Learning to Whistle While You Work

whistlework1There is an old German saying that addresses the importance of self-discipline and your priorities: “Whoever does not respect the penny is not worthy of the dollar.” The essence of this quote seems to be: If you neglect or ignore the small things, you can’t be trusted with larger things.

Neglect in one area of your life might be inconsequential if it happens once; however, when there’s a pattern of neglect it becomes a habit, and habits are the routines and practices that either confine you or refine you.

Most of us are like a stringed instrument, and we need to be re-tuned from time to time.  The word tune has several meanings:

  • As a noun it means, “a succession of musical sounds forming an air or melody, with or without the harmony accompanying it; a musical setting in four-part harmony; the state of being in the proper pitch.”
  • As a verb it means, “to give forth a musical sound; to be in harmony or accord; become responsive.”

It only takes a small incremental turn of the peg to make a big change in the tightness of a string and a dramatic change in the sound of a violin or guitar.  The same is true with your life—small changes can make a big difference.

To make these changes, I suggest that you:

  • Learn from Santa Claus: Make a list and check it twice.  Which of your habits are being naughty or nice to you, and which one help you live in harmony with God?
  • Focus: When you tune a violin or guitar, you don’t turn all of the pegs and adjust all of the strings at once.  You focus on one at a time. Instead of trying to develop several new habits and make multiple changes, make them one at a time.
  • Be Discriminate: Eliminate the non-essentials and practice the essentials.  The one sucks the blood of life out of you while the other revitalizes you.
  • Learn from the 7 Dwarfs: Whistle while you work, and find some joy in what you’re doing.  Be Happy, not Grumpy!
  • Circle the Wagons: When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was Wagon Train.  At the end of the day, Ward Bond would instruct the westward bound settlers to “Circle the wagons.”  This provided a circle of safety for the pioneers.  If Ward Bond was speaking to you, he would tell you to “Circle yourself with good friends and people of character.”
  • Learn from David: In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch (Psalm 5:3).”  Meet with God daily to pray, and plan for success.

The power of small acts is found in the words of Samuel Smiles:

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;

Sow an act, and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”

― Samuel Smiles

Coming to America or Becoming an American

head-heart-hands-conceptThis is one of those moments in history that we need to make sure we are thinking with our heads and not our hearts.  When I see the images of suffering refugees and dying children my heart says do something; however, my head says be cautious because of comments made by, Michael McCaul, the Chairmen of Homeland Security:

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States . . . Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans.”

clintonIn the name of immigration, Hillary Clinton says we should open the doors of American to another 65,000 refugees from Syria.  The real question of concern is this:  Does coming to America mean becoming an American?

When America was the melting pot of the world, immigrants aspired to  learning our language, embracing our principles, and blending in with our culture.  Immigration has been redefined.

When refugees come to America today, too many of them never learn our language or blend into our culture.  Their desire is to be a hyphenated-pocket-American.  In the case of the Syrian refugees, many of them will want to remain distinctly Syrian and may well move to a community that is already calling for the establishment of Sharia Law. This is not the form of immigration that was practiced in the early years of our nations history.

I’m not some xenophobic nut, and I know these comments may be politically incorrect; however, before you call my concerns unfounded, I suggest you read the information below:

  • We need to consider the actions of countries that are experienced in dealing with refugees from Islamic nations: http://goo.gl/U6qUa2
  • The response of Hungary’s President, Victor Orban:  http://goo.gl/SxGrFU 
  • American laws for American courts: http://goo.gl/eyxtuy

Call me stupid, but I think coming to American should mean becoming an American.