Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Loyalty’ Category

20120704-071035.jpg
The Basin Improvement Committee of 1890: it sounds like an exciting group to be a part of, don’t you think? Nestled on the heart of Main Street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, this marker commemorates the intentional efforts of a small group to make things better and to improve life within the community.

If asked, I would likely say that a basin is a small container of water. According to Dictionary.com, it is that, and more…

noun
1. a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.
2. any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.
3. the quantity held by such a container: We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.
4. a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.
5. a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored: a yacht basin.

I must admit, definition number 5 is my favorite. You see, I have a basin of my own, and the improvement committee has been meeting the past two days to make it even stronger. “A partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth…“: it’s called marriage, and yes, it is only partly man made.

20120704-072517.jpg

To coin a phrase, I might say “those who go away together stay close”. Little Frau and I first visited Eureka Springs in the Summer of 1991. Yes, for those of you young ‘ens keeping score at home, it was indeed last century. The Frau and I had been married all of about two years, maybe a little less. We were young. We were in love. We were broke. Truth be told, we weren’t really broke, we just didn’t have much money to spend, so everything was carefully allocated to make sure we could do the trip and make it home.

The pinnacle of the trip was supposed to be a day at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Like I said, we were young, and traipsing around an amusement park in the heat seemed like the be all and end all of a good time. As we almost ran toward the ticket booth together, hand in hand, a man called out to me. It seems that he and his bride of 20+ years had gone to Silver Dollar City on their honeymoon, and returned each year as season pass holders. With the purchase of their season passes came one pair of single day tickets each year, and each year on their anniversary day visit, they would seek out a young couple to take in with them for free.

Almost in shock (remember, I was the ripe old age of 24), I asked the man if we could repay them, buy them lunch, or something else. His answer? “Do something nice for your wife with the money, and that will be just what I wanted“. We thought about that couple and their request all day. We looked at kitschy souvenirs. We thought about going to a show. Ultimately, we decided to use the money to spend a night in a Bed and Breakfast here in Eureka.

It’s not that spending a week sleeping on the ground in a $19.99 pup tent from Wal Mart isn’t romantic, but we were beginning to feel the trip growing on us. An indoor shower, air conditioner, and a bed turned out to be a pretty nice break in the trip.

A few years have come and gone since that trip. Life and kids have placed a few demands on the days and the dollars. Little Frau and I don’t get away as much anymore, at least for just the two of us. But, courtesy of kids at camp and a mid week July 4th calendar, the stars aligned for a brief 2 day excursion back to Eureka. We were not so adventurous as to desire a day in the amusement park this go round. It seems this Basin Improvement Committee of two finds catching up with old friends, casual dining, a small bit of kitschy souvenir shopping, reading, and napping more the order of the day. And it has all happened at a little Bed and Breakfast just a few doors down and 21 years removed from the last Eureka meeting of our little group.

I think we may not wait so long to reconvene the next time…

20120704-075452.jpg

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

20110823-065115.jpg

“Wall Street has a credibility problem.”. So says CNBC.com. Thanks for that news flash, although it understates the obvious and what we all are likely thinking and feeling these days. “The Street” has no “Street Cred”, it seems.

Mean what you say; say what you mean. Why is that so hard in 21st century society? I will confess it is tough for me personally.

Why so? Great expectations? High demand? Limited resources? Unrealistic dreams? A twisted view of self worth, not to mention true value?

Is it Competition? Competing demands; competing loyalties; competing.

Consider the following excerpt from “WiseGeek.com” and then compare it in perspective:

In hip-hop and inner-city cultures, respect is something one earns through tangible accomplishments, not empty posturing or superficial bragging. The truest measure of a person’s trustworthiness and expertise is often expressed as his or her street cred, short for “street credibility.” Street cred can mark the difference between a talented rapper or break dancer and someone who’s only posing, or deliberately exaggerating their skills.

True street cred is not easy to achieve, since it is based on real skills or true experiences. A rap artist who gets signed to a known music label, for example, might earn his “props” (proper respect), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has earned street cred yet….

The term street cred has actually worked its way into mainstream popular culture. A professional in the legal, financial or medical fields, for example, may have to earn a certain amount of “street cred” in order to attract the best potential clients. A cosmetic surgeon often builds up a significant level of street cred by performing high quality work on A-list clients. The same could be said for a stock broker who earned his street cred by selecting the best stocks, or a lawyer who earned street cred by successfully defending high-profile clients.

Street cred in the inner-city or hip-hop communities is not always a permanent arrangement, however. Someone who shows disrespect for those in his or her former community, for example, may suddenly discover his or her street cred is no longer assured. Exposure as a fraud or a cheat can also seriously affect a person’s street cred. It is important to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” when it comes to maintaining true street cred.

20110823-065251.jpg

I’m reminded of the scene from the classic movie “Napoleon Dynamite” where he asks Pedro “you got any skills? You know, bow staff skills, nun chuck skills…”

We feel compelled to make our case, but in so doing, do we ever weaken same said case?

I think Jesus earned plenty of “Street Cred” with those around him:

Matthew 5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

So, it’s time to go out and make it a day; to “earn my Props”, so to speak. If I slip up, maybe Pedro’s cousins will be there to back me up…?

Read Full Post »

20110731-112956.jpg

It’s almost football season again, and you know what that means…another team is upgrading their uniforms! Oklahoma State U has achieved love interest status with Nike’s own Phil Knight, and they now have 48 possible uniform gear combinations to prove it. Slate gray? If it worked for the Confederacy, it must be good for…oh, wait a second.

Another “suburban cowboy” I know changed uniforms in recent years. It seems like just yesterday that we attended the 2002 showdown between OSU and UCLA at stately Lewis Field in Stillwater. The unkempt condition of the grandstand in Stillwater was not the only thing that stuck out like a sore thumb. As the Bings strolled into the stadium, dressed in blue, yellow, white, green, and (gasp) crimson respectively, it suddenly dawned on us that most fellow ticket holders were wearing orange. It was our first family football outing anywhere, much less north of the Red River. Who knew there were so many deer hunters in this state, and that they all came out to watch this game in their goodbye Bambi forest gear? At halftime, our little urban cowboy asked if we could leave, buy something orange to wear, and come back.

20110731-115507.jpg

Buy some orange, we did, and he loved that shirt. He wore it everywhere. It was as bright as his personality. He even wore it to this “gluten fest” potluck supper at our church one evening, and I think he sampled a little bit of every breaded dish available before the meal even started. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the BCS bakery….

20110801-120044.jpg

I don’t recall exactly how the change came about. The football fandom, change, that is. The old saying says “Mo(mentum) changes jerseys fast”. Seems that our boy did as well. He is now arguably one of the world’s most die hard loyal Sooners fans. Even his room is painted crimson and cream.

20110801-120557.jpg

If only his diet, and his parent’s knowledge of the winning team in the Digestion Bowl, had changed as rapidly and as early. You see, such eating was rapidly becoming as poisonous to his system as would donning an orange shirt be to his psyche today. If only it had always been as it is today. But, would that not be revisionist history? Sometimes living thru the hard times make us stronger.

OSU fans may have needed the rust bucket grandstand to truly appreciate the new digs at Boone Pickens’ State University. Likewise, by experiencing the wider dining array and experiencing first hand the knowledge of what the pain of Gluten contamination really feels like, the boy was quickly on board with a change for the better.

20110801-121549.jpg

As for Dad, I am still an equal opportunity diner/occassional fair weather fan, Admittedly, I am a Sooners guy, and a transplant to our fair state. To say anything different would be revisionist history. I once had Texas (gasp) gear in my closet as a younger man. But, my son and Bob Stoops taught me the error of my ways. Crimson and Cream now actively populates my wardrobe, whether planning for the cold or the hot that befalls the most loyal fans around.

But, I cannot purge all things orange. You see, I have friends, specifically friends of my employer who are bankers, who support both schools, and I am seldom one to leave incremental progress on the sidelines, so to speak. If I get invited to watch Gundy and Company sling the pigskin down the field, I can probably be there, just so long as they are not playing OU.

And those 48 combinations?. Well, not to brag, but when it comes to dining, I can eat just about anything served in large gatherings, especially when it is good. That includes gluten.

Like Paul, maybe I have become “all things to all men, that I might save some”. If that includes wearing a little orange with friends from time to time, so be it. If that means dining gluten free, I can go there as well.

Im ready for some football. So, for this Bing, pass the remote, and pass me the hidden stash of non gluten free pizza and crackers. I think I’ve earned it….for now… 🙂

20110801-123102.jpg

Read Full Post »

20110529-073342.jpg

His name was Kyle. He was an amazing young man. I first met Kyle almost 9 years ago, in June of 2002, while passing through the St Louis airport. Our paths crossed a few more times on the OC campus, with short visits on each occasion. Kyle shared with me only a few of his great dreams, and service to country was at the heart of them all. And then, he was gone. I still remember the shock the morning we learned of his loss. If you did not know Kyle, his obituary will be shared at the end of this post, and hopefully you will get some sense for what this man was all about.

My family and I are taking our annual school break summer pilgrimage, this year to the beach. Along the way, we planned for a stop in Vicksburg, Mississippi to tour the battlefield memorials. As we began today worshipping with the Bypass Church of Christ, the minister had some thoughts and emotions to share regarding Memorial Day. And it reminded me of Kyle. I have not thought about him in admittedly quite some time. The last time was while scanning a serviceman’s memorial at the D-Day museum in New Orleans some time ago.

My grandfather, Howard Pope, was a Midshipman in the Navy during WWII. He made it home from serving to be reunited with wife and family. Another family member, Alec, was not so blessed. Originally interred in a cemetery near Norway, France, his body came home to rest in Texas some years later. I remember men like Howard, whom I knew and loved, and Alec, whom I never met but whose name I repeat almost daily and whose face I see in so many of my family members.

I traditionally hang the American flag from our house on Memorial Day. As we are not there for me to do so this year, may this post serve as a digital display to honor the fallen, whether from 1812, 1863, 1913, 1944, 2004, or today in 2011.

20110529-074707.jpg

As we toured the site in Vicksburg today, my thoughts were focused on young men who were lost so many years ago. In retrospect, the cause seems so obvious. Why would anyone want to fight to keep people enslaved? And yet, the freedoms and cultural diversity shared this morning at the Bypass Church reminded us why others would fight to help others be free.

I think that is why Kyle wanted so badly to serve our nation, and in so doing, to serve our world. He wanted to share some of that same freedom.

20110529-075855.jpg

Danton ‘Kyle’ Seitsinger was born in Oklahoma City October 4, 1974, to Dan and Jo Seitsinger. He died serving his country in Afghanistan on January 29, 2004. Kyle graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, MO, in May of 1993. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps on December 7, 1993. During his six and a half year tour of duty, Kyle guarded U.S. embassies in Brasilia, Moscow and the consulate in Rio de Janeiro. At each of his stops, men of his company gave spontaneous awards to Kyle for his leadership style. Kyle was also an expert marksman and rifle instructor at Camp Pendleton. He was named ‘Top Gun’ at his embassy school graduation in Quantico, VA. Of the 150 Marines who started the program, only 50 graduated, including Kyle. Kyle enrolled in Oklahoma Christian University in the fall of 2000. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves when he enrolled in OC, and was a senior when he was called into active duty in November 2003, just 12 months short of his graduation with a dual major in journalism and Spanish. While at OC, Kyle worked for the Talon, the student newspaper, serving as an editor for two years. In 2002, Kyle was selected as one of sixteen student journalists to participate in the Summer Institute in Journalism sponsored by the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities. His assignments included interviews with the Colombian president as well as U.S. representatives Ernest Istook and J.C. Watts. In 2003, Kyle spent six months in Costa Rica in a program designed to immerse the learner in the Spanish language. He had expressed an interest in a career of service in the U.S. diplomatic corps in South America and was an aspiring photojournalist. Kyle’s adventurous spirit blended well with the Marines, who showed him the world. He grew from a tempestuous child to a disciplined, confident young man. His college newspaper columns covered everything from world affairs to his opinion of the ‘ridiculous’ logo his university adopted. Kyle embraced a journalism career and aimed high, with hopes of being a photojournalist and a foreign war correspondent, perhaps even winning a Pulitzer Prize or two. Meanwhile, he enthusiastically covered high school games and worked as a copy messenger at The Oklahoman, realizing he had dues to pay before getting there. Kyle made many friends at The Oklahoman who remember him fondly. Kyle’s down to earth, gregarious personality attracted friends of all kinds. In Brasilia, he ‘adopted’ two young poor girls and urged his family to send them gifts. He rarely missed a chance to practice Spanish or Portuguese with natives. Despite their cultural differences, Kyle always knew what to say and how to keep them talking. Kyle wasted no time, rising early to explore the many cities he visited. It’s as though he knew he needed a faster pace to complete his life. We’ll cherish the many stories that surround Kyle’s antics, his cleverness and his special kind of audacity. We’ll miss you, Kyle, always. Our solace comes in knowing that you have invigorated our souls and taught us that love is stronger than death. Kyle is survived by his father, Dan, his mother, Jo, and two sisters, Karla Seitsinger of New York City and Penny Owen Cockerell of Dallas. In lieu of memorials, the family requests that donations be made to Wentworth Military Academy, 1880 Washington Avenue, Lexington, MO, 64067 and the Gridiron Club, c/o Don Schmidt, 330 N. Country Club Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064, which provides journalism scholarships.

Obituary originally published in The Oklahoman on February 7, 2004.

20110529-080059.jpg

Read Full Post »

20110519-072847.jpg

Great goal for a lifetime: B-Complex. Not complicated. Not complaining. Not cantankerous. Not critical. Complex.

B it. It’s energizing. 🙂

Read Full Post »

It is a good thing that “Bing…” is a non commercial blog, because I’m probably violating numerous copyright laws by sharing the following piece in its entirety, but I want this blog to bless my kids and others, and the thoughts are too important to not share. Thank you, Mr. Boxx.

CONFRONTING THE CRISIS OF COMMITMENT
By: Rick Boxx

The days of unwavering commitment – to one company or to one spouse – seem to be all but gone. Today, people change jobs frequently, for good reason or very little reason at all. Maybe they are looking for a change of responsibilities, or a few dollars more in their paycheck, or the grass just seems greener somewhere else. For whatever reason, loyalty to employers apparently has gone the way of the dinosaur and the dodo bird. The same is true, sadly, for many marriages. Long-term, stable marriages are a testimony to a couple’s devotion and dedication to one another, but today it seems the wedding vows should read, “until divorce do us part.”

This, however, was not the case for my father. After completing a stint in the military, he started a career with General Motors when he was 23 years old.  He was still there the day GM decided to close the plant 29 years later. Even after that, he has faithfully continued to support and promote General Motors products.

As for his wife, he married my mother when he was 19. This year we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, an amazing feat by today’s standards. When my brother-in-law asked him about the secret to success in his marriage, my father’s reply was simple yet profound: “Just hang in there.”

Commitment in any pursuit is a noble quality rarely found in our culture. Divorce rates, bankruptcy, parental failures and job turnover are all symptoms of the real problem: lack of personal commitment. Of course, at least at the business level, we also see a lack of commitment on the part of companies toward their employees. So in that respect, reduced commitment by employees is sometimes a response to corporate disloyalty.

The fact remains: Today when times get rocky in one’s marriage, the prevailing attitude is that “no-fault divorce” wipes the slate clean. If we manage our money poorly, bankruptcy relieves the pressure and pain. If we make a mistake and get pregnant, we can opt for an abortion that allows us to eliminate any sign of the problem. In the workplace, if times get tough, we quit; conversely, if the company faces adversity, one solution is to get rid of us. 

In reality, these and similar actions may relieve the pain temporarily, but they come at great cost – to the community and to ourselves personally. We have built a culture largely devoid of character, because of our desire to eliminate the problem, rather than exerting the effort to remain committed and persevering to overcome trials. 

Most leaders are desperate for people with commitment. To become a strong, effective leader, commitment is essential. In our workplaces, those of us in leadership roles have an obligation to model integrity by rewarding commitment and perseverance. If we find ourselves in jobs that sometimes become dull or tiresome, we need to persevere, showing that we have the commitment to fulfill our duties, even if they become unpleasant. 

By cultivating and demonstrating more commitment, loyalty and perseverance, we build on the noble foundation that men like my father modeled, and become a true business community again, people who truly care for each other and their companies, rather than wage-earners eager to abandon their posts at the first enticing opportunity. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away” (John 10:11-12). In other words, only a good leader stays true to his mission, regardless of cost or opposition.

(Copyright 2006, Integrity Resource Center, Inc.) Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective.

Read Full Post »