What a strange title for a blog. Maybe so, but many parents try to decide what careers their children should choose.
My father was a barber and, naturally, my mother and father didn’t want to persuade me to become a barber. Having said that, my mother always told me that ‘because I have an outgoing personality, being a lawyer would suit me fine’. She continued on that path, always telling me to become a lawyer. My father kept telling me to be sure that I choose a trade, any kind of trade; a barber, doctor, lawyer, businessman, engineer – anything that was a specialty.
Instead of choosing any of the above trades, I knew I liked children. And so I chose to major in Educations at UCLA. I wanted to be a 4th-grade elementary school teacher. On the other hand, I was a good salesman. I had been selling products since I was twelve-years-old, whether it was newspapers on a corner in Los Angeles where I grew up, or as a peddler – door to door - selling perfume or jewelry. Even when I was still at UCLA studying to be a teacher I longed for a part-time job selling, and that took me into selling encyclopedias.
While I had classes in the morning, I was on the phone making appointments with families in order to see them at night with my bag full of Encyclopedias Britannicas. I was quite successful doing this, and that job lasted almost two years.
As stated earlier - my father was a barber in Hollywood, and one of his customers was a man named Ralph Wonders. Mr. Wonders had a talent management firm, and one of his clients was Spike Jones who had his 1949 musical depreciation show about to go on the road for six months - a perfect time for me to get out of the house and be on my own.
Spike Jones needed a young assistant to do an assortment of things that the members of the show needed. I took the job right out of high school, and went on the road with Spike Jones and his troupe of strange musicians and dancers. Six months of experience travelling around the United States makes a young man grow quickly. I am happy in one respect that I took that job, and sad because I grew up too quickly.
When I decided to go back to college (UCLA) I immediately wanted to be a fraternity guy, and I did rush the ZBT fraternity. I tried to catch up with all the other guys who went straight to college after graduating high school, which I chose not to do. After selling books for almost two years I took a job at NBC television in Hollywood. I started as a paige, which is the bottom of the ladder for a young man wanting to get into the broadcasting business. Yes, that is what I wanted to do; sell commercial time for NBC television. Sweet wishes!
Before I began there, though, I found out that NBC television didn’t hire young, inexperienced people for their sales department. I had to get out of Los Angeles, so - instead - I started my broadcast career selling commercial time for a small 250-watt radio station in Palm Springs.
No, I wasn’t going to be a lawyer or a doctor… or an engineer. My father and mother didn’t object, although they had no idea why I took this starting job with NBC. They were not going to complain; they were against objecting to anything that I thought I could be successful at. The job in Palm Springs led me to a job with an FM station in Los Angeles in 1958, and then led me to ABC where I spent the next thirty-eight years doing what I wanted to do. I ended a thirty-eight year career at ABC - the last seventeen years as the president and general manager of KABC radio.
One of the reasons for my success was because my parents never tried to force me into anything I didn’t want to do. I had a goal and I pursued it without any pressure from home. I have a strong belief in young people doing what they want to do, without having making money as the first criteria for making the decision to do what is loved. I was taught to focus on the love of a job.
Money will usually follow if a person does the job that he or she loves. Not all the time, but it certainly did for me and most successful people that I know. One last piece of advice for my friends reading this… Warren Buffett, one of the most successful people in the world, personally taught me if it is not worth doing it is not worth doing it well.
In short - Follow your dreams!
…going after Moby Dick in a rowboat, and taking Tartar Sauce with you!
When I saw this in an email to me I thought, Wow - what a great subject to write about.
The opposite of optimism is pessimism. It is hard to write about one without talking about the other. Sure, if we want to think about being negative, about the bad things we are seeing in the world, or about all the no’s that we get when wanting to do something, this writing could go on for hours.
Although I must admit that there are many times when I am not sure about being positive about my world, I feel blessed to even be here at the age of eighty-five.
I remember a song that began with…
“You have to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between. My last remark… Jonah in the Whale - Noah in the Ark… what did we do just when everything seemed so dark? We had to… (repeat of the first few bars).”
Talk about old people losing their memory! I haven’t lost all of mine, and that song might have been in my mind for at least seventy years. The words are as true today as they have been from the beginning of time.
Early man had a lot to be happy about. I guess Adam and Eve were the first two people to be optimistic about their world. Now, please let’s not get bogged down in the discussion about the beginning of our world and how it got started - that would be way off course. I prefer to talk about today and how blessed I am to be here today - happy in my house, my city and - of course - my country. And on a bigger stage, I’m happy that there is a world for me to be in. That may be stretching it, but I do believe that most people don’t think about their world or how blessed we all are to be able to live, to breathe, to smile, to laugh and enjoy so many of the good things that we can enjoy every day.
At this very moment - as I’m writing this - the lady I hire to clean my house once a week has come into my office. She just had tears in her eyes because her world is not a happy one. Her son is in jail on some minor offense. Her husband doesn’t have a regular job, and maybe has a drinking problem and some other things… too many negative things to talk about now.
Telling her to be more optimistic about her life would be like telling someone who is dying from cancer to get off their bed and be more optimistic about their life.
We should all realize that some of us can afford, so to speak, to be optimistic because we don’t have children in jail, we are alive in a free country, and we can afford to live in nice houses, eat the foods we want to eat, go to restaurants that we want to go to, and watch the television programs that we want to watch.
Let’s remember that, in some countries around the world, the people do not always have the same freedom that we enjoy in this country. So, for one, let’s be optimistic about our lives, because we live in a country that allows us to easily be optimistic about where and how we live.
Then, perhaps the most important ingredient for happiness is dependent upon our health. If we are healthy then we are wealthy! If my mother and father were alive they would appreciate what I just wrote, because those words - although heard all the time - were first heard by me, as they were often preached to me by them.
I have had a good life. I was raised in a good family. I’ve lived in nice neighborhoods. I was instilled with good moral input. I had a good education. I was married to a wonderful lady for forty-seven years. I am fortunate to have a significant other whom I live with now, who also is optimistic about her life and her future with me. My children are happy with their own families.
This country that I live in is at peace, at least, now with the world. That is not the case in so many other countries in the world, where people live with turmoil and so many other obstacles to overcome in pursuit of their own objective to be happy and optimistic.
While writing this I realize that being optimistic is easy to write about and easy to say… but it’s not so easy to be what the words say. Being optimistic is a goal, and unless we reinforce the sense of being optimistic we run the risk of having the feeling of optimism turn to the feeling of pessimism. I prefer the former!
Bottom line - if I am going after Moby Dick, I am going to go out prepared to get him. I will have the right boat with the right equipment, and my knowledge of how to achieve my goal will be with me, because I approached the task with intelligence and - of course - with optimism!
Don't worry - be happy!
George has always loved dogs. GiGi, whom he writes about in this blog, is a rescue adopted from a shelter near him. His book GiGi – If Dogs Could Talk – A True Story is based on their initial meeting at the shelter, and tells of how things unfolded throughout her first few days in her new home with George and Myrna.
He strongly supports rescue/shelter programs, and urges anyone looking for a forever best friend to consider adoption over purchasing from breeders. With neglected, abandoned, and abused dogs being dumped daily at shelters all around the world, at no fault of their own, let’s give them a home – a second chance at life with a wonderful family.
Here’s George’s short blog about his best buddy, GiGi.
In my life there are many faces to look at. First, there is the beautiful face of Myrna Odwak who I live with, and have lived with for more than eleven years. For writing purposes, I don’t want to start naming faces of family and friends. My gosh - there are so many beautiful faces in the world that I would need forty or fifty pages to name all of them!
There is another face other than Myrna’s that I see in my house, and I tend to stare at her face more intently - I think - than I do at Myrna’s or anyone else’s. That face - and her eyes - belong to my dog, GiGi.
Yes, I know - everyone who has a pet dog or cat… or horse or any other animal can say the same thing. But, I am mesmerized by GiGi’s eyes.
She is really my dog, not Myrna’s. When I am home she is mine. Wherever I go, GiGi goes. She follows me around like a magnet. I wish I could talk to her. I would ask her if she is following me around only because she thinks I will feed her, or take her with me when I leave the house for errands.
I don’t know, but when I look down at her large brown eyes we seem to talk to each other. I wrote a book about GiGi. The name of the book is GiGi - If Dogs Could Talk. I know that in past writings of mine I have often stated that I wish our pets could talk. They do talk - with their eyes and their expressions of happiness or sadness. GiGi’s tail gives her away. When that tail is wagging I know she is one happy dog, no matter what we are doing!
I play a lot with GiGi. I have a white and orange plastic throwing stick; in the end of the stick is room for her little plastic ball. As soon as I go to her portion of our closet, and as soon as I put my hand on the stick, she knows that we are going to play catch.
You all know what she immediately does, don’t you? GiGi barks for joy and continues to bark until we get into the car. And even then she continues to bark until we get to the open field where we can play! You would think she’d stop barking - no, not GiGi! I need to get out of my car and make the first throw of the day. Her barking then stops, and she starts running after the ball in order to retrieve it and bring it back to me for another throw!
I think GiGi can count. I throw the ball out in the field about eighteen or nineteen times. I keep counting, hoping she gets to twenty. But, by eighteen or nineteen throws she is tired. Her first retrieval is quite fast. My, oh my - can that little white poodle of mine run! But by the eighteenth or nineteenth throw, she is breathing hard. She comes back toward me and then, with the ball in her mouth, heads for the car. She is done! She wants to get home, jump out of the car and into the house where she will race for her bowl of water. We have all heard the term ‘dogs are creatures of habit’ - yup, that is my GiGi… a creature of habit.
As soon as we get up in the morning, Gigi waits for me patiently at our bedroom door. She knows I have to get dressed, brush my teeth, and all the rest. She is ready for her walk, and her eyes talk to me again. “Hurry up, George, I have to pee and poop!” She reminds me with her eyes that, like me, there are body essentials that need to be taken care of!
Gigi is about six-years-old. I feed her twice a day; in the morning and at night when we are ready to make dinner for ourselves, or if we are going out someplace for dinner. Lately, she hasn’t been eating in the morning, at least not when I put her food bowl in front of her. She always jumps at her food at night. But my little creature of habit knows that her food bowl will be there when she is ready to eat. Her eyes and her face tell me ‘thanks’ for feeding her!
My little story about GiGi’s eyes was not written to be a book, only written to get a small smile from readers. And along with the smile comes an understanding that - yes - all dog lovers, as well as owners of other pets, have the same experiences. I was in the mood to write something about GiGi’s eyes, so I did!
Please remember: Adopt – Don’t Shop!
Some grandparents stay busy while others take the time to relax, read some books, and play some golf. Regardless of what they do with their time, they are always willing and ready to hear from their grandkids.
They say that grand-parenting is like a second chance at parenthood, but the fun part is that the disciplining and rule-setting falls outside of their list of major responsibilities! This means that they can be the givers of love, fun, cuddles, jokes, gifts and all the good stuff, without having to be the givers of hidings or groundings. Lucky grandparents!
Children these days spend most of their time at school then play with friends in their free time. All of them love their grandparents, mostly because they know they’re the givers of the cool things mentioned above!
As a grandparent, I want my grandchildren to know that I will be here for them as long as I can be – until my time here on Earth runs out. I feel I have competition, though, when it comes to getting their attention - what with all the devices, X-boxes, PlayStations and other gadgets I can’t pronounce. So, when I do get a call or receive a letter from them, it’s real special to me. I know, then, that I came first in their life for that time, above the demands made on them by their peers or whatever the marketing world wants them to think is cooler than writing a letter to a grand.
I also know that, perhaps, they sometimes think I can’t remember them, or that I am in bed lying down and don’t have the energy to talk with them. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is why - after a while of not hearing from them - I like to pick up the phone and call them myself.
Family gatherings are always great, when the whole family comes together over a day of talking, eating, and sharing stories. These events are always special to me as well. What is also great is when my grandkids bring me something at these events; a toy they made, a picture they drew, a story they wrote. I watch them grow in front of my eyes – one visit they’re so high, and the next visit they’re even higher! Before I know it they’ll be adults with homes and families of their own.
But before they get that high – that big – I really want them to know how much I treasure them. I don’t want their parents (my kids) to force them to call or write. No – that’s no fun for them, and it certainly isn’t special at all. No – I want them to think of me, even if only once a week, on their own terms.
Having said that, the message in my blog this week is don’t force your kids to think of or contact their grandparents. It’s not all that nice hearing, “Hi, Papa, my Mom told me I have to call you to see how you are,” to which I would reply, “Well, why didn’t your Mom call me herself to ask?”
Suggest they call or write, by all means, but don’t force them to.
We grandparents won’t be around forever. Bonding with our grandchildren will always be important. Those who stay long enough to actually see those grandkids grow into young adults are very lucky.
I guess it’s up to us to plant a seed in them and water it as often as possible. The seed of love for grandparents in grandkids can grow into something especially beautiful, but only if we - as the more knowledgeable of the two - nurture it and care for it. After all, we must keep in mind the competition out there!
Bottom-line – make yourself available to your grandkids, and always give them a reason to want to call or write; that reason being that they know you are a source of love and support. Gifts and toys are disposable; don’t rely on them for your affection ticket.
Love them, listen to them, support them, and they’ll give all of that to you, too.
I grew up in the streets of New York. I was born during the Great Depression which hit the U.S. in 1931. Both of my parents had to work in order for our family to survive. My family consisted of my mother, father, my sister and myself. Times were different then, when my parents were too busy surviving to bond with my sister and me.
The fact that I was often left alone in the streets of New York, without my mother and father there for me, still lingers in my thoughts today. I do, however, remember the first – and perhaps only – day that my father and I did something together. He owned a tiny barber shop in New York. He had put up posters, advertising the circus, in his front window and in return we got free tickets.
Usually my father would spend Sundays (his only day off) playing Pinnacle with his friends. Looking back I wish he had chosen to spend more time finding things to do with me. I loved him, but there was little love beyond the fact that he was my birth father. Maybe I expected too much from him?
He was not athletic so we could not play football, baseball, or catch together. We couldn’t go fishing, either – no water or ocean to do that! We couldn’t afford to go to the movies, and there were no television programs to watch together, because TV was not a part of our lives back then.
We were not religious, so didn’t go to a church or synagogue together. Sometimes the family would go out to a farm for the summer, but my father always stayed behind to work.
On the one hand, though, I had no right to complain that my father was not there for me. He was, after all, working to provide for the family and keep the roof over our heads. I had to remember and love him for doing that, even though we never got a chance to really bond. The same went for my mother.
Many years later, as I write this, I realize I may have been a little off-base thinking Poor George – I didn’t get a chance to bond with my father. I had a great life, thanks – in part – to my mother and father who did whatever they could to give us a better life.
From now on I can tell myself to quit complaining! They loved me very much, and that is all that matters. But to all fathers out there, just remember – they’ll only be kids once.
Take time to bond with your kids – it’s worth it!
A few words straight from George today…
Most of us look at Thanksgiving as another holiday where the Thanksgiving focus is on the food that we eat. I think that we all should be looking at the many things we have to be thankful for; our health, our homes, our freedom, our countries, our children, spouses and friends.
People go to churches and synagogues at Christmas time. Although we don't go to a church or a synagogue at Thanksgiving, we should be thinking about how lucky we are to have families (if we have one) and children and friends.
I had a personal health problem yesterday. I played golf in the morning. I felt good and was grateful for the sun shining down on me and my friends as we played nine holes of golf.
Everything was okay until yesterday evening. After a quiet dinner at home I started to feel a deep pain in my back. The pain got worse and I collapsed while in my bathroom. “Call the paramedics,” I told Myrna. She did, and within six minutes five men arrived at my home, picked me up from the floor and placed me on a Gurney which was placed into an ambulance.
Oh, my! This was my first experience at being a patient rushed to a hospital (I am eighty-five-years-old). The paramedics checked my vital signs; good heart, breathing was okay...
I told them that the excruciating pain was coming from a bad spasm on the right side of my back. And when I say excruciating, I mean just that. I never had a pain that severe in my whole life. We arrived at the hospital which was just a short ten-minute drive from my house, and I was transferred into a medical emergency room where they diagnosed my pain and problem; a severe spasm from a muscle on the right side of my lower back. I might have twisted my back when I was playing golf in the morning.
When and why it happened is not the issue or the question. Treating the pain and making a proper diagnosis was the issue, and luckily it was only a severe spasm which was treated, and is still being treated, with some pain medication.
My hat is off to the many dedicated hospital staff which includes doctors, nurses, and other medical attendants. I talked to all of them and, with my usual curiosity, what they do for a living was of interest to me. Love for their work was present with everyone I talked to.
From the fire department staff who first reached me with a helping hand, getting me to the hospital; “I love my work,” was the answer I got from everyone who helped me.
I understand that phrase better than most because of my writing 'Out of the Spotlight’ and talking with and interviewing so many people from all walks of life. The nurse whose name was Albert - he gave me the first injection to stop the pain - was proud of what he does so pain-free to his patients. He has been doing this work for forty-three years!
I remember my long conversation with Tom who was with the fire department - he came to me first. Tom loves his work and enjoyed talking to me and some other patients needing his help. The bottom-line on talking to these people is that no matter what we do for our life's work, loving your job is paramount to loving your life.
I knew that and wrote about that emotion. And here again the feeling of loving your work stared me right in the eye through my computer screen.
I am feeling pretty good right this minute, and I’m very grateful that my recovery will be quick. Being in the hospital and watching serious patients being wheeled into the hospital, with injuries and health problems which far exceeded anything I was experiencing, made me think how lucky I was to have experienced only a minor medical problem.
My last thought is that I hope – sincerely - this is the worst medical problem that I will encounter in this, the twilight of my life.
Not many parents can say they haven’t had a good laugh at some of the ideas that their kids have come up with. However, while some can be downright odd, others can also spark a light-bulb above your head and raise an eyebrow!
You don’t need to be an adult to have a great idea. In fact, some really great ideas come from kids younger than ten-years-old.
George spent time last week reminiscing about some of his own great ideas. The one that has stuck with him the most throughout his years is one that involves perhaps one of the largest promotions - in its capacity - that Radio in the 1990s had ever seen.
George was the President of KABC Radio when the Gulf War broke out in 1990. Of course, the United States had sent their troops (God Bless our heroes) to assist Iraq.
With Christmas coming up, George came up with an idea that he just could not put aside. Here’s how he remembers it.
“At the time I had a promotions and publicity manager, Nelkane Benton, and a public service director, Shelley Wagner. They were amazing and often knew what I was thinking even before I’d said a word. When I came up with this great idea, I called everyone to my office. Once they were all settled in my office, I stood on my desk. This was something I did often, which always brought on the response, “Oh dear, what’s he up to now!”
Christmas was approaching. My great idea was ‘how amazing it would be to send our troops heartfelt Christmas cards, all signed by us U.S. citizens.’ However, radio in those days never had much of a budget. How would we send one-million Christmas cards to the Gulf without incurring costs, which obviously would have been astronomical considering the nature of the project?
The next day Nelkane was on it. She’d gotten in touch with the printing people from Gutenberg Press. Somehow (don’t ask me how) she’d managed to convince them to print one-million Christmas cards in four days! Once they were printed we distributed them to the bigger supermarkets where they were left at the tills and checkout points. Over a two week period members of the public signed these cards, added their postal details, and then placed the cards in a box. After two weeks, this huge truck went around to each store and picked up the cards.
We had them stored feet-high in the back of the office parking area. A General from the military then picked up the cards, put them on a plane, flew with them then delivered them to our troops. At the time two radio personalities, Marc and Brian, told all of their listeners across Southern California what had been done.
What a response we got, and how awesome it was to hear the responses from the troops, too, who now felt less alone knowing that they had the love, support, and encouragement from citizens in their homeland.
The purpose of this story is to show that when you have an idea, especially one that serves an awesome purpose, don’t give up on it. I will remember that time for as long as I live. We worked as a team to do something great. We managed to get support from printers, airlines, supermarkets, Generals from the military, and the U.S. public within a couple of weeks, and it did not cost us one penny.
Don’t ever give up on your ideas, no matter how ludicrous they may sound at first. If there’s a will there’s a way, and if your heart is in the right space… everything else will fall into place.”
In conclusion, we thought it would be a great idea to leave you with this quote from acting legend Robin Williams – “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
The definition of legacy is anything handed down from the past, an ancestor or a predecessor. It can be money. It can be property. But it can also be knowledge or a message about life. George will have the honor of being a part of all these aspects when it comes to leaving behind a legacy. Although he is far from gone (of course, he has much more to do with the years he has left), he was recently given an award of honor which inspired him to focus on the idea of legacy in this, his latest blog.
Children at a young age don’t really know what they want to become when they’re older. However, it’s certain that some of the images below come to some of their minds when they think of how they’d like to be remembered!
When we see our children begin to develop a passion for one area in life, this is the time for us to focus and help them to achieve their goals in that area. Sometimes it may not be exactly what we want from them. Sometimes it might sound downright outrageous. But passion is the key to seeing anything come to fruition. It’s up to us to nurture their desires (yes, it’d be safe to say we can leave Hitman or Interstellar Soldier out of the picture) and help them to learn all they need to, in order for them to become their best in their chosen field.
Doing this from an early, conscious, age will allow them to gather so much knowledge on the subject, that one day they could well become a master in their field and, in turn, leave behind them a legacy for others to follow and grow from.
With that concept in mind, George was recently given an award of honor at a very prestigious function in Los Angeles in front of over six-hundred influential members of society. Not many others deserve this award more than him and those who chose to create Ad Relief, formally known as the Advertising Industry Emergency Fund. George co-founded the organization along with Dennis Holt in 1972, and this charitable organization still exists in Los Angeles more than forty-four years after its inception.
After leaving KABC in 1996, George continued to keep in touch with the growing efforts of Ad Relief. To date it has helped hundreds of professionals in the advertising industry who have found themselves unable to work due to an unforeseen accident, disability, or other adverse incident.
On Friday, 11th November, 2016, George drove to Los Angeles where he was honored along with other presidents who followed him in leading this wonderful charitable organization.
Here’s George’s take on how that day left him feeling.
“I was very touched by the support and praise coming from six-hundred young and old friends who came to the Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles. I co-founded the organization with a leader in the Ad business, Dennis Holt. It was 1972 when we started The Advertising Industry Emergency Fund - AIEF. The name was then changed to Ad Relief. Millions of dollars have been given to advertising people who have become ill or disabled. It felt good being honored along with twenty-five to thirty other past presidents who were also standing on the stage in the Hotel Ballroom. These memories will last for my lifetime.
Every moment I’ve spent with the foundation has been worth it, and if it weren’t for my passion for what I did when I was younger, I would not have had the privilege of being able to stand on that stage last Friday.”
So, a note to kids and parents is; if you’re good at something, go for it. You may become a master sooner than you think. And when you do, don’t forget that you, too, will have something to leave behind for others to benefit from, whether it be your personal knowledge, skills, money, property… whatever you want to leave with others, you can. When you take a look back at what you’ve done when you get to George’s age, there’ll be no greater feeling than knowing you did not do it only for yourself, you did it for the benefit of others, too. And that can make you a legend leaving behind a legacy.
In conclusion, remember this - leaders are only as great as the message they leave behind.
The results are in and Donald Trump is to be the new President of the United States. George sat at his desk the morning of voting day, after having been one of the very first to cast his vote on Thursday, November 9th, 2016. He wanted to write a message of hope and unity for not only his fellow Americans, but for folks all over the world. Although what Papa George says in today’s blog is not aimed directly at children, it is a great concept that should certainly be passed down to generations that will follow.
Papa George says…
“I just came home after voting. I was the first one to vote in my precinct. I got there at 6:15am and avoided the long line that was there at 7:15am. Then after voting I happily got in my car, breathed a sigh of relief, started the engine and drove home for a breakfast of waffles, coffee, and a newspaper to read while watching the tube.
Equally important to who won was the last message delivered by both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Divisiveness was their last word, and coming together as Americans was their last bit of advice. For the first time in well over a year, both of the candidates said the right thing and were both on the same page.
Yes, it is over. Yes, half of this nation will be happy with the results and the other half will be sad at the outcome. Having said this, I will not be the first one to say we are all Americans! I will support whoever is chosen as our president. Sure, I will talk about the results and will be happy to discuss my points of view when asked, but hopefully in a very short time I will go on with my life, trying to enjoy whatever time is left in the twilight of my life. I am eighty-five-years-old and I know that the word mortality has a much deeper meaning to me than it does for my children and grandchildren.
Having been President and General Manager of a large radio station in Los Angeles, with one-hundred and fifty employees, the meaning behind coming together and going in the same direction as a team is most important.
What is interesting about being this age is that we come across certain sayings that are meaningful to us - "Without having a strong hand on the rudder and the sails of a ship, the boat is rudderless and goes in different directions depending on which way the wind is blowing!”
I hope the boat we are all in will be steered properly in the right direction, hopefully endorsed by all Americans. Not everything we wanted may be enacted. Hopefully most of what happens under a new president and congress will help this country move ahead, maintaining freedom, health and prosperity to its citizens. We are lucky to be Americans. There has never been a better form of government than the one we have here in America.
Bottom-line of this blog - support whoever becomes our president and support the rest of the elected members of congress. A team that is well organized will win the game. Show me a sport where one of its players wants to be the super-star trying to win a game by themselves, and I will show you a team that is a loser.
There are millions of examples where a weaker team wins the game because they were well managed, where the players want the whole team to win and will sacrifice their own self-image and egos in favor of the whole team.
God Bless my fellow citizens, and God Bless America.
With the new competition coming up in this month of November, where the winner will receive six of George’s children’s books signed by him, it gets one thinking about the element of competition. It’s a relatively new debate among parents, psychologists, coaches and teachers; one that raises the argument – is competitiveness a good or a bad thing for children.
Let’s first look at some of the cons.
Some, especially many in the USA, will say that competition is imperative for kids to grow up to be the best they can be. However, others (including a large portion of the USA) say that it can debilitate young children as well.
The argument comes when we see that not all children are born winners. However, what are they being told to win at? One might want their child to be a champion sprinter on the track, but perhaps that child simply has no passion for it, or doesn’t necessarily have the stamina or build for becoming a star runner. Perhaps that child is actually heading toward being the next Richard Branson with more brain than brawn?
Competitiveness can also be a gray area because it can lead to the losers (for lack of a better word) either becoming entirely despondent over the activity or, even worse, it could ruin their self-esteem and lead to depression. In a world where so many youngsters are depressed or confused these days, we have to wonder if the pressures of being the best are just a bit too much for them?
Competitiveness can also lead to burnout in a child, in a sense that they practice so hard to be the best that they actually exert themselves to burnout point. Now this is not good, as a child with a fierce spirit might not recognize this at first - until they collapse one day, unable to get back up.
Aside from sport, being bigger and better than anyone else can also lead to ego issues; a certain arrogance unless the child learns to humble themselves. They could also become feared for this, which could lead to them being unable to make friends.
Then there’s the issue of when the pressures finally become too much; the winner turns to drugs or steroids to cope with the pressure, which nearly every time leads to disaster.
Another point to raise is that competitiveness can also lead to a decrease in performance and motivation. For example, a teenage girl who really loves cross-country running; she has a natural talent for endurance and loves it so much, it’s all she wants to do. She wins a few races and eventually gets chosen to represent her country. But now it’s not fun anymore – now it’s all about winning. Sponsors down her back, media in her face…
The point of this brief example is that without the element of fun and a true passion for what you’re excelling in, often the activity becomes a task, a command, rather than an aspect or talent that was once so abundant.
Now let’s take a look at some of the pros, from George’s perspective.
Competition can indeed also strengthen kids, if they learn how to react appropriately to both winning and losing.
“I feel that there is nothing wrong with losing, no matter what the sport. Everybody can't cross the finish line first. My whole family and I competed in water-skiing races for more than twenty-five years. I have pulled (behind racing boats) skiers to victory and to defeat.
Losing was an important lesson for our kids who started racing at the age of five years. I skied my last race at the age of seventy. Some of our young skiers fell before finishing the water-ski race. My own daughter was almost permanently paralyzed when she fell while competing for the National Championship finals held in San Diego at Mission bay.
I and other parents experienced the emotions of being happy when our kids skied well, but then we also taught our children that losing any race is okay, as long as you did your best in the competition. Competition is okay as long it is fair, and as long as kids learn the main lesson of trying their best. Win or lose, they will be loved - even if they lose every race.
The best baseball team in the USA were - and are - the Chicago Cubs. They have not won the World Series in over one-hundred years. They just did! The point here is that the Cubbies (fans) loved the game and their team, and loved them whether they won or lost a baseball game.
Sure it is better to win, and we should try to win if we can, but losing is not the end of the world. Be a good sport and learn how to deal with both winning and losing.”
Overall, if kids are going to be competitive these days, it can only help for them to be taught how to pace themselves, how to deal with being the best and losing, how to treat others who perhaps don’t make the grade, and how to keep a level-head about their abilities to excel.
In conclusion - while there is no solid answer to the debate, if parents are going to be assertive about their children excelling in one field or another, they should really concentrate and make sure that the activity they’re driving them in is one the child has a real passion for. Then, of course, take the time to teach them well, so that they’ll not only be great at what they do, they’ll also be admired for their personality, grace, sportsmanship and tenacity.
Copyright George Green © 2016 Rancho Mirage, CA, USA