January 01, 2014 - Yep, it's official we've watched another ball drop, and I am not talking about the disappointing receiving efforts of your Detroit football Lions. I'm talking about that symbolic gizmo that mechanically, ever-so-slowly moves its way down a pole in New York every Dec. 31. Why folks say that "ball drops" is beyond me. It ain't a ball and it don't drop.
As I peer into the crystal ball that is my memory (where every thing I see and remember is as it really happened) -- back into the year that was I can and will say, "it wasn't all bad." And, aside from those afore mentioned Lions starting the season with six wins and three losses and then ending the season with one win and seven losses, it wasn't that disappointing either.
Aside from the assorted basement floodings in the spring, or tree limbs falling on the house the other week, Casa d'Rush still stands. There surely is a need for some improvement with the old abode -- plaster and paint being the least chores, but she's still a sturdy home -- one for which I am grateful.
Like my home, my temple, that which houses "Me" is another year older and while sturdy, could use some work. More raw fruit and vegetables and movement in general is a no-brainer, but there are other matters probably more important.
There are a number of soapboxes I climb atop of at home and from which I harp. I can do better by myself and family were I to do what I say instead of just saying what I say.
Usually, the only audience for these tirades (unfortunately for them) are the sons of Donald Rush, Shamus and Sean. (Or if you'd prefer, Shamus and Sean McDonald Rush -- Mc denoting "son of" me, Donald Rush.)
Tirade Number 1: Be a positive force for good for yourself, those about you and the world in general. This gem of a rant usually focuses on "is what you are doing right now helping the situation or hurting it?" Is what you are saying "right now" for the good or not.
Is talking about somebody behind their back or making fun of them a bad or hurtful thing if that person doesn't know you're talking about them?
Is it a good thing or bad?
Do gossip and cattiness help anybody or does it just make the insecure feel better?
Another example could be at any job site in the good ol' U. S. of A when something doesn't go right. I've come to the conclusion most folks in America these days want only whine and assess blame. "It was her fault." "He didn't do this right." Around and around it goes. We can be so caught up in casting blame, we don't stop for a second and think how to solve a problem and get the job done.
We're like children, wanting everything handed to us on silver platers and when things don't go our way -- like children -- we pout and point fingers. We need to be more like a Marine: adapt, overcome.
In other words, be a positive force for good.
I often tell the boys, "Even when I am dead and gone, if you don't know what you should do, ask and I will answer. It will always be the same thing. Do what's right."
Tirade Number 2: Don't be stupid. This beaut has nothing to do with inherited intelligence quotients and has everything to do with street smarts.
If you're street smart, you are observant. And because you watch, you listen, you feel -- you can smell a con a mile away, or at least soon enough to be suckered.
"Smart men (and women) can be stupid," I shout from this soapbox. "And I don't want to be known as the dad who let his sons be stupid."
Aside from the apparent fact I need to work on selfishness, I don't want the lads to be A) sheep; and B) victims.
"Learn to learn. Connect the dots. Don't be so full of yourself to think you know it all," I preach. "AND, it is okay to change your mind as long as it is based on new and better information."
I try to impart the value of being critical thinkers and not to be sucked in by the loudest mouth or the easiest or most popular position to take. As they need to challenge assumptions of others, so too should they challenge themselves.
There's a quote attributed to the late actor John Wayne which sums it up quite nicely: "Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid."
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I know I ain't perfect, and I try and let the boys know I know that. In 2014, I should probably be a little less direct with them, a little nicer but then I keep remembering my own father's No.1 tirade. "It's a big, bad world out there and it ain't fair. The world's a bear and it's gonna' try and take what is yours. You're gonna' have to fight for what's yours, but always do what is right."
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org