I need time to think.

There is a lot going on. At work, at home, all over, I seem to be in “go” mode. But I sometimes feel as though I am going without a lot of direction. Or maybe it’s that I don’t know where I am going, or where I should be going. And why. And how, and for how long, and in which direction, as determined by whom? This leads to a lot of confusion and some stumbling. It wastes time and needs to be changed.

These past few weeks at work I’ve discovered how incredibly busy I am, spending 35+ hours each week in meetings, and realizing that I am already behind on work that won’t really have an impact until two years from now. It’s blowing my mind. I also lead several different groups and am on the board for others. Without effective time management and planning, things seem to be falling through the cracks. They may not always seem that way to others, but they do to me.

So things are going to change. I am going to start blocking off “white board time.”

White board time. Not sure if I’ve heard that somewhere or if I just made it up. Either way, I am going to try to block time each day for thinking. To take what’s in my head and to write it down. To dissect my thoughts and to map out my ideas. I need to make sense of what’s happening inside so that I can effectively communicate it outside. And then I need to digest the responses I get and amend, adjust, update, and change what I’ve already thought through.

Thinking is an ongoing process (duh) but I want to focus on ideation – on creating and understanding my ideas and thoughts so that I can effectively communicate them, be more productive, and work better with others.

It takes time. But it’s a worthwhile investment.

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Listen To Their Voices – Stop Bullying Now!

Sometimes I feel like the people who have the most to say are the ones who aren’t given the opportunity to say anything. Yesterday, I saw Bully – the movie/documentary that has been causing a stir because of its rating from the MPAA. It was an incredibly powerful series of stories; and these stories are emblematic of situations that affect each of us and each of our communities.

Throughout the movie I kept think “Did that ever happen to me? Maybe I was a bully to someone else?” You see, so many of us have been bullied. Fortunately, most of us have not been bullied to the extent shown in Bully. Yet, that does not mean that the bullying we have witnessed, committed, and observed is okay: far from it. Any amount of bullying needs to be stopped.

Bullying starts at a young age and that, I believe, is why the documentarians included the story of an 11-year-old boy who killed himself. 11 years old! I didn’t even know that 11-year-olds knew how to do that. But apparently they do. I firmly believe that the environment and the community in which one grows up will have a significant influence on one’s behavior and opportunities, probably the two most significant categories that influence bullying. Obviously there are social, structural, and institutional factors at play that provide substantial barriers to stopping and preventing bullying. But that does not mean that we should not work to stop bullying from occurring.

Excuses are wide spread in Bully, as they are in our communities. The problem becomes less personal when it is dispersed as a problem “nationwide” and dismissed when responses include non-committal statements such as “school buses [are] notorious for bullying.” But what about right here where we live? And what are you and I going to do about it? Bullying is a learned activity. As such, it can be unlearned.

Learning occurs in the places mentioned above – homes, communities, and schools. We come of age through the education system; and while schools cannot control what happens in the students’ homes, those individuals in charge of schools can control what happens in the school buildings, in the schoolyard, and on the school buses. To ignore or dismiss this responsibility is a failure to fulfill one’s duties to protect, raise, and educate children. If one is not willing to address bullying then that individual needs to be removed from that position and replaced with someone who can be effective at developing the next generations of leaders and thinkers.

Bullying occurs in situations besides being a student. It happens in the workplace. It happens in the grocery story. It happens on the highway. It happens when school officials and community leaders refuse to recognize bullying as a problem and neglect to address it. This may be due to a tunnel vision of sorts. Excuses such as “boys will be boys” do not address the root issue – plenty of boys are not bullies. And not all bullies are boys. Importantly, the excuses given for bullying are often the result of one’s personal, political, and religious beliefs as they relate to the cause of the bullying. The beliefs one holds are irrelevant when it comes to addressing the treatment of others and can actually turn those in positions of power into bullies themselves.

Whatever the bullying activity, whoever the target, and wherever the bullying occurs, we must all – each of us – become more aware and more proactive. We must address the causes of bullying, stop the bullies, and support the bullied. We must do this now – because even one lost 11-year-old is too many.

Midterm Elections / Quote #20

Think about this when considering the next leader you will vote for (if the possibility even exists today):

“He who follows such a pathway in unwavering cheerful service will be seen by many others and, by inspiration, lead them.” – Allowat Sakima

A Bit More On Camp (+ Pictures & Video)

Where has the summer gone?  The last week of campers leaves on Saturday and the staff will be out on Sunday (baring craziness).

We spend all year talking about and getting ready for camp and then it is over just like that.  I did not even work on staff this year and yet this feeling is still real.  So much of the time I spend with my camp friends is spent talking about the upcoming year and reminiscing about the past.  It is amazing how time flies.  I wonder what this next year will bring with so many people discussing not returning to camp…

When I was at camp last weekend, I took a decent amount of pictures. S-F is the home of many memories and friendships.  I’ve got some pretty good pictures of camp, as well as several from Lambert’s.

When I was stepping into a skit during the closing campfire last friday, I asked my friend Ray to take some pictures and he ended up taking a video of part of the Knob Lick Knickerbockers skit, a spoof on the Knob Lick Knockers skit that we do every opening campfire.  S-F Scout Ranch is in Knob Lick, Missouri.  Knob Lick Knockers is a skit about a “model patrol” and how to set up your campsite for a good week of camp.  The Knickerbockers have Jeeves.  Check it out:

There are quite a few things that may be changing for next summer.  I hope they all change for the best.  I look forward to the future.  2010 is the 100th Anniversary of Scouting.  Hopefully it will be here for another 100 years.  I look forward to doing my part to ensure its continuation as boys need to understand the value of citizenship, leadership, service, and the outdoors.

Eating lunch outside of Astronaut's Hall.

Quote #10

I received a graduation card from the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, of which I am a member.  It contained the following quote.  I’ve seen it/heard it before and I like it a lot.

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and make a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson seems to be a master of inspiration.