In a small Tennessee town is a road with several signs that read “In honor of ______ veterans.” Each sign designates a different branch of the US Armed Services. The implication is that from one sign to the next, the roadway past the sign is dedicated in honor of veterans who served in that particular branch of the service. The idea is commendable, honorable even – if the road conditions matched the perceived honor the signs intended to convey. Instead, the road is bumpy, part of it follows a sharp curve, trees are low hanging over the roadway, and the aesthetic of the road and surrounding area leaves something less than honorable in the minds of those driving by.
Social media provides plenty of fodder for blogger intros and pastoral sermon illustrations. I was reading someone’s posts a while ago in response to a police officer who froze up on the job. The writer commented that if they were faced with that situation, their response would be too quick and decisive to give them the chance to freeze up. Sometime later, that person was faced with a real-life situation where they did exactly what most people without training for such situations do – they ducked for cover and stayed hidden until the danger was gone.
“Simon Says” is a classic game that tests your ability to follow instructions. As a result of playing Simon Says against a cunning Simon, though, you also learned listening skills that help you win. As a participant in Simon Says you learned how to follow, and when it was your turn as Simon, you were better because of it.
Larger than life, charismatic leaders who demand respect and lash out against dissent have an allure to them. We are attracted, in some sense, to these power wielders, and – at the same time – we are turned off by their approach to leadership.
I bet that the last time you attended a funeral or memorial service, you heard someone talk about legacy. Legacy is the impact we leave behind when we are gone. Some people leave a legacy that makes people remember them and the impact they made, and others leave a legacy that continues to impact years after they are gone. Great leaders leave a legacy that continues to impact.
Unless you spent the weekend completely disconnected from the world, you’ve heard about the controversy around the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. His reason excuse for refusing to stand as a protest to black oppression in the United States is, in the words of our maniacal vice-president, “A bunch of malarkey!”
Kaepernick earns an average of $19,000,000 a year to play football. Obviously he is a skilled athlete who provides leadership on the field and acumen during a play. As a pro athlete, he is an entertainer and a celebrity. It makes sense, therefore, that if he is passionate about a social woe, then he has a platform to make people aware.
Standing up for a social issue affecting thousands and sometimes millions of people is a noble venture. If you really want to make a difference, after all, actions speak louder than words. To that end, Kaepernick’s action or lack of action has spoken loudly.
Do you remember the lengths Brian Anderson, Scott Vincent, Joshua Wilfsong, Ronald Payne, Timothy Creager, Scott Dougherty, Justin Hunt, Jeffrey Lawrence, Rodricka Youmans, Mark Engel, Tenzin Dengkhim, John Matteck, Nathan Clemons, Clifton Mounce, Christopher Winchester, and Bryan Opskar went to for what they believed in?
These are the men from 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion who died in combat during my time in that unit.
These men believed so much in how great our country is that they were not only willing to write a blank check up to their life for the United States of America, their checks were cashed in. These are the men I remember when I stand for the national anthem. These men and many more like them are the reason Kaepernick has the freedom to disgrace my brothers by not standing to honor our nation and our colors.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t win the freedoms we enjoy by idly sitting down so someone would notice their protest. They took action. They started a revolution that has changed the world.
If Kaepernick wants to use his freedom to make a statement about the oppression of the black community in the United States, I would suggest he use some of that $19,000,000 a year salary to help end the oppression he seems so convicted by. I would encourage him to leave the NFL and join the underpaid ranks of public service where he will be able to shape policies that prevent oppression for all people. I would recommend he consider contributing some of his $19,000,000 to the many worthy agencies that honor our nation, her veterans, and the people they help by actually doing something to make a difference and not grandstandingsitting for attention.
Kaepernick’s behavior is a testimony to our celebrity led society. If you want to be a leader who will affect change in meaningful ways, then do the hard work that makes that happen. Kaepernick’s example is a lesson to everyone: Leadership that influences positive change in a society requires more work than words and more action than sitting.
Question: I accept some of you may not agree with my assessment. I want to hear from you. Disagree with civility and let’s keep this discussion going. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
When I was in the Marine Corps, I was assigned to 2D Marine Division, 2D Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Our unit used light armored vehicles that used wheels instead of tracks. We had several different vehicles that served different functions. The nickname given to the vehicles by crewmen and mechanics was “pigs.” One staff sergeant, however, would put anyone in check calling one of the vehicles a pig. He would go on a tirade about the capabilities of the vehicle, the protection those vehicles provided troops in combat, and the importance of keeping them maintained. He would go on to say that it was important to not only treat the vehicles with respect but to also talk about them with respect. The lesson he taught was that we would treat the vehicles with the same respect we used to talk about them.
We value the people and things in our lives only as much as we talk about and describe them.
As far back as I can remember, I have loved timepieces. I appreciate a good wristwatch, I am mesmerized by pocket watches, and I am utterly fascinated by clocks, especially grandfather clocks. I can’t explain what it is about timepieces that make me so interested in them, but those close to me know that for my utter lack of care for material possessions, timepieces are one of my exceptions.
I like to do word association questions with people when I interview them. By that I mean that I provide a word and the interviewee responds with the first thing that comes to mind.
I enjoy it because it gives me a lot of information about the person without them knowing what I really want. There truly is no right or wrong answer with me on word association. (more…)