Friday, July 27, 2018

Help Us To Connect The Dots And See

A few weeks ago I came across A Great Work by Brian Courtney Wilson and the lyrics immediately caught my attention. The vocals and music are masterfully performed but it's the lyrics, particularly those that I am going to explode in this post that struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I write this post 150 miles from where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta are entombed giving this post that much more significance for me. In fact, yesterday, July 26th, my daughter and me shared some bonding time as we took that 150 mile ride to Atlanta to visit the World of Coca-Cola, the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum and the King Historic District. As I toured these locations, the words from Mr. Wilson's song kept playing over and over again in my mind and spirit. So I decided to provide my interpretation of a portion of the song that in my mind powerfully speaks to how our outlook and perspective ought to drive our behavior and aspirations. I'll place my interpretation in italics in parentheses under the bolded lyric lines.

So what should be considered as we proceed
(We must always be thinking, reflecting, planning and acting.)

Is that this work did not begin with you
(It's not about us.  We are not all of that and a bag of chips and the opportunities that we take for granted were not always here. Things were not always this way.)

Our mothers' mothers and fathers' fathers planted seeds when we were but the faint notion of a dream in their mind they hope for a harvest a legacy, a great work
(Our ancestors had faith that one day even when they knew it would not be them, that generations would come from them that would live free, produce, contribute and be recognized for their contributions. They knew within their spirits that one day offspring somewhere on future branches of their family trees would have opportunities that only God knew was coming. They knew that one day that future children spawned from them would indeed be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.)

So may your next step forward
(We must keep moving forward and not go backwards. Let's cut out all of this nonsense such as sagging pants; underachieving; settling for mediocrity or less; calling each other derogatory names and terms; acting as if we are crazy/stupid; Get out there and VOTE; etc. etc. etc.) 

Help us to connect the dots and see
(We have got to connect our history with our present and our future. We have got to understand the shoulders we stand on and the ancestors who have fought and died in order for us to be where we are today. We have got to connect the dots and see the connection between us and the people who gave their lives in order for us to have the opportunities that we are experiencing in this present time. We have got to connect the dots and see that we are from greatness and we are great.)

This picture of greatness
(We must visualize and then bring the vision to reality)

In fact I hear God say, that you are his workmanship, His masterpiece, created for such a time as this, for great works, a great, great, great work
(We must see ourselves as that cliche goes "God made me and God don't make no junk!" We must understand that we are on the face of the earth for this period of time to make the world a better place. We are here to make life better for others, our children and our children's children.We were created for whatever is taking place at this very moment. We are here because of all of the others who have gone before us. There is no reason for us not to be great.)

So go be great
(We have no excuses. Get out there and be nothing less than great.)

Don't get discouraged
(It's going to be frustrating, tiring, disappointing, hurtful and hard, but don't you dare give up.)

Go be great
(In the words of Nike, "Just Do It!)

Don't you get weary
(Even though you are going to be challenged, keep on going.)

Go be great
(Cannot repeat this enough)

Keep marching for justice
(Don't settle. In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The time is always right to do what is right.")

Keep pressing toward the mark
(Keep moving forward toward lofty goals. Keep your eyes on the prize and don't get distracted by foolishness.)

In this wonderful world
(No matter how bad or crazy it may seem, there is still hope. As long as there is life, there is hope. When all is said and done, we are truly blessed and must always be grateful for what we have not complaining about what we don't have. The world is wonderful place and there is no better time to be alive.)

I am inspired by A Great Work each time I hear it. I listen to these words repeatedly and they hit me as if I were hearing them for the first time each time I listen to the song. It is my hope that my interpretation will spark some thinking, reflection, debate, and ultimately action. It is my hope that we will all strive for greatness and stop settling for mediocrity or just any old thing done in any old kind of way.

Join me live each Saturday from 6-9 a.m. ET as I webstream around the world on and broadcast locally on FM radio in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area on WP88.7 FM. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @readingcircle01, thinkcritical01 and on Instagram @readingcircle01.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Are We Teaching Our Children The Difference Between Earning and Entitlement?

EARN: to receive as return for effort and especially for work done or services rendered

ENTITLE: to give a right to

Almost daily I witness children who seem to not know the difference between the two definitions which opens this post. I see behavior exhibited by children in schools, grocery stores, shopping malls, parks, churches, and just about anywhere else that you will find parents or caregivers with children that lead me to believe that either the children were never taught the difference or they didn't grasp the lesson. I see children throwing temper tantrums while well-meaning adults feebly attempt to explain why they are saying no or why the child is not going to get his/her way, only to acquiesce and ultimately give the child what he/she was throwing the tantrum about.  It baffles me that more parents do not realize that they are perpetuating the very behavior that they do not want every time they give in and allow the child to get what he/she wants as a result of the tantrum or inappropriate behavior. As parents, we send the wrong message to the child leading him/her to believe that the world owes them something and all they have to do to get it is to holler or cry the loudest; pout; roll on the floor; kick and scream; persistently whine and the list can go on. We reinforce this behavior every time we give in and not allow our "No" to remain "No."

There are two key words underlined and bolded in the definitions above that are the key to this post. Children must learn that they must earn whatever it is that they want in life and that for the most part, no one is going to just give them whatever they want just because they want it.  It is downright frustrating to watch this child-parent exchange and have to wonder who the parent is. We are setting our children up to fail in a society that is not going to give them what they want just because they holler, kick, curse and scream. Salaries are earned. Promotions are earned. Degrees are earned. Licenses are earned and so forth and so on. I hope you get the picture. Nothing is given and yet those with the sense of entitlement believe that it ought to be. They believe and have been taught to believe (by our response) that no effort on their part needs to happen and they are to still receive whatever it is that they are looking to receive. No effort on their part whatsoever. Just like that child in the grocery store at the check out line, it's "Give me, give me, give me."

Parents, our "No" must mean "No" and our children need to understand that our "No" means "No" and learn to cut the drama. If we continue down this path, it will not bode well for society as we will have a spoiled generation (if we don't already have one) of people who believe the world owes them something when in reality it does not. The blank writing tablet depicted in the photo with the heading above it which reads "Here is a comprehensive of everything you're entitled to and what the world owes you," says it best.  We must teach our children (and some adults) this or we are all going to suffer in the end. 

Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences with this in the comment section and I invite you to join me live each Saturday from 6 - 9 a.m. Eastern time as I webstream around the world on and broadcast locally in the metropolitan area on FM radio WP88.7 FM. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and/or @readingcircle01.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Want To Be A Rainmaker?

Just finished reading MAKE IT RAIN by Areva Martin, posted my 5 Star review on Amazon and Goodreads and decided to make it my book of the month for July in this blog (see sidebar section on the left).

I won't give you all of the details as I encourage you to get a copy for yourself, read it and add the strategies to your marketing/branding toolkit. As one who is looking to "make it rain!" I found the strategies and tactics outlined by Ms. Martin to be well thought out and actionable.

I already have begun using Ms. Martin's coaching for making it rain with my radio show The Reading Circle with Marc Medley, this blog, The Critical Thinker and my podcast The Marc Medley Show.  So if you are looking to take your brand up a notch or two like I am, I highly recommend MAKE IT RAIN.  I invite you to comment in the comment section of this post as well as listen to me live each Saturday from  6- 9 a.m. Eastern Time as I webstream around the world on and broadcast on FM radio in the northern New Jersey and Metropolitan New York areas on WP88.7 FM. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Where In The World Do We Find The Most People With Tattoos? Think You Know?

I was listening to the radio in my car on Friday morning (6/29/18) and a similar question to the title of this post was raised. I am paraphrasing but it went something like, which country on a per capita basis had the highest population sporting one or more tattoos? Callers called in guessing which country it might be in the hopes of winning whatever the offered prize was for the correct answer. I listened hoping that the answer would be given before I reached my destination and lo and behold it was. I was guessing in my mind and even thought maybe the United States might have had the highest based on what I see around me on a daily basis. I listened as the DJ's told caller after caller that he/she was wrong until finally one caller gave the answer of Italy and was told that she was correct. The DJ's proceeded to give the top three countries of which the U.S. placed third.  Alrighty, get ready to place this in your "I don't know why I need to know this" trivia file; the top three countries are (1) Italy-48%, (2) Sweden-47% and (3) the United States-46%.

I had been looking for an angle to post about tattoos and tattooing and this survey and radio show contest provided me with the opportunity. Tattoos are not my thing as I have no interest whatsoever in turning my body into a canvass; however, as the data suggests, there are many who do. In this arena, I say, to each his/her own. You won't be finding me with anything permanently inked on my body.

Being open minded I decided to look up the history of tattoos and tattooing. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (and I cross-referenced it with other sources as I know in some instances Wikipedia may not be totally accurate, but in this case it is):
Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art and the archaeological record.[1] Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooing was practiced by the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe. However, direct evidence for tattooing on mummified human skin extends only to the 4th millennium BC. The oldest discovery of tattooed human skin to date is found on the body of Ötzi the Iceman, dating to between 3370 and 3100 BC.[2] Other tattooed mummies have been recovered from at least 49 archaeological sites, including locations in Greenland, Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines and the Andes.[3] These include Amunet, Priestess of the Goddess Hathor from ancient Egypt (c. 2134–1991 BC), multiple mummies from Siberia including the Pazyryk culture of Russia and from several cultures throughout Pre-Columbian South America.[2]
Other "Did You  Know?" facts from History of Tattoos  include:

  • The world record holder in the number of tattoos is Gregory Paul McLaren whose skin is 100% covered with tattoos. After him comes Tom Leppard born 1934. His skin is covered with tattoos “only” 99.9%.
  • Hepatitis was a big problem after the Second World War and many places banned tattooing. Some places didn't lift the ban until relatively recently.
  • The most effective way of tattoo removal today is laser removal. The laser breaks large pigment particles into smaller so a body can absorb them and rid of them in a natural way.
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans tattooed their slaves and criminals so they could be easier to identify if the escape. Chinese also tattooed their criminals.
  • If a tattoo ink has metals there is a rare chance that it will become hot during MRI tests.
  • George C. Reiger Jr has a special permission from Disney to have tattoos of their copyrighted material – namely Disney's characters. He has over 1,000 Disney tattoos, which includes all 101 Dalmatians.
  • Ancient Egypt practiced “medical tattooing” among other forms. They, for instance, had tattoos for treatment of chronic pelvic peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum).
  • Earliest tattoo inks were made of carbon and ash.
  • Today, at least one-fifth of adult United States has at least one tattoo.
  • For those that love tattoos but don't want one to last them forever, there are temporary tattoos applied with henna, ballpoint pen or as a water-soluble sticker.
So, for those of you who are tattooing for whatever reason, you are in good company. Nearly half of the United States population of consenting age has at least one or more tattoos. It's not for me but for those of you who love it, more power to you. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section of this blog or on Twitter @thinkcritical01 or @readingcircle01.

I invite you to join me live each Saturday from 6-9 a.m. Eastern time as I webstream around the world on and broadcast on FM radio in northern New Jersey and New York City on WP88.7 FM.