Posts Tagged ‘fraternity’

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This Thanksgiving give thanks by acknowledging another human being.

November 23, 2010

I was running early Saturday morning and as I headed down a foggy road past some of the remaining farms in Fishers an elderly man hobbled his way towards the road and gave me a big smile. As a matter of fact, he patiently waited until I smiled back. I yelled “Good morning, how are you?” To which he gave me a bigger smile and said, “Great thank you. I just wish I could do that!” Well, I wish more people would do more of what he just did.

He smiled, he acknowledged, and then he made me smile. He passed on what makes us all human, our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and the need to feel appreciated.

I’m sure this is reflective of the greatest generation. People who gave all they had to fight against oppression, hatred, and intolerance so we all have something to smile about. They fought so we all, as human beings, could have what we so desperately want and need. The right to be our own individuals in a world of masses, to speak when we feel so moved to do so, and to live without fearing for our freedoms.

One of my fraternity brothers, Jeremy Gray, recently posted his pet peeve of people that don’t say hello when you look them in the eye and say it to them. Chris Jackson, another brother who posted an oddly similar frustration when he told someone to have a nice day and they replied, “I will.” It is a sad state of humanity when simply acknowledging another human being has become either an afterthought or no thought at all.

How great could this country be if we all showed a little compassion, understanding, tolerance, and appreciation for those around us? And why stop there. The world could use a giant dose of selflessness.

My dad says it well, “You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, you just have to learn how to get along with everyone.” I agree completely and I am thankful for those of us out there who get it.

What are you thankful for this year?

 

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A simple thank you can go a long way.

November 3, 2010

I was left a voicemail message the other day from a close friend and fraternity brother, Brett Benson, thanking me for something that I did.  And what I did was not groundbreaking, world changing, or even difficult, but you would never know it by the thank you I received.

Brett is someone I personally and professionally admire. He is every bit as passionate about life as he is quick to crack a joke. He lives to serve and his life’s goals are fixed on giving and sharing to others rather than receiving or focusing inward on selfish wants.

I have seen him get so worked up discussing his desire to help and those outcomes of when he has, that he verges on that laugh/cry mix that is nothing but pure emotion. It is raw, it is real, it is Benson.

That is one big reason why his message left such an impression with me I decided to write about it. And the other reason was what and how he said it. In an age and a generation where it is easy to text, email, or adjust our writing to 140 characters or less, he took time out of his day to reach out. To let me know he didn’t just appreciate what I did, but that he appreciated me as a person. He didn’t thank me for one event, but for things that cumulated over time. And he reminded on how sometime taking the time to say a heartfelt thank you, has become a rarity. And not only from a personal side, but in business as well.

Brett, you are the one we should all thank for your dedication, generosity, thoughtfulness, and daily impact you have on the people around you.

I sometimes end these with a quote and here is one I learned from you: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough,” Meister Eckhart.

Thank you.

 

 

 

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One person can make a difference.

October 22, 2010

I try not to be skeptical, however I am quick to break everything down to a realistic and rationale perspective. So when I hear people talk about how one person can change the world, I tend to struggle with that comment.

I was asked recently by a fellow BSU Delt, Steve Roseman, to sit on the board of The Paul Fangman Jr Foundation that he started over the summer. Steve’s grandfather is the inspiration and Mr. Fangman lived his life stressing the importance of giving your time and talents to others and how precious family and children are to the world.

Mr. Fangman was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 37 yet still raised seven children, managed a successful family business, and loved his time with his 43 grand and great grandchildren. He lived his life with dignity, grace, and a helping hand.

Steve is quick to point out that he only remembers seeing his grandfather walk 10 times and the daily fight he had battling MS. Steve was so inspired by his grandfather’s courage and love of life that he has used it as a springboard to help others.

The foundation was founded on teaching young people to live and maintain healthy lifestyles and to help families manage the cost and the stress of finding adequate health care for loved ones suffering with MS and cancer.

In five short months he has already raised a considerable amount of money, is in three schools working with children, and is lining up more donors, more schools, and more ways to impact people’s lives.

I realized on the way home from our meeting, that when people say one person can change the world, what I was lacking was definition around the word “world.” Steve is living proof. Watching him speak about his work, the children, his grandfather, and the conviction he has to serve others is inspiring. The world in which Steve is creating for himself and others he is helping is making a difference.

In a time when people tend to hold their hands out for help, Steve is holding his out to help. So yes, I do believe one person can make a difference; he has already made a difference in mine.

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Having two kids is not that far from living back in the fraternity house

August 31, 2010

I have been blessed with two beautiful kids — two kids who are already throwing me back to the days of Delta Tau Delta at Ball State.

There is always a body function happening
At first there is the innocent and often, “I can’t control my gas” infant stage. People laugh and think it is cute because it is a baby. This is not the case when a guy, nicknamed “Dirt”, breaks wind after drinking malt liquor all night and eating a burrito the size of your head.

Spitting up is so common I now have no sense of smell or a desire to eat. I have a burp cloth on my body at all times because I never know when Mt. Cam will erupt and spew whatever he just ate all over the place. In the fraternity house the only thing funny about spewing was the occasional dry heave. I still don’t why that is funny. Maybe the eyes welling up with tears or the fact I always think of Jim Carey.

Streaking
Yes, sometimes it is nice to set yourself free. My three year old finds great delight in streaking around the house after a bath. You can see the sheer joy of being clothes- and worry-free on her face. This look was also found many a night when someone would casually walk through the house sans pants, sit down on your couch, and act as if this was normal. Thank you creator of the slipcover.

Nose picking is an Olympic sport
I guess until now I thought the nose pick was merely done out of necessity. Nope. I am not sure what the fascination is with having your finger two knuckles into your nose, but the kids dig it. Yes, pun intended. I am worried more about them being able to hide a grapefruit in their nostril than do it in public. And at the old Delt house you had guys who were the Michael Phelps of nose picking. After each victory they always wanted to show you their medals. Remember the dry heave part? My eyes are still watering.

Being tired is the norm
I am up at all hours, I don’t ever feel like I sleep through a whole night, and when I am up, I have to be on. There is always something to clean up (see above), someone to entertain, and someone getting into something they shouldn’t. Hmmm…this one didn’t change.

Time for me to go, I think someone just made his underwear into a headband.

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The power of the Greek system in the business world

August 12, 2010

Everyone, including myself, has perceptions, stereotypes, and feelings about the Greek system. And most of these stem from Animal House, an article in a newspaper, or from your experiences whether positive or negative.

I actually never wanted to join a fraternity. I didn’t want to pay money to be friends with someone, hold my nose in the air at “independents”, or feel entitled because of some letters I could wear on my chest. However after my freshman year at Ball State, it became apparent to me that I found a home away from home at the Delta Tau Delta house on 1001 West Riverside. I am a Delt and always will be.

I’m sure in writing this my wife is afraid I am going to go all Old School (which, by the way, Will Ferrell is a Delt) and do some block trots around Fishers and invite the neighbors over for a Harry Buff party. No, I won’t be doing that… although tempting. Maybe instead I’ll just streak Café Patachou at Clay Terrace; after all they are the “student union for adults.”

No, I am writing this because of the continual job I see the Greek system cranking out more leaders and its ability to stay relevant when social media, text messaging, and creating fake online personas is so rampant. I also know how different of a person I am for joining.

I have been in board meetings that were more unguided, pointless, and childish than running a Chapter meeting in a house of 100 18-23 year old men. Try getting all that testosterone to be serious for four seconds and come to a consensus. But we did it, time and time again. I learned how to work with egos, different backgrounds, and how to succeed. I also learned that if you weren’t striving to be the best, someone else was and would be the first to tell you about it. The statistics don’t lie, check them out.

Even with all of the above, going Greek isn’t for everyone and I respect that. Some of my closest friends and smartest people I know would be repulsed at the thought. I just know how lucky I am to have made that choice. I would never know guys like Biscuit-neck, Blockhead, Dorito-butt, T-Rex, and Patches. And I mention those guys because despite the nicknames, they are some of the finest people I know. I also learned that to be great, you need to be consistent, purposeful, and dedicated to your goals.

Ok, enough of this, who is driving me to Patachou?