Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our children’s education matters

A famous song (GreatestLove of All) rings out, “I believe the children are our future.  Treat them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the beauty they possess inside.  Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.”

My wife and I went to see the newly released movie, ‘Won’t Back Down,’ starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.  The film centered on the ParentTrigger Law which was passed in California and other states in 2010.  The law allows parents to enforce administrative overhaul and overrule administrators in under-performing public schools if petitioned.  If successful, petitions allow parents to direct changes which could lead to dismissal of staff and the potential conversion of a school to a charter school.

Keeping in mind that Hollywood does have a tendency to glamorize most issues, I found the film to be slightly watered down in regards to the children.  They were used as accessories to the story.  The entire film centered on the fight between two strong willed women and a stubborn self-serving union man along with his trusty sidekick, a burned out woman who was torn between being right and doing the right thing.

The film showed teachers caring more about their seniority and benefits than caring about educating the children.  It showed the teachers union as a bunch of jerks with the leader of the union stating kids weren’t important because they didn’t pay union dues.  One of the slimiest moments of the film was when the character played by Holly Hunter attempted to bribe one of the mothers.

Overall I believe this is a movie worth seeing so that the focus on quality….no make that….superior education remains as one of the foremost benefits we can provide our children.

Sometimes I wonder if the struggles of the past have been completely forgotten.  Does anyone remember Brown vs. Boardof Education?  How about James Meredith?   In North America—the land of the brave and free, there are adults that simply can’t read.  When an adult can’t read, is it lost on folks that they couldn’t do so as a child?

Education is not a game played for victory by school unions, teachers or well meaning parents as the movie depicted.  It is about the children!  And they certainly deserve better than they are getting from a lackluster school system or ridiculous measures that moves a child along because they were taught to the test (No child left behind Act).

Won’t back down should be a mantra cited by every one of us and we should add to that, ‘won’t turn our backs on our children.’  When kids must go through a metal detector to enter schools and are not able to enter a school library due to cutbacks there is indeed a serious problem.  How can kids have a future if adults are taking away their present?  For our kids sake…don’t back down!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Simple suggestions to answering the knock of opportunity

“Opportunities only knock once.”  How many times have you heard that one? But is it really true?  Does the statement really make sense?  I will stand on the side of boldness and say, “That’s hogwash.”

Every day brings forth a newness, therefore it would stand to reason that another opportunity will come knocking in some form or fashion.  The real question is this, “Will you recognize opportunity when it knocks and will you be prepared to take advantage of it?”

In North America not a single human being is denied the right to live free and able.  Even those that have chosen to live outside of the laws most of us follow have spoken out on the greatness of the chances available.  Take the notorious criminal Al Capone (Jan. 17, 1899 – Jan. 25, 1947) for an example when he was once quoted as saying, “This American system of ours…call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” Powerful insight from a crook, don’t you think?

Are you making the most out of opportunities that may come your way?  Are you currently preparing yourself for the possibilities of an opportunity?  Simply sitting around waiting for the phone to ring isn’t preparation.  There isn’t a better time to get started than today.

Listed below are some simple suggestions to assist in preparation to answer the knock:

Be open-minded:  Opportunities don’t always come wrapped in an identifiable way.

Embrace learning:  You are never too old, too young or too smart to learn something new.

Be aware of self-inflected limitations:  Don’t be afraid to give something a chance just because it may be something you haven’t ever considered. (I’m only talking about the legal, ethical and moral aspects of life—to be clear).

Embrace networking:  Step outside of circles or influences that may limit new opportunities.

Seek guidance:  Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and pick the brains of folks making positive forward strides.

Volunteer or intern:  By exposing others to your talents and abilities you can open more doors in the future.

Continue or start to work on making yourself a better more rounded individual:  Read, read and then read some more.  Invest in books, CD’s or seminars as learning tools.

Let it be known:  If Dr. Whatshisname isn’t aware that you have an interest in pharmacy how can he assist you.

Life is full of opportunities and those that are able to take advantage of them have one thing in common – they were prepared.