The Truth About Frogs

I remember how shocked I was to learn that if you put a frog in a pan of cold water and slowly  heated   up the frog will not stay in the pan that will jump out when the water becomes uncomfortable. I was shocked because for most of my life I’ve been using that analogy about  If you haven’t heard  it, it is an analogy that relates to people becoming numb or in different to the situation. The analogy being a   frog when placed in  cold water that is gradually  heated will not perceive  the gradual temperature increase and allow himself to be boiled just because he had become desensitized to the situation he was in and the need for action.

This analogy  is typically used in situations where people have become numb to the situation around them when an outside observer would see in an instant that  thier situation  was a dire or morally reprehensible or just foolish/absurd.

So, even though the frog analogy doesn’t work with frogs it may still be applicable to our culture.  Historically, there are numerous examples of when cultures became numb to the things that were going on around them. In the 1800s, there was  heinous child labor going on whose atrocities were brought into the cultural limelight by Jonathan Swift. Women’s suffrage, slavery, civil rights, gay rights, abortion, the plight of Africans,  emasculation  of our culture, nudity and sexual promiscuity in our culture, to name a few.

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David and Nathan Discuss the Plight of the Oubon

David and Nathan were lifelong good friends and got together frequently to discuss what was going on in their lives. During this meeting, Nathan just returned from a “learning“ vacation that toured some of the most remote islands of the South Pacific that gave the vacationers an opportunity to see and learn about some of the most remote and isolated cultures on the earth. Nathan spoke quickly about most of the cultures he visited but paused to discuss one that he found particularly unique.

As he began to speak, Nathan’s voice quivered a bit and David could see that Nathan was deeply moved by what he was about to say. This tribe was called the Uostas and Nathan began to describe some of their customs.

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What I Learned from Don Kirkpatrick

I was the guest of one of my clients at their annual user’s conference. It was a big time conference with many luminaries on the agenda. CLOs of Major Corporations like Xerox and Mayo Clinic. One was Don Kirkpatrick, whom I had never met or heard speak prior to this conference. For those of you who are new to training or perhaps have just woken up from a long nap, Don is the Godfather of Learning Evaluation. No-one is quoted more or expanded on in greater frequency than Don.

As we all do, I begin to imagine what Don was like prior to seeing him do his presentation. I imagined a reserved academic who would be willing to discuss the 4 levels all day with egotistical fervor, ready to defend even the slightest academic criticism of his work. I thought he would be a well-groomed, bearded man in a tweed sport coat. Perhaps he smoked a pipe. He would definitely be a person who wielded a merciless intellectual hammer against those who dared step into the academic and ideological ring with him.

In other words, he was probably not a nice person. Continue reading

The Life and Times of Virtual Brenda

When you work in an industry long enough, you get the feeling you’ve gained great wisdom and have seen pretty much every situation there is to see. Well, as you might guess, I felt like I had reached that pinnacle. At least until I received a call from one of our customers who ask me if I could stop by and discuss a project they were evaluating.

When I arrived, we sat down in a conference room and began to review an e-learning curriculum that had been developed and expanded over the last several years. The training was well done and designed around a local talent who played the role of Brenda in the training courses. Brenda was the sage person of wisdom who put the training in context and provided a consistent presence across the fairly large curriculum. So, the training was very good, Brenda was professional and provided the insight and continuity that were critically needed, and it seemed all was well. I began to wonder why I was sitting there.

Well, the answer to my question came shortly.
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Becoming Catholic

I wanted to become a Catholic for as long as I could remember which lately seems to be about 10 minutes. But in this particular situation, it was about 10 years. One morning, I was sitting with my freshman son in the First Friday Father & Son Mass at Regis High School. I think we were somewhere in the middle of the Homily when I heard a voice came that was as clear as a voice across a kitchen table. It told me to become a Catholic. It wasn’t exactly like “the voice” in the movie “Field of Dreams” but clearly a voice I should listen to.

The next Monday I was on the phone to the office at Our Lady of Loreto finding out what I would need to convert. I came into the office and had two long interviews. One with Shirley McDermott and one with Father Ed. We discussed my faith, my background as a Lutheran, my role as a Deacon in my current protestant Church, and why I wanted to be a Catholic. Continue reading