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

Life Choices

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual
  • Be grateful or be resentful.
  • Laugh about it or cry about it.
  • Isolate yourself or have the fellowship and support of others.
  • Know and follow God or deny His existence.
  • Learn the lesson or continue making the same mistakes.
  • Live within your means or be enslaved to debt.
  • Trust God or go it alone.
  • Fill your mind with things that are good or things that are evil.
  • Read regularly or limit your learning.
  • Treat others with respect or find yourself becoming a target.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise or suffer the consequences physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Be kind to children, animals, and those less fortunate or find yourself in a time of need and nobody there to help you.
  • Learn to love yourself and others or live a life that is depressing and meaningless.
  • Find your purpose in life and pursue it or be frustrated for the rest of your life.
  • Never stop learning or find yourself ignorant.
  • Control yourself or others will do it for you.
  • Think before you speak or find yourself being punished, humiliated, or hurt.
  • Forgive everyone for everything or find yourself a prisoner of your past.
  • Learn to live in the moment or you will miss the blessing.
  • Live in faith or you will cower in fear.
  • Focus on the good and potential in others or you will be focused on their faults.
  • Choose your friends wisely or you will make stupid decisions.
  • Spend time regularly in God’s Word or you will miss His messages to you.
  • Use money wisely and don’t make it your god or you will find out firsthand what a harsh taskmaster it can be.
  • Seek wise counsel before making major decisions or you will be limited in your options.
  • Don’t make a major decision when you are too tired, too angry, or too hungry, or you will regret it.
  • Lead with love and understanding or you will find the followers rejecting you.
  • Be content with what you have or you will find yourself consumed with always wanting more.
  • Value your friends and family or you will find them avoiding you.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The 4 Ps

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual




Everyone has to face this question: Why am I here? It is not something to take lightly, and it is something that each person must answer for themselves. Nobody can tell you what your purpose is. They may help you identify it, but ultimately is is up to each one of us to figure out this great mystery.

I find it interesting that some people figure this out as little kids. They dream of being an astronaut and pursue that dream with great tenacity till they fulfill it. Other people go through life and never figure it out at all. That is one of the greatest tragedies I have observed. That is why you see people doing jobs just for a paycheck and hating every moment of their day. They have sold their purpose for a paycheck.

Someone recently asked me what they should do about their career, but they did not like my answer because it put the responsibility back on them. I told them: “Pray about it. Ask God to help you identify what it is that you should do with your life. Once you have identified your passion, pursue it till you find your purpose. Don’t let anything or anyone sidetrack you from it.”

Like many things in life, finding your purposes is both simple and complex. It is simple in that there are only 4 steps. It is complex in that you have to be discerning and be willing to fail. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from fulfilling your dreams. Everyone fails. Failure is not fatal unless you quit. The bottom line for each of us is that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make. If you are still trying to figure it out for yourself, pray. Ask God to help you identify your passion, then pursue it until you find your purpose.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

God Opens and Closes Doors

Posted in General, Motivational, Spiritual
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Mistakes

Posted in Funny, General, Motivational, Relationships

Open Heart

Posted in General, Motivational, Relationships

Why is it that some people have a closed heart? Or worse…a cold heart? I just went through open heart surgery. It always makes you come to terms with who you are when you are facing eternity. You think about what you have done (or not done) with your life.

WouldI change anything in the past if I could? Of course I would! Whowouldn’t?

ThingsI have learned in this process:

  • Don’t take your health for granted. Bad habits will always catch up with you.
  • Tell people you love them while you can. Tomorrow may never come.
  • Make things right with God and people. Don’t go to bed mad.
  • Don’t let the hardships and tragedies of life jade your heart. Keep an open heart to love God, yourself, and others.
  • Don’t waste time. Every minute counts. This life is but a blink in eternity. Learn to relax, but don’t waste time.
  • Expect the unexpected. Adapt, improvise, and move on.

Ipray you keep an open and healthy heart.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

Breakthrough

Posted in Business, General, Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Life Isn’t Fair

Posted in Business, Motivational

At some point in life we come face to face with the fact that life is not fair. The problem is, even though we know it isn’t, we expect it to be! This played out before our eyes recently on national TV with the now infamous non-call that cost the Saints the opportunity to win and go on to the Super Bowl. You could debate that they still could have won, but the fact remains that had the interference call been properly made, they could have run out the clock and won the game.

Here is what I hope come out of this lesson:

  • I hope the Saints don’t lose heart from this travesty. They are a great team and will be contenders next year as well.
  • I hope that the rules change in the NFL to allow a coach to contest a pass interference. Had this opportunity been in place, a replay would have obviously enforced a penalty against the Rams.
  • I hope we all are prepared for life to throw us a curve ball. The good news is that curve balls can be hit. We can survive regardless of what challenges we face.

This is not to take anything away from the Rams and their victory. It was not their issue and they played a great game. It just took some of the satisfaction out of the equation with the way it played out. It would have been fun to see Brady vs. Brees in the Super Bowl (maybe next year if they don’t retire). Of course, I hope the Cowboys are there next year! So in that case…we may never know what could have been.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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Dare To Dream

Posted in Business, Motivational, Video