Community!!!

What has happened to community?


Historically, our country was made of a collection of small clusters of people. They lived in accomodating towns, villages and even cities where everyone could essentially know everyone else, and because they knew each other, they trusted each other through proven communication of shared ideals and similar paradigms.

Today, (I speak for myself), we don’t know our neighbor’s first names. There is quite a contrast between the community of yesterday and today. Our belief systems and our ideals are not similar anymore (or they might be if we took the time to find out), and it is our differences that we tend to fear the most.

I am one of those guys that talks to every person that will dare to make eye contact with me and have the fortune of being idol at the time. Grocery lines are one of my favorite places to test my communication skills, and I have learned some things in the process of years of being me that I find quite interesting.

I believe that most people genuinely desire to be connected to others. Laying down fears and putting aside assumed prejudices and stereotypical hangups, most people will engage with someone who approaches them with a smile and a friendly gesture and word. Not everyone is like me, looking for any opportunity whatsoever to get to know someone new, but most will casually respond with a cordial greeting and even continue to offer more in terms of communication that is unique to their personality and style.

In Nashville a few weeks ago when I went to sing on the Bobby Jones Gospel Show, I strolled the parking lot of the hotel late at night. Chris, the night security guard, and I talked for almost five minutes. His accent was difficult for me to get through, but I could ascertain that he was a genuine individual with respect for himself and others. He is probably someone I would engage with in a community.

Courtney Lee Pierce

Courtney Lee Pierce, an up and coming music sensation in Nashville who happened to clerk the desk of the hotel was genuine and extremely nice. She is a credit to the human race and to Southern folk in general. Check her out on Youtube. She is also a good singer even though she was too bashful to really give us a listen at the hotel, live, of course.

I am not going to drone on with this for the simple fact that I appreciate your thoughts that you may already be having. What has happened to community? Why are people separate? Is it fear? Are we too busy? Do we sit blogging in front of our computers too much? Have we accepted that this is the way that it is and there is nothing to do about it? I have lots of questions and not too many answers. I certainly do have an opinion though.

My opinion is that we have a tendency to disconnect from the very things that we need the most. The reason that we don’t throw a block party once a month is that it is just easier not to. I know that is an extreme, but look at all the logistics you would have to take into account. Will people bring alcohol? Will they bring enough alcohol? Will there be moochers? Will everyone come? Will I like any of them? Etc, etc, etc. I know this is a silly example, but it was all I had. Think about it! What could we do to reestablish community? Or do we even care?

I have more thoughts on this topic, but I want to shape them first. Have a great day and many blessings!!!

Alan Soltys

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“The Whack Word” an online magazine

We welcome you to engage with “The Whack Word” an online magazine. Please “like” our fanpage and get used to seeing us around. Our purpose is to simply shine the light on what is “whack” in the world. We do not judge! We do not preach! We don’t even try to educate, necessarily! But we do promote personal accountability to seeing and then growing thereby. What you do with us is truly up to you, but our hope is that you join the conversation and help us build a community of people with a voice that is able to speak with clarity.

Giving Back!

Giving Back!

When I first had the idea for “The Whack Word” an online magazine, the very nature of the magazine itself compelled me to discover a way to give back. I met an industrious gentleman who introduced me to the concept of philanthropy, which according to Wikipedia, etymologically means “the love of humanity”. Since Aeschylus wrote Prometheus Bound we have had at our disposal what is “thought to be the key to and the essence of civilization”. So the fountain of all civilized life in the world issues forth from the love we have for our fellows. Sounds interesting. So out of love for our fellows, we are preparing to make a difference.

“The Whack Word” is instituting and operating a fund we are calling “The Patriot Fund”. I am a patriot. I see the American flag flying, and I well up in my soul. I see a soldier on the street, and I take the time to shake his hand and tell him thanks. Putting your life at risk for your country is a serious calling, and I know I am not by myself in truly loving our military members.

There has been an increase in the number of soldiers coming home from abroad with very serious problems. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), lost limbs, and serious injury prevent some of our people from providing for their families the way they would like. There are programs in place to help, but we want to do more. More definitely needs done.

We will establish and build the size of “The Patriot Fund” with 30% of the magazine’s subscription revenue. There will be a place on the website to donate to the fund, but our main focus is 30% of subscriptions. When you subscribe to the magazine, you will know that some of your money is going to help those who have truly sacrificed. We would like to build the fund to a certain level and establish a foundation, but that will take some time. For now, the fund will be used to directly affect the quality of life for as many military and veteran personnel that we can help who are suffering with the inability to support the ones they love. This responsibility should be a community effort anyway so we will gladly contribute.

We will also be offering free training on how to become a freelance writer to veterans and military personnel. Entrepreneurial training will also be made available as we partner with other providers who will be honored to give a helping hand.

Aeschylus told us that Prometheus gave mankind two gifts, fire and optimism. Fire represented what man could accomplish with his hands in technology and innovation, and optimism or “blind hope” made it possible for man to use the fire to build up and elevate the condition of mankind. Fire and optimism together cannot be stopped. Think about it, we have so much at our disposal, couldn’t we use what we have and what we will have to help someone who truly needs our help? Just a question.

If everyone that we knew became a philanthropist, we could take a big bite out of greed.  Incidentally, greed happens to be destroying our world, but that is for another discussion at another time.

(All discussion of philanthropy in this post can be credited to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy)

“The Whack Word” an online magazine

“The Whack Word” an online magazine

Shining the light on what is whack!!!

One of my favorite sayings is, “It is what it is.” It is a favorite of mine for some very personal reasons, but it is also a favorite saying of mine because it is true. There is not anything that I can do about what someone else thinks, feels, says or does. I am lucky to influence myself in a positive direction once a month.

“The Whack Word” is not going to be a bunch of preachy, I told you so, do things my way kind of nonsense that no one will want to read in the first place. Our mission is to simply shine some light on things that we think should change in the world. There is plenty material for us to choose from, and I am sure that everyone can agree on that. Our vision for what might occur when we shine the light on what is whack is that people may begin to take personal responsibility for their own responses to what we reveal. We aren’t looking for a revolution. We would settle for a reconciliation. We aren’t looking for a reckoning for those who we find faulty. We would simply settle for a recognition of the fault.

Wisdom speaks in this phrase, “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” I don’t know who said it, but it is true.

Another saying by James Michener, “An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.”

Robert Kennedy said this, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Today, I send out a myriad of tiny ripples of hope. Today, I stand for an ideal. That ideal is this, “We, as human beings, can look past our differences, can walk toward a brighter future, can lay aside everything that to this point has prevented us from being one, and can embrace who we are truly meant to be as we connect with every other part of who we are, each other.”

Some might say that represents idealism, but I say in response, “Wouldn’t it be ideal?” and “What is wrong with the best option?”

I look forward to sharing with anyone who chooses to read. Explanation will be made about the magazine and what we will be offering to our readers and what programs we will be sponsoring and what ever else comes to mind. New ideas all the time.