The poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” was penned by Moina Michael in November 1918 in response to her inspiration of the poem, “In Flanders Fields” written earlier that year by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. Ms Michael made a personal pledge to “keep the faith” and hastily penned her response in poetic form on the back of a used envelope. From that day she vowed to wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance.
In 1922 the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) became the first veterans’ organization to sell the poppies. In 1948 the United States Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3-cent stamp with her likeness on it.
We Shall Keep the Faith
Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that we have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
We all know that when we are “in the flow” we experience increased performance. This is as true in business as it is true in sports. Our creativity, problem solving, task management, and learning are enhanced.
Flow does not mean doing the same thing every day very well. Although much of life as well as our work does require a bit of routine and sameness, a good by-product of being an engaged employee is the ability to step outside of the comfort zone and into greater creativity.
There are many stories surrounding the origin of Memorial Day. As stated in an earlier blog this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1966, officially declared Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
In 1865, prominent Waterloo businessman, Henry C. Welles, garnered the support of General John B. Murray-himself a civil war hero-to begin plans for a local citizen’s committee to organize festivities honoring current veterans as well as fallen veterans.
On May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York, flags were flown at half-mast and were decorated with black to signify the mourning of the fallen soldiers. The community of Waterloo, both public and civic sectors, led a march to each of the community’s three cemeteries.
In March of 1966, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller signed a proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the origin city of Memorial Day. The proclamation was later adopted by Congress and read, in part, “Resolved that the Congress of the United States, in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion one hundred years ago in the Village of Waterloo, New York, does hereby officially recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day…”
Good Idea: Check your local listings for your area’s Memorial Day celebrations
Flanders Fields was a World War 1 battlefield in the medieval County of Flanders, located just outside southern Belgium and northwest France. On May 3, 1915 Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae penned the poem “In Flanders Fields” after he witnessed the death of his good friend, 22 year-old Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. The poem was first published in December 1915 in the London-based magazine Punch.
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scare heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We live, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, through poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Engagement is about commitment. Passionate commitment! Employee engagement is not the touchy-feely stuff or positive thinking mantras. It is not job satisfaction. Think about this…. Sometimes people are satisfied doing “nothing”. Is that what you really want?
Engagement at the leadership level is paramount! Studies show that employee disengagement is four (4) times higher for employees who work for a disengaged manager or supervisor. Think about the hard and soft dollar costs of this disengagement scenario!
Are Yours Worth Catching?
Have you raised a teenager? If so, YIKES! What about living with a grouchy spouse or working with a grouchy co-worker? If you have experienced any of these, you know first-hand that emotions are contagious!
The good news?? Positive emotions are contagious also.
The term “wellbeing” conjures up a nice balance of emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and financial health.
In the book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, there are five interconnected elements that people look for in their lives… regardless of race, nationality, faith, and culture.
The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing:
There is a great book out on leadership. Certainly there are enough leadership books to go around the world several times; but the book, Landing in the Executive Chair, by Linda Henman, relates to F squared, or F2 Leadership. Dr. Henman refers to the F as meaning both Fair and Firm. Accountability!
Henman says, “I have found the direct ties between self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skill… and business results.” This is how Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is defined.
Employee Engagement and Emotional Intelligence are about balancing results with relationships. As Henman points out, the further up the ladder you travel, the greater the need for understanding both yourself and others.
EQ can be measured and improved! We have Emotional Intelligence Assessments. For more information call 1-800-452-4036
There is a lot of discussion about core values. In essence, they are principles that should govern the way we live our lives, run our corporations, and live inside of our families and communities. Our core values should be non-negotiable. Most people recognize this need for identification of their core values, even if they are not written down. Harder still is to continue to live by them.
Do you know your personal core values?
If not, begin now to think about them.
What Optimism Brings to Your Life
An article that I read today on the recovering national job outlook made me reflect back to a beloved childhood book. Who hasn’t read, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper?
The mantra throughout the story is, “I think I can, I think I can.” The story teaches the values of optimism, hard work, and determination. The story is about a long train that must be pulled over a very high mountain. After a number of larger engines declined to pull the train over the mountain, the “little engine” agreed to try.