Posts Tagged 'Paul'

MEDIOCRITY

Mediocrity is something I have struggled with most of my life. It is something that has created many missed opportunities and immeasurable heart ache for me and my family.

Recently, a good friend approached me and asked if I would accept a guest on this blog. This is something I would not do lightly. But Colonel Paul Longgrear, US Army retired, is a man who shares my heart for the fathers of this age.

Paul is a true American hero and I recently had the honor of attending his induction into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame. His story is an extraordinary one and one Google search will show you why I enthusiastically said yes to Colonel Paul’s inquiry.

Please read his words and insights closely. He is a man I have personally learned a great deal from.

En servicio como Padre

Dave

MEDIOCRITY – Paul Longgrear

Years ago our family lived in a county with two school systems. The two high schools were only four or five hundred yards apart and from the start were arch rivals even though one was only nine years old.

The older school dominated the younger school all nine times they played in football. The old school played for the state championship three times and won one of them. At one point they racked up a 29-1 record and won seven region titles. They excelled at football and the newer school was only mediocre.

In spiritual parlance we might consider the word coined by Jesus, “lukewarm”. If one is not going to do his best at something, he might want to not attempt it in the first place. Does this mean mediocrity is bad? Is striving for excellence always good?

If one has to revert to the flesh to achieve excellence; excellence would probably be bad.

Is it better to be a sluggard or turn to sin to win?

Behavioral performance can be based on genetic influence or it can be learned through environment. If a man is born into a family of over achievers, he will be influenced just by being a member of that family. On the other hand if that same person is born into a family of under motivated members he again will be influenced by that environment. He may flow with the character of the family or he may defy the norm and be just the opposite in either case he is influenced by that environment.

Whatever the influence or cause, excellence is refusing to settle for less that one’s best. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is settling for the minimum that will suffice. “If the deadline is 3:00 P.M. why get it completed earlier”, the sluggard might ask.

When I decided to leave my home state of Arkansas to seek my fortune, I followed Horace Greely’s advice and went west to California. Within a matter of days I had a job at a large Los Angeles area lumber yard. Because I had a couple of years of college, the boss put me in charge of the stall that contained small lumber and ply wood.

He assured me it was a mess and challenged me to try and get it straightened out within a couple of weeks, if possible. I had two summers of experience in the lumber yard business and within three days had everything in order. Why did I do that? My mother raised me to work hard and she was the hardest working person I knew. Hard work was not an option in our family, it was the expected.

My wife and I raised three children who were all very good workers and have done very well for themselves. I was always a poor performing student because I was academically lazy. As a result, I was determined my children wouldn’t be.

Our oldest child was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, the second child never had to crack a book in school and the third labored to meet his, self-imposed, classroom goals. I am honored to say that all three are college graduates and one has a doctorate in education. The one with the learning disability was assured that she was as smart as her brothers and the same results would be expected of her.

Which of them do you think has the doctor’s degree? The laborer, he refused to be mediocre.

We had the same standards for each of them; do your best! I learned as a child that too much pressure to perform could cause a student to cheat. Life taught me, excellence can never be achieved by lowering moral standards.

There are no shortcuts to excellence. Diligence and determination mixed with perseverance are the ingredients necessary to fulfill what God has placed in all of us. It should also be noted that talent will not assure excellence. If very talented people accept less than their best for themselves, they are mediocre.

Remember the schools we mentioned at first. The difference was attitude. When the two schools walked on the football field it was obvious which team thought they would win and which team only hoped they would win. The coaches convinced the first team they were going to win every game because they were prepared to win through work and preparation. During the week they practiced smart, hard and long.

Leadership is the key to creating an environment of excellence and overcoming mediocrity. Whether one is a manager, a coach, the parents of children, or commander of a military unit, leadership is the key.

Leadership is nothing more than motivating someone to do what they are supposed to do. How well they do it is determined by how motivated they are.

There are only two ways to motivate; inspiration or intimidation. Think about by which of these ways you are motivated. Now think about how you motivate those around you.

We will discuss this in the near future.

Raggedy Man

To each of us is given the ability to organize and set straight, some just a little; some a great deal. For those of us with little strength in this area, the world has deemed us a little “Raggedy”.

Raggedy…..perhaps a little too loose for most of the world. Engineers hate us, Accountants despise us, Psychologists probe us, and Religious leaders look down their long pious noses at us.

I contend that he Holy Spirit prefers, maybe even calls, us to be a little on the “Raggedy” side.

Jesus had a small, but “Raggedy”, band of men. John the Baptist was more than a little “Raggedy”, Paul the Apostle started out straight, but ended up “Raggedy”.

In the end, being “Raggedy” opens doors for us. Religion ties our hands. We can’t open doors with hands that are bound. We are relegated to looking through the windows and never experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit that only the “Raggedy” man can. “Raggedy” men are not prone to even see the constraints of the religious, which is why we keep running into the vicar.

Paul was perhaps the consummate, “Raggedy” man. The most unlikely of apostles, he was not accepted by many in the early church because of his history and because of his challenge to the early apostolic teachings.

He was not embraced by the early church and was rejected by his Jewish roots. The Jews rejected him because he challenged the authenticity of the teachings of the Pharisees.

Paul the Roman citizen, rejected by Caesar and placed under house arrest for years. He did not accept the deity of Caesar but used their own laws against them.

Despite all this, Paul did more to advance the cause of Christ than any other Apostle.

Paul gave his all, refused to be bought by money, admiration, or affiliation. He just loved Jesus. He was obedient to the call of the Holy Spirit. Passionate about his relationship with Christ, devout beyond belief, and free despite chains that held him most of his adult life.

Can we dare to be as “Raggedy” as Paul? If not, we might not realize the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

En servicio como padre
Dave

Obama vs. Abominable

It is not often that I will comment on politics in my blog.  In fact, I find most politicians are so far from the normal family situation they don’t have the slightest understanding of what a normal family situation is.  I just couldn’t let “Super Tuesday” go by without making some comment.

It is highly appropriate that “Super Tuesday”, this election year is also the same day as “Fat Tuesday”, since most of the egos fighting for your vote can be described with a “Fat” moniker, i.e. “Fat Head”,”Fat Mouth”, “Fat Cat”, you get the point.

Please don’t mistake my cynicism as a request that you not go out and vote.  My intentions are quite the opposite.  I take my right and obligation to vote very seriously.  In fact, the intent of this article is to encourage as many of my readers to vote as possible. 

As fathers, we are charged with the safety and care of our families in every arena.  This includes doing everything possible to assure the country your family lives in is the best place your family could possibly be.

Along that vein, the American humorist, Bill Vaughn was once quoted as having said;

 A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election”. 

This has never been truer than in the most recent elections.

Fathers, “Super Tuesday” is your opportunity to do more that just expresses your opinion.  It is your opportunity to exercise your obligation to vote for the person whom you think will assure the next term of the office of President of the United States will provide the safest environment for your family to live in.

I don’t care if you think Obama is better than Abominable, or if McCain, Romney, Huckabee or even More Abominable, is the right person to protect the liberties of this great country.  What I care about is that you make an informed, reasonable, and responsible decision.

If every father in America will do their part to vote, we would have the best voter turn out in history.

Think about it.  Please!

 En servicio como padre

Dave


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