More policy, less politics

I don’t normally write about politics. I’d like to talk more about policy and less about politics. Unfortunately, for some politics IS policy … and the more the conversation centers around big political themes it usually quickly devolves as the crazies come out and turns into a shouting match over who is more American, who is more Godly, whatever. This concerns me for two different reasons. The first is once the yelling, there’s only one way to skin a cat type argument begins it drives all the sane, practical thinkers from the table. The second issue is that conversation doesn’t lead us to solutions, only to more arguments. I try (though sometimes fail) to listen to all the candidates of a given election – my focus being on not what they believe but what they have accomplished (or recommend accomplishing). Unfortunately what ia hear most of the time are thinks like, “I believe in …” or “we should all want” or my the always popular, “look at this city, state, group, etc – we should want that.”

As a pragmatic thinker, none of the focus on larger ideals means anything to me. I could care less about what messages move people in my demo or if we ultimately believe the same things about God, the size of government or anything else. Policies affect my day to day life, NOT politics. As candidates for public service, I’d like to hear about what you’ve accomplished, what tactical actions you’re going to take, how your specific policies solve (even begin to solve) the issues I care about. Now you have my attention. Because as a business professional I know there is always more than one way to skin a cat. No issue, no solution is black and white. There is value and insight to be gained across the board. And that’s how we get to real solutions, in the boardroom, in the classroom and yes even in the halls of government. With that in mind, now we can have a reasonable discussion about whether or not a policy or set of policies work for me. And by extension I’ll know where a single politician stands on those other issues. Continue reading

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He said/she said … training for the tri

So my wife is my inspiration for many things … including the blog I’ve recently started. She has her own very good blog – Grass is Not Greener, which is definitely a must read. As part of that process we have been writing he said/she said blog posts to delve into the different ways that men and women (really she and I) approach different subjects. If you are interested in reading a few of the past posts from this series, click here and here and here.

In 46 days, my wife and I will be competing in our first Triathlon. It’s a “sprint” (not to be confused with more demanding races, including Olympic distance, half Iron and full Ironman … otherwise known as races I’m unlikely to drag my old butt to). Below we talk separately about how we are preparing for the big day, and in some cases, not preparing …

She said:

There are a few times I’ve asked myself “why did I sign up for this?” My a$$ hurts every time I ride my bike and I am NOT a swimmer. I can run pretty well, but man, do I have it in me to do all three back to back, without stopping? Granted, a “sprint” is a baby triathlon, most elite athletes would consider a “sprint” a warm up. But alas, I’m not an elite athlete. So, I’ll take my baby tri medal and will wear it with pride! Continue reading

Remember who you came from

There is so much noise out there about remembering “where” you came from. It feels like something we say just to say it – I don’t know that most people find significant meaning behind it. I suppose most times (when it’s not being used as a cliche in a gangster movie), the point is likely about remembering the lessons you learned growing up and the places you learned them. But is that really what we mean? As I’m thinking of it in the context of being a father I’m beginning to think the real point is something else entirely. As fathers, I think it’s important we remember we were once sons ourselves and recognize WHO we’ve come from. The lessons we learn as sons and the examples our father’s set for us are important building blocks for the men (and fathers of our own) that we become.

Three generations, three sons and hopefully three fathers.

This is one of the most personally valuable pictures I own – three generations of sons together – my father, me and my first born, William.  Continue reading

Why do we hide the hard stuff?

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m the father of two boys – 4 and 1 1/2. They are fantastic. And as their father I go through the machinations  I’m sure everyone goes through when it’s their turn in the parent spin cycle. Will I do the same thing my parents did? Will I do everything differently? If you’re anything like me, you probably appreciate all the stuff your parents taught you along the way. I think overall we parents are really good at the big picture stuff – eat healthy, exercise, brush your teeth, share with your brother (ok, that one is kind of hard), don’t talk to strangers, etc.

One of the promises I made to myself was to always try to give them an honest answer to their questions. Right now I’m on easy street – the questions are easy. “Daddy, why is that guy not wearing a helmet?” “Daddy, where is Maryland?” And even though they come at 100 mph, the honest answers are easy. But how far am I really willing to go? How far will my bravery and honest answering extend? Will I be willing and able to tell my boys why I don’t like the girl they’re hanging out with (even in daycare I can spot the girls with, “I’m going to take this out on Mommy” issues)?

Are we brave enough to cover the tough stuff as they grow up?

So that really got me thinking. Continue reading

Rules for grandparents

It’s really kind of amazing the way the parent/child roles evolve over time. Take grandparents for example. I get that as the child, I’m immediately less important now that I’ve delivered the grandchild goods. And I’m ok with that. But seriously grandparents, you have to take the initiative if you want to see, speak to your grandchildren. It’s not that I don’t love you – but have you seen my boys? They’re the energizer bunny squared.

See what I mean? And yes, those are both Yankee hats, thanks for noticing!

We’re running flat out (and frankly loving it) from about 6:30am every day – especially on the weekends. It’s easy to forget things like showering, picking up the phone to call, scheduling time to get on Skype. I know you assume that we’ve got time to think about all the people we need to call and catch up with – but that ball has definitely dropped in your court. Take a typical Sunday in our house for example: Continue reading