A wise man once said

  • Michael Sinnwell
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A wise man once said

8 months 3 weeks ago
As a young boy growing up, I was assigned the responsibility for numerous chores around our house and farm. I, like many other boys in the area, was taught to help Mom, Dad, brothers, and sisters to complete daily projects. We were part of a team to contribute to the welfare of the family. Everyone was expected to contribute.

As a young boy, my desire to contribute was not always at the level of true cooperation. When a problem would appear, I often slipped into the "not my problem" or "blame John Doe" or "it is not my fault" mode like the time I couldn't get the lawn mower started.

After pulling the starter rope numerous times, I gave up and walked to my dad, who was busy. I announced the lawn mower would not start. Dad, being busy, simply said: "I will be there in a few minutes to help you". I went to the lawn mower and sat on a log doing nothing.

After a brief period, my dad walked up and said, "What should we do?" In typical teenage fashion, I said, "How should I know?" As soon as I said it, I saw my dad start to grow angry. Then he hesitated and sat down by me and said, "Instead of us arguing and getting mad at each other, let's work together and figure-out how to fix the lawn mower". I was pleasantly surprised and happy to hear that, instead of engaging in a pointless argument.

He then proceeded to explain the basics of how an engine worked. It needs gas, air, and spark. We then proceeded t0 check and discovered a fouled spark plug. After cleaning the plug, the mower ran like a champ.

My dad shut the mower off and motioned me back to the log. I sat down and he said, "Mike, the next time you have a problem, I want you to stop and think, then come to me with a solution. I don't care if your solution will not work. But if we continue to work together, we can find a solution. But if we just argue, we won't solve anything."

This was a pretty deep thought for a 13-year-old. It took me a few years to understand. Eventually, I took that thought to heart and used it in my personal and business life. My children and my business associates even started to laugh and say, "Yeah, we know, what is the solution?"

It seems to me the solution to our current partisan political environment is obvious. Stop criticizing, arguing, accusing, and start to work together to solve some issues. In other words, "What is your solution?"
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