Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dedication...Beyond the Call of Duty

 To dedicate is to devote oneself to a cause or course of action.
To dedicate is also to give, as time for a sense of achievement.

“Beyond the Call of Duty”
is accomplishing much more than should be expected.

In most professions, there are always those whose performances are outstanding! What quality is it, these persons possess?  Sincerity and Confidence in their Knowledge…Desire to Achieve to Best of their Ability...Constant  Strive for Excellence!  These combinations equal Dedication.

We have heroes among us (many “unsung”) ~ who unexpectedly go “beyond the call of duty”:  e.g.  medical personnel, the police, the firemen, the military, the “average Joe” (man or woman), etc.  to save a life.  In most cases, it is super adrenaline that kicks into overdrive forcing individuals to perform deeds (usually exceeding his/her known ability).  With these heroes, there is inbred…Dedication to Care...Dedication to Help…Dedication to Act!

Unlike Pope,
no “cheerio” likely from Queen

(Excerpts from Hamilton Spectator, published February 23, 2013)

Pope Benedict XVI has done it.  Queen Beatrix of  The Netherlands has done it.  Will Britain's Queen Elizabeth II step aside from her 61-year-reign and let the light of a new generation in?

A representative from the palace told USA Today that everything the Queen, 86, wishes to say on the matter of going or staying has already, in fact been said ~ on her 21st birthday in 1947.  The palace was referring to a speech the Queen made in Cape Town, South Africa, where she was visiting with her parents and younger sister ~ and had yet to receive her royal promotion.  She was still known as Princess Elizabeth.

          I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short
          shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family
          to which we all belong.
          We must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves.   
          There is a motto which has been borne by many of my ancestors ~ 
          a noble motto, “I Serve.”

So, she's staying, you would have to wager.  And life, for the Queen means life.

In this country, any resignation from a royal role is associated with the constitutional crisis of the 1930's  (when Edward VIII abdicated and married the American socialite Simpson).

We don't know yet why, precisely the Pope has decided to resign.  In the case of Beatrix, she had been talking about leaving for some time.  I think it highly unlikely Queen Elizabeth II will abdicate.

Plus, in a speech to mark her 60 years on the throne last year, the Queen effectively put a halt to any idle talk of cashing out in favour of putting her feet up.

          With the support of my family, I rededicate myself to the service 
          of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Born April 4, 1928, a black American author and poet has published 6 autobiographies, 5 books of essays, several books of poetry and is credited with a list of plays, movies and television shows spanning 50 years.  She is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is heralded as one of the great voices of contemporary literature.  On her 70th birthday, interviewed by Oprah Winfrey recently, she quoted many lessons she has learned: 
          I've learned that people will forget what  you said.
          I've learned that people will forget what you did.
          I've learned that people will never forget how you made them feel.

          I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles
          these 3 things:  a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.

Stompin' Tom Connors

The Canadian country-folk-legend known for...The Hockey Song, Bud the Spud, Canada Day, Up Canada Way, Sudbury Saturday Night...died on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at age 77.  A few days earlier, the musician penned a letter to fans that he wanted published after his death.  Here it is:

Hello Friends, I want all my fans past, present or future to know that without you there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.

It was a long, hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

I must now pass the torch to all of you to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.

I humbly thank you all one last time for allowing me in your homes.  I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.

Your Friend always,
Stompin' Tom Connors

Connors garnered a devoted following through country folk tunes that drew inspiration from his extensive travels and focused on the everyman. The musician, rarely seen without his signature black cowboy hat, stompin' leather boots and guitar, was devoted to sing about  Canada's people. He was dubbed Stompin' Tom for his propensity to pound the floor with his left foot during performances.  His music came to be regarded as veritable national anthems, thanks to their unabashed  embrace of all things Canadian.

In a rare one-on-one interview at his home in  Halton Hills, he stated, “It just amazes me that I've been going so long, I would think that somebody would have picked up the torch a long time ago and started writing tons of songs  about this country...the most underwritten  country in the world as far as songs are concerned.  We starve; the people in this country are starving for songs about their homeland.”

Connors was born in Saint John, New Brunswick on Feb. 9, 1936 to an unwed teenage mother.  According to his autobiography, he often lived hand-to-mouth as a youngster, hitchhiking with his mother from the age of three, begging on the street by the age of four.  At age eight, he was placed in the care of Children's Aid and adopted a year later by a family in Skinner's Pond, Prince Edward Island.
He ran away four years later to hitchhike across the country.

He bought his first guitar at age 14 and picked up odd jobs as he wandered from town to town...at times working on fishing boats, as a grave digger, tobacco picker and fry cook.  Legend has it, that Connors began his musical career when he found himself a nickel short of a beer at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ontario in 1964 at age 28.  The bartender agreed to give him a drink if he would play a few songs, but that turned into a 14-month contract to play at the hotel. Three years later, Connors made his first hit in 1970 with Bud The Spud!

“It's not what you Gather...but what you Scatter
that tells the world...what kind of life you have lived!”
(Author unknown)

Dedication of Parents:  Is Your Child Caring?
If so, you've done your job.

In an article to The Spectator on February 19, 2013, Gary Direnfeld wrote:

On January 31, around 2 pm, I was stopped at the intersection of Dundurn and King Streets in Hamilton. There, standing on the sidewalk at the corner was a small elderly woman clinging to a post.  It was a blustery day.  Two young women, late teens or young adults, crossing the intersection  came upon her.  In my next glance, these two young women were walking this elderly woman, flanking her side-by-side across the intersection.  As I passed them, looking in  my rear view mirror, I could see those young women helping the elderly lady safely on her way.

We know we have done a good job as parents when our children can act benevolently; when our children can be aware of the needs of others and advance their needs over their own.

Good parenting is more than grades at school, ability to earn a living, keeping out of trouble.  If your child says “Please” and “Thank You”, shares his or her toys, and helps others, then you've done a good job as a parent, assuming no particular disability on the part of the child that would preclude these skills.

          The parents of the young women previously mentioned may never know
          of their children's good deed, but their children will  likely exude a kind
          and caring disposition.  Hopefully, your children will, too. 
          Then, you will know!

Lesson from Dr. Maya Angelou

“I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love a kind deed, a warm  hug or just a friendly pat on the back.”

Larry Carlton’s Exhortation
(an American guitarist legend ~
one of  the most respected  and sought after musicians in the world)

I always tell  my students to practise what they must…practise everything your teacher and college demands…go practise it!  BUT then go out and play what you like.  Learn whatever techniques that you can put together that help you express yourself deeply. Result?  Unexpected positive results!

Advice from Ludwig van Beethoven
Don’t only practise your art,
but force your way into its secrets
for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr  March 7, 2013
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