Am I The Only One To See It This Way?? Let Me Know

“WE ARE NOT BORN HATING OTHERS, THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS TAUGHT TO US”

I have thought about this long and hard. It plaques my sleep and occupies my head, often unwanted, but it won’t go away. I’m speaking of the hypocrisy of some politicians, news reporters, editors, sports reporters and talk show hosts primarily. Their responses and behaviours shouldn’t surprise me but I can frankly and honestly say that I’m getting rather tired of it all. Actually, I’m still rather confused about the positions that some have taken both pro and con. I guess it would be helpful to identify what my ‘issue’ is all about.

Recently, an athlete whose name is Michael Sam, announced to the world that he is a gay athlete and in ensuing conversations said that he just wanted to be known as an athlete and a football player and not a gay athlete. OK. Fair enough. As a football player his sexuality should not come into play. Either he can play at a certain level or he can’t.

Before I continue I’d like to clarify my position right now on the whole gay conversation. I am a heterosexual male. I enjoy being a heterosexual male. It is a lifestyle and a choice that I accept, understand and am quite comfortable with. I say that with no criticism or judgement in my heart for views and opinions and choices that differ from mine especially when they relate to this topic. As I said–provided that no one is adversely affected or hurt or coerced in some way to be other than who they are comfortable being and for how they may see the world they live in. That stands for a gay relationship or a straight relationship. Otherwise I plainly don’t care. If some folks could get their heads out of the backsides long enough to see that gay folks are not dangerous–they are not pedophiles–they are not an abomination but are, simply, folks with a different preference, which is their right, just like the rest of us. So get over yourselves people!! We don’t get to choose nor should we try to influence what or how other people make their choices just to coincide with our own. Their lives don’t belong to us. I accept, understand, and agree that we all need to find someone we can love and share our lives with. Who that person is is none of my business. Besides, I have more important things to concern myself with like the fate of fatherless young men in our society, the fact that you don’t have to go to a foreign land to see starving children, the growing disparity of wealth in our country or the growing imbalance and unfairness shown our elderly. These are the really important issues of the day.

People need to be able to feel free to pursue any relationship they desire and with whomever they desire whether straight or gay. I truly and honestly believe that we are all human beings with the same wants and needs and we need to respect that idea at all times and considering all people.

The issue that sticks in my craw is about how fast some politicians, sports reporters, media reporters, editors and celebrities jump on the ‘politically correct’ band wagon. I understand their need to be on the ‘right’ side of the discussion. For politicians its votes. For the media it is about viewers and market share. For the celebrities it’s box office and keeping their names in the headlines. Don’t want to come down on the short end of that stick that’s for sure. But the thing that disturbs me the most about all of this is that a good number of the people and professionals I just mentioned are vilifying and criticizing and ostracizing those who would risk voicing their opinions on the subject and how THEY feel regarding what is happening. They are not being ‘allowed’, essentially, to say anything negative about what is going on. Where is the freedom in that? That is wrong. It is wrong on so many levels not to mention the concept of freedom of speech. So what if they disagree. They also have rights that need to be protected and the right to disagree is right up there as far as I’m concerned. Someone once said, “I may not like what you have to say but I will defend your right to say it”. Anything else is called censorship.

However, this is the part that confuses me. Why is it important for someone to declare or discuss something so personal and beautiful to the world. It should be a very a private matter between two people who love one another–straight or gay. It doesn’t concern other people. I understand, as best I can, that it seems like a secret that eats away at some. I’m not sure that a public catharsis is the answer any more than I agree with the benefit of gay parades. Heterosexuals don’t have ‘straight parades’–at least none I’m aware of. By doing this it actually polarizes the whole issue and makes it more difficult for gays to be seen as they should be seen and treated as they should be treated. This is difficult to do if on one hand you are saying one thing and on the other demonstrating that you really are quite different. To paraphrase Ghandi–“be the change you want to see”. As for the reporters and politicians etc. check your crap and your personal stuff at the door and just do your job. It is to report the news not create the news. That’s how I see it anyway–Jim

Please pass this article along to your friends with thanks–Jim

Spend More Time ‘Loving’ Than Fighting. Check Out These Suggestions . . .

Last week I put out 5 good suggestions that hopefully were discussed and possibly tried out. It does get right down to this: would you rather spend all of your time arguing or trying to ‘drive home a point’ or would you rather spend more time enjoying your partners company and spending quality time with your family with less tension in the air all the time? With both parents working, as is often the case nowadays, do you really want to put your energy resources into remaining angry or upset. This is the one where you walk around with an edge on or worse yet putting out the silent treatment just because he won’t do this or say that? That’s hard work and it is draining trying to maintain that negative mindset. Wouldn’t you rather relax knowing that your partner looks forward to returning home at the end of the day to be with his/her family. The choice is yours or can be yours if that’s what you want.

Here are the next five items from the collection of tried and true suggestions for getting along with each other and understanding each other better.

6. This one, and I truly don’t understand why-I really don’t, still causes grown people to get upset with the other when ‘he’ doesn’t put the seat down when he is done. I guess that doesn’t always happen for the same reasons you don’t put it UP when YOU are done. This is sort of like the goose an gander thing to me.

7. If we see that you are not feeling right about something or that it seems you have a concern about something and we ask ‘what’s wrong’ and you respond by saying ‘nothing’ then that’s good enough for us. We are not likely going to push it. You had your chance to state your piece and you said ‘nothing’. Don’t come back at us later accusing us of not caring. We are not mind readers and you don’t have a crystal ball for a head.

8. We think of hair rollers, fuzzy slippers, old terry cloth housecoats, crap all over your face and knee highs as natural birth control devices. Remember. Men are creatures of fantasy and this get-up will kill that moment in a heartbeat. (And gents. Don’t walk around with three days worth of growth on your face (unless you are trying to be trendy) with dirt under your finger nails, yellow stained teeth, bad breath, old pants with holes in the ass held together or up with an old belt that should have seen the bone yard eons ago and wonder why she doesn’t want to have anything to do with you in the bedroom–or anywhere else for that matter).

9. At the very least try treating us as well as you would treat your friends. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, men are often treated as a fifth wheel while a friend often gets the best of what you have to give at any time. You tend to laugh with them and treat them with respect and manners going by all the normal social rules of interaction. Husbands often get what is left over when you are tired or just plain don’t feel like being nice to anyone. Why? I don’t know but I know it happens more than it should. Perhaps it is because we, men, are supposed to ‘understand’ and that makes it all OK somehow. I can only say–it doesn’t.

10. We don’t have ‘toys’–we have ‘hobbies’. The old saying ‘boys and their toys’ isn’t a very accurate explanation for what keeps us engaged in stuff other than work. These activities are almost always designed to bring out the competitiveness in us and we love a challenge. Take golf for instance. It is not only set up to play against your friends, those friendly games, but also the course itself. We are competitive by nature so the equipment we purchase–the lessons we take–are all necessary for us to get as good as we can be –that is our ‘hobby’ and our challenge. It’s important to us to satisfy that need to be good at things we take on. The argument could be made that it really is in our DNA–not the golf game but the competitiveness.

Hopefully you will make the time and create the opportunity to talk about some of these suggestions with your partners. You may be surprised by some of the insights you gain with little effort. Men often treat those around them as they are treated. That’s just who we are and how we do our business.

Emily & Opa

If you find this useful or perhaps helpful for a friend please send it along.

NEXT WEEK I’LL FINISH UP THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS LIST SO STAY TUNED. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT OR SOMETHING NEW–JIM

I Don’t Usually Do This But . . .

Greetings to all–Trust me when I say that I don’t normally do this but I made an exception in this case. I’m asking you to go to:
​ http://victoriamae.webs.com/

and spend a few minutes checking out this womans web site. That’s all I’m asking you to do. The rest you can decide on when you see her site. I have known this woman for over 25 years. How we met is another story but she was, and remains, a great gift found in the most unlikely place. She is one of the most miraculous, courageous, warmest, selfless giving and truly gifted and talented people I’ve had the privilege of knowing and I am honored to call her friend. ​

​This is no hoax–there is no gimmick–there is no scam involved here. She gives so much to the world around her and now she is in need of a bit of help herself.

If you can help her out that is great. If you can’t that’s OK too but please look at her work and then make a decision as to how you may be able to reach out to her.

As I said I don’t normally do this. We all are bombarded with stories that tug at our hearts all the time. This is an exception for me in that she has worked so hard to get to where she is in her journey. She has taken huge risks that many would not attempt let alone face and overcome. She is truly a survivor of the worst the world could throw at her and she has managed to find ways to continue on when it would have been much easier to have given up and given in.

You be the judge of who she is by what you see and read. Thanks for reading this and I promise to not make a habit of doing this again.

Live in Peace–Jim

Some Do’s and Dont’s For Getting Along With Men . . .

“Some people try to turn back their odometers. NOT ME! I want people to know WHY I look this way. I’ve travelled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved”—Unknown

I am not ready to say that I am ‘old’ yet but I will concede that I have been around long enough to have learned a few things of value. I have gained an understanding about the trials and tribulations of trying to make ourselves understood to others and in particular to our wives or husbands. Our inability to make ourselves understood is likely the main cause of most divorces, separations and conflicts in our homes and our workplaces.

Here’s some of the things I found out:

1. That men and women, although we use the same words, speak vastly different languages. We use words that sound the same but in context have very different meanings and unless we understand this point and unless we somehow ‘get’ what is really being said we are destined to live in a world of constant resentments, anger, frustration and unrest in our lives. If we are trying to understand what a wife or husband is trying to say two things need to happen: We don’t interrupt one another and we stop the conversation periodically to check to make sure that each understands what the other is trying to say–we stay on point that way. There really is a man’s context and a woman’s context.

2. Understand that we both have good points to be made and that no one is more right than the other. Different views perhaps but no more right than the other. Each needs an opportunity to start and finish their thoughts on things without interruption granting the other person will have the same opportunity to do so. People are less likely to butt into a conversation if they know that they will get their chance to say what they need to say.

3. As a couple there needs to be ‘rules for fair fighting’ established and agreed upon. That might include things like not using sarcasm or ridicule to make a point, no name calling or threatening, let the other guy speak without butting in, a chance to stop for a minute to gather oneself–to walk away to another room and then return. There are others but you get the gist I’m sure.

I have created a list of do’s and dont’s, in no particular order of importance. I hope these suggestions will assist women to be more successful sharing their thoughts and ideas with the men they are connected to. As I have said many times–I have never been female so I have very little idea of what goes on in their heads. I can’t, therefore, speak to what they need and don’t need. My sincere hope is that a female out there will create a similar list that will assist men in the same way.

1. If you don’t want to hear the answer then don’t ask the question.

2. Understand that there is little in this world more fragile than the male ego. Once it has been challenged or assaulted in some way the battle is on and it can get ugly.

3. Never mistake gentility and compassion in a man for weakness. We have feelings too just like other people.

4. Three things that every man needs: a) companionship; b) knowing that he is admired and respected for something that he does well, and c) knowing that his counsel and his knowledge have value and they are important.

5. If we walk away, its usually because we need time to think and not because we don’t care. Most of us don’t do frustration and incompetence very well so we need a few minutes to cool off and re-group. Leave us alone and we’ll get back to you when we collect our thoughts.

The complete list of ‘suggestions’ can be found at the back of my book called “A Man’s Work Is Never Done . . . A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons. ( Further information at jamescloughley.com)

If you are looking for other resources regarding all this stuff check out a book by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D. She is a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and an expert in the field. It is an excellent book with a easily understood context.

NEXT WEEK I’LL CARRY ON WITH THE LIST. PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO FRIENDS OR FAMILY WHO MAY BENEFIT–THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST AND YOUR TIME.

Sailing Into The Moon

A Change In Perspective Can Change Your Life. See How . . .

Tip of the Iceberg

As the picture above shows us, so often our life decisions are all about our perspective. Change that and you can change almost anything.

Well my turkey hangover is just about gone now and since I had decided to take a few days off I spent them catching up on what’s been going on around me. Odd how we can live in the middle of the storm and not be conscious of what is happening not ten feet away. So I spent some time checking out the ‘end of 2013’ documentary type shows which got me to thinking about doing a recap of my own ‘show’ this year.

Amongst other things that I do to amuse myself I enjoy collecting quotes–from anyone and everyone. One thing I found out was that this guy–his name is ‘Unknown’–is a pretty smart dude. Anyway, I find quotes to be a great way to teach an older dog a new trick or two. They are usually short. They provoke thought without being judgemental. For me, a great learning tool.

So, after some heavy duty thought, I have compiled a list of ten of my favourites from 2013. Treat them as you will-share them if you choose but give them a minute or two of your time. Got nothin’ to lose–right?

1. “Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.”–Unknown

2. “Everyone smiles in the same language.”–Unknown

3. “Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.”–Will Rogers

4. “When you are wrong just apologize and not argue. You will find less stress, anger and grief in your world if you do.”–JC

5. “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”–Thomas Aquinas

6. “Some people try to turn back their odometers. NOT ME! I want people to know WHY I look this way. I’ve travelled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.”–Unknown

7. “Life ends when you stop dreaming. Hope ends when you stop believing. Love ends when you stop caring. Friendship ends when you stop sharing.”–Unknown

8. “Hope is the oxygen of the human spirit.”–Rory Butler

9. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”–Albert Einstein
(On our education system)
10. “Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.”–Will Rogers

My hope is that you are able to find a bit of time to look them over and use one or two to help you get closer to where you want to be in 2014. Happy Year and
all the best.

That’s the way I see it anyway, Jim

If you have any quotes that you want to send along that would be appreciated. If you want to pass any of these along–feel free–

Win A Free Copy Of ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done. . . A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’

November7,2013

+++ Let me know your thoughts concerning this statement (there is 2 parts to this): 1. What does it mean to be a man in the world today? and 2. What’s one thing that can be done to change the course of what many men are currently experiencing. Please include an email address so that I can notify the winner or go to my web site at jamescloughley.com and fill out the contact info form you’ll find there.

Being A Man In The World Today Means. . .

The other day when I was in town I was just stepping into a store as an elderly woman was making her way out. Of course I stepped to the side, held the door for her and as she made her way past me she said: “It is wonderful to see that there are still some gentlemen left in the world. Thank you.” Well with that she gave me a smile and off she went. I wanted to stop and talk to her about her comment but neither of us seemed to have the time so that opportunity was lost. But it did get me wondering, yet again, about the whole idea of men in the world today and how confusing and frustrating and lost it feels for us at times—how difficult it is and has been to know who we are now and where or if we fit in anymore. As a result three distinct groups of men have emerged. Those who go along to get along; those who have given up trying to figure it all out and those who are angry and spiteful and violent.

Most of us agree that the world for both men and women has changed drastically since the end of the war but to what end? At what cost? Oh yes, there has been a cost and a very dear one. So who are we now? What are we supposed to be doing? How are we supposed to act? Are we supposed to be different in public then in private? What is our role, not only in our society, but in our homes and families? What was it before and how is it different now? What of our natural and socially ingrained expectations and roles in society? Those are the behavioral cues that we seem to naturally pick up on as we learn and grow. But who and what are we supposed to grow into?

I can say with certainty that over the last two to three generations of males our world has changed at such a pace that it has been difficult to keep up. I agree that changes were necessary and continue to be needed. I agree that women need to have an increasing say about the world they live in too. This principle is not in dispute-at least not with me. But if we don’t somehow work toward an egalitarian existence we will not likely survive as a species. I also believe that it is the male of the species that will have the most difficult time making the switch in identity both personal and societal. The changes and the ramifications of those changes have not been identified or discussed or even acknowledged in a constructive way.

I have included an excerpt from my book ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done . . . A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ that briefly outlines my thoughts and feelings about how we need to mentor and guide the next generation of young men. My hope is that we can dialogue amongst ourselves and see the benefit of working together-as one global village-to ensure the next generation doesn’t experience what the current one has.

“Manhood is about how we feel as men in the world” I said, “and how that shows up in our everyday behaviour and actions. It’s about being true to our socially ingrained roles and the expectations of us that are attached to them. These roles and expectations are, for some, considered to be our driving force. The idea of manhood is not about power and control, but it is about feeling good concerning who we are in the world and how we are responsible to live our lives according to those very principles and ideals.”

“In essence, it is about developing and maintaining a positive sense of self, of who we are, and striving to be who we want to be. But that’s easier said than done.”

“As men we no longer are free to be who we want to be according to our nature; rather we are becoming a composite of what others believe we should be. Our self-esteem as men is and has been under assault by other folks who would see us change into who they would like us to be so that it is easier for them to get along with us.” (Pages 25-26)

That’s how I see it anyway, Jim

What were they thinking. . .

October 8,2013
What were they thinking. . . ?
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about this I find myself asking ‘what were they thinking?’
I have to admit that I am really confused about what the Y.U.N. chant thing was all about. But the big question for me was what the hell were these future pillars of society thinking about when they advocated the legalization of rape and child molestation? If they were trying to be challenging and controversial the only thing that has been accomplished here is the confirmation that supporters of this idea are not only misguided and bored but border on being misogynistic.
The main concern for me and the part that has me very confused is the number of females who were right in there supporting the whole premise. It didn’t seem to bother them that they were backing the idea that it is perfectly OK to force a young girl to have sex whether she wants to or not. So how young is too young? I mean under age is just that isn’t it? So when is it OK to feed alcohol to a 12 year old to the point where she is not aware or able to cry out for help? What ever happened to the arguments that women have been putting up for years now that say they and they alone are the arbiters of what they decide to do with their bodies? These young women who have supported this lunacy have set that whole discussion back to the stone ages. Truly now, if this was their sister we are talking about would they really feel the same way? Would they be ‘all for it’? And where are the women’s groups? I haven’t heard a great deal of criticism or dialogue involving those who have been advocating a ‘different’ deal for women.At the very least a clear statement of some kind speaking about respect and equality. Even just a touch of outrage.
And the men-I can’t call them men. Are the males who support this so challenged and so unable to attract and develop a sexual relationship with someone who is functioning, emotionally, at about the same level that they need to pick on young girls who really are not equipped with the critical thinking that goes along with giving permission to share themselves with someone else in a meaningful way? As a man, I’m embarrassed to say that this whole idea is about the same as reducing sex to scratching an itch on their ass. It is a conquest and a power-grab not an emotional act of any kind. This type of behavior is what clearly illustrates the growing lack of respect for self and others that seems to be so prevalent in the youth of today.
I have an adult son and daughter. My son and his wife have blessed us with a beautiful granddaughter. She’s two years old. If what this chant is promoting ever happened to either daughter or granddaughter, at any age, and I were to confront the perpetrators I would not report them. I might, however, bind their testicles with a liberal piece of piano wire secured to the bumper of my car and let them know that for as long as they can run they can keep them attached.
Perhaps a bit radical but then again so is this absurd idea that it’s OK to take what you can regardless of how the other person feels about things.
That’s how I see it anyway, Jim

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