Week 1- figure Week 2- principle Week 3- honor Week 4- decency Week 5- corrupt
Go figure! It is an expression that we have heard many times. To a math teacher, it simply means do some calculations. How many times have we used it as an expression that simply means to take time and think about the subject of discussion? To a ship’s captain, it simply says to his navigator go plot a course to our destination. This expression, however, does not mean that a numerical sum is needed, but it could mean some serious thought is required. Now let’s all stay sharp and go figure!
The slender figure of the woman was barely visible in the mist. The definition of figure gives us three basic meanings. As we see in the example sentence, it can be defined as a person that can be seen only as a shape or outline. A second way that we see it defined is that of a value expressed in numbers as in the team scored in double figures. Another meaning is a symbol that represents a number like ‘C’ is often used to indicate hundreds. In math a figure is often used to indicate a formula or it can be used in music to indicate a series of musical notes. A slender figure makes most women sing!
Geometric forms are well known to most of us. Such forms as triangles, cylinders, squares or pentagons become familiar forms as we learn math. These forms each represent figures as sets of geometric points. Seldom do we think of figures being associated with sports, but the association is there. Figure skating and gymnastics both hinge on the athlete’s ability to perform accurately some shape or figure as part of their routine. They are graded on their physical ability to perform their routines and the figures or shapes in them. Baseball even has its figure as the players run a square to score!
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were prominent figures in our nation’s formation. What they did had tremendous impact upon our young nation. Both were presidents. Both signed the Declaration of Independence. Both had very strong religious beliefs. Both contributed to the political formation and development of our government. They both shared similar views on what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness meant. The freedoms we enjoy today come from their intellect and sacrificial leadership!
Figure out your relationships in a way that makes sense. Try this. List as many of your relationships as possible. Use a code like 1 for most important and 5 for least important. With this kind of list, you will know how much time and attention to invest in the relationship. Your relationships are very valuable especially the 1’s and 2’s. You need to cultivate these relationships very carefully. These are your family, bff’s, and those you depend on for crisis management. Those in the 3’s list will help keep life interesting. Those in the 1’s and 2’s list will help you keep a stable balance in your life!
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Principles are good things. They are the rules that we live by. It is a good thing to write down as many as you can think of and give it some thought. Is it working and if so are the results good or bad? If you don’t do this, how will you know what works and what doesn’t? Consider the laws of physics. The basic principles of physics are a set of laws about how things work in our everyday world. These laws work even if we don’t know what they are. If we understand them, we know what will work and what won’t. You should know the laws that you live by that bring success!
Abraham Lincoln lived by the principle that all men should be free. This example sentence illustrates one of the primary definitions of ‘principle’ which is – a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions. The second meaning is ‘a basic truth or theory as in an idea that forms the basis of something.’ The law of gravity illustrates the third definition as ‘a law or fact of nature that explains how something works or why something happens.’ In human nature, the principles of curiosity and greed are constantly at work. What principle rule do you have in your code of conduct?
The profit principle is the underlying force that moves businesses. Without profit, a business cannot remain solvent. It must cover all of its expenses, labor, liabilities and raw materials before it can know if it is profitable. A business that only breaks even without making a profit has no incentive to continue. It is the anticipation of gain over and above its expenses that motivates business owners to continue its operation. It is this gain or profit that lures business owners to make efficient operation a principle of doing business!
As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, time will continue its march. This is one principle that we can all depend upon. There may be times that we wonder if it will, but it is a certainty. Our outlook upon life should hinge upon the fact that it will continue and do its job of dimming memories, both good and bad. Those who focus upon past memories do themselves a disfavor because they will overlook opportunities that can have a positive impact upon their life. Memories are good if they help us to avoid future mistakes and build upon positive actions for today. Let your best principles strengthen your faith in life!
Relationships do have and require principles. One principle to use with all of your relationships is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Will it work 100% of the time? No, but it will work in most cases. This rule, do unto others, should become an essential part of your relationship interaction. Most will respond in like manner. Those that don’t are normally twisted, bitter, unloving and under bad influence. Many like this have had hard life experiences and do not know how to change their lives. This one principle, the Golden Rule, may be the one thing that helps them know that there is hope. Use it and put your heart, mind and spirit into it!
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In America today, there is a serious gap in personal integrity. That gap is evident by a lack of moral strength and high principles. The sound character of most Americans is slowly crumbling because they do not honor or respect the founders of our country and what they stood for. Many of our citizens today do not care about having high moral standards for they are more interested in “what is in it for me.” Instead, they look for means and ways to indulge their own personal appetites. Honor has fallen into disrepute because those in high places do not model it as a standard of character!
We should always honor our veterans who have died for they have made the ultimate sacrifice. To die for one’s country is to earn the highest respect and admiration. One of the most used definitions of honor is that of respect and admiration. Honor also means that a person has a good reputation and high character. Academic distinction by students is usually rewarded with high honors. Those who have a keen sense of ethical integrity do themselves great honor. They can guarantee performance just by giving their word!
In our present day, how often do we see people honored for doing the right thing at the right time and for unselfish reasons? Seldom. More often than not, people are honored for being wealthy, influential or in a position of power. Many times their character and reputation are cloudy at best. The end result of their being honored is not to uplift or promote positive merits but to increase their own personal gain. Respect, merit, esteem and positive behavior are seldom the honorable goal that they strive to achieve. They want honor and recognition but only to increase their recognition and fame!
History will help us to understand the full implication of honor and how we can understand its result. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were very honorable men. Martin Luther King was an honorable man as was other founders of similar organizations. Honor is somewhat elusive to pin down because we see honor exemplified by how people lived and it becomes evident from the actions in their life. Honor is a way of life that exhibits high moral standards of behavior. We should each strive to be honorable in everything we do!
Marriage vows remind us of positive things that we should do in a relationship. The words “love, honor and obey” are included in most marriage vows. How often do we really stop to think about what they really mean? Most of us know what ‘love and obey’ mean; but, how often do we really give time and attention to what ‘honor’ means in marriage? It means to show respect and admiration for your spouse. Honor is probably the most difficult emotion and action to carry out in our relationship. Close proximity often creates a blind spot that blurs our understanding and showing of honor. It is often buried in a relationship without proper attention given to its place!
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The constitutional quarrels of Reagan’s term were conducted with decency and order, because the President knew his own limitations, and because his fellow citizens trusted his wisdom and moderation in times of crisis. One of his best remembered speeches was in Berlin when he challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. That challenge resonated with the Berliner’s and German’s on both sides of the wall. It was a courageous speech which undermined the Soviet’s leaders in their indecent methods of controlling subject nationalities. Decency would soon become one of the standards used to evaluate political behavior!
Plain-spoken as he was, President Truman always seemed to have the decency to do the right thing at the right time. In this example sentence, we see the definition of decency that is most often used. It is to set a standard of taste, propriety, or quality. Decency is a noun that means ‘polite, moral and honest behavior and attitudes that show respect for other people.’ A less well known use of decency is to define a type of literary decorum. Some authors use it as a means of conformity to standards of taste, propriety or quality. They want to set a basic level of decency in writing!
For today’s post on decency, I am proposing a question. Has decency in the U.S. increased or decreased over the past 2 decades? Since the most used meaning of decency is conformity to standards of taste, propriety or quality the probable answer to the foregoing question is negative. The trend is downward. When we examine the history of great nations of the past, we see them reach a pinnacle of greatness and then slowly turn to a downward, disintegrating curve that ends with the nation being defeated or dissolved. Common decency is one of the indicators of a nation’s health. When common decency fades as a standard of quality, the demise of that nation is not far away!
The U.S. Constitution grants to us citizens “inalienable rights” that we are to enjoy. It means that certain things are to be considered proper and acceptable. Decency is one of those rights that we should consider to be proper and acceptable. Okay, how then does that translate into everyday life? Give some thought to what impact it may have on what and how you do something. For instance, it becomes apparent that you are going to be late for work. An act of decency is to call and let your boss know. Decency is to exhibit polite, moral and honest actions that show respect for other people!
Every relationship should include common decency as a norm. Respect for others and behaving in an acceptable manner are part of a decent attitude in a relationship. Lack of a decent attitude toward others is often the single most important factor to why many of our common associations do not have lasting value. Included in a decent attitude are respect and common courtesies, such as saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please.’ Also giving others a choice of actions is proper!
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Many people in our world today are corrupted by the use of unsound principles or moral practices. For instance, many educators teach that absolutes or eternal values do not exist. This trend in teaching corrupts value systems and creates chaos and confusion. If an absolute is no longer recognized, then values become what those in authority teach. When authority changes so do the values being taught. The result is that values become very flexible, unstable and weak!
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There is much truth in this saying. As we look at the definitions for ‘corrupt,’ we see it defined as “to change from good to bad in morals, manners or actions.” This definition gives the primary sense of the word. A secondary meaning is to degrade with unsound principles or moral values as we saw in our example quotation. A third variable meaning to corrupt is to become tainted or rotten. The central idea is that corrupt tells you that something or someone is less than perfect or lacks soundness of mind. Beware of those influences that alter your sense of correctness!
How do we know when something is corrupt? We know that it is corrupt when the ideal or original form is altered. This is normally indicated by observation and comparison to an original. For instance, ‘the idealism of the writer’s club has been corrupted by cynicism against the publishing gatekeepers focus upon financial gain.’ In this example, we see at least two factors that contribute to the corruption. One is financial gain for the gatekeepers and two is the club’s cynical reaction that has diluted their idealism. The club’s intent in its original charter has now been altered!
One would think that a product advertised as healthy and lean would be ideal for those who watch fats and calories. Seldom do we mention brand names, but we have today a most interesting example for the result of corruption. In this sense, corrupt is seen as less than good quality. Several days ago, we opened a package of Oscar Mayer Lean Turkey Bacon which is normally low fat. For medical reasons, we use this instead of the regular pork bacon. To our surprise, this package had in the center of each piece a glob of fat! Yuk!
Crime scenes are many times marked off by bright fluorescent yellow barricade tape. Corrupt relationships should also be barricaded with yellow tape that says “Caution—do not enter.” Corrupt relationships are very hazardous to our sanity and peace of mind. How then do we identify these dangerous associations? Like the yellow tape, any relationship that hinders or changes our moral values should be avoided. Also any festering interaction with another should be resolved before it alters our principles in a negative manner. Corrupting influences should also be wrapped in yellow barricade tape as off limits. Disagreements with others should be monitored closely to ward off foul play!
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