Archive | December, 2011

2011 in Quotes…

14 Dec

In my training classes, I use a lot of analogies to illustrate key concepts – sometimes with metaphors, other times by storytelling or “painting a picture” using language.

Analogously, 2011 for me can be described by a few relevent quotes… (which follow below).  I’d be interested to know if any of these ring true for you as well.

2011 in hindsight…

I will remember  2011 as a “revolving door” year.  It was a whirlwind of experiences as new and old people in my life interacted to form a patchwork quilt of experiences in love, friendship, career, work, finance, relationships, travel, challenges and fun.  While the “revolving door” represents the series of people, places and experiences that came, went, or lingered; sometimes the door revolved so fast it made my head spin.  I hope to finish the year ultimately ahead, but it was not an easy year.

As a year goes, 2011 was one of

  • Good (some great people such as my kids, my brother Dan, my parents, incredible true friends in Florida and around the world, and new acquaintances);
  • Bad (the incompetent “little boy” realtor and a “fake” friend who highly recommended him hoping to get a kickback; self-centered acquaintances and family; lawyers); and
  • Downright Ugly (hypocritical and greedy U.S. banks; in-your-face disrespectful building inspectors — beware if you need an inspector in Pinellas County FL!)

2011 in Quotes…

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go… Some people move our souls to dance, they awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom… Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our hearts for a while, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same…” — anonymous.

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn

“Life is a series of moments. To live each one is to succeed.”  – Corita Kent

“There comes a point in life when you realize who matters, who doesn’t, and those who never will. There is a reason that people from our past did not make it into our future.” – anonymous

The cure for boredom is curiosity… there is no cure for curiosity.” – Ellen Parr

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

This one is particularly true with the state of the world economy and how it interferes with some of our best laid plans for adventure:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”Mark Twain

And, finally one of my own:

I would rather be financially poor and emotionally rich, than the other way around… one can always print money.” – Carol Dekkers

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON WHEREVER YOU LIVE, WHATEVER YOU CELEBRATE…

and wishing you a 2012 filled with health, wealth, wisdom, and great adventures!

What the blog?

9 Dec

Why blog?  I do it to put my thoughts on paper (so to speak) and now, I’m really not sure that’s enough to keep doing it…

One reason I starting writing this blog many, many posts ago was to connect with people, gain some traction, get some comments, and just maybe even create some sort of community discussion of sorts on a topic of mutual interest.  Little of this has happened with any of my posts, yet I continue to pour out my thoughts to a massive non-listening, disinterested internet public.

Sure, it provides some sense of accomplishment for me when I can say “I blogged today” in answer to “Did you have  a productive day? … but increasingly that’s just not enough.

So in this last month of 2011,  I remember the Einstein adage (apparently while this saying is attributed to him, he didn’t actually say this, but nonetheless):

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In 2011, I tried different things with this blog:

1. I wrote about a variety of things to see if the results would be different – nope, same (non-)readership.

2. I started posting comments and links on other people’s blogs – no difference in readership or reciprocal links.

3. I promote the posts on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn – no different result, not a blip of difference.

4. I tried posting my views on a few “controversial” subjects to spur interest, but that made no discernible difference either.

I’m tempted to stop posting altogether, and I suspect the non-readership won’t notice.

If you are reading this, thank you for doing so.  If you take the time to comment, thank you even more.  If you care whether or not I continue writing, please say so, because my ‘invisible’ blog doesn’t give a boost to my productivity.

Maybe I’ve missed the boat altogether and blogging is like life, some people score hits and others aren’t even picked for a team. I’m beginning to think that my writing is mediocre at best (it’s okay to tell me so and save me the ongoing disillusionment!)

Meanwhile, today, in the ignorance of not knowing where I sit in the spectrum and feeling utterly invisible in the blogosphere, I can only mutter to myself, “What the blog?”

Have a great weekend!

Carol

Where have all the Young Girls Gone…

5 Dec

Where have all the young girls gone?

This phrase from the popular song “Where have all the flowers gone” by Pete Seeger in 1961, came to mind this week as I am in Thailand visiting my daughter who is teaching sixth graders their core curriculum subjects in English.  I am so proud of her and the other foreign teachers who are here: bright, twenty-something college graduates, citizens of the western world.  My daughter is here for at least four reasons: 1. She was tired of using her Honors English credentials (from a top US college) to land bartending and after-school jobs, 2. Promising leads turned into fruitless endeavors (even though she graduated the top of her class) ; 3. She wanted to make a difference where her contribution mattered, and 4. The Thai government and the King have a mandate for all high school graduates by 2020 to be fluent in English. (More about this point later.)

It has been two months since she arrived and my daughter is thriving – she is enthusiastic about life and the future, she eagerly designs lesson plans, and she is passionate about teaching and instilling a love of learning in her students.  The challenges of a foreign language, new customs, and classroom discipline (her students are typical unruly 12 year olds) are minor in comparison.  It is a great thing for a parent like me to behold!

Opportunities abound – overseas

More and more of our professional young people from the Western world are becoming expatriates, and moving overseas to contribute positively in today’s world.  Your response might be, “Good for them, see the world, then they’ll come back home and simply appreciate all they have in America,” which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many of these young superstars may look at the world outside the US with fresh eyes and see opportunities that the US only once provided in the past. More often they read the news from home on the internet and wonder why it took them so long to leave in the first place.

We are no longer the world

As one of the world’s current superpowers, we are failing our youth and continue to be ignorant of the fact that what made our nation great is eroding in corporate greed, survival of the rich, disdain of social welfare, and ignorance.  Unemployment hovers as two digits in most states, the American dream is in foreclosure, food stamp distribution is soaring, governments fight for partisan wins, and peaceful demonstrations erupt in police brutality. Europe, at the same time, struggles as their financial house of cards readies to tumble at the slightest wind. The rest of the developing world, meanwhile, progresses towards their own sustainability and adapts to a changing world climate:  the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries are propelling ahead in their economies and embracing technology – and English – like never before.  Our dollars, while still returning more than half of what we invest overseas (USA today article cites $.55 return on investment for every dollar produced in Chinese goods), are sought by developing nations, whose citizens yearn for our lifestyle and prosperity. On top of this, many Americans have little interest or regard for what is happening beyond our borders. (Take a look at Thomas Friedman’s books from “The World is Flat” to his latest “That Used to be US” for a NYTimes foreign correspondent’s expert view on the diminishing influence of the US in the world.)

Case in point, the third world is embracing English and western ways like never before:  Korean universities now offer English language technical curriculums to keep academic spending at home; Chinese universities include golf as a core subject; India and China feature sold-out IT conferences on weekends; and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) open university lectures are viewed over the internet by thousands of third world students. While the world embraces English as a second or third language, we are struggling with illiteracy with English as our first.

What is happening in the US?

Moreover, what do we offer our nation’s aspiring youth?  Unemployment, video games, government ignorance, and outright police violence (with little consequence) when there are peaceful “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.  What is happening in America today?  As the upper class professionals shutter their windows to silence the cries of the starving and burgeoning lower class, and the middle class erodes into homelessness while foraging for work, our youth – proud college graduates eager to contribute to our society – are quietly exiting because they cannot find good jobs, or worse, giving up!  What kind of America will we have tomorrow if our brightest stars twinkle overseas and make a better world elsewhere?  Who will lead our nation into a sustainable future until the politicians finally wake up and realize the poverty and suffering in our own backyard?  All of this depends on a government who, for the sake of its people, can suspend the trivial blue-red bickering.

English fluency, a novel thought…

It is very interesting to note that the Thai government mandated English fluency for high school graduates by 2020.  What a forward thinking initiative for a country who first language does not even use the western alphabet!  Whether or not they meet this goal is secondary to the fact that this Asian nation recognizes that English is the language of business and technology.  Can you imagine if the US government mandated this same goal for our schools?  As a melting pot nation, I believe that we ought to recognize that English is the international language of business and technology – just so that we can compete in the world.  Instead, I believe that we focus so much on political correctness in favor of minority rights that we fail to recognize the benefits we could gain if all of OUR graduates were fluent in English.  Just food for thought.

Pride in our youth

You might not agree with me, but the previous observations are real and I do not see the situation for our young people getting better.  Open any newspaper today and read about the demonstrations, government corruption, crime, economic distress, foreclosure nightmares, whining of the rich/poor, national woes and international wars, but nowhere will you see the success stories about our youth abroad and the strides they are taking for other nations.  I am proud of our youth who have the fortitude to demonstrate peacefully at home, study relentlessly to earn their degrees, work at sub-poverty jobs to make ends meet hoping to score a job where they can use their skills, and then finally emigrate overseas where their contributions are truly valued.

Our youth should be our pride and joy and a priority.  If we can’t wake up our nation’s leaders to the value and the incredible contributions our youth could make at home for a decent wage, we ought to applaud the rest of the world for doing so.  It may take our government years to glance up from their Republican / Democrat score sheet and realize what is happening, but when they do, it may be too late. As more of our nation’s youth move abroad while the youth of other nations study at home, it is only a matter of time before we import more than we export.  Maybe then, someone in power will look around and ask, “Where have all the young girls gone?”

Wishing you a healthy and productive week!

Carol

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