AN ELECTION FROM HELL

I’ve never been political. I’ve always voted, voted in every election since 1971 when I gained the right by turning twenty-one. I have voted for the person rather than involving myself in party platforms and politics during my entire voting history. I’ve never found party platforms to suit my own opinions on what I BELIEVE to be right or what I BELIEVE is wrong. You see, I lean left on some issues, right on the others. Part of my problem is I am a “feeling” person per Meyers-Briggs, rather than a “logical” one. Because I am a “feeling” person I find this election to be painful at best and conversations about it to be impossible.

A week from casting my vote, I have made a decision. I am going to vote for a woman…I just don’t know which one…and probably won’t know until I am standing in the voting booth. To throw my vote away by voting for third-party candidate, Jill Stein, or make my vote possibly count for what I consider to be the lesser of bad choices in Hillary Clinton? Decisions, decisions.

Along with the normal issues of taxes, Social Security, military spending, etc., I have other concerns.

I care about our little “blue ball” and what we are doing to it. I don’t believe we have been very good stewards of our environment and am concerned what the future may hold for my daughter and her family…my grandchildren. I also don’t know if casting my vote for Ms. Stein will make one bit of difference since so many of our legislators, most of them old men in suits, seem to refuse to believe anything we do to our world matters as long as their pockets are lined with green. In other words, politics of money as usual.

Another issue is not so much about presidential candidates as it is the Supreme Court. I abhor abortion and am dead against it, but I also abhor how some of our elected officials and their minions seem to care more for fetuses than for the now born. I also don’t believe I should be deciding what is right for a woman or a couple that is not me or my couple. I also don’t believe nine judges should decide if, again, old men in suits get to decide what is lawful for a woman or a couple.

Civil Rights are an issue and I see a certain a candidate moving us farther right than I want to go. I believe people of all colors, religions and sexual proclivities or tendencies are all covered under the Constitution of these United States. Giving rights to one should not be construed as loss of rights for someone else regardless of what might or might not be translated correctly in any work of literature, whether it came from the mouth of God, Allah or Pedro Cerrano’s Joboo. Yes, if you want to rub your baseball bat with chicken bones, I believe you should have that right. For those of you who are unsure, that would be a religious right from the movie MAJOR LEAGUES and not a sexual proclivity or tendency.

I believe we need borders but I stop short of believing we need to build a wall, whomever builds it. I am also not sure we will be able to move eleven million “illegals” and I wonder what effect it might have on food prices. I read recently as many as seventy percent of the agricultural workforce in Texas is “illegal.” Seems like the wrong people are being threatened with prosecution and will our own workforce flock to fill jobs involving long hours and low pay in the hot Texas, Florida or California sun. Will the forty-hour work week and minimum wage be utilized? Questions from a man whose first job was working in agriculture for two dollars a day for early thirty to dark thirty days.

Finally, I find I can’t vote for a certain candidate because, among other reasons, he has shown a tendency to objectify women, something that, despite my upbringing, I am also guilty of. I still like to look at women, and yes I sin in my mind and in my youth in other places too. Since having a girl child and girl grandchild, my thinking has changed the same way my thoughts about race changed. As I became more mature, my attitudes changed…and my actions, which is something I truly believe has not occurred with one of our other candidates.

So, these are SOME of my issues and will be my issues in a week when I step into my polling place to exercise my freedom to vote…if I don’t go crazier before hand. While nothing I just wrote will change anyone’s mind I do hope you exercise your right to vote…for whomever is your choice.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN SEASON

“Cause this is thriller, thriller night. And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike….” I had to turn on the TV and hear this on this Halloween season. Now it’s going to be in my head all freaking dayyyyyyyy! Happy Halloween to me…not!

As much as I have heard and seen “Thriller” way toooooooooooo much, I dearly love an old horror movie. Specifically old movies where most of the horror takes place off camera and the special effects are created in your own head. Not the newer more blood and swimming pools full of gore movies. Bela Lugosi nibbling at necks, Colin Clive hovering over Boris Karloff manically yelling “It’s Alive,” or Vincent Price grabbing you by the throat from the “Oblong Box.” I even loved the humor of Marty Feldman as Igor extorting Gene Wilder to “Walk This Way!” or Christopher Lee licking his lips as he watched a bathing Sharon Tate…a few less bubbles please. I loved them even though they really didn’t scare me. There WAS that disturbing scene with The Monster and the little girl. My fear was reserved for another generation of films that probably began with Michael terrorizing Jamie Lee in “Halloween” and “Carrie” burning down the town. Yes, I did scream during the final scene.

The one movie that absolutely terrified me beyond any reason was a 1972 low budget film called “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.” Snappy title. I found out later that it had been filmed in fourteen days and believe me it looked it. A theater group of attractive young people find themselves on an island filming a horror film. Using Satan’s own “book of the dead” they accidentally raise an island full of dead former criminals and the attractive theater group ends up dead, torn apart by living dead zombies who end the movie by getting on a boat headed toward a nearby city to continue eating. “More Brains Please!”

It shouldn’t have been that scary and probably wasn’t but I haven’t had guts enough to rent it. After Friday night football games I always found it hard to sleep and usually tried to put myself to sleep by watching TBS on cable. This particular TBS was the old version that was still owned by Ted Turner, featuring Saturday afternoon wrestling after an all-night horror fest of reasonably new films, sandwiched around cartoons and such. Being in the early Eighties, “Children Shouldn’t Play…” was reasonably new, only a decade old or so. I was alone, my roommate brother out for the night participating in an evening of “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” I am sure. My significant other…there was no significant other at the time as I was still waiting around for the love of my life to ask me out. You really should not watch a horror film at two in the morning without someone to snuggle with or at least call in case you need to be talked down from your fear.

It wasn’t the movie…the plot was too easy to follow. You just knew that as soon as they finished their “raise the dead chant” bad things were going to happen and that the black guy would be the first victim. He was and was soon followed by the two amorous youngsters who had snuck off for a little quality time alone. I actually laughed…until that damn music started. It really wasn’t music, it was more like a million fingernails being drug over a chalk board or a million out of tune violins being played with a cross cut saw. With the hair standing up on the back of my neck, the bodies started popping out of their graves like daisies in the spring sun. That should have been laughable…except for that damn music!

“Who you gonna call?” Not “Ghostbusters” because it had not been released yet. Well at least another theme is running through my head now instead of “Thriller.” Happy Halloween!

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

The Current State of the Country…

Reblogged from howtoprovide.com

How to Provide

Recently I have been re-posting messages about a possible EMP, Russia, China and the USA power grid written by other authors.  In full disclosure,  I felt it was important to give a little background information and let you all know that my first degree was in International Relations with a minor in the Russian language.  I wanted to write contracts between corporate interests in the US and that of the new (at the time) capitalist country of Russia.  As you can see, a corporate-desk-job was not for me.  But I still have an interest in International Relations; particularly between Russia, China, Syria, Iran and the USA.

I feel it now is important to say what my current perspective is in regards to International Relations…  I love the Russian people.  They are a strong-willed, hardy, intelligent, hard working and a beautiful people.  However, they are currently being led by an overtly…

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THE SUCCESS OF FAILURE

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Sir Winston Churchill

Lynn, a friend of mine, and I were conversing about what we might do once we grew up. She is a writer and a former student who has become a mentor to her former teacher and we sometimes bounce ideas off of each other’s very hard heads. She is wishing to expand her craft’s business while I am wishing to expand my very successful business of doing nothing of real importance since retirement. During our conversation I used the trite and overused “What have you got to lose, the worse you can do is fail.” As I thought about certain misspent aspects of my own life I realized that failure can be the best thing to ever happen to you.

Early in my teaching and coaching career I decided I was going to be a head football coach and for ten years worked hard to achieve this goal. Once I had attained my “dream” job, I don’t believe anyone could have worked any harder to be successful but success from a won and loss standpoint was elusive and after four years I was relieved of my coaching duties. I…WAS…BITTER! To say the least. I was deeply wounded and went into my next job with a good case of the “feeling sorrys”. I had all types of excuses for my failure, some valid…some not so valid, but as I look back with my twenty-twenty hindsight, I really have no one to blame but myself. To “somewhat” quote the cartoon character POGO, “I have met the enemy and it is me!”

I worked hard for the next couple of years to get another head job, updated my resume’, applied for many positions, interviewed for a few and was even offered one which I was forced to turn down because they could not promise a position for my beloved, Linda Gail. Once we invested in our “little piece of heaven” located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, I knew my dream of becoming a head football coach again was pretty much done although my “hope did spring eternal” for a time.

As I chatted with Lynn, my young mentor, it dawned on me how fortunate I had been not to have been successful at my dream job, a FACT I was already subconsciously privy to but had managed never to have consciously expressed. I would not have met Lynn, who compelled me to begin my writing, or a thousand other former students and friends who would become the subjects of much of my writing. I would not have found a niche as a baseball coach. I MIGHT not have found a best friend. I MIGHT not have become a better teacher. In other words, I MIGHT not have become the person I am today. I MIGHT have been a better person had I been able to stay on my CHOSEN pathway but on this pathway, the one chosen for me, I am SURE I have led a successful and rewarding life, EVEN IF IT IS JUST IN MY OWN HEAD, which would be the only head that counts.

This thought compels me to think of other failures, primarily in the areas of love and marriage. One failed marriage led to another and then I finally got it right. What if the first one had not failed and my daughter and grandchildren had never been born? What if the second had not failed and Linda Gail had gone on to find her “one true love” somewhere else. What if…? What ifs makes your head want to explode but I find it only fortifies my belief that out of our failures positives can be found even if we have to wait a bit to realize it. I am going to reframe from saying anything about Phoenixes rising from the ashes because my failures are pretty minor compared to those of other folks I know …okay I guess I did say something about Phoenixes rising from the ashes.

Lynn, thanks again for the conversation you started among the many voices in my head. As I said tritely before, “Spread your wings, the worst that can happen is that you fail” …and maybe that is not the worst thing in the world after all. To be trite again, “Life is what you make of it!”

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

LIBERAL LEANINGS IN MY CONSERVATIVE WORLD

I consider myself a moderate simply because I will except some change in my life. You know, change in underwear type things. No, I try not to be held hostage to any party politics but it is hard. By saying that I am a moderate locates me so far left from many of my friends that many of them think that I might as well be standing next to Karl Marx. I on the other hand believe they are standing to the right of Adolf Hitler. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any southern liberals. It just means they have a tendency to be African-American or, if white, they tend to hide their liberalness and admit to it privately only to a voting machine. Please be aware that I am speaking of Southerners born and bred, not damn Yankees. If a Southern liberal’s friends or family were to find out that they voted for a Democrat, this revelation would likely be accompanied by looks that you would expect your Baptist minister to give you if he caught you coming out of a liquor store or “Hooters.” Never mind asking why he was there because we are also big on “Do as I say. Do not as I do.”

I should point out that our “set in our way-ness,” while a Southern white attribute, is not a trait limited to one race. My friend Butch, who is African-American, is as conservative as they come and it has rubbed off on other members of his family. Of my generation, his loooonnnng pontifications would make a Kentucky colonel or a politician proud! It surprises me how much our world view is comparable despite our differences in race. I attribute this to our rural upbringing that included chopping cotton and corn and working in textiles along with parents and grandparents who would “switch deem legs.” Despite this similar history, I imagine he has voted Democrat since 1964. Why? “You dummy, didn’t you hear me? I told you my family has voted Democrat since 1968!”

I don’t understand why people in other parts of the world consider us to be uneducated and backward just because we are conservative and as inflexible to change as a piece of rebar. I just thought that “tongue in cheek.” Despite improvements, our school systems still rank lower while obesity, poverty and numbers of unwed mothers still rank higher than the rest of the nation. The world view is of a fat, tobacco chewing redneck (THEIR WORDS) who is a high school dropout sporting “shit-caked” work boots and wearing a “South will rise again!” belt buckle. Usually this redneck could stand a bit of dental work on his four teeth and is much more concerned about the Second Amendment than any other aspect of “gubment.” His mate is barefooted and wearing a dress she made herself from a feed sack. “Sugah Pie” is pregnant and showing to be quite far along despite having a babe in arms and another, a year older, in a dirty diaper and tugging at the hem of her dress. They will not have to worry about having three in high school at the same time much less college. In front of their single-wide is a rusting pickup truck on blocks whose engine is leaking vital fluids as it sits on a sagging picnic table next to it. Yes, there is a redbone hound asleep under the truck. Is this an accurate portrayal? HELL NO…and, unfortunately, hell yeah! The climate is changing but for those of us who are not “sot in our ways” the change is slow. Oh God, I may be a liberal! Please don’t tell anyone! I will try to do better.

I now live in an area of South Carolina that has become known as the “Dark Corner.” Once I thought it got its name because of our location in regard to the mountains to our west that block the sun as it slips beyond the horizon. To “sorta” quote Yogi Berra, it does “get darker here quicker” but that has nothing to do with the name. Oh no. One local historian suggested that the Dark Corner somehow got its name because Unionist and Confederate deserters invaded the area “here abouts” to defend themselves against a “gubment” that wanted them to uphold slavery that the deserters had decided was a “rich man’s” war to maintain the “status quo” or in the case of Unionists, a “gubment” that wanted them to rebel against the Union. In and around 1864 they decided to unite and began to fortify the nearby mountains and dare the Confederate Army or local constabulary to show up. By that time the CSA had its hands full elsewhere and there was no confrontation. I find it interesting that since the Flag issue in my state landed like a wet cow patty dropped from a B-52, there now seem to be more Confederate Battle Flags around THAN YOU CAN SHAKE A STICK AT. I wonder if any of my tradition-laden friends realize the “checkered heritage” of where they live. “Nope, cause hit don’t matter ‘cept that the sumbitch ‘gubment is trin‘to take my flag!” Damn Right!

Another example of old traditions dying hard is the production of “tax-free” distilled spirits. Through the depression and into modern times, the Dark Corner was known for its production of moonshine. Not just any moonshine but what has been described as a particularly “fine moonshine.” That is not an oxymoron. The smoothness supposedly came from the water. In the late Seventies it was also known for producing a particularly high grade of “killer weed” known as “Glassy Mountain Gold.” Weed did not replace moonshining because moonshining was the traditional drug of choice and “them good old boys ain’t about to change.” During the depression poor families resorted to illegally distilling spirits to pay their taxes and to make a living that the “gubment” was attempting to take away, according to their “way ah thinking.” Well, this is 2015 and it is still being made. One morning in the late 2000’s, I stepped out to begin my morning run and was assaulted by the sharp smell of sour mash cookin’. Several years later I found a broken down still on a stream located on my land. They could have, at least, offered me a taste!

Most of the people I know, in addition to being conservative, don’t make shine and have more of their own teeth than I do. A few wave the flag and chew tobacco. Many of us own rusty old pickups. One even has the engine out of his. It’s in his double-bay garage, the one he built to work on his cars that includes a hydraulic lift rack and engine hoist. There is nothing but food on his picnic table and with it a German Shepard to guard it all. Despite his lack of a college degree, his home, garage and farm are a lot nicer than mine. Uneducated? Not where it counts, it would seem, because they don’t award degrees for common sense and work ethic. He doesn’t chew, dip or drink his spirits out of a Mason jar and is more likely to be in flip-flops than in “shit kickers.” I think of Jimmy Buffett meets Mr. Greenjeans. He also doesn’t wave the Battle Flag but he is as Southern as the day is long and, I think, more of what the New, New South is about, despite being set in his conservative ways. Yes, he does still vote Republican. “You dummy, didn’t you hear me? I told you my family has voted Republican since 1964!”

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

I CHOOSE CIVILITY

“formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech:
synonyms: courtesy · courteousness · politeness · good manners ·
graciousness · consideration · respect · comity”

I defined civility simply because I am unsure how many of my “social media” friends actually know what it means or if they do, they have decided that using it is just too “PC”. Two threads I started, (with what I thought was a simple comment about violent crime rates and another about the protests taking place during the National Anthem), crumbled into something else entirely. We raged far afield from the original posts and disintegrated into a playground melee stopping just short of someone yelling “yo’ momma!” Another former teaching friend lamented being verbally attacked over a position he took on one of his own treads. That would be former teacher not former friend. The word of the day, week or year seems to be ‘ATTACK’ which is why I am trying to choose civility instead of trying to shout someone down. Yes, kill them with kindness…ha…ha…ha.

I continue to hear people state “We are too PC” so I have also looked up a definition and provided it: “to criticize language, actions, or policies seen as being excessively calculated to not offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society.” There was a time when I was taught that “NOT OFFENDING” was a good thing and why would you want to disadvantage anyone…ohhhhhh, you mean a perceived enemy, I get it now. ITS OKAY TO OFFEND OUR ENEMIES! The people we or you are fighting with. People we are at war with. You know, people that are trying to shoot us, blow us up, are of a different religion than us, people with a different sexual preference who might want to get married, people with different ideas about race, people who decide to protest against things we hold near and dear, or people who think that beer “TASTES GREAT!” rather than is “LESS FILLING!” FUCK…THEM…ALL! JUST LEAVE IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I AM SPOUTING! WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE! YOU ARE NOT OUR KIND…Oh I forgot to include the guy down the road that has decorated his road front with Trump-Pence campaign signs! JUST LEAVE THE COUNTRY WE DON’T WANT YOU! Actually I just said the last one because my wall is so conservative, I mean I live in South Carolina. What do you expect, I just wanted to put a burr under my conservative friends’ BVDs and all. You know all in good fun, don’t want to offend you…come on smile a little.

You see, I believe “not being too PC” is simply an invitation to cross the line and be a bully. It’s an easy thing to be a bully hiding behind the keys of a computer after all. The keys are not likely to rise up and punch you in the eye. When a friend or my brother takes me to task on my liberal social leanings I try to pay attention because they normally provide insight and logical reasons…or at the least reasons. When an asshole provides, “I wish all liberals would die!” well, I GET PISSED and that is almost where my tread went. Also I realize somewhere there is a liberal asshole writing “I wish all conservatives would die!” I just don’t see a lot of those because my wall is so…right…I mean so conservative.

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a damn lie invented by a gray-haired grandmother to take the pain away caused by the sting of the spoken or printed word. “But I was just speaking my mind” in many cases crosses the line between speaking your mind and verbally slapping someone across the chops. That is why I am choosing civility…that and my normal peace keeping tendencies. I will weigh my words carefully. Why use a nuclear bomb when a ruler across the palm of the hand is enough? Oh wait, you don’t believe in corporal punishment…Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

“ADDIE” OAKLEY In honor of my Grandmother’s 115th. birthday

Being a Southern male I do hate to have to admit that when it comes to “shootin’” I can’t hit a “bull in the butt with a banjo…or a bass fiddle.” Because of my inability to draw a bead on the proverbial “broadside of the barn,” I choose to exercise my “God given” right to follow the second amendment using a double-barreled shotgun that sports the shortest legal barrel I can own. Loaded with bird shot, it will shred a mosquito at twenty feet. Loaded with buck shot it will blow a six-inch hole in a door at ten feet…not that I have done either. Man, I feel so manly just talking about it. When it comes to shooting my thirty-eight magnum handgun, you are as safe as a baby in its crib if I am aiming at you. I cannot guarantee your safety if you are standing behind me however. No matter how manly I sound or how Southern I am, I do hate guns. I shouldn’t.

Having a gun is a Southern rite of passage and, although we weren’t hunters, I grew up around my dad’s and grandmother’s twenty-twos and my grandfather’s hammered 12-gauge. That old-fashioned gun was a beauty with a thirty-six inch barrel. I remember him using it only once because, like me, he left the shooting up to his wife. That statement has to do more with my “rifle-toting” grannie, who could shoot the eye out of a varmint at one hundred yards, than with my wife, who has given up hunting due to my dislike of sitting in dark, cold and damp treestands. “Addie” Oakley, “Dead-Eye” Addie or “Sure Shot” Addie…you can take your pick of monikers because they all fit. I don’t know who taught her to shoot but she had a keen eye and a steady grip despite her odd way of holding her twenty-two rifle. Instead of jamming the butt of the rifle against her shoulder, she laid the stock on top of her shoulder turning the rifle to the side. Whatever worked I guess.

Some of my earliest memories of my grandmother include her twenty-two. She carried it everywhere not knowing when she might need it. Whether it was rats at the barn, snakes or a varmint attacking the livestock, she was going to be ready. I once witnessed her shoot a stray dog that was attacking our milk cow on a distant hill inside of our pasture. She yelled trying to “Shoo it off” but when the dog continued its attack, she calmly put a round through its eye while it was on the move…at one hundred yards if it was a foot. Nannie had tears in her eyes as she buried the old mongrel but she had saved the cow.

With her love for birds, snakes were fair game, but she did draw a line at cats. There was no such thing as a good snake and don’t try to explain to her that rat snakes eat rats. They also eat chicken eggs and birds and that was enough for her. King snakes were tolerated because they killed other bird predators so I was taught at an early age how to recognize them. I once saw her put sixteen rounds into a black rat snake that was attacking a nest. Every time she hit it, the snake would wrap itself more tightly around the limb until it moved enough for her to get a head shot. It was shot full of holes. Once returning from her garden through a tangled archway of out-of-control privet, she stopped and “shushed me” while placing the butt of her rifle on her shoulder. In the middle of a patch of iris under her bedroom window, I saw a snake. It was reared up, mocking a cobra without the cowl, its head moving side to side like a periscope. Nannie’s little twenty-two cracked causing me to jump and the snake fell from view. This she did despite it being silhouetted against her bedroom window. No broken glass but when we got there, no snake either. I remember saying in an accusatory voice, “Ya missed!” She pointed at a leaf and said no I didn’t. There was a small spot of blood on the leaf but I’m not sure I believed her until the next morning. As we made our morning trek to the garden, we found a dead coachwhip snake with a bullet wound under its jaw. It had hung itself on a privet root. Don’t mess with “Dead-Eye” Addie or accuse her of missing!

One of the oddest rituals involving Nannie’s rifle was the making of meals. It wasn’t a utensil but the kitchen windows gave her a view of a big cedar tree which had become a feeding station for her birds. Washing dishes or creating the best biscuits known to man, her vision was always focused on those feeders. Periodically, she would stop, wipe off her hands, pick up her rifle and fire a round through the window screen. She would try to fire through previously made holes but that was somewhat impossible and her screen had several twenty-two-sized holes. There would be a “bang” and then she would tell me that a copperhead or sick sparrow had gone to its maker. Nannie would then go back to her biscuit making waiting to move the body later.

So how bad is my marksmanship? As good as she was, I am that bad. Once I went squirrel hunting with a 12-gauge and the squirrel and dumplings ended up being filled with birdshot. Another time early in our marriage when Linda still had ideas about hunting, we were disturbed by what we thought was an intruder. It wasn’t; more than likely it was just one of our ghosts that traipses through the hallways of our old farmhouse late at night. Linda grabbed her Browning 243 while I picked up my baseball bat. Neither had to be used. That is a good thing because…come to think of it, I was never a great hitter either.

For more Southern rural humor by Don Miller click on http://goo.gl/lomuQf

THE END IS NEAR

“We are in the end of times!” “We are in the days of Revelations!” So much doom and gloom. I am reminded of the street preachers on Bourbon Street when Linda Gail and I visited New Orleans, the “Sin City with Southern Charm.” We were on our honeymoon and later on our anniversary. Those preachers were shouting the same thing from every corner. “Your time is near! Repent your sins.” Irreverently, I am also reminded of the children’s story about a chicken running around yelling, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

I don’t deny that MY time is near and the sands are running out of MY hourglass. I don’t know of anyone who is going to get out of this life alive anyway, but as a person who believes…hopes he is a Christian, I really don’t know what we are to do if it truly is… (gothic organ music) … “The End of Times.” Are we to sit patiently in prayer waiting? Should we put on our “sackcloth and ashes?” “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” Are we to do nothing? I cannot NOT be proactive even if proactive is just going on with life “for its own sake.” I am a retired coach and I cannot NOT compete even if it is for my last breath.

My problem or one of my problems is, if this is the “end of times” it’s because we as humans have fallen down on the job. We have failed ourselves and God. Whether it is global climate change or loving thy neighbor, I am seeing fewer and fewer people attempting to make this world better and are opting to say “Prepare…we are nearing the days of Judgement.” That may be true but should we not be attempting to correct issues and make our world a better place. Throwing up our hands is throwing in the towel. Have we forgotten “God helps those who help themselves?” I know that is really not in the Bible but it probably should be. Had I written the Bible I would have put it in there.

My second problem is “What if it is not the end of times?” According to Matthew in the King James Bible, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Do we not owe it to ourselves as good humans to act a little more “Christ like?” even if you are not a Christian. Jesus exemplified characteristics such as faith, hope, charity, patience, humility, purity, diligence, and obedience, characteristics seemingly to be in short supply recently on our little blue ball and characteristics that should be shared by all religions.

Do what you want. I am going to choose to be proactive. I am going to choose to fight and I don’t mean go out and dig a bunker to survive Armageddon in. I am not only going to try to be good, I’m going to TRY AND DO good. You know the “Love thy Neighbor”, be good to the poor, try to be uplifting kind of good that was taught by Jesus of Nazareth and modelled by Jimmy Carter. I want to be THAT role model for my daughter and grandchildren. If it is truly “The End of Days,” I would just a soon be surprised anyway.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

IN DEFENSE OF KIDS

I have to speak in front of our local Lion’s Club, well I don’t have to, I agreed to. The subject is kids, something I should know something about having taught and coached them for over forty years. As any educator will tell you, JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN IT ALL, THEY WILL DO SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU REALIZE YOU DON’T. However, even saying that, I BELIEVE KIDS ARE STILL KIDS. I read or see our next generations being characterized as entitled, elitist, dumb, stupid, weak, soft, lazy or gullible…should I go on? No because I believe, like a lot of “OLDER GENERATIONS,” we are not giving them their just dues.

There were entitled, elitist, dumb, stupid, weak, soft, lazy and gullible kids throughout my teaching career. What has changed is not the younger generations, what has changed is the world we live in. Technology, social media, the destruction of the middle class forcing parents to work longer to put basic necessities on the table, national media focusing upon the negatives that sell rather than the positives that don’t and giving out trophies to everyone who participates in any an extracurricular activity are just some of the reasons that SEEM to make kids appear to be different, weak and entitled. They are different but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and if it is bad, it’s because we, the previous generation, have made it that way.

These new generations do things differently than “our generation” …the same way that I did things differently than my parents and my parents did things differently than their parents. I don’t think any of us want to go back to planting seeds by hand or using a seed drill pulled by horses to put beans on the table the way my grandparents did. This “new generation” doesn’t learn the same way that we did nor even work the same way we did…if they are lucky enough to find a job. I don’t believe we want to give up our computers, smart phones or data processing software for an abacas or wax board, rotary phone or old Royal typewriter with correction fluid. I do call my daughter when I need to program some new form of technology.

Maybe I am looking through rose colored glasses because I was always associated with good kids for the most part. There were a few little “Johnnies” but not many. I don’t think I am suffering from cognitive dissonance because I taught at many different types of schools; urban and rural, large and small, economically entitled with over a ninety percent college attendance rate, unentitled schools where kids were more likely to go into military service, predominately white and predominately other races. I found kids to be nothing more than kids who wanted to learn, who wanted to be taught boundaries, who wanted someone to listen to them and give them some attention. The only difference seemed to be that the modern generation tended to use the word teachers and coaches hated the most…” Why?” “Why do we need to learn this or why are we having to do this.” “Because I said so” was not the best answer to provide.

Children of all ages, races and socio-economic standing want attention and, unfortunately, it really doesn’t matter whether it is negative or positive. They want love and will look for it wherever they can find it; at home with their family, in church organizations, with positive mentors or with drugs, gangs or bad interpersonal relationships. That was true fifty years ago and it is true now. Unfortunately, the numbers involved in negative activities seems to have increased.

That is where you and I, the old generation, comes in. We need to bridge gaps whether it is through the Lion’s Club, the Phyllis Wheatly Center, tutoring, the Y or just coaching a little league team. All we are doing is investing a little time to insure the successes of our next generation.

For more unique life stories or posts by Don Miller visit his author’s page at http://goo.gl/lomuQf