Men, To Do The Right Thing

I reflect on the years I’ve accumulated.  Of the many vignettes, memories, scenarios, I recall a theme pondered and talked about countless times: men, to do the right thing.  Several factors have always traveled along with this issue, through the generations; one of those factors being shorterm gratification compared with longterm gratification; another cause being fatigue (mental and physical); and yet another, problematic rationalization versus clarity of thought connected to good ethics, honorable character.  So, the original thought, “Men, To Do The Right Thing”, leads into these factors.

  1. Shorterm gratification.  In the realm of relationships and marriage, shorterm gratification can lead to trust broken, betrayal, lies.  Sounds harsh, yes?  But, not uncommon.  Here is a, possibly, oversimplified picture of what this looks like is.  Two individuals are in a relationship; they have a few arguments over a short period of time; one of the individuals chooses to experience being with someone (seemingly) immediately fulfilling, no (visible) complications, (all in secrecy).  Eventually, the truth comes out and the unfatihful one has a choice to make.
  2. Fatigue and clarity of thought.  In the context of a relationship, where a man becomes mentally and physically fatigued over a period of time (caused by any number of catalysts), resulting in his diminishing attention to his wife and her needs.  His apathy slowly increases in proportion to his diminishing level of attention to his wife.  Here is my question:  will this man recognize what is happening and make crucial changes to avoid further pain to his marriage?  Image result for images law of inertiaWhat makes this a difficult situation is the power of negative momentum.  My own paraphrased definition of the Law Inertia is this: “An object in motion will continue unless acted upon by an external force.”  So, what will be the external force, for this man, to keep him from going downhill, inevitably crashing with great chaos.
  3. Lastly, I consider rationalization and clarity of thought.  By the way, I truly believe that all three of these areas overlap, to differing degrees.  Here is where my mind goes, with rationalization.  I think about the workplace.  A man is intensely pressured by his supervisor to increase his numbers reflecting a higher level of productivity.  His coworkers do not seem to be having any difficulty.  So, the man in question asks one of his coworkers  to help him think through what needs to happen to get his numbers up, where they need to be.  The coworker shows him some “shortcuts”, and points out some steps that “the other guys don’t waste their time on.  There is some distinction about what is policy and what the rest of the team is doing, he chooses the latter, to get on board with what works, regardless of policy.  In this context several factors are at play: rationalization, fatigue, and the shorterm gratification.

When / if a man comes to a fork in the road where he realizes he chose unwisely,  either the man fully embraces his mistake, or he glosses over, minimizes, dismisses, rationalizes.  The good news is that one can learn from his “bad call”, and then press on, keeping in mind that he does not want to repeat his mistake.  The bad news is that one can become, gradually, more submerged in his pattern of bad choices.  His conscious becomes a bit more numb, his focus changes towards the shorterm gratification, the rationalization process, moving away from clarity of thought.  Some believe that our world is moving faster; not in the sense of physics, but in the way we process information, the higher expectations placed on all of us, and the higher costs for (almost) everything.  True, should not go into a rationalization mode, and say there is an excuse for our breakdown in choices.  Having said that, I believe the … higher velocity … brings  real challenges to howe live, and what we do. I have known too many men over the  years who have lost their marriages and/or their careers because of bad choices. This week, I found myself thinking about the pain these men and their wives have gone through, in these situations.  My heart, truly goes out for them.  It is a wake-up call for, to do my best to make wise choices.

 

 

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Paddy Vaughan, a local legend.

A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

Today March 17, is St Patrick’s  Day in Ireland. Many male children born on this day have Patrick as their Christian name. One of those, living in the village that I call home in the north of County Donegal, will mark his 87th birthday today on 17 March 2018.

He is not known as Patrick at all, but as Paddy. Not only Paddy, but for many, many years of my life, he was ‘Young’ Paddy as his father was also Paddy, or ‘Old’  Paddy. ‘Old’ Paddy –  or to be more accurate ‘Ould’ Paddy in the Donegal pronunciation – died not long before Christmas in 1967 and I am not sure when ‘Young’ Paddy became known as simply ‘Paddy’ Vaughan.

mulroy school.JPG 10 year old Paddy

Paddy was well known for his ‘tall tales’, many of which were totally outrageous, some of which were totally unbelievable and all of which were…

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What Do We Know?

It’s been a good-tough week.  From a weathered paperback, essays on spirituality and encouragement, I read in the back, a page I had forgotten about: a few thoughts, a few dates.  “October 3rd 1993.  Arrived in Antarctica” … 

Image result for images C-130 with skis
A cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used … https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q/26960
Image result for Images Antarctica map
https://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Created-Resources-Antarctica-Chart/dp/B00207H856

 

Image result for Images map New Zealand South Island
Map of New Zealand, South Island. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:South_island_map.png

We came on an Air Force cargo jet … equipped with massive skis. (The picture shows a cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used).   October 3rd of ’93 was the beginning of a five-month season of work for the National Science Foundation.  My residence at Willy Field on Ross Ice Shelf, the ice runway for incoming / outgoing planes, was where I cooked breakfast for scientists, US Navy personnel, and support staff (about 8,000 eggs by the time I left).   “February 22nd of 1994, last day on the ice.”   On that day, I had jumped on a Navy C-130, with those uncomfortable nylon mesh-strap seats, and left Antarctica.   Nine hours later, we touched down at a New Zealand Air Force base, Christchurch, New Zealand.  For the first time in five months I experienced rain, and nights, and seeing children, older people, dogs, green grass, restaurants, natural fragrances in the air, colors.  “March 8th 1994, left New Zealand for Denver” … reluctantly.  “March 22nd 1994, left Denver for the South, to see my parents for a bit.”  So, it just worked out that way, one month, after my last day on “the Ice” (February 22nd), I flew out of Denver March 22nd, to a small place in the South to spend a week with my parents.  October of 1994, I met my wife to be.”

A year after I got off “the Ice”, February 1995, I proposed to my future bride.  “June of 1995, Married a princess.”  After all this reflection, I am aware of my presence in the “here-and-now” … the present … today, in fact.  And I found my self thinking of two pieces in life we deal with:  1) reflection on our stories / journeys; and 2) where we are at, right now.  In my time of working with people, many of whom struggle with these two pieces, I have asked the question, “What do we know to be true?”.  I’m throwing that out to any who are visiting the Other Side of the Trees, perusing this post.  I believe the answers to “What do we know to be true?” are quite different.  Here is what I have come up with.

Image result for Images Antarctica
Adele (pronounced uh-deli) penguins. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/Antarctica

My story is not yet finished.

My story is still being written.

My story (specific elements) needs to be told (to the right people, at the right time, in the right context).

I need to hear the stories of others.

I have the capacity to love; the choice to love well; and I face the reality that I do not always love well.

I have journeys ahead; or, shall I say … the journey continues.

I need good, encouraging, safe, relationships in my life.

I have hope … but, similar to love, I do not always hope “well”.

I have something to offer; and I have a great amount to learn.

I need vision; I need goals; I need enthusiasm; I need wisdom – – – not just intelligence.

And, lastly for today, I am here.

Image result for images I am here

Well, enough said, for now.  I always write more that I should, more than I intended.  I hope this finds you all experiencing peace, joy, and good health.