Have you ever noticed that whether we want to admit it or not we can control a lot of little things about ourselves that can and generally will reflect how the people around us see us? My first experience with this was when I was 15 years old and went to spend the summer at my aunt’s house. I was what my parents called a wild child and was sent away mainly because they needed a break from me. Now back home I was the poor kid wearing hand me downs and I guess in so many ways was just another geeky teenager. Anyway those same hand me downs that were considered so terrible where I grew up made me cool in my cousins little city. My red neck accent was also something different and unique to the girls my age that lived in the town as well. There is confidence in being who you are and being seen in a positive light. I played the part because that is how they saw me. With that confidence also comes bravery or stupidity depending on who you talk to.
Shortly after my arrival there I was at the mall with my cousin and I was this guy a lot bigger than me and a few years younger literally smashing a little red head in to this glass pillar. Now my father raised me with the belief that real men do not beat woman. As a matter of fact his exact words were if you hit a woman under any circumstances you are not fit to be called a man. Now I know that I have developed strong moral values, but honestly that was probably the first time that they had ever been tested because it’s easy to say this is right and this is wrong, but until the time comes when you actually have to stand up for those beliefs it is really just theory. Everybody has an opinion and their own ideals of how life should be lived and as people it’s usually defending them that is the hard part. Well without thought I shoved this guy away from the girl and stood between them. Luckily he mistook my shaking as rage and not fear (Yes it was fear) and tried to justify what he was doing rather than attack me. I still remember him trying to justify it by telling me that she had kicked him in the groin and her justifying it by saying he had grabbed her ass. Yes he was just a town bully and being that he had never seen me before his courage fell short because he saw rage in my eyes rather than the fear that was actually there. That was also how I became the toughest teen there. Not because I was the toughest, but because someone else thought I was the toughest.
Now I would like to say that my teenage mind learned that defending your moral values is something that we should all do or that defending someone in need feels right, but I actually took it as we can become anybody we want to as long as we dress the part and those around us believe it. Unfortunately I became the bully who bullied the town bully. I wonder if the thought that I was not the tough guy he thought I was ever crossed his mind.
It was ten years later when the dressing the part lesson would reappear. I was working at a call center and being over looked for too many promotions so I decided it was time to get educated. I applied at a local college and bought a new suit for the school interview. After the interview I went to work as usual in the new suit and rumors that I was looking for a new job went through the whole place. Now the management of the company took it serious because within a few days I had been promoted to a different department with a little raise. Now they had never asked me was I looking for a new job. They saw and assumed I was looking and decided to do something to keep me. Now I did not get any smarter or became a better employee over a couple of days, but people like to assume and if they never ask for the truth just being who you are can make you just that.
Now we all have heard “Dress for success” and I think that success in a lot of cases is not just how much you know, how hard you work, but how you dress and how people see you. I even used to stop wearing jeans to work and throw on a suit and get a haircut just to see if anybody would notice. Usually they do and sometimes it just takes a little polish every now and then to make the world around you notice who you are or sometimes you just need to dress up to feel good about yourself. Every now and then Sarah will get her hair and nails done and then there is a sparkle in her eyes.
So life has taught me that we all can dress for success whether it is at work, at home and definitely if it is just to make you feel better inside and out. Also sometimes just noticing the attempt made by others can be all it takes to help someone see themselves as the success that they want to be.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was a rhyme that most of us have heard in our childhood and I think as we become adults we understand that it can. Well most of us do, but sometimes it amazes me how many people would not stand up in a room full of people and scream out the details of our personal life yet when it comes to the social networks it is done. I really do not see a big difference in how or where you say it you cannot always take it back once it is said and once it’s out there on the internet it cannot be erased.
Now I do not have anything against any of the social networks because I use a lot of them. I am that guy that tweets the funny and sweet tweets and post similar things on my Facebook, but I make it a point to always try and be positive and never say anything that I think would belittle or insult the people around me especially my other half. My personal view on this is that my personal life is personal and how can you say you love someone and then bash them to the world, but yet I see that a lot. It’s not just on my friend’s pages, but their friend’s pages and even people that my friends do not even know.
I know that we all have our good days and bad and certainly I am not perfect and we all carry our own baggage. I am sure that mine is a mile long and there are little pieces of my personality and habits that would drive most people crazy. I am sure that at times Sarah looks at me and shakes her head in absolute wonder, but she never tells the world about it. Like me she believes that our little moments of conflict are ours and that we should share them with each other and not the whole world. We respect each other enough not just when we are together, but in every avenue of life. I make it a rule never to say anything in anger because those are sometimes the things that hurt the worst and last the longest. Anybody can list the faults that they see or that exist, but sometimes you need to sit back and let them slide or be discussed in private. Also just because it is your opinion does not always make it the right opinion.
My point is if you would not the world knowing something you did why you would say about someone else. If you would not want someone saying that you were a bad parent, lover, partner, daughter or friend then think about that before you add it to all the negative comments that someone might have in there day. Action do speak louder then words, but sometimes the words sting more and burn longer
A first impression can last forever and like most things in life we are usually judged based on those first few mere seconds when we first meet someone. This became truly apparent to me last week when one of my colleagues at work was absolutely amazed to hear that my life started out in a small two horse town as an uneducated cleaner. At that moment his jaw dropped because he first saw me working on a complicated problem acting confident and in control. It was those few seconds that he judged me. Now he saw confidence and made his judgment on appearance. The tech that sits down from me looked frustrated bad lost even though she is just as good as I am if not better he judged as lost and weak. She is neither, but at the time he saw her and judged her she was caught in a stressful situation with an unreasonable customer. Now no matter how many good calls she takes that is how he will see her. In reality if he would have seen her on any number of other calls he would have seen a very different person. Why because 99% of the time she is the one in control.
Now I am not saying that I do not play my part because even when I am absolutely lost I sound confident because fifteen years working in call centers has taught me that being in control is more sounding confident then actually having all the answers. I am not saying I lie just that I sound like I know all the answers or that I know how to get them. My first job was a level 1 tech working for a popular computer manufacturer and during my training I was told when you are lost or cannot find the answer reinstall the pc. Our database crashed so I spent the rest of the day just reinstalling peoples computers. I took 138 calls and reinstalled 130 computers. I sounded confident so people actually thanked me for not having the skills to fix their computers and wiping the pc. I worked at that company for eight more years and during the rest of my career there I only wiped about 10 more computers, but the point is the impression the people received was that I knew what I was doing and had years of experience. My second day at that company my boss called me in for a meeting and he did not mention how big my screw up was, but how many of those 130 people had emailed the company thanking me for the great job I did. My average talk time was under 4 minutes and I learned a valuable lesson. Sound like you know what you are doing at all times.
Now I have also had the opposite experiences with first impressions. I am a very simple man with very simple roots. I was raised with the belief if it’s cheap enough, it fits and you need it then you buy it when it comes to clothes. Those around me call it the poor boy mentality. I have learned that if the clothes do not fit properly no matter what you do most people will judge you in a negative way. Add in the fact I am a 70s child so I always have long hair most of the time so a lot of people assume I am some kind of party animal. An example of this is my first trip to Israel when my colleagues immediately invited me to smoke a doobie after work. No I do not do any kind of drugs, but based on a first impression people thought I did.
On the opposite end of the spectrum I have witnessed an absolute ass get the girl because his shoes and clothes look absolutely amazing of him despite the fact the better man sitting right beside him does not have a lick of style in him. I have seen woman who are true ladies in every sense be called whores because someone thought their dress looked cheap or the big woman get over looked because her dress size is not the one that someone thought is the right size. People will always judge you on that first mere seconds of any meeting. I do it too, but life has taught me that if you can overcome that first impression you might find something wonderful. That whore might be an amazing woman who can bring something wonderful to your world, that big woman might be your soul mate and the guy dressed in cheap suit might be a millionaire. No that is not me, but the guy that owned the company my father used to work for wore overalls and rubber boots like most farmers. Even in the 80s he was worth a million dollars and was an eligible bachelor. Many woman who complained that there were no nice guys left did not take the time to get to know him. Outside of work he wrote poetry, traveled the world and owned houses in seven different countries. He married a simple waitress not because he was the prettiest or fit into a predefined dress size, but because she took the time to get to know him and laughed at his jokes. She took the time to look past the first impression and discovered that he offered a little bit of everything that she wanted and he found the mother of his children, companion for those long adventures exploring the world and the heart of a poet who wrote her I love you’s constantly.
Remember that award girl from high school who became a fashion model (yes I am sure it happens) or that nerdy guy that became a body builder and both appear to have been sculpted by the gods. It’s the person who forgot their first impression of them that and kept the second and third impression of them that brought something to their life and enjoyed the experience of knowing them year after year.
There is power in setting the right first impression, but even more strength in looked past it and finding the hidden second impression.
Last week at work we talked about love and of course with each individual person there was a different and unique view on exactly what is love. I am not saying that my view is right or wrong only that I was amazed at how despite the fact that everybody deep down wants the exact same thing, but each has their own idea about what true love really is and how to get there. Now my viewpoint on love and family has evolved over the past thirty years as much as I have evolved as a human being. Honestly I do not know if the man I have become is better than the man I was at 18 only that he is much more respected then he used to be. Life has taught me that it’s just a series of lost loves and broken hearts until you find that one special love. There is a saying that you need to have loved and lost in order to appreciate love when you truly find it. One constant for me is that I love with all my heart. It’s the only way I can love.
I work with a young woman from India who strongly believes in tradition. She believes that an arranged marriage will lead to love. No not true love or a happy marriage, but she is so terrified of disappointing her family that she will accept just love. I cannot say that I understand this way of thinking, but I also know that deep down it’s my hope that she does not just learn to love out of obligation, but that she finds true love for no other reason than everybody deserves to feel loved and to feel the feeling that somebody wakes up to a day filled with sunshine because they see perfection in them.
Another friend has the idea that true love is what you give and only the selfish make expectations as to what they receive in return. In her eyes my viewpoint is consumed with selfishness because I have such a strong idea that true love is only there when its two sided. She is passionate about the fact that it’s the experience and journey that counts and not the end result. Maybe I am selfish, but I have never found success in loving without being loved back and definitely have not walked away from loving someone that way and thought how great my life was because I knew them. In my experience those that have that view point are always the ones that are loved and never truly loved back. They are the ones that rebound quicker because they never truly commit.
The most shocking belief I have ever seen was a couple from my childhood. To my knowledge they never fought, they enjoyed the same things and seemed like the perfect couple. They were family friends so for thirty years I witnessed them just living there lives together. One day I was shocked to learn that they were not a couple. The reason to them was simple. They had job offers in other ends of the country and got bored with each other. They both had the idea they can always find a new lovers, but I also wondered if either found true love ever because to me true love is not something that is as interchangeable as your socks or underwear.
Now I do not consider myself an expert on what love is or how you can find it, but life has taught me a few things. Unfortunately most of my experiences were trial and error, but I definitely still believe love is one of those things that you are either all the way in or you are all the way out. It’s not a list of who does more or loves more. It’s give and take. That is what life has taught me. Love like it’s your last day because life is too short and one day it will be, but do not settle. Expect exactly what you will accept. If you want to always feel loved then expect it. Actually demand it. Sarah is one of those people that sees me in a different light at my greatest point and my worst. It’s also how I am so it works. I always do more for her than anybody else has not because I want to be better, but because to me she deserves better and she does more for me than anyone else ever has. It was a shock for me when I lost my job a few years ago. Growing up in a world where people judged a man’s value by how good of a provider he was to me the world had ended. In a two week period I had lost two jobs. One I left because I wanted a normal life working a forty hour work week rather the seventy or eighty and the other decided to outsource my department. I was beaten at that moment. Much like my income was gone a piece of my confidence was also gone that day. Sarah never even mentioned the struggles that would and did follow, but she wrapped her arms around me and said that we would make it through. To me that is love. Two people who will stay together because no matter what struggles are there they know that being together life is better than being apart. It’s not about who needs who, but about choosing to be together no matter what the journey brings. I am not sure if you’re a parent can choose someone for their child who can feel that same basic desire and need or if time can offer that same strength in your time in need, but definitely I think that no matter how you love for love just believing it exists and can happen in your life is better than living a loveless life without the dream the its just around the corner.
Sometimes we come across something that at first we think its another cheap shot at telling woman to do this or that in order to feel and be beautiful, but at the end we think its absolutely amazing. This little video called the Dove Beauty Patch is one of those so I thought that I would share the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGDMXvdwN5c
There is a saying live by the sword and die by the sword. It was the foundation that the Vikings, Spartans, Samurai and so many other cultures both lived and died by. Whether it is never retreating from a battle, looking for some glorious death in battle or a ritual suicide because you are shamed many cultures and people clung to that belief. Many people think it’s a warrior’s code and I guess that it is, but if we break it down it’s the man code. The man code still exists today and like all civilization and law’s it adapts and changes with the times.
My grandfather was a great man. Well to me he was. He raised 13 kids alone, worked and struggled to make a life in a simpler yet harder time. He lived through the great depression and saw the one and only woman he ever loved die and never remarried. The reason why was because he lived his own set of rules and followed his own morals which can be summed up as his personal man code. He did not believe that men should ever lie, steal, beat woman and definitely did not believe in divorce or second marriages. He passed it on to my father and uncles who slightly altered it and followed their own man code. They added never show emotion and suffer through life’s pains. My father once put a pulp hook into his leg and complained more about the lost day’s wages rather than the injury. My uncles tell me that the only time they ever seen my grandfather or father cry was when my grandmother died. My father was 12 years old and from what they tell me it’s the last time he ever allowed himself to shed a tear. It is his man code.
Now like my father, his father before him and I guess even his father before him they have always had their own man code that has been altered and changed to suit the times that they live in. There are still similarities between all of our man codes. My father cannot watch TV shows where woman or children are abused. It’s something that he has always been dead set against and just turns him off he shows. Since I was a young child my father repeated the words real men do not hit woman, family is something worth dying for and crying is weakness so you never let them see you cry. I inherited that same moral value and still pass the same values to the next generation. I also have issues watching where children are hurt and dying. I love watching House, but hate the shows where children are dying or in pain. I am squeamish that way. I can easily handle my own blood, but woman and children’s is something that goes against my man code.
I do believe that most men have their own man code (I assume woman do to) and that in many cases if you do not have a code you should get one. That being said I think that as men, fathers and husbands we need to be strong enough to bend the code so that it enhances our lives and those around us. I live by my man code. I respect woman, I work hard and generally have an open mind to most things around me. I do not see race or religion as any more than a difference that I can learn from. I have my weaknesses too. Through life’s disappointments, my hearts breaks and betrayals I never show weakness; I never let them see me cry because it’s ingrained in me that real men do not cry, but I also never tell me kid’s real men do not cry because I know that it’s my hang up, my father’s hang up and like everything in life I have adapted it to give my children a code to follow to make them better men not a code to be trapped by like a prison built on outdated beliefs and standards. The man code is just as important as it was a hundred years ago it’s just a matter of teaching those that come after us that a code to follow is just like a law. It’s something that should help become and always be a better man, husband, father, and friend.
Somebody once said that ignorance is bliss and honestly without even knowing it I embraced it. For the past two days I have been taking a CPR and first aid. No it does not make me a surgeon or doctor, but after finishing the course I realize that I now have the basic skills to help save someone’s life. Every day through the course we were given newspaper clippings of how everyday people were able to help people in need until the professionals were able to come. That is what the course was all about. For too many years I used to be in the group that believed somebody else would have the skills so why bother. Actually I had many excuses such as I am too busy because of work and life, but honestly I was too lazy and I guess too intimidated by the idea of what I might have to do. So when work decided that we needed people to do it some volunteered, some were sweet talked into it and some even voluntold that they were doing it. I was one of the group.
Now as I learned more and more about it and heard the everyday examples I could see one of any number of tragic events that happen every day and that I either had no clue what to do or what I thought was completely wrong. I think now of the little injuries that have happened around me throughout my whole life that I said I can shake it off or that I have told my kids to just shake it off that could have turned out to be so much more serious. I now have too many examples of similar incident’s that went from walk it off to surgery or even worse death.
I now realize the value of CPR and first aid. Saving lives is not just about knowing the steps to stop bleeding, making splints, slings, CPR etc. but also knowing the signs to look for. I am a father and having just normal kids with normal friends see a much greater value in it for myself and those around me. No here in Ottawa there are no rattle snake bites to worry about, but certainly heart attacks do happen, strokes, car accidents and kids will be kids with a wide variety of injuries and events that will happen.
As people I think that most of us would not walk away from somebody truly in need, but some (I used to be one of them) watched from the side because of a lack of knowledge and general understanding or when we tried to help could have potentially could have made things worse because we did not know the proper steps to take in an emergency. Now I am slighter more educated and in some ways more prepared not just for emergencies, but for everyday life. As I look around my house I see five reasons why I should have taken first aid. The greatest reasons I know of to learn first aid are the same reasons that I think it should be taken by everyone, taught in schools and even made a priority in everyone’s lives. FAMILY.