Things that I am Thankful for

As I edge toward Thanksgiving Holiday, I ask myself what it is that I am actually thankful for.  Daily, it seems that we are being bombarded with news of the bad economy, and being a Republican is nothing like it was a decade ago, but here goes.

I am thankful that I am a Christian.  I may not hold to many of the more fundamentalist (or liberal) views of modern Christian denominations, but I believe that Christ died for my sins, and am thankful that my God is a god of grace who loves me in spite of my many failings.

I am thankful for my family.  I am thankful for my lovely wife and my wonderful little daughter.  Every day is a new adventure when you have a two year old.  My wife and I may be a good pair, but it is the little girl that completes both of us.

I am thankful for the grandparents.  My mom is wonderful with my daughter, and she does everything thing she can to help us through the everyday life situations that sometimes come up.  My in-laws are also great.  This year, there were a couple of times when I had to work some extended hours (once I put in an extra 155 hours in a month).  My mom and my in-laws really came through by coming to stay with us for weeks at a time so that the baby would not have to be in day care for eight hours a day or more.  To top that all off, this summer while I was having to work so many hours, my father-in-law practically put in a bar that I had been planning to do by himself, and it looks as good as a master carpenter could do.

My sister, her husband and my niece who is slightly older than my daughter are also a blessing.  We will not be spending Thanksgiving together this year because we will be at the in-law’s house, and my sister, who would normally be at her in-law’s house, will be staying at home because she is pregnant with what will be my new nephew.  Yeah!

I am thankful that I was born an American in Texas and in the Dallas area.  There is no place I’d rather be.

I am thankful for my education, the fact that I have a good job, and a good boss who appreciates the work that I do, and I am thankful that I have a customer base that, for the most part is easy to work with.

I am thankful that my wife likes some of the programming that I like to watch on television, and that she is willing to sit beside me and act like she likes some of the other programming that I watch.  I am also thankful that I live in the age of the DVR.

I am thankful that I live in an area that has a lot of sports related outlets.  Between, the Cowboys, Rangers, Stars and Mavericks, Dallas covers the sports world well, but it would be nice to see a World Series come through here.  We even have a professional soccer team, FC Dallas.  There are also three professional minor league baseball teams, several universities, and Texas high school football to satiate the sports fan.  And, of course we have the best local sports radio in the country, Sports Radio 1310, the Ticket.

I am thankful that I live in a safe, affordable neighborhood with good schools that my daughter will one day attend.

I am thankful that Texas still does not have a state income tax.

I am thankful that I have a few friends that go back as far a high school, and that I know I can trust at least one of them with pretty much anything.

I am thankful that I will not have to do anything to assist with the cooking of Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I am thankful that my father-in-law finally paid for the local channels to be put on his Dish Network plan so it will not be snowing during all of the football games that I plan to watch this week.

I am thankful that I live in a time, and in a country where I can publish any opinion that I wish to anyone in the world who wishes to read it, for free (thanks, WordPress).  Being a student of history, I know that freedom of speech has been a rarity throughout the history of mankind, and I respect a person’s right to have an opinion even if I do not agree with what the person is saying.

I could go on forever, but suffice it to say, I am thankful.

Idol is not to Blame

Find my latest American Idol article here.

Is it pressure or unrealistic expectations?

This week a former contestant on American Idol killed herself outside Paula Abdul’s apartment, and now, of course, many people are looking to blame the show for her death.

It is sad that this young lady with all of her apparent mental problems chose to end her life, but I do not feel that it can be blamed on American Idol.

The truth of the matter is that kids these days are being given a false sense of reality and expectations.  Just this week, Fox News published a story which blamed parents and schools for attempting to raise students’ self-esteem and expectations for their futures to unrealistic levels.

This is because children are praised without having to perform.  Children will always perform up to the expectations of adults.  When they are given no expectations in order to receive praise and rewards, then they will expect the world to be given to them for nothing.  They are often built-up without any foundation of personal accountability for 18 years, and then released on world that will savage them with its expectations.  Or, even worse they marry early and destroy the lives of their spouse and children with their expectation that everything will just be given to them without them having to put forth any effort.

American Idol and the other reality programs that focus on young people simply present us each season with the ugly truth of this situation.  Each season we see young person after young person talking about how they are not given a fair chance and how the ‘deserve’ to go on.  As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve has got nothing to do with it.”  No one ‘deserves’ to make it on American Idol or in any business.  They prove themselves through determination, hard work and talent.  The problem is that this generation, like most, does not want to put in the work that it takes to achieve, and they have been taught that they are the stars of their own movie.  Living a life where you go to work every day and earn an honest wage in order to support the family that you love is something that they cannot comprehend, and if they could, they would probably think it was boring and despise it.