Technology

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Technology is a double-edged sword. Like many things in life, it can be used for good or perverted for evil. We have to choose every day whether we are going to be conformed to this world or be transformed by the Spirit of God.

I have to admit that when video games were invented, I was drawn to them like a bug to a light. When Space Invaders first came out, I got hooked immediately and was determined to beat the game. Looking back I am kind of embarrassed by how many hours I spent trying to beat that silly game, but I finally did!

Did I learn my lesson? Well…no. When Call of Duty came around I was immediately hooked again! I spent countless hours beating people around the world and ranked myself up to be one of the better players out there (at least in my mind…LOL). I finally burned myself out and just went cold turkey and turned off all the gaming. I think it was a good move for me as I wasted way too much time in the fantasy world of games.

Recently I heard a sermon about technology and how it is being abused by young and old alike. Grandmothers spend countless hours playing Candy Crush, adults spend way too much time on social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., etc. They all have addictive things about them that tempt us to pick up the phone and check out what the latest posting is about….and don’t forget email and instant messaging, and online shopping!

We have forgotten how to have conversations with people sitting in front of us! Look at the folks in restaurants and see how many of them are on their phones and ignoring the people right there with them. I have to laugh when I go into the teacher’s lounge at school. Everyone pulls out their lunch and then pulls out their phone! I purposefully try to have actual conversations with people around me, but many of them are so busy texting or scrolling that they just tune out the people around them. We have become victims of the age we live in. We are the most connected people ever worldwide and yet we are disconnected from each other in real relationships. How sad is that?

I have to admit that before cell phones came around we still had problems watching too much TV, but now with the advent of the internet, we have access 24/7 to information and entertainment. I hate to date myself, but when I was a kid I remember the first TV we had. It was a black and white DuMont. It got a total of 3 channels and we had to adjust the rabbit ears to get a decent picture. I was the remote control for Dad. At midnight we got this annoying signal that informed us that there would be no more broadcast until morning. Boy have things changed!

We used to have a full set of encyclopedias just to know the details about something important or historic. Now we Google it and are given the info in a matter of nanoseconds on our phone. Think about this: the GPS on our phone today is many times greater in power and accuracy than the system our country used to put a man on the moon! We are living in both wonderful and perilous times. What we do with technology will make or break us.

In the Bible, Jesus often retreated from everyone and everything to get alone with his Father. I think we need to heed that example. We need time away from all distractions on a daily basis just to commune with our heavenly Father. I have found a great way to use my technology while I am driving. I either put on praise music or I put on Scripture that is being read to me. I have actually listened to the whole Bible in a very short time this way!

Even with the good things that technology can bring, I think we still need time to pray, meditate on God’s Word, and listen to what God is trying to say to us. I encourage you to try carving out time every day just to be still before the Lord. I am an early riser, so I will be up a few minutes early just to spend time with my Father. It is a pretty good way to start the day, don’t you think? I will be praying for you too. God bless and Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Work Smarter AND Harder

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

At some point in life you might have been advised to work smarter, not harder. That has an element of truth to it, but it misses the point of ultimate success. I was watching one of the tribute videos of Kobe Bryant. He along with numerous other athletes, successful businessmen, politicians, and top educators have come to the same conclusion: It takes hard work and working smarter to succeed. You will never reach your true potential if you neglect the hard work ethic.

“The three greatest essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.” Thomas Edison. I like that quote because Thomas Edison also said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

How do you stay positive when you are met with continued setbacks?

  • Stay focused on your goal.
  • Learn from each mistake.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Don’t get distracted by what other people think.
  • Be willing to think outside the box.
  • Only take advice from people who are knowledgeable and have common sense.

The road to success if often paved with blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t let the setbacks destroy your dream. The question becomes, are you willing to pay the price?

“Success is never owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.” Rory Vaden

Here is to your true success! Stay focused my friend.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Love Em and Lift Em

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Teaching can be boiled down to a simple formula: love em and lift em.

  • You love em for who they are. You lift em to see their inner-beauty and potential.
  • You love em when they make mistakes. You lift em to take responsibility for their actions and consider the consequences.
  • You love em when they get what you are teaching. You lift em to put it into practice.
  • You love em when they show kindness to others. You lift em to be kind to everyone.
  • You love em when they are hurt or angry. You lift em to forgive those who hurt them.
  • You love em when they are disrespectful. You lift em to be respectful to all, even those they don’t like.
  • You love em when they want to give up. You lift em to press on, excel, and realize the power of perseverance.
  • You love em when they struggle with things at home. You lift em to focus on the task at hand and encourage them through the process.
  • You love em as they learn social skills. You teach them how to be a friend to others.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

World Changers

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Showing Up

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Great Advice

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Win-Win

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Is it possible for two people of opposing views to both have positive outcomes? Well, yes and no.

Winning and losing is important to keep track of in sports, but in relationships it can be the beginning of the end if you are keeping score.

I found a simple correlation this week: Disagreements are mathematical! When I am tutoring kids in math, I try to get them to get and understand ALL the facts before they draw a conclusion. How can you get the right answer if you don’t have all the facts or you don’t understand them? It is impossible…just like it is in relationships. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous because it is like jumping off a cliff in the dark. You may be destroying a relationship if you proceed.

Our Principal gave a good analogy recently in a training session. He said when you have someone that is in disagreement with you, you bring either water or gasoline to the table. If you throw gasoline on the situation it becomes volatile and can spin out of control quickly. If you bring water (stay calm), you can extinguish the flame and seek to understand the other person.

If you want Win-Win outcomes, do the following things:

  • Stay calm.
  • Truly listen to the other person rather than forming your argument in your head while they are still speaking.
  • Make sure you have ALL the facts and UNDERSTAND them.
  • Don’t assume you know someone’s motives. Ask them and seek to understand.
  • Avoid the words “Always” and “Never” when describing someone’s behavior. Most of the time it is simply untrue and used to drive a point rather than be truthful.

We have all had situations where we were 1,000% sure that we were right only to find out later that we either misunderstood the situation or we did not have all the facts…and WE were wrong. Humble pie is awful hard to swallow because it is filled with pride, and swallowing your pride never goes down easy.

There is an exception to seeking a Win-Win outcome: If you are arguing with a fool, walk away. You will never win the argument because they don’t care about the facts or the truth and they have had more experience than you will ever have, so let it go and let them learn the hard way. Their mindset is: “Don’t confuse me with the facts!” You won’t change their mind. Arguing with a fool is foolish. Don’t be the fool.

There is power in forgiveness, so forgive freely. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins, so love completely.

“Justice is giving someone what they deserve. Mercy is not giving them what they deserve, and grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.” Robert Morris.

Give others the mercy and grace that you yourself so desperately need. That results in a Win-Win most of the time. Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Growth Takes Time

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

We live in a microwave society. We want what we want, and we want it now! The problem is, growth takes time. Take a look at plants and how they grow. The seed has to be planted in good soil, watered, and given the proper amount of sunlight. It takes time for the seed to sprout and become what it is destined to be. Take away any of those elements and it will not grow.

If you are frustrated with your growth (spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, financially), take heart. Don’t get frustrated with the process. Keep the goal in mind and stay focused. Have faith! When you haven’t seen a child for a few months, aren’t you amazed with how much they have grown? The funny thing is that the child does not see what YOU see. Sometimes we are too close to really see the changes taking place in our own lives.

When a child is conceived, it takes 9 months for the child to be born. You can’t rush the process. It is nature’s way of preparing the child for living outside of the womb. Look at the obstacles you face with different eyes. God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time….every time. Quit worrying about how things appear and trust that God will help you through it. He will help you grow and fulfill your destiny.

Don’t try to rush the process. You just might miss the blessing of the journey. Enjoy the day you have before you and learn to live in the moment. Your destiny will unfold when it is time.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Teaching GPS

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Everyone knows how a GPS works. It calculates where you are and helps you get to where you are going. When you make a mistake….no problem. “Re-calculating” assures you that you will still get to your destination. It simply re-routes you from your current location. Is it perfect? No….but neither is teaching.

We imperfect teachers teach imperfect kids who live in an imperfect world. We hit a lot of obstructions on the road to success. We deal with kids who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Some come to school without being fed or even properly dressed. Some have learning disabilities and many just need to know that somebody cares about them. Couple all of that with the personal challenges that every teacher has and you can see that the journey is one that can be frustrating and tiring for everyone involved.

The teaching GPS mentality gives us the flexibility to deal with all the craziness that comes our way every day and not lose our focus or our mind. A sense of humor is part of the programming as well as reminding yourself that “This too shall pass.” If you can learn not to sweat the small stuff, it makes the journey a lot more fun. Anticipate roadblocks, potholes, crazy drivers, and delays. That is just the way life goes. Sometimes the road is smooth and sometimes it seems like it is all under construction.

Administrative support is critical to the ultimate success or failure of the academic journey. A school system will rise or fall depending on the leadership. If teachers and staff are valued, listened to, supported, and encouraged, they will have a great chance of reaching their goals. If they treat the staff as objects to be used for their own success, there will be a great deal of dysfunction, backbiting, and problems. High teacher turnover and teacher burnout will be evident where the staff is not truly appreciated and supported.

Failure is not fatal unless you give up. It just means you have not succeeded yet. Allow yourself and your students to learn from failures and from the journey itself. Encourage one another and learn from everyone you meet and everything you do. Life is a marvelous teacher if we are willing to observe and learn from it. Own your mistakes, but don’t let them define who you are or limit where you are going.

One of the best parts of the teaching GPS mentality is having a peer portal. This allows the sharing of ideas with your peers. The things that work and don’t work may easily be incorporated if everyone will share their best practices. Just knowing you are not alone is a great comfort when you are going though a rough spot in the road. Peers can teach you shortcuts and detours that may very well be the difference between success and failure for you and your students. I know that teaching can be draining, frustrating, and you may want to quit every other day. If you are called to teach, don’t quit, commit. Commit to the journey, the kids, to your peers, and of course…to yourself. Future generations are being impacted by what we do one day at a time…one child at a time. Investing in children is the best type of Social Security there is.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Walk the Talk

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Your character is revealed in what you do.

It has been said that talk is cheap, meaning that people will often tell you what they think you want to hear. It is a pet peeve of mine when people do that. I try to be a man of my word. I have not always succeeded at keeping it, but I don’t intentionally mislead people with what I say. When I can’t keep my word because of circumstances out of my control, I at least try to explain it.

I think I may be in the minority when it comes to keeping my word. Perhaps it is due to how I was raised. I admit that I am old school in many respects. I was taught to keep my word. In fact, when I was caught in a lie, Mom literally washed out my mouth with a bar of soap. LOL. I never forgot that lesson. Do parents still do that? Probably not.

Maybe I am too naive. When someone tells me they are going to do something, I tend to take them at their word and move on. Sadly, I have been burned many times in life by people who just tell me what I want to hear. I have had to learn the old adage the hard way: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I am eternally optimistic and trusting by nature, but I have learned that not everyone who calls you friend is a friend. Not everyone who says they love you really loves you. Their actions will tell the truth. Pay attention or pay the price.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes