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.


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.


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 woman waiting to pay her bill. 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.


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… 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.


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.


Dan Skognes