The Price of Success

June 20, 2008

I went to the grocery store today. I wanted ice cream. No, you don’t understand- I really needed it! This is vital stuff. It’s not just the chips and coke that us programmers have a steady diet of. Staples are nice, but when I need serious inspiration it’s Edi’s Mint Chocolate Chip for me. How else will I complete my project on time? So I get to the checkout counter and would you believe it, they want me to pay for it. ARGGGGG!!! Isn’t my need enough?  Why should I have to pay?

It’s like all of those newbie’s that swarm all over you on the support group sites. They all want something. Everybody wants my stuff…

Wow, does that sound familiar. You know, it seems like the whole world has elevated the two M’s to a whole new level (M²: It’s all about Money and Me). Not on my server you don’t! I’m putting my foot down. This time there’s no more talking teamwork. I want action. You guys are going to work as a team or you are all hitting the road. (I can hear the complaints now. “Moralizing Twit! #@%$#@%$.” Come on, with a BLOG title like “Social Engineering for the Techie,” you expected code bits?)

Ok, none of you work for me. Heck, I’m just a programmer, so nobody actually works for me. Lets stop talking teamwork and remember how we got here. I for one had lots of teachers. I had friends who raced code with me. (Meaning that we competed for the title of fastest neural network implementations, and so on.)  I’ve borrowed the code of programmers long gone from the company. I might even owe a few nods to SAP for interesting bits I’ve seen in their code.

Looks like I’m in debt up to my eye balls. How will I ever pay for all of the “Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream” that I’ve been getting free samples of?  All I can do is give something back. With eleven years of coding in SAP (Basis, Functional… 20 in IT), I must have some assets that I can give back. So daily, I give the newbies a chance to pick my brain. I can’t actually do much for the guys who got me where I am. Most of them are up the food chain from me anyway. Dan (Doc) for instance was one of my greatest mentors. I don’t even know where he is now. Where ever that is, he is surely boot strapping someone. If emulation is the highest praise, then I’m going to keep on praising Doc.  I hope you’ll join me and give back.

One last thing. You newbies, don’t think that you are left out. Everyone knows something that no one else knows. Watch for a chance to boot strap someone else and more than anything else, remember that everyone needs encouragement.

Places to Explore
Talking About Community Rules – Help your ITToolBox community get better!

ABAP Documentation for Newbies – Help the new programmers get their feet on the ground by posting helpful hints and life’s lessons learned(LLL)! This was originally intended for Newbies to share LLL, but they may indeed need some help getting started.

If you see something really cool out in ITToolBox land, write me and perhaps I’ll drop a note in the “Places to Explore” section of my next column.  Got a topic that needs attention.  Maybe I’ll write about it.  I’d sure love to discuss it with you.

Neal Wilhite (wilhiten-at-aol-dot-com)



March 18, 2008


Dear E-beth

March 14, 2008

E-beth! We want you to write more.


PS: Everyone else out there, you should be reading and trying to get her busily BLOGing!

K-Love : 2 Corinthians 13:5

March 12, 2008

K-Love sent me this today.

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
–2 Corinthians 13:5, NLT

I wonder if forgetting that Christ is right here with me and doing something that I’d never let him see me doing is also a failure in my test of faith?  No Cussing!  No leering!  No deprecation of offensive people!  He’s in my mind too.  Do my thoughts then endanger my faith?  I’ve let things slip out when my mother or my pastor were around.  As soon as I caught my self I immediately appologised.

So tell me lord, does appologising to you repair my faith?

March 11, 2008

I think I need to change the title of my BLOG.  All I want to write anymore is questions for God.  How about if I change it to “HELP!”?

Well anyway, you’ve been warned.

Who to vote for now?

March 5, 2008

Dear Dr. James Dobson,

You are a man who’s opinion I tend to trust. Please don’t believe I’m saying this foolishly. Just because you say something doesn’t mean that I believe it blindly. You are in fact no more perfect than any other man. On the other hand, you have a proven track record and you appear to have a really good connection with God. I wish I knew what options you saw (in the 2008 presidential election) now that Huckabee is out of the race.

Huckabee is a man that I know understoods what is important and what is not. McCain appears to be not as concerned about the unborn or the sanctity of marriage or protecting us from judicial legislation… as I could wish. I don’t see the level of support for them that I would wish and what is there in a not well defined way. This is not just me being Republican. There are some Democrats whom I would trust in these areas (such as Mike McIntyre) but none of whom are running for president. You see, I consider myself to be an independent.

Mr Dobson, I don’t expect to hear from you or for you to see this posting but I sure wish I knew what you were thinking.


Dear God,

I know that you are listening. What now? Please speak to those of us that share my concern. To those that want your will to be carried forward. We need your direction. We love you and we would do anything for you.

Your Devoted Servant,

Neal Wilhite (

A letter to the author (and response)

July 2, 2007

Regarding “Scout Troop Blessings” 

From: Martin Foster Scoutmaster 9th Irene Air Scout Troop.

Here in South Africa Scouting is interdenominational and no one has to demonstrate their allegiance to any particular religion.

In my view each person has three categories of belief.
1. Personal individual beliefs in God, angels, heaven, devils, baptism, or whatever.
2. Social belief – how one interacts socially with others of the same or different religious beliefs or culture.
3. One’s life script – How you live your life. How you treat others. How you react to those with a different view of life then yourself.

It seems you have come to a realization in your life that means much to you. Let others, also, in their time attain their own realizations. 

In Response:

Dear Martin,

In the US, scouting requirements are broader than interdenominational.  Having a denomination assumes that you are Christian.  I know of no other mode in which the term is used.  Scouting, in the US, is open to any person who believes in a “god”.  There are many however who believe this to be too restrictive.  In recent years, our organization was challenged by atheists who wished it to be free of religion.  It was also challenged by homosexuals who wished to be unrestricted morally (actually, I suppose that they would say less restricted).  In both cases, scouting was forced to defend itself in court.  Our defense was, as I understand it, that we were a private organization and as such had a right to determine who our members would be.  You see there must be a line.  There must be rules.  For your organization, you are welcome to place the line and the rules where you will. 

This is how we have set our rules.  Anyone who doesn’t like them is welcome to create their own organization.  Strangely, I don’t see them doing this.  In the US, people that felt that scouting wasn’t conservative enough, started their own organizations.  Girl Scouts now has a more conservative form called American Heritage Girls.  Boy Scouts has a variant called Contenders for the Faith.  (Why do liberals feel that they must hijack our organizations rather than start their own?  Just a rhetorical question.)

But you see this is not where it ends.  When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) said “we have a right to associate as we please they had to admit that every organization had a right to do the same.  You see, the BSA can’t sponsor the thousands of scout troops needed in America.  Other organizations with like goals have to sponsor them.  For that reason, the sponsoring organization has the right to adjust the line and the rules. 

Instead of a line,  lets think of the line and the rules making up two circles.  There is an outer most circle that you may not cross with out breaking out of scouting.  There is an inner most circle that the BSA requires as minimums.  The sponsoring organization must then draw their circle so that it is completely inside the outer one and completely contains the inner one. 

“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, To obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

“A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

“As a citizen of the world, I will do my best to – Be clean in my outdoor manners.  Be careful with fire.  Be considerate in the outdoors, and Be conservation-minded.”

These are the basics of BSA scouting.  We won’t go into full detail here of what the minimums are, but you should be able to get the idea!

As a final note, I would like to say the following.  No mater who you are or what you believe, your life influences others.  You can’t help it.  Even attempting to prevent the influence, influences them.  Additionally, youth are sponges.  You can pour almost anything into them.  If you prevented anything from being poured into them, they would be hollow, fragile, and pretty much useless.  In America, we’ve forgotten this.  We’ve been trying to prevent them from receiving direct influence, to quote, “so that they could make up their own minds”.  In the mean time, our youth have become either hollow or dark with ill influences.  Witness the state of our culture.  Today we have children massacring their fellows in school so that they can feel significant. 

I intend to pour in as much light as I can!

Neal Wilhite
Who admires you for supporting Scouting!

Scout Troop Blessings

June 28, 2007

I’ve been looking around.  Around here, it appears that Scouting is in decline.  I see troops loosing members. I see troops with insufficient adult leadership.  The word languish really does come to mind.  I thought that we were doing God’s will.  That we were leading a next generation to a greater place in the kingdom.  Where’s the blessing for my troop?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” PS 33:12.  I don’t really think that David meant only nations.  I think that he could have as easily used people or church or organization here.  The Jews have often been referred to as the “nation” of Israel.  I’d say that a group of people that is united in their dedication to the Lord would receive this blessing.  So again I say, where’s that blessing.

I’ve always said that we were a Christian troop.  We say that we only take leaders with strong Christian values.  We say that we will only provide Christian mentorship for the boys.  Don’t we qualify as Christian?  So I started looking around.  OK, I wasn’t really looking.  The Lord just tapped me on the shoulder and asked a question.  “Are you doing it the my way or are you doing it your way (the convenient way) in my name?” 

I imagine that He gets annoyed with our tossing stuff on His plate that he would never feed us.  Lord if I’m a scout, then I’m yours, right? “No!”  How about if I go to church?  “Pagans have been to your church to attempt to damage it with their supposed powers.  Were they Christian since they came to church?”  So what will it take?  Do you know what He told me?  He said, “Do you consistently unite in prayer?  Do you seek my will in your decisions?  Do you listen and obey?”

I am determined to change my plan.  There will be no more settling for the convenient.  There will be no more walking the easy paths.  If I can’t get the Lord’s blessing than I’d rather that the troop died anyway.  If it’s not serving His purpose then what good is it.  If you’ve got a troop you are welcome to join me.  If you are already doing these things, I want to come see and be further inspired!

Who’s Responsible (A Scout Master’s Minute)

June 26, 2007

Suppose that, at work, my boss wants me to produce a program for an executive that will give a false evaluation of what’s going.  The executive asked for the program to be made that way.  He asked my manager to get it made for him.  My manager asked me to make it.  So who’s responsible?  Do you think a lie will be perpetrated with it?

[Give them a couple of moments to talk about it.]

The executive is surely responsible for asking for a lie.  What is he going to do with the program?  He’s responsible for that too.  My manager is responsible for accepting the order.  He’s also responsible for evaluating how it will be used.  I’m responsible for accepting the order from my manager.  I’m responsible if someone gets hurt by the lie that my program will produce.  I’m responsible for pointing out all of the failings that the program will have in case someone doesn’t know.


Lies (all lies, no mater how small) only exist by agreement.  Once exposed, a lie melts away because it has no substance.  Who’s responsible for protecting the truth?  I am.  You are.  They are.  Everyone is.  A scout stands tough for the truth.

Building a Human Pyramid

June 8, 2007

“So, who’s going to go first?”, I said.  “Come on Darnel, you’re the football player, show us!”, they all chimed in.  BSA Tenderfoot rank requirements ask you to prove not that you are physically fit, but that you are willing to improve your physical fitness.  Sit-ups, Pushups, Pull-ups, Broad Jump, Quarter Mile Walk/Run.  We’d do’em all.  We’ll do’em again in 30 days and show that (with practice) we’ve improved.  So Darnel banged out 40 good solid military pushups.  Ok the last 10 might have been a little less solid, but when I was his age, I don’t remember making 40 on my first try.  And yes, I was a defensive tight end.

Not everyone is a football player though, so some of the boys were toughing it out for 1 or 2 pushups.  That’s OK, they were there to improve.  Now, with your random bunch of boys, you expect some serious taunting.  “Two, You are soooooo lame!”  No, I did not hear one taunt.  It was more like, “Come on man, try it again.  I know you can do more.”  And the spirit in the place was so encouraging that even when they had taken their best shot they wanted another go.  Here I was prepared to make men out of them, jumping on their barbed edges to hammer them flat.  They were already looking back at me from the next level.  “Come on, Mr. Neal, we’re heading up.”

So, today I was sitting wondering why these boys needed me at all.  They already have the spirit of scouting!  They are Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind.  They are founded on their love of God.  I’ve got nothing to do.  Why did God give me guys that would make anybody proud.  I thought I was here to raise up a lost generation.  My answer was simple.  Ever try to build a human pyramid?  Your strongest people must be at the bottom.  They are the ones that will hold the others up.  If a man falls at the top, he falls and perhaps takes another with him.  If a man at the foundation falls the whole pyramid is doomed.

You know in the big picture, the scout master won’t actually build character in the boys.  The boys inspire each other.  What the scout master really does is open a window so that the boys can help each other through.  He limits the options that they are going to be presenting to each other.  Those limits are his window. 

God was telling me that he didn’t have time for me to develop a solid core.  “Here you go, I want your troop founded on the rock.”  Now why would that be?  I guess I’ll be watching for some new boys to be walking past my window