Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things that Enslave: Part 4

SHACKLE 8:
THE IRRESPONSIBLE CARE AND USE OF SEX


A couple of experiences I had as a 9th Grade English teacher in Houston, Texas, illustrate some of the negative, real-life consequences of sexual irresponsibility. The first experience occurred while teaching the designated novel for the year—a juvenile work of fiction entitled Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book was the year’s most popular literary selection among students.
Speak, which was also made into a movie, tells the story of a teenage girl who was raped at a party prior to the start of her ninth-grade year. The book follows the protagonist through the year as she struggles with the difficult and painful consequences of her terrible victimization. Perhaps the most memorable thing from my experience teaching this book was reading Anderson’s own words about her experience traveling around the country to promote her book, whereby she discovered a trend that was disturbing, to say the least. In an answer to the question: Have any readers ever asked questions that shocked you?[1] Anderson replied:

I have gotten one question repeatedly from young men. These are guys who liked the book, but they are honestly confused. They ask me why Melinda was so upset about being raped. 
The first dozen times I heard this, I was horrified. But I heard it over and over again. I realized that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman. They are inundated by sexual imagery in the media, and often come to the (incorrect) conclusion that having sex is no big deal. This, no doubt, is why the numbers of sexual assaults is so high.[2]

If a young man believes that rape is a casual thing and no big deal, he has clearly received poor training in Self-Action Leadership. If young people everywhere were trained in subjects like reverence, rectification, self-discipline, honesty, humility, compassion, kindness, courtesy, self-observation, and self-awareness, there would be fewer uneducated boys and men in this country with cavalier attitudes toward women and sex. There would also be fewer unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortions.

My second experience occurred one day when a shy, diffident, young woman asked my female co-teacher if she could speak with her in private. Once outside the classroom, she divulged to my colleague that she had had sex with a boy who secretly videotaped their tryst and was now spreading the video around the school. My horrified co-teacher listened to her and then directed her to the proper administrative channels to appropriately address the situation.

I could only imagine what this young girl must have been going through mentally and emotionally during this horrific turn of events. My heart went out to her in her time of anguish. My heart also ached with the knowledge that such an unfortunate series of incidents could have been prevented with the proper education.

Sex is a serious act. Once engaged in, you cannot ‘take it back.’ Sexuality is a powerful force that, if not properly disciplined, can devastate individuals, families, communities, and even entire nations. Sex education at home and at school should not only be about ‘safe sex’, but also about ‘ethical sex,’ and ‘foregoing sex’ until a time in life when you are fully capable of making wise decisions concerning its free expression.


I recently read an article [3] about a mother who was concerned about her college-aged son because of the tendency of the typical college student to get involved in drinking and sexual activity. Her advice? She encouraged her son to always remember to send and receive a text message before and after sexual activity to provide hard evidence that any forthcoming sexual activity is consensual. The goal? To avoid legal issues surrounding potential rape allegations.

Rather than teaching ethical sex, or even abstinence to avoid the problem altogether, this mother was more concerned with her son avoiding legal issues, an indictment, or even jail time in the case of a tryst heading south. Her justification? In her own words, she said, “Let’s face it, the sexual revolution is real.” Resigned to the fact that her son was simply a victim of cultural forces and his own libido, she decided to take matters into her own hands by drilling into him the importance of getting a “Yes” text. She also took the liberty to fill his suitcase full of condoms.

This woman’s controversial comments evince a growing societal acceptance that young people simply will not, or perhaps even cannot, control themselves in regards to sex. They must therefore resort to protective measures to minimize collateral damage for unbridled sexual expression.

In this mother’s defense, she did teach her son to respect women, and it is certainly not wrong to try to prevent a potential date rape allegation. I have no doubt she loves her son and is simply doing what she feels is right to help protect him – which is more than many parents do. What she does not seem to realize is that in her efforts to be a responsible parent, she is implicitly sanctioning sexual permissiveness, and perhaps drunkenness as well.

Click HERE for full article by Roxanne Jones

Never forget, or take for granted, that you are the sovereign ruler of your own life and world. In making decisions related to sexual behaviors, SAL philosophy urges all self-action leaders to respect sex, and to make careful and responsible choices in regards thereto. SAL urges everyone to maintain the utmost respect for the consequences that will flow into your lives—and the lives of those impacted and influenced by your choices—as a result of our thoughts, words, and actions.

Incidentally, after completing an 11-volume history of the world – The Story of Civilization – authors Will and Ariel Durant penned an abridged classic called The Lessons of History. Their intention was to offer something to future generations, “that might illuminate present affairs, future probabilities, the nature of man, and the conduct of states.”[4] On the subject of sex, the Durants wrote:

A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.[5]

I invite you to carefully consider these words, especially in light of its context—a secular observation made not by preachers or moralists, but by prestigious historical scholars after a thoughtful consideration of the totality of human events since the dawn of recorded history. I don't know what the Durants thought about sex from a moral perspective; I only know that they understood history well enough to comprehend the epic historical calamities brought on by sexual permissiveness. Sex is a wonderful thing, but like so many other wonderful things in life, it can quickly and easily go awry if we are not disciplined and careful, and the consequences can be devastating.

Do not surrender your sexual sovereignty.


SHACKLE 9:
THE ABUSE AND NEGLECT OF LOVED ONES


Human beings are the smallest units in larger social systems. The second smallest unit consists of a committed, long-term, intimate relationship. The third smallest is the family unit. All big problems in a society or culture have their roots in individual, companion, and familial problems. The government cannot regulate, much less solve, micro problems that exist on the personal, interpersonal, or familial level. Individuals, couples, and families must control and regulate themselves and their interactions with others. Failure to do so has a ‘trickle-up’ effect, in which problems at the micro level manifest themselves throughout a society.

I travel a lot with my work, and I often find it fascinating how kind, respectful—even generous—complete strangers are to each other in airports, airplanes, hotels, restaurants, and rental car outlets. I often wonder how all these kind, considerate, mature people act when no one else is looking, or in their personal relationships and families. It would be interesting to know.


There is no error quite as true as to abuse those nearest you.



SHACKLE 10:
THE DISREGARD FOR, AND DEVALUATION OF, HUMAN LIFE


The disregard for human life often begins before human beings ever see the light of day, and continues on after birth. Throughout the world, including in all of our nation’s greatest cities, human life is often carelessly sacrificed on alters of drugs, ego, lust, narcissism, pride, revenge, and selfishness. The ultimate disregard for human life manifests itself in murder—the antithesis of life, opportunity, and human progress. It is the purest personification of irresponsibility, the endgame of the blame game, and the ultimate abdication of human nobility.

Far removed from murder, yet far more ubiquitous, is the devaluation of human life through inequality. By inequality, I refer to the idea that some human beings are somehow existentially superior to another. Such a belief is simply not true.

The truth is that every human being ever born possesses equal existential value. This value is complete, innate, irrevocable, and, I believe, eternal. Effective self-action leaders recognize this great truth. In-turn, they view and treat all human beings with the dignity, fairness, and respect that all members of the human race deserve.

The best leaders I have ever met are those that have internalized this great truth of existential equality. The following two examples personify this paradigm. Doctor Stirling Pack, Jr., is a former Senior Vice President of a Fortune 500 energy corporation. Through hard work and diligence, Pack rose through the ranks of his company to eventually become a ‘big shot’ that made millions and flew around the world on corporate jets.

Shortly before Pack retired, Nick—a lowly graphic technician—visited Pack in his office to present a thank you gift. Why? In Nick’s words: “You were the only senior officer that ever treated me like a human being.” Pack did not know Nick well. In fact, he had to think for a moment to recall how he knew Nick at all. Then he remembered: Nick had assisted Stirling a time or two in designing some slides for his executive presentations. That was the only association Stirling ever had with Nick. Pack did not tell me what he did or said to make Nick feel so valued; I don’t think he remembered himself. The point is that he did. Pack was the kind of leader who understood the great truth that no one is a “justa.” You know what I mean? “Just a” graphic technician, “just an” administrative assistant, “just a” custodian, or “just a” new hire. Stirling understood that existentially speaking, he was no better than Nick. As such, he treated him with the same kind of respect and regard as he would have treated his manager—the CEO of the entire company. All of the greatest leaders I have ever known share this trait with Pack.

Click HERE for full version of this original story about Stirling D. Pack, Jr., Ph.D.


Shortly after graduating from college, I got a part-time job as a retail salesman in a FranklinCovey store in Atlanta, Georgia. One day, my manager told me of an experience she once had with my Uncle Hyrum—a co-founder of the company. She and her colleagues were setting up a table of Hyrum’s books to sell at a national FranklinCovey symposium. As they worked, Hyrum—the Co-CEO of the entire company—just happened to walk by. Immediately, he jumped in and started helping them. My manager was surprised. Her comment to me was: “I didn’t think CEOs unloaded boxes.”

Hyrum’s actions left an impression on my manager that positively influenced her own leadership style. The story, in turn, left a positive impression on me. It continually serves as a reminder that no matter how high my own career ascent, I should never think myself too good or important to lend a helping hand when needed. And if that means scrubbing toilets (metaphorically or literally speaking), then so be it!

Click HERE for full version of this original story about Hyrum Smith.

THE TREES AND THE FOREST


One rotten tree does not a forest ruin. One bankruptcy in a hundred thousand doesn’t cause an economy to collapse. One crime of identity theft doesn’t result in a macroeconomic recession. One person who destroys one’s life and loses one’s family does not a country ruin. Allowing small numbers of people to take from, rather than give to, the national treasury is necessary at times in a just and merciful society. But as the number of selfish, self-indulgent, and undisciplined people grows, everyone suffers a little bit, then a little bit more, and so on in a downward spiral toward individual and collective decline and ruin.

If we continue to contribute to these problems, or collectively embrace and grant prestige to those who do, the ideals that made our nation great will fade away alongside our country’s greatness and moral authority. These TEN shackles pose serious problems to the United Sates of America and all other countries throughout the world. If we are to solve them, there must be more hacking at the roots of the problems, which always exist primarily inside the minds and hearts of individuals.

The numbers of takers and slackers is larger today than it has ever been our history. If we are not vigilant in retarding and reversing this treacherous trend, we will reach a tipping point with consequences more grievous than ever experienced previously. If unchecked indefinitely, we will eventually find ourselves just one of another ash-heap smoldering among the ignominious list of fallen empires. At Freedom Focused, we call upon men and women of integrity everywhere to reclaim American greatness by unleashing a new era fueled by education, integrity, character, and conscience.


Next Blog Post: Monday, December 15, 2014. Chapter 13: The Challenge & Quest to Become




[1] Anderson, L. H. (1999). Speak (Platinum Edition ed.). New York, NY: The Penguin
Group. Page 206.
[2] Ibid. Page 206.
[3] To read the entire article, visit URL: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/26/opinion/jones-sex-consent-texting/ or search for the title “Young men, get a ‘yes’ text before sex” by Roxanne Jones
[4] From the Preface of Durant, W. & Durant, A. The Lessons of History. No page number (Google Books version). 
[5] Ibid.  From Chapter V. Character & History. Second-to-last paragraph. 

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