The Terrible Toos

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Think back on some of the poor decisions you have made in life. Chances are, you made some important decisions when you were in the terrible toos. You were:

  • Too tired
  • Too hungry
  • Too lonely
  • Too broke
  • Too discouraged
  • Too angry

There are probably a lot more we could add, but you get the idea. If you are in one or more of the terrible toos you don’t have the capacity to think clearly. Your emotions are in charge and you are not considering long-term consequences, thus your outcomes will not be good.

If you find yourself in this situation, here is my advice:

  • Never make a major financial or relational decision when you are in the toos.
  • Remind yourself that this “too” shall pass.
  • Realize that most (if not all) of the battles you are facing have a spiritual origin. The Bible says: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18

The devil is a liar and he seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He will use whatever weakness you have against you to take you, your family, and your fiends out. Don’t give him a foothold. He will feed your fears if you allow him to. Let faith in God be your shield and memorize Scripture so when he comes against you, you can give him God’s promises and take HIM out. Remember that the end of the story is already written. Just trust God and obey His word. He will be your light, your protection, your guide, and your provision if you will allow Him to.

Surround yourself with positive people who know God’s Word and can speak life and encouragement into your situation. You may be facing a mountain in your mind, but take heart: The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. Psalm 97:5

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

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

Encourage

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Is it any coincidence that “encourage” sounds a lot like “in courage?” I think not. Look at the definition of encourage: Give support, confidence, or hope to someone. The definition of courage is: The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain or grief.

When you encourage someone, you give them courage. When you encourage, you “in” courage them. How cool is that? It is like emotional surgery, or maybe giving a transfusion to someone. Here is the truth: Everyone needs to be encouraged! There is nobody walking this planet that does not face a moment of doubt, fear, or insecurity. We all have to face those moments and we all need to know that there is hope for us and what we are facing.

Sometimes we have to encourage ourselves! Self talk is powerful and can either propel us or hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. Encourage yourself every day to face your fears, overcome the obstacles which have held you back, and reach for your goals. Just because you have failed does not make you a failure, Amigo. Learn from the pain, and go for the gain. The game is not over.

I hope that you will encourage yourself as well as others. It is like giving water to a thirsty soul, and we are all thirsty.

Shalom!

Daniel Skognes

The Good That Came Out Of Amber Guyger’s Trial

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The jury was only out for a short time before the verdict came down: Murder. The jury only took a short time to come to sentencing: 10 years. This verdict not only surprised most of us but it angered many who felt like justice was not served. People were already trying to stir up the public with the injustice that they felt they had witnessed.

Here is the miracle that unfolded before our eyes: Brandt, the brother of Botham Jean got on the witness stand to talk to Amber about the victim’s impact. He looked Amber Guyger in the eye and told her that he forgave her and only wished her well. He did not even want her to go to jail. He wanted her to know that the love of Christ was there for her, and he loved her as he did anyone. He then asked the judge if he could hug Amber Guyger. She said he could, and it was incredible! The two of them embraced and the tears flowed.

The miracle was not over. After the trial, Judge Kemp did something unconventional: she went to the family members of Botham Jean and consoled each of them and hugged them. She then went to Amber Guyger and did the same thing. She gave her Bible to Amber and told her that she needed Christ and to read the Bible starting with John 3:16. She then hugged Amber. It was an incredible moment in legal history. I don’t think anyone can recall such a moment of healing in a murder trial.

This is what grace looks like. This is what forgiveness looks like.

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

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

Mistakes

Posted in Funny, General, Motivational, Relationships