What Being Oneself Means to Me

I believe I am as much me as I can be with the understanding and acceptance that I am also my inheritance, parents, brothers, and sister. And the times, gangs, and neighborhood where I grew up. So, I am a conglomerate of much that I could not control. I am because of all of this.

Out of all this and to the degree I am able, I am my own person and cannot be under the control of anyone but events. I know this as a matter of experience and the recall of those experiences. Even growing up, I remember seeing bullies as enemies I had to confront. If you were my family or friend, I would protect you whether or not you needed my protection. 

Being Jewish in a Jewish environment surrounded by other ethnic groups in their respective ghettos made certain decisions necessary. Not a practicing Jew, I made an early decision to defend being a Jew. And my reputation preceded me on the west side of Chicago.  I was not aggressive but confident in my body and presence.

During my basic training in the Army, I had almost too many fights with Jew-haters. What amazed me was the number of antisemitic comments I heard. Example: If an officer pushed his troops, someone would comment under their breath but loud enough to be heard by others, 
“That f—– jew!”  This continued in my own company on Okinawa until they gave up making public comments because it inevitably led to their having to fight me, which proved painful to them.

A brief side story: My older brother Hy joined the Army on Dec. 8th, 1941, and came home as a seriously ill and malnourished soldier. He told me that “I fear for your life.” I said, “I do not fear the Germans or the Japanese.” He countered and said, “No, I’m talking about your fellow soldiers.”


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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