Who Decides?

I wrote an essay for a NY Times writing contest. I didn’t make the top five and have my piece featured in the Times, however I make an ethical case for why it’s ok to eat meat below.

The other morning while brushing my teeth I thought about your contest as I spit a mixture of bad breath and refreshing cool mint into the sink. It would take another minute or so of wakening and contemplation, but again after spitting, I realized that in order to answer your question, I would need to take a look back.

While inspecting my teeth and well before morning caffeine, I pondered my lack of elongated k9 incisors. It occurred to me that longer and sharper k9’s would surely aid the tearing and chewing of a poorly prepared New York strip, and certainly would be fun on Halloween, but I concluded the ones I have do the job just fine; minus the Halloween fun.

Later that morning during a grinding Chicago commute, I caught myself thinking back to the days of hunting and gathering and how much simpler life must have been. I thought about how those who were here before us lived off the land by gathering fruits and vegetables and catching fish and shell fish from streams. As the population of hunters and gathers grew, so did the need for leaders of communities to provide more food without moving all over the land like nomads. So they began to think with their primitive minds of ways they could accomplish this feat. They built tools and realized with these tools they could capture varieties of different food sources. They discovered they could roast their food over fire and that if they did these things, they could provide safety and health to a growing number of people and they could sustain their existence.

Those who came before us discovered that eating a variety of berries, roots, fish and animals from the plains meant they could enjoy the taste of food and that their lives were a little better with the addition of the new foods. Possibly the greatest lesson learned during this age, was that the smartest and most forward thinking of the hunters and gathers were the most respected throughout their land. When the people from the east hunted a new species on the plain and provided it to their community, no one in the west intruded or told them they were wrong. There was mutual respect for each other’s techniques, and neighbors desired to be educated about new food sources. Neighboring communities collaborated to find the best ways to hunt and prepare the catch as well as utilize the energy that the food source provided to them.

Neighbors have always disagreed with each other but through that disagreement, change, healthy discussion and compromise have led to the evolution of the world population. Neighbors for ages have sat at the negotiating table to discuss significant matters, and for ages, placed at the table was food and drink, shared as a sign of peace and nourishment so that leaders could think with clear minds, without hunger. As the leaders of today sit at the negotiating table to discuss a rapidly growing population and a scarce food supply, it seems ethical that all types of food be considered to compliment the feeding the world conversation.

We may personally disagree on taste and dietary preferences, but it’s our responsibility to think forward about all people and provide them with access to affordable and nutritious food. Foods of all tastes and cultural preferences should be available to them – responsibly, as they were available for us.

Time for a Cure

It feels good to know that your time at work and your efforts are going to a good cause and that you are appreciated right? – Ever get overwhelmed with responsibility at work, deadlines, todo lists??? As a working society we are naturally competitive and eager to win the rat race. We get so tied up in our our busy schedules that sometimes we lose sight of helping others; Not because we are disengaged from people or because we do not care for others, but because we forget that we can achieve our greatest personal goals by spending a few hours of our weekend impacting others in ways far greater than we could ever spend our time or our dollars on ourselves.

By volunteering our time for the greater good of our community we are not only making a priority statement, we are making a positive difference in the lives of others who at no fault of thier own, need a little help. We’ve all found ourselves in trying times and in need of a little help, and thankfully we have supportive friends and family members to lend us that hand. Without a doubt one of the defining elements that make a friend a friend and a brother a brother is knowing that person will answer when you call. Having someone there to lean on in times of struggle is priceless. There’s no value for true friendship that we can place on our friend who is always there to listen to us, to pick us up when we are down, or when we are in a bad situation. Friendship is love, unconditionally and all the time.

When we volunteer for charities like the Race for the Cure, we are not just helping our friends who have experienced pain and unfortunate circumstances due to Breast Cancer, but we are helping strangers as well. Complete strangers who have courageously lost thier battles and live on in spirit and memories, through their friends and their families. By volunteering and taking part in events like the Komen Race, we help those who continue to battle everyday by showing support and encouragement for their cause and we give them something so precious that it brings many of the racers to tears… we give our time.

Time is so precious to those who do not know how much they have left, and too often I feel myself taking time for granted or wishing that it were Friday. In the end, we have so little time here to do all the things we aspire, dream, and plan to do for ourselves. Our long term goals and aspirations seem so large in the sense that one day I will be… or Someday I will have… or Someday I hope to… I will be the first to speak to the importance of setting goals and working feverishly to accomplish them, but every once in a while, its important to ask ourselves if there are others who could use a little of our time as well.

Time-Trusted Friends

Gearing up for a night out with the boys to celebrate our short friend Ty’s last few weeks as a single man. He’s getting married in a few weeks and asked me to be one of his groomsmen. Of course I said yes and remember the Put-in-Bay toast that immediately commenced… Cherry Bomb.

Thirty-five of Ty’s friends rsvp’d that they would be at the Winking Lizard tonight at 8:00 p.m. to begin the night’s events. Ty is a great friend. He was my college roommate for three years and now he lives a few doors down the street with his fiance Cassie. I’ve known the couple for 10 years and consider them “time-trusted friends.” Coach Simrell, one of the three head coaches we had at Findlay during my career there, introduced that phrase to us. I remember joking about it at the time because we joked about everything in the locker room, but I think I know what Sim meant by time-trusted friends. I certainly have time-trusted friends in my life and I’m thinking about all of Ty’s friend’s who are celebrating with him tonight. Many of them are time-trusted friends.

The ah-hah moment for this blog came when I decided to use Invizzable-Ink as a tool to define business principles and key methods for success. As a result, I know that I would be remissed if I did not include healthy relationships as a key core value. Your business is only as strong as its people engaged in relationships working together to accomplish tasks. The depth of which an organization can accomplish tasks depends on its people and the relationships they manage. If they are surface relationships, you can expect about the same result from the body of work. When people are engaged in a trusting and freedom-given relationship, the abilities of both parties is maximized and the full potential of the relationship is reached.