I want to thank everyone that called or sent me a birthday card!

I want to thank everyone that called or sent me a birthday card. I feel so fortunate. Thank you all for remembering my birthday: 12/5/26

A brief look at why I believe I am what I am: I was born to my mother that gave love without condition and a father who never set limitations on any of his family. They were and remain my role models. They and my five brothers and sister are gone. I remain and remember. 

Pete was my oldest brother followed by Annette (my one and most wonderful sister) followed by Hy, Joe, me and Bob. We grew up during the time of the “great depression.” We all lived very close in mostly 3rd floor apartments that had one bathroom. In fact, the first time I actually had my own bed was in the Army.

Pete was almost blind and as hard as he tried could not enlist in the Army. He made Torpedoes during the war. Hy enlisted right after Dec.7th; spent his war time on New Guinea and many months recovering in Military Hospitals. Joe was in the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. I spent the end of the war on Okinawa and Bob in the medics (Korea). I am an amalgam of them all.

Probably one of the beautiful stories I remember is after the last staff and children left Camp Shasta my father who spent the whole summer and his last summer at camp, came up to Lenette and I and placed his arms around the both of us. We were giving a final touch-up to cleaning camp before we left for LA.

“When you graduated UCLA I was disappointed that you did not become a psychologist, but witnessing what the two of you do for others at camp I realized that the work you both do is a wonderful gift you give to them all. I am so proud of you both.” Coming from my father whose total education was as a laborer and carpenter with no formal education. He taught so many the art of the hammer and saw. What a man.

Here I am celebrating my 94th birthday. When I do look backward how grateful I am for my family, my friends and the love of my life, Lenette.  I knew I loved her from the moment I interviewed her for a job at Purple Sage. Nothing has changed since those moments accept I’m 94.   Life is unknown————-We live each day and know this———-Enjoy the moment.     Sy

The Classroom Environment

At the beginning the foundation and philosophy I eventually built began in ignorance and blindness. I did what seemed to me to be the right thing to do simply due to events that called for a specific action. In time I began to understand and develop a pragmatic philosophy that I could and did teach others. Many, many years later when I began to work with adults, professionals and entrepreneurs and to study power did I begin to seriously know self. It was at this point that my formal education to understand people and behavior finally took off.
The factual examples and the papers to follow took place during the time I worked for the LA Bd of Ed in the 1950s. My teaching approach came almost totally from experiences drawn from my camp, children ages 3 to teens and staff. Formal education as a student at UCLA, as best I am able to remember those days, played little or no part, in how I taught.
When I began taking over 5th and 6th grade classrooms I clearly remember what we, in time, (teacher and students) achieved. It was a sense of acceptance, belonging, respect, regard, caring, support and enjoyment of each other. Always to the point week-ends for the girls and boys got in the way of being at school with their friends. Someway, somehow we became a gang, a tribe, a community.
Even parents would observe and comment on the miraculous changes in their children. “What was going on at school?” became a parent’s question. And from a principle’s view point they would ask that I not discuss my classroom approach with other teachers during breaks. And, “please,” keep my doors closed.
Most important is that academics never suffered. Reading, writing, math, science, history, geography and stuff always was front and center. Ah, but it was the space in-between that made the difference and brought out the humanity in each of us. And what the rest of the story is about. Sy
I am me, you, you———that is the best it can be————-We each must be self.

The Beginning of a Journey

My upbringing, the influence of family, friends, Chicago, Army, UCLA,  Lenette all contributed to my philosophy towards people. Even the relationship I had with the three Japanese prisoners on Okinawa played a significant part in whom and what I was to become. Add to this my becoming an entrepreneur at the same time being a full time student, building a business, training and working with staff, parents and their children. Like good soup, it came together and benefitted so many.  

Working with children began in Chicago after the service. It was a small Day Camp we ran in the parks and the beaches. It all contributed to learning about boys and girls and their needs and the importance of dialogue between us. In other words, I recognized that the more the kids were involved in selecting activities the more they enjoyed and learned.

I did not realize that a philosophy of leadership and participation was being discovered and nurtured. But whether aware or not I followed and fulfilled the demands of the kids. The camp grew and so did I. 

Left for California and UCLA to study psychology and although the GI Bill helped, pocket money was necessary. Running a Day Camp was a natural for me so found a site to rent and built a Day Camp for a few children. The few children turned into hundreds, a staff of 100, much training, activities from horses to anything and everything campers wanted and we believed they needed. Oh yes, we owned 35 small buses. 

Coming: A description of our pragmatic philosophy of leadership, teaching and attraction to most people.    Sy

The “Times They Are A-changing.”

I need say no more since most people probably realize that our world is changing, but changing into what we can only guess. 

For me, it is only a watching game. If this happened during my work and creative times I would be without work and the wonderful people I worked with. Also, would I have been the student researching, studying and applying what I knew and learned about leadership, power and dialogue? Responding to what you believe you can do something about is very different than what we are all facing today.  

I always placed demands on me. Even as a kid, work to earn a penny was essential and as my entrepreneurial spirit grew so did my need to have others join with me. As luck and cards would have it we prospered and grew in many ways. How blessed to have lived in times where zero could be turned into something substantial. Add to this the lessons I extracted from my experiences.

Having had this history it is essential that I (we) remain active and challenged. It is one good reason I began to write my one page essays. Apparently, I need to remain in contact with the beautiful people I worked with and my papers have proven to be a reasonably good vehicle.

So here is my next move. Anyone on my email list can write up to a half page essay on any subject except political. (Need I say why?) I’ll cut and paste what is sent and will attempt a response in return. If any others have a word or three to add so be it. At the least this represents a form of dialogue.   

Kept away in my email are essays/comments written by others that I believe are worthy of being answered. Historically I do answer any and all, but some deserve to be more public. I’ll search them out and bring them back to life. Maybe I’ll agree and let it stand as is, or offer my look with the hope that anyone can do the same. Whatever? The important thing is that we are in touch, holding a written conversation and others may join in. Keep in mind that when it comes to dialogue agreement is not the issue, but understanding and candor is.

In closing I need to emphasize our absolute need to respect each other as the unique beings we each are. Seeing the world and events from one’s own perspective is a fact. Even if the facts are wrong people believe they are right. Dialogue demands that we understand this and their position even if we vehemently disagree. And so the World goes. 

Tough and demanding times are what we are all in (the world). No easy answers, in fact no answers as of yet.  Events rule: I’ve always thought and said so.  Good leaders pay attention to this and learn and act accordingly. The bad and ugly leaders do not. Their egos rule their behavior and important events and the lessons held within simply come and go.  And, so it goes.  (KV)

Let’s see what our correspondence leads to. Only the doing will tell us.    Sy

I have thoughts to write—————– I do so and now must wait————-agree or not, your turn.

Now!

In times like we face today, as with every day, there are experiences that happen to us that have important lessons to teach us. Some experiences offer us choices like those having to do with our relationships to others. We can nurture relationships we feel good about and cut off those we don’t want. Or, if the relationship is important to us for any number of reasons we do what’s necessary to maintain it. Working with a controlling boss is an example. If it’s how we make a living we do what we have to do in order to protect ourselves or our source of income. The point to be made is that most experiences are loaded with lessons; some we need to learn so that we are better prepared for tomorrow. Other lessons, valuable or not, simply pass by us to be repeated again and again. We either refuse to learn or are unconscious to the value being presented.

The question is not “are our experiences full of potential value?” The great majority of us would agree that we become what we become thanks to our experiences. But do we eagerly learn from them or are too many lessons forced upon us? I would rather that I choose to learn and seek out the lessons. Life tells us that this is simply not the truth for the majority, or why do we continue to relate to each other as we do? 

We live on a relatively small planet with limited resources and we must know that problems with our environment and resources are only getting worse for all of us. Yet, instead of cooperation and making the best of a worsening situation we remain in competition and conflict with each other; and so my concern and this paper.

Humans live in the NOW. It is that simple a truth. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come. Dinosaurs lived millions of years and yet in a moment the earth and many of its living inhabitants were destroyed. It can happen again and humanity is so unable to do anything about this. We witness this almost every day when some event, be it Fire, Earthquake, Hurricane and now the Corona Virus hits humanity. How fragile humanity is when it comes to dealing with nature. 

So what’s the lesson thrown in our face by the Corona Virus experience? The same lesson almost every non-beingevent has for us. Live in the NOW. Be present for yourself and those you love and relate to.    

Also, why do I highlight Non-Being? I do so because there is a world of difference between us beings and the non-being world that surrounds us and for the most part controls our destiny. Here there is no conscience, no thought, no being. All it is are events that happen and we humans suffer or benefit. 

We humans exist only in the NOW. We know there was a past we call our history. We can only hope that we learned from those many experiences. Maybe the most important of lessons? We are alive and live NOW. Make the most of it.         Sy

Haiku: Time irrelevant————-Now is all we really have————Enjoy the moment

Love each other now—————Saving for tomorrow, why?———–all we have is now.