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?”


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.


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.


Dan Skognes


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?


Dan Skognes


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.


Dan Skognes