Saturday, November 26, 2016

The First Thanksgiving

Since Thanksgiving was this week, my immediate family and I were able to spend some extra time with our extended families. It is always nice to get together with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends to share a meal and conversations. This time of year brings about special, warm feelings of happiness and cheerfulness about the things we may feel like we have accomplished during the year. More important than feeling cheerful is feeling grateful.
In the book of Luke in the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, there is a story of Jesus healing ten lepers. In Chapter Seventeen, between the verses of eleven and nineteen, Luke describes how Jesus entered a village where some men when who had leprosy called out to Jesus. They asked for Jesus’ mercy on them, to heal them of the disease they carried. He did show them the power of his healing. Jesus sent them to the priests to declare that, indeed, they had been cleansed. It turns out that of the ten lepers, only one returned to Jesus to give his thanks for his healing. A leper was not able to live with his family, or they would be infected. He was not able to hold down a job, or even dwell in the village as a valued countryman. He was reduced to being a beggar on the street to feed himself. The gift Jesus gave in healing these sick men was a renewed lifestyle, as well as a renewed life pain free.
It would seem that the men would be very aware of the miracle of healing. When they were healed, their skin was restored to a healthy glow instead of the pasty white color they had known, covered with scabs and oozing sores. Most of the ill could only think of themselves, though. They mistakenly thought they had not needed anyone or anything else. How quickly they had forgotten what Jesus had done for them.

They had done nothing but ask Jesus for healing. It was by God’s grace and mercy that each one had received an outpouring of love (a gift offered to each one of us, if we only ask). It was ultimately very important, though, to give God the thanks and glory due Him for the undeserved, unexpected health awarded them. Jesus knew they should have fallen to their knees in thanksgiving and praise to God. He was probably saddened to see that most of them didn’t even think of it. The truth is, they thought only of themselves. Unfortunately, though they were healed that day, they were not saved with eternal salvation. It was the act of being truly thankful that saved the one leper who remained to give Jesus the praise He richly deserved. The other nine would go on to lose their lives, eventually.

Monday, November 7, 2016

"The possession of knowledge carries an ethical responsibility."

It is now the time to show political involvement, if you are over eighteen and are a legal citizen in these United States. Simply because we live here, we have a responsibility to our families, neighbors, and countrymen to place over vote for the candidate we consider best able to run our country. Before we are able to make a valid choice, though, we should take the time to get acquainted with the politicians running and the platforms they have put forth.

To paraphrase Luke 12:48 in the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required, and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” While Luke was not one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, it should be noted that he was a physician. He was a learned scholar. He was someone who had worked and studied to become a helper to others. He never personally knew Jesus. He became a follower after Christ’s death, when he met Paul and came to Christianity. It seems that according to Luke, not only do we have the responsibility to use our knowledge-but to take it a step further-that we have the responsibility to gain knowledge. It is no wonder Luke became a saint.
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Some people, for whatever reason, are not as fortunate in life as others. I believe that each person should help others in any way possible. I do believe that it is my duty to offer others any assistance that I am able to offer. To me, like Luke, I have an obligation to better myself by getting as much education as I can. Not only will I be helping myself, but my family, as well. I have been taught to help myself first; then, I can expect help from others. If I am putting forth the effort, I find that others are willing to extend their help. Often, after I try, I find I don’t need others to help, and the satisfaction feels very good. I would like to think that knowledge brings ethic along, but I’m afraid that is wishful thinking. At times, it is the most uneducated person that is most willing to give aid or shelter when needed. I want to be the person who has knowledge, and is using it for the good of others.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


To what extent does the presentation of the seller determine how much a consumer will purchase?

This morning as my brother and I were bemoaning the fact that we had to sell popcorn for the Boy Scouts today, I wondered if it really made a difference what we wore. I know it is policy to wear the scout uniform during council sales (such as popcorn or campcards). I had always assumed it was proof that we were selling popcorn that was designated by the Scout brand. I now know it is much more important than that.

When I got home today I went to the computer and did a little research in the Principles of Marketing book by Neeru Kapoor. I found that there are basically two types of motivations for buying products: rational, and emotional. Rational is reserved for any products that are deemed necessary, such as food, housing or clothing. Yes, there are emotional aspects to every purchase, such as what you want to buy to eat, or which house you like most, or which style of clothing to wear. However, an emotional motivation is clearly more complicated and more of an impulse type of transaction.

Certainly, I can appreciate that someone had rather deal with someone clean, instead of an unkempt slob. That was never the issue for us selling our popcorn, though. We have been taught to smile and greet each potential buyer with a warm, sincere smile and pleasant attitude. We’ve got that. Undoubtedly, there must be more. The flimsy idea that everyone likes to snack, or it's an indulgence didn’t satisfy my question of what attracts a consumer for a spur-of-the-moment grab. What entices a man or woman to spend his/her hard earned cash?

Presentation of a product could be as simple as giving a sample, or as lengthy as showing a demonstration. It may be a thought off the top of someone’s head, or an intense well-thought out plan. Different approaches are necessary, depending on the demographics of the sales area. The bottom line is that items such as coffee might be a hot seller in some areas, while iced coffee my be the biggest hit in others.

The strategy doesn’t have to be dramatic. To market the merchandise, there could be a gimmick that catches the eye of a consumer walking by the window of a shop. Having a seductive model to feign interest in a product can never hurt. The truth is, though, there are umpteen reasons for an emotional purchase. Influence could be caused by mood, activity, appetite or visual patterns. Sometimes, just being in the right place at the right time is the key. Imagine having a snack shop adjacent to the marijuana stores in Colorado.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

While Chase, Maria, and I were making our ways of knowing project, we were trying to find a way to promote audience participation. Maria had the thought, because she is really smart, to make origami birds with questions in them. This would accomplish asking questions and getting replied answers in a unique and fun way. It seemed to work because most everyone was participated, making it a game and heightening expectations. The birds randomized the order that everyone had to speak in. Afterwards, we showed a silent movie clip that was watched. I think it worked successfully, because most spoke about the subject, giving input on his individual feelings.

The TED talk started off good at the beginning, but appeared to drag on too long a little while inside.Some people began to get bored with it, and lost interest. I suggest that if we split the TED talk into pieces, and put them at different parts in the presentation, we could have worked more diligently(rather than sitting for 25 min). I am convinced getting back up to teach prolonged our talk and everyone lost interest and zoned us out; by that time most were bored and tired of listening to us. The class would certainly be more attentive if it were broken up better, and not drug out so long. We sort of lost the class’s attention at the end.

I wish we could have found some games to go along with emotion but that is kinda hard to do especially since everyone has different feelings toward the same thing based upon their previous experiences. The games that memory did was different and gave everyone a chance to get up and use their minds rather than sitting and listening to the entire class.

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There was actually nothing that I thought we should drop, but I do feel that we should have reorganized areas. I understand looking back on it that we could have positioned sections in different parts of the presentation to get a better feed back for it.

As far as a teacher standpoint goes, I teach every Monday night at Boy Scouts and each time I take away something that I can change and do better for the next time.I have learned a lot by watching my scouts to see how much they are absorbing what I am trying to teach them. If they are not responding correctly to me, I know I am doing something wrong and need to change my teaching technique. A teacher can surely tell when his teaching falls flat. A teacher learns best from his students.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This I Believe

I had written another blog and had it prepared, until something out the ordinary happened last Thursday. I felt compelled to change my blog. I found that, to a certain degree, all I thought I knew about my family changed in a moment.

I have always known I hold a special place in my family. I am my parents first born, a son they had already named and prayed about. I have always been treated fairly, and asked my opinions, likes and dislikes when discussing important issues, whether they actually included me or not. My parents do believe in working. My brother, Joseph, and I have certain chores we are expected to do daily, such as taking out the trash, and making our beds. I’ve also been taught to
take my turn preparing meals for the family, and I do laundry also sometimes.

My family is far from wealthy. We try to choose our purchases wisely. There are many times we are forced to make sacrifices, often in favor of each other, so that we may all four get to enjoy things equally. All this to bring us to the point of my story of Thursday.

Thursday was my sixteenth birthday. I had to be out of school that day, not because I was skipping, but because I had two different doctors’ appointments in two different cities: one in Newnan, and one in Atlanta later in the afternoon. I have had plenty of birthday parties through the years when I was younger, but when I turned thirteen, all the guys in my family (including uncles, and cousins) took me on a “You’re a man, now” kayak down the river, cooking steaks on the fire, camping by the water trip that I fully expected to be my last birthday surprise. Boy, was I wrong! I expect to go out to eat for my birthday, so imagine my surprise when my mother turned toward the clubhouse. I quickly realized all my grandparents were there, and told my mother, “Y’all so sweet!” However, that was just the beginning.

Since I was turning sixteen, (a real milestone in any teenagers life), I had told anyone who had asked that I would like to have gift cards for gas money. I knew I would be lucky if I could borrow mom’s car or daddy’s truck, but I would need to be able to pay for any gas I used. They told me I should be asking for new walking shoes if I was planning to go anywhere. I was hoping for a little gas money, though. I was rewarded, because I ended up with over $200, worth of cards that could be used when needed. The last package I opened was long and slim. Several people continued to say it would be a rifle, and I guess I thought it would be, also. It was pretty light and was wrapped in golden foil. It was shining when I turned it to get a good grip. Yes, it was a Remington rifle box, but, wait! When I opened it, it was filled with small heavy boxes inside. First, I saw a note my mom had written, saying, “Gotcha!”. My dad had made the note look like a credit card, with the word “VISA” actually on the lower right hand corner.

One box had a weird metal piece in it, I didn’t understand what it was tho. While I was contemplating what that meant all my friends and family were yelling, “WHAT IS IT?! WHAT IS IT?!” Then my cousin asked, “What’s in that box?” and handed me one I didn’t see in the corner. It was all taped up with layers of duct tape. My dad’s touch! He makes me work, even for my fun. It took me quite some time to open the last box. It held MAGIC!

I found nothing but folded up cardboard. I didn’t understand what was going on. I proceeded to unfold the cardboard and then I heard metal clink on the table and looked down. I found keys and a key fob on the other end of the second piece that went to the piece of metal I opened only moments before. Could it be they really got me a car? I hugged my mom and dad. I couldn’t stop smiling! I asked, “Really? Truly? Where is it??”. My dad continued to say, “You don’t know if you got anything or not!”, as if it wasn’t a car. Imagine 20-25 kids and adults crowding outside the doors with me in anticipation. I clicked the key several times and then I saw it. The best looking car (to me anyway) in the parking lot came to life. Lights blinking, horn blowing, every time I clicked. Everything on the car seemed to shout at me, “I belong to you, Malachi, Happy Birthday!!!” Then kids were opening doors and all were pilling in.

This was an actual event, proving that although I thought I knew where my parents stood on not getting me a car at my age, I was wrong. I also thought I knew my family finances. I found out now that they bought my car a month ago, and it was hidden in plain view, but I was oblivious to what they were planning all this time. We are truly blessed that we have parents that do whatever they can for their children. This I believe.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


The definition of the word “know” is to “be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information.” A person may think he would react a certain way if he found himself in a dilemma. For instance, if he found a bag of money when he went into a cafĂ©. He would like to believe he would do the honest act of trying to find the true owner of the money. After all, someone owned the bag and has mistakenly left it behind. Someone has worked for it, or inherited it, or whatever. The one fact is that it does not belong to the person who accidentally found it.

Actually, a person thinking or even believing, he would make the correct choice, falls short of doing it. Only if a person follows through to the end of locating the owner and returning the bag, does a person know he will do the honest deed of handing over the bag to the rightful original owner. It is only the experience of the act that makes it a fact.

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If he finds himself rationalizing a pro or con side of an issue, he is making a stand. He has concluded that he is either for or against. Depending on his belief, he has made a logical decision based on evidence presented to him. This can be said for a juror in a criminal or civil case. These jurors have not witnessed or experienced the actual deed. Based on the testimony of other people, or videotape, or actual items, such as weapons, finger prints, foot prints or some other proof, jurors must come to a reasonable, calculated decision. Logically, there can only be one answer.

Another, but least dependable path to knowledge, is the created path. This is often a constructed way, perhaps even in the mind. It often depends on what the mind accepts, or perceives an issue to be. Seeing is believing. It is said, though, that several people can witness an incident, such as a car wreck, and no two people perceive it to be exactly as it appears. One person may think the light was already green when a car advances, while the second may believe it was still red. This is less dependable, because it becomes an emotional thought. Especially if a loved one is involved. It is natural to see things through a personal lenses. There is always room for human error in these cases.