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

Drama

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Drama dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI admit it, I like a good drama. I like going to a play or a movie and seeing a good drama play out. What I don’t like (and I bet I will get a few amens here) is all the drama in my own life. The funny part is that I don’t go looking for it. Drama just seems to find me. It is called life. Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage; and all the men and women merely players.” Ain’t that the truth?!

As a teacher I am constantly approached by kids to join in the drama they are going through. I was laughing with one of my fellow teachers that we need a drama department. We have all these natural born actors! They can cry at the drop of a hat, scream for no apparent reason, or make you believe the sky is falling when they describe the horrid way someone cut in line ahead of them!

What is not so cute is the drama that adults want to get you to attend. Alas, misery loves company. “Woe is me! I am undone!” LOL, drum roll please. Drama is best kept between you, your maker, your spouse, and maybe your best friend (if they can be trusted). Beyond that it just becomes gossip. I realize how tasty a morsel of gossip can be, but if it is untrue, unkind, unfair, etc., what has it accomplished?

Next time you are invited to join into a drama that someone else is going through, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this person have a history of blowing things out of proportion?
  • Does this person want to stir up trouble for someone else?
  • Does this person want you to join in their misery?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, don’t attend the play. Refuse the free ticket. You will thank me later….even if you are “tempted” by the previews. We all have our own drama that we have to deal with. Why put your problems on other people unless they are a trained therapist, your spouse, best friend, or your dog? Dogs, by the way, are great listeners. You can tell them anything and they won’t repeat a word of it to anyone!  How cool is that?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Look Back To Learn

Posted in Business, Motivational

Look Back To Learn dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorLook back to learn, but look forward to succeed. We all can learn a lot from what we have been through. It has been said that those who refuse to learn from the past are destined to repeat the lesson. You probably know someone that has made mistake after mistake and not learned from it. Why are we prone to ignore the mistakes of the past? Just my humble opinion, but I think when we experience enough pain, we learn the lesson.

Life lessons can be brutal for those that refuse to learn. History is full of examples of people who think they are somehow immune to the consequences of their decisions. Think Napoleon and Waterloo, Nixon and Watergate, Elvis Presley. There are countless examples of people who did not learn their lesson and paid a terrible price for it. The point is, there is always a price to be paid. If you don’t learn the lesson, you continue to pay, and pay, and pay. It could cost you your marriage, your job, your country, your life, your friendship, etc.

The good news is, you don’t have to continue to make the same mistakes over and over. You simply have to learn the lesson. I realize that is easier said than done, but it is necessary if you ever expect to move forward. Success in the future is dependent on what you decide to do now. You can continue to live in the past. You can let bitterness, resentment, hatred, and anger destroy you, or, you can move forward into your destiny.

Don’t worry about tomorrow, and don’t let the past keep you chained to living in the past. Live today as if there is no tomorrow. Believe and hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. Expect the unexpected. Stay focused on those things that are eternal, and let go of petty hurts. Don’t let the past keep you from succeeding.

Believe in yourself, be a willing student that perpetually learns, and find your destiny.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Don’t

Posted in Business, General, Motivational

Dont dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

When you feel like doing these, don’t:

  • Worry
  • Cheat
  • Lie
  • Quit
  • Steal
  • Betray
  • Taunt
  • Hold a grudge
  • Be lazy
  • Pry
  • Be ungrateful
  • Complain
  • Blame
  • Tattle
  • Be selfish
  • Seek revenge
  • Be unwilling to love again
  • Be cynical
  • Be sarcastic
  • Be rude
  • Be fearful
  • Be addicted
  • Be racist
  • Procrastinate
  • Panic
  • Settle for less than the best
  • Be unwilling to listen
  • Not accept responsibility
  • Not express your love
  • Compromise your morals
  • Insist you are always right
  • Mess with Texas
  • Judge
  • Bully
  • Doubt God

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Haters

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Haters dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator (2)Racism and intolerance is as old as the Bible. History is full of people who are caught up in hatred for those that are different from them. You would think that we would have learned our lesson, but hatred is alive and well today. African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Gays, Republicans, Democrats, etc., all have their haters.

I realize that racism typically talks about people of different origin, but hatred seems to be prevalent in our society for anyone who does not believe as we do. It is a phenomenon that seems to repeat itself over and over…unfortunately.

Racism and intolerance are rooted in fear and ignorance. We tend to fear what we do not understand. Sadly, this attitude seems to be generational. I think and feel this way because my Dad and his Dad felt that way.

Is it possible to break this cycle? Realistically, no…at least not totally. It will always be with us as long as there are people different from us, but we can affect the cycle. What can we do in a positive sense?

  • Confront racism and intolerance when you encounter it. People who are haters have to be confronted or they will continue to spew their hatred to you and all they encounter.
  • You can disagree with people who are different and still be respectful to them. You don’t have to compromise your standards and morals; just be kind, loving, and respectful to those that you disagree with.
  • Learn to listen to those who are different from you. Once again, you don’t have to compromise your core beliefs to understand where someone is coming from. The only way to understand them is to listen to them. Admittedly, what they say still may not make sense to you when they have explained themselves, but at least you showed them respect by listening to them and letting them be heard.
  • Resist the temptation to argue with those you disagree with. Listen to them, state your point of view, and perhaps come to the conclusion that you agree to disagree. That makes a lot more sense than bashing each other verbally or even physically, doesn’t it?

I realize we live in a messed up world, but maybe it can be a little brighter, happier, safer, and rewarding if we lose the hatred for each other. In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

You Can Only Do So Much

Posted in Business, Motivational

You Can Only Do So Much dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorHardly a day goes by that I don’t hear a teacher lamenting that they can’t seem to get everything done that they need to do. They are overwhelmed by the demands of the job. They have kids to teach, parents to update and meet with, lessons to plan, co-workers to collaborate with, papers to grade, rooms and boards to decorate, Principals to appease, and when the day is over, they have their family to take care of. Me time? What is that?

Being a teacher is demanding on so many levels. I think everyone ought to be forced to be a substitute teacher for a week. That would solve most of the problems we have with parents, don’t you think? There is nothing like walking in someone’s shoes to better understand what they do on a daily basis. LOL.

There are two sides of the coin to consider. On one side, you can only do so much. You only have so much time, limited resources, and a finite amount of energy and patience. On the other side….and this is the side that we may never get to see, we are changing the lives of future generations. Never underestimate what you can do because I can tell you first hand that what you do matters. You ARE having an impact….even when you can’t see it and even if you don’t believe it yourself. Whether you are a Superintendent, Principal, Front Office Staff, Teacher, Teacher’s Aide, Nurse, Counsellor, or any of the support people who man our schools….what you do matters.

When you sow into the lives of kids, the returns may not be immediate. In fact, it may be many years down the road for each child before they actually practice what you taught them…but that is the beauty of teaching. The seeds you plant are not wasted. It may or may not come to be in your lifetime where you see the fruit of your labors, but the seeds will sprout and develop at some point given the least bit of nurturing from someone else and a willingness to sprout on their own.

The seeds you sow today are destined to be the plants for your students to climb throughout their lives to reach their destiny, and they are our future.  Every seed matters. Every word counts. Every encouraging thing you do to help them, re-direct them, discipline them, love them, and show them the way is not wasted.

Thanks for all you give today….and all you are sowing for our tomorrows. Just know that what you do matters.

P.S.  If you know a teacher that is struggling, please let them know how much you appreciate them (and be specific as to WHY you appreciate them). That word of encouragement will be like water to a thirsty soul. They need to know that someone recognizes who they are and that what they have sacrificed is not in vain.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Forced Compliance

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Forced Compliance dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1It has been said that a person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. In other words, I may be forced to sit down on the outside, but I am still standing up on the inside! Think about it. When someone forces you to agree “or else,” there is a wall that starts being built to protect yourself. Nobody likes being forced to do anything, do they? And yet, we all have times that we are forced to comply with things we don’t like.

One of the problems with this whole scenario is people who just have a rebellious attitude towards anyone and anything in authority. It does not matter if you tell them the rules up front. Nobody is going to tell them what to do! That attitude, unfortunately winds up getting a lot of people in trouble with the law, their spouses, their families, their jobs, their school, and people in general.

Rebellion against authority is as old as creation. Man started out rebelling against God and has been in rebellion ever since. The truth is, without rules, regulations, and compliance, we have anarchy. If everyone is left to their own devices, then it becomes survival of the fittest. The problem with that mentality is that in the land where people think it is OK to take an eye for an eye, everyone eventually becomes blind.

I can’t argue that there are some dumb laws on the books, but there is a way to lawfully change them without burning anything, killing anyone, and without taking the law into your own hands.

When you are faced with forced compliance, take a look at the facts:

  • Is the person forcing compliance in authority? Chances are you need to comply.
  • Is the person forcing compliance breaking the law themselves? If they are, question that authority. You should not be forced to do something unlawful, unethical, or immoral.
  • Does the person forcing compliance care for you? If they truly love you and are concerned about your welfare, listen to them. They may very well have the best solution for you if you will just listen.
  • Are you rebelling against compliance because of past hurts? If you are letting the past rule you, there is overwhelming evidence that you will continue to make poor decisions. Let the past be in the past and live today as if it is all you have left. After all, we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
  • Are you letting stubborn pride and self-will drive your decisions? Pride and selfishness are the enemies of peace and relationship. You have to lay down your pride and put others before yourself if you wish to have any peace and real meaning to your life.

Compliance to authority does not have to be forced in most instances. When it becomes forced, look in the mirror and ask yourself what role should you play? Take the emotions out of it and look at it objectively….if possible. We need rules to live by and most of the time we need to comply with those in authority. It may help to remind yourself that submitting to authority is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of maturity, wisdom, and common sense.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Self-Discipline

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Self-discipline  dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator (2)The ability to discipline ourselves seems to be the impossible dream for many people. Here is the catch: if you don’t learn to discipline yourself, someone will do it for you. That is a fact…whether you like it or not.

I had a first grader that was out of control in the lunchroom. He threw someone’s lunch box across the room. Unfortunately for him, I saw it and told him he was going to have to go to the back of the lunchroom to sit by himself. He looked at me with bold defiance and said, “No, I am NOT going!” He flat out told me, “I don’t CARE if I get in trouble.” Wow. This coming from a first grader!

I looked at him and calmly said, “You can either come with me to the back of the room, or I will have that policeman over there come and get you. Which do you prefer?” He looked at me with disgust and said, “Oh…alright…I will go with YOU.”  LOL. It is funny how someone with a gun and badge gets the attention of offenders…at least most of the time.

The thing that broke my heart about this kid is that I found out he had just got out of a discipline meeting with the Principal of the school just before he came to lunch! Obviously he did not learn anything in that meeting.

I have seen folks go sideways with those in authority and it never goes well for them. The problems seem to escalate until someone is hurt, put in jail, or killed. If you are a parent, please do your part to set the proper example for your kids and reinforce respect for authority. It is sad to hear what comes out of the mouths of some of these kids…some as young as Kindergarten. They don’t even know what they are saying. All they know is, Mom and Dad say this when they get upset, so it must be OK for ME to say it when I get mad.

Kids who do not learn self-discipline at an early age are being set up to have a very rough life or no life at all. There is always going to be someone in authority at school, work, or in the government that will hold them accountable. It is better to learn self-discipline than suffer the consequences of the alternatives, don’t you think?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Time

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Time dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator1“Like sand through an hourglass…so are The Days of Our Lives.” That is a famous line from a soap opera by the same name. I like the analogy as it has a pretty deep meaning if you stop to think about it. Many people believe time is in their control. When we are young, we think we are bulletproof. We have an eternity to grow up!  Right? The older we get, the more we realize that we don’t control time at all. We are really at its mercy in many ways.

We all have 24 hours in a day, but isn’t it funny how things happen out of our control which totally disrupt our plans? It has been said that we make our plans and God laughs. Time is no respecter of people. It does not matter how smart you are, how rich you are, or how hard you work when it comes to time. You can use it wisely or waste it, but there is still only so much of it. The bottom line is, time (as we know it) is going to run out on everyone. That part freaks a lot of people out.

Here is my advice. You can take it for what it is worth, but I think it makes sense when you think about it. Live your life each day like you KNOW it is your last day. If you knew you had 24 hours to live, you would be:

  • Kinder to everyone
  • More patient
  • More forgiving
  • More loving
  • More giving

You would have a sense of urgency to get the important things done and you would let the little things go. You would make sure you had your relationship with God and people in order, your finances in good shape, and provisions made for those you love.

Isn’t this the way we should live every day? After all, none of us know when we will draw our last breath. Let’s make the best of today. Let’s smile more, laugh often, and love one another unconditionally. Ultimately, the choice is yours whether your glass is half full or half empty.

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