What have I achieved?

I turn sixty today.

I never would have thought I’d reach this point. It’s not something we think of a lot when we’re young. Nonetheless, I’m here.

Perhaps it’s time to wax philosophical. What have I achieved in 60 years? Have I done anything worthwhile? Who will determine that; can I or must that task be left to others? What, in fact, constitutes accomplishment?

My career has been a roller-coaster, sometimes successful and other times a shambles. In any event, we have always been provided with what we’ve needed. Is a career even that important, save for the opportunities it provides to serve others? When I’m gone, no one will remember how successful I’ve been corporately. They will remember me as husband, father, and friend. I’d like to think I’ve had some success there, with a long marriage (39 years and Carol still puts up with me), three magnificent children and two lovely grandchildren, and a small group of very dear friends (I also owe a great deal to their forbearance). I think I will leave the assessment of my success in these relationships to those others.

I remain thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and pray that I will be able to make the most of what I’m given. I hope I am able to serve others and add some good to the world.

In the meantime, I feel only somewhat, but not especially, old. The upside of this whole situation is that, every day, I am able to collect more and more discounts by virtue of my advancing years.

Tobago Images

Since my last post on our vacation in Tobago, I’ve loaded the pictures I took onto my computer, and then decided someone may like to look at them.  While I haven’t been able to get one of the slide show plugins to work properly (I’ll work on that later), I thought I’d load them into a regular post.  So here they are!

Our first day, awaiting check in time.
Our first day, awaiting check in time.
Oliver building a castle on our first day in Tobago.
Oliver building a castle on our first day in Tobago.
Pelicans diving for fish.
Pelicans diving for fish.
Oliver & Joel at the beach on Day 1.
Oliver & Joel at the beach on Day 1.
Eloise on the beach.
Eloise on the beach.

 

Carol, thinking on the beach, Day 1.
Carol, thinking on the beach, Day 1.

Continue reading “Tobago Images”

Back From Tobago

Well, we’ve just returned from a winter holiday comprising 10 days in Tobago.  We were able to take the entire family, our first such holiday in many years, so there were 10 of us.  We rented a beachfront villa in Bacolet, just outside of Scarborough.  You can see it here.  Natasha and Malcolm were wonderful hosts and the various animals (Bongo, Pink, newly-born Honeysuckle, Georgie, Mary, and Daisy) were a delightful addition to the visit.

While not knowing what to expect of the people and the place, we found both to be very pleasant.  Everywhere we went, the people were accepting and helpful.  I believe this was not because we were tourists, but because that is their nature.  The countryside is beautiful, with beaches and hills everywhere and anywhere.

Most of all, it was a time for our family to get together for an extended period, reconnecting as we have been unable to do for a long time.  Such extended family times can be stressful, but not this one.  Everyone got along extremely well and cooperated to enable each of us to have a great vacation.  I was proud to be included in the family.  Here’s hoping we will be able to do it again sometime.

2013

It’s January, 2013.  It’s time once again to look at what is happening in our world – to do what we can to make it better.  Look at the plight of those oppressed by violence around the world.  Look at how our societies are becoming more and more unequal as the rich become richer, and the poor (who can barely afford to live now) become poorer.  Executives make far too much for the value they add.  Can we justify this inequality?    I wonder how.  I can also argue that wages in my country (Canada) have been driven too high.  When everyone who is working makes too much money, what happens to those who cannot work?

There is a lot to think about.  We still have a chance to fix things.  Let’s do it.

For Carol

Her eyes glow like gems
Her lips like bows of cherry
Show a heart of love

We have to think about what we cheer

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

It is great that such a man will no longer be able to terrorize the world.  Perhaps killing him was the only valid solution.  However, he and his like have already won to a great extent.  The world, and particularly the U.S.  live in continual fear.  Many of the people of that country have been lowered to the point where they are able to cheer at the death of another human being.

Is it right that we should experience pleasure at the death of someone else, even someone as vile as Osama Bin Laden?  As I said before, perhaps his death was necessary; perhaps it was merely unavoidable.  However, should we not view that as a very unfortunate and undesirable consequence of a process to produce a desirable outcome?

It is important that we fight evil wherever we may find it.  It may even be necessary to take lives in the process; of that I am unsure.  However, when we begin to take pleasure in those deaths, we must stop to realise that, at that point, we are every bit as evil as those who have been defeated.

The State of Education & Training in Business

During my years spent in the corporate world in the role of educator and trainer, I found it difficult to get people to accept the uniqueness and necessity of education as a discipline in the organisation.  I thought that this problem had been alleviated somewhat in recent times.  However, lately I’ve been experiencing the same responses.  There still seems to be the belief in many organizations (for-profit and not-for-profit alike) that because an individual has expertise in a certain area, that makes him or her suited to develop and deliver instruction on the topic to others.  Such is not the case.

I’m sure that each of us has encountered situations where we try to learn from someone who is renowned for their expertise in an area, but seems incapable of teaching us (good learners that we all are) even the basics of the subject.  They have forgotten what is like to know nothing.  Anyone seeking to teach must remember what it was like at the beginning of our knowledge, lacking even a basic understanding of the material.  That is the only way to teach beginners.  For this reason, it is important that anyone developing learning opportunities become and remain aware of the methods of developing instruction or to employ the help of someone who is.

Teaching advanced students in a subject is easy; teaching beginners is much more difficult.