The Teacher’s Prayer

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

MEDION DIGITAL CAMERALord, give me wisdom as I teach the children today. Give me strength to endure the challenges that I know I must face. Help me to be patient and kind to them regardless of how they treat me or how I feel. Help me love them unconditionally. Help me know when to speak and when to listen, when to praise and when to correct. Help me to observe closely the expressions on their faces so I know if they really understand the lesson, and if they don’t, help me explain it in words that they will comprehend. I pray that I will inspire them to do things that they never dreamed possible, and that I help them unlock their greatest potential. Help me to be an encourager and treat them all with respect. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this great honor. I am humbled by the great responsibility you have given me: to help shape the hearts and minds of future generations. Help me never forget that teaching is a calling, and this calling is as sacred as any job on earth. May I be worthy of my calling. Lastly, help me always remember to be a servant leader and support my teachers and staff whenever possible. I pray that we as a team will make a positive difference in the lives of every child entrusted to us. Amen.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Forgiveness

Posted in Poetry, Relationships, Spiritual

Forgiveness

Love

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Love dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI was very troubled at a video clip being aired this week on the news. A man was riding the DART train in Dallas, and got viciously attacked by a gang. Why? He asked them not to smoke a joint on the train. Wow. He was beaten to the point of unconsciousness and then hit in the head with a skateboard. When the news interviewed him he asked, “Where is our humanity?” It made me think of the beating that Rodney King took many years ago and his response was, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

This is a prime example of what happens to a society that has lost its way. The absence of love is evil. I have heard people debate what the opposite of love is. Some say it is hate, some say fear, but I suggest it is darkness. Where there is no love there is no light and the people stumble around in wickedness.

Here is one of the predicaments we have. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what love is. I like the definition below:

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Next time you wonder about what love is, read that again. It puts things in perspective. Pure love is giving, not taking. When someone says, “I love you,” but the actions above are missing…you best beware. Love that has no action is lust disguising itself as love.

Dionne Warwick had a song that went like this: “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing…that there’s just too little of.” Isn’t that the truth? Love seems to be in short supply in this crazy world. How about we show some humanity and all just get along? “Put a little love in your heart.”

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Mudslinging

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Mud Slinging dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorTwo things will get people red-faced and cursing quickly: politics and religion. Both of these careers are like living in a fishbowl.  It is like being read your Miranda rights which reads in part: “Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” How would you like everything you say and do to be broadcast on the nightly news or put on YouTube? Getting elected or appointed is like saying, “Let the mudslinging begin.” It is one reason why most people are just glad an election is over so the avalanche of mud will at least be reduced to an occasional mud pie. The difference between politics and religion is that the mudslinging typically is heavier before an election and for someone in ministry the slinging begins after they are hired, although neither one is immune to the post-appointment slinging.

Here is what I have observed about mudslingers:

  • They tend to speak first, and then think about the consequences of their words.
  • They tend to feel justified in throwing mud at someone else. I don’t know if this is from a feeling of inferiority or if it somehow makes them feel better about themselves; but either way it is sick and ignorant.
  • They don’t seem to realize that they have mud on themselves. There is none so blind as he who will not see.
  • They love to gossip, backbite, and slander. It gives them something to talk about. How sad is that? They have to talk about other people in order to carry on a conversation or create news.
  • You can’t reason with them. They have their mind made up. They are not interested in the truth, just their own opinion.

Mudslingers are alive and well, unfortunately. Be aware that not all who call you friend are your friend. Not all who say they love you actually love you. Not all who say they follow you are loyal. Be wise and discerning of what you believe, what you accept, and who you are willing to associate with. Be willing to set boundaries when people are exposed to be mudslingers. You can and should forgive them if and when they cross the line, but don’t allow them to continue abusing you. That serves only them and promises you a mudslide.

If you are the object of a mudslinger, here are two things you might consider doing:

  1. Confront them about what they are saying. Funny how so many people back down when confronted…especially if you are armed with the facts. Calling them into the light makes them scurry like a cockroach to the dark.
  2. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore them. One thing for sure is that the truth eventually comes out. If they are lying about you, it will come out and they will be the ones to look foolish, not you.

If you are in politics or ministry, you are in my prayers!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Tongue

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Tongue dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorLet’s face it: our tongue gets us in trouble more often than we like to admit. There is a verse in the Bible that says: “No human can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Wow, it is almost like the tongue is a snake getting ready to strike.

Why do you think people have such trouble thinking before they speak? I heard a man the other day trying to be funny and inadvertently insulted a lady he did not know. He meant it to be a joke but you could tell she was not amused.

The times when the tongue gets us in trouble:

  • Boasting about ourselves, our plans, accomplishments, or our possessions.
  • Using humor inappropriately.
  • Talking down to other people.
  • Cursing.
  • Lying.
  • Slandering.
  • Gossiping.
  • Speaking in anger or rage.

Our tongues get us in trouble when we forget who God is, who we are, and the value of other people. The moment we elevate ourselves above God or others, we do terrible things with the tongue…terrible things that cannot be taken back, and tragically we can “justify” every word we spoke.

Speaking harshly to someone is like driving nails into a board. You may be able to remove the nails, but the scars remain. Next time you are tempted to give someone a tongue-lashing, ask yourself:

  • Is what I am about to say true about the person or situation?
  • Is this going to help or hurt my relationship with them?
  • Am I speaking out of anger or jealousy?
  • Am I speaking in love?

We need to rethink what we are doing and count the cost of “getting it off our chest.” Spewing vile things may feel good at the moment, but the devastation that occurs is sometimes fatal to a relationship. You can ask for forgiveness, but the words will continue to haunt you both and it will never quite be the same.

Remember that everyone has their breaking point. Don’t be the one that pushes someone so far that they break. You will regret that for the rest of your life and be left to lament what could have been.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Never and Always

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Never  and Always dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

  • Never discourage someone from learning. Always encourage their curiosity. True learning occurs when there is interest and engagement.
  • Never ignore a child who needs your attention. Always acknowledge them respectfully. Even kids need to be respected. Besides, you might be missing the best hug of the day.
  • Never take those you love for granted. Always express your love in word and deed…and express it often.
  • Never go to bed angry. Always be resolved to resolve discord. It does not go away magically.
  • Never stew about who is right and who is wrong. Always seek to understand first.
  • Never withhold forgiveness. Always forgive. You may have to set boundaries for the future, but remember to forgive them no matter what. It is for your benefit, not theirs.
  • Never withhold paying back a debt if it is within your means to do so. Always be truthful with the lender and seek to work out an amicable agreement for both.
  • Never forget the widows, orphans, and those in prison. When you minister to them, it is like ministering to the Lord. Always minister to those in need.
  • Never make a major decision when you are too tired, too angry, or too hungry. Always seek wise counsel, consider the consequences, and go with your gut feelings.
  • Never be cruel to animals or people. Always show kindness and love regardless of how they act.
  • Never brag about yourself. Always praise others and let them be the ones to brag on you.
  • Never live in the past, nor boast about tomorrow. Always remember you only have today. Yesterday is gone. Let it go. Tomorrow may never come. Don’t count on it.
  • Never live beyond your means. Always spend less than you earn and save something from your paycheck. Life happens. Be prepared not surprised or overwhelmed.
  • Never judge others. Always show respect for differences of opinions, beliefs, and cultures. You don’t have to compromise your core beliefs to show respect to others.
  • Never disrespect your country, your flag, or your President / leader. Always show respect. You don’t have to agree with the laws or the leader to be respectful and abide by the laws. If you don’t like how things are going, use peaceable means to change it. Work to elect people that share your views. If you just can’t stand it, then consider another country to live in. After all, it is a big world with lots of options.
  • Never say “Never.” You will be surprised at how often you will end up doing the things you said you would never do. Always consider the possibilities regardless of how absurd it may seem at the moment. Time and clear thinking have a way of changing our minds.
  • Never take your health for granted. Always take care of yourself. You only have one body and one life to live.
  • Never waste time. Always remember that once a moment is gone you can never recover it. Time is one of our most precious commodities. Use it wisely.
  • Never make promises you can’t keep. Always be a man or woman of your word.
  • Never compromise your morals or your integrity. Always guard your mind and your heart.
  • Never neglect having balance in your life. Always find the balance between your faith, family, finances, friends, and career. If you allow one of those to get out of balance, the others will suffer.
  • Never let anyone steal your joy or your dream. Always dream and dream big, and learn the power of being at peace in the storm.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Search for Significance

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Search for Significance dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

What are you worth? How can you put a price on something that is one of a kind? It is an age old question for which people seek to find the answer. Does my life matter? Why am I here? Does what I think and feel really mean anything in the scheme of life?

It is a deep subject and not easily answered in a brief blog, but here are a few thoughts to consider if you have ever had those questions or know someone who is struggling with their identity:

  • First and foremost, you have to realize that how you think and feel about yourself may be accurate, but it also could be distorted depending on your life circumstances and your own mental health. Nobody on this planet has had your life. They may have had similar circumstances and can “relate” to how you think and feel, but nobody has truly walked in your shoes. You are unique. Even identical twins are unique because of genetics and circumstances they each experience differently. So my point here is to value the fact that you are unique. There is a reason you are here. You have something to do that nobody else can do like you would.
  • When you question what your purpose is, that is both simple and complex. It is simple in that everyone has a purpose. It is complex in that you and only you can really determine what that purpose is. I, being a Christian, believe that God has created each of us for a “divine” purpose. When my will aligns with God’s will, the pieces start to fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle. It may take a while to see the big picture, but eventually you understand the “what.” You may never understand the “why” of life, but the “what” CAN and needs to be found.

I use the Bible and God’s Holy Spirit to guide me in what I do. I realize not everyone shares my faith, but I am simply sharing with you what I have found. I believe God created me with various gifts. I have been told that I am outgoing and creative. I do love to be around people. I love to laugh and I find pleasure in the simple things of life. I discovered my passion for writing in 10th grade and have not stopped writing since. This is definitely part of my purpose…to instill salt and light in a world that is perishing by encouraging and inspiring people with my words. I just try to do my part and let God use my gifts as He sees fit.

Everyone has a purpose. It is up to each of us to discover what that is, then pursue it with all that we have. It is when we walk in our purpose that our steps have true significance. I hope and pray that you take the first step in discovering who you are and why you are here.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Storms

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Storms danskognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI think the only people who like storms are storm chasers and weather men because it pays them, but I am not really talking about the weather here. I am talking about the storms of life, and nobody likes those! For one thing, the only people who get paid are psychotherapists, emergency rooms, drug dealers, and funeral homes!

A few things I have learned about the storms we go through:

  • Going through a storm is like looking in a mirror and really seeing who you are inside and out. It will reveal your fears, your faith, and who your real friends are.
  • Storms come when you least expect them and they often come in multiples. So, expect the unexpected.
  • It is probably a good thing to have a storm shelter. It might be your spouse, you Mom and Dad, a trusted friend, but don’t forget God. He is our ultimate shelter. Have someone you can turn to for advice and encouragement.
  • There are storms that we sometimes create for ourselves. When you do create one, don’t complain when it rains and you get caught in a flood.
  • There is good that can come out of a storm. People will come to your aid in incredible ways, God will answer prayers and build your faith, and you will see life through different eyes. Once you have been through a few storms, you will be able to encourage those who are in the midst of their own storm because you have been through the same thing yourself. You may be the rainbow after the rain for someone.
  • Like the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Learn to navigate and endure, but also learn to avoid storms.

I realize that life is tough for most people. We all have our storms to endure. It might be a failed relationship, a lost job, death of a loved one or dear pet. The list is endless. When you are facing a storm, just remember you are not alone. Seek your storm shelter…and by all means ask God to calm the storm and help you through it. He is often the only one who truly CAN.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Best Teacher

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Best Teacher dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1

Life is filled with teachers. Some of them are great and some of them are (to put it politely) terrible. The real question here is: which ones do YOU learn from?

These are just a few of the teachers I have met and some of what I learned:

  • Strengths and weaknesses. Know them in yourself first and foremost. Know your weaknesses, but work on your strengths.
  • Past experience. Learn from your mistakes. If you don’t, you simply get to retake the test.
  • Pain and suffering. This is one of the greatest teachers I have had. It has a way of focusing my mind and heart towards God like nothing else.
  • Success. I learned that it is about relationships and not things.
  • Failure. Failing does not make us a failure. It simply points us in a different direction. We only become a failure if we refuse to learn the lessons.
  • Love. This is the greatest teacher I have had by far. Learning to love God first and with all my heart, and then to love others in the way that God loves them puts things in perspective.
  • Fear. This is a terrible teacher and yet one I have learned from time and time again. If I don’t face my fears, they become my reality and I miss the blessings God intended for me.
  • Peace. I love this teacher. Shalom is at the core of my foundation. When I am faced with the storms of life, I find my Shalom in the Prince of Peace.
  • War. If there is anything I have learned from history is that if we don’t learn from it, then we are doomed to repeat it. While war is sometimes the only way to confront evil, I always pray for peace.
  • Worry. This teacher has taught me what a waste it is to worry. Nothing good comes from it. Nothing!
  • Self-esteem. I have learned that I have to know and respect myself. If I have no self-esteem and don’t believe in myself, why should I expect anyone else to?
  • Pride and humility. I learned that pride is repulsive to all except the one who has it, and humility is embraced by all except the ones who abuse it.
  • Time. This is a great teacher in that we all have the same amount of it. It is what we do with it that becomes the teacher.
  • Dogs. I love dogs. They teach me all the time to love and live life in the moment. Enjoy the simple things. Stick your head out the window…preferably when you are not driving. LOL.
  • Kids. Great wisdom is found in the things that kids say and do. They have a simplicity and innocence that I love being around.
  • Control. I realize I control very little when all is said and done. I have to simply do my best and have faith in God through the test.
  • Change. It is inevitable. I can’t change that. Another thing we can’t change is other people. People will resist if they see you are trying to change them.
  • Judging others. This is a terrible teacher and many are hurt by this one. If we just focus on getting the beam out of our own eyes, we have our hands full.
  • Money. Love God and people. Use money. Never get the two confused.
  • Jesus. He was and is the ultimate teacher. He sums up everything above. He taught using parables and often answered questions with a question forcing people to think deeper. He taught servant leadership, sacrifice, empathy, encouragement, obedience, humility, kindness and justice. He modeled the ability to live without fear, how to live a life full of faith, and ultimately…how to love.

I have found the greatest teachers are simply the ones I have learned from, and I meet them every day.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Expect To See The Hand Of God

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Expect To See The Hand Of God dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator3From time to time I have someone tell me that God is just not showing up in their lives. I feel the frustration in their words. I don’t know about you, but I wish I could get God on the phone and do some Facetime with Him. Unfortunately, that is not how God has chosen to communicate with us, despite all the technology that we have at hand.

One thing I have learned is that as I press in to God…seeking Him wholeheartedly…I see the hand of God move. I seek the face of God in a variety of ways:

  • Reading God’s Word. The Bible says it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. If we don’t read it, how can we expect to really know God and what He wants for us?
  • Having regular prayer time to speak with Him. For me it is best if it is quiet and free from distractions like the phone, TV, computer, dogs barking, etc. Early morning is one time I know that I am going to be free from all of that.
  • Praising Him. The Scriptures say that God inhabits the praises of His people, so if I want to be in His presence, I have to learn to praise Him. There are two times to praise God: 1. When you feel like it. 2. When you don’t.
  • Corporate worship and fellowship. There is something special about being with a group of like-minded believers studying the Scriptures and praising God. They are a source of encouragement to one another and help each other to weather the storms of life. God thought enough about the church to describe it as “the Bride of Christ.” Scripture tells us not to neglect gathering together as some have chosen to do. God knew we needed the encouragement of fellow believers.

There is nothing magical here. There is no formula for getting God to speak and move in your behalf. However, what we do have is a blueprint of different ways that God uses to speak to us. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I did not touch on Angels, Spouses, family and friends, strangers, circumstances, nature, etc., etc. There are countless ways that God speaks to us on a daily basis. We just have to tune in and pay attention.

My prayer for you as you read this is that God will give you new eyes to see, new ears to hear, and a new mind to understand the depth of love that He has for you, your family, and for all mankind. Seek the face of God with all that you have and all that you are. You WILL see the hand of God moving in your behalf. Expect it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes