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Back to Basics

Back to Basics

By Greg Kozera–

When I was growing up my grandfather (Mom’s dad) lived next to us. Grandpa would come over almost every morning during the week to visit. He would tell us stories about growing up in the old country of Slovakia. His family worked for a wealthy landowner taking care of their estate. Grandpa remembered taking care of their horses and pulling up grass between the cracks on their sidewalks. Life was hard. I don’t recall any funny or happy stories from his childhood. He also told us stories from his over 40 years working in a Pittsburgh steel mill. That was entertaining because he did have some funny stories from work. We learned about our ancestry and our heritage. Grandpa came to the USA in 1911. All of his brothers also came to America. His oldest brother came first. He sent money home so grandpa could come. They then helped the youngest brother to come.

My grandfather told us why him and his brothers left Europe. Nations in Europe were constantly at war. They had limited economic opportunity and personal liberty. America was the land of hope and opportunity. The could own land and their own home in America. My grandfather and his brothers did just that. They continued to work hard like they did in Europe but in America it made a difference. They all bought homes and raised families. Times were hard here too. They lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. They watched their children become successful. All were able to retire. My grandfather raised a garden, enjoyed watching us play baseball and told us his stories every day. His story is similar to the stories of other immigrants who have come to America for centuries from all over the world.

With the exception of a few purebred native Americans all of us or our ancestors came to America from somewhere. Even today people come to America for the same reasons as my grandfather; To escape war and strife. For economic opportunity and for personal liberty. When we go through a year like 2020 it may be easy to forget that all the reasons our ancestors came to America are still true today. From the very beginning of our country freedom has never been free. We have always had to protect it and fight for it.

Maybe it is time for our country to go back to the basics and remember why we were founded.

Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame football coach for the Green Bay Packers opened their 1961 training camp with these words, “Gentlemen this is a football.” His message was; To be successful we have to remember the basics and execute the fundamentals. His team went on to win 5 NFL Championships including the first 2 Super Bowls. Our back to basics would start with, “We the people”, the opening words in our Constitution.

In our Declaration of Independence, the focus was on people with these words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life. Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We have a Constitution that has withstood the test of time. We know it works. We have expanded the definition of “people” to include women and those brought here as slaves. Countries around the world have modeled governments on our constitution. We have elections not mob rule. We have peaceful transfer of power.

When I teach leadership to our high school soccer players I tell them what to do when bad things happen. In soccer coaches can’t call time-out like in basketball or football and regroup. We tell our captains to always refocus the players on the goal or dream. At Shale Crescent USA when we face challenges we always refocus on our mission to create high wage jobs for the region. Everything we do should help us to achieve our mission of creating jobs. Those are our Basics. How we spend our time and our money should always help to create jobs. At Shale Crescent USA we constantly evaluate our activities in relation to our mission. Every day I ask the question, Will, this help to create jobs?

The preamble of our Constitution sets our mission as a nation; We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America. That is our country’s mission. Maybe it is time for all of us and especially our elected leaders to read the preamble again and ask the question, “Will this activity help to achieve our mission as a nation?” There is no place in this question for anger, hatred or revenge like I heard in Washington this week. The focus of Congress whether it is how they spend their time or our money should always be on We the People and the mission of our nation.

This is a good time for all of us to get back to the basics. We the People also have a responsibility to our nation’s mission. As good citizens we have a responsibility to We the People to support and defend the constitution. Those who are in or have been in the military may recall this as part of the oath they take.

All the reasons my grandparents came to America still exist today. We are a great nation. The world looks to us for leadership. We have many problems. We also have the ability to solve them if we can stay focused on We the People and our nation’s mission. We need to remind those we elect to public office who represent us to do the same.

© 2021 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.