Some writers who directly address the public use their medium — editorial, newsletter, column, etc.— as a platform for their personal lives. Through writing they blatantly boast the success of their own endeavors. Quite often they will allude to and expound upon the exploits and accomplishments of their offspring and their offspring’s offspring, i.e., parents doting on their kids, grandparents fawning over grand kids. Going on endlessly, line after line, bragging about how great the kids in their lives are. This is considered to be unprofessional and quite distasteful.

Well I’ve never considered myself a professional anything and think I’m quite tasty, so here we go.

Gabriel, my grandson, the toddler formerly known as “the Tot” and aspiring towards becoming Saw 3, turns 8 years old this week. Currently he clocks in at 4’6” and 115 lbs., towering over other kids in his age group. Due to his size a lot of folks say he should play sports. Oh, he enjoys shooting hoops and tossing a football around, but that’s as far as his interest in organized sports goes. He’s afraid somebody might get hurt and he doesn’t want that for anyone. I believe the reason his body is so big is so it can carry his heart.

Never have I seen a child enabled with such compassion and kindness. Respectful, polite, obedient, sweet, always positive and happy; such rare qualities in children these days, yet he possesses them all. His intellect is equally impressive. No child prodigy but he has the capacity and desire to learn and better himself at every step. His teachers agree and his daily climb up the clip-chart is evidence of that.

If you’re not familiar with the elementary schools’ color coordinated system of behavior monitoring, it’s quite elementary…my dear Watson. The chart ranges in color from bottom to top, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and topping off with pink. Each child begins each day on green. In reward for working hard, following directions, smart thinking and positive behavior they can clip-up to the next color, earning points and being rewarded for their efforts. Bad behavior, talking out of turn, failure to listen and follow directions results in clipping down. If they reach red, parents are called. (Proud to say Gabe stays in the top 3 color ranges).

The other day as I readied for work (hooray) this sweetly inquisitive child inquired sweetly as to if we had a clip-chart at work. For a moment I considered explaining how adults work hard all year desperately struggling to “clip-up” and get a raise. Or not work hard and fall right off the chart into the unemployment office; instead summoning it up with “sort of.” However, on the drive in (to work) it got me to thinking: why don’t adults have clip-charts? Not just for work but for life itself?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know through a compliment and then actual action on your part that you were appreciated for your hard work and positive behavior? Wouldn’t it be great to know that your smart decisions in raising your kids, housekeeping, buying a goat, etc. were confirmed? Simply by clipping up? Just knowing would be enough, but maybe if you stayed in the pink you’d get a cash prize…or second goat.

Then again considering the self-centered, inconsiderate, no thinking ahead condition of the human race in general, how many would clip right off the bottom of the chart in the first week? At which point… I guess you’d just die. But the threat of screwing up to death isn’t the reason we shouldn’t have a clip-chart for life. Well, the real reason is not so much that we shouldn’t but rather why we can’t.

People suck but gawd forbid you tell them how much. Despite their level of suckiness, even if they’re aware of it, nobody should point it out. Oh and gawd forbid again we have a publicly visible chart that shows you suck.

And who would judge the suck? In our PC society if anyone passes judgment they are condemned to be judged. “Only God can judge you?” NO! You can take responsibility and judge yourself! Work hard, follow directions, think smart and be positive — clip-up whenever you can — because the next generation is watching and counting on you to set the example.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me directly at [email protected]. Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!