Sunday, July 07, 2013

On the need to be heard, seen and acknowledged.

Humans require communication for their own efficacy and sense of self.  Communication, as such, does not need to be between individuals, even as the most rewarding dialogue occurs generally between two or more.  For millennia and even today, one-on-one conversations are probably the most common interchange in spite of reams and googles of media of all types available at the touch of an app.

Today, my thoughts center on the anonymity of millions of individuals, without a voice beyond their community or village, or even the encapsulation of their home.  It is interesting to me how muted individuals, maybe mainly in western societies, but not necessarily so,  are prone to extreme violence when they have become isolated from others over an extended period of time.

I recall being ostracized as a young boy, further compounded by an introverted nature, due to circumstances not readily apparent to me at the time.  We had encountered significant change from the time I turned four (4), being uprooted from our ancestral home of Rio Segundo, Alajuela in Costa Rica, to the cold and ice of Amsterdam, NY where my Dad had settled in the early 1960's.  Then again shuttled back to Costa Rica a few years later due to a postpartum depression suffered by my Mom.  Three years would go by, attending school in Costa Rica, living under the care of my grandparents, until we reunited permanently in Lincolnton, NC at the end of 1970.

Maybe the sense of an independent self had emerged due to forced changes in my environment, family, language, culture and peers.  The only person I really knew was I;  least on a continuum.  I have often thought that children of military parents or those of business managers that have far-flung responsibilities may encounter similar circumstances.  The ones I have met over the years are very flexible individuals with a wide lens on society in general.

The issue I am trying to describe is effected by isolation, not incessant change.

Incessant change can cause someone to be less responsive to their environment, sort of like the snail going back into their shell when moved around a lot.  Yet, the isolation I wish to expose, is that which crushes the human spirit due to little or no feedback in whatever environment the individual resides.

We may be the most connected people today, living in the most populous cities, aware of events a world away; and we are also possibly becoming the most isolated individuals since the beginning of human communities in the distant past.

By the is not because of smart phones, computers, and every type of anonymous tools that we are having less "live" contact with others.  I believe it is because of a divergence in beliefs within our own families, communities, sects and nation states.  Most individuals require the emotional and cultural support of their peers to feel a part of the group or society.  Then there are those that will not be "boxed-in" by societal, religious or political mores.  It is my impression that this second group is growing, yet keenly feels the sting of aloneness.   In time, "individualism" will become more prevalent  as these folks gain "voice" in spite of pressures from their groups, which they will begin to exit.  This is now being see in the significant reduction of organized faith affiliation, even as spirituality is not on the decrease.  People will less need the affirmation of a group in order to feel a part of a broader society.

Finally, aloneness is not good for the human.  He is a social animal.  I believe he will connect more and more to those of his genre.  This will then cause systemic shifts in thought processes causing conformity with the established order to collapse; ushering in a world that we may yet not be able to imagine.

Not a bad world, but a different one.

In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL www.LuisLobo.Biz

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Luis G. Lobo Keynote Address Naturalization Ceremony at "OLD SALEM" 7-4-13:

July 4th, 2013 remarks before the 3rd Annual Naturalization Ceremony of new Americans at Salem Green, Winston Salem.



Winston-Salem, NC

Luis G. Lobo

Executive Vice President

BB&T Bank

July 4th, 2013

Good morning everyone!

Buenos Dias in SPANISH

Subha Ba-khair in URDU


GUTEN MORGEN in the German that once was the native tongue of the settlers of this community of Salem, NC

It is the greatest honor to congratulate you on becoming an American citizen.

I clearly recall my own naturalization ceremony, held at Norfolk, VA on the first anniversary of 9-11. I wore my grandfather’s tie and my father’s watch. Individuals surrounded me from the world over, proudly holding their American flags. At that moment I imagined my father’s journey to the United States.

My father came to this country in 1964 from Costa Rica, he was just 21 years old, leaving behind my mother, my brother and me. He established the Costa Rican community first in Amsterdam, NY, then in 1968 the wider Latino community in Lincolnton, N.C. When my family reunited my brother Carlos and I were the first Latino children to enter the Lincoln County schools.

Next year my family will mark the 50th anniversary of my father and mother’s one-way ticket with destiny.

I like to joke that when we first went to school in Lincolnton, there were little white boys and girls, little black boys and girls and Carlos and Luis Lobo.

My father told us that he brought us here to give us an American education. My brothers, sister and I believed him and we have all pursued higher education. Education is the great equalizer, and even though success is never guaranteed, without an education – finishing high school, attending community college or higher, your chances and those of your own children are very limited, because you have limited your value to an employer, your community and your family.

I recall going to the bank, in my hometown of Lincolnton with my mother and father. When the banker stepped out of his office for a moment, my mother looked at me and said “You can one day be like him”. My parents believed in me and I believed in them.


Today, nearly 50% of children entering the public school system are multicultural. 1/3 of the peoples of the United States are of Asian, African, or Latino decent.

What does this mean for the United States and for the state of NC?

Can we and our children become an economic and cultural miracle for America?

Can we improve President Lincoln’s great notion spoken at Gettysburg during the American Civil War? “… that we are here highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth”.

Every moment a new child is born in America or an immigrant arrives, the country is indeed given a new birth of freedom.

Can we live up to the soaring optimist of Martin Luther King that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.

When 1/3 of the nation is multicultural and our children are growing up in mixed environments, color and ethnicity will in time cease to separate us.

Can we become the vision of President Kennedy to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?”

It bodes well for us that this generation of Americans are more concerned about our resources, justice towards their peers, and has greater connectivity across the globe than those of my generation ever conceived.


I will remind you of our history:

150 years ago, a terrible Civil War erased slavery, yet evaded people of color for another 100 years. 75 years ago the United States and its allies defeated Nazism and Fascism. Yet conflict across the globe remains pervasive.

The greatest economic power in the world fell into the Great Recession five years ago and we continue to struggle with high unemployment, poverty and uncertainty.

I tell you these things because we have been able to overcome great struggles and difficulties since the founding of the republic. It is the freedom that the American Constitution affords us, that spawns the creativity, innovation and self-improvement that helps us solve our problems and positively impact the world.

America is still the land of opportunity for those who have an open heart and a willing soul to work hard enough and strive well enough.

Everyone here chose to come, chose to take a risk and start a new life in this country, and that takes courage. You are the parents of the next generation of American entrepreneurs, skilled workers, professionals and educators.

It is so important for your children and grandchildren to know your story, as I have shared the story of my father’s journey with my own children, nieces and nephews.

We CHOSE to call American home. We CHOSE to be Americans. It is our responsibility to become good citizens and good neighbors by giving back to our country with our time and talent.

Democracy is NOT the natural order of things. America is the greatest nation conceived by the mind of man. But you must do your part, plus a little extra.

Our freedom and way of life are not automatic. Someone else should NOT pull your weight, even as we are the most generous people in the history of mankind, we are each responsible for ourselves, and only then will our society continue to create the greatest benefit to its citizens: The FREEDOM TO BE.

By having THE FREEDOM TO BE you can express yourself without fear of being put in jail or killed. You have a voice! It is called the right to VOTE. And that is one of the reasons why I treasure my status as an American citizen.

Millions of individuals have perished at home and abroad for you to have the right to vote. Choosing our leaders from among our neighbors is uniquely American. No monarchy, governing class, or religious dominance is prevalent here.

We recently witnessed the impact of diverse populations on the outcome of the presidential election. You may or may not have liked the outcome, but the multicultural impact was REAL. Voting is your most significant responsibility as a new American and DO NOT LET ANYONE DETER YOU FROM IT! We should NEVER take for granted the right to work legally, to vote bravely and to live freely.

If you are like me, every time you hear the National Anthem, you will think about this moment and that you are part of this great nation. You chose to CHANGE Your REALITY. It is because of this decision that the future of your children, family and friends will be changed forever. Facing REALITY requires us to make decisions about ourselves and those under our care. Just like my father became the HERO in our family, you will be remembered by your descendants as the person who chose to change reality and provide GREAT OPPORTUNITY for others.

Let me encourage you to continue to have what I consider to be the most practical quality – HIGH EPA! An Enthusiastic Positive Attitude. Immigrants are predisposed towards optimism. Yet, it is less the impact on you as it is on everyone you come into contact with. Your interactions with your children, your spouse, and your coworkers become more powerful and productive due to approaching everyday life enthusiastically and with hope.

In conclusion I wish to share with you my favorite poem by the great Robert Frost. It is my favorite because it requires us, you and I, to make a decision everyday as to the eventual outcome of our lives.

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Thank you for your attention and many congratulations to each of you!

In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL www.LuisLobo.Biz