Finding clarity of purpose at the ballpark

There is a point in everyone’s life when they realize that what they are doing is either the absolute right thing for them or it isn’t. It is what some would call a pivot point. Others call it a moment of clarity or an epiphany.

I believe that moment happened for me recently while at a baseball game. I was sitting in the stands talking with an old friend about a dream he has had for starting a business. The idea and the product are sound. There is a lot of upside to this idea.

As he started talking about how he would design and construct the product that was the cornerstone of this grand business dream, my mind began churning in a different direction. I was concerned with how to craft the perfect message that would resonate clearly and with the greatest impact for the intended target audience. And I was also thinking what exactly that intended target audience would be. I was putting the pieces together for a comprehensive Public Relations plan that would increase awareness of his product. It was easy to do and from his reaction to my ideas, I knew I was hitting the nail squarely on the head.

In that moment, it felt good to know that what I was doing was the exact right thing for me. In all honesty, this hasn’t been the case for some time.

A year ago, my professional life was thrown for a loop as I faced a turbulent storm that blindsided me. Today I can say that I have survived the turmoil, righted the ship, and came out the other side to a brighter future.

As I sat watching the ball game and talking about dreams, reality set in. I knew that the path before me was the one I am uniquely prepared to take. Knowledge like this provides clarity and assurance and it is energizing.

My hope is that each of you reading this has a similar moment in your lives. If you have had a moment like this, when and where was it? How did it change you?

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Reflections on Fatherhood

This year marks the fourth year I’ve been able to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s been quite a journey.

There have been plenty of memorable moments, from baseball games and family dinners to playing backyard football and taking walks, as well as vacations and the many trips to the library, grocery store, and anywhere else we needed or wanted to go. It has been a life-changing experience that I learn from and enjoy more and more everyday.

I have two wonderful kids and a fantastic wife who have made being a father one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life.

On Father’s Day this year, I want to thank my family for the best, most cherished job title I’ll ever have–Dad.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Everyone can use a celebration now and then

My son finished pre-school this week. His class had a special celebration to culminate the academic year. It was a special moment for him and for us.

Some people would argue that this pseudo-graduation ceremony is not a good idea because it promotes mediocrity. They will argue that having all of the pomp and circumstance dilutes the importance of the traditional graduations at the high school and college levels. These people would continue their argument by saying that to celebrate the end of pre-school, elementary or middle school is just poppycock, as the kids are just doing what they are supposed to do.

All of the points in this argument are wrong. Dead wrong.

As a parent of a child who went through a pre-school celebration, I think it was great that the school did this celebratory activity. For one, it honored the hard work of the children and demonstrated their growth over the last year. Secondly, it was an opportunity for the kids to publicly thank the support they received from their parents and families.

Additionally, the school built the entire year around the theme of being a bucket filler instead of a bucket dipper. And, from what I learned during the ceremony, being a bucket filler is pretty cool.

What gets me about the people who rail against having the celebrations like the one my son participated in, or even the graduations at the lower levels of education, is that I honestly don’t think any of them are parents. Being a parent of a young child changes your perspective. You want to cherish every moment because the kids really do grow up too fast. Time is not on your side, so it’s important to let the kids be little. It’s important to love them. It’s important to tell them you are proud of them.

Sure, there would be opportunities to do this without the celebrations. But it wouldn’t be as much fun. And you know, everyone can use a little celebration in their lives every now and then.

Why the media cover things they shouldn’t

There’s an old adage in the media business: If it bleeds, it leads. This catchy little phrase is the reason there are some many stories about car accidents and tragedies in the news every cycle. But should it be the driving force?

The argument is really about what is newsworthy. Although extremely subjective, what is newsworthy for most media outlets comes down to what the editors think their audience wants to see or hear. If enough people in the listening/viewing area are interested in a topic, or if it is a story that has a national angle that can be tied into something local, than that makes perfect fodder for the evening news. An accident, possibly with a fatality, is just icing on the cake, or so reporters would say if they were being honest.

As a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years, I learned about this driver first hand. It made me sick sometimes, especially when an editor would tell me “Yeah, it’s not really kind to print this story, but it sells papers.”

This leads me to a debate that has been raging online and in the news here locally over the last day or so. Basically, should the media cover the potential protests of the funeral of a young female soldier who died in Afghanistan. One reporter defended the decision to cover the protests if they are happening because just the proposition of these protests is “galvanizing people.” Others argue that the protesters do what they do to attract media attention in hopes that they’ll get on TV or in the paper. It helps them spread their message of hate.

There is a very slippery slope on this issue, but we all need to make a stand someplace. As a media person, I would understand why an event like this needs to be covered, but I would do my best to nullify the messages of the protesters by getting to the real story that has touched so many people. With death, the fastest way to overcome is to remember the positives of the person who has died.

When the family lay their daughter to rest on Saturday, my hope is that the protest was an empty threat and that the media lead with their hearts instead of just thinking about the bottom line and the lowest common denominator.

Thoughts on “Community”

Community.

It is an inspired expression of shared passion toward a cause.

Community grows from a unified vision into something positively impactful.

Community transcends–building on what has come before to enlighten what will be.

No matter the size of a community, it is what it is because of its members.

Community is one and it is many. It is in all of us, because it is all of us.