Role Models

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Role Models dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator

Kids are always looking for role models. We hope they seek good ones, but sometimes the good ones are not what they seem. When someone is in the public eye, they have a responsibility to set the right example.

Whether you are an athlete, an entertainer, a politician, or prominent businessman…people are looking at you constantly to see what you do, how you behave when the camera is not on, and how you treat the people you encounter. By the way, in this day and age it is wise to assume the camera is always on. Think about the people who have been “busted” because of off-hand remarks or antics that they thought were private.

Just this morning Trevone Boykin, the starting quarterback for TCU was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. He punched a policeman in the process. He is one game away from completing his season and does this? What was he thinking?

It reminds me of the video that went viral of Johnny “Football” Manziel partying like a kid who had just turned 21. He lied about the video to his coaches and the owner of the Cleveland Browns…perhaps because he had just been named the starting Quarterback for the team! Guess what? The truth came out anyway. What was he thinking?

In the entertainment world, the list is endless as well. I saw a documentary yesterday on Britney Spears. Good grief. She had it all….looks, wealth, fame, incredible talent…and every young girl wanted to be Britney. What did she do? She got involved with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.  Hmmmm…I wonder how that is going to turn out?  Not good, obviously. She took a dive into darkness and it nearly killed her. I am not saying that Lindsay and Paris were the only contributing factors, but they put her on the slippery slope that just about did her in. Her reputation was ruined and it took years for her to recover from the madness. What was she thinking?

Of course, the list would not be complete without discussing politicians. You would think THEY of all people would know that people are ALWAYS watching them…especially the press. Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney (to a lesser degree), etc., all burst the bubble of what people thought of them. The first two were disgraced in office and Mitt lost the opportunity to be a serious candidate for President when he was secretly taped at a fundraiser saying: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.” What were they thinking?

Sadly, the list of fallen preachers and evangelists is too long to list. Obviously, none of these people were thinking clearly and considering the consequences.

What do we need as a society?

  • We need role models who understand that character is revealed when you think nobody is looking.
  • They do what is right, not what feels good at the moment.
  • Their actions mirror their words.
  • They have replaced their pride with humility.
  • They surround themselves with people of good moral character.
  • They admit when they are wrong and learn the lesson.

In the end, it is not how pretty or handsome you are, how many touchdowns you scored, how many elections won, how many records sold, or how many members you have in your church. What really matters is who you are when you call it a day. Be a role model for those in your family, your community, your business, your school, or whatever sphere of influence you have been placed in. Never forget that people are always watching what you do, what you say, and how you behave. Be a role model worth remembering.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Possibilities dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach teacher educatorI watched a short video this morning of Sadie Guthrie, a teacher who helps kids with special needs at Lawton Alternative School. What she did was both inspiring and amazing at the same time. She started a coffee service in her school for the special needs kids to do. They served the teachers fresh coffee throughout the day. They also went every day to a local bakery that was donating pastries to the school.

So many good things came out of this small act of love:

  • The kids took pride in their new business and were learning social skills and received business experience while doing something good for the teachers.
  • The teachers were shown appreciation in a unique and meaningful way.
  • The teachers got to know the special needs kids on a personal level that they would never have had the opportunity to do otherwise.
  • The bakery got to do something cool for the school and give back to those dedicated to serve the kids.
  • The community got to see special needs kids out and about using public transportation and doing something productive with their lives.

When she was telling her short story of what she was doing for the kids, she got choked up when she talked about people who are unkind to the special needs kids. They are pretty easy targets for those who wish to bully or ridicule, but as this showed, they have hearts and minds too. They have a purpose.  Perhaps their purpose is to teach us to love one another.

Sadie gave a powerful lesson in life: don’t see people for their disabilities; see them for their possibilities. We all have disabilities that we have to deal with to some degree. Next time you look at someone….don’t think about what they can’t do. Imagine what they CAN do…then encourage them to do it. Magic happens when life is breathed into another soul. It is not our job to change people.  It is our job to love them and encourage them.

If you want to see Sadie’s story firsthand, here is the link. Check it out.  You will be blessed:


Dan Skognes



Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

Fearless dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorIf you want to be fearless, you have to fear less. Kind of obvious…but the question everyone seems to get hung up on is the “How?” To fear less you have to be faith full. To be full of faith, you know to know love…and that goes beyond just head knowledge. It includes the heart. Knowing and believing have to go hand in hand. Perfect love casts out fear like light dispels the darkness. Know love, no fear.

The greatest leaders in history have been fearless. Some might argue that evil people can be fearless, but I don’t think so.  In fact, I believe they are consumed by fear and that masks how they really feel inside. They are driven by a fear of failure, a fear of loss of control, a fear of losing their title, their bank account, or a myriad of other things.

Are you fearless?  Do you worry about your job, your family, your finances, or your future? Do you live in a state of anxiety, or do you live in power and confidence knowing your future is in God’s hands….and you have full trust in Him? Are you like the guy who was talking with a customer service rep on the phone and she asked him: “What state do you live in?” He replied: “The state of confusion.” LOL. Don’t be that guy!

We are getting ready to enter into a new year and some of you reading this are already in turmoil.  “How are we going to pay the bills? Will our relationship end? What if they don’t renew my contract at work?” Yada yada yada. The worry list, unfortunately, is long and the possibilities are endless for many people.

We often don’t appreciate what we have till we have lost it; then we are consumed with the fear of never regaining it, or worse…we are so obsessed with the fear of losing that we just give up on it.

What do you fear? What is holding you back? Here are some things to help you in the new year:

  • Make a list of anything that you are truly afraid of, then ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen if this takes place?” Chances are the consequences in your mind are blown out of proportion because of fear. Fear clouds your mind and limits your options. To think clear, lose the fear.
  • If you fear not making it financially, get some counsel from a trusted financial advisor. Financial advice from people who are broke like you are worth what you paid…nothing.
  • If you fear losing your job, make a plan to become more confident, more proficient, more valuable to your employer. Sometimes this simply requires you to quit griping about your job and start appreciating what you have. A grateful heart and positive attitude goes a long way with employers!
  • If it is a relationship that is faltering, don’t run from it. Find a way to express yourself without accusation and without getting overly emotional. That might require a professional counselor depending on where you are in the relationship…but remind yourself that the fight or flee mentality does not fare well in relationships. Communication has to be two way for your relationship to go the same direction.
  • Faith your fears. Believe in God. Believe in yourself. Trust other people that have proven themselves to be trustworthy. Trust God to guide you, provide for you, and protect you. God is the one constant that you can always trust in.

If you don’t like where you are today, change what you are doing…and that starts with changing how you think. If you live in fear, you will never have peace, you will never attain your full potential, and you will never see the blessings that God has in store for you.

My prayer for you (as well as for myself) is that fear have no foothold in our lives. Let’s each commit ourselves to living the life that God intended. Let’s not allow fear to become our reality.


Dan Skognes

Your Net Worth

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Your Net Worth dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatiorWhat would you say if I told you I could tell you your net worth without looking at your financials? I don’t have a crystal ball and I am not clairvoyant, but I can still tell you your net worth without seeing your checkbook or financial statements. You see, your worth actually has nothing to do with your money. It has nothing to do with how much you own, what you are invested in, where you live, or your job title. Your bottom line has nothing to do with things.

I saw a powerful video the other day about worth. This guy held up a $20 bill and asked if you wanted it. Of course you do, right?  Then he said, “What if I told you this bill was involved in buying illegal drugs, or to buy sex, or used to fund terrorism? Would you still want it?” Well, you may detest how it was used, but of course you would still want it.  The value of that $20 bill had nothing to do with how it was used or abused.  It still had value because it was underwritten by the United States government. (I realize that value is debatable….but you get the point).

So if a $20 bill has inherent value, what about us? Well, I believe that everybody on this planet has value.  What they do with it….use it correctly or abuse it…it up to them. Being a Christian, I know that not everyone who reads this will agree with me, but I can point out a few verses (out of hundreds) from the Bible that supports what I am saying:

  • Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” We are made in God’s image and he gave us dominion over the world.
  • Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us for adoption to son-ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” If you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are part of God’s family and you have an inheritance.
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Would God sacrifice his only Son for something worthless?  Of course not.
  • Romans 8:38 “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” That verse alone should give you great hope and confidence in knowing “Who’s your Daddy?”
  • Deuteronomy 28:13 “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” We have been created with purpose, on purpose, and for purposes that glorify God and draw men to Him.

At this time of year when we celebrate Christmas, please don’t forget what the celebration is truly about. As much as I love giving and receiving presents, Christmas is much more important than the temporal things we seek and celebrate. The birth of Jesus was the best present ever given to man. We have worth because God declared it and Jesus shared it. I pray that you and your family have a blessed holiday season…and don’t forget the bottom line: You have worth because of God’s love.


Dan Skognes

10 Commandments Of Elementary Education

Posted in Funny, Motivational

10 Commandments of Elementary Education danskognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorAs I have taught in a variety of schools, it has become evident that there are certain rules which are common to each campus.  I thought it would be not just beneficial but necessary to expound upon them:

  1. Thou shall expect the unexpected. I was teaching a first grade class and a little boy came up to my desk, looked me over head to toe, then poked me in the belly and asked, “Are you pregnant?”  My head was spinning on how to answer him when another boy came to my rescue and declared to him and the class, “Boys don’t have babies!” Note to self: I either need to lose some weight or sit up straighter. Maybe both! Be ready for kids to say the craziest things. They have no filters.
  2. Thou shall learn the children’s names as soon as possible. Everyone wants to be known by their name (including kids).  Make that a priority. Kids will ask you, “Do you know my name?”
  3. Thou shall never use the “S” word.  I was teaching in a class and said, “I don’t know why they did that. That was a stupid decision.” Simultaneously you could hear in unison: “Ohhhhhh….you said the ‘S’ word!”  I tried to explain that I was not calling someone stupid, just the decision….but the disapproving looks told me I had broken one of the 10 commandments and there was no redemption. So, I did what any teacher would do: I pretended it never happened and got them refocused on the task at hand. Note to self: Don’t say the “S” word again.
  4. Thou shall let kids be kids and not expect them to act like adults. Make learning fun, creative, and interactive. It should not be a chore or boring. Teach collectively, but always with the individual in mind.
  5. Thou shall not allow running inside the school.  The reason is: kids would run to their desk, run to the pencil sharpener, run to lunch, run to the bathroom, run to their next class, and yes, run over you. If one runs they all want to run, so it is apparently contagious. I wish I could bottle that energy! I would be rich!
  6. Thou shall have a secret word, phrase, or clap.  I ask them what their teacher does to get their attention.  I might try it if I like it, but often I just tell them that I do this: then I clap clap   clap clap clap, and tell them to repeat it.  We practice that a couple of times and make sure they get it. Sometimes I throw in some funny clapping just to make them giggle. This is a necessity to be able to get them to focus as a class. Whatever works for you: a bell, a series of claps, a train whistle, a funny phrase, or a duck call…you have to have something to help them refocus.
  7. Thou shall learn to not speak when others are speaking. Kids have a tendency to get in your face to get your attention, regardless of what you are doing or who you are speaking to. This is a hard habit to break since it goes to the core of everyone in wanting to be heard, but it has to be enforced if you expect to get anything accomplished. It makes perfect sense to them when you explain they will have your full attention when you are talking to them. Till then, they have to wait their turn.
  8. Thou shall learn to share. When kids won’t share something with one another, I have found this to be effective: I tell them, “Either you two figure out how to share this and work together quietly, or I will take it away from both of you.”  The look on their faces is like, “What just happened?”  LOL. It does get their attention and order is normally restored pretty quickly. Funny how kids learn to share at that point.
  9. Thou shall cure boo-boos. Band-aids and hugs cure about 99% of the boo-boos you encounter.  Give them both freely.
  10. Thou shall not fear. Little kids are very susceptible to letting fear devastate them.  Help them put things in perspective. I had two kids recently that showed me how powerful fear is in children. One boy was telling this little girl about the storm that was approaching the area and how flooding was expected. He was very good at painting a doom and gloom picture verbally.  Perhaps he has a future in being a weather forecaster. The next thing I know this little girl is boo-hooing.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “It is going to FLOOD!”  I assured her that was not going to happen here and she was perfectly safe. It took some effort, but she finally calmed down. Don’t let fear get a foothold in the kids’ hearts and minds. Fear is one of the greatest giants we each have to face. Show kids how to deal with it. Give them the courage they lack and they will never forget you.


Dan Skognes