Pete Vanderpool presents

My Educated Guess

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  • 04/22/2021 2:17 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    I think we should stop celebrating diversity. Remove it from conversations, discussions, and arguments. We are beating the topic to death.

    I think we should focus instead on inclusion. Inclusion is not the opposite of diversity, but we have promoted diversity for so long it looks like it is. Diversity is used to describe people to whom we have assigned types and categories.

    Let’s look at example to describe what I’m talking about.

    You have gone shopping at the grocery store. You have purchased peas, corn, green beans, potatoes, and meat. This represents diversity. The items are all different, totally independent of each other.

    You take them home and put them all in a pot with some water and herbs. After a while, you serve up a delicious stew. The flavor is excellent, the consistency is perfect, and the family is well fed. Great results. What you have done is turn diversity into inclusion. The results are harmonious and useful.

    The end product of the discussions of diversity is like taking the veggies home and putting them in the refrigerator. They don’t do anybody any good while they sit in there, diversified.

    Discussions of inclusion have the potential of creating something substantial, meaningful, and helpful. Let’s move up to the next level.

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 04/14/2021 2:33 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    According to author David Eagleman, there are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

    I was standing outside the meeting room waiting for a friend, serving as an unintended greeter, when a man I knew well responded to the usual question, “How you doing?” with, “Pete, I miss my brother. People tell me I’ll get over it, but I can’t”! I think I surprised him when I replied, “and you shouldn’t”!

    We stepped out of the traffic pattern and talked. I pointed out that we have many memories of the missing individual, and we need to keep them and share them with others who also have memories of him or her. Often laughter results. It’s healing, yes, but not in the way that you forget the pain of surgery and go on. It is soul healing, and that requires sharing. Other people sharing means they, too, are soul-healing. How much time is required? Look at David’s third death. Seems to me that pushing that time as far back as possible, maybe for generations, is worthy.

    I guess, hidden in that third death is a need to be aware of what kind of legacy we are creating.  It should be incentive to show more compassion, understanding and support to those around us. We should watch our responses, reaction, and words as we go about our daily activities. Our life’s timeline is unknown. Our legacy timeline can be affected by what we do today. Make it as long as you can.

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 04/07/2021 3:52 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    My co-author, Wendy Brown, introduced me to Shala Graham, who has an interesting definition of brand: “It’s not your logo or your color scheme, it’s the values that underlie your reputation”.

    I love it! Let me give you a true example of why I love it and why I know it is worthy of serious consideration. I was insured by a well-known insurance company for many years. The agent of record was out of touch because of several moves on my part. One day I received a letter stating the policy had been cancelled. I had “aged out”. No options offered prior to “aging out”. None offered in the letter of cancellation. Just the facts without concern.

    Now days, I periodically receive mail from said insurance company. Their logo is proudly displayed on the return address on the face of the envelop. Guess what? I have no interest in doing business with them. The values that underlie their reputation have been shown to me in spades! So, I place the unopened letter directly in the trash. Why would I want to purchase a policy from them knowing it could be cancelled by some clause somewhere in the fine print, probably without my knowledge and at a time when I could best use the benefits I thought I had purchased.

    If a logo or a color scheme isn’t backed up with compassion or at least a concern for the end user, it becomes just a logo or a color scheme with a poor reputation attached.

    Next week I’m going to tackle the three deaths. They apply to this discourse. See you then.

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 03/31/2021 2:56 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    Where did that year go? Last Easter we were beginning to feel the pinches of the pandemic. Here we are, a year later, tired of being pinched!

    Easter for us Christians is a tribute to a very special man, a lesson in Love, a promise of everlasting life, and the joy of resurrection.  We celebrate the time between Friday and Sunday in different ways. But Sunday is pretty generally celebrated in a common way, greeted by the words “He is risen!”

    This year those words shed a light on our situation. We are rising from the depths of the pandemic into a feeling of hope and joy for our relationships which are coming back to life as hugs, conversations, and just plain togetherness. It is said that we are wired for relationships and are also storytellers. Our chance to do all that is showing up again.

    Let us recognize the change as it comes forth. Let us rejoice in it. Let us share it freely.

    Happy Easter to all, whether you’re Christian or not. Joy doesn’t know any boundaries!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 03/24/2021 3:14 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    In the seasons of life, certain statements take on different meaning. For instance, “I’m up!” meant “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic””. Today the same statement refers to the transition from sitting to standing. Sometimes it is a monumental accomplishment. Perambulation usually ensues slowly but surely.

    The same thing occurs in casual conversation. Some ideas are totally foreign to young people’s vocabulary, and thus misunderstood or not comprehended at all. Events lived through in my lifetime are often discounted by the young as fiction today. The Holocaust or the moon landing for example.

    I can only hope that when we have the opportunity for conversations with those who are trying to correct injustices and change historical patterns, we factor in the age-related differences in language, even though we speak the same one. We listen to one another, desiring to support one another in whatever we are addressing for change, but wonder why agreement comes so slowly, if at all.

    Also is the willingness to change either our thoughts or our actions. I was recently shopping in a local grocery store when I encountered a little old lady who obviously had nothing next on her to-do list for the day. Every thing I needed found her staring at some product right where I needed to be. It happened several times. Finally, I was done and headed to the only open checkout. Guess who beat me there?

    I arrived just as the check-out lady greeted her. She knew her, and tried to start a conversation. The response was surely not the expected one. “Did you know my husband died three days ago?”

    The check-out lady said that she knew how she felt because she, too, had lost her husband a couple years back. She came around the counter and gave her a hug.

    At that moment I experienced forgiveness. My thinking changed. My attitude changed. My life changed. I’m not being melodramatic here. Forgiveness required nothing more than being present in the moment and forgetting about the previous minutes. I looked at her with compassion and, stating that we didn’t know each other, offered a hug. She accepted. And did she hold on!

    I’ll bet that if we have the opportunity to gather around a table to address today’s challenges, we could go a long way together just by listening without the hinderance of past experience, however recent that might be.

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 03/18/2021 12:33 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    I like jigsaw puzzles. They help pass time but let you feel like you’re accomplishing something. First you dump out the pieces and turn every one downside up - or is it right side up? At least you’ve accomplished something very important.

    Next, you look for all the border pieces and start assembling them. Once you get that done, you have taken a major step forward. The next steps are very individually driven. Some sort the remaining pieces by color. Some start putting together obvious groups, like a basket or a dog or a person. They place them in roughly their position according to the box lid picture. Sooner or later, the pieces begin to connect with each other and the puzzle is solved.

    To me, life is sort of like that. You take whatever ideas or expectations you have, decide what side is “up”, then try to fit them into a framework of understanding. Once defined, you start putting the ideas together in a logical, to you at least, way to get the desired result. Now, suddenly, you find yourself the center of attention as if you were doing a jigsaw puzzle in a high traffic area in your house: everyone wants to help! Not all help is helpful but everyone wants to feel part of the project. Likewise, your plans seem sensible to a few, obvious to a few more and idiotic to the majority.

    Here’s where you have to decide who’s in charge. If you started the jigsaw puzzle and wanted lots of company, fine! If you started the project and wanted to complete it by yourself, fine! If you want to be happy with the results, you must decide what help you want, if any. Sounds simple enough, right? But you’d be surprised how many projects get derailed by well-intentioned helpers.

    Remember: good help is hard to find!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 03/10/2021 3:50 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    Next week is the busiest week in March according to my calendar. Sunday, the 14th, we set our clocks ahead for daylight savings time. Wednesday, the 17th we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and Saturday, the 20th is the first day of Spring.

    I think the people most affected by all this are the farmers. For instance, in 1920, the Standard Time act which had been enacted two years earlier, was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers. Something about cows not paying attention to clocks.

    As for St. Patrick, his history is full of anomalies. He is credited with driving out snakes from Ireland, a country where snakes weren’t native. We wear shamrocks in his honor since it is believed he used the three leaves to explain the Trinity, but there’s no record that he actually used the shamrock as a teaching tool. Then there’s the “wearin’ of the green”.  The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue. Then there’s the farmers’ influence again. It is a traditional day for planting peas. Cabbage was also planted on this day, but the tradition was that you planted them in your nightclothes! All this is fine and dandy if you don’t live in the upper mid-west.

    As to the first day of Spring, along with the cows, the Master Weathermaker doesn’t pay much attention to clocks either. It’s hard to plant when it’s snowing or the fields are muddy.

    That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 03/03/2021 4:06 PM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    March brings warm winds which hasten the melting of snow, the thawing of frozen lakes and ponds, the drying of wet farmland. Those same winds bring kids outside with kites. It all depends on where you live.

    Sometimes March winds bring surprises. I remember 15 inches of a heavy wet snow just as we listed our house for sale. The trees had started to sprout leaves which contributed to the collection of the sticking snow, thus the snapping and breaking of large tree limbs. We filled a 100-foot-long ditch along the street with them. Twice! The house sold in spite of the change in landscape.

    March morphs transition into expectation. We look excitedly for jonquils, lilacs, green grass, blossoming trees and warm weather. March usually encompasses Lent, a time when Christians look forward to a retelling of the Easter story. March provides a switch from anticipation to fulfillment, from acceptance to a new outlook, from “I’m tired of Winter!” to “It’s planting time! Where’s that Burpee catalog?”

    To those who normally resist change, here’s one that happens anyway and is as gentle as can be. Maybe it will have some influence on the pandemic. Hope springs eternal!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 02/25/2021 9:35 AM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    If you’re a golfer, you know they water greens randomly. At our course, you can see the 15th green while teeing up on the 12th tee. Seeing the water shoot high and wide can be disconcerting, to the point of blowing your concentration on the hole ahead. You might worry that you’re going to get your feet wet. You might worry that the ball is going to be slow when you putt over there. Or you might look forward to the challenge so much that you lose focus on the next three holes before you get there.

    In many ways, we are blessed in NOT knowing what lies ahead. We have reason to expect that when we reach the next hole, project or station in life, we will be prepared to handle the task presented there. But if we knew the exact circumstances, we might be fearful of them. Or we might concentrate our thoughts on some particular upcoming event and lose sight of the present goings on.

    There’s an ad showing an older couple getting together with their insurance agent. The conversation starts with the agent asking, “Need to make some changes”? Each person seems happy to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate the circumstances.

    I like that ad. It shows people happy to adjust to life. They have changed before and seem to expect to change again. They are enjoying life as it comes, moment by moment. How beautiful that is! Focus on what’s before you now. It really is a “present”!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

  • 02/18/2021 10:51 AM | Pete Vanderpool (Administrator)

    Have you heard the saying, “Too many teachers create confusion by constantly changing the students’ focus”?

    Here’s an example: If you have been thinking about starting an online business, you’ll know what I mean. Each entrepreneurial guru has a way for you to make money. They tell you they have made millions themselves, and you assume, if they can, you can. And maybe that’s true. But then you run into affiliates. They show up in your email with more and different programs. If you’re like me, you just gotta check them out, so you listen to another series of webinars and your focus is shot.

    If you are a golfer, you’re familiar with this. Every few days, on every green, the hole moves. It spreads out the wear on the green, and offers a new challenge to the players.

    Even grocery shopping is a challenge. The sugar used to reside with baking supplies. But this week it’s on an endcap with a recipe for glazed pork roast.

    Are there too many choices? Too many challenges? Some days that would seem to be true. But it has also been said that variety is the spice of life. At this time, there is much chaos parading as spice, right down main street. We need to choose which float we want to ride on, and ride it to the end of the parade route, or until it breaks down.

    Sometimes a choice is nice!

    I'm Pete Vanderpool and that's My Educated Guess.

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