Saturday, June 30, 2012

Obnoxious, Suspected and Unpopular


By Julie Rahm               
The Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1776 in Philadelphia. The members formed three committees. The first committee was to write the Articles of Confederation. These articles were to structure how the States were going to be organized once independence from Great Brittan was achieved.
The second committee formed was intended to draft a treaty proposal with France. Members realized George Washington’s Continental Army could not defeat the British without the help of France. Know your history? Yes, were it not for the French, our country would not exist.
The third committee formed was one intended to draft the Declaration of Independence. There were five members on this committee. They were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman. Jefferson was the chairman of the committee since he got the most votes. John Adams got the second most votes.
Committee member Roger Sherman represented the great state of Connecticut. He was a cobbler by trade and repaired shoes! Sherman was an avid reader. His political career started when he was elected as a Justice of the Peace. Roger Sherman signature is on the four most import documents ever written. He signed the Continental Association of 1774, The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Federal Constitution. Jefferson said of Sherman, “He never said a foolish thing in his life.” That is quite a compliment from Jefferson. Connecticut residents can be proud that Sherman is one of their own. (Roger Sherman also had fifteen children!)
Robert Livingston represented the great state of New York. He was educated at the King’s College now Columbia University. He was a lawyer who became politically active during the Stamp Act Revolt. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty and was the first Secretary of State. He also negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with France. Interestingly, Livingston never signed the Declaration of Independence. Although he worked on the document, he had returned to New York on government business when the official signing took place. Livingston was chosen to administer the oath of office to our first president George Washington; not an accidental choice and a huge honor.
The other three committee members: Jefferson, Franklin and Adams are well known. What is largely unknown is that Jefferson, at first, refused to write the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson and Adams argued. Neither man wanted to write the document. Adams, from Massachusetts, argued, “A Virginian should be at the head of this business. You can write ten times better than I.” And lastly Adams confessed, “I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular, you are otherwise.” Thankfully, Jefferson lost the argument, conceded and wrote the first drafts of the Declaration. Jefferson’s words set the framework for the country we have today. Had Jefferson won the argument and Adams, a Federalist, wrote the Declaration, our county would be very different today. Now you know! Enjoy your Independence Day and be thankful to those who made it possible.
And then, visit http://www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com to learn about life through the eyes of kids in military families!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Big Wow


By Julie Rahm
John and Julie Rahm, Owners and Captain
S/V Island Chariot, IP 485-41
1st Place 2012 Bermuda Ocean Race

     Have you ever had an experience that exceeded your wildest dreams? Despite frequent disappointment, I still hold high expectations for people, products, events, holidays, vacations – experiences in general. And, last week I was not disappointed. I flew to Bermuda to see my husband John, co-captain Jim, and their crew finish the Bermuda Ocean Race. Bermuda created a storybook backdrop with bright sunshine; vivid blue skies; warm temperatures; and clear, dry air. The locals greeted me with smiles and eye contact. Every meal delighted my palate. The clear blue-green ocean and pink sandy beaches offered a feeling of heaven on earth. And, John and his crew won not one, but two first place trophies in the Bermuda Ocean Race. Even better, they won not on a fancy racing sailboat, but on a sailboat that is a second home, washer/dryer included. Anyone might have a similar boat.
     I confess. I really wanted Island Chariot and her crew to win the race. Awaiting their arrival at the finish line, I found myself glued to the online race tracker. On Days Four and Five of the race, winds were light. Many of the boats appeared to be bobbing like corks. Island Chariot made only two nautical miles forward progress in eight hours. Mother Nature…the race component not influenced by preparation, skill or money. Sailing Vessel Kristina was closing the gap. Four boats in faster classes dropped out of the race and started their engines. It’s moments like these when true character is revealed. The mental toughness required of all the crews could not be underestimated. My heart sank at the possibility of Island Chariot not completing the race. It was time to trade up my thoughts to make peace with whatever result manifested. I needed to be strong, positive and authentic when I greeted John and the crew. All the while I held out hope for the winds to pick up – just the right amount from the right direction, of course. Applying all of my willpower, I put the computer and then myself to sleep.
      Early the next morning, I awakened with eager anticipation. Being a hopeful romantic and holding out for the fairy tale ending, I opened the race tracker on the computer. Overnight, the winds strengthened to 15-20 knots from the West. Island Chariot was sailing at speeds over eight knots. She had pulled away from S/V Kristina. Yes! Island Chariot completed the race by sailing two 170-nautical-mile days and crossing the finish line first in her class. At the awards ceremony, we learned that she was also first after finish times were corrected for handicaps.
     For anyone following Island Chariot in the race, it was a “Wow” Experience felt to the core. When was the last time you experienced a “Wow”? What can you do today in your life and your business to create a “Wow” Experience for yourself, your family, or your clients? If you want some ideas, contact me through my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making Memories


By Julie Rahm

On July 19, 1910, the governor of Washington proclaimed the nation’s first “Father’s Day”. However, it was not until 1972, 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day a nationwide holiday, that Father’s Day became official. What took so long? No wonder fathers sometimes underestimate the value of their presence.
This year, Father’s Day coincides with my husband, John’s and my wedding anniversary. We started a tradition on our honeymoon of recognizing holidays by making memories. Sharing new experiences is more fun for us than opening gifts. Although, gifts are a very close second! For example, following our Las Vegas wedding, John took me on a honeymoon at the Hideout Ranch in Wyoming. I envisioned myself dressed like Johnny Cash Barbie, sipping wine in the hot tub, marveling at the mountains majesty. Instead, we were up with the sun each day, driving cattle on horseback down steep muddy trails in 38-degrees and rain. After three days, I couldn’t move. Who knew my body had all of those muscles? Even my hair hurt. And, I loved it!
I tell you that to tell you this. Last fall, John and I decided to sail to Bermuda for our anniversary this year. Our neighbor, Jim had competed in and won Bermuda Ocean Races many times, so John sought his advice. Soon, packages and people began arriving at our home: emergency locator beacon, life raft, asymmetrical spinnaker, single sideband radio antenna, multiple electronic devices, and the people to install them. Jim volunteered to sail with us and knew others who could also help us get to and from Bermuda. What happened next is fuzzy. I was having second thoughts about the trip. And then, early one January morning I crossed paths with Jim. In the course of exchanging pleasantries I may have said, “If you’re going to sail to Bermuda in June, why not race?”  
And so, the race was on. Jim and his racing crew joined John and our boat, the Island Chariot and I decided to fly to Bermuda. Nothing sails to Bermuda like a Boeing 737. John, Jim and their Island Chariot crew crossed the finish line winning both line honors and first place in their class. They were first across the finish line. And, after all the handicaps were calculated, they still finished first in their class. Now that’s a deathbed memory! 
Even more fun is that two sets of fathers and sons participated in the race. Jim Flaherty, the race captain and his son, Jay crewed the Chariot to victory. Crewmember, Scott Sherwood and his sixteen-year-old son, Ian will sail the Chariot back to Oriental with John and Jim.
So, this Father’s Day skip the gifts. Make a memory that will be ever lasting. Determine what the father in your life wants to do. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Simple works for most everybody. Learn more at my websites AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and MilitaryKidsSpeak.com. My latest book, Military Kids Speak is now an Amazon Best Seller!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Flag Day


By Julie Rahm
  
     I really did not care too much about Flag Day. As you probably know, Flag Day is celebrated annually on the 14th of June. It is not a national holiday and not a day off from work; so, no big deal. But recently, I learned Flag Day started in 1916 when President Wilson issued Proclamation 1335 calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day. Later, President Truman made the day official by issuing Proclamation 2654 in 1945. However, it was President Wilson that really set the tone for the meaning of Flag Day. Here’s an excerpt from President Wilson’s proclamation… “I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political program of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, one and inseparable from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers' first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself - a nation distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights”… President Wilson’s words capture a powerful vision of our country. Now you know!
     So, Flag Day is not about the flag. Flag Day is about our country and our founding fathers’ vision of what the United States should be. Most interesting is President Wilson’s view; every thought that is not worthy of our founding fathers vows of independence, liberty and right shall be excluded. So, in President Wilson’s view, if the founding fathers would not approve of something, it should not be part of our national fabric. Also interesting is President Wilson’s view that our country is distinguished among all the other nations with privileges, obligations and rights.
     My message this week is that Flag Day is not just another trivial holiday. Flag Day is the time for some examination of what our country means to us and the rest of the world. Take some time on the 14th of June and give President Wilson’s ideas some thought.
Then, learn about my philanthropic efforts helping military kids cope with extreme challenges in school and at home at www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com. Support programs for military kids by purchasing a copy of the Amazon best seller Military Kids Speak.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dead Language

By Julie Rahm

 I have recently returned from a visit to my childhood home in Southern California. It was my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. Indeed, fifty years of marriage is a very special achievement. My husband John tells everyone he’s been married thirty years, just not to the same woman. I don’t find that as amusing as he does.  Anyway, Southern California is quite different than Pamlico County. Most apparent is the population. My high school has well over 2,800 students. The cost and pace of life is also eye-opening. Life there is fast, expensive and impersonal. The culture is “cool”, aloof and detached. Technology is everywhere. It truly is a different world. However, one of the biggest differences between the worlds of Southern California and Pamlico County is the language. Obviously, citizens in both places speak English. And yes, Spanish is ever present in California. But, that is not my point. My point is that even though English is spoken in California, the language there is often “dead”. Using words combined with body language, people convey disinterest in engaging with each other.
For example, in California, instead of “you’re welcome” people often say “no problem”. When the implications of “no problem” are carefully considered, it is not a good substitute for “you’re welcome”.  “No problem” implies they are glad to be done with you. Or, the task was a problem. Or, they have significant problems and you do not. Or even, their interest is elsewhere. “No problem” is a problem. I prefer the plain old “you’re welcome”.
Another example of dead language is “Okay, Yeah or Sure”. Clearly, any individual using these words while working with a customer is not thinking about how speaking matters. These employees are interjecting dead language into their customer service interactions. Employers should cringe! Most offensive is when servers use these words. In an upscale setting, there is no place for “Okay, Yeah or Sure”.
Another dead language phrase is an insincere “My pleasure”, especially when repeated again and again! I encountered “my pleasure” responses at our hotel. Clearly, some under-informed hotel manager has taught their employees to parrot this response. “My pleasure” is a hollow phrase that translates to “now go away”.
As a last example, California servers share a cultural response when taking dinner selections. Often the response from servers is “excellent”. Most annoying is when “excellent” is uttered with the server looking elsewhere. It is just plain rude to gaze at other tables while mouthing “excellent” to your patrons.
In contrast to California, here in Pamlico County, dead language is rare. Folks here treat people like friends. We engage with each other in pleasant conversation and meaningful exchanges of thought. I find the abundant eye contact here in Pamlico County refreshing. And, I am thankful that dead language is scarce in Pamlico County.
Learn more at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. View my philanthropic efforts at http://www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com, and download a free chapter of the Amazon Kindle bestseller, Military Kids Speak.
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