RAK

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If you want to rock your world, RAK it. That simply stands for doing Random Acts of Kindness. We have a motto at our school, “Others before self.” How can you practice that on a daily basis? RAK.

The rules to do a RAK are simple:

  • It should be done anonymously if possible. If you do it to be thanked or recognized, you have done it for the wrong reason. You miss not just the point, but the blessing. Remember that the greatest gifts in life are those that can never be repaid.
  • Cost is not important. Everyone can afford to do a RAK. Of course, if you are blessed financially, then you should RAK accordingly. Just keep it anonymous.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Next time you go through a drive-through at a fast food place, pay for your meal and the car behind you. Just tell the person at the window to tell the person behind you, “God just wanted to say that He loves you.” :o) We all need to be reminded of that from time to time, don’t we? I know I am not God, but I can be a representative of His hands and voice.
  • If you see a single Mom and her kid having lunch or dinner, pick of the tab for them.
  • If you see a homeless person, buy them a lunch and have it delivered to them. With Uber, you can do this easily.
  • If you see someone broken down on the side of the road, see if you can help. I realize that if you are a lady you have be cautious about doing this, but you could pull over and let them know you are calling someone to help them at the very least.
  • Next time you have a meal, leave a tip that is the size of your check. Having been a waiter early in my career, I can testify that waiters and waitresses have tough jobs. They work long hours for very little reward. I am not talking about the ones in the high end restaurants. I mean the ones that work at IHOP, for instance.
  • “Adopt” a person who is incarcerated. You may not be able to do that anonymously, but you can do it without expecting anything from them. A letter written to them on a weekly basis is like gold to them.
  • Be a “Secret Santa” for an orphan. Find out what they want for Christmas or their birthday and send it to them. You can do this anonymously through services like Amazon.

I do think we need to do RAKs everyday with those we love. Here again, you may not be able to be anonymous, but you can do it without expecting anything in return. The ones closest to us are sometimes the ones we tend to take for granted. Let them know how much you love them or appreciate them. A love note stuck in a lunchbox or put in their luggage lets them know they are not forgotten. Leave a love note on the bathroom mirror. It will make their day. You can change your world…and theirs.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

ABCs of Teaching

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Teaching goes way beyond the 3Rs. Probably the most important thing we do for kids is teach life lessons. Some of them get this at home and it is re-enforced, but some don’t get any guidance at all…sadly.

Here are some of the ABCs we teach:

A – Adapt. Life if full of curveballs. You have to adapt to situations, people, and events on a daily basis.

B – Believe in yourself. Self-confidence and self-awareness are critical to success and happiness in life.

C – Conquer your fears. Fear is one of the greatest enemies we all have to deal with. It does not just go away on its own.

D – Develop yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

E – Excel at what you do. Don’t just do things half-heartedly.

F – Forgive quickly and forgive all. It is for your benefit, not theirs.

G – Give. There is an old saying: “It is better to give than to receive.” That is true, but the cool thing is, when you give freely and unconditionally you always get blessings in return.

H – Help others. When you see someone that is struggling, help them.

I – Investigate things for yourself. Just because someone says it is true does not make it true. Just because you read it on the Internet does not make it real. Don’t believe everything you hear.

J – Jump at the opportunity to try something new. You just might discover you have a gift for it.

K – Keep good company. Evil company corrupts.

L – Live in the moment. Don’t let the mistakes of yesterday or the worry of tomorrow keep you from living today.

M – Make an effort to develop relationships. If you want to have friends, you have to be friendly.

N – Never say never. When you say “I could never do that,” you are speaking a curse and limiting yourself.

O – Open your mind to learn. A closed mind will never give you joy, peace, or prosperity.

P – Persevere. Just because you have not succeeded when you first try something, that is no reason to give up. You just have not succeeded yet.

Q – Quit making excuses as to why you do or don’t do things. If it is really important, you will do it.

R – Relax and recharge. Take time to rest if you want to do your best.

S – Spend your time wisely. It is one of the most precious investments we have.

T – Thankful attitudes go a long way to finding peace and developing relationships.

U – Understand what the priorities are for the day. Focus on what is important, not on what is urgent.

V – Value people, not things. Use things, not people.

W – Wisdom is critical to living a life worth living. Pursue wisdom passionately.

X – eXpect the best from yourself and others, but realize the only one you have any real control over is you!

Y – Yield. Life is not all about you. Learn to let others go first and put the needs of others ahead of your own.

Z – Zest. Life if full of it. Live every day with it. Zest is the seasoning for each day. If you want to be fully engaged in a project, relationship, or assignment…learn to live with zest.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

STAR WARS

Posted in Funny, Relationships

Episode IX

Long, long ago in a galaxy called Grapevine there

erupted a great conflict. Dan Mallwalker, Grandfather of

the last Jedi, was on a mission of mercy to Sam’s when things

spun out of control. He was attacked by a Death Star called the Tongue

Lasher. Barely surviving the encounter, Mallwalker sought out the help from his most

trusted friend, Opie Won Cannoli. The fate of all male Jedi warriors awaited his counsel.

Mallwaker: Great Opie Won, I need your assistance. I was attacked from the dark side and have barely escaped to tell you the tale.

Opie Won: Ahhhhhhh. Yes. A great disturbance in the force it was. Tell me about it.

Mallwaker: I was on a sacred mission to Sam’s to get some paper towels. Not just any paper towels. I had to get Bounty paper towels, and they had to be the select-a-size type. I had made a serious error before in buying an off-brand. I was determined not to make that mistake twice! The problem was, the only Bounty towels on the shelf had a Star Wars theme on them. I did not think it mattered because they were still Bounty towels. I was wrong! It unleashed the Tongue Lasher and I was within a single lashing of losing my very life! Apparently I should have “known” that they had to be plain white.

Opie Won: Mallwalker, you are a great warrior. You are seasoned in battle and have fought many good fights. You are wise in so many areas, and yet the greatest mystery you have not conquered.

Mallwalker: Tell me Opie Won. What have I still to learn?

Opie Won: You have to learn to think like a woman, Mallwalker.

Mallwalker: But Opie Won, that is impossible. I am not a woman! How can I think like a woman?

Opei Won: You can’t, but you must try. Even a woman does not understand a woman, but you must try.

Mallwalker: Opie Won, how do I make up for this? Is there hope the Resistance?

Opie Won: There is a way. You must buy her two tickets to Star Wars, The Last Jedi and she will understand.

Mallwalker: That will never work! She can’t stand those type of movies! Isn’t there any other way?

Opie Won: There is only one other way. You must take your beating like a man and quit complaining. You must learn the lesson, Mallwaker….or not.

Mallwalker: That is it??? That is your advice? I HATE Star Wars!

On the way back home to his planet, Mallwalker had a brilliant idea. There IS a greater power! Why have I not consulted God? So, Mallwalker poured out his heart to God. He gave Him all the details and then asked God what to do. You know what God said? “You must take your beating like a man and quit complaining. You must learn the lesson, Mallwalker….or not.”

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Investing

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

This is not a discussion on money. This is about life. It seems that many people become lazy in life after they have made an initial investment. We should not take for granted that life will turn out great if we don’t continue to invest in the things and people that we once thought important to us. Here are a few examples:

  • Invest in yourself. If you don’t get proper rest, exercise, eat right, and have balance in your activities, how do you expect to be happy? Investing in yourself is not selfish, it is for your own sanity. You will be no good to yourself or anyone else if you don’t continue to invest in yourself. Don’t let your body go. Stretch your mind. Grow your faith. Make getting in shape physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually a priority (if it isn’t already).
  • Invest in your marriage or relationship with a significant other. Take time to let that person know that they are important to you, and do it daily. Send them love letters. Call them for no reason other than to let them know you love them. Don’t let that relationship become mundane or worse. It takes work to keep any relationship alive. There is an old saying, “It takes two to Tango.” That is especially true in relationships. You both have to invest in each other. Make daily deposits of love, encouragement, and communication.
  • Invest in your friendships. You should have a few friends that are close to you that love you for who you are and don’t judge you. They just love you. They know when to hold you accountable, when to encourage you, and when to reprimand you. They are great listeners and will take your call 24/7. They are there in the good and the bad times. They know that you are there for them as well. It goes both ways. While you can have close friends from both sexes, I personally feel you need to have a few close friends of your own sex. There are some things that only guys will get, and certain things that only ladies will get. Share things appropriately…particularly if you are married.
  • Invest in your work. Are you giving everything you have on a daily basis, or have you gone into cruise control? It you aren’t growing on a daily basis, you are going to find yourself disenchanted and looking for a different career. Find ways to challenge yourself daily, and don’t go to work Monday thinking about Friday. You will miss a lot of blessings if you take the lazy way out.

Investing in life has some parallels to finances in that:

  • You need to know the risks involved.
  • You should count the cost of investing.
  • You should never underestimate the time required to reach your goal.
  • You should understand the power of compound interest.

Investing in life will pay lifetime dividends if you continue to invest in yourself, your relationships, and your work. Happy investing.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

When Good Is Bad

Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships

Isn’t it ironic that so many things in life that are good are bad? Don’t believe me? I bet you will see you or someone you know somewhere on the list. Check this out:

  • Virtually everything I crave…cookies, candy, chocolate (my BFF), cake, ice cream, anything deep fried, bacon, etc., are all sooooooo good, and yet bad for ya. I know: Everything in moderation, but who wants moderation when they have a bucket of movie popcorn staring at them? Just to show you how evil movie popcorn is, my wife won’t even share hers with me. She says, “Get your own bucket!”
  • How about when we settle for something good instead of great? Have you ever had a relationship you got into that you shouldn’t have? I am guilty here. I wish I had known Vicki (my wife) since I was a kid, but it would have been kind of weird since she is a few years older than me. Of course, in Arkansas where she is from, that would be OK. I hear 12 year olds date 18 year olds all the time there. :o)
  • How about people who do something good for the wrong reason? Their actions are good, but their motives are selfish. They don’t give with love. They give to manipulate people or to make themselves look good.
  • How about people who are just plain evil? They call good evil and evil good…so their good is evil. How twisted is that? Think Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Osama bin Laden, Idi Amin, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, your, etc. History is full of people who have been in places of power and sought to steal, kill, and destroy any who opposed them.

I realize this list could be virtually endless, but you get the idea. To complicate things, when the younger generation really likes something, they call it “bad!” Hmmmm. Maybe someday we will figure it all out. Till then, I am off to the movies. Quit judging me.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

What Kids Taught Me

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

One of the cool things about teaching is that I am constantly being taught by the kids, my co-workers, and circumstances in general. I learn something new every day. Kids are great teachers, by the way. Here are just a few things kids have taught me:

  • Never lose the sense of wonder associated with learning. We live in a truly amazing world. Everything we see and touch has a lesson in it. There are also lessons within the lesson.
  • Learning comes easier when it is fun. Use games, puzzles, and fun activities to get kids engaged.
  • Creating things is not just fun, it is expanding our imagination and shows others what we are capable of.
  • Playtime and rest are both necessary. We need more of the first when we are young, and more of the second when we are older.
  • Be quick to console and encourage someone who is hurting. Everyone needs to know that somebody cares when they hurt. You may be the only one who cares at that moment.
  • Every child learns in their own unique way. The challenging thing about teaching is to reach every child collectively and individually. You are more likely to connect with a child to understand their learning style when you have developed rapport with them.
  • Kids engage quicker with teachers they like. Don’t we all? Learn to be likable.
  • Kids have more ability than we give them credit. Their ability just has to be stretched and tested to expand to its fullest form. Even when stretched, it can be expanded further again and again.
  • Sometimes the lesson plan goes out the window for more important lessons at hand. Go with the flow and be flexible. Life lessons tend to be remembered for life.
  • Every kid wants someone to admire their work. Praise them liberally and you will see them more likely to engage again.
  • The quiet kids have something to say too. They just have to be encouraged to speak and then listened to. Sometimes they have the best answers to a question.
  • The loud kids that go “Ooooo oooooo oooooo!” and raise their hands don’t always have the right answers. They just like the attention. Teach them that if they want to be called on, they have to raise their hands quietly. They usually get the message when you call on the quiet kids who are raising their hands without all the noise.
  • Hitting one another does not get the desired results. Sadly, some adults still need to learn this lesson.
  • Kids can learn multiple languages if taught from an early age.
  • Kids need boundaries and structure, yet they also can thrive in creative learning situations that have little structure and minimal boundaries. Find the mix that works best with your class. Every class has a personality. Learn it quickly if you want to minimize the chaos and maximize the learning.
  • Creative seating works. Use beanbags, captain’s chairs, bounce balls, etc. for kids to sit on. Make the choice of seating a reward for good behavior.
  • Kids understand computers and love using them. Use them wisely. The internet is full of wonderful and evil things at the same time, and all at the push of a button. Use proper precautions and filters with kids when on the web. The internet will rob a child of their innocence if you let it.

This is just a sample of things I have learned. I am sure the list will expand this year starting on day one of school. I am excited to see what I will be learning.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes