Jaren's Blog

December 28, 2010

New Site

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 10:25 am

I will keep this blog site open as it has a great deal of traffic, yet I have moved content to: http://jarenldavis.com/ If you are a follower of my blog please use the new site and pass it around for me, thx!

December 3, 2010

I am sacrificing for you… make something of yourself!

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 1:27 pm

If you are much like me when you hear the name Nevil Shed, you may not know anything about the person; you might even think he is an Englishman, or at least of Caucasian decent; right?  Perhaps this is a common response as you will see.  The Nevil Shed I now know is 6’ 8” tall, a talented basketball player, and was recruited by over 100 collegiate basketball teams.  These were all on full ride scholarships offered during the 1960’s.

Sadly, Nevil soon learned the offers had come from coaches who were unaware he was black.  Of the 100 plus letters piling up on his kitchen table with more coming in daily; there were only 12 schools that would even consider a “colored” man on their team!

This wasn’t necessarily shocking to Nevil or his parents; they were living during an era of intense discrimination.  Nevil insisted with his mother that he would go to some of the colleges which were offering him scholarships, even though they had misinterpreted his color.  She didn’t want him too, but he did anyway.

What Nevil experienced next brought home how horrible intolerance was in other parts of the country.  Electing one night to go to a movie, Nevil approached the ticket booth with everyone else.  As he handed over his dollar for entrance the employee pushed it back to him.  Unaware there was a separate entrance for colored people, he innocently handed the dollar back.  It was pushed back again with no communication whatsoever.  Then suddenly someone grabbed Nevil by the arm, showing him where “his” entrance was.

Nevil walked down a dark scary alley to dreary doorway.  There he was granted access, but found he had a special location, away from other guests, which was upstairs.  Nevil wanted popcorn and a drink to enjoy during the movie, yet he was afraid of what may be put in his food.  While approaching the drinking fountain he clearly witnessed another bias toward him, place on the wall were two fountains; one for whites, and the other for colored people.

His story of becoming a member of the first team to win the NCAA national basketball championship, with an all black starting lineup, in 1966 I will save for a different story.  What I want to share with you is the story Nevil shared with me last night.  This is what started him on his path of success.

Nevil’s father worked in a train station helping traveling passengers disembark from passenger cars and loaded their luggage.  One day Nevil went to work with his father and there witnessed some of the pressures his father had to put up with at work.

Those who reached out their hand for assistance or those who required help with baggage referred to Nevil’s father as “boy.”  This troubled Nevil deeply as he knew the term wasn’t being used respectfully toward his dad.  On one occasion Nevil assisted his father by placing suitcases in line on the floor; this was done to position them out of harms way, and allow easy access for the travelers.

One passenger took his belongings and moved them a few feet from where Nevil placed them as the train was leaving.  When the train went by, the steam from the engine sprayed all over the man’s luggage as it proceeded down the tracks.  This angered the man terribly.  He immediately yelled at Nevil’s father to correct the wrong.  Nevil’s dad hurried over, knowing the fault lay in this mans actions, and apologized while cleaning the bags with his handkerchief.

To Nevil’s surprise the wife of the man who had moved his own luggage commented “It is no ones fault but yours, you placed the bags in the way.”  Nevil remembers the man arguing with his wife as he continued to belittle his father by using “boy” throughout his remarks.

That night, at home, Nevil who felt ashamed of his father, not understanding why he wouldn’t stand up for himself, yelled at him commenting “Why don’t you stick up for yourself!”  To Nevil’s surprise the next thing he remembered was that he was up against the wall with his father pushing him in the upper chest.

“I will not have you act like this.  I put food in your stomach (pointing at Nevil’s midsection), clothes on your back (pointing at his chest), and a roof over your head (waving his hand over Nevil’s head) with this job!  All I need from you is to make something of yourself so you don’t have to ever find yourself in my position.”

All 6’ 8” of this teenager found himself humbled and dedicated to honoring the gift his father so graciously gave; his all!  From that moment on Nevil never looked back, he took the talents God blessed him with, and the love of his parents, to became a major contributor and success in life.  Someone his father truly was proud of!

This father’s son enabled our current athletic world (perhaps all society) to benefit from the equality we enjoy today.  He did this while suffering through tremendous trials!  Nevil must carry his father’s spirit.

To fathers and mothers all over this beautiful world; those who carry enough love in their heart too further the lives of their children, thank you.  To my mother and father, thank you for what you have given me.  And too my children, my hope is I, with your mother, have opened doors of opportunity for you.  Now go out and make a difference in our world!

Jaren

 

November 1, 2010

I’m sorry, what is your name?

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 5:26 pm

Isn’t it fun when your day involves bumping into someone who naturally brings out your “best?”  These are people who leave you feeling better for having seen them; it is as if they super charged your batteries or something.  You immediately gain brilliance, raise your head a little higher, and you feel necessary in society.  Your new light then shines on others as you interact throughout the day.

What is their secret; how do they do that?  Ask them; they will tell you “they don’t know.”  And truly they don’t; their ability to find value in those around them comes naturally and with no effort.  They are individuals with their minds set solely on finding what they have that may be of need to others.

There is an easy way to know who these people are well before you have any interaction with them.  They possess the ability to treat all they meet, regardless of stature; the exact same way.  Whether it is a powerful political person, a high-ranking organizational leader, or the maid at the hotel; they are all the same.  No matter the role or the employment of any individual they are treated with dignity and admiration.

I have heard the term magnifiers used in business; these people are in fact multipliers.  The bring out the best in all of us and surround themselves with people who are better than themselves.  They leave all interactions better than when they arrived; unknowing and innocent to their ability.

Are you a multiplier?  Ask yourself a simple question: “Are there people in your life who assist you in someway that you don’t even know their names?”  These exchanges could be as simple as a single interaction with a clerk, taxi driver, or someone on an elevator.  Or as complex as the person who cleans your office, works at your regular coffee stop, or you see fairly frequently.

If you answer yes, you are a multiplier, you create goodness around yourself.  If it is no or not really, guess what?  It is okay because you can easily change.  Take these next few days and put your emotion toward others.  Before you think of yourself think of those you are interacting with.  What you will soon find is that your needs are met as you meet the needs of those around you.

My promise is you will never again find yourself unaware of how important every person, everyday, is in your life.  It is not happenstance that many meaningful people enter your life everyday; your paths are crossing for a reason, find out why.

Jaren

October 29, 2010

Forever yours, faithfully

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 11:34 am
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Today I was in the neighborhood of an old friend so I stopped by his office to catch up on old times.  We laughed, teased, reminisced, and yes shed some tears as we visited.  You see I hadn’t seen him in quite some time and hadn’t heard the news of his wife who had recently undergone heart surgery.

They have lived an amazing life together.  This has been through thick and thin as they grew together from their youth raising a great family.  He had just celebrated a birthday and while we spoke his children called wishing him well.  As we talked I could feel deeply his love of family; particularly his wife with his emotion concentrated on her.  I could sense how their relationship intensified as she tested deaths door.

Perhaps as a stress relief he gave me details of her surgery; every detail was filled with passion as you can imagine.  His description gave evidence of gratitude for modern medicine, but clearly I could see he felt the pain of witnessing his soul mate going through this procedure.  She has come through it with expected success, but still in recovery.

I left his office got into my car and immediately thought of my wife and the extraordinary life we have shared.  While reflecting and overflowing with a deep sense of gratitude an old Journey song came on the radio.  The song was “Faithfully.”

My intensity increased as I turned the music up with Steve Perry singing, “I’m forever yours, faithfully.” http://bit.ly/journeyfaithfully

My life with Kim has been AMAZING!!!  She is my strength, my courage, my motivation, mother of our children, and a person who has certainly made my life worthwhile.

From a man who is incapable of giving back all my beautiful spouse has given me; know what I can give is that “I am forever yours, faithfully.”

Jaren

October 21, 2010

She did WHAT?

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 1:26 pm
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I participated in a conference where I was entertained by a speaker who used humor to educate.  At the end of his presentation he shared with us a story (in a serious tone) about a woman’s courage.  The tale was a short on Susan Boyle, the British singer; her story touched my heart.  I want to expand on what I know she accomplished for all of us.

At birth Susan was oxygen deprived leading to a life of learning difficulty.  She didn’t have the looks that could have overcome her deficiency as she sported frizzy hair and an odd-shaped face.  Abuse ensued with children teasing her mercilessly; the teasing followed her through adulthood.  Her comment to interviewers after performing was, “the jibes left scars that don’t heal.”

Romance and love were not given to Susan as she made claim to never being kissed.  As a result she dedicated her life to her parents care.  Singing was her escape allowing her to participate in a world where she excelled naturally.  Her mother insisted on Susan sharing her talent with the world by going on “Britain’s got talent” show.

Picture for a moment the courage it must have taken for this wonderful soul to appear on stage; honoring a commitment to her mother.  She knew in her heart that each and every time someone new looked on her, they immediately began to scorn.  She knew that the stage was witnessed by over 3,000 and over 10 million were watching live on TV.

As she walked out all prophesies were fulfilled.  Not only was the audience snickering but the judges were as well.  Think now how it must have felt to be Susan at this time in her life; think of her courage!  She held constant to an inner belief, knowing she had a gift and that she was not participating in a beauty pageant.  Singing perhaps was her safety net, one she had used many times in her life before.

When asked “What are you going to do?”  The insults continued as she shared with the world her dreams and aspirations.  In the opening lines of her song the audience miraculously began to applaud, a complete change occurred right before our eyes.  Her voice penetrated all who have ever dreamed a dreamed.  Her voice echoed into eternity giving hope to all who share these same fears.  At the end she was given a standing ovation.  Being new to entertainment she immediately walked off the stage.

The judges had to recall her so they could remark on their feelings.  The judges and the audience were humiliated, knowing they had placed inappropriate judgment on a fellow human being.  Morgan, a judge, commented “Everyone laughed at you but no-one is laughing now.”  This perhaps became a wake-up call to all who too had placed sentence on this brave woman.

We live in a world where beauty is expected to excel.  We give a pass to those who have the look, even if they lack the talent.  Those who don’t patronize the gym, buy the latest fashion, or have the natural curves perhaps are required to push through subconscious objections.

Susan knew if her talent failed her, she would again be humiliated; this time in front of the world.  This brave soul took courage by the hand and with a heart of determination walked out on stage.  Yes, saying no, or walking away at this time guaranteed a continuous unglamorous existence, but didn’t allow for a commitment made or a belief felt.

What is your talent?  What is in your heart?  What is keeping you from reaching your desires?  Susan may have come from a place of the lowest expectations, yet she climbed to heights many will never see.

Don’t wait to be plucked from obscurity, share what lies within your heart.  Talents are given to be shared and taken away if left idle.  Look deeper, feel more intensely, reach within your soul.  Express the greatness inside each of you.  Bless our lives with who you are!  There is a bright future given to those who make their dreams reality.

Jaren

October 10, 2010

No “do overs.”

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 4:12 pm
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Life presents itself with hills and valleys, ups and downs or highs and lows.  Science learns about historical events in specific areas by examining trees rings.  On living trees for example, a core is taken and reviewed by experts.  They then can determine the years of plenty or years of great stress.

 With this approach science finds what has built the character of the tree.  Knowledge is obtained proving the tree needed storms (challenges), calm (resting), and bounty (success’) to gain strength.  It is only through a varied life of difficulty (trails) and abundance (blessings) that a tree can in fact withstand nearly any challenge it is presented with.  Too, it is through this growth that good times are deeply felt, knowing the foundation being built.

 Trees that are farm grown with either props that hold them up or assistance insuring there is never a need, can barely endure any difficulty presented as they grow.  Constant lives of sameness, with no challenges, prove to be detrimental and even fatal.  It may seem appropriate or even desired but experience shows protection from adversity strips moral fiber.  When life presents difficulty there is nothing there to sustain them.

 We all have had trials, some may suggest more today than in recent history.  I will suggest that if you were granted an opportunity to have a “do over.”  Going back in life to remove a difficulty and could then see the life lessons that would be lost as a result; we would gladly take the trials or see them as blessings.

 Some of our greatest joy, our deepest learning and our foundation of faith have come by enduring these life lessons.  Don’t find yourself misunderstanding the value of experience; it builds your character.  Don’t take from yourself the need for trails; they both sustain you and bring fulfillment.

 Your trials may seem at the time they are lived to be insurmountable.  Know they aren’t and that they are times you would never give up if you understood what lie ahead.

 Jaren

September 21, 2010

I can only imagine

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 12:33 pm
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Well maybe I can’t, but I did get a pretty good sense.  My brother-in-law, the rock of Gibraltar, a pillar of faith and an example of true courage learned yesterday he has a terminal disease.

As we gathered together, family and friends, one could only be amazed at his strength and conviction.  Hugh has been, is today and always will be a God-fearing man.  He maintains deep convictions valuing life.  He understands the blessings he has received while living here on earth.  He knows with certainty that there is a purpose to his life path.

There were special times as we talked as a group; the spirit of love attended us.  Hugh suggested if we all put our personal trials in the middle of the room, each of us would take ours back.  Hugh then confirmed he would gladly take his; perhaps so others wouldn’t have to.

I personally believe he chose his path long ago, knowing perhaps others might not have too, or that those of us who would know him could gain strength as witnesses of his endurance, patience and devotion.  Hugh’s example extends as a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a friend.  After we shared time together, shed tears of gratitude and felt the fear of the unknown; Hugh arose to give each of us a hug.

It was at this time I witnessed a miracle.  I saw and felt something I will never forget.  There are times in my life I have felt something similar to what I was feeling deep inside.  Times I have not and may never forget.  These have come in witnessing the birth of my children, standing at my father’s bedside as he passed, watching the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, standing at Martins Cove or simply participating in feeling a mothers love.

The miracle that played out before my eyes was Hugh, a man of large stature, hugging his youngest son Connor (the best looking kid in middle school), who is thirteen years old.  As Connor approached his dad, nearly out of tears, the two embraced.  Hugh, standing just over six feet tall and Connor being about five foot six, then participated together in an embrace that was as if they were two eternal beings meeting in mortality.

As Hugh’s body engulfed his son, Connor placed his head on his father’s massive chest.  Hugh’s heart penetrated his son’s spirit as he placed his hand on the back of his head.  Hugh then rested his chin and cheek on Connor stating, “My you certainly have grown up my son.”

I felt as if their mortality lifted for a moment as they participated in an embrace that will remain part of their lives forever.  They held each other for some time, not wanting the feeling to end and long enough to penetrate a lifetime.  I knew then and will never forget that this man, my brother-in-law, Connor’s father, will never leave his side.  He will stand as his guardian, as he has forever!

The feeling they must have felt could only be described as phenomenal; just being in the room witnessing touched me as it did.  My knowledge is pure, my experience was real and for a moment, “I could only imagine” knowing their connection was necessary and eternal.

Jaren

August 31, 2010

Want to be happier, healthier and have brighter kids?

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 3:39 pm
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If I told you there is a way for you to live happier, healthier, accumulate wealth and build social status; would you be interested?

What if at the same time you could boost the educational performance of your children and lower your chance of becoming a victim of crime?  Do I have your interest peeked even greater?

Finally, what if in addition to the above mentioned opportunities you would realize higher civic participation, enhance your volunteering activity and lessen any need for public assistance?  Is there anyone reading who I haven’t created a mild case of curiosity in now?

In 1931 James Truslow Adams coined in his book, “The Epic of America” the concept of; “The American Dream.”  He stated: “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

My contention is the “American Dream” by Adams, contains as an essential element, the opportunity for each of us to own our own homes.  Homeownership through many independent studies, over many years, has proven to provide all of the benefits discussed above.  Let me take just a little time with you to cover some detail on each of them.

Homeownership, in addition to the benefits I cited above, accounted for 14 percent of the United States economic activity in the housing sector alone.  Homeowner’s real estate holdings totaled $16,500,000,000,000.00 ($16.5 trillion, included 000’s for effect) in 2010.  This is after all the devastation we have realized in our “Great Recession.”  If we subtract liabilities, the net value (equity) of American homeowner’s in 2010 is $6.3 trillion; astounding!

If we go back to the turn of the 20th Century American’s homeownership rate was below 50%.  It has gradually increased to a record high in 2004 of 69% and is currently hovering around 67% as I write this piece.

A fact discussed as a component of adding the benefits I have covered is the stability homeownership provides to community.  A homeowner moves far less frequently than does a renter.  The difference is staggering; a renter changes residence 6 times as often as do homeowners.  Homeowners who do move cite they do so: first– to a better home or neighborhood, second– for family reasons and lastly– for employment.

Homeowner’s have positive impact on their children in both achieving higher levels of education and reducing deviant behavior.  Studies show the home purchase is one of the largest financial decisions we make; homeowners tend show greater responsibility through managing the financial commitment and maintaining skills required to handle the payments.  Additionally, bad behavior which would detract from the value is minimized in the home and parents help, “police the neighborhood” eliminating similar activities outside.  It comes to reason that with children reaching higher levels of education their earning capacity improves as well.

Children who grow up in a home, which is owned, have a much higher probability of becoming a homeowner.  Part of our societies push to improve learning should include a strategy to promote homeownership.

Civic duties increase as the natural move from spending time and money maintaining the home, spills over into interest in the quality of the surrounding community.  The political process too is improved as incentives to protect the neighborhood are managed through concern over who is making community decisions.  Homeowners vote at a much higher percentage (nearly 50% more) than do renters.  Too, homeowners know the names of school board members and elected officials twice as often as do renters.

Volunteering increases as does attendance in churches.  The reason suggested for this, is simply the stability of the homeowner equates to their interest in engaging in the community; this comes in a variety of ways.

Ownership includes the feeling of individual autonomy, through possessing our own property.  Wealth is created with the appreciation of the asset, which over time has proven to be reliable investment.  Homeowner’s are better able to deal with financial setbacks or deal with being laid off because they can access their equity.  This gives community self-reliant citizens who don’t require as much public assistance.

As people become homeowners they are likely to have higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem and a higher perceived control of their life.  The homeowners develop a sense of being able to do things as well as anyone participating in stable relationships.  Homeowner’s feel self-fulfillment having reached the milestone of achieving, “The American Dream.”

Jaren

July 29, 2010

I guess not all cops eat doughnuts?

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 1:35 pm
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My youngest daughter asked me and Kim what old people like us do for fun.  My first thought was, “We are not old” then I realized at her age everyone over 16 is old; so I let that comment fade.  Then I thought, “She doesn’t really think (old people) can have fun.”  So I shared with her a story about our last date together.

The other night Kim and I decided to step into a small shop as it looked interesting to us.  We probably were in this store for all of ten minutes at most.  When we came out there was a police officer writing a parking ticket.  I walked up to the officer and said, “We were only in there for a few minutes, there are no other cars anywhere around here and I didn’t have any idea there were meters; give me a break, please.”

This officer (a male) said nothing at all and just proceeded writing the ticket.  I am not one to anger quickly; typically.  This however, for some reason pushed the wrong buttons for me; so I reacted!  “Sir is your mother proud at all that you grew up harassing people out enjoying themselves, who are doing nothing wrong; while there are criminals running around free?”

His stoic attitude remained as he started writing another ticket for a broken windshield.  At this point, my normally calm wife chimed in stating, “You have got to be kidding me; why don’t you go down the street and eat doughnuts like you usually do!”  All this did was make his face turn a bright red.

As he finished the second ticket, putting it under the first one under the wiper blade he commenced with writing a third ticket.  It seemed as though this was going to go on all night.  After a few more choice comments from both Kim and I, with the cop remaining silent; we decided to leave.

This created a lot of interest in this officer as we walked away.  He yelled out to us, “Where are you going?”  Home, we replied.  “Aren’t you going to take your car?”  That is not ours; we saw the Obama bumper sticker and decided to have a little fun.  Have a great night sir.  Presume we will never know what happened with all those tickets.

Guess old people can still have fun (This is just a story I changed from one I read from a friend. Kim would never do that; I may however)

Jaren

July 26, 2010

Simple example on Socialism

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 1:24 pm
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A friend, Wayne Kotter recently shared a story with me where a college economics professor stated, “I had never failed a single student; until recently I failed an entire class.”

This professor’s class had insisted that socialism works and that we should let our current president give it a try.  They believed that with socialism; no one would be poor and no one would be rich— it is a great equalizer.

This professor told the class they would have “an experiment on socialism.”

His plan suggested that all grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade.  According to the students this would mean no one would fail, yet no one would receive an “A” either.

After the first test the grades were averaged and the entire class received a “B.”  The students who studied hard were upset and those who studied very little obviously were happy.

By the time the second test rolled around the students who had studied very little had studies even less.  The students who had studied hard had decided they too wanted a free ride so they studied less.

The second test average came in as a “D.”  Now no one was happy.  Not surprising the third test averaged an “F.”  The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise.  The professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

For me this story is very interesting and comes with arguably little long-term devastation.  A large-scale experiment with our countries future is a little harder to stomach.  Aren’t there some great examples out there for us to make an educated decision on the direction of our collective futures?

We truly do have the best system; we just need to let it operate as it would naturally!

Jaren

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