Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back In Action...

Hey guys. Hope everyone is doing well, though I know many of the people who I am writing to are currently out of the country or inaccessible in some other way, so I'll be writing for posterity and for myself today. :)

Actually, I think it'd be interesting to see who I actually DO write for. If you have a blogger account, I'd really appreciate you dropping off a comment just so I can see who everyone is, where they come from, and what blog they participate in. I have a good idea about who the regulars are, but there are some on the fringes who I don't know and would really like to. Thanks!

Anyway, I've been gone for a good third of the month of June. Boys State was amazing, to say the least. For those of you who don't know, Boys State is an eight day leadership camp disguised as a government camp composed of 1000 of Missouri's best and brightest high school guys. We hang out on UCM's campus in Warrensburg and build a fictitious 51st state which has sixteen cities of sixty guys. It's a very intricate program in which the kids elect city, county, and state officials, hold primaries on all levels, create parties to work within and help boost their candidates, make their own businesses, and whatever else they decide to do within the Boys State constitution and the ordinances they enact within their cities and counties. It's CRAZY, but it teaches a lot of lessons; that goes for the students as well as the staff.

Peter Clothier, you would love it. This project is a philosopher's dream, showing a lot about the nature of government, a bit about human nature, and lots of other cool stuff. Besides, I got to listen to speakers such as Kenny Hulshoff, Jay Nixon, Sarah Steelman (all three are candidates for MO Governor), Eric Greitens (or Captain America as I like to call him. He's a former Navy Seal, Rhodes Scholar, and currently does lots of humanitarian work), Robin Carnahan (the late Mel Carnahan's wife), and (my favorite speaker of the week) Mike Huckabee. A great opportunity to get a jump start into the political scene.

Over the next few days, I'm gonna try to pull out some of the more notable stories and lessons I learned while on staff this year at Boys State, but today I'd like to focus a bit on what I learned from Mike Huckabee. Let me begin by saying that I completely and utterly disagree with his entire political schema. The man is entirely out of touch with reality. He basically said in not so few words that we should, as a society, forget about the people at the bottom of the social totem pole. They're there because they refuse to obey God and be moral, and by trying to help them we're only dragging ourselves down. Such people need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and in the mean time we'll continue to be people of God and succeed.

Seriously, Mike? Seriously?!

Besides all that crap, he really was an amazing speaker. He's very charismatic, very captivating, and besides the fact that he doesn't want to help those on the bottom rungs of society (by the way, how does the message of Jesus fit into all that, Mike?), he seems like a generally nice guy. He told one story that particularly stuck out in my mind, and I used it to guide myself through the week.

Apparently Mike Huckabee got to drive a bobsled once when he was governor. He told us a bit about the coaching he received before going down the hill, and it was a great life lesson. He said this:

Once you go off the hill, you're gonna start picking up speed. Fast. Too fast to sit around and make decisions. The key is to look forward, and the second you see the next turn, steer for it. The ice behind you isn't going to hurt you. It's over and done with. Steer for the turn ahead and keep your cool.

I like that. The ice behind us can't hurt us anymore. Life DOES feel a bit like a bobsled ride, speeding down a treacherous chute at breakneck speed, no time to think, almost out of control all the while.

So for now, let's enjoy the turn that we're on while being mindful of the turn that's on the horizon. Let's learn to enjoy each other while we're still here. Let's learn from yesterday's mistakes and then forget them. I hope everyone has a great day, and I look forward to hearing from you all. Ta-ta for now!


Cardozo said...

This idea of "learning from the past and then forgetting it" is solid.

To take a small illustrative example...I have a bit of a problem with showering. The shower is a bit of a refuge for me. I let the hot water pour down on me and let the minutes slip away.

Then by the time I extract myself, I'm often rushing to get to wherever I needed to be showered to get to.

Anyway, the point is that lately I've taken to learning from the past (by taking shorter showers to avoid the inconvenience to self and others of being late) while eschewing self-blame and keeping a weather eye open on a more constructive way to respond to me apparent need for "refuge."

lindsey said...

You already know from your site reader that I read your blog. ;-)

But having said that...was Huckabee taking a sort of Mark 14:7 stance?

Because you should have gone all old school Deuteronomy 15 on his Republican butt.

Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

You already know me.

Huckabee - I think charismatic wrong-headed people are among the most dangerous.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for thinking of me, Mark. I'm back from travels, as you see, and checking up on some of the blogs I watch. Yours is one of them... As for Huckabee, well... Bush is supposed to be a good guy to have a beer with, too.

Anonymous said...

Woah. Eric Greitens even looks like Captain America. What a cool guy!