Selflessness

Celebrate Parents of Military Men and Women: The Forgotten Heroes

Military Appreciation

Sgt. Nick Daniels and Ginnie Ann Daniels (mom) immediately before his wedding. 12/31/1999
Photo Courtesy of Ginnie Ann Daniels

The parents of the brave men and women in uniform who defend our nation deserve to be honored for their great sacrifices and all they do to support those who have and are serving our country. One of the most powerful ways to show appreciation to our servicemen and servicewomen is to honor their parents. Without question, we have the best military in the world. What makes our military the best in the world is the quality people who constitute it. Unfortunately, we often fail to pay homage to their parents—the individuals who produce these quality men and women.

Ginnie Ann Daniels, an Arkansas mom with a son in the military, has committed herself to passionate support of active duty military men and women and veterans. Mrs. Daniels has engaged in numerous efforts to evince her gratitude to those who have and are serving in our military. For example, she partnered with the Wounded Warriors Project to have parking lot signs posted in prominent places, including Walmart and the South Arkansas Art Center (SAAC) in El Dorado, Arkansas, that acknowledge the immense sacrifices veterans injured in combat have made. Ginnie understands that we should never forget to honor and care for our nation’s veterans.

Military Appreciation

Ginnie Ann Daniels posing for a picture at South Arkansas Art Center for a sign honoring wounded combat servicemen and servicewomen.
Photo courtesy of Ginnie Ann Daniels

Sergeant Nick Daniels, Ginnie Ann Daniels’ son, has and is serving tours of duty in some of the most dangerous regions in the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq. On yesterday, Ginnie and her husband celebrated their 42th wedding anniversary. Imagine how difficult it is for this loving couple to be separated from their son who is bravely serving our nation. Yes, they are proud of their son and the hero he is. This, however, does not make it any easier for them emotionally as they acknowledge the dangers Sergeant Nick Daniels faces in regions like Afghanistan and Iraq. His parents have to employ just as much faith as he does to maintain hope and courage while he serves.

Parents of military men and women are heroes too. The economic, emotional and physical sacrifices they have to make are highly commendable and not many would welcome those sacrifices. Although these parents are not physically on the battlefield with their son, they certainly are in spirit—not a moment goes by where they are not thinking about him, supporting him and praying for him.

Take a moment to contemplate about how difficult it is for Sargent Nick Daniels—a parent himself—to be separated from his young son while he’s serving. As a loving father, you know it’s a tremendous sacrifice to miss so many important moments with him. Also, consider the tremendous sacrifices his wife is making.

Military Appreciation

Sgt. Nick Daniels makes a surprise visit home to his wife and son in Houston, Texas.
Photo Courtesy of Ginnie Ann Daniels

While Mrs. Ginnie Daniels has been successful in numerous efforts to express meaningful appreciation to our servicemen, servicewomen and veterans, she has met some opposition and lack of support for her commendable work. For people who are devoted to the type of patriotic work she is involved in, we should do all possible to help her succeed.

Let’s keep Ginnie, her husband, Sergeant Nick Daniels, his wife and their entire family in our prayers. Today, we salute this wonderful family!

If you would like to make financial contributions to the family of Sergeant Nick Daniels, please feel free to contact me at antoniomdaniels@gmail.com, and my staff and I will provide you with the information necessary to submit your contributions directly to his family. Money is one gift we can give to the family to show our tangible gratitude and support for their noteworthy sacrifices.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Don’t Get Too Distracted by Others’ Goals

Although there’s nothing wrong with helping people to achieve their aspirations, never become so engrossed in their goals that you neglect your own.  Your goals are just as important as those you’re aiding others in accomplishing.  It’s critical for you to strike a healthy balance between working to attain your aspirations and working to assist others to achieve their goals.  When you have given considerable time to aiding others, you deserve to devote as much time as necessary to pursuing your dreams passionately.

Many of us who are committed to serving others become disappointed with ourselves when we dedicate time to focusing on our goals.  This has to stop!  Being a selfless person does not mean that you have to surrender living your dreams.  Never allow someone to make you feel like you have to devote all, much, or a majority of your time to him or her to be considered a selfless person.  Your record of service will evince you’re a selfless person.

Unfortunately, too many of the people who we sacrifice our goals for don’t appreciate what we have done for them.  They elect to criticize us for not being at the level of success they are at and/or for not having accomplished the things we have stated that we desire to do.  Of course, this represents the ultimate slap in the face.  We could have been accomplishing our goals while we were making their dreams come true.  Don’t dwell on how ungrateful these people have been to you.  Take some time to care for the wounds they’ve inflicted on you, and then get to work on executing your goals.

You also have to understand that when you’re working on achieving your goals, you’re positioning yourself to serve people more effectively.  Completing your goals, therefore, isn’t selfish—it’s a buttressing of your ability to perform charitable work.  When you’re in an improved social and economic position, you’re better able to aid others in moving up the social and economic ladder.

It’s essential for you to realize you cannot save the world; you can only do so much to help people.  With this reality in mind, think about how much time you invest in doing things for people.  Do you always do whatever someone wants you to do for him or her without refusing him or her?  If so, you’re bringing too much undue stress into your life.  Learn to say, “No”!  Really, it’s okay to refuse to do things for people, especially when you’ve always given to people and you’ve developed a distinguished track record of service.

Empower people to do things for themselves, so that you will not have to do every little thing for them.  You cripple people’s evolution when you allow them to depend on you for every little thing.  If you’ve been doing this, stop it today!  Let people learn to become independent.  You will discover that you will have more freedom to do the things you need to do, and they will have more liberty to live a life devoid of extreme dependence on you.

As T. I. and Rihanna say, “Just live your life.”

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

End One-Way Street Relationships

I hate to be the one to tell you but you’re not going to be able to fool people forever. A person does not have to be the most intellectually sophisticated individual to recognize a pattern of being used by you. People will eventually recognize when you only communicate with them when you want something from them. Folks will start to notice that you only respond back to their text messages, Facebook messages, tweets, emails, and phone calls when you want something. In due time, people will see that you make everything about yourself. Many people who like to try to get over on people will only be upbeat around them when they are planning to ask them to do something for them.

It’s amazing how people will become your best friend when they want you to give them money and/or sex. It’s just a harsh reality that some people will be in your life just for what they can get out of you and from you. Now, I’ve written about these people who try to use you in Don’t Be A Leech!, and told you that you have to get rid of people who don’t value you in Spring Clean, but we need to explore why we continue to maintain relationships with people who just use us.

What is it about us that allows us to maintain relationships with people who use us? For the purposes of this article, when I refer to the word “relationships,” I mean relationships of all types, including friendships, marriages, intimate relationships, family relationships, business relationships, and etc. One of the dominant reasons why many of us, in my opinion, continue to maintain relationships with people who just use us is we are just selfless. This selflessness, however, can lead us to blindness for a certain period of time. The blindness that we experience for a certain period of time can cause us to intentionally or unintentionally overlook deliberate attempts by people to use us.

There’s a clear difference between people receiving from you because they are in need of your help, but that’s completely different from people who just are taking advantage of your selflessness and willingness to help them because they know the vulnerabilities of your selflessness.

When you are selflessly giving to people, make sure that you get something in return from them—that something can be as simple as a “thank you” or acts and/or words that evince gratitude.

Lately, I’ve witnessed how I will do substantial things for people and will not even receive any responses from them, not even responses that tell me “thank you” or that they received what I sent them. Some people seem to think that it’s my job to help them, and when I try to see if they received what I’ve sent them, I will not even get a reply from them via text message, email and/or telephone. Now, I want you to bear in mind that many of the substantial things that I have done for them involved me staying up all night to complete. I very much appreciate these people for giving me an education that I could have never obtained through my undergraduate and graduate training.

What I’ve learned is that you cannot allow yourself to become a blind giver. You have to be a wise giver. When you allow yourself to become a reckless giver, you open yourself to allowing others to exploit you. I’ve learned from those who have used me that you have to do a simple evaluation of everyone who you help. If these people are not giving you at least a sincere “thank you” in return for what you do for them, then please disassociate yourself from them. You don’t have to have a major altercation with them. All you need to do is don’t answer their phone calls, text messages, emails, and etc.—much in the same way that they have done to you for certain periods of time until they needed something else from you.

Don’t you just love when people try to act like they didn’t get your text message, Facebook message, direct message on Twitter, phone call, and/or email, but you see that they have tweeted several times since you contacted them and/or have updated their Facebook status after you have contacted them?

I urge you to discontinue relationships with people where they are just using you. These types of relationships simply bring you down inevitably. Don’t let your great selflessness turn into unintentional or intentional blindness. When people fail to demonstrate how appreciative they are of you when you clearly deserve appreciation, then remove these people from your life. At the end of the day, you cannot let your selflessness turn into stupidity.

For those readers who know me and you think this article is addressing you, it probably is. If I don’t tell you first, just ask me and I will let you know. I don’t do third person—never have and never will. When have you known me to hold back anything that I have to say to you and/or about you? Exactly!

Love responsibly. Give responsibly. Help responsibly. Be responsible.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ungratefulness is Not a Good Look

When someone does something for you, you should have the decency to thank him or her. Now, you don’t have to thank people everyday for something they have done for you, but you should be eternally grateful for what they have done for you. When someone has helped you to get to the mountaintop, don’t look at them while you’re on the mountaintop like “who are you?” Reality check: This is the same person who was on the mountaintop before he or she threw you a rope to help you get on the mountaintop. Don’t ever forget this!

You can be on the mountaintop today and in the dark abyss tomorrow. You better start appreciating those people who have demonstrated nothing but a willing to help you. When someone who has proven to be a person who can and will help you, don’t get an attitude with him or her the moment he or she is unable to assist you. To get an attitude with someone who has proven time and time again to be a selfless giver to you, this manifests your true ungratefulness. Ungratefulness has its provenance in selfishness. You may be able to call me many things, but ungrateful is one thing that you cannot truthfully call me.

In no way am I asserting that you need to become a slave to the people who help you. You shouldn’t be a slave for any person! What you should be is an appreciative person who acknowledges the things that others have done and do for you. People often don’t take the time to reflect on how much others are helping them. They simply take for granted the help that others are constantly providing them. I encourage you to never take for granted the help that people give you. What are you going to do when you no longer receive the help that you so desperately need to continue to receive? You can sit back and act like you will survive without it. You probably will survive without their help but you certainly will be significantly impacted by this loss of help over time.

Those who give to others should not hold their generosity over the heads of others either. If you are going to be a true giver, don’t look for people to have a banquet in your honor each time you evince your selflessness. It’s more than reasonable for you to expect a simple thank you each time that you do something for others, however. You are well within reason to expect people to show gratitude for the things you do for them. Just don’t be the type of person who uses his or her abilities as ways to make people do what you want them to do. Moreover, I encourage you to not be the type of person who constantly reminds people of everything you have done and do for them. When you do this, it comes across as you have done and do those things for them for sheer recognition. You can be selfish in the way in which you give too—acknowledge that!

It’s just right to do right!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hold Your Family and Friends Accountable

We have a responsibility to love and support our family and friends, but this does not mean that we should not hold them accountable for the things that they do and say. When your family members and friends tell you that they are going to do something for you, then you must hold them accountable to do whatever it is that they said they were going to do. If they do not do what they said that they were going to do, then it is okay for you to discontinue doing further things for them. You should not feel bad about not doing something for your family members and friends when they consistently and persistently don’t come through for you. When you make the decision to no longer help them until they help you, this does not prevent you from still loving and supporting them; in fact, you can love them even more.

Although I will not take much time to discuss it here, I encourage you to read about Abraham in the bible, a man who had to leave his family to do the will of God. It is my position that you have to stop being so giving to your family and friends when you never receive anything in return from them. Do you ever have family members and friends who only or mostly call you when they want something? Do you ever have family members and friends who want you to go out of the way for them, but never come through when you ask them for something? It’s time to stop doing stuff for them when this happens. You have to love yourself enough to start distancing yourself away from them—this will help them to understand how selfish they are being. While some people will not agree that this is a proper way of handling family and friends, I will just say that family and friends can be some of the greatest deadbeats sometimes.

Start showing your appreciation for your family members and friends who do things for you. When people devote their time, money, and/or assistance to you, you should let them know how you feel about them, you should do something special for them, and you should do something that they want you to do for them sometimes. When these people stop doing things for you, it’s going to make a significant difference in your lives. If my readers need the courage or some support in their efforts to hold their friends and family members accountable, just contact me and I will help you by giving you advice and support. I made a sincere commitment on yesterday to hold my friends and family members accountable, and I encourage you to do the same. I stand with you!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Be Proud of What You Have Accomplished

When you have a record you are proud of, don’t allow people to make you downplay what you have accomplished. You have worked hard to obtain the record you have—embrace it! Don’t worry about people calling you arrogant. I hear that all of time, especially here in Madison, Wisconsin. Most of the time people call me arrogant because they are envious and jealous of me. This may be true for you as well, so simply disregard empty charges of arrogance. You know whether or not you are simply proudly stating the facts about your record or simply being boastful for attention. When one looks at my proud record of helping countless individuals without a moment of notoriety, it becomes quite difficult for a clear thinking individual to charge me with being arrogant. I will not, however, dim my lights just to give your darkness some sunshine.

When people attack your record, you have to respond to those attacks at some point. Now, I am not saying that you need to respond to every attack on your record, but there comes a point when you have to address serious and malicious attacks on your record. Just to let you know, when you try to viciously attack my record, you will no longer have any credibility after I am finished with you. Your record is your greatest investment. People who want to attack your record have to be confronted and addressed. Just as you would not allow anyone to steal your financial investments, you cannot allow someone to steal your record.

Although people lie and scandalize your name, please know that these are weeds that have to be plucked and trashed. You can be a good person and still not let people run over you and attempt to treat you like you are nothing. When you allow people to treat you like nothing, you are doing great violence to your own record. Your record is what you make it—don’t let other people allow your record to be stained. If you have aspects about your record that you don’t like, just work hard to correct them, and work hard to add the things you want on your record.

To the people who enjoy going out trying to destroy people’s records, you are truly the scum of the earth. Stop allowing your low self-esteem to cause you to hate on others. I would encourage you to spend more of your time on helping others and not on trying to bring people down. If you were devoting your lives to substantive things and selfless acts, you would not feel that emptiness inside of you that causes you to try to go out and destroy people.

To those people who have attempted to distort my record and destroy my character, I am proud to report to you that you have failed! Although there are numerous people out there trying to attack, distort, and destroy my record and character, I am winning and you are losing! I have each one of my enemies on a list, and one by one I have something special waiting for each one of you, especially for one particular man who has caused so much chaos!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison