Friday, March 27, 2009

Frame of Reference II

In the last blog, it was explained how a persons "frame of reference" was that a person is the sum total of all experiences, mistakes, successes, etc. How does that effect an educated citizen? Example: If you lived in the south all your life, you call the War between the States, just that, but if you are from the North, you call it The Civil War. Even today people are very touchy about where you are from. As a southerner, you have been raised with a certain value and ethic system, that sometimes taints your viewpoint towards people of the North. Ditto for Northern raised people. Your frame of reference helps make you decisions. Similarily, if your parents have always been Republican, because you have been raised in their house, you are probably Republican when you acheive voting age. Similarily for Democrats, etc. The way you look at things!!
Other socially oriented frame of reference "decisions": People define truth for themselves and will rationalize away any failures. Everyone puts a spin on the truth. A perfect example: "Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness." You have learned that you can get away with things if you don't ask for permission and if you get caught, ask for forgiveness. "Reality is not as important as perception? What is true is not as important as what people believe to be true." A perfect example: When George W. Bush ran for his second election as President. Europe, the remainder of the world and all thinking Americans could not even phathom him being elected again--but he was elected to a second term. Why? 1) He was a sitting president at a wartime. 2) the average voter really did not follow current events. After the election, newscaster Carolyn Simpson, went around the U.S. on behalf of a major TV network, talked with people and students. The result is better stated in one sentence, "People thought Heusin was still in power in Iraq" In other words, people were too busy, making money, having fun, NOT DOING THEIR CITIZENSHIP DUE DILIGENCE to keep up with current events or reading about their president to make an intelligent decision in the polls.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frame of reference I

Frame of Reference. A term that is used all the time in conversations. What does it mean? Earlier I mentioned this phrase and explained that it is the total sum of all that you have retained in your mind. That is too small an explanation. So I will expand upon it.
Frame of reference includes all that you experience, whether you physically experience it, read about it, learn from failure about it, learn from success about it, travel, experimentation, everything that goes into your brain.
Why does an educated citizen need to know about frame of reference?
First, you need to know what is in your frame of reference. What you have retained within your experiencial level. The more experiences you accumulate, the wider your frame of reference. That is why people that are only readers and not "doers" are not as qualified in what they are doing. A person that ratchets a bolt and nut together "feels" when to stop, a person that only reads about it doesn't know about the "feel". You need to know what you need to "work" on to make your frame of reference more rounded within your "world". The word compentency comes into play here. People who remain curious until they die are always interested in widening their "frame of reference". A person that is an educated citizen is always searching to benefit the country, government, community, thus will listen to all available sides of a controversary before making a stand. More on the next blog.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Where can you find those items you need to be a citizen?

My last blog discussed morals and ethics needed to be a good citizen. There is a two volume set of books by William J. Bennett. The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass. These books are not the definitive books on morals and ethics only the books that help explain them so everyone can understand them. They came out in 1995 and 1996, so you should be able to find them in any bookstore or book sales by non-profit agencies.
As I said, they are a very easy read. He explains what he is going to discuss then gives very good examples. He breaks it down in the various areas of society, so you can go to that area and it discusses those standards that are applicable.
In the area within The Moral Compass, chapter six, "Citizenship and Leadership", he starts out by explaining that," we are all members of groups, clubs, churches, school organizations, civic organizations and political parties in order to better ourselves and the condition of others."
"The success of any organization depends on the character of its citizens. Good citizens
are those who know and live up to their duties by exercising virtues such as responsibility,
loyalty, self-discipline, work and friendship."
He also reminds us of other virtues required to hold such positions as team captain, club president, state representative, member of a student council, vestry, or board of directors. Such virtues are: "compassion, courage, perseverance, wisdom and sometimes faith." Leaders are ultimately judged in terms of how well they serve their followers and by the examples they set..... They lead not just by command, but by the force of their good character. Good leaders are also good followers. They know how to help shoulder a load and share hardships. Good leaders are also grateful for the gifts and opportunities given and work hard to preserve and improve them. Gratitude counts, "especially among a people blessed with an inheritance of political freedom and material wealth unmatched in the history of mankind."
Have you ever had a leader that is not cheerful? We all have. Cheerfulness is also a necessity in a good leader.
"They all knew him! He was the man that cannot steer, that cannot splice, that dodges the
work on dark nights, that, aloft, holds on frantically with both arms and legs and swears at
the wind, the sleet, the darkness; the man who curses the sea while others work. The man
who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called. The man who can't do most
things and won't do the rest. The pet of philanthropists and self-seeking landlubbers. The
sympathetic and deserving creature that knows all about his rights, but knows nothing of
courage, of endurance, and of the unexpressed faith, of the unspoken loyalty that knits
together a ship's company." Joseph Conrad
Whiners, grumblers and complainers are not simply unattractive, they are symptoms of selfishness. And an overriding concern with the "self" is not the business of citizenship.
You sometimes wonder what kind of citizens our leaders are. Many are only out for themselves, fortunately for us we also have others who are out for the common good.