Your Legal Rights and Interests in a Medical Malpractice Case

If you have suffered injuries as the result of medical malpractice, you need to learn more about your legal rights and interests. The reality is that medical malpractice represents one of the most complicated areas of the law in Pennsylvania and across the United States. By understanding your legal sights, you are in the best position to fully protect your interests when you have been injured because of medical negligence.

Statute of Limitations

As you contemplate what you will do to assert your legal rights, you need to understand the mechanics of the Pennsylvania statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that sets a specific timeframe within which you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

According to the statute, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania within two years of the incident that gave rise to your injuries. If you miss the deadline, you likely will forever be precluded from pursuing a lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses.

Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Case

The only real way in which you can garner any sense of justice in a medical malpractice case is by obtaining fair and appropriate compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages. The facts and circumstances surrounding the matter that gave rise to medical malpractice, together with your actual injuries, dictate the nature and extend of compensation you can seek in your case.

With that noted, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries, losses, and damages that include medical bills and expenses as well as pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to compensation for emotional distress and mental anguish. You may seek compensation for lost wages and any permanent disability you sustained.

In addition to compensation for your existing or accrued losses, you may be entitled to financial recovery of losses you reasonably can expect to face in the future. For example, you may not be able to return to work any time soon. You may require ongoing medical care. You may endure pain indefinitely. These all represent the types of losses you reasonably can be expected to encounter in the future. In such a situation, you can pursue a claim for compensation for these future losses.

Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, you may be entitled to what are known as punitive damages in a lawsuit. Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, can be awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit when the conduct of the party causing the injuries is deemed to be particularly reckless or egregious.

The Right to Legal Counsel

When you have been injured because of medical malpractice, you have the right to seek legal representation. Because of the complexity of a medical malpractice case, you likely are best served hiring a lawyer.

The first step to engage an attorney is arranging an initial consultation. Through an initial consultation, you will obtain an evaluation of your case. In addition, you will be able to get answers to your important questions. As a matter of general practice, you do not pay a fee for an initial consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer.


My Husband Did Not Want Kids

When my ex and I got married right out of college, we thought that we were doing the right thing. We had been dating for two years, and we waited until we graduated to tie the knot. We were married for nearly a year when I found out I was pregnant. I was thrilled, but he was not so happy. He wanted to get established in his new job first. He later told me that he didn’t even want kids, which completely floored me. I decided to contact a Austin divorce lawyer when our daughter was a year old, because I knew that our relationship could not be salvaged.

I thought that as my pregnancy advanced, things would change. I then thought that when our daughter was born, he would melt at the sight of her. He was at the hospital with me, but he wouldn’t even hold her. Continue reading “My Husband Did Not Want Kids”

I Needed a Solicitor on My Side

When I fell down in a store because of water that had pooled at the end of one of the coolers, I knew that I was in for a long journey because of how badly I was hurt. I broke not only my leg and arm, but I also injured my back. I thought the hard part was just going to be recovering physically, but I ended up responding to a sign I saw that read ‘personal injury solicitors in Dublin call 015240606 now for consultation‘ because of problems I was having with the store where I was injured.

They did agree that it was their fault, but they only wanted to cover my medical expenses. Continue reading “I Needed a Solicitor on My Side”

Invention of the Cash Register

A common sound in any store is that of the till as it rings meaning another sale has been made. These registers have been around for about 100 years yet not many people know exactly where and by whom it was invented. The invention of the cash register was one of the little steps that helped build industrial giants all across the globe. You can’t go into a single store now that doesn’t have at least one register, some of the big stores may have up to 25 registers to provide for the customers.

The invention of the cash register took place back in the 1800s in the United States following the American Civil War. A man by the name of James Ritty opened up a saloon in Dayton, Ohio. One day he noticed a small contraption that counted the times the wheel went around on a steam boat and thought it would be fascinated to create a machine that added up the totals of money for his business. The reasoning behind the concept of a register was to keep track of the sale to make sure that employees weren’t cheating the employer out of any money.

James Ritty went home to Dayton, Ohio and joined up with his brother John Ritty who was a skilled mechanic. They tried a few different prototypes and finally on the third try they got the machine that they wanted where you could push a button and it stood for a certain amount of money. Basically the first cash register was just an adding machine. In 1879 they patented the machine as “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier.”

The Ritty’s then decided to open up a factory to start the production of their new “cashiers.” It wasn’t long after that James Ritty couldn’t handle running two businesses at the same time so he sold off the factory to a group of investors. These investors become stock holders and in 1889 the majority stock holder, John Patterson, changed the name of the company to the National Cash Register Company and the name has stuck ever since.

James Ritty may not be as well known as Thomas Edison or Eli Whitney but his invention of the cash register has made just as much of an impact on societies all around the world. The register is a necessity to life and this world would probably be in much more disorganization if it wasn’t for the invention of the cash register.

Olympias – The Mother of Alexander the Great

Olympias was born c.371 BC in the Molossian kingdom of Epirus on the borders of modern day Albania. She was about fourteen years old when she met king Philip of Macedon at a mystery cult festival in Samothrace. It is said that Philip immediately fell in love with her, however this is probably an over romantic version of reality.

Philip had been a very shrewd and successful ruler who had united the various tribes of Macedon into a recognizable kingdom. He had led his kingdom to victories against the other Greeks, most notably Thebes, Sparta and Athens. He had already begun an effective empire that filled the vacuum left after the thirty years of Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens in the 5th Century BC. After Sparta defeated Athens, both city states seemed to have exhausted themselves to the point that the Macedonians were able to move across Greece incorporating the city states under Macedonian authority.

Philip's political awareness led him to make a number of political marriages. The Macedonian kings practiced polygamy, therefore Olympias was not the only wife of Philip, though she was his only queen. Philip married seven times, the order of the interviews were as follows: Phila, Audata, Philinna, Olympias, Nikesipolis, Meda and finally Cleopatra in 337 BC. It is remarkable that Olympia managed to become queen, since Philip had older marriages which it might be reasonable to suggest would have been more established. Olympias must have made some impression on Philip to achieve the status of queen.

Olympias became pregnant with Alexander soon after she married and he was born in 356 BC. She had another child, Cleopatra later. She was an avid worshiper of the god Dionysus and ancient writers suggest that she had an interest in using snakes in the worship of her favorite god. The writer Plutarch says that one time Philip saw her sleep with a snake in her bed and after this time he became distant from his wife. Plutarch says that Philip then took other wives which incited jealousy in Olympias. The final breaking point came when Attalus one of Philip's men made a toast to Philip at his wedding fever to Attalus' neice Cleopatra saying that they should all pray that Cleopatra produces a legal successor to the throne. Alexander showed his rage and thread a cup at Attalus. Philip sided with Attalus. Alexander and Olympias left Macedon for Epirus.

Olympias did not help such incidents and in some ways added fuel to the fire. Her intense and dangerous character meant that in a superstitious time, she could make herself seem more in league with the gods than with mortals. She said to have told Alexander that he was the son of Zeus, not Philip and Alexander modeled himself on the hero Achilles who himself had a goddess mother.

Olympias understood how power worked during the 4th century BC. This was a time when men dominated politics and where women gained power through the men around them. Aspasia, the wife of Pericles the 5th century Athenian politician had gained authority through her husband (and may have written some of his speeches) and centuries later the younger Agrippina would try to gain power (disastrously for her) through Nero her son.

Olympias is said to have poisoned Arrhidaeus the son of another wife. This son was older than Alexander and therefore in line for the throne before Alexander. Arrhidaeus survived the poisoned, however he was brain damaged and incapable of succeeding to power. Cleopatra, the youngest wife fulfilled Attalus' wish for a son and heir to Philip and she bore a son. Plutarch says that shortly after Philip's latest son had been born, he was assassinated by Pausanias a disgruntled Macedonian. Plutarch suggests that Olympias used Pausanias to assassinate Philip in revenge for his marriage to Cleopatra. More likely it was a joint venture between Olympias and Alexander to allow Alexander to take power before his rival became old enough to fight his own corner. As soon as Philip was removed Alexander became king of Macedon aged twenty. Olympias had Cleopatra and her young son put to death.

Alexander spent most of his reign away on campaign spreading his empire east toward India. Olympias remained in contact with Alexander, though she had no political influence. This changed when her brother died and she became the regent of Epirus in 330 BC. Alexander died in 323 BC and the Macedonian kingdom was ruled by a regency. This situation was unstable with the regency passing between the former generals of Alexander and finally resulting in a civil war.

Olympias became involved in this war in an attempt to secure power for her grandson Alexander IV. She backed Polypercon as regent of Macedon, however Cassander the son of a previous regent cooked Polypercon for power and finally emerged victorious. Olympias had killed many of Cassander's supporters in a bid to weaken him. When he came to power Olympias surrendered to his forces. He promised her safety. As soon as he could, he charged her with the murderers she had carried out on his allies. Olympias was herself executed by Cassander in 316 BC.

Olympias lived with dangerous people and was herself a dangerous woman. Her single minded ruthlessness enabled Alexander to become one of the most successful leaders and empire builders in history. It also led to her own execution.

The Fantasticks: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

In 2008, six years after the closing of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s Off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks, the beloved musical returned to New York City. Forty-two years, it seems, was not a long enough run after all for this record breaker, and furthermore, no one appeared unhappy with the decision.

When in the early 1960s the musical first came to fruition, the beat generation saw itself in the play’s tension of opposites–the ideology of the young versus the ideology of the over-30s–and the dissonance caused by the current political unrest of that time. The play reached out to the generational needs of the ’60s and continued even beyond. But today in 2012 we are undergoing a different kind of turbulance and much has changed since The Fantasticks was written. So why has this musical endured? Why can’t we get enough of its lines and lyrics? What is our connection? Why are we so in love with this play?

A Familiar Plot

The answer may lie in the underlying archetypal plot of the script. Act I opens in the sweet innocence of moonlight; Act II opens in the harsh reality of day. The boy Matt and the girl Luisa thrive on their illusions in the first act but encounter a painful awakening in the second. El Gallo, “the rooster” and professional abductor hired by Hucklebee, ushers in the light of day, literally but also symbolically. He has come to lead Matt and Luisa on separate journeys in which they will leave their innocence behind and become initiates into the world of experience.

In Moonlight

Matt’s and Luisa’s fathers construct a make believe feud and build a wall between their houses in order to encourage their children to fall in love, relying on the old temptation of the forbidden to do the job. It works, and when the two lovers meet in secret, in moonlight of course, they pledge their love to each other. To create the illusion of settling the feud, Matt’s father Hucklebee engages El Gallo to stage the abduction of Luisa, allowing his son Matt to rescue her heroically and end the ruse. Luisa’s father Bellomy agrees, but a happy ending in moonlight cannot be real.

In Daylight

“Their moon was cardboard,” El Gallo tells us. In the daylight, life takes on a less subtle tone and reality casts a harsh glare. All four sing, “What at night seems oh, so scenic may be cynic much too soon.” Suddenly dissatisfied, the boy and girl part ways to find a solution to their restlessness. Matt ventures off to drink and gamble and find a shining world full of adventure while Luisa longs to be kissed upon the eyes by El Gallo who will take her on a journey to see the world, dancing forever and forever. To do so, she must put up a mask to prevent her from seeing the truth. When Luisa refuses to accept this world as only an illusion, the trickery of smoke and mirrors, El Gallo exacts the usual price for self-deception: she must give up what is most valuable to her, in this case the necklace that belonged to her mother. Sacrifices rendered, Luisa eventually meets Matt, a kind of Prodigal Son, on the road back home, and he, too, admits he has been foolish. The girl and the boy have been deeply hurt but they have also seen the light of wisdom through their losses. They sing, “All my wildest dreams multiplied by two… they were you.” The boy and girl return home from their journey to find their dreams had already been fulfilled from the start. With this new consciousness, it begins to snow, a symbol of new beginnings, new life.

The Allegory of the Cave

If the plot sounds familiar, it should. It was borrowed from the fifth century B.C. allegory of the cave, Book VII of Plato’s Republic. Plato explains it to his student:

Human beings are chained from birth inside a cave illuminated only by a fire burning near the entrance and casting shadows on the back wall, which the prisoners believe to be the only reality they have ever known. Once released, they reluctantly leave the comfort of their illusions. They are led out by a figure who teaches them about the world outside the cave, dragging them up a steep hill so that, having been prepared little by little to adjust their eyes to increasing sources of light, they may finally look directly at the sun.

Life/Death/Rebirth… Again

The allegorical character of El Gallo in the play isn’t human at all but a symbol of the price of our own hamartia, the decisions we have made, not knowing at the time through ignorance or perhaps a lack of consciousness that they were mistakes. As Plato so wisely instructs, making errors in judgment is often the only way we will grow up and face the real world, on whatever level that may be. This life/death/rebirth motif reminds us again and again of the hero’s journey, the cycle of the seasons in which Persephone emerges from Hades in the spring to bring new life to the land, and the healing of wounds in the five stages of romance that gives hope to all of our relationships. The plot isn’t new–some say it is genetically encoded in us–yet we will forever be intrigued and even surprised by its familiarity.

Perhaps we love The Fantasticks because, in our own naively narcissistic way, we recognize ourselves in the characters’ every joy, their every mistake, and in the end their humble gratitude for second chances. Every time we watch the play or even listen to its delightful score, we are reminded of where we have been but also of where we are going. It is not surprising that Homer expressed these very thoughts centuries ago: “Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.” El Gallo, too, opens and closes the play with the lyrics, ” Deep in December it’s nice to remember… “

The Film

For the less fortunate who have never seen a stage performance of The Fantasticks, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt wrote the screenplay as well, which was released in 1995. Only a slight departure from the play with a more detailed and versatile setting, the film requires less imagination but does include all but one of the same musical numbers and some additional lines, although the poetic quality has not been retained. In the film, El Gallo is the master of a carnival, the darkened tent which parallels Plato’s cave quite well. What the screenwriters do accomplish, to their credit, is a heightened version of the symbolism. For example, when Matt and Luisa sing “Soon It’s Gonna Rain,” they are sitting under a tree while high in its branches above them, El Gallo stands, orchestrating everything from sound effects and a choir to the magical fairy dust he sprinkles on the lovers below. The tree is El Gallo’s life, so it is appropriate that, when he must lead Luisa out the allegorical cave in Act II, the lessons he teaches her begin when she climbs up and sits beside him in this very same tree. Because she wants the exciting, slightly dangerous life she thinks he has, she asks him, there in the tree, to take her with him and dance forever and ever.

For Students

Symbolism abounds throughout the film in the tree, the eyelid kiss, the necklace, the two houses and the wall between them, the old Romeo and Juliet film flickering on the wall of the dark carnival tent, the road leading to the carnival and home again, the mask, the end of smoke and mirrors magic, and the dances of life and illusion performed throughout. Students as young as middle school age who watch this film have an opportunity to learn about the allegory of the cave and the myriad of archetypal symbols that pervade the screenplay in a way that no other piece of literature can introduce quite so effectively. Bawdy carnival humor in one short scene, however, should be omitted for its lack of propriety as well as its pointless contribution to the play. Nevertheless, students who view this film will never watch another one again without noticing the secret language of symbolism, and once symbolism communicates to students in film, their understanding of archetypal literature is one step away.

For more information about The Fantasticks, see the following:

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Boston: Back Bay, Little, Brown and Co., 1969.

Jones, Tom and Harvey Schmidt, The Fantasticks. New York: Applause, 1964.

Plato. “The Republic II.” Trans. Benjamin Jowett. The Portable Plato. Ed. Scott Buchanan. New York: Penguin, 1977, 327-28.

O’Connor, Susan. Dance of Language. Bloomington, IN, 2008.

Diamond Symbolism and Mythology

Nowadays, we all know a diamond engagement ring is the most important jewelry purchase in a man's life and the most significant to the woman who receives it. Diamond is the birthstone of people born in the month of April and is also used as the symbol of a sixty-year anniversary, such as a Diamond Jubliee.

However, the symbolism of diamonds goes beyond romance. Through centuries diamonds have been a symbol of love, excellence and purification. Diamond, because of its remarkable hardness and clarity, also still reigns supreme in its symbolism of power, strength, brilliance and unparallel beauty. Diamonds are enchanting treasures that have fascinated mankind through the centuries. Many regarded them as magical. Not only were they rare and beautiful, no tool could cut them and even the fiercest fire would leave the diamonds unscathed.

Diamonds have been used symbolically because of their extra physical properties. It was said that the Greeks believed diamonds were tears of the gods. Romans believed they were splinters of fallen stars. In Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle), diamonds are an important symbol and the Diamond Sutra is one of the most popular texts.

In ancient India, diamonds were not cut for fear that they would lose its magical properties. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that diamonds would grow darker in the face of guilt and shine brightly for the innocent. Another belief is that in the presence of poison, diamond would also change color. The rainbow colors of the prism were thought to give one magical power over Evil Eyes.

According to occultist myths, it was believed that diamonds possess several supernatural powers, eg a diamond's hardiness can only be broken by smearing it with fresh goat's blood. Or a diamond gives victory to he who carries it bound on his left arm, no matter the number of enemies.

It was also believed to have been used as a healing stone. Such as a way of detecting and detoxifying poison, opening spirituality channels and assisting calming creatures.

Today, diamonds are used to symbolize eternity and love. The first diamond engagement ring can be traced to the XV century, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave the first diamond ring engagement to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. At that time, the diamond was used in its natural crystalline structure. The octahedral or eight-sided formation, like 2 pyramid joined at the base, was mounted with the lower pyramid completely hidden in the ring setting and the upper half rising out of it. Light would be reflected from all four sides of this exposed upper point. The structure of this diamond mirrors the symbolism of the Egyptian pyramids. The union in 1477 was celebrated by the exchange of a diamond betrothal ring which would have been an early example and sometimes the first royal one.

Other early example of betrothal jewels incorporating diamonds include the Bridal Crown of Blanche (ca. 1370-80) and the Heftlein brooch of Vienna (ca. 1430-40), a pictorial piece depicting a wedding couple. In the 19th century, Napoleon cave his wife Marie Louise an exquisite diamond necklace on the birth of their son. Perhaps the most published romantic diamond gifts in modern times have been the jewels given by Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor. These include a 33 carat diamond worth over $ 9 million and the pear-shaped 69 carat Taylor-Burton diamond.

The Vindication of Harold Norman

Harold Norman was only twenty six years old on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was shot. The young African-American was an amiable fellow with a ready smile. An order-filler for the Texas School Book Depository, Harold routinely shared a myriad of jokes with fellow employees to help the day go by.

As JFK’s motorcade was scheduled to approach the Depository, located at the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets, Harold was joined by co-workers James “Junior” Jarman and Bonnie Ray Williams, all of whom planned on viewing the passing procession from open fifth-floor windows at the southeast corner of the building. In a crouched position, Harold stationed himself at the corner window, while Williams and Jarman knelt at the windows immediately right of him. It was the lunch hour and the three men had the choice of either standing with other employees who had congregated downstairs at the Depository’s main entrance, or having the entire upper floor to themselves. The latter option was a way to avoid the crowds below and, as JFK’s driver would be required to make a sharp turn from Houston to Elm Street beneath them, the commanding, bird’s-eye view each anticipated having of President and Mrs. Kennedy seemed ideal.

The motorcade finally reached Dealey Plaza. Sure enough, Harold, Bonnie Ray, and Junior were exhilarated with the panoramic sight of the handsome JFK and Jackie seated in an open blue Lincoln Continental, smiling and waving to the crowds at curbside.

“The weather,” Harold recalled decades later, “was picture-perfect; and I was surprised at how sandy-colored President Kennedy’s hair was.”

The presidential limousine had no sooner negotiated a slow turn onto Elm Street when, suddenly, three shots rang out!

The Texas School Book Depository had been built as a warehouse in 1901. The ribs in its antiquated wooden floors were wide enough in some areas to detect conversations from co-workers on stories above and below.

The first report was loud – too loud — followed closely by a second burst, then a brief delay, and finally a third explosion, all approximately ten seconds in duration. The windows trembled with the reverberations. Stunned, Harold was certain someone was shooting directly above him. The upper floors of the building shook as motes of white powdery-like dust descended upon Bonnie Ray’s head. What the three men heard overhead was unmistakable. Gunfire! –accompanied by the click-click sounds of a rifle’s bolt action. Ejected shell hulls were heard bouncing on the floor above with a ping. To Harold, who was experienced at firing a rifle, the ear-splitting resonance briefly reminded him of a segment from the popular ABC-TV television series “Combat!” He excitedly pointed upward and exclaimed, “Listen!” Bonnie Ray gasped, “No bullshit!” “I can hear the shells being ejected!” Harold urgently shouted.

The trio’s senses fired on all cylinders; their pulses, and minds, racing. What villain is on the sixth floor? Why would he want to harm President Kennedy? This can’t be happening! Harold, Junior, and Bonnie Ray, all open-mouthed at the unfolding drama, had little idea that the assassin taking beads on the nation’s president was one of the Depository’s newest employees.

With blaring sirens, screams, and utter confusion erupting in the streets below, the men hoped President Kennedy wasn’t wounded. They darted to windows on the west side of the floor in an attempt to catch a glimpse of President Kennedy’s vehicle, but the limo had already sped away from Dealey Plaza. Glancing at one another, and realizing full- well the significance of their frightening experience, Harold and Junior sprinted down to the building’s main entrance in search of the nearest policeman. The first cop they approached, Officer W. E. Barnett, was already in conversation with Howard Brennan, a construction worker who became the most important eyewitness in the plaza, having watched in horror as Lee Harvey Oswald had taken deliberate aim and fired the final shot that terminated the life of America’s thirty-fifth president. As Harold and Junior approached, Brennan recognized both as the men he observed situated in the fifth-floor windows beneath the assassin.

Harold was categorically the closest person to Oswald during the assassination sequence, merely several feet away to be exact. He was the key ear-witness to the crime, while Howard Brennan would prove the most decisive eyewitness. Few know that these men had met only minutes after Kennedy’s murder had taken place, and while several spectators in the plaza mistakenly ran in the direction of a grassy incline and railroad overpass, Norman and Brennan both pointed Officer Barnett in the accurate direction of the sniper’s nest.

On September 17, 1994, nearly thirty-one years following the tragic events in Dealey Plaza, Harold Norman passed away at Dallas’s Baylor Medical Center. He died without fanfare, his modest Dallas Morning News obituary not once mentioning the gentleman’s innocent, yet noteworthy bond to John Kennedy’s death three decades prior.

Equally unsettling is the fact that, although Harold and his fifth-floor co-workers were interviewed by Warren Commission investigators in March 1964, William Manchester’s book, The Death of a President, failed to mention them in its text or index. Manchester was a celebrated author whose 1967 work is today recognized as one of the foremost and authoritative contemporary narratives of the assassination. Why the three young African-Americans, whose testimonies were vitally essential to the most shocking historical event of the latter half of the twentieth century, were omitted, is mind-boggling!

Had today’s influx of internet and cable mass media existed in 1963, Harold Norman would not have been neglected, becoming a frequent guest for interviewers desirous of an honest recounting his harrowing experience and historical perspective. Instead, the truth was overshadowed as the American people became enamored with conspiracy theories and fictionalized docudramas promoted by a cottage industry of opportunists – some sincere – others blatant liars for profit. And while several among the latter emboldened Harold to revise his story in an attempt to suit their multi-assassin agendas, he never deviated from the truth. Thankfully, great advances in modern-day forensic computer technology have all but obliterated the ridiculous conspiratorial balderdash, thereby justifying the unfeigned ear-witness and eye-witness testimonies of Harold Normal and Howard Brennan, respectively.

“President Kennedy was a special leader,” Harold said, his voice choking with emotion only weeks before his death. “He made us feel good about ourselves.”

For anyone old enough to remember the sensation of shock, tears, and anger upon receiving the news that JFK had been shot, the moment is frozen in time. And as America moves closer to the fiftieth anniversary of this inspiring and beloved president’s senseless loss, we should also recognize Harold Norman, a good man whose traumatic proximity to the most nightmarish of historic events was, for him, especially sorrowful.

Do You Deserve To Be A Leader?

Do you have what it takes to be a leader? Do you possess the personal integrity, vision, planning, strength, and commitment that is a prerequisite for truly effective leadership? Many people believe they should be leaders, but are unwilling to do what is necessary, including undergo training and education, commit the time, energy and sacrifices that differentiates the few great leaders from the multitude that merely ascend to positions of leadership.

1. Integrity cannot be taught, but must be innate. Too many people are either afraid of exposing themselves either to ridicule or criticism by opening themselves up honestly, or simply prefer to “spin” or distort the facts to place themselves in the best light. A true leader cannot pick and choose his moments to have integrity, because personal integrity is truly an “all or none” scenario. Once a leader abandons his integrity even once, he surrenders his manifest to his constituents. Many in leadership have discovered that once they lose the trust of their followers, it can almost never be fully regained. A leader with integrity does not consider the political ramifications or popularity as motivating factors, but is rather guided by his belief in what is best for his organization. Obviously, no one is correct all the time, but one can have integrity all the time. Someone with integrity cannot sell out his beliefs for any reason. There is never a justification for a leader to be deceitful!

2. Do you have a vision for the organization that guides and motivates you towards action? In my over three decades of working with various leaders, I always ask them what their vision is, and what they wish to accomplish, and what their primary motivation for wanting to be a leader might be. I specifically ask them why they feel they are uniquely qualified to be a leader? Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, I receive simply rhetoric as the response, with things like “growing the organization,” “change,” “take it to the next step,” etc., stated, rather than non- rhetorical, sincere, and responsive answers. A leader’s vision must be specific and an effective leader should be able to explain his vision in the length of a sound- byte. Vision is a combination of what motivates someone to care, what (in actual terms) they feel the challenges that need addressing are and why, and what specifically they would do to bring about those changes, and what they “visualize” the organization as they would like to see it in the short term (under three years), intermediate term (three to seven years), and longer term (over seven years).

3. Do you have a plan? Do you know how to go about planning? Does your plan include both an Action Plan with responsibility table, as well as a time line?

4. Do you have the inner strength to be a leader? Effective leaders must be thick- skinned, and be able to accept criticism. They must have the inner fortitude to act, with the self- confidence to believe they have the ability and knowledge to be decisive. They must be more concerned with doing what’s right than simply appeasing others by doing what may be most popular.

5. Are you willing to commit to this position? Effective leadership almost always takes more time and effort, and imposes more of a toll, than most individuals anticipate. Will you make your duties in this position a priority for your term of office? The reason that volunteer leadership positions have finite terms is so an effective leader could specifically commit for that specific time span.

The question that most leaders are asked is if they would like to be a leader, and are they willing to serve. The question that unfortunately is not asked often enough is does the person deserve to be a leader!