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