Why Do We Punish Ourselves and Each Other?

In considering today’s title, please understand the format for today’s article will shift.  I will ask you to read how it was written, scenario, question, pause, reflect, and then continue.  The idea is to spark a conversation inside you, launch a discussion with others, and raise awareness.  We need to change how we think about several things if we are ever to move forward.

Scenario:  An employee is hired for a front-line, entry-level position.  Quickly the employee distinguishes themselves, the employee’s experience is an assortment of companies, but the education is first-rate accredited schools.

Questions:  How do you treat the employee?  Do you help them professionally to advance, even if it means they might outrank you?  Do you stifle them and keep them in their position because they have not “paid their dues with the company?”  Does veteran or disability status matter to this scenario?  How long is “long enough” with a company to “prove value” as an employee?

PAUSE

Reflect – Has this happened to you?  Have you treated someone similarly?

Scenario:  Slightly similar to the first one, a competent employee is hired into an entry-level position.  A recruiter needed a slot filled to meet a quota, and a desperate person required employment in a tough job market.  Circumstances led to a poor hiring choice, but the employee is not complaining and is working well but is looking for advancement.  The employee could be considered for a higher-level position if they were not an employee, as the job market has changed dramatically.  Since they are an employee, their pay grade automatically excludes them from consideration for the positions they are applying for.

Questions:  How do you treat the employee?  Do you help them professionally to advance, even if it means they might outrank you?  Do you stifle them and keep them in their position because they have not “paid their dues with the company?”  What matters more time with the company now and paygrade, or the original recruiter decisions?

PAUSE

Reflect – Has this happened to you?  Have you treated someone similarly?

Scenario:  You notice a problem at work.  You raise the concern using standard company protocols to the proper leaders for action.  The company strongly believes in a desire for speedy action and customer service focus.  In this situation, you, as the employee, are the customer and deserve to see an effective but quick response on the issue.  Weeks pass, a co-worker mentions that you should give up your focus as the problem has been around a “long time and has never been resolved.”  Worse, by focusing on the issue and asking for resolution, you are labeled as the problem.

Questions:  Do you keep pressing on “beating your head against the wall until your face is squishy,” or do you drop the issue?  What about from the other perspective, you’re the manager, how do you treat the employee?  What do you say to support the problem-solving skills, even though a situation might not be resolvable?  How would you approach the employee?  What if the employee is correct, the problem is solvable, and the situation could be resolved with a new approach and new eyes?  Are you willing to risk and win?  Are you willing to risk and lose?

PAUSE

Reflect – Where is the line between courage and victory and acceptance and misery?

Scenario:  “A new Chinese restaurant is opening in Phoenix, lots of hype, lots of marketing.  The cook staff is all zombies; the place is called “Deadman Wok’ ing.”  Yes, it’s a corny dad-joke.  Nobody chooses to be offended in a virtual room of 12 people, but the joke teller is advised not to tell jokes as a spouse of an attendee could be offended.  The spouse is not in the room, was not told the joke, and is not in the primary audience.

Questions:  What do you do as the joke teller?  You observe this scenario; what do you choose to support the joke teller or ridicule the joke teller?  Why?  Would the country of origin make the joke more or less acceptable?  Why?

PAUSE

Reflect – Humor has power; when did we stop allowing humor to help?

Scenario:  In a public space, a man strikes a child; you observe this strike.  Before the strike, the child was verbally harangued, assaulted, and abused.  A major public scene has developed, cell phones are recording the incident.

STOP! – Replace Child for Woman, does the significance change?  Why?

STOP! – Replace Woman with Animal, does the significance change?  Why?

STOP! – Replace Animal with Man, does the significance change?  Why?

Questions:  What do you choose to do?  If the significance changes, does your response change?  Why?  If you step to the defense and the situation worsens, are you mentally prepared for the consequences?  If the victim despises you, are you still willing to accept the responsibility for stepping into the fray?

PAUSE

Reflect – The equality of humanity requires mental courage until the first time violence is necessary to back up our choices.  Do you accept the consequences, and are the consequences still worth it?  Even inaction in these situations is a choice with consequences; will you accept inaction and the consequences?

Some will think this post is esoteric, others will disregard it as philosophic, and others will try to ignore it as never happening to them.  Yet, for some people recently on a subway, when a woman was brutally raped in front of them, the last scenario was a reality, and the consequences will be their’s for the rest of their lives.  Recently a woman was stabbed for interfering; she also will have life-changing consequences.

How many others carry scars from choices and actions they never realized would turn out negative from a positive choice?  More, why do they consider a positive became a negative and have they judged themselves too harshly?  I know people who experienced rough childhoods, who now punish the world.  These people gained a little power, as they suppose, and use every means at their disposal to punish and inflict misery and pain.  Worse though, I have met people who had great childhoods who grew up mean, sallow, and they intentionally inflict harm and pain because it is the only way to experience the world.  I actively work to see these people stripped of their power, regardless of what it costs me, for I would see these people’s streak of tyranny end!

I am not here to save the world.  I am just here to influence my small corner for the better.  Maybe, if that is the best we can all do, that is how we make this broken world a little less broken.  Take courage, act!  You will never regret the consequences of standing for the innocent and hurt and helping those who need the hand up.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Society Needs the Family – Knowing the Paradigms That Shape American Society

School of DarknessA colleague said I should read a book, “The School of Darkness,” by Bella V. Dodd.  As an immigrant in the early 1900s, the book is discussing coming to America, losing one’s belief structure with its tenets, traditions, and ties that bind, and discovering the emptiness of society, which tried desperately to replace the family and religion.  The author only discovers this emptiness and the need for family and religion after a lifetime of fighting against the influence.

The ideal family, found in many cultures, religions, and communities across the world is of one father, loving one mother, and raising children in what is called a nuclear family.  Early in the 1900s, the families with close ties as a family, who kept the traditions of religion, found in America plentiful opportunities and made strong the American Society.  Those nuclear families without strong ties to a belief structure weakened American Society, but not in ways or methods cognizant at the time, and only understood through historical observation and dissection.Nuclear Family

Consider, for a moment, James Hardy’s writings (2015) on divorce in America; in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, there was created a judicial tribunal that solely settled divorce matters in 1629. “This legislative body could grant divorces based on adultery, desertion, bigamy and in many cases impotence. In the North, the colonies adopted their own approaches that made divorce available, whereas the southern colonies did all they could to prevent the act even if they did have legislation in place.”  Notice the distinction between North and South that was apparent in pre-Revolutionary and Civil War society supporting both conclusions needed for a strong community, family, and a common religious belief structure.

Fast forward to 2020, and the current divorce rate is 2.9:1000 reporting from 45 states and the District of Columbia.  With the medium marriage lasting 11 years and falling, and around 30% of marriages suffering disruptions leading to divorce.  The future of the nuclear family in America remains grim, unless fundamental changes in, and desires of, people change; America is soon to disappear.  The American Civil War taught this lesson well, the need for strong families, based upon a core belief structure that lifts the human mind from pettiness, selfishness, and authoritarianism, remains the two keys an individual will control to keep the American Republic safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

Role of ReligionWhich religions lift the soul, I do not speculate; however, I can tell how you can tell.  The answer is the same from generation to generation, first know yourself.  Second, research the religion’s works.  Finally, seek religions that bring light to the world sickened mind.  I have known great and good people in all the different sects of religion in this world.  The key I have found comes in living the religion, not just professing that religion.  As one lives that religion the tenets of that religion will either inspire, uplift, edify, and grow the spirit and the soul, or it is time to find a new religious structure.  Regardless, before the traditions of religion, the traditions of the family must be understood and cemented together.

Religion QuoteThe Jewish religious tenets are deeply respected by this author for the blend of family and religion that is born from the belief structure.  Some Catholic tenets speak to the same family and religious mixture, several Christian religions also speak to this mixture of home-based family-centered religion.  The Muslim faith tends to support a community based around the mosque, and not as much on the individual family.  The religious foundations and actions of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints are very like the Jewish religious beliefs, the Amish, Quakers, Dutch Calvinists, and more who also carry a strong family first, religion second, approach to building strong communities through strong religious traditions, by first focusing upon the family and home-based religious practices, building into strong religious communities, and then to strong and morally upright citizens.  Yet, I have witnessed the same in Atheist communities, where the beliefs of non-belief led to strong families asking questions, seeking truth and developing the person through strong familial bonds.

Building a child, with strong familial bonds, which will then build a community, a state, and a country, is the work of two parents in a nuclear family.  But what supports the parents in the difficult job of rearing children, the local community and the extended family are helpful and needful, but most important traditions of belief.  Dodd in, her book, reflects this lesson as she taught freshmen in college, generally from tearing the student from improperly rooted belief structures and transplanting them into the heady and hedonistic thoughts of social families replacing nuclear families, shucking religious traditions in the process.

Religion Quote 2Why is Communism doomed; because it attempts to replace the family with the government.  Why is Socialism doomed; it expands the power of government until the government becomes Communist and tries to replace the family with the government.  Why has Capitalism been such a breath of fresh air to the world through the American Republic; because it leaves the family alone from the fingers of government intrusion.  Government intrusion, which chokes the agency of man for the mind control of the government.  Fascism was doomed to failure, for it worked hard to replace the family with social groups, social families, and corroded the human spirit until nothing but violence and rage remained.  Does this sound familiar; it should, for this is the same path being used in education in 2020, learned in the early 1900s, and dedicated to the eradication of America through slow corrosion.

Religious ThoughtAs an older child in a large family, with a large extended family, I once asked, “Why do we gather as an extended family with all the expense, the work, the travel, the hard feelings, etc.?”  The answer never made sense to me then, and makes less sense now; yet, there is a truth in the answer that is more felt than understood, “We do it for family.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye sings about “Tradition” and how familial and religious tradition extends into confidence and strength for the individual to understand who they are in society, and by extension in a country.

From the nuclear family comes confidence in knowing one’s self.  Does this mean that non-nuclear families are inferior; no!  It simply means there is a larger role for extended families and the community to render assistance.  Yet, the extended family and community cannot replace or render invalid the responsibilities of the parents.

Consider two families.  Family A loses their father as the oldest is just entering high school, the youngest daughter is just barely 18-months.  The mother is left to raise the family having married her high school sweetheart.  Family B is a product of divorce, the mother has custody of the children, and she and her new boyfriend work two jobs apiece, leaving the children to fend for themselves except when the grandparents can “take the kids.”  Family A the children continue to heal from their father’s abrupt passing and are strong in family and faith.  Family B the children have no roots, and they struggle with the religion of the parents and grandparents.  They struggle because their mother has no religious connections due to both employment and lifestyle choices.  The children are good kids, but they are confused, and the person who could settle their confusion, has abdicated the responsibility, and the grandparents can only do so much as partial parent replacements.  While the extended families and communities surrounding both families help and support as they can, the lack of parental responsibility and awareness of the mother in Family B, and the awareness and devotion in Family A, makes all the difference between these two families.

ReligionsHaving traveled across America for the last 25years, and ¾’s of the way around the world, I have a few observations that can strengthen the family.  I share the following as a warning, for if the family is not supported, the actions seen by the domestic terrorists in recent days, as evidenced by the riotings and lootings will only grow until America is lost forever.

  1. How much is enough? America is a capitalist and materialistic country; yet, for all that, there remains much good in America worth preserving.  Answering this simple question determines where standards, limits, and lines are drawn.  For example, how much sports watching is enough?  How much money is enough?
  2. We sacrifice for that which we love. It is a simple axiom, but the truth in a simple sentence.  Do we sacrifice that which is good for the better?  Do we sacrifice that which is better for the more desirable right now?  Do we sacrifice the best in us to fill an appetite?  Consider Family B, the mother chooses to never marry again and remains quite vocal about her decision; but, what is the cost for the sacrifice and the consequences of the decision?  Of her children, the first two are girls, who are confused.  Her young son struggles between the men of her mother’s life setting an example, and what he sees of his grandfather’s life and social circle.
  3. Social societies cannot replace the family. Social prominence cannot, and never will, fill the emptiness at the end of life.  My wife played for the funeral of a man who was politically well known, so much in fact, that the governor of AZ came to the man’s funeral, as well as many in the AZ State Legislature.  A couple of mayors of Phoenix were in attendance, some people with ambitions for federally elected posts were in attendance, and more.  Yet, I wonder today, 5years after his passing, if these same people remember the man.  My wife is still in touch with his wife, but I cannot help but wonder regarding this man’s children and grandchildren.
  4. Allow religious belief systems to change you personally, and your family collectively, through living a religious and moral centered life. President Adams, in discussing the US Constitution stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Look from the 1900s to 2020 and one inescapable fact emerges, the loss of the nuclear family has led to a degeneration of social values, morals, ethics, and people.  While the law has attempted to curb this dilemma, President Adams’ quote becomes ever more applicable.  America was founded upon a Judeo-Christian foundation of philosophies and the loss of religion is tearing America apart at its foundational core.

Martin Luther King in discussing individuals and society, morals, and religion, stated the following, “… you have got to change the heart and you cannot change the heart through legislation. You cannot legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion.”  While the rest of the quote goes onto try and validate the opposite, Rev. King has a point, the law can only go so far in dictating behavior, legislating morals, and decreeing standards.  Without a moral and religious society, America has nothing, is nothing, and falls a failed experiment in improving the human condition.

moral-valuesAmerica needs strong families, which possess a core of religious traditions, practiced in the home, and acted upon in society.  The days of allowing truancy due to race, the communist teachings in schools and the lies that society can replace the family must be fought and won by families informed.  America can survive the current attacks but needs every citizen fighting for the survival of this set of ideals embodied in the US Constitution.  We need morality and religion to return as the core that motivates people to action for America to survive.  It is possible to win against the forces arrayed against America domestically and foreign, but we need nuclear families, and those families need a religious core; there is no other way.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

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