fight, bleed and sometimes die for what they have, or endure financial hardships, it helps them to grow stronger.

One might think that providing everything that your children need and much also of what they want, all of the time is their responsibility as a parent. The youth of the west have grown up with most of what they want without much sacrifice on their part. They didn’t have to personally strive for it, it was handed to them on a “silver platter”, they inherited it you might say. This is, in my opinion, the beginning of the destruction of the generation that follows. If you get children or people used to things being given to them at their slightest whim, they will continue to expect that to be the case for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately however, this is not at all how life treats us. We are here on earth to think for ourselves, take on what life throws at us, and learn to deal with it. If life has been a nice cushion ride since birth, we may never grow strong enough to deal with relationships, work, business, and all that comes with growing up, solving problems along life’s arduous path. In today’s world child discipline has been abandoned to such a degree that a child now grows up with a great handicap since he or she has no idea of what is right or wrong.

The labor of learning to fly!

The butterfly at first is a little caterpillar which at a certain point begins to build itself a cocoon where it will remain for a determined amount of time as it morphs into a beautiful colorful butterfly. Before it can fly however, it must work its way out of the cocoon. If you were to take a pair of scissors and cut the cocoon open to facilitate the butterfly, thinking to do it a great favor by making it easier for it to be released, you have just broken a great law of nature!  Should the butterfly not labor its way out of the cocoon, the necessary liquid that is needed to be passed to its wings to strengthen them to the point of being able to fly will not be passed on.  The butterfly will fall to the ground and be unable to take flight.  That is what happens to our next generation when we try to make it easy on them.  We are robing them of the natural metamorphosis of maturation!

Now let’s take a look at the East and in particular nations such as India, China, Vietnam.  These nations have been for many years “developing countries”, and now they are starting to become great super powers!  Why is this?  The youth that has grown up without as much as their necessities have been “blessed” with seeing the need to fight for what they want!  They are not expecting it to come to them from mom and dad, or from a wealthy uncle.  They are not waiting for their government to had them a tax break, or yet more social benefits.  They are rolling up their sleeves and applying themselves to create something from the nothing that they had!  They are tired of having nothing and are determined to do something about it!

So wake up west! We are going to be left way behind if we keep up the way we are going, depriving our younger generation this “gift” of struggling out of their cocoon!  We need to get back to the basics of following the path that nature has given us as a road map! This is the way to prosperity, not bearing arms to “take it back”.  If you don’t work hard for something, your really don’t deserve it!  So I believe it is time to stop whining and to get back to the basic principal of the great struggle of nature, the natural way!

I am all for technological advancements, computers cell phones, and even computer games for a little time to unwind.  But all of these commodities are meant to be tools and can be greatly useful.  The secret is to use these tools, but to be careful that the tools don’t use us!

Selfishiness = Insanity

Have you ever thought about the fact that a child does NOT need to be taught to NOT share his toys? And yet, some have said that at birth we are “good” and that we learn through life to become evil. Well I believe that we are born naturally selfish and we need the necessary training or guidance to have good manners, be thoughtful towards others, etc.. It has a lot to do with our innate need for self-preservation, which I agree is “natural”, we in essence are born with a great desire to remain alive. To me this is normal, necessary and very natural and even good. But when does it “cross the line”?

We are driven in life largely by our own emotions. There is a diversity of emotions that tend to have sway in what we do, what we say and how we react to situations and the things around us. We are very much influenced by what we hear, what we see what we read etc.. You may be familiar with the saying “you are what you read” and this is true. The things that you occupy yourself with on a daily basis have a great effect on how you view the world around you, and how you react to the things that happen to you.

It takes years of training of a child in order to help him to learn to be more considerate of those around him, to share his or her toys, to let others go first to learn to be well-mannered and polite. Sad to say, as time has gone by these principles have been largely neglected and left behind as a growing principle in life. The “experts” say, “let the child explore and discover on his own”. The result… a very selfish and egotistical world with high rates of violence and crime, wars and unrest throughout the world.

It has gotten to the point that it has become common place, and well accepted to be the “norm”, both in individual lives, business practices and politics to take into consideration at first place–“what is in it for ME” rather than, what is the best for the overall.

This can easily be seen in the fact that newspapers and tabloids make big bucks off of the negative stories and bad news that happens throughout the world rather than the “good news”. People in general are pulled towards the morbid bad news more than they are to the good–scary yet true. If you were to realize what effect this has on your character you might want to discipline yourself more to search out the good that there is in the world, which is not so out there and publicized, and then you might rethink what you do and work on disciplining your mind.

Just as junk food has a very negative effect on your physical body, so does junk input, both through reading and watching the most popular violent flick has on your own personality. Children by the time they are 12 years of age will have witnessed approximately 12,000 acts of violence on their TV in the comfort of their homes. And then we ask ourselves why on earth would anyone walk into a school and shoot dead dozens of people? We then say to ourselves, they are nuts! They cannot be tried in a courtroom because they are mentally unfit to stand trial!

Well, welcome to planet earth where man will stop at nothing to make a buck even at the expense of others, even their own kids! That is totally insane/selfish! Governments wage wars on nations or even their own people just because others don’t see things the way that they do, or because they want more oil, or because they want to keep the economical balance “right” (or more to their advantage)!

Pharmaceutical companies would rather not reveal all too soon a cure for a disease because it certainly is more convenient to have a “needy” clientele in order to keep the money coming in! The list would go on and on of examples of the selfishness that has a control on so many!

That is why selfishness is insanity! Who belongs in a straight jacket then? Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear! It all could drive you literally……insane!

A Pitch for the Kindle

I wanted to take a moment here to comment on one of my new “investments” which I consider one of my best yet!  Not long ago I decided to buy an Amazon Kindle for my reading.  Since I spend a lot of time at the computer, I have found that lately my eyesight has been getting worse.  Staring at a computer screen for a long period of time is not good at all for your eyes.  My brother showed me his kindle that he had purchased not long ago and told me how convenient that it was to use etc..  Well, I finally broke down and got one for myself and my wife since she is a real book-worm.  I am sold!  The e-ink makes it so easy to read in the proper lighting since it has no back lighting.  I can now spend a rather long period of the day reading from the kindle without it taking its toll on my eyes.

Another great thing is the fact that when I need a book, all I need to do is run a search on Amazon, click the one click button and in 60 seconds I already have the book that I need.  No more searching the book store, or waiting in line to get a clerk to run a search on the store computer!  You can carry the Kindle out in the broad daylight and still see the page since it has no glare.  I am probably saying all of this to many of you out there that have had it for years and are thinking, wow where has he been?  But since I have been truly happy with the Kindle I thought to make a pitch for it!  In fact as you can see I have a link to the Amazon store on my blog.  –Happy reading!

 

 

Time-our most precious commodity!

It is amazing how we go on in life, we live it as if it is going to last forever!  The way we spend our time, treat our loved ones, go about our business both at home at work. Time is indeed our most precious commodity, and the way we spend it and with whom should give us an indication on what we consider most important in our lives.

I had been thinking of “some day” sitting down and writing up a few stories and memories of my life.  I don’t consider myself to be a writer, and that said, I have used this as the main excuse to put it off.  But one day, I won’t be around anymore and it would be a shame if my kids or grand kids didn’t get a chance to get to know me or share my experiences.  I have vague memories of my grandfather as he passed away when I was still quite young.  There are those special moments that come to mind when I reflect on the brief period of my life that he was still here with us.  He was a very active business man and I am sure that I could have learned so much from him.  Unfortunately when we are young we don’t appreciate the time that we do have with our parents and grand parents, we take life so much for granted, besides we are busy growing up and facing our own set of challenges.  But it is a shame that we rarely see the importance of living life to the full extent and taking full advantage of those times we have special people who could play more of an integral role in our growth.

I remember hearing a song years ago that shares this very principle, it touched my heart and made me see how I need to do what I can to spend more time with the ones dear to me..it’s called:

“Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

Cat’s In The Cradle–Sung by Harry Chapin

Respect-Another word for love.

A have a few things to say about my dad.  I didn’t have the privilege of living together with my father for my entire childhood.  About the time I was 6 or 7, for reasons not totally understood by me my mother filed for a divorce from dad.  The complexities of life at that time for me were a mystery, I being the only boy home with 3 sisters as my elder brother had grown and had moved on himself to pursue his own life, he joined the Air force and eventually was stationed in England.  It was tough on me, as I enjoyed being with my dad who would take me to little league baseball and I will never forget pancakes on Saturday morning and then donuts after we attended church on Sunday.  When I turned 14, having been involved with a group of young people of the then “Jesus People Revolution” , I was given permission to join them full-time and I was soon off with my two older sisters to “go into all the world to preach the gospel” leaving my mom behind, and with a distant connection with dad.

Perhaps you can imagine how difficult this was on my parents who no doubt, like any parents, had other things in mind for their kids.  Anyways, off I went to live my dream which laid way outside the boundary of what my parents would have wanted me to do.  It is only normal that, once a child arrives at a certain age, that they seek their own independence and way in life.  But all too often in our pursuit at that age, we care little about what this might mean to those who love us and who as parents, have raised us from babies to adults.

After having been gone for a couple of years without coming home to visit, having traveled to Puerto Rico and then on to Europe I receive a letter from dad.  Mind you, I was 16 years of age at the time and in the letter my dad explains to me that he has found a women whom he loves and he wanted to know if it was fine with me that he get married to her! I thought to myself, wow, what an incredible person he is, to write to me to ask me how I felt!  I have never forgotten this for my entire life, and not having lived with my dad for much of my life, I learned one of the most important lessons in life.  It showed me how important it was to take into consideration others who are close to us when making important decisions!  Something I had not been so good at so far in my life!  I have often said to others when sharing about respect, that it is simply another important way of showing your love.

People are Interesting–they can never be pleased!–all the time.

I have a favorite little fable that has spoken to me a lot.  I guess that it is only human nature that we would like to please everybody and be everyone’s friend.  But in the end, you really can’t!  Thank the good Lord we are all different, otherwise it would be a pretty boring world!  The diversity that exists on earth in the human race keeps things interesting!  Imagine a world where everyone was exactly the same! Oh my! How boring it would be!  But if we can just allow ourselves to be fine with not pleasing everyone, and at the same time accepting those who may have a skewed view of us, then life may be a lot more bearable.  I want to share one of my favorite fable with you that proves that you simply cannot please everyone.  Someone once said: “You can please most people some of the time, and some people most of the time,  but you can never please everyone all of the time

The Man The Boy and The Donkey–Aesop’s Fable

A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours—you and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

Moral of the story:  You can never please everyone!  Relax and stop trying so hard and start living your life and do what you can to live at peace with your neighbor!