Archive for the ‘Options’ Category

Service of You Can’t Win: President Obama, Event Timing, Redskins, Debt Limit and Voting

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Sometimes you can’t win.

The options President Obama has when dealing with the Syrian or debt limit crises could be summarized: No matter what, too many innocents will be killed or hurt.

Fortunately most of us don’t have to weigh options with such momentous repercussions, yet choices come up daily that work for some and not others. Plan an event for an organization, company or family and it’s inevitable: some can’t make mornings, others can’t fit in anything in the evening, lunch is out and didn’t you remember that favorite Aunt Muriel is off to her annual timeshare on the only weekend you, your brothers, sisters and cousins can travel to the family reunion?

Result: Noses out of joint.

The owner of the Redskins football team is being challenged to change the team’s name as it offends Native Americans. Even the President chimed in suggesting clearly that he consider an alternative. In discussions I’ve heard on TV and radio nobody remarks on the millions spent to build the brand and what it will cost to create the new identity. Goodness knows, these teams almost print money so that’s not the primary consideration but still. Regardless of the decision there will be many who disagree.

Choose a menu for your guests winding it around allergies and taste preferences and you’re sure some will think you hadn’t considered them.

You can’t win at the polling booth when you object to both candidates. [I can think of one Senatorial race like that and I’m happy I don’t live in that state.]

Is flipping a coin the only thing you can do under such circumstances? How do you make choices when you’re not totally happy with any option? Are there words that work to soothe injured feelings of those whose preferences must be disregarded?

Service of Options

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012


The word “option” came up in remarks made by both special award winners at the 63rd annual ceremony of The Christopher Awards last week. I was fortunate to be part of the team to promote the event.

Marty Lyons, former defensive lineman for the New York Jets and ESPN Radio color analyst, spoke about the options faced by one of the children he met through the foundation he launched 30 years ago. In fact it was for this foundation that he was given the 2012 James Keller Award. James Keller founded The Christophers and the award recognizes adults who impact the lives of children and young people who change the world.

christophers2012motherdeloresmartylyonsLyons, [his photo is on the right, with Mother Dolores Hart], told the guests at the gala in New York about a 17 year old severely ill with leukemia. She told Lyons she dreamed she had gone on a walk, farther from home than usual, and was confronted with the option of returning or going on to God’s house, which seemed to represent the shorter distance. He said that she knew that it was time to give up the pain and morphine and to go to her new home. That day, he said, she chose the latter option.

In three decades, the Marty Lyons Foundation has offered hope and inspiration to seriously ill children and teens. Among the over 6,000 wishes the Foundation has granted, it provided a seizure-alert dog for a teen, a trip for a 13-year-old girl dying from leukemia to visit her extended family, and sent a Long Island, N.Y. boy with a rare genetic disease to Disney World with his family.

Helping these children appears to have been a natural choice for Lyons and as a gifted speaker, describing the program a joy. However he is so moved by their plight that he chokes up with emotion when he speaks about some of them. He had to stop to catch his breath as he told us that the child who inspired the foundation would have celebrated his birthday the day before the May 24 awards gala. Lyons, who works full time and maintains a frantic schedule, opted to show his emotions when he could have said he was too busy to attend or could have kept his remarks on safe ground, addressing issues that didn’t touch him deeply.

Mother Dolores Hart. Photo Bettina Cirone

Mother Dolores Hart. Photo Bettina Cirone

The issue of options came up again when the other special award winner, Mother Delores Hart, noted “we have the option to live correctly.” The 2012 Christophers’ Life Achievement Award recognized the former actress who became a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn. There aren’t many people with a soaring career who opt for the path Mother Delores chose. The first actress to kiss Elvis on screen, she was recently profiled in the Academy Award-nominated documentary “God is the Bigger Elvis.”

Mother Dolores never left behind her connection to the arts.  With close friend Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, she built a performing arts center on the Abbey grounds, which hosts a wide range of community productions.  She remains an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives her a vote that helps determine each year’s Oscar winners.

Can you share examples of options where the choices are dramatic and repercussions difficult or life-changing?


Mary Higgens Clark is to the right of Mother Dolores; Ken Schroy of the Marty Lyons Foundation to Marty’s left; Mrs. Lyons to his right.

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