Monday, September 02, 2019

The Radicalization of White Evangelicals

#45 and Evangelical supporters

I recently saw a video posted on Twitter that prompted me to write this blog post. A man who identified himself as a Pastor declared there would be a war on Christians before the end of 2019 and he was heading to his bunker to prepare.

Yes, I do believe there is a war going on INSIDE the United States but the white evangelicals are the perpetrators.  They have picked up their crosses (and probably their guns) and declared war AGAINST THEM by the non-believers.  They have been radicalized and and say it's all "in the name of Jesus!"  As a follower of Christ, I am baffled at how a group of people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus are behaving like white terrorists.

 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. (Ephesians 4:2-3)

To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of white evangelicals until I moved to the South and then I was curious as to why they call themselves evangelicalsIs it because they believe they are God's angels placed here on Earth to make sure we are all "born-again" so we can go to Heaven and be one big happy family under God?  I think not---especially when you take into consideration that more than 80 percent of those who identify themselves as evangelicals voted for #45 in the 2016 election.  (Source:   Furthermore, a whopping 70 percent of white evangelical Protestants approved of #45 from July 2018 to January 2019.  And according to a Pew study, "White evangelical Protestants who regularly attend church (at least once a week or more) approve of #45 at rates matching or exceeded those of white evangelicals who attend church less often." (Source:  The Atlantic).

It's obvious these people have an agenda.  Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that have tolerated Trump's crass behavior and not spoken out against Trump's betrayal of Biblical principles. According to my Bible, #45 has broken at least FIVE of the Ten Commandments!  However, these white evangelicals have become his foot soldiers with their rallying cries against Muslims and other immigrants as they long for his Make America Great Again campaign slogan to become their reality.

Yes, these white evangelicals clearly have an agenda and they are willing to put their "religion" aside for their GREATER good.  It's no secret that they'd like to see a world without abortion rights and have applauded states like AL, GA, LA, KY, MS, MO, OH, AR and UT, who have all passed stricter abortion laws in 2019.  They are concerned that their white christian culture may be dissolving before their eyes so they need judges on the bench who will rule in favor of their causes.  They get what they want from #45 and he gets what he wants---their votes.  One hand washes the other but sadly, it'll never be clean.

The rest of America has been consumed by the mass shootings that seem to keep on happening like the energizer bunny.  What we need to focus on is those white Christians who call themselves evangelicals and who have been radicalized in the name of Jesus. Remember, these are the SAME people who believe #45 was chose by God to protect our nation.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Age is MORE Than Just a Number

You've heard the old saying, "Age ain't nothing but a number." Some people love to use the phrase to remind older folks that as long as we remain young in spirit our birth years are irrelevant.  I beg to differ because I've got the aches and pains that come with growing older but that's beside the point.

This blog post is about the importance and beauty of aging and the impact we can have on a life with all of our knowledge and wisdom.  

I spent six weeks of my summer tutoring a group of young people who are transitioning from public to private middle school this Fall.  I was one of six tutors---the majority of us over the age of 60.

Picture represents 200+ years of education, knowledge, experience, and wisdom.  

Recently, we got together to re-cap our tutoring sessions with the students.  As I sat and listened to the others, I realized just how different we were in our approaches.  Our takeaways from the sessions explained quite a bit about our backgrounds and experiences in dealing with minority students.  As the only black tutor in the group, I had a much easier time dealing with each child.  Perhaps because they saw me as a "grandmother figure" and everyone respects their grandma!  I do believe all of the tutors meant well, despite their limited exposure, because they saw it as an opportunity to "give back."  

A study conducted several years ago at the University of Pittsburgh found that older people who donate their free time benefit greatly by doing so.  The research, involving 200 volunteers age 50 and over, indicated that the volunteers reported significant improvements in their mental health, along with other socio-emotional benefits ranging from a greater feeling of productivity to increased social activity to an overall sense that their life had improved.

According to research by Corporation for National and Community Service, older adults who volunteer can benefit with lower rates of depression,increased energy and stamina, improved cognitive function, and increased self-esteem.

What I've personally discovered is growing older has given me a broader perspective of how I can use my knowledge, expertise and wisdom to make a difference in the lives of our future generations.  Tutoring has given me opportunities to share (and listen to) different points of view, come of with creative and challenging ways of learning, and to look for the values and gifts in each child.  More importantly, it has given me joy!  

If someone had asked me 30 years ago what I thought I would be doing at the age of 62, I'm not really sure what my answer would've been.  But I can tell you now that I see the importance, beauty, and wisdom of aging every time I look in my mirror.  

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me." ~ Erma Bombeck

 Comment from one of the students:  
"One of the outstanding tutors was Ms. Beverly because she has a great knowledge about what she is doing.  And if we didn’t understand the work, she encouraged the children and showed that she believed in them."

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top Notch Customer Service Still Reigns Supreme

In the past 48 hours I've had the BEST and WORST customer service experiences.  On Saturday, I walked away ----or should I say I DROVE away from Enterprise Sales----in a new car due, in part, to the outstanding customer service interaction I had with the sales team.  Meanwhile, on Monday I walked away from Burger King determined to let Corporate know how dissatisfied I was with one of their managers.  What set these individuals apart?  Attitude and a genuine enthusiasm to make the customer happy.

Saturday experience:  I can't say enough GOOD things about the way I was treated.  Charles, who worked with me initially on determining what type of vehicle I was interested in, was patient, kind, knowledgeable, courteous and personable while offering absolutely no hard sales pitch or pressure to buy.  Mike, one the of the managers who help with the financing, found a way to make me laugh when MY patience started falling short.

Monday experience:  I can't say enough BAD things about the way I was treated by Mike at the Burger King drive-thru window when I ordered a croissant sandwich before work AND when I returned the half-eaten sandwich because of its horrible taste. (My complaint was that the sandwich wasn't fresh, fast and flavorful like they advertise.  Oh, it was FAST---too fast.  That's probably why it tasted so bad because it was cold and it looked like it had been prepared hours ago.  When I returned the sandwich I discovered Mike was also the manager who seemed like he was having a bad morning---but that wasn't my fault.  He did offer to make me another sandwich to which I declined but he offered no apology and no refund.  (Of course, you know I took the survey to express these sentiments).

Here's my point:  Businesses who invest in quality customer service will attract loyalty and referrals from those loyal customers.  A well trained, positive customer service team will make their company the best version of itself.  Employees/managers who can communicate effectively with customers will always come out on top and people like me will sing their praises.  On the other hand, nothing matters when you offer poor customer service to someone like me.  You not only lose a customer but you may lose more business once the word gets out (like in the blog post) and you could even lose your job.

Customer Service Matters!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

What We Can Teach Our College Graduates

If you are the parent of an upcoming college graduate CONGRATULATIONS!  Your financial investment (along with some frustration and tears) has finally paid off.  But, wait.  What if your college grad doesn't have a job lined up?  Chances are they will be living with you for awhile.  The number of college graduates returning home to mom and dad has nearly doubled in the past several years.  So what can you teach your young adult beyond the classroom as they prepare to step into a new career?

1)  Let them know they should not DELAY in looking for a job because the longer they delay looking for full-time employment, the harder it becomes to compete and network. Every year thousands of college graduates prepare to enter the job market with even stronger skills than the previous graduates.  Competition is fierce!

2)  Let them know that if they don't get a decent job in a reasonable amount of time to continue learning.  This  is especially critical for young people who may need additional marketable skills. Learning doesn't end at graduation, and many opportunities exist (some are even free) to learn new skills. Courses range from boot camps for technical skills to video classes for vocational training.

3)  Let them know they should not to get hung up on wanting a certain salary.  If they expect to come out of college making $50K, they will be sadly disappointed.  The important thing is to get a foot in the door and go from there.

4)  Don't ignore non-profit job opportunities.  They may not pay as much but the experience you can get will be of tremendous value due to the fact that you, more than likely, will end of working in more than one capacity.  One great website is NC Non Profit Careers

5)  Finally, let them know how proud you are of their accomplishments up to this point and provide encouragement  because as long as they keep their eyes on their goals and continue to press forward, they will eventually launch and find a path to a successful career.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Geoffrey Owens and the Plight of Older Workers

Ageism is a bitch!

Just ask Geoffrey Owens, me or any of the thousands of older adults who have been relegated to lower paying jobs in the latter stages of life because someone doesn't see the value of our employment stock.

What happened to actor 57-year-old Geoffrey Owens at his Trader Joe's job is a shame but the former Cosby Show cast member was able to speak out about his plight before a nationally televised audience while the majority are forced to remain silent because we are your "everyday people" who've worked hard all of our lives and just want to continue to be productive and well-paid before retirement.  As a result of being on shows like Good Morning America, The View and CNN with Don Lemon, Owens has been able to put himself back in the spotlight with some new job opportunities.  Kudos for him but, let me repeat, he was given a platform because of his "celebrity status." And then, on top of that, he had the nerve to say ALL jobs were basically the same.  Was he just acting for the cameras or did he really see his job at Trader Joe's as equal to that of a Communications Specialist for a Fortune 500 Company?  Perhaps he meant "worth ethic" so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

The truth of the matter is many of us are being shoved aside for younger, but not necessarily brighter, employees.  Corporate America must take some of the responsibility for pitting the young against the old. Many companies don't want to pay for experience. They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee. Some businesses aren't as interested in quality as they are in the bottom line: PROFIT.

And then you have companies like Amazon who prey on those of us who are eager to work to make ends meet by offering $11/hr positions to work in one of their warehouses (NC).  The opportunities for the higher paying jobs don't come through the regular channels---and if they do, they are looking for someone younger to fill them.

Young people, eager to get a foot in the door, often times will accept less money and learn just enough to move on. There are others who don't even make it through the training period and then there are those who don't show up for work at all (known as "ghosting.")  What some businesses fail to realize is knowledge and years of experience go a long way in keeping them from making the same mistakes over and over again.

According to a researcher from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, potential employers are more likely to discriminate against older workers. Johanna Lahey sent out 4,000 resumes, of people between the ages of 35 and 62, to firms in Boston, MA and St. Petersburg, FL. Her findings indicated younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than an older worker, defined as 50 years and older. Furthermore, she cited the top ten reasons why employers said OTHER employers might be reluctant to hire older workers:

1) Shorter career potential
2) Lack of energy
3) Cost of health and life insurance and pensions
4) Less flexible/adaptable
5) Higher salary expectations
6) Health risks/absences
7) Knowledge and skills obsolescence
8) Block career path of younger workers
9) Suspicion about competence
10) Fear of discrimination lawsuit

The bottom line is older adults are living longer, healthier lives, have updated our technology skill sets in order to be competitive in today's job market. PLUS, we have the clear advantage when it comes to something called "soft skills."

Corporate America must be willing to recognize the pool of talented applicants no matter how old they are and the general public and (FOX News)  needs to stop the job shaming!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Baby Boomers Wanted for Marijuana Survey

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), marijuana use among baby boomers between the ages of 55-64 has jumped a whopping 455 percent!  Thankfully, I am NOT in that statistic but it shows that smoking pot isn't necessarily "a thing of the past" when it comes to the baby boomer generation. We were known for becoming the first generation to become openly infatuated with, and addicted to, illegal drugs.

And get this:  Marijuana use among people 65 years old and older is up by more than 300 percent!

Certainly, the fact that marijuana is legal for recreational use in 9 states and legal for medical purposes in 30 states contributes to this dramatic increase.

With this in mind, award-winning senior living designer, Lisa Cini, has created a survey to determine if and how today's baby boomers and seniors are using marijuana.  She says the information she gathers anonymously will help her and her team understand if and how marijuana use among the baby boomer generation should be accounted for in the living environments they create for us. 

I've already taken the survey so even if you aren't currently a "weed head" you can still help her out with your responses.  Here is the link:

Oh, and in case you didn't are the 9 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use:  Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Washington, DC.

These are the states where marijuana use is NOT legal for any purpose:  North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Millennials are Going to the Dogs

We've all heard the saying, "A dog is man's best friend." Most, if not all, baby boomer dog owners will tell you their beloved animal is a part of their family.  Their pets are so loved that upwards of $60 billion was spent on them in 2016, according to American Pet Products Association.

It's easy to associate baby boomers with dogs for a number of reasons:  

  • They believe pets are a good source of affection
  • Interacting with a pet can help them relax
  • Owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health
  • They help ease the pain of divorce or the loss of a loved one
  • There is a feeling of unconditional love from their pet
  • They don't come across as disrespectful or unappreciative like their Millennial children might be
But according to a new survey, it appears Millennials are going to the dogs even more so than baby boomers. According to statistics released by Just Right by Purina, 56 percent of those surveyed say they have purchased birthday cakes for their dogs, and 77 percent said they feed their dogs before they feed themselves. The survey also found dogs have helped 15 percent of Millennial men gain the attention of the opposite sex, while half of all women surveyed said they preferred time with their dog over time with their partner and/or other family members.

And on a side note here, there also appears to be some differences between the way baby boomers and millennials treat their dogs.  One glaring difference, according to the blog:  "Millennials are all about safety (combined with style) for their pups.  It's rare to see a millennial dog lover whose back seat isn't equipped with a fancy dog booster seat and safety restraints.  (Meanwhile) baby boomers are completely unphased going for a ride with their pup free to roam the front seat and able to stick his neck out the window for a good breeze."

I've seen that.  Have you?  Or perhaps you are in the guilty party?

Another one is how Millennials will create Instagram accounts for their adorable doggies, while baby boomer dog owners are still trying to figure out how Instagram works.

Not only is there a changing of the guard in the workplace with Millennials, but they also appear to be changing the rules of pet ownership. 

About the Survey
Research Now SSI conducted an online survey on behalf of Just Right by Purina among adults ages 18+ who are dog owners and have some responsibility over the well-being of their pet. A total of 1,010 responses were collected between March 26 and March 29, 2018. The online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.