Search Blog

Jun 30, 2012

God Save The Queen

I learned something today which really drove home how fortunate and convenient we have things in our modern society. I know I take food and shelter for granted, but this tidbit emphasized how spoiled I really am - and how much "common" society has grown complacent with receiving what its members want with little sacrifice.
The piece of trivia: In 1947, Princess Elizabeth of England (now Queen) had difficulties getting material for her wedding dress. Because of the devastation left over from World War II (remember this is two years after its end), even the heir to the throne could not "simply buy" a wedding dress or even the materials for it to be made. Knowing this, the young lady devised a frugal and strategic plan. For the next four months she saved enough ration coupons to purchase the material and hired a designer, albeit an upscale designer, to fashion her gown.
Perhaps she learned this thinking from her royal upbringing, but I like to think it was due to her training as a mechanic in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. Yes, the Queen was original a mechanic in auxillary service to the British Armed Forces.
Despite the surprise of labor skills acquired by the top-upper class, the fascinating thing to me is the royals and politicians were subject to the same laws as the "common" folk of England. The concept of equal application of the law really meant something in America's mother country, especially in a time of crisis and recession.
This makes me think about the changes over the past half of a century. If the then-future-queen of England was not too good to have to ration with the rest of her countrymen, from where has this concept of entitlement come - an attitude that seems quite pervasive among every class today? Is it a social change? Can technological convenience and human laziness be the explanation? Does the reason lie in a more complex web of several factors?
I'm not sure if the answer is knowable, but this simple story of prudence has made me rethink the "snootiness" of royalty and ponder the idea that all upper-class are out of touch.

Jun 26, 2012

Hunting Scapegoats

“I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you!”
We’ve all felt this way before, as if someone was out to get us even when things were not our fault. But sometimes, much to our chagrin, things that are not our fault still carry a penalty on us.
While sometimes this can be attributed to a lack of fortune, bad timing or happenstance – more often than not there we have played a part in things but don’t like the outcome because what happened isn’t our fault. However, there is a difference between fault and responsibility.
Centuries ago, Plato wrote of the impetuous youngsters who no longer paid respect to their elders. So I suppose it is nothing new to look around and wonder when manners and “life lessons” quit being taught. However, it seems that people have lost the recognition of responsibility – but then again, perhaps this has been part of the human condition since the beginning of time.
That said, I have tried to put into practice within myself the recognition of things that fall within my responsibility. That means if something goes wrong, fault being mine or not, I am still the one to be stuck with the problem. Approaching problems with this type of ownership has helped me be less annoyed when it comes my turn to clean up the mess.
I’m far from perfecting this better attitude, but I have improved it – and some issues just seem less critical when I stop looking for someone else to blame.
For whatever that is worth, thanks for listening…

Jun 25, 2012

The Bridge Troll

I have had a lot of unexpected anger lately. I've decided that I'm a Bridge Troll.
What I mean by is that I'm very good at building a case rather than building a bridge, and if there is already a bridge in place I often guard it with debate and argument.
I can justify this behavior by saying it's because I'm an analytical thinker or because I work in the legal profession and conditioned to respond that way. However, when all is said and done, this rationale is merely more case-building by me. But worse, the debates and stated positions and all the explaining of why things are justified, reasonable or perceived as they are...well, it leaves me emotionally exhausted and often quietly angry when others disagree.
So, again - because I've done this many times in the past - I am seeking ways to be more open to better communication, better listening especially. I want to improve my character and person to become someone who can not only build a bridge but also leave it open for travel.