Whatever Happened To The 3 C’s

I was wondering the other day whatever happened to common courtesy, making a commitment to something or someone and actually following through and  just plain old fashioned common sense.

Remember when we were  courteous to one another and didn’t curse, yell, and make spectacles of ourselves in grocery stores, movie theatres, baseball games, you name the place and I can come up with an incident. Now how sad is that. I can actually remember when we were courteous to one another, we said thank you, please,  and excuse me. Nowadays we get pushed, shoved, cursed at and given fingers and other parts of the anatomy. Is it any wonder why I don’t like going out of the house except when I really have to, which luckily isn’t very often. We both worked retail for years, in addition to operating  a business for the past 22 years, so we have always gone with the adage that “the customer is always right”. As far as I can tell, seems like we are part of a lost race of people. I find that a very sad commentary as to what has become of our society today.

As for common sense, the lack of any today boggles my mind. Doesn’t anyone think for themselves anymore. Apparently not and that in and of itself is a whole other article. I am continually amazed by the things that people do and think is perfectly alright to do. From airing their dirty laundry on national TV, raising their children, to buying things they can’t afford, to eating things they know aren’t good for them, and just plain leaping without looking. The worst part is that when it all goes wrong, it’s never their fault but always someone else’s. What did they think would happen when they ate super sized breakfasts, mega burgers every day for lunch, dinner and stuffed their faces with desserts, yup you are going to gain weight. Or if spend all your money on things you don’t need, you aren’t going to have money for necessities. Or, if you let your children run wild and don’t  employ any discipline, don’t you think you are going to have a problem child. When did people abdicate their common sense. Unfortunately this lack of common sense crosses all ages today, those who should know better are even doing it. Again, I feel like I am off by myself since I actually contemplate and think before I do something. Very scary to me when someone asks me “Why are you thinking about it, just do it?” Nope, sorry I will continue to use my noggin and some good ole common sense reasoning before leaping, thank you very much.

As for making and keeping a commitment, that is another kettle of fish. We know about this one first hand as coaches and consultants. Everyone wants a “quick fix” without any “work” or “commitment”. The proverbial lament of “you mean I have to work at it”. Yes, yes, you do. You need to commit to the  plan that either you made for yourself or someone did for you and actually follow through. This is particularly bad for those trying to lose weight, quit smoking, change their finances, and those in problem relationships and marriages. I know some of these are hard commitments, particularly weight loss, smoking and finances. Lots of outside factors there; as there are in many marriages and relationships. However, the fact still remains you need to stick to (commit) to a plan. Will there be bumps in the road, sure there will be, but you need to jump over them and keep on going and not bail at the first sign of trouble. Remember those wedding vows, ladies and gentlemen, “for better or for worse” which means in good times and bad” not just the good times. I have no problem with people who try, falter and try again, it is those that give up at the first little sign of trouble that get to me. Having been a smoker and having had weight issues I know firsthand what it takes, so I am not just blowing off steam here. As for marriage, my husband and I will be celebrating 37 years together this year and remember we worked with each other every day and am now retired and with each other 24/7.

So, after reading this and shaking your head, be sure to use some common sense before you leap to your next decision and try a little courtesy, it goes a long way.

What We Have Lost

We have lost quite a bit over the years. The milk man, who used to deliver milk, butter to our homes and put them in the metal box by our front door or in many instances would knock, walk in (we didn’t need to be as paranoid back then) and give it to my mom. Many times they would put it on the table or even in the ice box (what a refrigerator was called back then). Yes I know technically they are different but that was our terminology then for a refrigerator.

For those of you who remember the milk man,   you can also probably remember the bread man. Another profession that is obsolete today. Today we all get our bread from a grocery store or some of you might even go to the bakery. For those lucky of us to have grown up in the era of this profession (we did our growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s) we remember, getting nice fresh bread. I particularly loved the crusty loafs or the powdered bread.

Lost in many areas of the country are bakeries, butchers and little produce stands. I can remember growing up my mom stopping at the grocery store for canned goods, cereals and some household products only. Our meat came from the butcher, our fish from the fish market, and our cakes, pies and donuts from the bakery. We would stop at the produce stands when they opened up for our fruits and vegetables, plus we had our own garden in the backyard. Today you are hard pressed to find these businesses, at least on the West Coast where we are they are non-existent. While the supermarkets of today are nice and convenient, we have lost the quality and service the individual stores used to provide.  The produce stands have for the most part been replaced by big U-picks, farmer’s markets, and large co-ops.

Another thing we have lost over the years is doctors making house calls. Yes, they actually did this as part of their practice, there wasn’t a extra fee for it. It wasn’t  part of a new type of plan that only the very wealthy could afford. Back then most doctors, at least ours, really cared for their parents. Yes we paid them, but they had time to listen ( we weren’t just a number). They got to know their parents. Plus most people could afford doctors and dentists back then.

I can remember our doctor coming to our home on more than one occasion when one of us got ill and the normal St. Joseph’s aspirin and mom’s remedies didn’t take care of it. Unlike today where a new drug is a doctor’s answer to everything, back then common sense was employed first.

We have also lost our neighborhoods, and the safety they used to provide. The neighborhood welcoming a newcomer. The neighborhood kids playing together. Yes, moms watched and knew where their children were, but they didn’t have to worry about them playing down the street, or riding their bikes without supervision. The neighborhood block parties. All of us getting together for the major holidays and having parties. Maybe not everyone came every time, but a large majority of us did. It was a time of celebration, relaxation and just plain fun. As we wrote in another article today we don’t even have time for game nights any longer.

And probably most sad of all, we lost our ability to keep our word and promises without having to resort to lawyers and contracts. I can remember a time, where your handshake was your bond. When we didn’t live in a sue happy society and people took responsibility for their own actions instead of always placing the blame elsewhere.

It’s Part of Growing Up

When we grew up we had falls, got bruises, got knocked down. There were disappointments, rejections, controversies, and things that we just weren’t allowed to do. We had respect for those older than us.

I am sure many of you reading this can remember when falling down and getting bruises and skinning your knees and elbows was part of growing up. No one protected us from this, it was just part and parcel with being a kid. We had fun, enjoyed ourselves and didn’t think a thing of it, if we fell down. For most of us the iodine our moms put on our scraps hurt more than getting hurt did.

We got  bruises from jumping off things and running around and just being kids. We didn’t wear padding and helmets to protect ourselves. Life happened. Our moms and dads told us to be careful, but heck we were kids, and to us the most important thing was having fun and being adventurous. We were curious, had an imagination, and wondered about things. We experimented with things and life.

When we got knocked down, we didn’t quit, we got back up again.  We were taught “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again” and for us as kids this carried over to our outdoor play time too. We belonged to Cub Scouts, little League teams and played pick up games. There was a winner and a loser. While we all wanted to be on the winning side, we knew that both teams couldn’t win and there was always a next time. When we did lose we thought about why, what mistakes did we make, how can we not make them again. We didn’t BLAME the other team and have vendettas for the other players. There were rules that were followed when playing baseball, football, soccer, kickback and we ALL followed them. If you broke the rules, you were no longer a part of the team.

We got in scraps or disagreements with our friends, we tussled and then we made up and played with them the next day again. We didn’t hold a grudge and make plans to attack them. These things happened, and if it was a really bad falling out we just didn’t play with that kid anymore and found a new friend instead.

We had disappointments in our lives. That is how we grew and matured. When we were told NO by our parents, it was NO not maybe, and if we caused a fuss, we were reprimanded, our parents didn’t GIVE IN. They were preparing us for life, because they knew that as we grew older and got out into the world that we would have many disappointments and wanted us to be prepared.

We had respect for our parents, teachers, and policemen, fireman, in fact all of our elders. We didn’t call our parents by their first name, they were mom and dad. Our teachers were always addressed as either Mr. and Miss, Mrs. We never ever addressed any of them by their first names. In fact anyone older than us we didn’t know was a Sir or Madam.

It was “Part of Growing Up”. Too bad the children today can’t learn these same lessons, but then again I’m not sure their parents have learned them either. Just think of what they could accomplish and contribute if they did.


Obituary: Common Sense

We received this in an email and it really hit home for us, I imagine for many of us it will.

My parents told me about Common Sense early in my life and told me I would do well to call on her when making decisions. It seems she was always around in my early years but less and less as time passed by. Today I read her obituary. Please join me in a moment of silence in remembrance, for Common Sense had served us all so well for so many generations.

Obituary: Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old she was since her birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. She will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).

Her health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place like: reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened her condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job the parents themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

She declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student, but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by

her parents, Truth and Trust;
her husband,
her daughter, Responsibility;
and her son, Reason.
She is survived by three stepbrothers;
I Know my Rights,
Someone Else is to Blame,
and I’m a Victim.

Not many attended her funeral because so few realized she was gone.

If you still remember her, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.


It’s Not My Fault….Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?

This article was written back in 2001 and it still applies, even more so today…as things are gotten much much worse since then.

It amazes me, how often during a week, I hear “It’s not my fault, it’s not my responsibility”.

It seems that in today’s society no one wants to take responsibility for anything. Parents don’t or won’t take the responsibility of how their children turn out. It’s the daycare’s fault, the school’s fault, the college’s fault, the cop’s fault, … you get the picture. As far as children go today, newsflash parents, “It is your fault.” They are your children, not the daycare’s or the schools. It is your responsibility to be sure that they get to school, that they learn in school, and what they do after school. That means paying attention to what your children are doing. Taking an interest in the homework they have, and if they don’t have any, giving them some. Monitoring what kind of music they listen to, what they watch on television, what kind of movies they watch, and the video games they play. Teaching them the difference between reality and imaginary ideas, people and things. Television and video games are not baby-sitters, and neither is the school system. Your children are your responsibility, and in all honesty if you don’t have the time to spend with your children, then don’t have them. I fully realize that both parents have to work today because of the cost of things. However, there are parents raising children who are aware of what their children are doing, spend time with them, and instill in them ethics, morals and values so that their children can become productive adults. Unfortunately, these parents appear to be few and far between.

Teachers, your job is to teach our children. The crying about class size doesn’t cut it. When I attended school we had a minimum of 30 students in most classes, and teachers taught and we all passed our Regents exams before graduating high school. Unfortunately, while I was in college I could see the writing on the wall already regarding our education system. Those who were going into teaching only had to pass/fail classes such as psychology, sociology, and learning theory classes; and they couldn’t even do that. Our education system has gone downhill since the mid 70’s. Yes, there are still some good teachers out there, those in their 40’s and up. However, we have teachers today that can’t read and write, so how can we expect them to teach our children to do so. Some of the teachers today are afraid of being tested on a yearly basis, and many of them should be, because they would not pass. The standards for testing today are a joke. I would love to give a Regents Exam test from a high school in the 50’s, 60’s, and even early 70’s. Both the students and the teachers today wouldn’t pass.

I know I am making a lot of people angry, and you should be. The fault lies with our educational system. It has disintegrated over the years. Too many other factors have come into play in our school system. This is something that should not have happened. In order to get good teachers, children and parents have to respect them, and unfortunately today that is not the case. When I was attending school, we respected our teachers and our principals. Suspension was a punishment and an embarrassment, both to ourselves and our parents. Teachers were allowed to reprimand students. They didn’t have to worry about student rights, students self esteem, etc. When we start respecting our teachers again, let them teach and not worry about being politically correct, and pay them a salary they can live on we will get the better educated to teach our children. In addition, parents look at teachers as their baby-sitters, and expect them not only to educate their child but to help raise them. Parents you have a responsibility to your child and to the teacher. You have to respect the teacher and support them, not fight them.

So many of the problems today both with parenting and teaching is the way society and government put handcuffs on both. Parents can’t even hit their children today without the threat of being a child abuser and being carted off the jail, court or worse. Discipline is not abuse, and I believe that discipline is sorely needed. I am not advocating child abuse, however, you cannot reason with a 2 year old sticking their finger in a wall socket. A firm no, with a slight slap of the hand works wonders. I am amazed at what children get away with today. However, they get away with these things, because parents let them. Over the years we’ve let government, vocal parental groups, legislators and the legal system dictate how we raise our children. Why? Because then we can use the mantra, “It’s not my fault, it’s not my responsibility”.

People today are to quick to abdicate responsibility to everyone but themselves. One of the biggest problems are all the frivolous lawsuits out there. Children taking their parents to court. Parents suing companies because of hot coffee, a hot pickle. These cases get too much attention and unbelievably juries that give out awards.

The media perpetuates many of the problems today. By focusing so much attention on the people that do harm to others, more individuals out there figure if they want attention they need to do the same. This becomes a vicious cycle, and teaches our children the wrong way to accomplish things.

So, how do we fix it. We all take responsibility for our actions. We don’t abdicate our responsibility. We admit we are human, we make mistakes, and move forward from there. Try and I mean really try not to make the same mistakes over and over. But most important of all, take the responsibility for your own screw ups and don’t put the blame on anyone else.

Resolutions….How To Keep Them

Do you make resolutions every year only to find that your resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Research shows that most resolutions don’t last past the second week of January. Why? That’s what this article is going to concentrate on, and how you can keep your resolutions on track.

The most popular resolutions are to lose weight, stop smoking, eat better, get a better job, start my own business, spend more time with my spouse/kids, you can fill in the blank with your resolution.

One of the main reasons resolutions aren’t kept is that we make too many of them at once.

So, the first step in keeping resolutions is to do them one at a time. Especially for weight and smoking cessation, it is important to take little steps before you get to the main goal. For example, for those of you trying to quit smoking, studies show that long term smokers (10 plus years) have a hard time quitting cold turkey. So, what I did, was to keep a book and I wrote down every time I had a cigarette. Then each day I tried to cut one out. Did I slip sometimes, yes, but eventually I got down to 5-6 a day, and then quit from there. The patches work once you get down to 5-6 a day. Tip: Cut them in half or quarters and they last longer.

The same principles work for diet changes. Eat the foods you like but cut down on the portions and eventually put some healthier foods in your diet. The big thing in weight loss is to moderate what you eat. If you eat dessert every night, try cutting out one night a week for a month, then two, and so on. Eventually cut it down to a couple of times a week or eat low fat desserts. Walking is a great exercise. Try it before you go to work, or during lunch, or after dinner.

As for spending more time with the family. Try to make Sunday a family day. Have a special family dinner night, movie night, game night. Pick things that everyone likes or take turns coming up with themes. You will all have to be flexible. Ladies, your husbands don’t like going shopping, any more than you like their sport watching. Everybody will have to compromise.

While people have all kinds of excuses for weight, smoking, diet, and spending time resolutions, they even have more when it comes to making a change in their profession.

Well, with all of those excuses, of course, it isn’t going to work. If you go into something not believing you will be able to succeed, guess what? You won’t.

Let’s break down those excuses…

Excuse 1

They don’t have the time.

Sure they do. They watch Television, play on the computer for hours each night, and for many hours over the weekend. Take a half hour each night or a couple hours over the weekend and you can start do some cooking to change your diet, some relaxation therapy for smoking cessation, plan a workout schedule, start or find a new career/job.

Excuse 2 …It’s too much work

As stated earlier, once you set yourself up, and have a focused plan of your evenings, and weekends you then have to make sure you do what you set out to do. Think of being healthier, looking and feeling better and leaving that job for one you thought you’d have for life. Remember no one but yourself will MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Excuse 3… It doesn’t work

Yes, it does, we are living proof, of smoking cessation, weight loss and also running our own businesses over the years. Unfortunately, during our self employed days, we are too busy to try and convince people who don’t have any motivation to do anything, to do so. If you wish to work at something that doesn’t interest you, or continue to be overweight, tired, and not feeling well, or tired of paying so much for cigarettes, so be it. However, those of us who have made comittment changes, will never go back because we like the control we have over our future, and yes, it does work, however, the secret is, YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO WORK AT IT.

Excuse 4 …It won’t work for me

With an attitude like this one, nothing will. You have to be willing to work at changing your lifestyle. Short of winning the lottery, nothing is just going to drop into your lap.

Remember, take your resolutions one at a time, and eventually you will succeed with them all. 

Life Lessons, A Three Step Process

Something I wrote back in 2004 that still applies today for so many.

I have come to the conclusion that no matter what you want out of life there is a three step process.

The first step is to make a decision. You need to decide if you want to lose weight, stop smoking, save money, find a compatible mate, spend more time with your children, start a business, volunteer… you get the idea. Whatever it is you want to do, the first step is to decide and I mean really decide that you want to do it. Just talking it to death is not making a decision, making the effort and moving forward after making the decision is. So first, write down the decision you have made.

The next step is the big one, the big “C” and that is to make a commitment to your decision. The commitment is the stumbling point for so many. They talk and talk about the decisions, I’m going to lose weight, I am going to start exercising daily, I am going to stop smoking, etc.

A commitment means taking the steps to fulfill the decision you made. Making a plan to move forward. If your decision is to spend more time with your children, decide what days and time you will spend with them and make up a list of the things you could do with them. Or if you decide to volunteer, make a list of your interests, and then match that to a organization that needs volunteers.

If you have decided to start a business then make a plan on how you want to proceed. If you have decided to save money, you need to make a concentrated effort and a commitment to do so.

The commitment is how you are going to implement the decision and you must stick to your commitment or you are back in the decision stage and that is a “no man’s land”.

Okay, you made a decision, and have committed yourself to that decision, now the last step is to Succeed. Don’t think you are done. As a former smoker I know that you have to still commit yourself every day so you can continue to succeed. Same goes for those of us trying to keep weight off, and probably the best known continual effort is that of the alcoholic.Think of AA and the ongoing process.

So, make your decision, commit to it, and you will succeed, provided you continue to commit to your decision.

Wishing you the best in whatever decision you make!

The Angry and Sometimes Grumpy Children of the 1950’s

Please note:I wrote this year back in 2002, so now many of us, myself included are retired, but all of us are still not happy about many of the things going on today.

A bunch of us in our late 40’s and early 50’s got together the other night, and after the evening was over I started thinking that many of us born in the 1950’s are in a crisis stage. People can’t understand why we are so angry and grumpy sometimes. This article discusses some of the issues we have with society today and might enlighten others (the younger set) as to why we seem so disillusioned, and out of sorts at times.

The consensus of the group was “is this all there is.” We’ve been working since our teens. A car costs more today than what our parents bought a house for. We work and work and still don’t have enough. Food costs have risen astronomically, along with utility costs, insurance costs, and housing costs.

We started laughing at one point and said we sound like our grandparents. However, it is a very sad commentary that what took place for our grandparents over numerous decades, has only taken 20 to 30 years to occur for us. The real scary thing is that salaries for many jobs have not changed over that twenty year period, while our expenses have skyrocketed, and increased one hundred fold.

We all became nostalgic when we talked about the things we used to do to relax. How so many of those things are gone, or we can’t afford to do them any longer. Our kids tell us we don’t have a clue about school, sex, music, or what’s going on in the world. Again, the laughter abounded with the music issues, but became very serious when we talked about the scary things kids do today, that we wouldn’t even have thought of when we were growing up. Killing teachers, and other students never entered our minds. We had respect for our teachers and those in charge.

The next thing we ranted about was our health. For some of us, the ravages of time have taken place… eyesight problems, arthritis problems, blood pressure problems, “the barnacles of life”. The discussion we had on the cost of health care was a lively and volatile one to say the least. Many of us who have had major illness problems also went ballistic with regards to the social security system, the disability system and Medicare system. The majority of us have worked since our teenage years. We were incredulous when it took over a year to get money from the social security system, especially when we see people playing the system who don’t deserve it.

All of us are still working. The majority of our group are either self-employed or independent contractors. Many of us run home-based businesses. While we are still disheartened with the rise in costs, at least our work environment is a happy one, and one we feel in control of. For those in our group still working in corporate America, that’s just an additional concern and stress for them. Is their job safe? Will they be downsized? Laid off? We went back and forth on the work issue and found that while running your own business is a risk, we have a lot more control over our destiny than if we worked for someone else, and hence, a lot less stress. Plus we can’t fire ourselves.

We all wondered where it will end. So many of us thought we would be retired by now, or at least contemplating it within the next ten to fifteen years. However, with all the medical advances and hundred-fold costs of so many things, that is not an option. Retirement is no longer something people do automatically between 55 and 65. Today, the retirement age is in the 70’s.

For many of us, the thought of another twenty or more years of working is a depressing one, in addition to making us very angry and grumpy to say the least.

Hopefully this article will provide some insight to those who wonder why the over 50 generation is so angry and grumpy at times.