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Leading in an Era of Increased Incivility and Disrespect

Posted on 14 August 2017 by Scott Cooper

My July 26, 2017 print edition of The Edgefield Advertiser was titled “You Have Influence.” It highlighted a worldwide event titled “The Global Leadership Summit,”  which was taking place outside of Chicago on August 10th and 11th, 2017.  I encouraged you to attend the local simulcast event, which was one of over 400 venues participating in the United States.

Returning on Saturday August 12th, as I travelled from Chicago, IL to Greenville, SC for a wedding, the only thing I saw on the television screens both inside the airports and my hotel lobby was the incidents taking place this weekend in Charlottesville, VA, where an extremely small percentage of our population was garnering virtually all the expensive media air time.

As I walked through O’Hare airport, I committed in my own mind to not watch the news, to do my best at tuning out my Facebook feed, which was largely filled with comments about this small percentage of our population, garnering so much attention.  I instead decided to focus my energy on what I had learned in the auditorium of over 10,000 people in a Chicago Suburb, an event where over 400,000 participated nation-wide via simulcast, and another 400,000 plus international folks will participate in the following days.  I pondered on this new generation of leaders, perhaps surpassing over a million worldwide participants, and how this tremendous movement likely received no airtime in the main stream media.

I choose hope.  I believe a new generation of leaders are rising up, in every county of our republic and in many nations of our world.  This new generation will be armed with humility, in addition to other leadership skills and will chart a course where they will not profit from division, like so many do today.

I want to share with you a synopsis of Bill Hybels opening message at this global event.  There are “10 Rules of Respect,”, but he started with a question, followed by making three critical statements.  The question was, “How do we lead in an era of increased incivility and disrespect?”

They statements were, “The solution begins with me,” “The highest value at GLS is humility,” and “Armed with enough humility, you can learn from anyone.”

Here are the “10 Rules of Respect:”

  1. Leaders must set the example for how to differ without demonizing.
  2. Leaders must be able to have spirited conversations without drawing “drawing blood.”
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking or dominate discussions.
  4. Leaders must set the example of limiting their volume levels and refusing to use “incendiary” or “belittling” words that guarantee to derail true conversation.
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed . . . to everyone, at every level.
  6. Leaders must never stereotype people.
  7. Leaders must apologize immediately when they are wrong, instead of denying or doubling down.
  8. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open-minded if better or new information comes along.
  9. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they are going to show up and doing what they say they are going to do.
  10. Leaders must set “Rules of Respect” for everyone in the organization and enforce them relentlessly as a sort of code of conduct.

In closing, what we witnessed in Charlottesville this weekend was not leadership.  It continues to receive the bulk of expensive media time because it gets ratings, which provides advertising revenue, which makes money.  Perhaps I’ll write more about the lack of leadership in the media next week, but for now, I sincerely hope you will join me in praying for the next generation of leaders, which ARE being developed, who WILL lead based on the points above, and will not seek to profit through division.

Here’s wishing you a productive week!

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Starting The Investment

Posted on 21 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

Last week (http://hscottcooper.com/contrasting-three-events-on-memorial-day-ea-may-31-2017/) I closed my editorial with the following paragraph:

“What encourages me about our time period in history, where our collective knowledge of these conflicting worldviews is so poor, is that we can rapidly improve our knowledge, if we are willing to make the investment.”

When it comes to making the needed investment, there are two critical points I believe we must begin with:

First, parents must be willing to make the educational investment in their children.  Dropping them at the schoolhouse isn’t enough.  To grandparents – if, for whatever reason, your children are not making the required investment in your grandchildren’s proper education, you have a civic duty, indeed a moral obligation, to ensure your lineage is properly educated.  Your legacy depends upon it.

Second, we must begin as early as possible.  There is a lot of focus this time of year on Graduation.  Graduation from High School, Graduation from College and perhaps graduate school.  If we look back in history, say a century ago – young men graduating from eighth grade had great expectations placed on them.  Many had already become men, bearing responsibility for helping provide their families’ sustenance.  Young women graduating from the eighth grade were also being taught to think about their role in providing for the family, both existing and future families.

This week, I encourage you to think about the young adults you know graduating from Middle School.  I think two of the books which should be on the summer reading list for these young adults, ages 13 and 14, are:

The first book was actually written by two teenagers. Alex and Brett Harris, at the age of 19. Do Hard Things, A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, in short tells stories of great teenagers from our history who accomplished amazing feats during their teenage years, and contrasted those stories with today’s culture where adulthood (responsibility) is actually being pushed further and further into an individual’s future.

The second book deals with Economics.  In my opinion, we must educate all young adults entering High School the truth about Economics.  Specifically, how government run systems created in the last two generations have placed a tremendous economic burden on them.  Much of that burden, which they will bear, began prior to their conception!  The author states, “this upcoming generation has been plundered and deceived.”  Thus, the title of the book is Plunder and Deceit: Big Governments Exploitation of Young People and the Future by Mark Levin.

I am hopeful The Edgefield Advertiser will place my editorials online, so after your Middle School Graduates, or you, have read the books, we will be able to discuss the merits of their content online.  They will be placed at my website, www.HScottCooper.com as well as my Facebook Page, www.Facebook.com/ScottCooperSC.

Here’s wishing you a productive week!

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Improving Our Communication Skills

Posted on 21 June 2017 by Scott Cooper

The greatest challenge we have in our republic is avoiding consequences caused by polarized advocates who can’t hear each other.  The screaming from the extreme is so loud the middle can’t hear a clear message or see a clear path, even when we have a middle of the road compassionate leader, who is trying to articulate one.

One could say the extremes don’t want to hear each other.  Better stated, they don’t want you to hear.

Many have been trained to shut down debate as soon alternative views are shared, by calling names.  Spend any time in Social Media, and you will see this is true.  The name often ends with “phobia,” includes racist, or the individual is labeled uncompassionate.  Words like ignorant or snowflake are also commonly used, but the result is the same – the ability to hear the ideas expressed, if there are any legitimate ideas, is drowned out by name calling.

Some believe the tactic of name calling is utilized because the individual employing this strategy doesn’t really have a coherent message, or isn’t confident enough in their message to discuss it civilly.  I believe there is some truth to that.  Regardless of which polarized side uses the tactic, we need to demand better.

Most citizens, when this tactic is employed simply tune out.  I would urge more citizens to rather than tune out, that we toughen our personal skin, engage and demand better.  Let us NOT allow the polarized utilizing this tactic be successful, where the good patriotic citizen disengages, but rather may the good patriotic citizen stand up, demand more from the bully – enabling the bully to either hone their debate skills, or pick up their sticks and stones, and go home.

I believe the middle of our country, which is where our Commander-in-Chief, with his 8th grade tweeting style regularly reaches, is up to the debate, and up to any required change we must execute to achieve a more unified, financially stable and sustainable republic.

The tactics described above, which are rampantly being deployed, lead to comedians like Kathy Griffin, plays like “The staging of Julius Caesar” by the New York City Public Theater, where a sitting President is assassinated, or the mass assassination attempt last week of the GOP Congressional Baseball team in Alexandria, VA.

These tactics must stop, or we will continue to see an escalation of violence.  The duty lies with us though, average American’s, to engage and put an end to it.  It won’t stop on its own in the media or on the University Campus.  It will only stop when the middle demands it to stop.

I hope you have a blessed and productive week!

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Contrasting Three Events on Memorial Day – EA May 31, 2017

Posted on 29 May 2017 by Scott Cooper

In my article last week, I applauded Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, for hosting the summit where United States President Donald Trump called on the world to work together to “Drive Out” those who seek death and destruction.  Our Commander in Chief specifically stated that those who adhere to the death and destruction of infidels must be driven out of the mosques throughout the world.  Although President Trump didn’t specifically state it, one should deduce he meant the mosques in the closed nations of the Islamic faith, like Saudi Arabia, from where he was speaking, as well as the thousands of mosques which are being constructed all throughout the Western Hemisphere.  It should be noted that many of the newly constructed mosques throughout the West are on sites of former churches of both the Protestant and Catholic Christian traditions.

Monday morning, I had the privilege of attending the Memorial Day Service in Edgefield, where the names of fallen heroes from Edgefield County, who fought in past wars, were read.  I am so thankful for Michael Washington, Edgefield County’s Veterans Affairs Officer, and all the others who organized this important event.

As I sat listening to the names of the fallen service members, who invested in us with their service and sacrifice in the Armed Forces, I couldn’t stop thinking of the thousands of civilians who are dying annually in the war Commander in Chief Trump was addressing one week prior.  The warfare taking place today most often leads to the death and destruction of civilian innocents and most of their names will never be read in future Memorial Day Services.  Yes, large attacks like September 11th, 2001 we will continue to remember, and read the names of those lost.  But the vast majority of skirmishes in today’s war, taking place on a weekly basis around the globe, will not be memorialized.

Then I reflected on another historic day which coincides with Memorial Day 2017 – the 564th Anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, when the Islamic Ottoman Turks invaded and conquered the cradle of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  On that day over 4,000 citizens were killed and some 30,000 were enslaved or deported. The majority of churches were burned.  Constantinople was renamed to Istanbul.

Finally, I reflected on the demographics of the crowd honoring Edgefield’s heroes and the challenge we have ahead of all of us in educating not only the upcoming generation, but much of the generation currently in leadership about the worldviews which for centuries dictated the prevention and outcome of the wars those we memorialized this week fought in.

The Barna Group, which studies the five dominant faith groups in our republic has found that only roughly 4 % of today’s Millennials have an understanding of the Judeo-Christian worldview upon which Western Civilization was built.  The percentage of Generation X’ers isn’t significantly better.

What encourages me about our time period in history, where our collective knowledge of these conflicting worldviews is so poor, is that we can rapidly improve our knowledge, if we are willing to make the investment.

More on making that investment over the coming weeks.  Here’s wising you a productive week!

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Peace on Earth . . . . . . .

Posted on 26 December 2016 by Scott Cooper

Peace on EarthI watched three programs this weekend which I greatly appreciated, because I learned things I didn’t know which are worth appreciating. One was Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Michelle Obama.  One was the Fox News program Donald Trump: Objectified.  One was Breit Baier’s interview with Charles Krauthammer.  Each program highlighted these individuals for an hour.

Both Obama and Trump have raised accomplished children, who grew up with the tremendous pressure of living in the spotlight in a way 99.9 % of other individuals will never have to navigate. The poise and resilience their children demonstrate is indeed impressive and says a tremendous amount about their parents, which is positive.

Krauthammer is a man whose fierce determination as a very young man enabled him to complete Harvard Medical School while lying on his back in a hospital bed following a freak diving accident resulting in a broken neck.  A feat never accomplished by anyone before.  Krauthammer is a man who has worked for individuals at the highest level of political office on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

As a very young man Trump spent five years leading in many, many categories at the New York Military Academy, graduating in 1964 at the top of his class. Interesting.  Perhaps that is where he garnered so much respect for the military.

Obama has a legitimate concern of our food supply and its connection to healthcare, and attempted to speak out about it in a way not previously done.  Personally, I find it interesting her effort didn’t convey into the healthcare debate more than it did, and I hope it does in the future.

I could list more about these individuals; however, the main thing solidified for me this weekend is that our systems – media, political and educational systems specifically – foster environments where we don’t listen to others very well.  These systems spend more time demeaning and deconstructing people than trying to legitimately listen and understand them.

Also this weekend I thought quite a bit about Christmas 1986, 30 years ago.  That vacation at our family farm 30 years ago was spent reflecting on a year where I had eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner for close to 180 days with students from around the globe.  Literally all my meals at school were eaten at a table of 12 where I was the only American.  For example, the morning of the bombing of Libya on April 15, 1986, following the terrorist attack in Berlin, I was eating breakfast between my two Libyan schoolmates, both of whom had parents in Tripoli, who were unreachable.  I could invest over 500 words on that one breakfast alone! I elaborated on it in April. (linked).

The bottom line for me is we have some serious ideological worldview issues which are struggling for the dominance of our American culture. This struggle ultimately streams into education, media and politics; however we need citizens who can engage in the process thoughtfully, articulately and truthfully without degrading to name calling, which is so prevalent in today’s reality based culture.

As we think this week about “Peace on Earth,” I pray each of us, on both sides of the political aisle, will contemplate how we might get outside of our own echo-chambers and try to understand the human that is on the other side of our ideological divide.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Interview on Fatherhood

Posted on 01 August 2016 by Scott Cooper

As a result of my four-week series on Fatherhood, I was interviewed by Bill Pickle, on American Patriot Radio.  I’d like to share that interview with you, which actually covered a wide range of issues in addition to fatherhood – to include my involvement with High Frontier, and securing our state and nation’s electric grid.

Bill is a fellow South Carolinian, who also served the state of South Carolina in Cleveland last month at the Republican National Convention.  I will be on his show again in the future, discussing other issues, to include our time together in Cleveland, the process involved in serving as a delegate, and how the Republican Party works.  There has been a resurgence of activity within the party – and 2017 is going to be an exciting time, as we think about Precinct Reorganization and supporting our Party Platform and Principles.

The articles on fatherhood, which precipitated the interview can be found by clicking on the links below:

Fatherhood Part One

Fatherhood Part Two

Fatherhood Part Three – Fatherlessness Creates Dependency

Fatherhood Part Four – Fatherhood and Independence

If you have comments about the editorials, please leave them at The Edgefield Advertiser website.  If you appreciate them, please share!

I hope you have a productive week!

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Fatherhood, Part Two!

Posted on 23 June 2016 by Scott Cooper

Cooper IIThis week I continue the theme that most of life’s issues are “non-respecter of person issues.”  In particular, I want to discuss being a dad vs. being a father. This is part-two of a four-part series on Fatherhood.

I believe there is a vast difference between being a dad, and being a father.

There are millions of children growing up in our country today without fathers, but they do have a dad.

Stated differently, the way the human race regenerates itself from one generation to the next is through a man and a woman choosing to engage in sexual activity which creates life.  We can watch almost any sitcom, movie, or music video and see this activity casually taking place.  This activity produces the next generation, upon which the couple may choose to work together to pass their values, goals, desires and dreams to the next generation.  That union obviously does more than simply pro-create; however pro-creating the next generation was the primary purpose of the act.

Several times since I began this column, I have written about my experiences attending an International School where some 90 nationalities were represented with less than 500 pupils.  Having lived with students from Asia, Africa, The Middle East, South America and North America I can assure you that it’s universally true that the proper pressure applied by a loving father, who is seeking the best for not only his next generation, but the generations following the one he is immediately responsible for, can have a tremendous impact on an individual. Stated differently, the absence of having a loving father applying the appropriate pressure that is best applied by a father figure can have a devastating impact on an individual, a family, multiple generations within a family, indeed an entire culture.

I believe we are witnessing in American culture the impact of millions of boys agreeing to the act of becoming dad’s, but lacking the fortitude to become men and take on the role of being fathers.  Sadly, I believe we have allowed government programs exacerbate this trend having a devastating impact on our republic as a whole, and our future. Ultimately, I believe fatherlessness is a national security issue.

I hinted at this in my April 4th column, “Things Preventing America from Becoming Great Again,” when I shared recollections from both my grandfathers, and asked you to consider joining me in prayer for the issue of fatherlessness and work ethic in our nation.

I want to reiterate that request as we come out of this weekend, dedicated to celebrating fatherhood.

This is a non-respecter of person issue.  One’s creed, race, or socio-economic status is irrelevant when the responsibility of engaging in the act of becoming a dad or demonstrating the fortitude required to become a father is considered.

This issue is so important.  Prior to reading part three next week, I hope you join the discussion when part two is posted online later this week.

To Read Fatherhood, Part One – Click Here

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Fatherhood, Part One – EA June 15, 2016

Posted on 17 June 2016 by Scott Cooper

HandsI have the privilege of sitting on a porch my great-grandfather sat on as our republic prepared for WWI. The same porch my grandfather sat on as he lived through the depression and our republic prepared for WWII.  The same porch my father sat on as he worked through the issues of the Cold War.

Today, I sit on that same porch as my generation, and the generation of my sons try to figure out a way to pay off the existing debt and unfunded liabilities our elected leaders have created for us since WWII.

With the crumbling infrastructure we face at the same time as the out of control and mis-prioritized spending – combined with the global insecurity we face, the road ahead can seem daunting.

I am, however encouraged. My son and his entrepreneurial spirit encourages me. His friends who are also entrepreneurs encourage me. His friends, and other young family members who are serving or have served in the armed services, in addition to the countless others who are serving in the armed services, also encourage me. Technology and the ability / opportunity to self-educate also encourages me. The young man I met this past Saturday in Columbia, SC who will be a junior in high school this year, who is organizing conservative groups in high schools all through-out our state encourages me.

I believe the next greatest generation is being assembled – and with the right mentorship from the middle-aged, of which I consider myself a part, and older generation, my father’s generation – I have great hope for our republic.

I also was with some folks this past weekend who were saying, “God is coming back soon,” almost as if we should take our hands off the steering wheel He charged us to steward. To those folks I say – “Let us live as if He is returning tomorrow, but work as if He isn’t returning for a thousand years!”

This is the first part of a four-part series surrounding the issue of fatherhood, which I believe is one of the most pressing issues of our day, and appropriate since this month we celebrate Fatherhood on June 19th.

I do find it interesting I wrote this on Saturday night, the night before the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida.  In this editorial, I referenced both my grandfather and my great-grandfather sitting on the porch thinking through the issues surrounding the World Wars they lived through.  There are some who believe World War III has already begun, we simply have not had our Pearl Harbor moment, yet.

I hope you have a blessed week.

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P.S.  As we reflect on this inter-generational baton race we are in, you may be interested in the article I wrote last week, as we remember the Allied invasion of Normandy.  Click Here to read that!  If you find it interesting, please leave a comment!

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Discouragement – EA May 11, 2016

Posted on 11 May 2016 by Scott Cooper

Road

I want to continue my theme that most of life’s issues are “non-respecter of person issues.

One afternoon this week I travelled down an incomplete road. Indeed, this time three years ago, this road did not even exist – except in my head!

Back then, when it was still just in my head, the road was about 150 feet to the right, down the slight slope. After speaking with someone more knowledgeable than myself, I altered the plan for the road a bit, then we went to work!

As I observe the foliage coming in, honestly I am a bit discouraged, because I am not as far along in the productive use of this land as I would like to be.

I am however encouraged because God has still provided me breath and strength to press on toward the goal. Press on, I will.

I can’t help but think of the millions of people discouraged right now, for one reason or another. It could be health, finances, concern over a loved one, a business, a marriage – or heaven forbid, civil governance!

Whatever discouragement YOU may face right now; I encourage you to press on. God has a perfect road for each of us. Sometimes it moves a little bit from what WE think it should be, and often HIS pace is not our pace. The point is – keep on keeping on!

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

I hope you have a blessed week!

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The Importance of Attiude – EA May 4, 2016

Posted on 04 May 2016 by Scott Cooper

Attitude is Everything

This week I want to continue the theme that the laws of life are “non-respecter of person issues.”  Last week I wrote about the Laws of Wealth Creation and Poverty, which I felt was an appropriate follow up to writing about Tax Day for two weeks, both Tax Day 1986 and Tax Day 2016 and how both of those days, separated by 30 years, remind me of two critical issues facing our republic, National Security and Economics.  It’s funny how the more things change, the more they really stay the same.

It doesn’t matter who you speak with these days, both issues: National Security and Economics, bring a lot of emotions to the conversation.  Some emotions consist of fear, trepidation, anger and bitterness.  I also mentioned how we have leaders who accentuate covetousness and greed to obtain followers – attitudes which breed discontent as well as other negative emotions and actions.

I believe we are reaching critical mass in our republic on both of these issues. In both of the Tax Day messages I stated that when addressing the problems, we need to be focused on facts, not emotions.

“Facts are stubborn things.” John Adams

However, when it comes to emotions, I believe the most important emotion any individual can have when addressing these, or any other issue is that of attitude.  With the right attitude, any problem or challenge can be overcome.  With a bad attitude, chances are great that things will not only not get better, they will progressively get worse.

One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell.  I am going to share some bullet points from his small book Attitude 101:

  1. Attitudes have the power to lift up, or tear down a team.
  2. An attitude compounds when exposed to others.
  3. Bad attitudes compound faster than good ones.
  4. Attitudes are subjective, so Identifying a wrong one can be difficult.
  5. Rotten attitudes, left alone, ruin everything.

The question is, if we find ourselves with a rotten attitude, can we change it?  Here are some additional points from Mr. Maxwell:

  1. Choice 1: Evaluate Your Present Attitude
  2. Choice 2: Realize That Faith Is Stronger Than Fear
  3. Choice 3: Write A Statement of Purpose
  4. Choice 4: Have The Desire to Change
  5. Choice 5: Live One Day at A Time
  6. Choice 6: Change Your Thought Patterns
  7. Choice 7: Develop Good Habits
  8. Choice 8: Continually Choose to Have a Right Attitude.

When it comes to attitude, I am pro-choice.  We each get to choose the emotion that will lift ourselves up, or drag us, and others down.  It is a non-respecter of person issue.  Attending International School in Switzerland, I saw both good and bad attitudes in each of the 90 + nationalities represented at the school.

What are you going to choose?

I hope you have a blessed week!

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