Piers and the Power of Peers

dockThe answer to the question you may have is, “No and yes.”  There is not a misspelled word in the title of the blog, and I do know the difference between a peer and a pier.  Homophones like “pier and peer” can be a source of confusion:  They sound alike, but they are spelled differently and mean different things:

  • A pier is a structure built on posts that extends from land into the water, and it provides a place for boats to dock.
  • A peer is a person who is equal to you in one or more ways (ability, age, social status, etc.)

This next statement might muddy the water instead of clear it up:  Because a peer is also defined as something of equal worth or quality, it’s possible for piers to be peers.  It’s even possible for you to act as a pier for your peers when you provide a safe harbor for them in the stormy times of life.

As a peer, you exert influence that is either positive or negative.  Solomon paints a powerful contrast of the two:

  • Proverbs 1:9: “My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded.”
  • Proverbs 27:17: “In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” character?  Have you been enticed or are you the enticer?  Have you sharpened or dulled the character of your peer group?  Are you the shelter in the time of storm or the storm? general

The storms of life are a common denominator of humanity—everyone will face one at some time.  General Douglass MacArthur knew this, and he offered this pray for his son:

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.

Then I, his father will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain. ”

I hope you will do more than just read this and lay it aside and forget it.  I encourage you to peer into the meanings of piers and peers and try to develop a life of peerless character.

Freedom: The Significance of 2194

9888473-largeThey’re just four numbers: 2-1-9-4. They aren’t even in sequence. If a childish voice read them aloud, you might think a preschooler was attempting to count to 10.

If you work for the IRS, you know 2194 is the number of the Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses. If you served in the Air Force or are a pilot, you might associate 2194 with a record setting speed. If you live in Kansas, and participate in KPERS, 2194 is a piece of legislation that focuses on employee and employer contribution rates to your retirement account.

The real significance of 2194 is its association with Veterans Day. 2194 is the number of days between the start of World War II that began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and ended with the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

The first 828 days of the 2194 saw the involvement of the United States limited to military aid to the Allied Forces through the lend-lease program, but this would change on December 7, 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor fully engaged the United States, and it proved to be the fulcrum of World War II.

Somewhere around 418,000 Americans gave their lives in sacrifice to a cause that was much greater than they were as individuals. There are 9,387 of them who lie in rest on the 172.5 acres of the Normandy American Cemetery, and they testify to the significance of 2194. Among the 9,387, there are 307 unknowns, three that were awarded the Medal of Honor, 4 are women, and there are 33 pairs of brothers buried side by side.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. When you go to bed tonight, write 2194 on a piece of paper, so it will remind you of the significance of tomorrow—a day that far too many take for granted. Perhaps that piece of paper with 2194 written on it will remind you that freedom is not free.

2194 is a number full of sorrow, death, separation, pain, and unfulfilled dreams. It also includes many acts of heroism by those we now call veterans. Tomorrow is their Day, so take the time to thank a vet for the freedom you enjoy.