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For Jerry


While TTMM is enjoying a little down time this week to revamp some items and trip down memory lane with previous articles and features, we-his friends and family-wanted to celebrate Jerry a little.  This is the perfect week to celebrate Jerry because today is his birthday. So please allow us this indulgence of taking over TTMM for a day to look at this special person on his birthday.  

For my darling husband, 

j outsideCommemorating someone’s day of birth can be a daunting task, especially when that person is so near and dear – like you are to me.  I found it to be an awesome walk down memory lane that provided many laughs, smiles and “aww” moments.  

In high school, you were Kim’s boyfriend and that guy that hung around with Margie.  At our 10 year reunion, you were that really awesome guy that managed to escape Jeff County and make something of himself.  And boy had you made it!!!!  I was impressed.  You were the most interesting person at the reunion.  You were Marilyn Manson before Marilyn Manson (or at least that’s how I felt – you were exotic to this country chick who hadn’t managed the escape herself).  You had the balls to throw the mic down and say f– you guys.  I remember talking to you, liking you and giving you my contact info …. All right in front of my then-significant other.  Not too much happened between the 10 year reunion and the infamous MySpace message (despite your numerous attempts at getting past my mother, the telephone screening nightmare).  “Hey, I think we went to high school together.”  Oh hey!  Jerry Benns, I remember you!”  You were interesting then, even as a non-love interest.  I remember getting back in touch with you after a year-long hiatus of messages.  The more I learned about you and heard from you, the more interesting you became.   It wasn’t long before we switched to email and text.  But I didn’t want to hear your voice until I saw you in person – how weird am I?!  I guess I knew the score, even early on.  Agreeing to meet you for a date, even though I was late and late for not such a great reason, was one of the best decisions I have made.   The monkey t-shirt, shorts and sandals …. I remember it all.  It was an awesome conversation and I was shocked to get an invite back to your place.  Sitting in your lap (shame on me), the black chairs in the living room to separate us, laughing, smiling – and the evening culminating with “if you keep looking at my mouth, I’m going to kiss you,” what a great line!  We rushed through dating with emails back and forth, filled with color and formatting, response after response, story after story.  To move in or not to move in, to wait or not to wait, those were our questions.  Those questions progressed to WHEN to move in – before school starts, or wait until Christmas.  We threw caution to the wind and after a whopping 5 week romance, I moved from my childhood home into your home.  Seven people in a house with one bathroom, not enough bedrooms for all the kids – YET WE MADE IT WORK!   

You’re an awesome dad to all three of our children.  They all have their unique personalities, quirks and needs; you provide them with exactly what they require, want and need.  You offer them strength, insight, a listening ear, a crying shoulder, an interesting perspective or just quiet solitude.  

I find myself loving you, in love with you, and happy to have you by my side, through all of life’s joys, sorrows, laughs and screams.  You are always striving to be better at everything you do, and your family comes first.  That is the sign of a great man.  I’m thrilled and lucky to have you as a husband, partner, friend, housemate, teammate, and all sorts of hats under the sun.  You wear them all well, including your Indiana Jones hat.  My love for you is endless, though trite as that may sound.  

For my best friend, 

j in rioWhen I think of the word “friend” your beloved face is the first to come to mind. We have been friends for what seems like forever. But wasn’t it just yesterday we sat on the bus and you asked me if I ever heard of Bon Jovi? From the first time we sat on the bus listening to music and talking I knew we would be close friends. Who else would wait patiently to drive me to school, or make sure I had my work schedule, or write notes to me every single day? I have always been proud to call you my friend. Even in high school I knew you were special.  You always tried to do the right thing, even when I tempted you to the dark side. (Btw the few times I got you to visit the dark side we had fun- although I think you are still grounded.)  I’m pretty sure we ran your poor Toyota truck into the ground-I still miss that truck. We talked endlessly about everything. I guess some things never change.  While we have had some years apart, we always found a way back to each other, then picked right back up where we left off only to get closer each time.  I’ve seen you go from the quiet boy on the bus to this wonderful brilliant man. 

I admire you so much. You work so hard every day, putting in 100%. You are always learning and trying to do better or be better, whether it is being a loving, devoted husband and father, good friend, or writing, you never just sit back, you always want to do more. Even though you are pretty fantastic, you strive to be better.   If asked to describe you, some of the many words I would use are kind, caring, compassionate, giving intelligent and strong.   You have a kind soul and genuinely care about people. I have seen dozens of acts of your kindness manifest in your everyday life.  One of the greatest traits you possess is being such a good listener and that is because you care. Your compassion shines through whether you are explaining something to a child with hurt feelings or comforting a loved one through some hardship they are facing.  No one can feel alone with you there. You are giving of your time, support, effort, and strength.  You will put aside work to have a conversation with your family. You set aside the book you are engrossed in to read to your daughter. You stay up all night to comfort a friend when their world is falling apart. I love so many of the articles you write in which you open up give a small glimpse of your soul.    You have the ability to relate to others by sharing your own hardships and experiences-a very special quality. You share the strength you possess and are able to connect to people on a deeper level. 

No one could ask for a better friend than you. No matter what I tell you, how much I whine or complain or cry, you never judge, only listen and offer some sage advice.  You would never say “I told you so,” and I know no matter what I can always count on you.   You have great shoulders and never hesitate to share your strength.  Your passions and eclectic interests fascinate me. Some qualities you posses that I admire are that you can have an intelligent conversation on a wide range of topics. You can cook, have an obsession with your lawn, are an avid reader, and can bring people together.   Not only do I owe my music collection to you-the good stuff- but we can spend all day talking, jumping from one subject to another.  Your enthusiasm is infectious. You pursue your dreams fearlessly. Your love of reading and all aspects of writing lead you to strive to learn constantly and step closer to achieving your dreams. I hope you know I am your cheerleader as you work towards reaching your dreams.  

You have a wicked sense of humor.  You can find humor in the most mundane situations and you tell the greatest stories.  It is a joy to see you smile.  I love how your humor finds its way into your writing.  Whether in a short quip or a piece that is an all-out rant, you are funny (yes I said it and it’s in print). Reading the blog is a lot like sitting down and talking to you (one of my favorite things to do).  We had a whole conversation about bumper stickers before it ended up in an article. While often times you poke fun at yourself and exaggerate a character trait others can relate to, your humor is never mean-spirited.  You have the ability to make people laugh.  

I could continue to tout how awesome you are but I think you get the idea.  So today, on your birthday, I want you to know I am honored to be your friend and I wish you every happiness. 

three amigos xmasHappy Birthday Jerry! 

Love, 

Christine & Margie

xoxoxo

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Family

 

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To The Man I Call My Son


shining lightBoy, don’t you worry.
You’ll find yourself.
Follow you heart,
and nothing else.
You can do this,
if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
is to be satisfied.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won’t you do this for me son,
If you can?

“Simple Man”…Lynard Skynard

It is late at night and I hear the door opening. You quietly enter the house after a night’s work. I can hear you moving through the house, going through your after-work routine and getting ready for bed. I have to smile as I think of how much you have grown before my eyes. Thinking back to the many “firsts” we have shared together, I get a little nostalgic. Today, on your birthday, I want to share the many things that make me so very thankful you are in my life. 

You have reminded me how good genuine laughter feels. The humor you find in life is infectious in its sincerity. I cannot remember another time in my life when I have laughed as much as I have in your presence. The simplest things send us into fits of laughter bringing tears to our eyes. Each of these moments becomes the “inside” joke that only we share. Before you entered my life, I do not believe I had known so many moments of such enjoyment.

I remember watching as you learned the skills many of your peers did not take the time to learn- skills that will allow you to take care of yourself when you are on your own. In the process of acquiring these skills, you have helped the family through many busy times by being a contributor to the household. When I was away on business, I knew that with your help, things would be fine at home. You stepped up to be there for the family when I could not. For this, I am thankful. 

I remember the first time I saw your perform in marching band and the over-flow of pride I felt as I saw you walk onto the field in your uniform. Many Saturdays were spent following the high school band from one competition to the next hoping you could feel the pride we had in you as we sat in the stands.  I watched you grow as a musician and a leader over the years in band. Through you, I have a new appreciation of music and the skills needed to perform. 

I watched you finish high school and take on the responsibilities of college.   Though it can be a struggle at times, you have stuck with college and developed the tools to help you succeed on the path to a bright future.  You have made me proud that you have not given up when you could have easily done so.  I am proud of your persistence and resilience.  You have succeeded and grown as a student. 

I think back on the many discussions we have had over the years over a variety of topics. How your views help me to understand my own. How your input has inspired me to look deeper into what I thought I knew. How your acceptance of your own sense of being has given you the strength to be who you are…always. I have never met someone who is as comfortable with themselves as you are. For this, you should be proud of yourself and continue to never compromise. 

I remember the moment when you walked your mother down the aisle and gave your blessing on our wedding day along with the beautiful speech that you gave at the ceremony. I remember that there was not a dry eye in the place from your heart-felt words. On that day, you brought our family together. 

As I think back, I wanted to share with you how you have affected my life, how much you make me proud, and to let you know that you matter to me. You coming into my life brought me the gift of a son. A boy who has grown into a man.  A man who would make any dad proud. Love you. 

Happy Birthday, my son. Love…Dad 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Children

 

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End of Innocence: Empathy


Wait it’s just about to break
It’s more than I can take
Everything’s about to change
I feel it in my veins
It’s not going away
Everything’s about to change
“War of Change”…Thousand Foot Crutch

Standing in line at the grocery store with his mother, a boy was bored and wondering why he had to come along instead of being out having fun on a nice day. At eleven, he would rather have spent his Saturday afternoon anywhere beside the grocery store. While his limited group of friends was out riding their bikes and laughing, he was pushing a cart around the store following his mother. Impatience to get the errands finished darkened his mood because all he wanted to do was to go out to play.

In line right behind the mother and son, was a group of teenage girls with their collection of soda bottles and potato chips. Though the boy wasn’t at the “noticing girls” age, he envied their laughter and good spirits. Wishing he could be having fun was one more reason to add to his sour mood as he sighed and moved the cart to the end of the checkout lane. His mother was smiling and chatting with the checkout lady and as always, sharing details he was sure were not important enough to keep him away from his afternoon plans. Then all envy of the laughing girls evaporated as the ringleader in the group chose that moment to expand her commentary loudly enough for people in the adjoining checkout lanes to hear.

“Well, we might get there in time if this old lady would shut her blabbing mouth and hurry her fat ass up. Does she think we want to stand here all day and listen to her go on and on? Come on already!”

Moments passed before anyone moved. The only sound was the laughter from the other girls in the group who mumbled their agreement. The boy watched as his mother’s face changed from shades of pink to red. Her eyes, smiling a moment before, glistened with tears. The checkout woman, embarrassed by the actions of the girls, quietly handed his mother the receipt and glared at the group of obnoxious girls in line. Turning towards the boy, the mother pushed the cart towards the door and out into the sunny afternoon that now seemed a little gloomier than just a few moments before.

Empathy-phrase-imageSilence fell on the two as they drove home. The boy watched as his mother fought with her emotions. She was none of the things the girls had called her. She was young compared to the other parents he knew. She had an infectious smile that warmed others and was always there for other people ready to listen and leave them lighter in spirits. She was strong of heart and of spirit. Why would those girls say such mean things to her?

Though his mother tried to hide them, her emotions were nearly palpable to the boy. The boy felt his mother’s emotions. He could feel the anger, the hurt, and the shame. The boy felt as if he was experiencing the words directly. He wanted to scream at those girls, cry, and lash out. His emotions were churning within him screaming for an outlet.  However, like his mother, the boy sat silently. He knew exactly how his mother felt because he felt the same way every time others threw insults at him. He felt…empathy.

Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

Being empathic might have started before that moment, but from that day on, the boy thought about his words and actions towards others. He paid more attention to the people around him. He began watching for telltale signs of how people reacted to each other, observing emotions that raced across their faces, and the subtle changes in body language. He saw the pain on the faces of the slighted. Many times, he would go to these injured souls and try to say something to offset the offence. Most times as he offered solace, he was met with coldness and anger. The world became a darker place for him with his knowledge of the pain others suffered from the actions of others.

The boy grew into an adult, picking up lessons along the way. He became a student of people. He learned lessons about how different people react to insults and varied reactions.  Some people lashed out with venomous comments, while others shut down emotionally. He paid attention to what a pleasant word or a gesture would do to change a person’s mood. He also learned that he too, was guilty at times directly or indirectly, for causing others pain. His knowledge of causing others pain was a hard lesson for him to swallow when he remembered that day leaving the store with his mother. No matter what steps were taken to make amends, once the pain was inflicted no kind words could erase the damage.

Thinking back on the ride home that day, he tried to remember if he had said a word to his mother. The memory was cloudy with age, but with a little effort he began to see it again. As they traveled the miles home, his mother drove in silence. Pulling into the driveway, she shut off the engine and reached for the door. Not knowing what to do to make things better, he reached for her arm gently. She turned to look down at his hand and then searched his face in the shadow of the car. At that moment, he understood what to say.

His words rushed out. “Mom, I just wanted you to know that I think you are beautiful. You mean the world to me. I love you.”

Smiling, she patted him on his hand. “Thank you,” she said as she quickly turned away. In the light as he stepped out of the car, he thought he saw a tear glisten her cheek.

_______________________________________

Do you have a moment in your life that brought about a change of your perspective? Do you think the other girls in line understood or cared about the pain they caused? With all the media attention on bullying, do you think this happens more now than it did decades ago? Does this behavior end with childhood or is it prevalent through all age groups?

Until next time…

jerryb.

©2013

 
12 Comments

Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Family, Life

 

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Season of Change


season-of--change

The fall breeze gives a chill to the air. Leaves sing the song of change as they tumble through the yard. The autumn colors are finishing their final transition from bright hues to brown as leaves fall to the ground marking the cycle of seasons. At some point, I know I will have to get out the yard tools and get to work cleaning up this year’s harvest of change. The yearly cycle of growth has reached its twilight and the darkness of winter has started.

Sitting on my patio, I look out across the yard. I pull my jacket tighter around me to fight the chill in the breeze. Though the temperature is getting cooler, the sun still shines brightly, causing me to shelter my eyes. It occurs to me that so much has changed since I moved into this house over thirteen years ago. The very patio where I now sit did not exist when I first took up residence here. The yard has subtly changed in ways that went mostly unnoticed by everyone. If one is observant, the slow changes mark the endless passage of time. I have lived in my current home longer than any other place in my life. This is not just a house it is a home. My home became my foundation, my reflection of the joy in life, and my sanctuary against the pressures of life. With a newfound perspective, I look across the expanse of my yard and smile. My eyes fall on this year’s new addition to the landscape of my home and I think back on the events that brought it into being.

Over the past year, my wife and I made a few changes to the landscape. A few of our older trees, infected by disease, required removal leaving our house exposed to the elements. As the years passed, trees were lost, either from disease or from required “improvements,” leaving our yard vacant of shade and color. I was becoming a little distraught over the lack of trees around our home. Growing up in a rural area and having many trees around was a fond memory of home for me. Understanding my feelings about the trees, my wife devised a plan.  While on a weekend getaway earlier this spring, my wife presented me with a gift that I had not expected. She gave me a voucher for a tree as an early anniversary gift. She told me that as our love has grown over the years, this tree too would grow and flourish. The tree became a symbol of our relationship.

The newly planted tree grew throughout the summer. We would take evening walks out to admire the new growth. We watered it as often as the dry summer required. It became the focus of our evening conversation. Once, we saw birds built a nest in our new tree. We sat on the patio and watched, as the robins would fly back and forth with building material. No matter what stress the day brought, this little tree had a calming effect. Moreover, like all relationships, the tree has cycles.

As the season changed, the leaves began to turn a deep red. Sitting on my chair, enjoying the fall breeze, I watch the leaves falling and covering the ground. I ask myself if this change is symbolic of relationships as well.  Marriages have points where they are full of life and renewal. As the marriage grows, it develops of a rhythm similar to the seasons. Marriage contains moments of understanding and caring that flourish, wilt, and are reborn. Like the tree, our relationship goes through cycles. It starts as a vibrant sapling with rapid growth, settles into the slow dependability spreading its roots as it reaches for the warmth becoming a strong foundation for new seeds to spread on the wind.  The real strength of couples seems to be that they recognize these cycles. Couples need to take the time to understand the seasonal changes and look forward to the revival that comes in the next cycle. Relationships like trees require nurturing, discovery, and appreciation.  For successful couples it seems important to take moments away from the stressful days and just marvel at their growth. At times, relationships like trees in winter will lay dormant without what appears to be growth. As winter gives the foliage a time to recover and prepare for the next spring, this too is the case with relationships as relationships need the time to renew and become revitalized.

Smiling to myself, I walk out to the tree, silently thanking it for its wisdom. This surprising gift has become a symbol, a reminder of the cycles of relationships. Like the tree, a marriage begins fragile and requires constant attention to protect and nurture. As it grows, roots give stability yet, through it still go through cycles. Situations, like the seasons, influence the growth and health and successful couples weather the storms. Though the cold of winter will be upon my little tree soon, it will stand tall, waiting for spring to bring the next cycle. 

Until next time…

Jerry b.

©2013

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Family, Life

 

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My Daughter: Sweet Dreams


Daughters memories

Wandering through the dark house, checking the locks and closing up, I make my way to your room to make sure that the covers are protecting you from the chilly autumn evening. As I stand in the doorway, the glow of your lava lamp casts shadows throughout your room. A smile grows on my face as I straighten the pile of books on your night stand. It amazes me how grown up my little girl has become.

Earlier in the night, I was reviewing some of the older articles from the Family category of the blog featuring you. I revisited moments that have chronicled your growth. Memories flooded back of sitting in the rocking chair of your little room, reading a book to you before bed every night. Those same books, you have since read on your own, now reside on your book shelves. I started thinking back on the times when you would climb up into the bed, little more than a toddler, and ask me to read to you. I miss those times sitting on your bed, and becoming your personal storyteller. You no longer need a storyteller since you are reading more books than you father can keep up with. As the books are straightened, my smile broadens at these wonderful memories.

Looking around your room, the glow of your iPod as it rests in the docking station pulls me to another time when you were first introduced to music. Wanting to make sure you had a good foundation for you future choices, I created your music playlist with songs from The Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and many more. I beamed with pride as you would tell anyone who would listen that your favorite bands were The Beatles and KISS. Over the years, music has become a huge part of you and who you are becoming. You dance around the house singing a tune and giggling as you spread your joy throughout the house.  

As I sit down on the bed and tuck the covers up around you, I think back to all the years you have brightened my life. I watch the mental montage of birthdays, holidays, and those special moments. I smile remembering the walks in the park, watching you play your first soccer games, and the amazement of seeing you ride your bike without training wheels. I reflect on images of your artwork that adorns my office walls and it reminds me of how creative you are in all that you do. I also shudder as I remember the times you were sick. I remember all the moments that make up both of our lives and hope that I am doing the best for you.

Memories flood through me as I lean over to give you one last kiss for the night. Brushing your hair out of your face and whispering “I love you. Sweet dreams,” I turn to leave the room and leave you to your dreams. Turning away in the dark, I hear a soft, raspy sleepy voice, “I love you too, Daddy”.

Happy Birthday, my dear daughter.

Dad

© 2013

Related Articles: Building the Foundation; A Daughter’s Love for Reading; A Reason for Hope: To My Daughter; A New Adventure

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Children

 

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On This Day…A Note to My Daughter


To my daughter,

On this day, we celebrate your birthday. For me, the day is something that holds more than just cake and a gift. Today, I celebrate the gift of you; a gift that brings me joy every day.

On this day…

I remember walking beside the cart that brought you into the nursery and looking down on the wonder that was my child. I held you for the first time that day and looked into your eyes. Your eyes held so much life and shown with an intelligence that I have now seen fulfilled. I was scared that I was not ready to be your guide in life, but with your smile, all my concerns evaporated. I held in my arms, for the first time, hope for the future. I knew love in a way that was previously unknown to me. My world shrank to only you.

On this day…

I sit, browsing through my memories of your early years. All the moments where you brought a smile to my face, like when you seemed to be so grown up at the age of two. I walk through the memories reliving them as if they were yesterday. I can still feel the excitement from the sidelines at your soccer games, the swelling pride when I listened to your oral essay presentation, and laugh at our shared moments of being silly. I remember your beaming smiles as we went into the ocean on our first real vacation. These precious movies replaying in my thoughts bringing on so many feelings of the pride, joy, and love I have for you.

On this day…

I look at the woman you have become. The woman I see every day would make any parent beam with pride. Your inner strength shines through in everything you do. You have become someone I respect and admire. I truly enjoy the time we spend together. You are my friend as well as my daughter. You are a woman that others should strive to be. I cannot express in words how much every conversation between us means to me. When I see you, I see an intelligent, loving, beautiful, and responsible person. You are the physical embodiment of the hope I saw the first day I held you. You bring joy and love into my world everyday like you did the first moment I held you. Though you are grown, I still have moments where my world shrinks to only you. I still get a smile on my face as I see the grown up girl.

On this day…

I want to tell you how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, to my amazing daughter.

Love, Dad

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Children, Life

 

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Are We the Best Country in the World?


{Stepping up to the podium, tapping the microphone and with a sigh, I look out upon the crowd as the fear grips me. I come to the realization that I am about to say things that might not be popular or accepted. Swallowing the fear, taking a deep breath, I commit to the moment. }

Is the United States the best country in the world?

I have thought about this question many times over the past few decades. Once, I believed the answer was yes. We are the greatest, most advanced, and most powerful country that exists. Unfortunately, that time of naivety has evaporated along with the belief in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. The U.S. may once have been one of the greatest countries in the world. However, as the country grows out of puberty and into adulthood, the U.S. is exchanging its teenaged ideology for the complacent persona of middle-aged greed. To answer the question presented, no, the U.S. is no longer the greatest country in the world. Before the mob gathers the noose and prepares to hang me from the nearest tree, let me explain. 

Once, as a country, we held our heads high with a pride that was based on the core values of innovation, education, and integrity. We raced to the stars, fought for equality, and revolutionized industry. Pride was felt in a good day’s work. Our beliefs were based on earning everything you have and there was no such thing as a free lunch. Charity is what you did for others not what you held your hand out to receive. Success in school was measured by personal dedication and effort in all subjects, not just the subjects that appear on a national standardized test. Politicians were voted into office because of their stance on issues or principles, conviction, and a shared belief; not because of party affiliation. Yes, once we were the greatest country in the world and we earned that title through the blood, sweat, and tears of our people and their leaders. Somewhere, we lost our way.

We have become a country where social programs created to help those in need have become a crutch that encourages laziness. Why would someone strive to work or improve their situation if they can receive a handout for doing the minimum or nothing? These government programs allow the status quo to continue without putting ownership on those receiving assistance to change their situation. New government programs are continually created that are perpetuating this mentality by sustaining generation after generation of dependents on the program. How is this possible? The politicians that advocate the programs are seeking voters by creating a cycle of dependency.

The current reality of our political arena is much different than the world of our grandparents. Elections are bought by corporations and special interest groups who easily manipulate an ignorant populace. We are in the most polarized political landscape since the Civil War where voters no longer cast their vote based on belief in the candidate but the party they represent or rumors they believe. How are the voters expected to make informed decisions when the media, with its lost objectivity, clamors to spoon feed their political affiliates and satisfy their demographic focus for their advertisers? Making an informed decision has fallen to the sidelines in favor of the convenience of a ten-second sound bite. No longer are truth and journalistic creed part of the equation. Now is a time of instant gratification, tweets, and digital headlines where honest debate has slipped aside for tabloid politics. The integrity of the democratic process seems to have gone up for sale to the highest bidder on EBay.

What do the corporations get for their money? Corporations get a supportive political landscape that panders to their every whim allowing them to move jobs out of the country in favor of profits.  At some point, we went from being the greatest industrial nation of innovation and manufacturing to a nation of mostly service based industries. Why? Corporations, with the blessing of the government find more profit in moving jobs to other industrial nations, where the wages can be reduced and labor laws are not as strict? In return, factories that employed thousands are sitting vacant with only weeds and rust being produced where once steel, automobiles, and textiles flowed from their loading bays.

With the closing of businesses, communities not only lose jobs, families and stability but also the ability and willingness to fund education. In a panic to keep funding and comply with national and state education standards, school districts shift the focus away from quality education to meeting the objectives of standardized test scores. These standards are forced on the districts by policies of state and local governments based on political agendas. Educators, in the hopes of maintaining their jobs, are expected to push the agenda set before them at the cost of learning and creativity that once made the U.S. the innovators on the global landscape. All the while, teachers are blamed for not only lowering the education standards but also for not meeting the needs of the individual students. Emphasis falls on to the tested subjects with other programs falling away. Children are force fed the test subjects and expected to perform without the essential skills they need. Without a strong emphasis on subjects like history, the values and foundation our country was built upon are slowly slipping away from future generations.  As a nation, we are failing the future generations and dumbing down the population. Could it be that a less educated population is easier to manipulate?

Why do I have this view? I come from a generation that put emphasis on working hard for what you want, not expecting it to be given. I have the ability to write, read, and have intellectual thoughts because teachers were able to guide me into fostering my own ideas and opinion. I grew up in a time where history and the arts were taught to give an understanding of mistakes and accomplishment of our past. If I needed understanding, I searched through many ideas to find the answers, not open a browser and look for a bite-sized tidbit. Back then when honor in action and words meant something, where information could be trusted to be more fair and objective unlike the pretense of objectivity we now have in the age of 24 hour news channels and Wikipedia.

I love my country. I believe that we were once the greatest country in the world. Then again, the Roman Empire was once the greatest empire known to the civilized world. Once upon a time, the sun never set on the British Empire. We used to reach for the stars, now we reach for the remote and our wallets. We believed in what we stood for and held our heads up high. We were the envy of the world. I want to know that time again before I leave this world. Will you help me to achieve it?

{Steps away from the podium.}

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Post: Talking Heads Without A Voice; Big Business in America: The Money Pit; Help Wanted: Parents; Government Cheese…Burger?

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Editorial, Politics

 

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