Thursday, December 8, 2011

"How Do You Face Up to These Opportunities" (Thursday Links)

After reading yesterday's post, my good friend Barbara Kellner with the Columbia Archives sent me this speech that Jim Rouse gave to the 1984 graduating class of Garrison Forest:

How do you face up to these opportunities . . .

First, see the world as one of opportunity.  Look for the opportunities.  Believe in them.  Don’t accept pessimism from disbelievers.  Pessimism creates nothing, builds nothing, supports nothing.  It’s the optimist in life who sees new possibilities, believes problems can be solved.  Optimism stimulates energy, spirit, hope and action.

When you face a problem, don’t fight it – look beyond it.  Figure out what would the situation be if everything worked.  What would it be like if this problem didn’t exist?  Find the solutionThen figure out how to get there.  In all kinds of situations, even in human relationships, one can look at the best that could be, and then figure out how to get there, rather than wallow in the distress and frustration of the situation trying to fight one’s way out.

Give yourself to purposes beyond self.  Fulfillment, happiness and success are almost never found in self service and self concern.  Watch for the truly joyous people, and observe their habitual reaching beyond self.  Nothing can be more important than people.  Don’t let money become a measure of success.  We all struggle with this.  Money and possessions are important.  It’s just that they should not command your life.  And there is a suction.  There’s a suction around you and me, around all of us, which pulls us toward automatic values – values that rise up out of our associations and the life around us without stopping to think whether this is really what we want to live for.  Living beyond yourself out there in the world, with concern for others, and for mankind, is where you will find that joyous, jubilant sense of self-fulfillment – the truly good life.

I highlighted the portion that I incorporated into last night's talk.  The projects and presentations put together by those graduates over five months are still running through my head.   I was so impressed and so inspired that it is almost difficult to put it into words ("WHAT?!?" -- I know!).  But my base take-away was that sometime between 16 and 26, we get the strange idea that the problems of the world are no longer ours to solve.  Either we surrender those solutions to government or presume the effort is hopeless.  For all I know, it could be the introduction of personal responsibilities that distract us, but it seems clear that just about all of us are pulled away from the simple idea that at one point we thought we could do anything. 

I look back at Jim Rouse's quote and think of his audience.  He was not talking to business leaders or government officials.  He was talking to graduating high school seniors.  Mr. Rouse had the idea that not only should we presume the ability to solve the world's problems, but that this effort was the key to a good life.  "Living beyond yourself out there in the world, with concern for others, and for mankind, is where you will find that joyous, jubilant sense of self-fulfillment – the truly good life."


A group of veterans have taken on the mission of rehabilitating a Baltimore City neighborhood.  These types of private efforts, with or without the prospect for private gain, will be the most likely avenue for Baltimore City's rejuvenation.

Baltimore Racing Development Inc., has $100,000 on hand...and owes $12 million, including $5 million in outstanding taxes.  I've been picking on Baltimore City a lot recently, but it seems difficult for me to imagine how the City-side organizers of this event would not have looked into the solvency of BRD, as well as its business plan for the event, before agreeing to take on this venture. 

Speaking of audits, the State of Maryland may have made $2.5 million in Medicaid payments for those who did not need them -- namely, the deceased.  This was "largely because of a lag in the time between when someone died and when the state was informed and stopped payments on premiums."  While infuriating, the article does a good job of explaining how this may occur in the managed care context, where payments are billed monthly and not necessarily in response to a particular ailment.  All the same, encouragements and deterrents could certainly be in place to make an errant payment into a hot potato that will trigger any recipient to send that money right back.

They found the son-of-a-gun that promised Ravens player visits to local schools and ran off with the money.  I'm sure some of the Ravens have an idea for the proper punishment...

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Frank Hecker is a published author!  He has recently released his redistricting series as an e-book with all proceeds going to Voices for Children. 

Addendum FBPD: I am sad to see that Columbia Flier editor/columnist/techno-phobe Doug Miller will be leaving the local scene.  One of the qualities I value most in people is curiosity.  While Doug could have dismissed the local blogs as basement-dwelling mud-slingers, he decided to take us up for a glass of wine.  I would like to think he has as good of a time as Sarah, Dennis, and I did, talking about local "schtuff" and how things "used to be."  I was a regular reader of his column and blog, which will be missed.  Bon Voyage, Doug.  I'll catch you by smoke signal.

That's all for today.  CA Board meeting tonight!  Have a great Thursday doing what you love!