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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 11, 2010 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | How do you celebrate Columbus Day? In "The Emperor's Giraffe" Samuel Wilson explains that on his deathbed Columbus was famous, rich and surrounded by his loving family; but he died a tormented man. Columbus had followed a daily ritual to ensure his misery. Every morning Columbus would awake and open a small box on his night stand. He would examine the few gold coins inside the box and then put them back in the box. This morning ceremony reminded Columbus how King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had cheated him when they reneged on their agreement to split all of the bounty from any land he discovered. You would think that wealth, a loving family and a historic legacy would be enough to make him happy.

Henry David Thoreau lamented that most of us lead lives of "quiet desperation." Happy or sad, most of us spend our lives sitting in the back row. Mark Twain said, "It is better to deserve honors and not have them; than to have them, and not deserve them." Easy for him to say, with all of his trophy cases filled to the brim and walls covered with certificates attesting to his greatness. The rest of us aren't showered with adoration. Here is my guide to honors and awards…

If you receive an award, enjoy it. There is always someone who will demean your accomplishments in this world. Don't let it interfere with your celebration. Enjoy your victory lap or dance, but share it. A formal dinner was held in honor of the retirement for an esteemed author, attorney and law professor, John Cibinic. Cibinic had written legal treatises accepted as the gold standard in his area of law. The Wall Street Journal cited him as both a brilliant and ethical lighthouse to the legal profession. Not bad for an ex-coal miner who worked his way through school, college, and law school. His students, including me, had benefited by his acts of kindness over the years. He truly led by example and changed lives. Although it was decades since I had seen him, John Cibinic invited me and other former students to attend his retirement dinner. At the dinner he took time to tell his former students how each of us had helped to inspire him over the years. He reminded us of small things we had done to gain his admiration. Cibinic received many awards and kudos that evening but his gracious inclusion of former students made us feel equally honored. When you win an award or accomplish some goal, take time to write your old high school teacher, coach, family or best friend and express your gratitude.

What does winning your plague, trophy, ribbon, or bonus mean? Awards come in four flavors. They are incentives, achievements, positional, or personal.

Awards disguised as incentives are used to promote quality, productivity, and compliance with the rules and all sorts of swell things. When you receive one of these, it not only says you are a great worker, volunteer, or listener but it helps keep everyone else directed toward that goal. The Tooth Fairy gives you money for being brave. Santa Claus gives good boys and girl's gifts. Students and workers get perfect attendance ribbons. That gold watch for seniority is a testimony to your loyalty and the firm's desire to reduce turnover. Incentives are great. Enjoy your trip to Tahiti as winner of the Salesperson of the Year. It was designed by your company as an incentive to motivate the whole sales force, and secondarily as recognition.

Achievements awards recognize climbing Mount Everest or discovering a cure for a dreaded disease. Awards for achievements are about results and "breakthroughs." While many great achievements aren't milestones, they are stepping-stones.

The award based upon position is really about power and prestige. Daniel J. Boorstin said, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers." An honor for a position, including mayors, union presidents, corporate executives and other leaders is not like an incentive award. We honor the boss or priest because they have power. The proclamations and speeches tell of their inspiring rise to power and the wisdom of their rulings and management. Sure, sure, but don't forgot that little of this is true. If people who don't even know you or do not have the expertise to judge your professional results give you an award, take it; but don't take it too seriously. Don't confuse outpouring of genuine appreciation with confirmation that you have achieved something worthwhile or are a good person. Religious leaders, corporate presidents, judges and deans are exalted because we appreciate their professions or power. The ancient Romans had a ton of awards but they also created "Damnatio memoriae," which allowed them to revoke the honors, destroy anything related to the person and take all their property from them (or their descendants). Statues were redone, coins had faces erased and the person's existence evaporates. All societies have ways of forgetting those praised when conditions change. Today's hero can be tomorrow's villain, or become invisible.

My last classification for awards is the personal one that springs from appreciation for an individual. They are lifetime achievements, Miss Congeniality, and best effort all may seem like consolation prizes but they can be more valuable than the rest. The surprise birthday party and retirement dinner can be real awards. Many awards are given to individuals each day to recognize what fine people they are and they go unnoticed. Personal awards are redemptive when they remind us how we struggle to be forces for good. The American Kennel Club gives dog breeders very specific standards for selecting the winning dogs. My favorite is in the Black and Tan Coonhound category, where judges are instructed that dogs with, "Scars from honorable wounds are not to be penalized." If these hound dogs have scars resulting from service or hunting, judges are instructed not to take off any points. We should use this rule to judge our fellow human beings.

The Catholic Church elevates mortals, qualified by investigation, to sainthood. I have expanded their concept by creating my own, "Saint of the Day Award" that I bestowed daily upon someone who acts with kindness. Rather than eternal adoration or half the treasure of the new world I give my "Saints" certificates good for a free pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream at their local grocery. Ben and Jerry's ice cream might not have satisfied Columbus, but neither did wealth, fame, family or good health. What you consider when giving and receiving awards defines your values. It is tempting to be distracted by greed and hurt. We can open past wounds as Columbus did or we can recognize them as scars of honorable wounds. Enjoy your fame and share your happiness. Happy Columbus Day!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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