Candy Bars and Bumblebees Share DNA

Each of us can learn a great deal from the humble bumblebee.
In the 1930s the French entomologist August Magnan arrived at the profound conclusion that bumblebees, due to the established laws of physics, could not fly. Regardless to what his eyes witnesses, he claimed the size of the body verses the lift of tiny wings made such a feat impossible. And while the entire world continued debating the merits of this concept, the bumblebee kept busy by flying around expansive yards and flowering gardens.

Too many times in life we let others define what we can and cannot do.

Human nature is to avoid risk – the entire instinct for survival firmly located in our pesky ‘lizard brain’. And because of this doubting voice, we tend to find solace in those who tell us we cannot do something. Rejection or failure is just as painful as reaching our hand into an open flame. For many, you only need to get burned once or twice.

Fortunately the bumblebee never listened to August Magnan.

To be honest, I am just like everyone else – I’ve battled this natural instinct my entire life. Reasons, when more closely examined, were really just excuses dressed in sheep’s clothing. Fear is easy to learn – hard to break.

One night over dinner at home, my wife and I began laughing at how our daughter, sold candy door-to-door when in elementary school. Thinking back to when I was her age charged with the same task I was petrified to knock on a door to sell candy. Not for my fear of life, but for the fear of being turned down.

Our daughter, on the other hand, never really considered someone would turn her down. Even her pitch left little room for the homeowner to avoid buying candy.

“Hi, my name is Ally and I am selling candy bars for my school. How many boxes would you like to buy?”

And as I stood in the background, I watched full-sized adults melt in front of this determined little girl who never broke eye contact. Many times they’d just say “why don’t you pick out the one you’d like and I’ll buy it for you.”

There is no telling how many times she resold the same candy bar.
For me, when her age, my box of unsold candy sat quietly in the corner of the living room – never seeing the light of day.

But watching my daughter sell candy bars that day, acting like the bumblebee who never acknowledges that she couldn’t fly, I found myself growing as a person. Granted I was a fully-grown adult, carried a mortgage, and held a job, but this little girl was teaching me there really wasn’t much to fear in life. Sure, a few people said no, but she brushed each experience off like a pesky mosquito buzzing around her head.

And few minutes later, there she was at the next front door, standing tall and confident. And just like a bumblebee, she refused to listen to those who said she couldn’t fly.

– 30 –

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Lucky Dog Happy People Read Newspapers

“Nobody reads newspapers anymore.”

There is an old adage that if you repeatedly tell people something enough times it will eventually be considered true. Advertising and marketing firms, for example, build empires based on this very persuasive premise in attempts to help us pick one box of cereal over another. And similarly, newspaper competitors have been trying to make this argument for decades.

But fortunately, for one certain dog stranded more than 1,000 miles from home, people still read newspapers. And lots of them.

This week The Daily News published a news story about a lost Galveston family pet turning up in at the Humane Shelter in Kokomo, Indiana. The family on this end, the Navarro family, was ecstatic to say the least.

Then came the reality. How to get the beloved family member, Blue, home to Galveston?

“I’ve been out of work and about to start a new job,” said JoeAnn Navarro. “I looked into getting a flight to bring her home, but none of the airlines I talked to would take a pit bull.”

The shelter, unfortunately, does not have the room or funds needed to keep Blue for a long stay.

A potentially bleak situation to say the least.

And then the newspaper published the story – and within hours, the world changed for the entire Navarro family. All because of, you know, the product no one supposedly reads anymore.

Immediately the phones at The Daily News began lighting up. Emails came pouring into the newspaper. Even the newspaper’s social media site filled with people offering to help. The local editor discovered 45 voicemails within hours of arriving in his office – all the while trying to answer the steady flood of incoming calls.

Could it be someone was actually moved to action by reading a newspaper? Could the ‘popular’ conclusion be wrong?

Before most people could finish their morning coffee, offers of monetary donations were flooding in. Another offer came from someone with an airplane who thought they could figure out how to help get Blue back to Galveston Island. And within hours, a plan was in place to safely return to reunite a lost family member with his loving home.

The readership reaction, according to Daily News mainland editor TJ Aulds, was energizing.

“We have always been aware of the power of The Daily News’ readership,” said Aulds. “What I enjoy is that most of the people who called or e-mailed are subscribers of The Daily News. That’s something that isn’t rare, it happens with newspapers across the country everyday. Just in this case it helped a lucky dog on the other end.”

As you read this, Blue’s future is bright. After a few details, Blue will be heading home to Galveston Island. A family reunion is on the way.

What is so telling is how quickly people were motivated to take action to something they read from a newspaper. They were moved. They trusted. They acted. Simply said, there is something very special about the relationship a newspaper shares with its community. And for one special dog and his family, they are especially happy people still read newspapers.

 

– 30 –

 

 

What Washington Does Not Get About Paris Snub

Damn the politics – Americans are upset with Washington’s snub of the historical march in support of freedom regardless of party affiliation. Simply put, most Americans wanted to be there in person to support of the world coming together for the freedoms we hold dearest to our hearts. Are we not the leader of the Free World? Or is that only when it is convenient?

In what could be considered one of the most tone-deaf moments in modern political history, the United States chose not send a top-tier representative to Paris this past weekend. As leaders from around the world came together, it became more about who wasn’t there than who attended. And didn’t we look good? Apparently everyone – on both sides of the aisle – was too busy.

Americans are becoming increasingly disgusted with national party politics – and this recent example is just another thorn in the side of the electorate. Why, the voters wonder, can’t grown adults put aside differences to make decisions together? Is sending a representative to a march to celebrate our birthright (freedom of speech) all that difficult? Most people couldn’t care less who attended so long as it represented the United States well.

But politics, unfortunately, does not work that way.

While everyone is quick to point to POTUS (president of the United States), the blame for this political punt is much wider. We’ve other high-ranking individuals (one who was actually in Paris at the time) who could’ve attended. Logistics about security are a real concern, but then again, so is our place at such an event. This is, after all, our mantle – the founding bedrock of our nation. We basically abdicated this position on January 11th.

I guess the only upside is Putin didn’t show up.

 

– 30 –

Powerful Last Words from a Living Man

This week a man died from cancer.

I realize this is not particularly unique statement – this can be accurate for each day, week, month or year. But it is in these moments of loss we should work to share the lessons those passing demonstrated.

Stuart Scott, a name you may or may not be familiar with, passed away this week after a long, courageous battle with cancer at the age of 49.

Now for those who do not need to Google his name, please don’t let his professional accomplishments distract you from the heart of his lessons. For those who do not know him by name, well, you are probably more likely to appreciate how we would prefer you get to know him in the first place.

Stuart was a man who did not shape himself to fit the world around him. Instead, he successfully walked the tightrope of being genuine to himself in a world of filled with diverse opinions. No easy task, to say the least – particularly for someone in his chosen field.

But, again, this column is not about Stuart – as I believe he, too, would prefer. But rather these words are more about how one should conduct their lives in the unrevealed days, minutes, and seconds we possess.

Unfortunately, people discover their body is host to cancer every day of the week. And for most, their lives will never be the same again.

And as for Stuart (as I’ll refer to him in respect for distancing himself from this professional persona), I’m sure he was no different. A father of two daughters, his diagnosis seeming only enhanced his focus on channeling his energies into living a fully, rich life.

During his life, he successfully put cancer behind him only for it to revisit shortly afterwards. And like many others who experience this unwelcome return, he got back up, shook off the punch, and rededicated himself to beating the cancer in the only ring he could control – his daily life.

With medical treatments reshaping his body, he focused on the only world truly under his control – the one inside his head and heart. For him – and those who live this attitude – grace is probably the word we could use to describe this heightened sense of purpose. And for Stuart, this particular word fits.

Again, this is not about the deeds, the lives he touched, or the things he did to focus his life. No, we should celebrate the gift he leaves behind – the poignant reminder of the value of life and how every day of our lives really matters. To do anything less would be denying the very thing he wished to demonstrate.

Recently his peers recognized Stuart not for his professional accomplishments, but rather the manner in which he lived each day.

Standing at the podium, hot lights beating down on his exhausted body, Stuart stood tall, proud. He’d endured two surgeries within the week in hopes of attending.

His words were strong, powerful, and well-chosen.

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer,” he said. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

The truth is that these are not the words of a dying man. No, rather these are the words of living man — and a lesson we should all remember.

– 30 –