About dgcoker.wordpress.com

Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.

REFLECTIONS………………………………………..A NEW Year

 

In a short time, young people enrolled in Secondary (HIGH) school will begin to return for classes as they start a new year.   These are the people who will make our laws, manage our organizations, provide leadership, and make our society the type of place we will want to live and grow. If you had the opportunity to provide a “fireside” chat to this group of young adults, what would you say?

Through the years I have had the opportunity to provide many ‘back to school’ talks and challenges.  As I perused some of my memorabilia, I would like to share some of the points I have tried to make to these future leaders:

Have Compassion: Regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, color, or other differing factors, show compassion.  When people feel safe around you, when they know they can fail and are not afraid or will not be humiliated or destroyed in front of their peers, you will create an atmosphere of ‘love’, and love is the most powerful of all motivators.

Be determined: The virtue of determination allows you not to give up, not to accept defeat. With determination, you will focus your energy, on the problem or issue at hand with laser-like intensity. Expect difficulties or roadblocks.  Be prepared to find a way over, around, or straight through them.  It will be the determined person who will achieve success.

Be your best: To be the best, you must look and speak your best. Presentation of self is critical, and you want to always be your best. Do not let fashion dictate that you wear something that is not your best.

Excellence is a habit: Tell yourself you won’t quit; you won’t give up.  Don’t let anything stand in your way.  Don’t compromise.  Don’t procrastinate.  Don’t rationalize.  Don’t make excuses.  Be committed, and stay focused.  Strive for excellence in every aspect of your life.  Then repeat, repeat, repeat.

Make your bed: Your room in your home is your office. This is the place you must keep organized and free of clutter. If your room is cluttered, your closet cluttered, if clothes are scattered then you will be unorganized, cluttered, and scattered.  It all begins by making your bed every day.  The pillow is tucked, and the bedspread is evenly placed on the bed.  Everything has a place and everything is in its place.  Your room reflects WHO you are.  Do your best.

These character traits are not something listed in a book or text. They are traits I have tried to live by starting in my early days.  I am convinced they are the character traits that will make you successful, that will make you a leader and that will make you live your life with honor 

 

 

 

 

REFLECTIONS………………………Camels on the horizon

 

Reflections:……………………………………………..Camels on the Horizon 

 

The founder of Dubai, Sheik Rashid, was asked about the future of his country. He replied, “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover…but my great-grandson is going to have to ride a camel again. “Why is that, he was asked?

And his reply was, “Hard times create strong men; strong men create easy times. Easy times create weak men; weak men create difficult times. Many will not understand it, but you must raise warriors, not parasites.”

And add to that the historical reality that all great empires… the Persians, the Trojans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and in later years, the British…all rose and perished within 240 years.

External enemies did not conquer them; they rotted from within.
America has passed that 240-year mark, and the rot is starting to be visible and accelerating.   We are past the Mercedes and Land Rover Years…. the camels are on the horizon. The greatest generation consisted of 18-year-old kids storming the beaches at “Normandy,” which caused the end of  World War Two.

And now, 2-3 generations later, some 18-year-old kids want to hide in safe rooms when they hear words that hurt their feelings. They also want free stuff from the government because they think they are entitled to it.   
The “camels are on the horizon” for sure…

 More like at the front door.

Author  Unknown.

Reflections…………………………….Pride Month

Gary Coker

The lady at the cash register asked me if I would like to make a contribution to the Human Rights Campaign. Her request caught me completely off guard. My reply was, “exactly what is the Human Rights Campaign, and how is the money spent?” Like me, she was caught off guard and could not answer my question. In my quest for understanding, I can only say, if anyone wants to know what is happening in our society you need to look no further than the Human Rights campaign labeled, Pride Month.

My research, limited as such, informed me that Pride Month is the product of the LGBTQ+ community and has an entire month on the national calendar allowing parties in the streets, rainbow flags posted in windows, websites, and other commercial ventures. I was ‘flabbergasted’. Let me think this through. Recently, the statue of one of my heroes, Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States, the President who is responsible for the designation of most of our Federal Parks, was found offensive and removed from the public square. President Lincoln and Washington are given a full day for the celebration of their contributions to our country. Likewise, Martin Luther King has a day of celebration. The LGBTQ+ alliance has an entire month to party in the streets. And this street party is enabled by the countless commercial ventures that post rainbow flags on their windows and websites.

Do we see what is happening to our culture? It is a basic fact of history that if you control time and space, you also control the culture. Sexual identity is a biological construct, not a social order that our society is trying to make it. The obsession of the day is taking pride in one’s sexual identity. We cannot underestimate the power of what this signifies.

The time has come for every church, and especially Christian schools, to take a stand for Biblical truth or collapse into the ‘monoblob’ of progressive ideologies. We must stand on our convictions and face the blast, otherwise, a little bit of surrender will lead to an eventual collapse. Churches have to come out of their ‘holy’ huddles and speak the truth in word and in deed, unashamedly. Be prepared for accusations of hatred, discrimination, intolerance, and indoctrination. Trust me, what is happening in the ‘public square’ is to indoctrinate young children and teenagers into their worldview. The moment of truth is coming for organizations, especially the Christian schools – be prepared. Do not be surprised if the forces of this ideological change, i.e. Worldview from a Biblical Worldview, come from agents of surrender within.

A few days ago I was outside after a rain shower. Across the sky was a beautiful rainbow. It was quiet, gentle, and filled with beauty. There were no storms to disturb the beauty of the moment. It was for me a gentle reminder, that, ‘In the beginning, God created male and female, male and female He created us’. When He finished He said, “It is good.”

Reflections…………………….A Good Day

Gary Coker

What constitutes a “Good Day?” To a great extent, barring unusual circumstances, we are largely in charge of our inner feelings. It begins the first thing each morning as we begin the day.

Recently I sent out a message and asked a select group of friends how they began the day starting with their waking moment. Nearly 15 of you heeded my email and shared how you orient your day upon waking. John (all names changed from original names)wakes up reciting or singing Scripture, Psalm 27:1-2, June and I start our day greeting each other with; a “good morning,” while still groggy and saying,” this is the day the Lord has made,” and whoever begins the statement, the other finishes it,” we will rejoice and be glad in it.” “We used to complain about our aches and how bad we slept. Chadron wrote, ” I try to start the day by saying or thinking “Lord, “I love you.” “I try to replace my complaining attitude with gratitude. I am trying to make this automatic.” Joe said he has an app on his phone that sends him a Bible verse every day,, similarly, Jane receives a ‘thought for the day on her phone. Why is this important? Behavioral psychology teaches us to set the tone and our brain will respond in accordance…… This is especially true as you begin each day.

Numerous studies emphasize activities we can practice to place a positive spin to the beginning of the day. Some of these activities include: What happens as the first thing when you wake up. The second behavioral objective is the environment you enter the first thing in the morning. It’s a universal concept not to leave the kitchen in disarray with dirty dishes. The kitchen is one of the first places you enter in the morning. The thought is this is negative input and the brain immediately accommodates a negative thought. This same type of thought pattern carries over with a house that is in disarray with toys, clothes, and other objects scattered throughout the house. Before retiring for the day make sure your environment is positive. It is this positiveness that begins your day.

Admiral William McRaves, former navy seal, wrote the book; “Make your Bed.” He delivered the graduation speech at the University of Texas and spoke on the importance of making your bed each morning before departure from home. His major premise was that ” little” things change your life.” I remember very clearly when my brother returned from basic training in the army and talked about the first thing he had to do was learn to make his bed. It was only after his sergeant checked his bed each morning he was allowed to leave the building and report for duty. Why such attention to detail? Why would the armed forces of America composed of thousands of service individuals insist the first order of business and the first aspect of the training was ‘making your bed’? A footnote to this process is noteworthy. Making your bed was not just pulling the covers up or placing the pillows in the right place. It was made to meet specific guidelines. It is how you start your day that sets the “brain” into motion. You start by doing something ‘right’ and in preparation for the end of the day. Start Positive. With couples, it starts with your spouse. For children, it starts with Mom and Dad. For Employees, it starts with the supervisor and fellow employees. TAKE CARE OF THE LITTLE THINGS AND THE BIG THINGS WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

“Have a good day,” has become a frequently heard comment, I say to you “MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!!”

Reflections:………………………….Mr. President

I implore you to stop your attacks against conservative ideals and people. You – through your policies, your mandates, and your political appointees – have put us under the rule of a radical, Leftist, authoritarian government.  You are destroying America!!

The best and only way to make life better, more hopeful, and free for all of this country’s citizens is to:

     Stop illegal immigration by securing our borders and enforcing the laws;

    Open the Keystone XL pipeline and maintain our energy independence;

     Reform the Big Tech monopolies’ control of the public square;

     Stand for law-and-order and for the men and women of law enforcement:

     Lower taxes and encourage work;

     Cut spending and the size of government;

     Uphold the Constitution for which you took an oath upon the bible to protect.

     Put America first:

Our forefathers founded America based on the timeless idea that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with God-given inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Moreover, they believed that the government existed solely to secure those rights and that its power derived from the consent of the governed.  From these principles flow the freedoms that have made the American Dream possible.

Our children and grandchildren depend on us as stewards of these principles.  I ask you to act in their defense.

                                                                                      Gary Coker

Reflections:…………………………………Sabbath

“………..and on the seventh day He rested.” If you could have a conversation with God would you ask Him what he meant by making this phrase one of the BIG TEN? I certainly can remember when this phrase was literally taken by my parents. Every Sunday was a day of rest. My mother would prepare the Sunday meal on Saturday to avoid cooking on this special day. All commerce stopped as stores closed. Sunday sports events were contained in the pasture next door and only with permission of your parents,–after a time of rest. The silence was golden as we took our Sunday afternoon nap. As an active person, being still can be very difficult. Try doing absolutely nothing at least for 15-20 minutes. We now know resting your body like this can be quite restorative.

Sabbaths are associated with religion, however, we have found this important concept is critical for everyone and especially for people in leadership positions including active moms and persons working in service of others. When we stop to think of all we have been through the past two years everyone’s emotional and relational well-being is at an all-time low.

So, you need to regularly unplug your brain for eight hours or more–this includes your whole self—from whatever you are doing on a regular basis, especially work. A sabbath is an effective way to do so. Here are some suggestions to help you to “be all you can be.”

Block off your calendar and don’t allow any last-minute commitments or interruptions to creep into your sabbath time.

A significant body of research suggests that even thinking about work is a stressful, anxiety-inducing activity, so stay away from your desk and devices which are likely to continually remind you about work.

During your sabbath, do things that nurture your soul. For some, you might read a book, for others, eating a good meal or being active outside might be best. Do whatever works to liven your spirit.

Practice silence. Turn off the television, radio, and podcasts. Go for a walk or a ride, or drive without listening to anything. If you are an active person, like me, this will be very difficult. At first, your mind might race with a million thoughts, but after a while, you’re likely to experience peace, clarity, and those flashes of brilliance that would otherwise be crowded out by all the noise in your life.

These suggestions may seem impossible to some of you who lead such busy lives. The importance can be measured by God making these suggestions when he said “remember the Sabbath” Rest is not a distraction from work. It is a critical part of it. When you are well rested you contribute more passion, energy, and fresh insights into your work and especially into your life.

May you be watchful of over busyness and over-commitment so that you have the capacity to listen and love the place where you are….……………………

Gary

Reflections………………………….”Be Still”

In his book “the no complaining rule:” Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at work: Jon Gordon suggests the But–Positive Technique. It works like this. When you realize you are complaining, you add the word but and then you add a positive thought or positive action.

It was Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown was enjoying a feast with his family. Poor Snoopy wasn’t invited. Snoopy was all alone on his doghouse with dog food and a dog bone. He wasn’t a happy camper. But then he had a thought that changed everything. He thought it could be worse. I could have been born a turkey. A classic example of the But…..Positive technique.

Over the past several weeks I have found myself being somewhat cynical and critical. I have noticed my sleeping habits are noticeably different. Whether resting or awake, I feel drained. I have an unexplainable headache and my lower back is starting to get next to me. As of this writing, I read that the popularity of Putin, Russian President, has risen to 87 percent among the Russian people since his invasion of Ukraine. This completely escapes all reason. Has the world turned upside-down and everybody is right in their own eyes?

What gives? I have begun the “thought of positive action” with every negative I have placed the ‘but’ and put forth a positive action to replace the negative. I hasten to add, in many cases, this is difficult to do, however, negativism is a giant killer.

With waves crashing and thrashing over their boat’s stern, the disciples were understandably in a state of panic. Jesus? He was fast asleep.

Jesus was noted for leaving the chaos and sneaking away, He was able to welcome in the calm that surpasses understanding because of God.

“Be still.”

Two words were all it took to calm the waters. Being apart from the panic allowed Jesus time to reconnect with His Father and to push away the noise–literally and figuratively. I plan to take a similar course of action in my own life and push away for a period of time.

This week I encourage you to slip away, pray, repeat and ‘be still’. Let me know how adding these habits into your routine serves you in your daily life. I would love for you to e-mail me and share your thoughts. I am always a text away. Gary

Reflections…………………………………….Reset

One of my favorite times of the year is when the National Collegiate Athletic Association, (NCAA), play for the National Championship. Invariably, a team will come out of “nowhere” to take on the giants who have ruled the “roost” for most of the year. However, something has happened to my favorite sports event that is internal with me, and I have to fight my heritage, ‘upbringing’ and cultural mores to overcome the negative impact.

As an avid spectator and participant in the sports world, I viewed the coaching and participation as an opportunity to teach athletes, not only the fundamentals of the game but an opportunity to present themselves in a positive light. Athletes were to be well groomed, and all players were to be dressed alike. There was no individualization in how you presented yourself, i.e., all shoes were to be the same color as was the uniform and how it was worn. Tattoos were taboo as was facial hair, and hair longer than the nape of the neck was not permitted.

I am reminded of the day Kareem Abdul Shabar returned after the Christmas break with a beard. It is noteworthy Kareem was an all-American athlete and had led UCLA to three national championships. Upon arriving for practice, Coach John Wooden approached Kareem and reminded him of the rule forbidding facial hair. Kareem, in a moment of anger, told the coach, “You can’t make me shave my beard”, whereupon Coach Wooden replied, “we are going to miss you.” A similar incident happened when Sidney Wicks returned after the holiday with an “AFRO” haircut. When the coach told him he had to get a haircut, Sidney replied “you can’t make me get a haircut.” Similar to the incident with Kareem, coach Wooden said “Sidney you are right, I cannot make you cut your hair; however, I remind you I am the one who makes out the lineup for who plays in the game”. Needless to say, Sidney got his haircut.

Coaching, teaching and other activities where adults have students, athletics and other persons in ‘their charge’ is the window to reinforce principles of discipline, group behavior and presentation of self. It is a team activity, “we all dress alike”. One person doesn’t decide to wear “leggings” or a different color shoe or a chain around the neck……It is a “Team”, not an individual sport. Presentation of self is in accordance with the team not the individual.

Not only in the sports arena have I had to reset my thoughts. The same is true in a society where the platform for ‘life’ was based upon Judeo-Christian principles. It has been the foundation of the American society. Like the basketball team with five different players who are doing their individual “thing”, our society is a similar situation. America’s greatness was based upon a shared destiny. The RESET of our society is also the destruction of our society. We are being called upon to accept WOKENESS as a peaceful protest at the expense of anarchy. We are called upon to accept individualism at the expense of ‘good of the whole’. The way we dress, the way we speak, the lack of common courtesies has become a monster in the development of a positive concept, especially for our young people, the very people who we as adults are called upon to train and teach. Our grandparents passed the baton to us. We have dropped that baton and are in need of returning to the principles upon which we were taught and produce the greatness we now share.

team

Reflections……………………………………The death of Truth.

One day in the future, Americans will come to realize that the great denial of truth can be traced to a swimming pool just days ago. A former Penn State swimmer who, heretofore, swam on the boys’ swimming team just won the NCCA championship in women’s swimming. No, there were no unusual circumstances. Lia Thomas, biological male, decided he preferred and felt like a woman. Therefore, he announced he was a transgender female in a male body. He entered the College National swimming championships and won. Will Thomas, whose new name is Lia Thomas, is a man, confused, but nevertheless a man.

Here’s the real disillusion. If a man winning the NCCA women’s swimming championship is not enough, all this is added to crossover school restrooms with boys declaring their gender to be female and using the girl’s restroom. Furthermore, the mainstream media, cultural elites, school administrators, leaders of organized sports and a long list of self-proclaimed ‘know-it-alls” insist that I make the gender transfer and call the individual by their new ‘gender’. Heaven forbid the kindergarten teacher call a “she” “he” or “he” “she”. However, and therefore, as of today, ‘they’ demand that women who have committed their lives to women’s competitions must give way on the victory stand to a man who now declares himself to be a woman.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn asked Ketnzi Brown Jackson, new selected candidate for the Supreme Court, “Can you define the word woman?” “I can’t”, answered Judge Jackson. “You can’t define woman” responded Congresswoman Blackburn. “No, I am not a biologist.”

Albert Mohler president of Boyce College and editor of WORLD magazine sums this situation up like this, “as Chrisitians, God requires that we see the swimmer identified as Lia Thomas as a human being made in God’s image, deserving of our concern. But the concern cannot justify a blatant attempt to undermine the order of creation. The Bible reveals that any attempt to subvert creation ends in disaster, not in human liberation.