Born: January 27, 1944, I lived my first 18 months in Elk Point, S.D. with relatives who loved and cherished me. At the end of the war, my parents (total strangers) took me away to Sioux Falls, and a childhood of frustration and the feeling that I did not belong. Elementary school was boring (ADD?) and reading was difficult. (I still read at the same speed as I read aloud.) My parents (both children of farms, with eighth grade educations) were well-meaning, but did not know the importance of validation and encouragement. I often looked up at the S.D. State Penitentiary that overlooked our neighborhood, wondering if it might be an omen. (Fortunately, I was later able to forgive my parents as well as myself for our shortcomings.)
After being honorably discharged -with service in Vietnam and Germany- from the US Army in 1969 (less than one month after my youngest brother was killed on the highway), I decided to settle in Washington, D.C. At Federal City College (later, UDC) I took numerous art courses, but did not fare well in courses that required much reading. I dropped out, became enamored with the anti-war movement, and was part of the fledgling Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I messed around with the usual "sex, drugs and rock and roll" of the era.
In 1972, while living in a "commune," I met my present wife of more than 35 years at a poetry group. She has mild cerebral palsy, and does walk, although doctors who examined her as an infant thought she would not be able. She inspires me daily. (Although, if you tell her I said so, I will be forced to deny it.) She is featured in the book, "Chronicles of courage :very special artists" by George Plimpton.
Early in our relationship, we were introduced to Re-evaluation Counseling, which gave us an understanding of the true nature of humans, and how they fall into destructive behavior patterns, and the process of healing from the hurts that created the patterns. It has helped us both to survive the challenges of our sometimes rocky relationship. It also helped me get control of smoking and drugs, both of which I left behind over thirty years ago.
Meanwhile, we have raised a daughter who now teaches third grade, is married, and has a daughter of her own.
Sometime near the tenth anniversary of my brother's death, I decided that I wanted to dedicate myself to making a difference for highway safety. It was certainly not possible to study to become a traffic engineer, but, if I spent some time, driving for a living, I thought that I might be able to gain insight into traffic unsafety, then find a way to apply that knowledge. Now, after thirty years of driving/observation, and some clumsy efforts and false starts, I feel that I have finally reached a point at which, with help, I may be able to make that difference.
Saving lives on the road, empowering us to make cars + roads safer, spreading kindness, forgiveness and cooperation - elements needed for world peace, starting with "road peace" displacing road rage.
Think globally (world peace); act locally ("road peace" = driving with kindness and forgiveness, stubbornly setting the safe example). As we alter attitudes toward each other on the road, these new attitudes can spread into other areas of our lives, building new social norms that can be the foundation for world peace.
Second version: (Which works better for you?)
As humans, we must evolve into more caring, thoughtful, patient, forgiving and loving beings in order to create "World Peace." Such a huge undertaking will be more manageable in smaller pieces. Why not start by paying attention to how we treat each other on the road? It is a place where people tend to notice each others' actions. By setting the best example we can, we will, with time, begin to create "Road Peace." After developing the habit of treating others kindly on the road, we may find ourselves doing so in other places as well. Then, we will be on the road to World Peace.
"Road peace" - thoughtfulness, kindness and forgiveness as the new social mores. How does a grass roots traffic safety activist (not incorporated) find financial sponsorship?
teaching what I know. Reaching others with understanding and empathy. Sharing how the true (good) nature of humans can be thwarted by emotional distress. Finding the fun in any job. short poetry,humor
In spite of being raised in a family where encouragement and validation were unheard of, I can boast of winning a prize in high school for my poetry, being praised by an art teacher as the most imaginative person he had known, and while in high school chorus, appeared in two plays, concurrently ( the lead in a school production of "Joe's Girl" and as a gambler/lookout in the Sioux Falls Playhouse production of "Guys and Dolls") In 1962, as a senior, did volunteer work on George McGovern's first US Senate election. This led, two years later, to working at the Democrat state HQ.
Years later, I settled in D.C. where I was one of a small group of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. My "hippy years" had begun, and I worked with a food co-op, attended co-op conferences, worked with an alternative weekly paper called, "The Daily Rag," running the paper recycling project.
While I never cared for alcohol, quitting tobacco and recreational drugs was a challenge. Co-counseling helped
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