A week or so before Christmas, my wife decided to hire a cleaning service to help get prepared for several large gatherings and family coming to stay from out of town. The company she used was very reputable and had great referrals. During the period of time the cleaners were at work, my wife engaged one of them in conversation and what she learned was quite disturbing. This lady has two children, the oldest being 11, and was basically homeless. She indicated they spent most nights in the homeless shelter and couch surfed whenever they could. Sometimes they had to sleep in their car. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do for Christmas, where they would be or how to get gifts for her kids. Financially, she receives a fairly decent wage, but is being paid under the table. Consequently, she has no pay receipts needed to obtain housing. The lady indicated that she did not want to quit because well-paying jobs are scarce in our area and she felt she could not take care of her family on minimum wage. She is a citizen and is not, does she want to be, on public assistance. In this day and age, situations like this is are far too common. As the gap continues to grow between the rich and poor, and the middle class erodes away, we are losing one of the essentials of life – the ability for everyday folks to have a place to call HOME!
Category: Voice of our CEO
For a long time, our society has clung to the idea that we are somehow hardwired to be selfish. And while there’s no denying this fact, there is now compelling evidence to prove that the pull that we all feel from time to time to do something generous is a foundational part of our humanity. As it turns out, there is a science behind the power of giving--we are also wired to do good!
I have heard it said that life does not necessarily get easier or better; but we, in fact, become stronger and more resilient. As a person with a few years under my belt, I know this to be true. Perseverance leads to perfection, or at least gets us closer to it!
In the U.S., 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. Of these children, 101,666 are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of them will wait over three years in care before being adopted. So, come on folks--there are kids who need you! But not so quick—this is a decision which needs thorough research, careful deliberation and thoughtful decision making.
Given the polarity of our times--insolence, hate, intolerance, seething anger, hostility and overt disdain for others and government--I am reminded of another season in the history of our country where we were so torn asunder: the Civil War. How did we come to the place where civility, respect, decency and concern for the broader common good of all Americans has faded and, instead, is overshadowed by the darkness of self-interest? It is time for us to draw from the annals of our American history and remember the senseless—and avoidable--destruction and death caused by that great divide. It is time to make a purposeful, exerted effort to abate the destructive forces at work within our country at present, remembering the powerful words of President Abraham Lincoln “...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure half slave and half free...!”
“Family” is supposed to be a sanctuary; a place of safety, nurturing, healing, growing, sharing, loving, laughter and joy! But for too many, “Family” is none of these things. Instead, “Family” is a battleground, a bastion of physical and mental abuse; a place to avoid and run from, not a place to run towards. Domestic Violence is a blight on society; it is a strong indictment against our culture and our pervasive tolerance and acceptance of violence as a way of life. Domestic violence is merely a reflection of a much deeper, embedded pandemic sickness within our society.
Like with other forms of violence in our culture, our sensitivity to domestic violence has been substantially dulled, and we are no longer repulsed or grieved by it. So, let me provide a blunt reminder about the magnitude of Domestic Violence. (From www.ncadv.org)
I absolutely loathe the Presidential election cycle. As we have careened through the presidential elections over the span of my lifetime, they have become a downhill slope into a pit of vitriol negativity, bombastic arrogance and blatant dishonesty. Promoting policies and ideas has been supplanted by trashing one’s opponent. The harder a candidate tries to take the high ground, the more they are assaulted with brutal character attacks, mudslinging and maligning.
The last few election cycles seem to have improved a little, then came 2016. It is astounding to me that we have a presidential contender who has built an entire campaign on fear-mongering, hate, lying, bullying, character assassination and divisiveness. Intelligent policy discussion is nonexistent. What’s more alarming, is that there are millions of Americans who are marching lockstep in support. You don’t have to go too far back in history to remember a similar person deceiving and manipulating the masses; and the consequences were diabolic!
What is occurring right now in the American political arena is a Righteous Indictment, declaring, “AMERICA YOU HAVE LOST YOUR VIRTUE!”
My teen years were spent in the 1960's – you know hippies, long hair, rock-n-roll, changing norms, social unrest and drugs. I had the good fortune to be raised with a strong moral compass which helped me navigate the tumultuous times and come out unscathed. However, this wasn’t true for many of my friends and acquaintances. Too many had their lives destroyed by mind and body altering substances; their amazing potential and futures altered forever. Some died, while others died mentally but remained physically alive.
Oh sure, like many in my generation, I did some stupid things. But in reality, the “hippie years” were just a very small parenthesis along my time line. In fact, those years profoundly set into motion what I was to become and how I have spent the past five decades. I count myself fortunate, but also haunted by the devastation and destruction substance abuse causes. I don’t know of anyone who has not experienced the destructiveness of substance abuse in some way, either personally or in relation to a family member, relative or friend.
It goes without saying, there is a very pronounced distrust of--and for some, a profound distaste for--government bureaucracy. I totally understand these feelings, even though I do think it is grossly exaggerated by those who live on the fringe who hate government period. The reality is, every large organization, be it private-sector or governmental, is supported by an unwieldy bureaucratic structure; it’s the nature of the beast. Initiating change within a monstrous bureaucracy of any type is epic, however, I think government tops the charts for slowness, inflexibility and a lack of innovation.
Have you ever wondered where we got the term “the Dogs-Days of Summer?” As a kid growing up, it was a baseball term used to describe the period of miserable hot, humid weather after the All-Star break until the fall run into the playoffs. For many, it’s that time of summer where you just don’t want to do anything; when people become lethargic, bored and grumpy, and kids become restless and unmanageable. Those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs just lie around motionless. I think there’s been several movies and a bunch of books written using the name “Dogs-Days of Summer.”