Why Millennials Need Faith

People seek meditation or prayer life to seek a higher state of being. So many of us fail, because we lack the discipline to pray. The result is something else occupies our minds, and so often whatever else occupies our conscious is unhealthy.

Acknowledge Gods power is acknowledging our limitations. Asking for God’s will is thinking outside of ourselves to be less independent and be more interdependent in our relationships, which is how humans are actually designed to live. Thanking God for any love and the blessings of life acknowledges how fortunate we are and grateful and opens us to thanking others. Asking God to forgive us and keep us from fault once again acknowledges our limitations.

Prayer and meditation comes in many different forms. I choose the Christian faith, but there are many people using other methods and ways to help achieve purpose and meaning in life. Getting someone towards the good is what is important. The discipline and resisting temptation to do things that hurt you is what is important.

The reason why this starts with prayer is because our words and our actions are reflections of what we think. If shallow thoughts occupy someone’s mind they are a shallow person. This can be lustful, depression and many other things. Something will occupy the space in your mind. Prayer gives our minds something to occupy ourselves with and a chance to push out the bad. A prayerful mind is one that speaks and acts good.

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Nearly 40,000 Homeless Veterans

According to the Veterans Affairs or VA, 37,800 veterans were homeless in January of 2018, and 23,300 were not sheltered. The VA also points out that since 2010 the number of homeless vets has decreased by half. That is very commendable work, but more must be done until no veterans are left on the streets.

One place to start tackling the problem is in California. The state has the most homeless veterans by far with nearly a quarter of the population. 10,836 homeless veterans live in California, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The state has a general homeless problem in general. Veterans have extra resources against homelessness with the VA. Anyone can reach out to any Veterans Affairs office or look online to get information about helping homeless vets or vets in danger of homelessness. That is important with housing costs that might not be affordable and are a cause of homelessness.

The truth is so many homeless problems are not related to affordable housing access alone or there would not be so many veterans on the streets. These are people who were asked to commit the most savage acts a person can commit in service of their country. Mental illness and drug abuse can not be understated.

This behavior can not be enabled by ignoring those on the streets and providing free drug paraphernalia, which all in its totality is a danger to public health and safety. These people need help. Results driven leadership is needed. Not leadership that counts how many needles or dollars were thrown at a problem, but how many people were saved from homelessness.

We as the People should always be skeptical of the government forcing anyone to do anything, but using illicit drugs are a crime and so is loitering. There are plenty of way the government has to get homeless sheltered and sent to rehabilitation. The time for action has passed and the public is waiting.

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14% of Taxes Not Paid In U.S. – Collect, Don’t Increase

According to Fox Business, “About 83.6 percent of taxes are typically paid voluntarily and on time, according to the tax agency, which analyzed data from tax years 2011 through 2013.” The article then points out the number rises to 85.8 percent after enforcement with about $381 billion unpaid.

The very first thing I noticed and found a bit humorous is the line that mentions taxes were paid voluntarily. My own inclination is that the law compelled people to pay those taxes. Many drivers voluntarily abide by the speed limit because that is the law. On top of that tax and speeding laws are enforced.

The enforcement aspect on the surface does not sound compelling if it only increases the taxes by two percent. However, enforcement compelled citizens to pay their taxes. Just like drivers who watch their speed when they feel a cop might be around. Perhaps a small amount of enforcement is all it takes from the IRS.

With $381 billion uncollected, perhaps instead of a tax increase the government would benefit simply by collecting that amount and easing the tax money so some more cash goes into the private sector. This collection of unpaid taxes could perhaps best be done by simplifying the tax code.

Most all of us, including me, pay our taxes and complain taxes are too high, which is a good thing because the power of government should be challenged at every level. However, as citizens, we also understand the duty to pay taxes. Our household files online through a site like Turbo Tax or Tax Slayer. The point is we try like so many others to legitimately do our taxes, but how many would be afraid of an audit by the IRS.

The reason the ordinary person would fear the IRS is due to the complexity of the tax system. This is not the fault of the people who work at the IRS who are only enforcing the current system, but the legislature and executive could bare the blame for not simplifying the tax code. However, this would not be a onetime fix. Over the years, even a simple system would have loop holes legislated into the system and various modifications from the court system, but perhaps it is worth hitting the reset button every few years if it will make up for the billions in lost revenue.

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Meetings and More Meetings!

There are too many meetings, people go off subject, they go over the scheduled time, etc. There are many reasons people dread meetings and try to avoid them. I was once that way as well, but in trying to lead I realized how important meetings can be. Meetings need strategy and refinement.

One of the places I worked at we would meet every morning. A couple of days we would meet twice and sometimes 3 times a day with the same group of people.

We met daily to talk about the days events. We would meet again to talk about long-term issues and accomplishments twice a week despite meeting daily already. On Friday we would get together yet again about our plans for next week. The people on one side of the room, and I was one of them, learned despite being able to pass everything in one meeting, something had to be saved for each meeting.

I was one of four supervisors sitting across from three bosses. The senior manager called these meetings, but he would orchestrate something else completely. He ensured it was not a time of collaboration, but one of survival. The feeling was like a witness in a TV courtroom being cross examined.

He hissed and yelled and wound up for his strike. The four of us wondered who would get picked today. Might it be all of us? This was no meeting in the sense that something productive was happening for the organization. In fact it was the opposite. Something degrading and demoralizing was happening.

There was no point in having so many meetings, especially dreadful meetings when you might be the center of the boss’ aggression. We were front line supervisors, so we were not solving any corporate issues. Are main job was to work and all this time in meetings killed our productivity, wasted everyone’s time and ruined morale. Meetings do not need a hostile boss to do those things. Many meetings are a waste of time.

Meetings and even scheduled meetings are worth it. Meetings with a purpose are a great leadership tool. What is the goal of the meeting? Maybe the front line managers do meet at set intervals to review work items and figure out collaboration. This has saved our workplace money on duplicate purchase orders between divisions on heavy equipment, such as a crane.

Sideline other topics and narrowly focused conversations for another time; perhaps after the meeting. Meetings are about collaborating and should foster openness or people will withdraw from the meeting. Stay on time so people can get back to their work schedule and find out why people left or did not show up to the meetings.

Meetings are also a time when leaders need to get past impasses of other employees who are not collaborating. Hard talk might be best outside the meeting, but a leader can often steer the parties towards collaboration.

What meeting challenges do you face?

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Crisis Leadership – How to Lead by Making Everything a Crisis

Let’s define what crisis leadership means in this context. This might come across as managing a crisis that arises, such as a response to a large-scale emergency like a hurricane, but in this case something else is defined. For the purposes of this article, crisis leadership is defined as leadership that is employed with the intent of turning a goal into a crisis. This goal could be small or large. It might be significant or insignificant, but treated as a crisis nonetheless. This is the culture of false crisis leadership.

There was a line I heard multiple times that made my eyes roll during my career. There was a simple task to complete and I would hear, “People could die if you do not do this right and now.” I am a person with a normal bit of reason and I was in the same profession for 20 years, and nothing I did or did not do caused anyone to die.

Not only did this exaggerate the situation, but it insulted me as if I did not know how to do my job and prioritize my tasks. Over 20 years I heard that too many times, because too many people thought that was leadership.

Leaders who procrastinate are likely prone to this, because they wait so long the lack of time now makes a goal into a crisis. This in turn could make other higher priorities into a crisis, because now more goals are competing for time. This is also the kind of leadership that can unnecessarily stress out a team.

There was a manager I knew that was notorious for tasking people at the end of the workday and requiring tasking be completed that day. His crisis got dumped on someone else. The problem was he was a procrastinator and not a forward thinker. This reminds me of something I used to hear someone say; Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. However, if this is your boss this might be different.

There are other leaders that freak out about everything and turn anything into a crisis. I found myself in a room having a meeting listening to the boss yell at people, because they were in a company vehicle that got a flat tire. He yelled at them first for getting a flat tire and how they changed the tire, which they did safely and successfully. The whole time I felt like I was missing a piece of information, but the truth was they were just getting yelled at for changing a flat tire. The problem with this crisis manufacturing is people will avoid reporting and engaging in situations they perceive as hostile.

The moral here is not to lead everything into a crisis.

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Fearless Girl and Charging Bull: A Different Meaning

First let’s describe the subject for those that are unfamiliar with it before I get to what I see in this art. The Charging Bull is famously located in the New York’s financial district in between Battery Park and the New York Stock Exchange.

The Charging Bull was sculpted by Arturo Di Modica. “The 7,100 lb charging bull, a forceful allegory of market optimism, has become the symbol of Wall Street and the Financial District and one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City,” as described by Investopedia.

There was also the status of the Fearless Girl standing proudly and tough in front of the Charging Bull that has sense been relocated with foot prints placed where she previously stood. The artist was Kristen Visbal. The Atlantic states, “Fearless Girl is part of State Street’s campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards.” Clearly that is a good sentiment, which is important to point out before I explain my take.

According to the Guardian, the sculptor of the Charging Bull felt it changed the meaning of his art, which is supposed to be optimistic. The fearless girl was eventually relocated inside the financial district. Of course, placing a girl in front of a bull could change the meaning. That leads into my take of the issue.

Without knowing any backstory and as a parent seeing a girl standing fearlessly in front of a Charging Bull would not make me think of women empowerment. This triggers alarm bells that this girl needs help, that she does not understand the consequences of her actions, and I thought where are this girls parents as I observed the art.

Apparently my wife knew the backstory, which she explained after I told her about my shock that a little girl would be stuck in front of a charging bull. We both nodded and understood each other’s meaning. Also, the point that the little girl standing in front of a charging bull and the point of gender equality is not lost on me. In other words, women need to take a stand despite some very bad consequences.

When you see just a girl standing in front of the bull without understanding the consequences it makes me think about something that was recently in the headlines. Parents are suing the company that owns the popular game called Fortine for being too addictive, according to USA Today. Fortnite is rated T for Teen. Then, of course, it’s the parents job to enforce the standard and household rules regardless of the rating. It’s not the government or the game maker’s job to parent the child.

My kids like Coca-Cola, but instead of suing the company my wife and I tell our kids they cannot drink it. The reason is we do not like what is in the drink that might have an impact on their developing bodies. The government did not rate it that way, but it is something my wife and I decided is best for our children. Sometimes telling your kid no is a good thing, and says a lot more about love over telling them yes. Silence is also enabling, and an absent parent. Absent parents are what I saw in the sculpture of the fearless girl.

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Top 5 Things To Do In NY

1. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is run by the National Park Service. The only way to get to this iconic statue is by boat either from New Jersey or New York. If you want to avoid downtown New York for this activity then go to the Jersey side. A boat ride will only get you to Liberty Island. If you want to get inside the pedestal or walk all the way up to the crown then purchase tickets in advance.

The boat will also take your party by Ellis Island. According to the National Park Service 12 million people immigrated through the island between 1892 and 1954. Perhaps you have an ancestor that came through here and you can experience their first stop in America. Make sure you book through the National Park website. It will link you to the appropriate vendor for the boat ride.

2. World Trade Center and 911 Memorial

One World Observatory is your chance to visit the World Trade Center. Observe New York from high above the city and see how New York City has transformed over the years. Another observatory is located in the Empire State Empire.

The 911 Memorial and Museum are located next to World Trade Center One. See relics from 911 and the foot prints of the Twin Towers. This is a great opportunity to remember those who passed and let newer generations see how the country overcame a terrible attack.

3. Times Square

Times Square is a must stop and take your picture where the New Years Ball drops. Watch how the street just lights up. Check to see if tickets are available to your favorite morning or late night show filmed here or elsewhere in the city. If you have kids visit the Hershey and M&M store. Not far away is Rockefeller Center and the Nintendo store.

4. Central Park

This is a massive park. You can almost feel lost in the forest while in the Big Apple. The park has its own zoo. Horse and carriage rides are available for the romantic types. Ice skating is seasonally available among many other attractions including a castle. Billionaires row is at the south end where the ultra wealthy live.

5. American Museum of Natural History

Even if museums are not your thing, you will find this museum worth the experience with a location next to Central Park. Here you will find amazing exhibits, planetarium shows, and meet the dinosaurs. Check the websites for traveling exhibits.

Extras: Some other sights to mention for those visiting New York that are worth a stop. History buffs will want to see the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton at Trinity Church. For those into old and beautiful churches make sure to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge and see the United Nations Building with the flags from all the countries. The Flat Iron Building you will notice looks flat as you come down the street and has been apart of the city for over a century. You will know it when you see it.

If you are taking the subway be sure to stop at the historic Grand Central Station or even walk in for a visit. Go down Wall St. and look for the Charging Bull in the famous financial district. This is a male bull with the sculpted parts and people place there hands on there for pictures so be aware if you have kids.

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