Do the Right Thing

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

We have this conversation with kids at school on a daily basis. It is always about choices we make. We try to encourage them to think about their choices and the consequences of their behavior before they make them.

Results of doing the right thing:

  • The consequences are generally favorable for you.
  • You have a clear conscience regardless of the outcome.
  • What goes around comes around. It may take some time, but good will return to you in unexpected ways.
  • Other people are blessed.
  • You sleep better knowing you did the right thing.
  • You develop a reputation of integrity.
  • You show good judgement and maturity.
  • You will have peace.

How do you KNOW if it is the right thing to do? If you have to ask yourself that question, don’t do it. Don’t confuse doing something good with doing the right thing. Your kid may want you to give them a new Play Station, but they are not doing well in school. What is the right thing to do? Depends on who you ask. Your kid would say, “If you really love me, you will buy it today!” A parent who is wise might say, “You bring your grades up at least one grade level and I will get it for you, and for every A that you get I will buy you a new game.” That is a win-win.

Generally, if you have a gut check about doing something it is a sign you should wait. More times than I can remember I have gone against that gut check and lived to regret it. If you are really struggling about what is the right thing to do, get counsel from someone who is mature and well-grounded emotionally and spiritually. 

I recently asked a lady who was dating a guy if she was going to marry him. She said, “Probably not. He has issues with my work which requires me to travel and sometimes entertain clients over lunch or dinner.” The problem is that sometimes our hearts confuse our brains. Better to make the right decision even if it is a hard one than to suffer the consequences of a poor decision for the rest of your life. Do the right thing.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual



“To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” – Joel Rosenberg

Many years ago I had the opportunity to go to Germany and one of the things I wanted to do was visit one of the concentration camps from WW2. I was in Munich, and found out that the first concentration camp was in a suburb of Munich…literally just a few miles away.

Dachau was the first of many concentration camps to house Jews in WW2. When I walked on the grounds of the camp, it was surreal to say the least. When I got off the tour bus, nobody spoke a word. It was as it we knew that this was a place where we needed to show respect for the thousands of Jews who died there.

When I questioned the young tour bus driver about that atrocity, he quickly pointed out, “That was not my generation.” Of course I did not blame him or Germany in general, but I was curious as to how they felt about what happened there. He did not want to talk about it, so we didn’t.

Evil has no particular name or face. It just shows up and you know it is evil. It steals, kills, and destroys all that is in its way. The question then becomes: how do we stop it?

Obviously ignoring it does not work. Pearl Harbor is a perfect example. If the US had not chosen an isolationist position in world politics, I doubt Pearl Harbor would ever have happened.

The only way that makes evil back down is when it is confronted. You can take that to the bank and cash it. When you see evil, don’t ignore it. Face it. Confront it. Challenge it. Do whatever you have to do because if you don’t, you and everyone you know will lose.

It takes great courage to confront evil. It has a way of paralyzing people through fear. If you fear what will happen if you act, you are most likely not going to do anything. That is what the enemy is counting on. That is why Hitler was able to literally transform a nation into people who believed a lie. They were willing to die for him because they became convinced that HE was the truth. Tragically, it was all a lie. We all have to stand up for truth and what is right. If we don’t, evil wins.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” 
― Albert Einstein

“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill


Dan Skognes

A Teacher’s Tale

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

There was a Men’s meeting that I attended yesterday that turned out to be memorable. It wasn’t so much the speaker…although he was awesome. It was the encounter I had with a first time visitor to the group. He was sitting at a table with a buddy of his when I asked if I could join them. They said, “Of course.”

We engaged in the typical small talk like men do. One of the first questions out of man’s mouth is, “So what do you do?” When I told this one fellow that I was a teacher he just opened up to me about his daughter and what she was going through as a teacher.

Megan, his daughter is teaching 7th Grade English. She has this one gifted student that just won’t participate and in fact is disruptive. When she asked the kid about his behavior one day, he said something strange. “I don’t like you. Stay away from me!” She tried to get him to open up as to why but all he said was, “Stay away from me and don’t read my journal!”

Well, this is an English class and the writing journal is something that has to be read, so she read it. She found that he had written twelve times in the book that he wanted to kill her! That would send chills down the spine of anyone. She immediately took the book to her Principal and asked for help and advice on what to do.

In the interim, she had called her Dad who lived in another city and told him the story. He immediately called the police in that town and they dispatched a couple of officers to the school. When the Mother was summoned to the school, she immediately began cursing the staff and the police and asked, “Why did I have to come down here?” When they handed her the book, she read it then turned and punched her kid in the face!

Is it any wonder this kid has issues with female authority? CPS stepped in and took the kid and the school suspended the boy, but three days later he was BACK at school. By this time my jaw must have been on the floor as this father was wondering what to do. He called the police again, but they said that the kid was in another class now (like that is a viable solution). The Dad pleaded with them to post someone there outside her class, but that was not going to happen.

I suggested that they take the story to a news reporter and let them run with it, but Megan did not want to do that for fear of losing her job and being blackballed as a troublemaker. After all, this is her first year of teaching.

I told the Dad that I was at this meeting apparently for him and his daughter. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a magnet that I had made called “The Teacher’s Prayer.” I told him to just read it to her and it would bless her. Tears welled up in the eyes of this hulk of a man and he thanked me. We marveled at how God puts people in our lives when we least expect it to encourage us and remind us that He is with us.

I did encourage him to have her quit that school district. No teaching job is worth losing your life. They apparently are more worried about what the parent thinks than the safety of their staff. He told me that Megan still loved the boy and wanted to help him, and I told him that I would be praying for them through the days to come.

The tragic part of this story is that this is played out daily in schools all around our country; then we wonder why bad things happen at our schools. I believe we are at a tipping point. We either need to change our education system radically or it is going to literally explode on us. More than that, we need to get grounded spiritually. We have so many kids raised in dysfunctional homes. It is no wonder they act out their hostility at school.

Pray for our country, our families, and for Megan. Her story needs to be told. I just hope I don’t read about it after a kid goes crazy on her and the school. Pray that we as a country find the way to rectify this collision course we are on before it is too late.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

People Love Unselfish Service, right? Who does not want someone to serve them unselfishly? We all want to be served. That is a given. It is part of our nature.

Here is my point: we all need to be PLUS people, but in a giving way. We need to give to others unselfishly and not expect anything in return. That is tough…because at the very least most of us want a thank you! When you do something nice for someone, shouldn’t you at least get that? The simple answer is, “Yes.” The real answer is, “That depends.”

People always have motives for what they do or don’t do. If someone does something for you and is expecting a thank you and does not get it, that is a problem, right? Chances are, there is going to be some tension and possibly some words exchanged about the issue.

The real problem is not seeing things from someone else’s viewpoint. That can be hard, no matter who you are. It seems that we all can have the best of intentions and still have things misunderstood. That is life. The bottom line is, what are you going to do now? Don’t settle for “It is what it is.” Think: “It is what we make it.”

You can be mad, pout, blame the other person, and point the finger, but the reality is: we all have to look in the mirror and accept responsibility for our part. If someone tried to do their best for you and it came off wrong, just thank them for what they intended even if you don’t understand it. If what you gave was not accepted for how you meant it, explain yourself and ask them to accept your gift for how you meant it: with love.

Be an unselfish giver and a thankful receiver. The two go hand in hand. Relationships that thrive are those that understand the cycle of give and take. If all you do is take you will run over people. If all you do is give you become a doormat that people step on to get what they want.

When we learn to give without expecting anything in return and give thanks for whatever we receive, that is true peace for all. That is Shalom!

Dan Skognes


Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

How many languages do you speak? You may be thinking that you only speak one language, but I will show you that you can easily speak more than one language. You just have to think outside the linguistic box.

Back in 2014 I had a Spanish Pastor friend that was encouraging me to go to Guatemala to help out a Mayan village. I really wanted to go, but there was just one problem, I only speak English. When I pointed this out to him, he said, “Don’t worry about it. God will work that out.”  LOL. I forgot about Him.

I went on the trip and had a great interpreter. The man that was interpreting for me told me, “I have been working with these people for a year and a half and they are just now accepting me. You come down and in two days they are treating you like family.” How does that happen? I spoke a universal language they understood: Love.

I served them by bringing food to the homes of those that were poor. I bought clothes for kids that needed shoes. I bought school supplies and back packs for the kids who otherwise would not have what they needed to go to school. I did these things because I truly loved these people. They were so gracious. I never left one of their homes where they did not want to give me something to eat.

The other language that is universal is music. Most people love music in one form or another. When I first got there I was introduced to a couple of young girls. I am guessing that they were around 5 years old. When one of them told me her name was Maria, I stood up and in a deep baritone voice sang: ”Maria. I just met a girl named Maria!” It is a line from the musical West Side Story. The little girls loved it!  Every day after that they came up to me and begged me to sing Maria, which of course, I was obliged to do. LOL.

Music and love are two ways to connect with everyone in the world, regardless of what language you speak. Now you can proudly say you are trilingual at the very least.


Dan Skognes

Sometimes Good Is Enough

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

On the way to great you’re going to make a lot of goofs. Expect it. Nobody is perfect. Teachers, parents, bosses, and even spouses are guilty of expecting others to be perfect. They put these expectations on themselves as well. It is like a virus that we keep breeding. Left unchecked it causes damage that can lead to death.

Just because you make a mistake does not make you one. We all make mistakes. That is what we did, not who we are. Unfortunately for too many people what they do becomes their identity and thus when they don’t succeed, THEY are a failure.

We have to learn to celebrate the baby steps made in ourselves and others rather than point out the failures. I know it is difficult to do, but it is necessary if you expect to have any sense of normalcy in your life and in the lives of those around you.

I groan when I watch a parent yelling at their kid on the field for dropping a ball, striking out, or missing the shot. I know the wounds they are inflicting on their child will last a lifetime. They will remember the cruel comments above the occasional “I love you.”

Let’s start cutting people a little slack. Let’s begin by celebrating the victories…no matter how small they are. Let’s begin by letting the mistakes go. You don’t need to remind them of it. They know what they did or did not do.

I don’t think anyone grows up wanting to be cruel to others or to themselves. This is learned behavior but it can be changed. In order to be changed, it has to be challenged, and there is the rub. Many people are afraid of the consequences of speaking up: getting fired, taking a beating, being humiliated again, getting divorced, etc. This is just bullying disguised. Bullies don’t stop until someone steps up to them.

Do you want to stop bullying? Start with stepping up next time you see it done to you, one of your co-workers, your spouse, your kid, or even a stranger. Model for them how it could be done. Cut them some slack too because they are not perfect either…but at least now they see it through other people’s eyes.


Dan Skognes

The Hand of God

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Do you ever get impatient with God? I think we all have had times when we wonder if He is ever going come through and answer our prayers. One thing I can promise you and I know is true from personal experience: God is always on time in His time.

When you are waiting on God to answer a prayer, I have found that there are many reasons why God may be delaying the answer. Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • What you prayed for is really not in your best interest or in the best interest of those involved. This one takes a lot of faith, but we have to trust that God knows what He is doing.
  • What you prayed for is not in His will…period. We often pray for something that is just selfish or self-serving. God knows our hearts. He knows that if He gave some of us what we asked for that it would be a disaster not just for us but for everyone around us.
  • We often forget that God is orchestrating things not just for us…but for all mankind. It is not just about us, and when He does move it affects many people.
  • God may be testing your faith to see if you really believe that He will do what He says He will do. No better way to test it than to delay the answer. Do you complain about the delay or do you praise Him in the midst of the storm?
  • We forget that God does not work around time. He is eternal. Time is something that was created for us and I believe one of the primary reasons was to let us know how short our time is here on Earth and to use it wisely.
  • Waiting on God requires faith, humility, and patience. We have to learn to trust God regardless of what we see and how we feel. That is pretty difficult for us because we have a microwave mentality…and God is a slow cooker (at least in our judgement).
  • God is not a genie in a bottle that we can summon on command and “poof” He grants our wishes. The closer our hearts and minds come to being Christ-like, the more we come to understand the significance in the simple command: Trust and obey.
  • God may be withholding an answer because of strife between you and someone else. If you have unresolved conflict with someone, do your best to resolve it. Forgive them and let them know you want to make things right with them. God is all about relationship. How can we come to Him and ask His help if we are ignoring one of his primary directives….to love one another?

God will move when the time is right. Trust that. Praise Him and trust in Him. Remember all of the things that God has done for you in the past. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, and that is a great reason to keep a prayer journal. Some of us suffer from selective memory.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Funny, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Lord Byron

Have you ever wondered if God laughs? I am sure He does. It has been said, “We make our plans and God laughs.” There is probably a lot of truth to that. I think there are many things that make God laugh.

I was at a Men’s Conference a few years ago and we were singing, “Let It Rain.” Oh boy, did it rain?!!!! Be careful what you ask for when you are praying or praising God…just saying. I look back and think God was saying to the angels, “Watch this.” Then He laughed as we ran for cover from the deluge.

God laughs at our simple-minded thinking…especially when we think we have things figured out. That is usually when He throws us a curve ball. He laughs when we predict weather. How many times have the weathermen got that one wrong???  He laughs when the devil thinks he has got the upper hand on one of God’s kids. He laughs when anyone tries to be Him.

God laughs, and I believe he likes to hear us laugh too. Laughter is part of pure joy, and joy is rooted in our soul as an anchor to help us through the storms of life.

Have you ever laughed at the absurdity of something? I have, and I am sure God does too. Some things are just ridiculous and aren’t worth debating, fretting, or losing sleep over. I know God does not lose sleep over anything…so why should we?

When I was in high school a kid nicknamed me Smiley because I smiled all the time. I really didn’t mind it because it could have been a lot worse!  I remember a kid nicknamed Stinky. LOL. The few times I got in trouble at school was usually from laughing about something. It didn’t help that I knew I could make other people laugh!

“If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” Jim Carrey. Jim dreamed of being a big star and making money by making people laugh. Despite dropping out of school and lack of support from his Mom, he never gave up on his dream. With the encouragement from his Dad he became one of the most successful comedians in recent years with his films grossing billions of dollars worldwide…all by making people laugh. Obviously, it pays to laugh.


Dan Skognes

Button Pushers

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Have you ever got on an elevator only to find that some prankster has pushed all the buttons, and you have to go to the top floor? It is pretty irritating, isn’t it? It seems the world is filled with button pushers and some of the best button pushers are the ones we know well.

Why do people like pushing other people’s buttons? It is often done in jest, and yet many times it is not received well. Sadly, button pushing has become an art for some people.

I was watching three boys in one of my 3rd grade classes yesterday. They were sitting on opposite sides of the class from one another and yet they still managed to taunt one another with looks, snide comments, and outright disrespect for one another.

I talk daily with kids about just being kind to one another and avoiding those people who push their buttons, but you know what they inevitably tell me? “It was them….not me!” They don’t take responsibility for their own part in it.

One of the boys who is constantly getting in trouble was complaining to me about what another boy said to him. When I confronted the other boy about his behavior, you know what the first boy did? He pointed at the other boy and shouted, “Ha!” There were probably daggers coming out of my eyes at that point. LOL. I had been used to push buttons for him!

Later that morning I was making my rounds and one of the boys was in the hallway standing in a corner…sulking. I asked him what happened and he began the blame game. The other boys got him in trouble. I asked him, “Who got in trouble? YOU! What lesson did you learn?” He said, “To keep my mouth shut!” If ONLY they would learn THAT lesson.

I try to get kids to understand that when they let other people push their buttons, they are letting them control them. Why would anyone want someone to control them? The truth is, they don’t want it but they just don’t know how to respond. They don’t understand the power of self-control.

It is sad to see kids with no self-control, but when I meet some of the parents I see why they do what they do. I am surprised that they are doing as well as they are considering the environment they are living in at home. When dysfunction is their model, what can you really expect?  And then they drop off their kids at school and basically tell us to “Deal with it.”

Earlier this week we had a lock-down because of a threat by one of the students that they were bringing a gun to school. It never happened, but the threat was not to be taken lightly…and we didn’t.

I pray for our schools daily. There is a lot of evil in this world and it seems that our kids are the ones paying the biggest price. Pray for the teachers, the administrators, the parents…and most of all…the kids. We need it more than you know.


Dan Skognes

Game Changers

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Think about people you know who are game changers. These are people of influence. They are not necessarily the loudest person in the room, but when they speak it is relevant. Game changers have these characteristics:

  • They are not afraid of taking risks. They know that risk and reward are tied at the hip.
  • They are leaders, but not necessarily how we might typically think. They lead by example. They lead by serving. They lead without focusing on what is in it for them.
  • Game changers are the people that you would call on if there was 1 second left on the clock and your team had the ball. Why? Because they are great at what they do and they have no fear.
  • They are the people that you want on your team because you know they are a combination of magnet and lightning. They naturally attract people like a magnet, and they can ignite those around them like a bolt of lightning.
  • They are coachable. They know that they can always improve their game, their work, their relationships, etc.

As you are thinking about people you personally know, look in the mirror at the one you have known the longest. Are you a game changer? This is just my humble opinion, but I believe everyone CAN be a game changer if they are willing to take the risks and don’t let fear hold them back. The problem with most people is that they just don’t see it in themselves, so they sit back and let someone else take the shot.

Next time you are given the opportunity:  Swing the bat, take the shot, make the decision, give your two cents worth in a collaboration meeting. History can be made with one game changer, but think what can be done with a team or army that knows they are game changers. If you need a visual, watch Hoosiers, one of my all-time favorite movies about a small town basketball team that went on to win state. It is based on a true story. The coach (played in the movie by the great Gene Hackman) created that mentality in his whole team. They were David in the David and Goliath story. They knew they could slay the giant, and they did.

If you are going to strike out, go down swinging. The year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs he had 89 strikeouts. Swing for the bleachers if you want to win. Never let fear determine your destiny, never quit, and never believe everything you hear about yourself. You are never as good or bad as others say you are, but you need to know who you are and believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in you, how can you expect anyone else to?


Dan Skognes