Freemason Tim Bryce.

The Perils of Negativity

Learn to avoid the whiners.

over coming negativity, finding optimism, anger, old days

Like many of you, I belong to several civic and industrial nonprofit organizations. I always find it amusing to see the elders of such organizations criticize the current slate of officers. Inevitably, you hear, “That’s not how we did things in my day.” They then go on to berate the officers on their performance. Well, sometimes they’re right, but most of the time they are wrong. Dead wrong. If left unchecked, their negativity can consume an organization like a plague of locusts, to the point where the officers get frustrated and ultimately do nothing.

I can’t remember ever attending a nonprofit group where everybody was happy with everything and everybody. In fact, I think its a myth. If such an organization exists, I sure would like to see it. These nonprofit organizations are typically run by well meaning people with some time on their hands; and let us not forget it is a VOLUNTEER type of organization. Rarely, if ever, are the officers paid for their services. True, people will make mistakes and need guidance, but not at the price of having their name besmirched. As Winston Churchill wisely observed, “Any idiot can see what is wrong with something, but can you see what’s right?”

At a recent meeting of a nonprofit group I belong to, I heard one of the elder’s grouse, “Well, this is a rotten year and next year will be worse.” I looked at him and said, “No, it has been a good year and next year will be better.” I reminded him that the group had plenty of money in the bank and membership was on the rise. This caught him off guard and he recognized that I had the right attitude; that the glass was half-full, not half-empty.

No, the officers of such groups will not always be perfect, but then again, Who is? Its up to the group overall to pull things together, not just one or two officers.

The problem with negativity is that it can become infectious, and in the process, quite damaging. Fortunately, so can optimism, and people tend to gravitate to the positive as opposed to the negative.

For those who insist on whining about everything, I say, “Get over it.” I learned a long time ago in business not to complain unless I was prepared to suggest an alternative. However, to bitch simply for the sake of bitching is counterproductive and disrupts the harmony of such groups. If I have any suggestion in this regard, I would ask the members of such groups to turn something negative into something positive.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

Tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

meetings, networking, joining groups, millennials

The Benefits of Networking

Instead of watching TV, attend a meeting.

meetings, networking, joining groups, millennialsI’ve been bumping into a lot of younger people lately; young men in their early to mid-20’s who have been asking me for advice on a variety of issues as they begin their careers. Basically, I tell them to start a life insurance policy, write a will, how to dress, and basic social amenities such as how to greet someone and tell a joke. More importantly I stress upon them the need to network with their contemporaries.

When I was entering the work force back in the 1970’s I found networking to be invaluable in my professional growth. I was particularly active in trade related organizations such as the local chapters of the Association for Systems Management, the Data Processing Management Association, and the Association for Computing Machinery. I also founded a local OS/2 Users Group and Java Users Group. I have also participated in other civic and fraternal organizations. All of these groups were invaluable in terms of education and the development of a network of contacts with whom I have relied on time and again.

I’ve noticed the younger people are less inclined to join any such organization these days. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they don’t think its cool. Perhaps there is no professional curiosity. Or perhaps they just don’t know any better. Frankly, I think its the latter. As a result, these organizations are in decline. For example, ASM is now extinct; and DPMA changed its name and focus to the Association of IT Professionals; regardless their numbers are still diminishing. Instead of resisting participation in such organizations, I encourage young people to join them.

Networking is a great way to learn about your field of interest and to develop local contacts who might be helpful to you in your walk through life, and you might be able to help them in return. Many people go into such organizations with the wrong intentions, such as they are going to sell the membership something. This is most definitely not the point; its about your professional growth. Its about learning; its about refining your social skills, and its about gaining visibility; all of which is important for developing a professional reputation. Once this is established, people will recognize you as the “go to” guy in your area of specialty, then, Yes, you may vary well get some business, but don’t go into an organization thinking you’re going to conquer the world, think of it as an investment in your personal development.

One of the lessons I learned during my college career was that “We enjoy life through the help and society of others.” I have found this to be particularly true in my professional development.

So, instead of staying home and watching that trash on TV every night, how about getting off your butt and attend a couple of meetings? Start with a trade group from your industry; then there’s the chamber of commerce and Jaycees; then there’s volunteer organizations such as the Rotary, Kiwanis and the Lions; then there’s fraternal organizations such as the Masons and the Shrine. The list is actually endless; but seek out those organizations that will help you the most in your professional development. You might learn a thing or two in the process, and others might just learn a thing or two about you.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

Freemason Tim Bryce.

The 80/20 Rule

80-20 Rule,Pareto's Principle,work,workload
Wilfredo Pareto

Also as a follow-up to my last article I was asked why it seemed only a handful of people always carried the workload of a Lodge. This is not uncommon and is found in everyday life as well. It is commonly referred to as the 80/20 Rule or Pareto’s Principle

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who observed in 1897 that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. Pareto’s theory thereby relates to the ratio of input to output; e.g.:

twenty percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your results.

From a time management perspective, it means that 20 percent of the people are normally responsible for producing 80 percent of the work.

As a manager or Worshipful Master it thereby becomes important to recognize your core 20 percent workers and concentrate your attention on them. It also becomes important to devise new means to squeeze out the remaining 20 percent of the work from the 80 percent who do not actively participate. This is not to suggest that the 80 percent doesn’t care about the Lodge, but that they simply have different priorities right now and may even be living far away from the Lodge. However, they should be periodically reminded that there is more to supporting a Lodge than just paying their annual dues.

With the 80/20 Rule in mind you must also be sensitive to a by-product resulting from it: petty jealousy.

Since the 20 percent performs the work, they are thereby deserving of the accolades for performing it. Inevitably, it is not uncommon for small minded individuals from the 80 percent to feel slighted and jealous of those doing the work and receiving the recognition. Such petty jealously should be overlooked and the person forgiven, unless something more malicious is involved, such as character assassination of which there is no excuse. The manager must carefully squash this behavior before it has an adverse effect on your 20 percent. If not, the 20 percent worker will question why he is working so hard if he is only going to be the object of ridicule and humiliation. If your 20 percent begins to believe they are “Damned if they do, Damned if they don’t” in their assignments, then nothing will be produced and your 80 percent work effort will plummet.

The 80/20 Rule is an interesting phenomenon that every Worshipful Master must be cognizant of in order to effectively put the Craft to work with proper instruction for their labor.

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

NOTE: As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and FreeMason Information

From the Edge,Tim Bryce,Freemasonry,essay

Tim’s “Stand Up for MORALITY” Talk (Video)

Back in 2013, I wrote a book titled, “Stand Up for MORALITY” which discusses the virtues of morality, and how to promote it. This became the basis for a talk on the same subject which I presented on July 17, 2013 at the Dayton Masonic Center in Ohio. The speech was an abbreviated version of my normal talk. Interestingly, the presentation was videotaped and recently brought to my attention.

The session is one hour and twelve minutes in length (1:12) and you can watch it for free by clicking HERE. Although Masons made up the audience, this session is applicable for non-Masons as well (and they’ll learn a little about the Craft in the process).

I hope you find it interesting and worthwhile.

For a description of my book, click HERE.

Keep the Faith!

going the same thing over and over

Failing to Act

It goes well beyond insanity.

going the same thing over and overOne of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is his definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I’m afraid we see this too often, be it in companies, government or the general public. In other words, there is a tendency for people to maintain the status quo even if it doesn’t produce beneficial results, or even if it is counter productive.

In Europe, following a terrorist attack, we commonly see a government official say afterwards what a hideous crime this was, that security levels are being heightened, and the public should remain calm and not pass judgement on any cultural group. It has become a common script, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to deter terrorists. In other words, nothing changes.

Like so many nonprofit organizations these days, I know of a local group who year after year has been losing membership at a rate of about 1,500 members a year. Over the last fifteen years, it has declined a whopping 37%. Members are seeking answers to reverse this, but the leadership of the group has yet to properly address the problem. Instead, they keep asking for more money from its dwindling membership. Again, nothing changes.

In the world of Information Technology, companies commonly rush off to program a solution before they even understand the business systems problem. Consequently, developers devise a quick and dirty solution to the wrong problem, projects are late and over budget, and end-users lose confidence in I.T. If we built bridges the same way we build systems in this country, this would be a nation run by ferryboats. Interestingly, developers are aware this approach doesn’t work but lament, “We never have enough time to do things right.” Translation: “We have plenty of time to do things wrong.” Once again, nothing changes.

I’m sure we can all think of some similar scenarios from our walks through life, be it in school, on the ball fields, our place of work, in stores, in our neighborhoods, just about everywhere.

I tend to believe a lot of this occurs simply because we have trouble focusing on the proper problem, that it is less painful to take the easiest way out. Instead of going for a touchdown, we settle for a field goal instead.

Repeating the same mistake in the face of reality confirms Einstein’s definition. It’s more than insanity though, it is reckless and irresponsible behavior on the part of management. Changing the status quo is a difficult task, something that should only be charged to someone sensitive to problems and realize it is time to change. What is needed is political courage to make the hard decision, which will likely be unpopular until proven successful. I am certainly not someone who believes in change for the sake of change, but if there is undeniable evidence the status quo is not producing positive results, by God, somebody better get off their duff and do something about it before it results in irreparable harm.

Somehow I am reminded of another quote I am fond of, this from President (and PGM) Andrew Jackson, “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and mangement consultant in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

Freemason Tim Bryce.

What is Fair?

Is fairness in the eye of the beholder?

Good question. This is something we all demand but I don’t think we really know what fair is; to illustrate:

  • In this country we have established an extensive system of jurisprudence involving lawyers, judges, juries, appeals, etc. Yet, when a decision is finally reached, we claim it wasn’t fair. Case in point, the Casey Anthony jury decision. America felt she literally got away with murder.
  • In sports, we trust the officials will be fair in regulating the game, but we become unglued when we find an official tampering with the rules. When I coached Little League baseball, I would resent umpires who called balls and strikes one way for a team and different for the other. I didn’t realize the strike zone could change so significantly between innings.
  • The news media outlets tout themselves as fair and impartial, but I don’t know anyone who honestly believes it.
  • In the work place, we hope our bosses and coworkers will treat us fairly in our working relationships, and feel dejected when we find ourselves on the losing end of a political maneuver. All we want is a fair and even playing field to compete on. Rarely do we get it.
  • On the highway, we believe everyone should observe the same rules of the road and are aghast when someone flagrantly violates them, while others get stopped for petty moving violations.
  • We want people to pay their fair share of taxes, but argue about how this should be accomplished. Some suggest a flat tax, others want regressive taxation whereby the rich must pay for the poor.
  • We believe countries should treat each other equitably and are outraged when we find a violation of agreements thereby threatening peace or disrupting economics.

Being “fair” is an obsession with a lot of people, but only if it is in their favor. As much as we harangue about fairness, deep down we really don’t want it. Fairness is a human interpretation. It is in the eye of the beholder. What one person considers fair, another will consider just the opposite, even if the law, rule or regulation is documented in writing. It takes an impartial and informed person to determine what is equitable for all of the parties concerned. Unfortunately, it seems people today are easily prejudiced and rely more on gossip and spin as opposed to facts.

Fairness is based on who interprets the rules, usually by the person(s) in power, not by plurality of vote. As the power shifts, our interpretation of fairness shifts. This means our sense of fairness changes over time as perspectives and priorities change. For example, what would be considered “fair” by our nation’s founding fathers is certainly not the same as those in government today. In the early days, it was considered “fair” for land owners to be the only people allowed to vote in elections because they were considered responsible citizens, not shiftless rabble. Naturally, this changed over the years so any Tom, Dick, or Mary can vote regardless how “responsible” they were as citizens. Today, elections are won more by media spin than by the true issues of the day. Yet, we believe this is fair.

Read: Three Types of Masons

Our perception of fairness is based on our moralistic makeup which, obviously, varies based on cultural and religious differences. To illustrate, the morals of a Salvation Army Colonel will be substantially different than an atheist gang-banger from the ‘hood. I cannot imagine any commonality between the two. This is what happens when you live in a heterogeneous society. Japan, on the other hand is more homogenous in nature and as such, shares moral values which leads to consistent interpretations of what is right and wrong. The point is, as morality declines or becomes splintered through incompatible interpretations, it compounds the problem of realizing consistent fairness. The greater the uniformity in morality, the more likely fairness will be consistently applied.

Fairness is often defined by a plurality of vote, be it polls, legislatures, or a jury. It is their perception only, not necessarily what is fair. We have all seen too many votes that led to erroneous results primarily because those in judgment are not properly informed or lack the ability to offer an unbiased verdict.

As the populace becomes more disjointed, we write legislation based on poll numbers or elections, but this does not necessarily mean it is fair, only that it is the perception of the plurality, which may be right, but also could be wrong.

So, whether you are on a ball field, in a classroom, in the workplace, or wherever, you must recognize that absolute fairness is a myth. It is based on the interpretation and whims of the people who interpret the rules. Even if we were to automate decisions by computer, we must remember such rules are programmed by humans with all of their frailties. In other words, the computer will only render a decision as programmed by the human-being.

If you are upset that something is unfair, get over it. King Solomon died thousands of years ago. You win some, you lose some. Put your best foot forward and hope you’ll be treated fairly.

“Forget fair. Our world was not designed to be fair.”
– Tom Hopkins, How to Master the Art of Selling Anything

Also published in The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

The Masonic Handshake

What does the Masonic handshake represent?

secret masonic handshake

Now and then I like to write about Freemasonry, an ancient fraternity I have much respect for. It dates back several centuries, back when operative Masons were building the great churches, cathedrals, castles and other buildings of the time. Working as a group, the Masons of that period would mentor and teach their skills and building techniques to younger members of their group, thereby improving craftsmanship and bonding as a set of trustworthy brothers. Over the years, the society evolved to allow others to join the fraternity in order to build better men.

Today, the Masons are a very tight knit group who actively participate in their communities, promote morality, and come to the assistance of others, not just members of their own group. As the fraternity spread around the world, certain words and handshakes were invented to identify Brother Masons. Such protocol helped establish relationships between Masons, such as that between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World war II. It also opened doors to visiting Brothers and welcomed them to communities, and was used to request assistance in times of peril. The grip between Masons, therefore, is an important symbolic gesture of trust.

The Secret of the Masonic Handshake

The secret to the Masonic handshake is not in how it is given, but what it represents.

Those who learn it are taught to subscribe to the three basic tenets of Freemasonry, which are “Friendship, Morality, and Brother Love.” This is more than a catch-phrase, it represents how Masons are to treat each other; to meet on the level as friends, the expected rectitude of conduct, and how to work with others, such as offering wise counsel between brothers. Such a handshake creates a bond between people, just as the ancient Masons tried to build in their society of fellow craftsmen.

Most Masons take the handshake seriously and are mindful of what it represents. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of people who join the fraternity for ulterior motives, such as to build a network of contacts to promote their business. Such people learn the customs of the Masons and use them for personal gain as opposed to the three tenets of the fraternity. I personally have a problem with this and refuse to shake the hand of someone I do not believe embraces the true concept of the handshake.

Over the years I have met a handful of Masons who use the handshake for political purposes and have forgotten its original intent. This is a small number of men, but they do exist and, to my way of thinking, besmirch the character of Freemasonry and hurt the society in the process. If you cannot trust the person, there is little point in extending your hand, regardless of their Masonic title.

So, the secret of the Masonic handshake as a Masonic symbol is that it represents a type of relationship and rapport you expect between Brothers. I would like to believe the Masonic handshake is foolproof. Unfortunately, it is not. Without a clear understanding of what the handshake represents, it becomes meaningless and a symbol of the fraternity’s decay.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Managing a Nonprofit Organization

It’s not exactly “rocket science” but some people still don’t know how to do it.

Recently I was adding up the number of Board of Directors I have served on over the years for nonprofit organizations. This includes computer societies, fraternal organizations, homeowner associations, even Little League. The number was over 50 where I have served in some capacity or other, everything from president, to vice president, secretary, division director, finance chairman, publicity and public relations, newsletter editor, webmaster, even historian. In other words, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about nonprofit organizations over the years. One of the first things I learned early on is that unless you manage the nonprofit group, it will manage you.

Running a nonprofit group is not exactly rocket science and is actually pretty simple, but surprisingly few people grasp the basics and end up bungling the organization thereby creating upheaval for its constituents. If you are truly interested in properly managing a nonprofit group, consider these ten principles that have served me well over the years:

Know the rules

Get a copy of the governing docs, read them, and keep them with you. Do not try to hide them. In fact, make them available to your constituents either in paper form or as a download on the computer (such as a PDF file). Got a briefcase dedicated to your group? Keep a copy of the docs in it and, if an electronic version is available, place an icon on your desktop to quickly access it.

Get to know your constituents

How can you expect to adequately serve them if you do not know what their interests are or the group’s priorities as they perceive them? They won’t always be correct, but understand their perceptions and deal with them accordingly. You might want to circulate a survey to get their view on certain subjects, and to solicit their support.


Not only with the other members of the board, but with your constituency as well. Failure to do so only raises suspicions about what you are doing. Newsletters, e-mail blasts, and web pages are invaluable in this regard, particularly the latter where you can post news, governing docs, contact information, meeting minutes, audit reports, correspondence, etc. Simple communications will clear up a lot of the problems you will face as an officer on the board.


Keep good records, regardless if government regulations require it or not. Whether you are maintaining records with pencil and paper or by computer, it is important that accurate records be maintained, particularly about the group’s membership, logs of activities, attendance, finances, minutes, etc. It is not really that complicated to perform; you just need someone who pays attention to detail. Don’t have the manpower to do it yourself? Then hire someone, such as a management company, who can competently keep track of things.

Lead – people like to know where they are headed

If you are in charge of the group, articulate your objectives and prepare a plan to get you there. Also, do not try to micromanage everything. Nonprofit groups are primarily volunteer organizations and the last thing they want is Attila the Hun breathing down their necks. Instead, manage from the bottom-up. Delegate responsibility, empower people, and follow-up. Make sure your people know their responsibilities and are properly trained. Other than that, get out of their way and let them get on with their work.

Add value to your service

People like to think they are getting their money’s worth for paying their dues. In planning your organization’s activities, be creative and imaginative, not stale and repetitive. In other words, beware of falling into a rut. Your biggest obstacle will typically be apathy. If your group’s mission is to do nothing more than meet periodically, make it fun and interesting, make it so people want to come and participate. Try new subjects, new venues, new menus, etc. Even if you are on a tight budget, try to make things professional and first class. Change with the times and never be afraid of failure. You won’t always bat 1.000 but you will certainly hit a few out of the park and score a lot of runs.

Keep an eye on finances

As officers of the Board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the group’s finances and report on their status. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a well thought-out and itemized budget. Operating without one is simply irresponsible. And when you have a budget, manage according to it; if you don’t have the money allocated, don’t spend it. Obviously, you should also have routine finance reports produced (at least on a monthly basis) showing an opening balance, income, expenses, and a closing balance. Most PC based financial packages can easily do this for you. At the end of the year, perform a review of your finances by an independent party, either a compilation as performed by a CPA or a review by an internal committee. Post the results so the constituency can be assured their money has been properly handled.

Run an effective meeting

Nobody wants to attend an inconsequential meeting. Whether it is a weekly/monthly board meeting or an annual meeting, run it professionally. Print up an agenda in advance and stick to it. Start and end on time and maintain order. Got a gavel? Do not hesitate to use it judiciously. Maintain civility and decorum. Allow people to have their say but know when issues are getting out of hand or sidetracked. And do yourself a favor, get a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order and study it.

Beware of politics

Like it or not, man is a political animal. Politics in a nonprofit group can get uglier than in the corporate world. Some people go on a power trip even in the most trivial of organizations. Try not to lose sight of the fact that this is a volunteer organization and what the mission of the group is. Keep an eye on rumors and confront backstabbers, there is no room for such shenanigans in a nonprofit group. If you are the president, try to maintain an “open door” policy to communicate with your constituents. It is when you close the door that trouble starts to brew. Also, ask yourself the following, “Who serves who?” Does the board serve its constituents, or do the constituents serve the board? If your answer is the latter, then dissent will naturally follow.

Maintain control over your vendors

Try to keep a good relationship with those companies and people who either work for or come in contact with your group, particularly lawyers. Always remember who works for whom. I have seen instances where attorneys have taken over nonprofit groups (at a substantial cost I might add). The role of the lawyer is to only offer advice; he or she doesn’t make the decision, you do (the client). One last note on vendors, make sure you maintain a file of all contracts and correspondence with them. Believe me, you’re going to need it when it comes time to sever relations with them. Keep a paper trail.


un your nonprofit group like a business. Come to think of it, it is a business, at least in the eyes of the State who recognizes you as a legal entity (one that can be penalized and sued). There are those who will naively resist this notion, but like it or not, a nonprofit group is a business. Consider this, what happens when the money runs out?

I mentioned earlier that you might want to hire a management company to perform the administrative detail of your group. To me, this is an admission that the Board is either too lazy or incompetent to perform their duties (or they have more money than they know what to do with). Just remember, it’s not rocket science.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  He is a member of Dunedin Lodge No. 192 F.& A.M.

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

My Talk on Citizenship

Some thoughts on how to promote citizenship in America.

In the Masonic world, we recently observed “Citizenship Month” here in Florida. Because of this, I was asked to give a talk on the subject for a local Lodge. Drawing upon a couple of my past columns, I assembled the following short talk:

My biggest concern regarding citizenship pertains to how we teach history and civics in this country. In some High Schools, “American History” runs from World War II to the present. This means students are not learning such things as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Civil War, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Prohibition, the League of Nations, and much more. In other words, they only discuss the last 77 years, and not the events leading up to the founding of our country and the turmoils we had to endure. As an aside “World History” is now just World War I to the present. So much for the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Marco Polo, the Magna Carta, Ferdinand Magellan, Alexander the Great, et al. I presume they had no bearing on our civilization.

Such ignorance of our history caused famed historian David McCullough to observe, “We are raising a generation that is historically illiterate and have a very sketchy, thin knowledge of the system on which our entire civilization is based on. It is regrettable and dangerous.”

We are also not educating youth properly in terms of “Civics”; understanding our responsibilities as citizens, such as voting, serving on a jury, how legislation is enacted, or what is included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. No wonder young people do not grasp the significance of such things as the Electoral College, the structure of our government, or what their rights are.

Naivety and ignorance leads to apathy at the ballot box. In the 2016 elections, only 57.9% of the citizens voted (over 90 million didn’t vote at all). This is a pitiful figure when you compare it to other democracies like Australia, India, and the Scandinavian countries. Surprisingly, this was the highest voting percentage in the United States since 1968 (60.8%). The highest in recent history was in 1960 (63.1%) for the Kennedy/Nixon election. Even though Millennials (ages 18-35) are now the largest potential voting block, they continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any age group.

It is sad when legal immigrants understand the workings of the government and history more than native born Americans. Maybe all citizens should take the same oath naturalized citizens do. Since 1778, immigrants coming to this country have had to pass a test and take an oath swearing their allegiance to the United States. The current oath is as follows:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

Not surprisingly, immigrants coming through this program tend to appreciate this country and are more loyal than native born Americans. Another cause for this could be because there is less emphasis on teaching American government and history in the schools than in years past. In other words, the importance of being a citizen has not been impressed upon our youth.

So, as a proposal, how about administering a modified version of the immigration oath to all native born Americans, perhaps on July 4th? All that is necessary is to simply modify the first sentence of the Immigration Oath; to wit:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;”

Parents could give it to their children, thereby turning it into a family tradition; civic organizations and local governments could administer it in public group settings, or perhaps some other venue. Maybe even the media could get involved and administer it over the airwaves or Internet. It should be administered in some solemn way with a right hand raised and the left hand placed on either a copy of the U.S. Constitution or perhaps a holy book such as a Bible, Torah, or Koran.

The oath is certainly not the same as the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, this is instead a reaffirmation of our commitment to our country and would help promote citizenship and voting. Maybe this is something that should be given routinely as opposed to just one time; to remind people of their allegiance to this country. I cannot help but believe this simple gesture would have nothing but beneficial effects.

One last observation, during this past year, the talking heads on television recommended avoiding any talk of politics at the dinner table, particularly during Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. I disagree. We do not do enough talking at the table in a calm and reasonable manner. Instead of leaving citizenship to the school educators and MTV, parents should spend more time discussing it around the dinner table, not in a dictatorial manner, but in a frank and open discussion. I believe our youth would better understand the virtue of the Electoral College if it came from their parents as opposed to an entertainer or athlete.

Maybe then, youth will appreciate the need for “Citizenship.”

Keep the Faith!

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Enjoy Every Moment

And take nothing for granted.

Christmas is rapidly approaching and if 2016 taught me anything, it is to enjoy every moment.

I had a doctor friend pass away a couple of months ago. At 65 years old, he appeared to be in the pink of health, but was suddenly struck down by Leukemia and a stroke. Despite all of the attempts to save him, which were considerable, he lasted 103 short days before passing away. At the end, his body was emaciated, so much so, his coffin was closed for his funeral.

He was a good man, good father, trusted and dependable doctor, and was dedicated to his church. We would often see him at lunch at a nearby restaurant where we would discuss at length the world’s current events and share a few laughs. His wife is a peach with a great sense of humor. They were blessed to have raised a fine son and daughter, and were now beginning to enjoy their grandchildren.

His medical practice was successful which afforded him an opulent house on the Gulf of Mexico, sports cars, and season tickets to the Tampa Bay Rays. His passion for baseball included coaching his son and friends in Little League. He also possessed a civic duty and readily volunteered his time and donated money to several charities and his church.

Hundreds of people attended his funeral and during the ceremony several people stood up to say a few words in remembrance of him. His son struggled with the eulogy, but somehow got through it. Several tears were shed; it was quite touching.

Despite all of his success and generosity, watching him struck down so suddenly caused several of us to consider how precious life is and why we shouldn’t take it for granted. When you are young, there is a tendency to feel invincible, causing you to overlook life’s little intimacies which we should relish, but commonly overlook.

This was reinforced over the Thanksgiving holidays when we had a member of the family suffer through respiratory failure, but fortunately is now on the mend. It was scary for all of us. I had another friend whose mother tripped and fell just before Thanksgiving, thereby causing her to break her hip requiring surgery to replace it. Another friend had a foot operation, and several others experienced severe colds.

I mention this because we normally host a party at noon on Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors. We call it the “half time” party as it allows people to escape the kitchen for awhile and share a glass of cheer. Unfortunately, due to all of the medical problems, we couldn’t hold this little get-together this year, and we all missed the camaraderie.

From all of this, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment; to sit and talk, to laugh, to listen, to help and support, to take pride in our work and pastimes, to become a benefit as opposed to a burden on others, to be grateful for our health and the simple joys of life, to take nothing for granted, and to simply enjoy every moment.

Merry Christmas!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.