Article Overview:   How do we make the best moral and ethical decisions for ourselves and our children?   What do we do to protect ourselves from the Beast of Terror who roosts on our left shoulder whispering words of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in our ears?   Find out how you can protect yourself and your children and loved ones from making the "wrong" decisions.


Monday, January 12, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 852
Why We All Need A Sentinel Of Vigilance Roosting On Our Right Shoulder
Cliff McKenzie

      GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Jan. 12, 2004 -- Imagine walking down a busy street with a Sentinel of Vigilance roosting on your right shoulder, constantly whispering in your ear:  "Courage," "Conviction," "Right Actions that benefit the Children's Children's Children."
      Seem a little bizarre?
      Yes, of course.
      But try this one on.

Evil rides on your left shoulder

       On your left shoulder, as you meander through life, hunkers an ugly creature with snarled teeth and sharp talons, hissing fire and whipping a long pointed tail as he twists your ear painfully shouting into it:  "Fear," "Intimidation," "Complacency."
       Sound like something from the Outer Limits or Twilight Zone?
       Perhaps.  And, perhaps not.

Good rides on your right shoulder

        If each of us looks at our lives, and the lives of all those around us, we see a daily battle in which we all struggle to do the right thing.    This struggle, for some more effortless than others, means that we face choices.    Do we let the person trying to edge his or her car into our lane squeeze between us or do we goose the accelerator and hold our pole position?
       Do we smile at the person with the frown or simply pass them by, hurrying to get to where we're going with no attention paid to those who may have burdens greater than ours?
       Do we tell the clerk that she gave us an extra dollar in change or pocket it, figuring we have been overcharged in other situations and things will even out.
       When someone says, "How you doing?" do we tell the truth or simply say, "Just fine, and you?"
        In the office, do we give credit to where its due or do we fight to overpower our job rivals so that when the layoffs come our name will not be on the list?

Do you tell the truth?

        Then there are the heavier moral and ethical decisions we make.   When do we lie and when do we tell the truth?   When do we protect ourselves at all costs and when do we expose ourselves to potential pain and suffering?
         Practically speaking, each and every day, we hear the Voices of Vigilance vs. Terrorism asking us to select one or the other.   If the pressure on us exhibits itself in degrees of Fear, Intimidation or Complacency--the Triad of Terrorism--we are being seduced by the Beast of Terror.
         If the result of that seduction is to refute the Beast and oppose the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency with some form of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit future generations, then our Sentinel of Vigilance is taking command.

Are we complacent in our behaviors of right and wrong?

        Most of us operate between the push and pull of "right" and "wrong" in what we think is unconscious actions.   We may pay little heed to what is going on in our minds, or that a battle is underfoot between the positive and negative forces of human nature.   We don't see the Beast attacking the Sentinel.  We don't see the Shield of Vigilance being raised to deflect the Fear, Intimidation or Complacency being hurled our way by the Beast's catapults, attacking our Castle of Vigilance.
        That is a scene better left to movies such as Lord of the Rings, where the imagination of the filmmaker brings to virtual reality the struggle between "good" and "evil," "right" and "wrong," "Terrorism" vs. "Vigilance."
        But, if we are sincere Parents of Vigilance, dedicated to the continual concern for our children's welfare, and eager to provide them with mentoring that will protect them and their children from the greatest of all harms--self defeat, self destruction, self depreciation--then we are obliged to tell them about who rides on their shoulders.  We are duty-bound to remind them the Beast of Terror shuttles around on their left shoulder, and the Sentinel of Vigilance on their right. 
        Right now, hunch your shoulders forward slightly.   Glance at your left shoulder then your right.   Imagine there are two entities riding on each.    The Beast on the left, the Sentinel on the Right.
        If you prefer some other image, try seeing a -1% on the left shoulder and a +1% on the right.    Or, the words "Good"  and "Bad."   Or, "Right" and "Wrong."
        Looking back over your life, the place you are in today in your life is the sum of all your decisions--the good ones plus the bad ones.   The "right" ones vs. the "wrong" ones.

Use the Test of Vigilance to make good decisions

          Most of the "wrong" decisions we make in life weren't processed.    That is, we didn't put them through the Test of Vigilance.  We didn't ask the three Vigilance Questions: 
      "One:  Is this a Courageous decision, one that requires me to take risks I am willing to live with?   
      "Two:  Is this a decision that requires Conviction, one that demands that when under pressure to change I stick with it until it is completed so I can see the results?"   
       "Three:  Is this a decision that benefits the future generations, one that has long-lasting values not just to myself but to others so that when I feel the pangs of Complacency and want to stop or quit or give up, I will be reminded that what is right for others is the fuel that will fire me to continue until the task is done?"
        In a more simplistic form, the Vigilance Test is:  "Is the decision worth the risk I'm taking?   Is it something I will stand up for in the face of Intimidation?   Will it be of benefit not only to me but to others, especially the children, current and future?"
         Most good decisions fit this test."
         Courage is all about risk.   Conviction is all about standing tall when the world seems to shake.   And, Right Action is our moral test, for decisions that do not benefit the children, present and future, are empty ones that can be shattered easily.
          If we looked back at our lives and put the decisions we have made to this test, we would quickly find that most of the bad decisions were made without the help of the Sentinel of Vigilance.    We found ourselves making bad decisions out of Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.   

Think - Think - Think through decisions

         One of our signals of bad decisions is the expression:  "If only I had known."
          But, we can know.   If we think through decisions, through the Courage and risk, through the Conviction and desire to uphold the decision in the face of Intimidation, and then put it to the real test--"Is it beneficial to the Children's Children's Children," we will know it is right or wrong.
           It's hard to make decisions that are harmful to future generations if we have thought such decisions through.    Especially when such future generations include not just our own children, but all children in all parts of the world and universe.
           The executive sitting in a multi-million dollar company deciding on whether to "cook the books" to make the bottom line look better to stockholders has to ask the same question ultimately that the mother or father does struggling to raise a child--what is best for the children?
            A CEO is the father or mother of the corporation.  The money he or she manages belongs not to people, but to families.   Its final destination goes to the children, to provide them with clothes and food and shelter and education--financial security.   A CEO who financially abuses a company robs the children.
            The father or mother who wastefully spends family income does the same.    

Do we ask what impact our decisions have on future generations?

           But do we think through our decisions as Sentinels of Vigilance?   Do we pose the question:  "What impact will this decision have on future generations?" before we make it? 
            When a parent yells at a child, or snaps and threatens the child because of pressures from the outside world, does that action drive the child into a shell of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency?   
            And what do we do to check and balance those pressures, whether they be the weight on the CEO's shoulder to show a profit at any cost, or upon a parent rattled and disoriented because of personal issues that cleave him or her from protecting a child's emotional security?
             That's where the shoulders come into play.   If we, as Citizens, Loved Ones, Parents, Grandparents of Vigilance really care about fighting Terrorism Within as well as Without, we will consider placing on our right shoulders the Sentinel of Vigilance to balance and overpower the Beast of Terror.

How many times have we said "The devil made me do it?"

           All of us know the Beast of Terror exists already.    We know the presence of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.    How many times have we said or thought:  "Ah, the Devil made me do it?"     How many times have we turned our heads and let ourselves surrender to the Beast of Terror through forms of Complacency, Fear, or Intimidation?
            Countless times, of course.
            It is part of our human nature.
            But so is Vigilance.    However, Vigilance requires more work than Terrorism.  Our Beast of Terror seems to have dominance.    He's a practiced expert.   He sits on his haunches whispering to us constantly.  
            To combat him, we need to exercise the power of the Sentinel of Vigilance.  We need to make his or her presence just as clear and evident as that of the Beast of Terror.   We need to see the Sentinel dressed in armor, holding the Shield and Sword of Vigilance in our behalf, poised to protect us and our children and loved ones, and all the children.
            Look at your right shoulder again.   See your Sentinel of Vigilance.  
            Now, the next time you are faced with a decision, hunch your shoulders and pull your head back.  Let your Beast of Terror on the left shoulder and your Sentinel of Vigilance on the right battle out the issue.
           As the Test of Vigilance Questions:  
           "Is the decision worth the risk I'm taking?  
          "Will I stand up for it in the face of Intimidation?"  
          "Will it be of benefit not only to me but to others, especially the children, current and future?"
           Now, consider seriously sharing this technique with your children, grandchildren or loved ones.    What if we all had a way to check our Terror Thoughts, to put them to the Test of Vigilance?    How many better decisions would we make about our lives, and the impact we have on the lives of others?
           A child who understands that he or she is being constantly challenged by Terror Thoughts, and has a way to combat them, will make far better choices in life than a child who has no clear option, no clear and distinct other choice.

Let your child or loved one tell you about his or her Sentinel of Vigilance

          Let your child or loved one tell you about his or her Sentinel of Vigilance.   Let him or her describe it, and how the Sentinel comes to the rescue when the Beast of Terror whispers words of Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.
          When we walk out the door in the morning, and our children leave our guardianship, what protection do we and they have to make the best decisions throughout the day?
          By putting  Sentinel of Vigilance on our right shoulders, and giving that gift to our children, we have increased their safety and security.   We have strengthened our roles as Parents of Vigilance, and made the world just a little safer for our children and loved ones.
         Start today.   Put your Sentinel of Vigilance on your shoulder.

Some Highlighted Stories From Last Year

Dec 31 Bush's New Year's Message:  Era Of Vigilance
Dec. 30
Walking The Path Of Terror: The 839th Day

Dec 29 Terrorism's New Year's Ball
Dec 27-28
Indiscriminate Terrorism:  Mother Nature's WMD
Dec. 26
The Beast Attacks Like The Mad Cow Disease
Dec 25
Learn The Secrets Of Vigilance On Christmas Day
Dec 24
Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels Of VigilancePart V of V
Dec 23
Parable Of The Ant & The Leaf: The Third Secret Of Vigilance
Part IV of V from the Legends Of Christmas Vigilance
Dec 22
 Part III of V:  How Rock Candy Banished Darkness From The Land Of Vigilance
Dec 21
Part II of V:  The First Secret Of Vigilance
Dec. 20
Part I of V--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance.
Dec. 19
What Do Michael Jackson & Saddam Hussein Have In Common?
Dec. 18
Torturing Saddam In The Zoo Of Vigilance
Dec 17
Interview With Saddam In His Iraqi Rat Hole
Dec 16
New Drug Fights Teenage Beast Of Terror
Dec 15 Capturing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:  Saddam Hussein

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Jan 11--The Rights of the Fetal Child Go To The Beast of Terror or Sentinel of Vigilance?