August 2010 Archives

Erica Ann Longie

Yesterday was a sad day.  My granddaughter and namesake, Erica Ann Longie moved out of my home.  I loaded up her, her boyfriend, their baby daughter and all their stuff into my Suburban and drove them to Minot, ND where he (the boyfriend) plans to attend ND Job Corps. 

I knew I was going to feel somewhat sad when it came time to leave her in Minot, but I wasn't expecting the flood of emotions that went through me as I gave her a hug and said good by. I think my tears embarrassed her and make her feel bad because she said, "I'll be back papa" and quickly turned away.

I don't know why I became so emotional. Actually, I sort of looked forward to her and her boyfriend moving out. Not only it gave me my space back and an old bachelor like me needs my space.  And I knew as long as they lived with me their lives would remain stagnant. So in a way I was relieved to see them go.

Where did all my emotion come from? Maybe it is because she was my first and only grand child for almost 10 year and during those years her and I became especially close. Not to mention the fact that she is my namesake. The first time I held her I swear I traveled back in time 20 years and was holding her mother Angie instead.  Angie was my one and only daughter.  When Angie was a teenager she would often get mad at me so I would tell her, "But you're my favorite daughter my girl".  And, pouting, she would reply, "I'm your only daughter".

Anyway, back to my story.  Erica has always spent a lot on time with me.  From the time she was baby up until she moved in with me several months ago she was always close by. She had actually lived with me off and on the past couple of years before she moved in for good several months ago.  I think it was pre-determined that she would end up living with me. When she was around 7 - 8 years old she told her mom, "When I reach sixteen I am going to live with Papa." 

I would often take her on trips with me during her pre teen years.  When we would stop at a gas station I would buy each of us a pop but we would always share a bag of chip together.  One day when she was about 12 years old we had stopped a gas station and she asked me, "Can I have my own bag of chips papa?" I smiled when she said that for I knew it was sign that she was "growing up" and it was just a matter of time that I would "lose" her to hanging out with girls her own age and to chasing boys.

Probably the primary reason my Erica will remain closed to my heart is this; when my son Joel when to the Spirit World she was eight years old. Even at that young age she seem to sense the profound impact it had on my life. She made sure I was never alone, she came we me on my numerous trips to Joel's grave, and when I went walking in the evenings she walked with me.   And she was often with me when no one else was around - never saying much but her quiet respectful presence was comforting.  She would write Joel's name in various format, always with hearts around his name, some with his date of birth and the day he passed away.  She would write short notes to him telling him how much we loved and missed him -- and she was only eight years old at the time.  Those were tough times, when I cried she did not say anything but her quiet loving presence helped me tremendously.

I am going to miss my granddaughter and namesake very much but I am glad she has a strong and independent nature that allows her to go out on her own at a very early age.  It may take her awhile but eventually she will get established and then I will go and visit her and stay at her house.  Something I look forward to doing. 
Talking to tribal members about improving ethics for tribal workers is like talking about a cure for cancer... everyone is for it and almost no one will speaks against it.  In fact, most people will talk at length about the unethical behavior of "other" tribal workers and how shameful they are.  Unfortunately that is all most people will do... talk about how much we need ethics in the work place but will do nothing about it.

Part of the problem is that we make many "ethical" decisions every day that have nothing to do with the work place. And we confuse what are actually practical decisions such as getting our of bed in morning, cooking breakfast for your children, sending children to school, going to work, cleaning house, etc., as ethical decisions.  According to the website, Arizona Character Education, "Those decisions don't necessarily involve right or wrong; they involve efficiency, availability, practicality or preference." Because most of us are proficient in making these easy "ethical" decisions we claim to be ethical individuals.

Unfortunately, these easy "ethical" decisions at home do nothing to prepare us for the tough decision we face everyday in the work place. And many of our workplace decision are about doing the right thing.  That is why when faced with a choice between a right and wrong decisions at work all to often we make a wrong or unethical decision.  For example, say you come to work late; you are faced with two choices: 1. Do I punch in and get docked for coming to work late?  2. Or, do I not punch in and write my (incorrect) time when I turn my time sheet in at the end of the week?  "In a split second our minds review the facts, explore our feelings, study consequences, compare the options against our beliefs and priorities, consider what others may think, and give the cue for action."  And in that split second say you make the decision not to punch in instead you decide to lie about the time you came in by writing the incorrect time on your time card when you turn it in.

Remember decisions may happen quickly but the consequences can last a lifetime. Pretty soon you will get in the habit of lying all the time.  (And quite possibly your children will grow up to be unethical also.) Say there is a change in the higher up administration.  Your new immediate supervisor has heard about your practice of falsifying your time card.  And he has the moral courage to conduct an investigation into your habit of falsifying your time card. Not only will you end up losing your job but your name is dragged through the mud, every one will be is talking about you etc, (of course if you have political connections you can run to them and against all sense of fairness you might be able to keep or return to your job). That's why careful consideration is important when you make any kind of workplace decisions.

Most, if not all tribal workers know the difference between right and wrong.  If you "forgotten" this knowledge maybe you should try to recall it. Remembers no person with strong character lives without living by the universal values of courage, honesty, perseverance and generosity.

 Here is an excerpt from the article to help you, Making Ethical Decisions: What's the Big Deal About Decisions?

"Ethics is more than doing what you must do. It's doing what you should do. Because acting honorably sometimes means not doing what we want to do, ethics requires self-control.

Ethics involves seeing the difference between right and wrong. It's a commitment to do what is right, good and honorable. Ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price for making an unethical choice. Are you willing to sacrifice pride, integrity, reputation and honor by making an unethical choice? Are you willing to suffer the consequences of a bad choice?

Because doing the right thing can cost us more in friendship, money, prestige or pleasure than we may want to pay, practicing ethics takes courage. The right thing to do isn't usually the easiest thing to do, but learning to say no when you feel like saying yes builds character."

Making Ethical Decisions: What's the Big Deal About Decisions?

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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