The Power of Our Words

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

The Power of Our Words dan skognes motivaton blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorThere is a Proverb that says the power of life and death is in the tongue. What we say either breathes life or death! That is a pretty sobering thought when you think of the power of the spoken word. It is one thing to think something, but it takes on a power of its own when you speak it.

I know some folks that constantly speak curses over their lives. They say things like: “I will never get a good job, or I will always be overweight, or I will never find the right person to settle down with, etc.” They have done it so much that they have lost sight of the truth. To them, the lie has become their truth. How sad is that? Their glass is always going to be half empty, if it has anything in it at all. They have cancelled out their blessings with their words.

We don’t have to live like that. It starts with realizing that what we say has power, and we have to take every thought captive (i.e. Think before you speak!). I hate the way some parents, teachers, and adults talk to kids. They talk down to them, yell at them, curse at them, and degrade them. They don’t seem to respect them or value them. They fail to understand that the wounds that they are inflicting on kids can scar them for LIFE. Some wounds are so deep that only God can heal the hurt.

Too many adults are carrying around the scars of abuse from childhood. Unfortunately, what was done to them they will tend to do to others as they become adults themselves. Thus, the generational curse is passed on. That is not a good thing for anyone.

We need to change to old saying to read more like this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will wound or heal.”  Please think before you speak, and when you speak…speak life.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Mutts and Misfits

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Mutts and Misfits dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI seem to be drawn to them both. I have two dogs that were abused at one point in their lives to prove it. There is something that both have in common. They are not hopeless…they just need to find it again. Show a dog love and compassion on a consistent basis and you will have a friend for life. The same goes for a child. Every living thing needs hope!

There is a child that was given an assignment to write something about his life. He could write a short story about something that he experienced…good or bad. He sat there and sat there and sat there…just staring off into space. When I asked him what he was going to write about, he said, “I can’t think of anything that would be appropriate to share in school.” My heart went out to him as I looked into his eyes. I could see that he needed to find hope. They were filled with sadness. In his world, nothing was going well.

The tragic part of that story is that this is commonplace. There are kids everywhere who have been written off as hopeless by their parents, by schools, and by society. They are not hopeless. Nobody is beyond redemption. They just need to find a reason to hope…and we can be the ones to give it to them.

I recall a story of an auction that had some very expensive things for sale. The last item that came up for auction was an old violin. It was beat up, had a missing string, and was out of tune. Nobody wanted to start the bid for the violin…not even for a dollar. An old man got up from the crowd and went to the stage and picked up the violin and bow. He took a moment to tune it; then played the most beautiful song. The people in the auction sat there spellbound as that seemingly worthless instrument came to life. You see, it always had worth. It just needed the touch of the Master’s hand.

You may be the Master in some child’s life today. You may have the chance to instill hope and bring them to life again. You may be the one to give them a reason to live. Don’t miss that opportunity. Every child is worthy of love. I pray that you and I give it freely and generously to all that cross our path each day.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

Warning Signs

Posted in Business, Funny, Motivational, Relationships

Warning danskognes motivation blogger speakerA little boy was in the checkout line at Walmart with his Mom. Right ahead of them was a very large woman. All of a sudden her phone began to beep. The little boy got a panicked look on his face and blurted out, “Look out Mom, she’s backing up!”  LOL. Paints quite a visual….doesn’t it?

There are all types of signs that warn us to stop, yield, slow down, etc. Some of them are literal signs…and some of them are not so obvious. I have been doing intervention work with elementary school kids who are behind academically. We are trained to observe and document behavior that is abnormal. These kids have been diagnosed with learning disabilities already. They are the ones who are getting immediate help.

The kids I am really concerned about are the ones who have not been diagnosed yet and you can hear their silent screams a mile away. You can see the anger, the sadness, and lack of hope in their eyes. Those are the ones that as an educator and a parent I try to help in spite of the system.

Dr. Phil says, “When someone shows you who they are…believe it.” That is great advice in relationships. Pay attention to the warning signs. There are severe and sometimes life-long consequences for ignoring the signs. With children, kids have to learn early how to control their emotions. Some of this will come with peer pressure, but the majority of it comes from the parents and educators who set the standards. The sad part of this is that too many kids have no standards set at home…or they are so low they don’t matter.

Our role as educators is to recognize the warning signs and do what we can to help get them and keep them on the right path. It is a continual battle, it seems, but one that has great reward when you see the child that was isolated become fully functioning. My hope and prayer is that we as educators and parents not just recognize the warning signs, but that we do everything humanly possible to help kids learn to control their own behavior, actively engage in the learning process, and never lose hope.  We can’t expect them to do this on their own…and the schools certainly can’t do it without some support from the parents. Please pay attention and accept responsibility for the signs.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Why I Teach

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Why I Teach dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI was talking with my wife about this recently over coffee. Kids to me are cool. They are full of life…full of energy…and have a sense of wonder about them that is infectious. I love the fact that kids in the elementary school age have not yet been tainted by the world (for the most part) and that is despite the relentless onslaught of the internet and technology.

This summer I was working with the kids of some teachers. They ranged from 5 years old to 12, so it was quite a spread and challenging to say the least to find activities that would keep them engaged but out of each other’s hair. I found that turning off electronics for the morning restored a sense of calm to the classroom. The funny thing is, the kids DID find other things to do either by themselves or in groups to pass the time. They did not die from boredom. They actually learned to play and talk with one another. LOL What did we do before the age of electronics…right?

After school started this year I found myself in a job as a Teacher’s Aid. It is a perfect fit for me. It still allows me time to teach without all the headaches of planning and meeting with parents. This week I pulled lunchroom duty. This was something that most teachers dread and do because they are forced to do it. Not sure why, but I don’t mind it at all. It allows me to mix with the kids, serve them, and get to know them. As I was making the rounds and helping kids get the things they needed for lunch….this little girl came up to me out of the blue and gave me a hug. She never said a word to me. She just hugged me and went back to her seat. I would have thought it strange…but this happens to me a lot…..in school and in stores. It is hilarious the way kids look at me when they see me in the local WalMart. It is like, “What are YOU doing here?” LOL Then they come and hug me.

One of the gifts I have is the ability to communicate with kids. For some reason, I can connect with them….make them laugh….get them dancing….and keep them on task all at the same time. I almost feel like the Pied Piper.  I thoroughly enjoy getting to know kids individually and teaching them as well. It always blows their mind when they meet an old man who claims to be Superman and says he is married to Wonder Woman! They also can’t believe that I know their music and that I know a few of their dance moves. Now that paints a visual doesn’t it?

I teach because I am using one of my natural abilities, and I know that if I encourage kids the right way they will have the opportunity to become all that God created them to be. If you look at it that way, it is a sacred obligation we have as educators to unlock the hearts and minds of future generations. I am glad that I came to the world of education late in my career because of the wealth of experience that I can pass on to them. This is not to take away from young teachers coming fresh out of college. They certainly have the same opportunity and obligation. For me, though, I think I can relate to kids in ways that I would never have been able to had I not gone through some of life’s battles and had the scars to prove it.

If you are an educator, I want to encourage you to give the best you have to the ones that have been entrusted to you. That is actually good advice for anyone in management as well. We have to opportunity to be world changers in a profound way. I am committed to doing my part, but I can’t do it alone. It does indeed take a village.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

True Living

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

True Living dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator authorMay you live all your life. Think about it…too many people just exist. They are going through the motions of life but not really living. They have either lost their zest for life, or they never found it. I am not sure which one is worse.

We weren’t created to just exist. We were made to soar like eagles, be fearless as lions, and be focused as an army of ants. Each of us has been uniquely made, created in God’s image. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

If all you see looking back at yourself are eyes of despair and lines of worry and stress, then I have some important news for you. Today is a new day. Today you can have a fresh start. Today you can put your past behind you. After all…that is why they call it the past. It is time to quit letting your past dictate your future.

If you want to have peace and fulfillment, then you have to be relentless in your pursuit of life. You cannot let the problems and circumstances of life keep you down. You cannot let the hurtful words or deeds of others wound you so deep that you never heal. If you want to live all your life, here is what you have to do:

  • Forgive those who have hurt you…no matter what the offense. Forgiving is FOR GIVING. It does nobody any good if you withhold it. Forgiveness is the key to unlocking the chains of the past. Use it as often as necessary to keep yourself free and living in the present.
  • Learn to be thankful in all circumstances. Whether you have little, or you have a lot, be thankful. An attitude of gratitude will increase your altitude.
  • Put God first, and others before yourself. These two things will help you focus on what really matters in life.
  • Be authentic. There are way too many people walking this earth in the state of denial. They can’t admit their faults and failures.  I have news for you: everyone has faults and failures. Everyone else can see them too….so just admit it when you mess up. Apologize, take responsibility for it, ask for forgiveness; then move forward.

May you live ALL your life. May you be blessed coming in and going out. May God bless you in all that you put your hands to. May you find perfect peace and fulfillment as you walk in God’s grace and fulfill your destiny.  May you never let fear, guilt, or shame keep you in bondage. May God bless you so that you may be a blessing to others.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Artificial Intelligence

Posted in Business, General, Motivational

Artificial Intelligence dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator.Although robots taking over would be fun to write about, this is about the dilemma of the worldwide education system. I am referring to the artificial intelligence we are holding as the gold standard in education. This is the problem: Everyone seems content to teach to the test.

If you are new to education or perhaps a parent, you may be unaware of this issue, but it is alive and pervasive in education. Standards are set with expectation that certain levels of achievement much be achieved in order to graduate to the next level. The intent is good but the method is flawed. What is lacking is helping kids identify their passion and use that to fulfill their purpose in life. Isn’t that a fundamental desire of everyone on this planet? We all have that burning question: Why am I here?

I do not argue against the 3 r’s. We need to read, write, and be able to do math. What I have issue with is mandating courses regardless of interest or natural talent. We do give latitude when kids get to high school, but that is too late. Think about the millions of dollars that are wasted every year with kids going to college and then deciding after one, two, or three years or more that they took the wrong path and basically need to start over. How many kids finish college every year without a clue about who they are and what they are good at? Too many.

What I am suggesting is that we need to be helping kids identify their natural abilities and then encourage them and their parents to help that seed grow. We are doing a disservice to children to use cookie cutter approaches and neglect to teach them the very basic thing that will help them in life: How to learn. At early ages, much of learning takes place through play. Children learn basic social skills, rules of games, how to be competitive, how to win, and how to lose. Why have adults forgot to have fun in learning? Play is still an incredibly effective way to learn, regardless of age.

Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, we need to add responsibility, reasoning, and relationships.  We need to inject emotional intelligence into our artificial intelligent world. We have to help kids discover very early on who they are and then encourage them to use their God-given talents in whatever they want to do in life. When they learn what their talents are and use them, they will come alive and fulfill their destiny…and that is what we all want, isn’t it?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

 

The Waiting Room

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

The Waiting Room dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI was in an office this week doing some consulting work. As I walked out, I ran into an old friend. He said, “I have something for you. It will explain what my wife and I have been through.” It was called In the Waiting. His wife wrote about the stress and testing of their faith when they had twins, and one of them was severely handicapped. Just the first chapter of the book had me going, “WOW, I have no problems.”

Then I went to church on Sunday and the very first praise song has a chorus that says, “He’s in the waiting!” I literally sat there in the service and thought, “OK, God. I get it. Somebody needs to hear this message.” So, whoever you are, this message is for you.

Nobody wants to be in the waiting room. We are there expecting something but not really knowing when it is going to happen. When is the Doctor going to come out and tell us the prognosis? When is the mechanic going to tell us the bad news? Life has many waiting rooms for us, and sometimes it is years that we have been waiting for something to change for the positive. “When, God? When will you give us some relief?”

Here is the answer from God. You want to know what it is? “I will give you an answer in my time. In the meantime, I am with you.” He is in the waiting WITH us. He is there with you as you try to make sense of the craziness of life. He is there through the tears and He is there to calm your fears. Trust Him. Know that He will help you through this if you let Him. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Matthew 28:20 says: “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The biggest problem we seem to face is we want an answer and we want it NOW. Here is the reality. It is never just about you or me. It is always about others as well. The one takeaway I hope will help and encourage you is that God’s timing is not ours, but His timing is perfect. Believe it. It is OK to have doubts and fears, just don’t hold on to them. Give them to the Lord and leave them there. 1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” He can carry all those things that are weighing you down. Give them to Him. Walk with Him. Trust Him. Praise Him in the waiting room. Your answer IS coming. The longer you have been waiting, the closer you are to your breakthrough!

There is something truly magical when people get this and receive it. It is like the lightbulb going on over their head; that “Aha” moment that we all need to come to. We wonder: “Why we did not get that before?” Let go, and let God. May God’s perfect Shalom cover you in your waiting room.

Dan Skognes

 

Disturbing Your Comfort Zone

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Disturbing Your Comfort Zone dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorHave you ever heard a quote that you wish YOU had come up with? Ray Lewis was giving a speech at the Potter’s House, and he said: “Before anything great is really achieved, your comfort zone must be disturbed.” In other words, if you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance (author unknown).

I have written about the comfort zone before, but after seeing Ray Lewis speak, it lit a fire in my belly. I realized there was a lot I needed to do outside of MY comfort zone. We all get comfortable where we are. The path of least resistance is the one we typically settle on. The low hanging fruit is what we end up picking. The problem with that thinking is that we are missing the best. You have to extend yourself to get the best fruit.

I was listening to the wife of my pastor today as she talked about how we get discouraged when we don’t see immediate fruit for our labors. She told how she had a friend that had an orchid. It was absolutely beautiful…in full bloom, but she said it was not always that way. She said that for 10 years that orchid did not bloom. She watered it and cared for it, trusting that someday it would bloom. Wow. 10 years??? How many of us would have given up on that plant in a month, or at least in a year? The secret is that she believed and she received.

Endurance is part of the calling we have in life. Each of us has a unique calling on our life, but endurance is part of the equation. This lesson is like a lot of things in life…simple yet complex. Here are your lessons:

  • Be willing to not just get outside of your comfort zone, but disturb your comfort zone to achieve something GREAT.
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You snooze, you lose. Get it?
  • “The path of least resistance is not the one that you necessarily need to take. Pursue the path of excellence.” Dan Skognes (Yes, it is my quote).
  • “Endurance is part of the price we pay for the crown we want to wear.” Dan Skognes (Yes, LOL, I thought of that one too).

“Be willing to disrupt your way of thinking. Don’t allow the limitations of other people’s thinking to define your future.” Dan Skognes (my last quote of the day).

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Don’t Fear Change

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Dont Fear Change dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorHave you ever wondered why some people are miserable and yet refuse to change what they are doing? It is kind of crazy when you think about it, but the simple truth is this: You can’t change what you refuse to confront.

You can complain about your lot in life all day long but nobody really wants to hear it….so stop it. Change is uncomfortable even when it is for your own good. It involves conquering fear of the unknown. What is going to happen if I do or don’t do this? What will happen to my marriage, my health, my finances, my friends, or to my family?

  • If you are not where you want to be, change what you are doing. Find your passion and do whatever you can to do more of that. Finding your passion and living it will bring you great joy and fulfillment. Your passion will lead you to your purpose.
  • You are only a prisoner of your past if you allow your past to define who you wish to become. Change where you live. If you have been living in the past and bemoaning where you are today because of bad choices or bad luck, let go of the past and take up residence in the here and now. It is much brighter in the present than in the past, and you can begin today to take new steps in the direction you want to be residing in. That is a matter of choice.
  • If you are not who you want to be, change how you think and how you speak. There is great power in the words you speak over yourself. You either speak life or you speak death, so think before you speak. You speak blessings or you speak curses. If you say, “I will never find a job that pays what I am worth.” Guess what, you won’t! Guard your heart and take every thought captive. Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Have you noticed how some people seem to be eternally hopeful despite the terrible things they have had to endure? It is not by accident. What we do not see are the scars and the dirt under their fingernails for what they had to endure in digging their way out. They have learned the secret of not complaining and remaining thankful. Those two things will keep hope alive and allow us to make the necessary changes in our lives.

Don’t give up on yourself or upon others. Risk changing to become who you want to be in life. Even if you think you are totally fulfilled and happy, be willing to change for the better.  Nobody is perfect. There are levels of greatness that await your first steps of courage. Your destiny is within your reach. You just have to believe it and seek it. Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

From Passion To Purpose

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

From Passion to Purpose dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator.jpgHave you ever known someone who is “Livin’ the Dream?” How does that happen? The real question is: why do so many people do something they hate to do for a living? It goes back to passion and purpose.

I read a book many years ago by Rick Warren called The Purpose Driven Life. It is an incredible book that has helped countless people to discover the meaning of their life. At a convention this week he gave the testimony about his son who had committed suicide. His son suffered from depression and fought it for many years, but he finally gave in to the desire to just end the pain. Rick took an extended sabbatical when this happened and was overwhelmed by the numerous emails and mail he received letting him know that his son had impacted their lives in a very positive way for the Kingdom of God. Rick’s testimony was this: “It is only by the grace of God that allows a broken tree to bear fruit.”

That is pretty deep. I can’t begin to imagine how he felt and I hope I never have to go through that type of loss. No parent ever expects to bury their child, yet it happens every day for a myriad of reasons. Life is short enough as it is.

The reason I share the testimony is to highlight the brevity of our lives. We are here but for a blink of an eye in the scheme of eternity. A pastor friend of mine was talking with a young child one day and the kid said to him, “May you live all your life.” Wow…out of the mouths of babes. To really live….to live on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose…is that not what we all seek on this planet?

My challenge to you is to find your passion. That is the thing you would do even if you had to do it for free because it is what lights your fire. It ignites your engines and fuels you with energy. Your passion is usually identified as a God-given talent or talents that you have and naturally exhibit. You don’t have to strain to do it. Work is still required, or course, but the normal stresses of work are not there when you do what you are passionate about. You don’t dread doing this because you love what you do and others are blessed by it as well.

When you find your passion, it will naturally lead to your purpose. Your purpose is revealed as you step into your destiny…what you were designed to do. We each have a unique design and a unique purpose. There is only one you and one me…and in my case that is a good thing. I don’t think the world could handle two of me. LOL.

If you are doing things that you hate to do just chasing the dollar you will never find peace and fulfillment. You will continually find reasons to hate your boss, hate your hours, hate your job, and hate your customers. Don’t allow the dollar to be your goal. Chase your passion with all that you have and the dollars will follow. Find your passion and you will find your purpose. You can love your work if you find your passion.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes