Category Archives: Personal Perspective

Be blessed by simple gifts

  

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Mardi Gras 2015 – In the books

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In these last 5 years of working Mardi Gras as the Chief of Police, I’ve experienced many changes. I’ve also seen that the most important things remain constant.

1. The people in the City of Thibodaux are amazing & know how to celebrate safely.
2. The staff at the Thibodaux Police Department are committed to community policing.
3. The members of the various Mardi Gras krewes cherish cultural value & Cajun tradition.
4. Max and I still look forward to our annual parade route HUGS.

Until next year, see you at the carnival.

 

Mardi Gras 2015 – In the books

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The Eulogy: 2014

The Eulogy: 2014

Over the last few days I’ve witnessed so many who’ve cursed or eulogized the last year; yes 2014. Instead of rejoicing in the 365 days of life God allowed them, they dismiss the gifts of grace in hopes of happenstance instantly or magically changing their circumstances.

What makes a person believe that the tick of a second-hand tock is going to erase the hardships, the failures, the could-have-beens, the should-have-beens and the never-have-beens?

Good things happen, bad things happen, terribly horrible things happen and yes; wonderfully fantastic things happen. This is what we call “Life.”

Were there hard times in 2014? Sure. After 15 years I still miss my mother. After 8 years and counting, I still cheer-lead for my son with Down syndrome to live an amazingly fantastic life. Day after day I still watch my dad as the effects of diabetes and dementia take their collective toll.

This is called “Life” and it’s a gift; rejoice in it. Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

While attending a funeral recently, an 89-year-old gentleman graced me with conversation. In sincerity and optimism he looked squarely at me and said, “Chief, life is too short. Enjoy it.”

What do you say to that?

I thought about the many who hurriedly stowed away 2014 in hopes of better times, the comment I could not respond to on life’s brevity, and my own take on the passing of one calendar year to the next.

I’m going to be honest with you; am I where I wanted to be on several levels at the end of 2014? No, not at all.

– I wanted to increase my walk with Christ

– I wanted to be a better father

– I wanted to be a better son and brother

– I wanted to be a better friend

– I wanted to be thinner and healthier

– I wanted to not be so guarded

– I wanted to cycle more, and eat ice cream less (debatable)

Am I bitter? Have I plastered Facebook with admonishments over a 2014 unlived, have I darkened others’ days with tales of “unfairs” over the last year? No. Not at all. It was a fantastic year. It was a 365 day blessing of mercy that God gifted me. It was yet another year in my life well lived.

This is not an admonishment for pessimistic postings. It’s a reminder that if you think back over the course of the last year you will find;

1. The bad things that could have been avoided, possibly required more of our time and attention.
2. The horrible things that could not be avoided, we should be thankful that we’re still in this life to grieve, learn or recover.
3. The good things that happened probably resulted from our hard work and dedication.
4. The fantastic things that happened probably included someone else’s support along the way.

If you sat on your thumbs in 2014 waiting for what you thought owed and were disappointed, then sitting on your thumbs in 2015 will probably only result in much more soreness and even more criticisms come next New Year ’s Eve.

Don’t be so quick to eulogize the passing year for its failures, as they represent the “you” who experienced it. Instead, embrace the positive and learn from the each opportunity.

Failure is not getting knocked down. It’s refusing to get back up.

See you at the end of yet another superhero’ish calendar year 2015.

Scott
Originally posted at scottsilverii.com – The Eulogy: 2013

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Want To Be More Creative? Don’t Sleep

NOTE: I’ve often said that sleep is for the weak. Actually, I’ve been quoted and sometimes criticized for saying it. In my life, doing without it is a necessity for accomplishing the personal goals I’ve set. While not for everyone, the following article discusses how fatigue and creativity compliment each other. Believe it? Read on.

Want To Be More Creative? Don’t Sleep

Wednesday, famed sportswriter Bill Simmons released a podcast where he interviewed Lorne Michaels, the man who created and still runs Saturday Night Live. In the interview, Michaels said something particularly interesting about the creative process.

Simmons asked him about the grueling nature of SNL, where Michaels and his staff have been putting on a live hour of television each week for the past 40 years. Specifically, Simmons asked if that sort of schedule was too difficult, if there would be a benefit to cutting back.

Michaels’ answer: no.

“There’s a mantra that I have, which is fatigue is your friend,” Michaels said. “There’s a point at which, in anything artistic, at least from my perspective, the critical faculty can overwhelm the creative faculty… When you’re tired, you just write it, and all sorts of different kinds of work comes out.”

Michaels, who developed talent like Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, Eddie Murphy and hundreds of others, went on to say that when creative types are tired, they lose their filter. And then, “someone takes a chance that they would never, if they were cautious or they were smart, would have ever attempted.”

“And those kinds of things are what you remember now as hits,” he continued.

Simmons, who has built himself into one of the world’s most-famous sportswritersand an ESPN “heavyweight” thanks to his own creativity, agreed.

“That’s so funny you talk about that because that’s how I usually write my column,” Simmons told Michaels. “I either do it early in the morning or late at night because I don’t want to be fully awake. As weird as that sounds, I take more chances when I’m groggy.”

Does this phenomenon make any sense? Well, believe it or not, science says yes.

What The Science Says

There have been several scientific studies into the exact issue Simmons and Michaels talked about. And while there are some splits in the findings, the majority say that, indeed, sleep deprivation can actually increase creativity.

One study by Mareike Wieth at Albion College probed into this issue by giving people problems to answer at their non-optimal time of the day; i.e. times when they were tired (morning people were given problems in the evening and evening people were given problems in the morning).

What Wieth found was that people answered math questions better when they were well-rested. However, for problems that required more creative thinking, the people who were more tired did better.

“The findings indicate that tasks involving creativity might benefit from a non-optimal time of day,” Wieth wrote in her study.

Additionally, Italian researcher Marcello Massimini found that the brain becomes more sensitive throughout the day, as it continues to form new synapses for as long as you stay awake. When you finally sleep, those synapses are pruned down.

Therefore, it makes sense that basic math problems become more difficult to solve when you’re tired, because you are, quite literally, more scatterbrained. But it also means that the longer you stay awake, the more unique connections begin to form in your brain – a recipe for creative thinking.

Takeaway

By no means should you adopt a lifestyle of little-to-no sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to higher blood pressure, obesity and an increased chance of stroke, among other things.

Engineers or scientists wouldn’t benefit from sleep deprivation either, as it essentially inhibits logical thinking. But, for the creative type who needs to get something out, an all-nighter might just do the trick.

 

Want To Be More Creative? Don’t Sleep

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Ferguson & Public Engagement | What are they good for?

media

What’s the best time to plant a tree?

– 30 years ago.

What’s the next best time to plant a tree?

– Today

In general, law enforcement has made for horrible horticulturalists. We’ve not tilled the soil of community engagement as a practice. Now we wonder why no one understands us.

When an incident like Ferguson erupts, the pundits hurry to fend off allegations from a civilian population incessantly asking for answers. I’ve had so many tell how they’ve unfriended people on social media streams because of the content post-grand jury decision.

When a public service organization adopts a “No Comment” paradigm over the course of a few centuries, is it any wonder why questions and misinformation arises during societal flash points. While operational confidentiality is vital to an agency’s mission, the majority of daily operations and information processed by law enforcement fail to meet the level of classified materials.

Social media allows public agencies an opportunity to manage their own message. If an agency fails or refuses to engage in the often free mediums available for informing people, then they should expect to face the accusations of pent up frustrations.

This is a great opportunity for Chiefs and Sheriff’s to re-examine their public relations practices. It has to be more substantial than a few handshakes with kids at the high school ball game. An ongoing, open dialogue with the community we swore to serve builds bridges and breaks down walls.

A few suggestions:

  1. Balance the “official” tone of agency social media accounts. If you want the public to relate to the humanity of your officers, then present them as such.
  2. Not every public event has to be public. People distinguish “photo ops” from sincere neighborhood engagements.
  3. Proactively pursue the media for establishing mutual credibility. Yes, mutual.
  4. Ensure the designated “Voice and Face” of your agency is representative not only of the community, but of the vision and ideals for serving the public.
  5. When wrong, say “I’m sorry.”
  6. When right, give credit to the persons responsible. Whether it’s the rookie cop or the shop owner who dialed it in, give legitimate thanks.
  7. Don’t wait until a crisis to introduce yourself to the public you vowed to protect.
  8. Don’t take it person. Negative public comments are born out of the frustrations of not being heard. Re-evaluate practices to ensure you’ve not shut your community out.
  9. When times get tough, don’t be a prick.
  10. In all situations, be yourself – a single human being placed in extraordinary circumstances trying to handle unimaginable calamities. People understand if you trip, and if you do, refer back to #9.

Ferguson & Public Engagement | What are they good for?

Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

If Not Us, Who?

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