It Is Never Just About You

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

It Is Never Just About You dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorLet’s face it: We are born selfish. “MINE” is one of the first things you hear coming out of a kid’s mouth, and many of us seem to hang on to that mentality throughout our lives. The funny thing is how we judge others for being self-centered without really looking in the mirror. We all have that tendency…even me. OK…I said it!  LOL.

Selfishness is an inborn trait but does not have to define who we are. When I am teaching kids I constantly look for ways to get kids to help one another and share ideas and things. I teach them the power of serving. Yesterday I was tying a shoe for a kindergarten kid. Later in the day when I asked a kid to tie his shoes, he said he did not know how. A friend of his immediately knelt down and tied it for him. It was a very cool moment and reminded me to model what I expect.

Kids are like little sponges and they are continually soaking up information. Their little brains are going 90 miles an hour putting facts together and figuring out what this thing called life is all about. Here is one thing I know for sure about kids: if you tell them something it may have a punch, but if you model it for them it has lasting power. When you show them how to serve, give, and love one another it will transform them.

Isn’t that what we want as teachers? Don’t we want to transform kids into productive, healthy, and happy human beings? Of course we do. It starts with showing them…modeling for them how it is supposed to be. They may or may not get it at home, but at least I know they will get it in my class. Part of that process is being genuine and admitting when you make a mistake. That has great power as well. Let kids know when you mess up and if you offend someone, let them see you apologize for it. They WILL remember that lesson, trust me.

Next time you see someone being really selfish, you can correct them, but take time to look in the mirror and make sure you are not guilty of the thing you are correcting in others.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Monday Monday

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Monday Monday dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorTo be honest, I don’t understand why some people dread Monday. I think it is because so many people are not doing what they love to do. I look forward to Mondays. I teach, I write, and I interact with people that I care about. I do this every day of the week because I truly love what I do.

I heard a preacher explain the difference in how some people get out of bed in the morning. The first person says, “Good morning, Lord!”  The second person says, “Good Lord, it’s morning!”  LOL. It is a matter of perspective, right?

If you are a person that continually gripes about Monday, I would encourage you to take a hard look at what you are doing for a living. If you truly are doing what you love, then quit griping about it. Ain’t nobody got time for that, right? LOL. If you don’t like what you are doing, start finding something that you are truly passionate about and pursue that with all your heart.

I helped screen kids for the business school at TCU this week. It was interesting to talk to the kids and hear what they were pursuing. Most were still trying to figure out what they wanted to be, but a few of them had already figured out what they wanted and had a laser focus on what they were going to do for a living. I think part of that is due to good parenting and partly due to the school they attend.

Schools have come a long way in helping kids find their way. One of the things that I think is pretty cool about the TCU program is the intern program they have that helps kids test the waters in things that are of interest to them (even internationally), as well as the projects they do in classes that allow them to work in teams towards common goals as if they were in a real business.

When I was in college we did not have the intern programs available to us nor the team projects which simulated businesses. We played a board game but it was pretty rudimentary.

Even though I teach at the elementary school level now, I still try to help kids identify what they are good at. When I see a gifting in writing, art, science, math, athletics, or whatever, I praise them for it and let the parent know that they have a gift in that area. Hopefully I will help them on their journey to find their passion and avoid the Monday Monday syndrome.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Six Flags Fright Fest Aptly Named

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Six Flags Fright Fest Aptly NamedSix Flags will never be the same. 9 teenagers violently beat a couple in their 50′s and their 12 year old son. The teens cut into line and were cursing. When the parents asked the teens to stop cursing, they sucker punched their 12 year old son. When the parents tried to intervene, they were beaten severely by the gang of kids. All 3 of them ended up in the hospital.

Wow. What is going on in our society? How does something like this take place? How is it that these kids have come to the point that they think this is cool, fun, or OK on any level to beat someone senseless? Where is their conscience? Where is their remorse?

I am angry about it, but I am also grieving. Where are the parents of these kids? Where was the security at Six Flags? Why is there such a blatant disregard for human life these days? Why are so many people filled with rage and ready to unleash at the slightest provocation?

Evil has no reason, no conscience, and no regrets. Evil takes. It never gives. Evil seduces people into thinking that there will be no consequences. Unfortunately, those who are seduced will have a severe wake up call. They will either end up in prison or in the morgue if they don’t change. That is the part that grieves me. Number one, I don’t want to see anyone getting hurt. Number two, I love kids and I hate to see them following the wrong people and jumping off the cliff to oblivion….taking countless lives with them.

Here is what I personally would like to see:

  • Parents start acting like parents and quit letting their kids run crazy. I realize that some parents are trying and some kids are going to rebel no matter what, but I am talking about the countless kids that have absentee fathers, no discipline, and nobody holding them accountable until it is too late. Parents need to step up and start parenting.
  • We need to have proper security at public events…even Six Flags. If this can happen at Six Flags, don’t think it can’t happen in your community at some local event. Proper security would have deterred those thugs from mauling that family.
  • There have to be consequences for criminal behavior. The 18 year old perpetrator was the only one pictured because the others were under 18 and considered juvenile. There has to come a point where we hold kids accountable for crimes, regardless of how old they are. I realize this is very complicated, but how do kids get away with beating a family senseless just because they are juveniles? I know they will go to some type of detention center, but when will we wake up and realize that what we are doing is not working? Most people in prison have rap sheets that are long…indicating that they are repeat offenders. It starts early, and left unchecked it will last a lifetime.

Please don’t take this blog as a slam against kids, blacks, or any other broad tag you might want to attach. It is a plea for us to change. We have to learn to recognize the problems with kids early on and help them get on the right path. They have to see that there are consequences by experiencing them. You can’t just talk about it. Talk is cheap and it has no teeth.

I love kids, but I am deeply concerned that if we don’t change what we are doing, we will lose much of the next generation to evil, and then we all have a price to pay.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

A Time and Place

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

A Time and Place dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorThere is a proverb which says, “There is a time and place for everything.” That means there is a time to kneel and a time to stand. I was reminded of the proverb Monday night at the beginning of the Cowboys’ football game.

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys did something totally unexpected, and it was beautiful. They knelt in unity on the field before the National Anthem, and stood in unity during the National Anthem. It was brilliant.

Our country is deeply divided on so many issues. I think that is why this kneeling thing got so much hype. It is not about kneeling…it is about “rights.” The problem seems to be when your rights come into direct opposition to my rights, who is right? How do you resolve that when both sides have rights? Respect.

You don’t have to agree with one another to just show respect. My rights don’t outweigh your rights, and yours don’t outweigh mine. We can’t change each another. We may be able to influence and encourage one another…but we have to respect one another if we expect to have any peace or progress.

My hope and prayer is this: May we set aside our “rights” when they are in direct conflict with our brother. May we seek to understand and think outside the box to find common ground. May we realize that there is a time and place for everything. We don’t have to compromise our morals, our core beliefs, or who we are. We just have to be willing to show respect for the other person and allow them to be different.

I pray this over our President, our Congress, our NFL, our churches, our civic organizations, and all the various ethnic groups which make up America. We are a diverse country with a common goal of freedom. That freedom comes with a price, and we can’t forget those who have paid the price on the battlefield so we can play on the football field.

There is a time and place for everything. I believe that we can come together as a country and truly show the world why America is great. Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Prescription for Prayer

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Prescription for Prayer dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorWith all the things going on in the world today, I don’t know how anyone survives without prayer. There are catastrophes galore, unspeakable acts of evil abounding, and chaos seems to be the theme of the day.

This week I was reminded of how much we need to pray. I was at school and one of the ladies who works there was quite despondent. I know her to be a jubilant person most of the time, so I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. When I asked her why she was upset, she did not want to speak. I could tell she was fighting back the tears. I told her it was OK, and gently asked her again to tell me what was wrong.

She said she had relatives in Puerto Rico and had not been able to reach them for the past 4 days because of the hurricane. She is just one of many teachers we have on staff that have family in Puerto Rico and Mexico which have both succumbed recently to natural disasters. I simply told her what she already knew: prayer is the answer. God is still in control. The best thing we can do for those in peril and for ourselves is to pray! She agreed and thanked me for the encouragement.

I saw her later that day and asked her how she was doing. She smiled and said she was feeling much better. Sometimes we just have to be reminded of the power of prayer. Worry is a terrible thing and can weigh down the heart of the mightiest warrior. Prayer is a powerful weapon when you have everything to lose and no sign of hope ahead. I realize it takes faith as well, and that faith has to be in God. Only He can change the course of a river or the heart of a King….but he can do it. With Him, everything is possible.

Whatever you are facing today, turn it over to God. I have included a prescription for you from Him. It is available to you right now. You won’t even have to wait in line at the pharmacy! Just accept it, use it, and trust God for the results.

P.S. God’s Son paid for it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Smile

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Smile dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI smile a lot. I can’t help it. When I was in High School a kid nicknamed me “Smiley!”  LOL. I did not take offense to it. Smiles are truly magical. If you don’t believe it, put on a big smile and just walk around a store and see what happens. People perk up and smile back. Of course there are always the ones who are determined to be grumpy…and I pray for them. :o )

When teaching children, I learned a long time ago to look them in the eye, smile, and call them by name. Those three things get their attention and let them know that they matter to you. It is disarming to look at someone who is genuinely smiling at you. They know you care when you smile.

I use the same technique on fellow teachers, the Principals, the front office staff, the janitors, the kitchen helpers. It is great to see them light up. I had a parent tell me yesterday she missed me when I was not there in the cafeteria to help with the kids because I brought LIFE to the kids. Wow. That was so humbling for me to hear, and yet I believe it starts with a smile.

I am one of the ones chosen to do the dreaded drive line (helping kids get out of the car when they arrive at school), and also the dreaded cafeteria duty (keeping around 700 kids in line, in their seats, eating quietly, and not hitting each other…LOL). I use music on the drive line and it works like magic. Some kids start dancing. Some come and give me hugs. Almost all of them look at me and SMILE. Pretty cool way to start the day, don’t you think? In the cafeteria I stand at the door and greet them one by one as they come in. I don’t use the music then because we are trying to get them calm for lunch, but I do still smile, call them by name if I know it, and give high fives and fist bumps.

Try smiling more and you will find yourself grumbling less. It is a key to unlocking all relationships.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Attitude Is One Thing We Can Change

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Attitude Is One Thing We Can Change dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

I heard a sermon recently and the pastor was talking about our attitude. He said, “Attitude is one of the main keys to unlocking joy in your life.” I believe he hit the nail on the head with that one. It has been said that “Attitude determines altitude.” I like that as well. Too many of us allow negative attitudes to limit how high, how fast, or how far we will go.

Why do we give negative attitudes the power to rule us? Our attitude matters. Somehow we have managed to lose sight of that.

Here are a few things I have learned about attitude that may affect yours in a positive way:

  • Learning to be grateful is one of the most powerful attitudes you can develop. When you learn to be truly grateful for what you have, no matter how great or how small or how difficult, you have learned the secret to being content.
  • Comparing ourselves to others is a losing battle. There will always be someone who has more than you. You don’t know what they had to sacrifice to get what they have, and yet you want what they have and you want it now. Develop an attitude of, “I am going to work my tail off to get what I want.” Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Hard work will pay off if you learn to persevere.
  • Little things matter when it comes to attitude. Say “Thank you.” Say “Please.” Say “I love you.” Say, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” Compliment others and mean it! Do those little things consistently and it will put you on a positive path every day.
  • Take control of your attitude or it will control you.
  • Attitudes are habitual. Why not be habitually happy instead of bitter, resentful, remorseful, and angry?  It is your choice.

Determine today to change your attitude regardless of what it is, and make it better. You can go places that you never dreamed possible if you do.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

The Flea Song

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

The Flea Song dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorTeaching is kind of like being a janitor with a key ring that has 50 keys on it. He has to know which key works on which door. It is the same thing with teaching. We have to figure out which key unlocks the hearts and minds of our kids. That is not an easy task even on our best days.

This week I was assisting a substitute teacher in 3rd grade. She was having a rough time when I came in. I watched the chaos for a moment and asked some of the kids who were wandering around the class what they were doing. They said they were waiting for their next assignment.

I asked the teacher if I had her permission to teach these kids who were finished a song. It was basically to give her a break and give them something to do. She said, “OK.” The song is one I learned when I was around 12 years old and I still remember the song and who taught it to me. The song is one where I give them the line and then they have to repeat it back to me verbatim. It gets progressively harder and really challenges their listening capabilities. Here is how it goes:

Flea

Flea fly

Flea fly flow

Veestay!

Pamalama camalama camalama veestay

Oh no no no no not the veestay!

Veestay!

Eeenie meanie disaleenie ah ooh ooh maleenie

Acha chacha coomaracha ah ooh ooh

Eeenie meanie disaleenie ah ooh ooh maleenie, acha chacha coomaracha ah ooh ooh.

Ish bibli oaten doaten, bo bo padeeten dotin, why not, and SHHHHHH.

Obviously it is just a silly song, but the kids LOVED it and giggled all through it. There is a tune that goes with it along with some simple hand movements. I came back to the class the next day to be their sub and guess what they wanted me to do with them? The Flea Song!  LOL.

Here is what I learned about sharing this song with them:

  • Kids engage more readily when they have fun.
  • They love to laugh, be silly, and learn at the same time.
  • They are not afraid of a challenge.

The substitute teacher I was assisting asked me, “What language is that?”  I had to laugh. I told her it is just a fun song that teaches kids phonics and how to really listen!

That “key” did not work on the whole class by the way. Some kids were still off doing their own thing, but now I know that this key works on some of the kids. I still have to find the right key for the other ones.

The good thing for them is I do have a master key for all of them, and that is love.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Crazy

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Texas High School Coaching Salaries dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorPeople outside of Texas have long suspected that Texans were crazy. Well, we have come out and given everyone proof today that we have lost our minds. The front page of the paper today showed that we are paying high school football coaches twice as much as we are paying our teachers. One affluent district around Austin is paying their head coach $155,156. That is $30,000 more than the Principal makes, and three times more than what the teachers make. Wow. Just wow. We have lost our minds, apparently.

Don’t get me wrong. I love football, but I also love teaching and have a great respect for what teachers do to prepare kids for life. Should we really be paying a coach two to three times more than the teacher that is teaching your kid English, Math, Science, or History, Music, Art, etc.? Really, is football THAT important to us as a state?

I don’t fault coaches for making six figures. I fault tax payers for letting this happen and not giving equal pay to the thousands of other teachers who are educating their kids. Oh, I get it. We can’t “afford” to give everyone a raise to six figures. Um hum; right. I think we find a way to justify whatever we want to do as a society.

I am just shaking my head at the absurdity of the situation and wondering how this happened in the first place. How did anyone in authority have the audacity to think this up? Football has always been a religion here in Texas. Sadly, it distorts for our youth what matters in life.

Anyone who has been an athlete realizes that there is life after football, and you had better be prepared for that. It sure helps if you can read, speak, write, comprehend math, and know your science and history.

To all my coaching friends, this is not an indictment against you or anything you have done. I love you guys and I love the sport of football. I just think we need to put it in perspective with the rest of education. Who knows, maybe I am the crazy one.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

To Cope

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

To Cope dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorEverywhere I look I see people trying to cope, yet so many seem to be going under despite their best efforts to stay afloat. Life for them is a roller coaster ride that they can’t escape.

To cope, you have to have hope. To have hope, you have to have something to believe in beyond your own capabilities. Hope is the anchor we have in the storms of life. It is what gives us a reason to go on despite how dark the horizon appears or how fearful we may feel inside.

People turn to many things to help them cope. Substance abuse masks the pain, but it always returns when the medication wears off. People turn to affairs or casual sex to fill the void of loneliness. Unfortunately, that does not cure the underlying problem. Compulsive buying or binge eating are also common problems that people use to try and cope. The problem is that you can’t buy peace and lasting happiness. Binge eating will just make you overweight and shorten your life.

Coping in a healthy way requires two things:

  • Faith your fears. Holding on to fear will kill your hope.

            Face Everything And Rise or Forget Everything And Run. It is your choice!

  • Quit worrying about things that are out of your control. What good does worrying do? None!

You may be familiar with the first stanza of The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, but did you know there is a second stanza? Here is the full prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

That is how I cope and that is my hope.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes