My Takes

It's Just My Take

Archive for the tag “Life Lessons”

Who Are You?

Do I know you? Do you know you? That may be the better question.  Everyone wants everyone to be like…yes, everyone but themselves. Why can’t you be like so-and-so? As a young kid, my aunt wanted me to be like The Baileys.  The Baileys were our upper-class family friends, quite naturally, their kids were classy and well-mannered.  At least in the public eye.  My aunt didn’t know they farted without saying excuse me.

There is so much conversation on young people being forced or pressured to look and act a certain way.  As parents we resent and discuss this with disgust but in many ways we are guilty of setting the trend.  How many of us ask our halves to be different?  “Honey, why can’t you be like this?  Do it for me.  Wear this…”  I have seen it in friends who were once wild and free with independent minds, becoming zombie-like as they lose their own identity and take on that of their other halves.  They just melded.

Sometimes a change is good.  Your wife finally gets you to loosen up and try something you have never tried before, you did and found out you loved it!  In fact, you are a natural at it!  This does not change who you are.  It just means you have added something new to what makes you.  Kudos to the wifey!  Life is a life-long learning experience.  You sometimes learn that you are not one-dimensional after all!  I for one have found out I like chips after all! Thanks honey!

On the flipside, I have seen my once-funny friends get involved with Debbie Downers and turned into Boring Bobs.  (Isn’t it funny that it rarely works the other way?).  A happy you is the real you are and being anything other than that is compromising or rejecting the very things that characterize who are you.

Don’t be like the Baileys or anyone else for that matter.  Be YOU, but first, find out who you really are.






What The @#$!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...

English: “No Swearing” sign along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While holidaying in British Columbia,  I happened to be listening to a local radio station on which they had a call-in to for listeners to give their opinions on whether they think using swear words should become an acceptable part of our society.

I am not one to drop F bombs or any other colorful language, not saying never, but,  I’ve always thought that using them in regular conversation shows a lack of vocabulary skills.  Not to mention the speaker usually comes off as crude.  But here I was listening to both sides of the fence from people who claimed to be well versed on the subject.

The first person to call in was an English Professor.  He agreed that there was indeed a place in our modern society for swearing.  He gave examples where a simple english adjective would not suffice, like being cut off in traffic.  He claimed there dropping and F bomb added an oomph to what you wanted to say that no other word couldn’t.  For a second or even a minute, I agreed with him! Against my better judgement. He was THAT convincing.

Thank goodness for the next caller who jarred me back to reality.  She was an ethics specialist, or whatever you call them.  She was very firm and unwavering in her stance that swearing was not acceptable.  She also mentioned that those who do, display weak vocabulary skills. (Told ya! Sorry Prof.)  The majority of calls sided with her.  One mom pointed out that she hated it when people swear in front of her kids.

It’s a rather sticky subject as many people cannot speak a complete sentence without injecting some form of swearing.  In the heat of the moment, I have uttered the F word so I am not judging.  In my opinion, it should never be something we accept, no matter how accepting we are becoming.


When Knowledge Is Not Power

He knows but they don't. Do they know that he knows?

He knows but they don’t. Do they know that he knows?

One of my favorite phrases is this:

He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool-shun him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple-teach him.
He who knows and knows not he knows: he is asleep-wake him.
He who knows and knows he knows: he is wise-follow him.

Very pregnant and meaningful words that can be applied to our everyday lives.  We all know someone who thinks they know more than they do.  Probably our bosses?  Or even us?  It is kind of harsh to call such a person, or you, a fool but let’s not mince words here.  If you go around acting like you know everything but really know little, you have to admit, that’s foolish right there.  Then there’s the silent type who offers little because they are  unsure of what they know.  He knows that he knows not.  Such a person makes a perfect scholar and as the phrase say, we should teach him.  He is simple.  That makes sense as we sometimes look at the quiet person as a simpleton.  As another saying goes, ‘It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.’  Unfortunately, many of us would rather chance it.

It is often said that knowledge is power but I think it should be ‘knowledge in use is power’.  You can’t be powerful if you are not using your knowledge, right?  It’s like the world’s strongest man lying in bed all day.  What use is his strength?  This is the HE who knows and knows not that he knows.  This person is asleep and needs an awakening.  He’s like a leader falling asleep.  He has to be awaken so he could lead those who don’t know where they are going.  Once he realizes that he knows, he becomes wise.

The bad news is that those who know and know that they know are usually vain, proud and self-righteous.  (Well so much for the above phrase).  They are worse than the fool who does not know he knows nothing.  Putting this all into context in regards to the real world, we can safely say that we have an over-abundance of fools, too many simple minds, a lot of sleepy heads and a short supply of wise men.

Confused?  Don’t worry too much about it. Just my take.


Don’t Waste Food. Someone Somewhere Is Starving!

Oxfam East Africa - On the edge of Dadaab camp 01

Oxfam East Africa – On the edge of Dadaab camp 01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While out for an evening stroll, I had to duck to avoid getting wet by  a sprinkler that was hydrating someone’s grass.  I guess I was bored because I started thinking, “Look at that.  Watering lawns while people in Africa are dying for lack of clean drinkable water.”  Then I thought of all the ways we waste precious water.  Washing our cars, brushing our teeth and showering while the water runs…Then I thought of something else that we waste.  Food.

Remember your parents warning when you didn’t eat your food and they had to throw it out?  “Don’t you know that in Africa someone is dying from starvation?”  It didn’t really change anything, did it?  We are still wasting our food.  Been to a buffet lately?  One of the biggest examples of food wastage right there.  (I still love a good buffet.   I call it unconditional love).

Wasting food and water is a relative thing.  We have lots of it always available when we want it so why ration it, right?  We are lucky to live in a country where we can eat and drink what we want when we want.  We can also take baths or showers whenever.  When such abundance is at our fingertips, it’s harder to not waste it.  You take a bite of steak and it’s not to your liking and you throw it out because you know what a good steak tastes like and it’s not like this.   Some don’t have that luxury but can you we be blamed?  I think not really.

Should we stop watering our grass, stop washing the car, take less showers and conserve water?  Maybe if you want to.  Would it help?  It might be as effective as those one-day gas boycotts.  Should we still throw out food?  It doesn’t matter the answer, we will always throw out food.  Let’s be real here.  So then what can we do?  People in Africa are indeed dying for what we are throwing out.  Heck, people down the street are in dire straits for lack of food.  But if I eat that piece of steak instead of throwing it out, how would that curb world hunger?  It’s not like someone in Africa owned the cow.

So what the point in talking about it if we are still going to waste resources that people are dying for?  Respect.  Yes, how about we respect what we have?  Our water, food, etc.  If we respect them then we would finish that steak but vow to make it better next time.  We would shut off the water when while we brush our teeth.  We would perhaps use a bucket instead of a hose to wash our cars.

If you don’t care about the dying Africans or the guy down the street, at least we should be thankful and respect what we have.  Ultimately, we might inadvertently be saving the lives of those dying for what we are wasting.

Just my take.

Note:  Even the Pope is feeling me.  A day after I drafted this blog, the Pope released a statement saying that wasting food is like stealing from the poor.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T, Find Out What It Means To Me

Living in the Caribbean, I was taught as a kid to respect not only my elders but also those in authority.   Respect became a part of my life and I respected everyone until they they wore it out.

Arriving in North America, I was surprised to see that respect was not as forced fed as I was used to it being.  Everyone seemed on the same plain. Old, young, teachers and students, there were no differentiating.  At first I was aghast.  If he said that in my country, he would get such an ass whupping…How could she talk to her grandmother/teacher like that?  Then I got used to it.

Getting used to it didn’t mean I forgot what I was taught and followed the disrespectful crowd.  No, I got used to seeing the lack of respect.  No one seemed to make the obvious connection that lack of respect goes hand in hand with criminal behavior.   Rape, theft, molestation, all direct manifestations of the lack of respect by the perpetrators.  I am not saying that having no respect means one is going to commit a crime but committing a crime is a result of not respecting the victim.  You can’t dispute that.

In my work place, I give due respect to those in authority.  I do not get confrontational unless I feel I have to be, and then I still maintain a respectful attitude.  Unfortunately, many of those who are in supervisory or managerial positions tend to abuse their power.   They expect to be respected by their employees but do not believe that it should be mutual.  Respecting their minions seems weak and unprofessional.  In fact, this is quite the opposite.  Humbling yourself to be able to respect someone who is ‘beneath’ you is a show of strength.  Some consider it sexy.

Respect is dying.  It’s not quite dead yet but it’s terminal.  Unless it is resuscitated, we would continue to be selfish savages.  But again, that’s just MY TAKE.


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How Sorry Are You Really? And Are You Really Praying For Me?

thI watched the caller’s number on my phone as it rang on my desk.  I knew who it was, it was a co-worker.  I wasn’t too busy to take the call but it was someone I just wasn’t in the mood to talk to right then.  The next day, I emailed the caller to let her know I got her message on my answering machine.   I started with, “I am sorry I missed your call…”  Then erased it.  Why?  Because I wasn’t really sorry.  In fact, sorry was the last thing I felt.  So I changed it to, “I missed your call…”  Much better!

Now how many of you can relate to that?  Someone call on you for help and the first words you utter are,  “I am sorry but I can’t help you.”  Or the classic, “I am sorry but I’ll have to hurt you.”  If you are sorry and you haven’t hurt me yet, then why don’t you just forget about hurting me?  That way, we both win.  I don’t get hurt and you have no reason to feel sorry.   How about the generic auto-reply message on your phone?   “I am sorry but I can’t come to the phone right now.”   If you are too busy to take the call,  you are either ignoring the caller on purpose, in which case you are not sorry, or playing with your kids, still not sorry, or cleaning your house, etc.  Nothing there to be sorry about.  Busted!

“I am praying for you…”  I am guilty of using that cliché myself.  It’s the first thing that comes to mind at the time of a disaster.  Boston Bombing for example.  A lot of my friends’ statuses promised prayers and thoughts.  Mine did too but I am happy to report, I kept my word and did offer up prayers and thoughts.   It’s a bit funny to see some of my friends who are professed atheists saying their prayers are with the victims.  See the confusion a tragedy can cause?  Atheists calling on God and Christians losing their faith…

So how about we bring back the true meaning of ‘sorry’ and try not to say sorry unless we mean it?  Don’t be sorry about the bombing, unless of course you are the bomber.  If you are like some of my friends and offered up thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Boston Bombing but got too busy to follow through, it’s not too late.  Send up some prayers to the Big Guy.  If you are an atheist, then you could…er…hmm… Just think happy thoughts.

Just my take.  I am sorry if you don’t like it.  Praying that one day you will…



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