Posts Tagged character

More lessons from the Greatest Generation

Like many around our nation, I’ve admired the contributions of the group called the Greatest Generation — those who grew up in the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and returned to raise the Baby Boomers. I touched on this in an earlier blog, and last week’s Veterans Day made me think more about what this amazing group of people did, and the lessons they left us.

So, Installment Two of Lessons from the Greatest Generation:

Don’t sweat the small stuff
One woman — married more than 50 years — said the low divorce rate among her generation was due to the hardship they endured, from the depression to the war. By comparison, she noted, many common marital spats seemed inconsequential.

Happiness is more than money
Ever wonder why people from that generation like to tell stories about their youth? Because they were happy times. They had little material wealth, and yet, were still happy. Life was an adventure, not a purchase-driven journey.

Be humble
As much as the generation is asked about its sacrifice – whether supporting the war effort or working extra hours to provide for the family – you rarely hear boastful responses. My uncle, a tank driver in WW II, would shrug when I’d talk about his sacrifice. Despite the contributions, there was never a sense of entitlement.

Family comes first
This generation set the standard for family. They worked hard to provide a better life for their children, and were more involved in the family than prior generations.

Embrace change
Has any generation experienced more change? Growing up, they watched horse-drawn carriages deliver blocks of ice to keep food cold. Clothes were washed by hand and hung on a line in the back yard. Decades later, every home has a car, refrigerator, and washer/dryer. And let’s not forget the shift from pencils and ledgers to computers.

Save money, manage debt
Despite modest wages, the Greatest Generation managed to avoid debt and build a nice nest egg. If something was beyond their financial reach, they didn’t buy it, and cash was king.

Manners matter
Please, thank you, and you’re welcome. This generation knew the importance — and power — of these words.

Your turn. What did you learn from the Greatest Generation?

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7 ways that sports make a difference

What’s happening to professional athletes? Long gone are the days when stars like the late Yankee Joe DiMaggio protected his reputation like security guards at the U.S. Mint.

The sports world has always had its share of problem players, although the numbers seem to be increasing, particularly in the NFL, which has seen dozens of players arrested during the off-season.

Nevertheless, sports play an important role in our society, and we should focus on the benefits, not the bad apples.

All together now
It sounds cliché, but playing a sport really does teach kids what it means to be a team player, something that will serve them well in their work careers.

Where are you going?
Competitive sports are all about setting team and individual goals — making the team, hitting .300, placing at regionals, winning the league championship, etc. — and working toward those targets.

See you tomorrow
It takes discipline to run, swim laps, or practice putting every day. And the more you practice, the better you become — teaching athletes that hard work pays off.

Good sports
More than ever, amateur sports are teaching kids to win gracefully and lose with dignity. They’ll all face a life full of successes and failures, and the lessons they learn on the sports field will teach them how to deal with each.

Character building
While the news is full of examples of athletes behaving badly, you’ll also see positive stories:

  • Players who visit hospitalized children
  • Athletes volunteering in the community
  • Coaches giving a kid with a disability a chance to play in a real game

Good coaches teach more than sports skills; they teach life lessons.

Howdy, neighbor
Following a local teams builds a sense of community. Whether it’s a Friday night football game or a Tuesday afternoon field hockey match, a sporting event is a great opportunity to meet new people and connect with friends.

Lifelong friends
Joining a team gives kids, particularly shy ones, a chance to make friends. Wearing the same uniform immediately offers something in common, and sharing  a goal (see above) builds bonds.

Your turn. What did you learn by playing a sport?

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