Children’s Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Children’s Voices and Scars.”

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are “destroyed” from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children–those that are still innocent and defenseless–are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:

  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don’t be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can’t as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

So he’s a story from the pool today…


I’m doing my laps minding my own business.


And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.


Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 


I’m doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:


– At his end of the pool 


– ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool


– With earplugs


– AND even underwater


And he goes on and on and on. 


Doesn’t stop for even a breath of air. 


Now, in all the years swimming, I’ve never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.


BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.


I waited until he finished his call. 


And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 


I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 


I have to pass him on the way out. 


And I’m still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 


My head is still throbbing from his yelling.


I stop in front of his chair. 


Now he’s pulled out a book and is trying to read. 


I say:

Excuse me.

He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 


I say again:

Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?


He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:

What’s the problem?


So I say:

You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 


He’s agitating now and he says:

Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn’t hear well.  You get it?


So I say respectfully:

I am sorry that he doesn’t hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 


Then he says:

So what–I don’t care if everyone hears.


I try one more time.

Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim–do you at all care?


He still can’t get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 

Well. I’ll do whatever I want!

Now, I’ve had enough, and I say:

So basically you don’t give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?


Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:

Next time he calls me, I’ll take the conversation inside!


At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 


It took all that just to get him to say he’ll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!


It’s amazing–some people really just can’t own up to when they are being a jerk.


But I was glad this guy finally came around–maybe there is still hope. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Take Responsibility

I thought it was an interesting sign in the office.

Responsibility: At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start to be successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.  – Erin Cummins


While I agree that we have to take responsibility for our lives and do the work hard to achieve success, at the same time, we obviously aren’t in control of everything. 


We have to play the hand we’re dealt in life and make the very best of it.  Whatever challenges that we have, they are there for us to learn from, grow from, and become better human beings from. 


Also, success means different things to different people–for some it’s money, power and honer; for others it’s physical fitness and dashing good looks; still some care more about travel, experiences, partying, and having a good time; and yet for others it’s about G-d, family, country, and good deeds.


Whatever we want to achieve requires dedication and hard work from our end, but also a generous dose of prayer and good fortune for “the stars to align.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:


Does it work?


Did you screw with it?


Does anyone know?


Can you blame anyone else?


This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:


– Accountability


– Problem-solving


– Doing the right thing


Oh, maybe that’s a different flowchart. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union…


But this morning, I still can’t help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 


The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.


This didn’t happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 


And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 


What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?


One lady said to a group of us last evening:

I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it’s NO ONE currently in political office!


To which another gentleman replied:

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.


Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. 😉

Don’t Get a Huge Hierarchy or a Big Fat Flat

So organizations are a funny thing.


Too hierarchical and you can get lost in the maze of corner offices.


Too flat, and there is no one to make a darn decision. 


Huge hierarchies can be costly and inefficient, but flat as a board organization are mob rule.


I think there has got to be a happy medium.


– One, where there is leadership, accountability, a reasonable span of control, and room for professional growth. 


– Two, where there is dignity and respect for everyone, and your tile and level doesn’t make any difference in terms of having your voice heard and being able to make a difference. 


Hierarchies that reach to the pompous sky and flat organizations where all the air is let out and nothing can get done are those that need to be hailed away in a big menacing orange wheel lock.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)