BFF

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Life events identify who our true friends are. Think about it. If you get married, divorced, have a baby, have a death in the family, graduate, are moving and need help, just want to hang out, need someone to talk to in the middle of the night and don’t want to be judged, who do you call?

Fair-weather friend is a term for fake friends…much like the many “friends” we have on FB and social media. Real friends are there for you no matter what life hands you. They don’t always agree with you, but they respect you, honor you, serve you, and love you for who you are. They will encourage you to expand your horizons, dream big, and let go of past hurts. They walk with you through life.

If you are fortunate to have more than one true friend, you are indeed wealthy. A proverb says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” You may be thinking, yes, but I have always heard “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning family comes before everyone else. Is it possible that both are correct?

Blood is thicker than water when it comes to our relationships and priorities, but there are friends who would go the distance when even blood relatives might pause. Here is my question for you: Are you a true friend to anyone? Have you invested in someone in your life to the point that they know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if they needed anything, you would be there for them?

True friendship is not one way. It takes two people investing in each other. This takes relationships from good to great. It works in marriage, business, and casual relationships. If you don’t invest, you’ll never have the best.

If you do have a cherished friend, I hope you let them know how much you love them and that you are there for them. If you don’t have a true friend, don’t despair. Another proverb says, “If a man wants friends, he must show himself friendly.” Just get out of your comfort zone and be the friend that you would like to have. It is worth the investment.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

The Best Medicine

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

You might think that the best medicine is the one that works, but I think it is a little more complex. Medicine and advice have this in common: it is guaranteed not to work if you won’t take it. We have all known people who just don’t take what is good for them. Why do some people choose to learn the hard way?

Here are a few reasons that people won’t take what is good for them:

  • They think they can ignore the medicine or advice and do better on their own. The question they should be asking is, “How has that been working out for me?”
  • As ridiculous as it sounds, some people would rather stay stuck in the mud rather than do what someone tells them to do to get out. You will be their guest in the mud if you allow it.
  • They won’t listen because they don’t like them, trust them, or can’t forgive them for something in the past. Forgiveness becomes the greatest hurdle to overcome for many.
  • I know people who have been making the same dysfunctional decisions for so long that it is normal to them. When people think that evil is good and dark is light, then no amount of reasoning will get through to them till they see the warped picture for what it is. That is the epitome of spiritual blindness.
  • They thrive in chaos. If there isn’t any, they create it!
  • It wasn’t their idea.

Why it is so pervasive is a true mystery to me. Give me peace and tranquility. There is one caveat: Not all medicine and advice are good for you. Consider the source and the motive. What they give you could be the very thing to help you or it could be the thing that puts you under permanently. Know your friends and your enemies. Not all who say they wish you well have pure motives, and not all who appear to wish you harm have evil intentions. You had best learn the difference. If you get a gut check, listen!

“The best medicine and advice have a healthy dose of common sense.” Dan Skognes

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

danskognes.com

Discrimination

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover, yet we judge people every day by how they look, don’t we? The sad thing is that some people look at anyone who is different as less than them. Whether they are different color, different religion, different political party, etc., being different does not necessarily make them wrong. It makes them different.

One of the things I like about The Voice on TV is that the judges can’t see the performers when they first hear them. That makes their decision solely based on their voice and not on how they look. Some of them look pretty strange, but when you hear them sing, they can blow you away. It at least levels the playing field in one respect.

Britain’s God Talent had a famous show many years ago where this frumpy woman came out on stage. Simon Cowell literally rolled his eyes when he saw her. She was strange looking and quirky in how she talked. Everyone was ready for a blooper and for her to have XXX immediately. Then Susan Boyle opened her mouth and sang: I Dreamed A Dream. Wow. She was incredible and had everyone shaking their heads in disbelief. If you have not seen the video, go to YouTube and watch it. It is quite inspirational.

The lesson to me is that we need to look beyond the cover of what we see. Sometimes the greatest thoughts, quotes, speeches, songs, and conversations happen with those who are not the most attractive people.

This is a lesson that kids need to learn too. If they do learn it early, they will be blessed in understanding humanity in ways that many people simply never learn. When we quit judging how others look we have made the first step in world peace, and that is a worthy goal, isn’t it?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Think

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

You can lead a child to school, but you can’t make him think. Thinking is inhibited by many things when you are trying to learn:

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Lack of proper nutrition.
  • Noise.
  • Learning disabilities like ADD/HD, Dyslexia, etc.
  • Poor eyesight and/or hearing.
  • Poor self-image.
  • Bullying.
  • Lighting (too bright or too dark).
  • Family drama.

Those are just a few of the inhibitors. Learning has a million faces and just as many ways to implement. This is not to promote a particular learning program but to point out simple things that can help create a thinking environment.  

Every child is unique and every one of them has a different learning style. This is the challenge for teachers when they are trying to implement their curriculum. You teach to the class, but you reach to the child. If they are tuned out for any reason, you have to be able to re-engage them.

A few suggestions to help:

  • If you know that the kids are particularly wound up, take a brain break. Let them do something fun like play a game or dance with a GoNoodle Video to help them get their energy out. I remember adults saying to me when I was little, “Can’t you sit still?!!!” The simple answer was “No, I can’t!”
  • Encourage parents to make sure kids get proper rest and are fed before school. You would not believe how many kids come to school with no breakfast and are totally exhausted from lack of sleep. Nobody thinks well when deprived of sleep or food.
  • Lighting and music can be used to create a learning environment. Consider using lamps instead of the harsh overhead lights and play appropriate music in the background.
  • Flexible seating helps. Using large inflatable balls to sit on is a treat for kids who need to bounce out their energy. Other kids prefer to stand when they learn. Create a classroom that has unique seating arrangements to give kids a choice. Giving them a choice helps give them a voice.
  • Allow for accommodations that each child needs.
  • Address bullying.
  • Encourage and praise baby steps.

School is mandatory. Learning is optional. Let’s give them a chance to think.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

When You Think You’ve Arrived

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

“We never really arrive until we die.” Dan Skognes

Think about your life and all the places you have been and all the things you have accomplished. Have you ever truly arrived? I know you may have arrived at a place where you are comfortable, but are there not new people to meet, new places to go, new goals to achieve? That list is perpetual until we take our final breath.

My point here is that no matter how much money you have made, how much success you have achieved, or how famous you have become, you never truly arrive. It is just a part of the journey we call life and there is always another horizon.

Just because you are comfortable does not mean there is not more to do. I would encourage you to look at those around you and see what you can to do serve them. It is not hard to find people in need. They are everywhere. You can help with a smile, a word of encouragement, a simple act of kindness, etc.

If you have “arrived” in your mind, then you should have even more time and freedom to serve others. Volunteer at a local hospital or church. Go on a mission trip where all you do is serve others. It will change the way you look at life and at people…particularly if it is in a third-world country.

The world is incredibly small when you think about it. Imagine what would happen if any major country quit international trade. It would cause shock waves from which some countries would never fully recover. Of course, it would affect the country who quit trading as well, but depending on the country and their natural resources, they could possibly weather the storm where others could not.

We can do our part by touching the lives of those we encounter. When you see a need, don’t just be a spectator and expect that someone else will take care of it. If you have the resources, step up and fill the need. We can all afford to give a word of encouragement at the very least.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Insecure

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Would you describe yourself as secure or insecure? Here are some characteristics to consider. If you are secure:

  • You are not needy. You are content.
  • You are not self-centered. You think of others first.
  • You do not worry. You have faith.
  • You are not driven by what other people think of you. You know who you are.
  • You shun ingratitude. You are truly grateful for all that you’ve been given.
  • You don’t confuse using things and using people.
  • You don’t talk about people, you talk to them.
  • You understand that being secure, you can make decisions without second-guessing yourself. You are careful and analytical, but decisive.
  • You know that what you see on the outside is not always a match of what is inside someone. Beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder either. True beauty is when you look at the heart. That is what God looks at. If that has beauty there is merit. Inner beauty always trumps outer beauty.

How are you measuring up so far? Do you want to move from insecure to secure in who you are?

  • Once you know “whose” you are, you can rely upon “who” you are. God formed you. You are a miracle; one of a kind. You are His. No other person on earth has your exact DNA. That makes you special. You have a purpose on this earth. Once you accept that, it can take you to new levels in your faith, your family, your friends, and your future. You can be secure in God. He loves you completely. If you don’t get anything else, get that, and trust HIM.
  • You have to know who you are. That is both simple and complex. You can choose to not believe it. You can know who you are and ignore it. Or…you can know who you are and walk out your destiny. That choice is totally up to you.

Don’t waste your time or your life trying to be a people pleaser. Trust me, you can never please everyone. There will always be the haters, but if you know who you are, it does not matter. That gives YOU the power, so use it wisely.

Shalom! 

Dan Skognes

Father’s Love

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

If you want to know what the perfect Father looks like, look at God… the Father of all mankind. He loves us completely in spite of our human frailties. That fact alone should give you pause to think. His love directs us, completes us, and gives us our daily bread. His love lights the way through the darkness and comforts us in the losses we encounter. He also corrects us when we are going astray just as any loving Father would. His love is generous, complete, and never ends.

Being a great Father is a daunting task for most men. It is a huge responsibility, but I do believe it is a worthy goal for any Father. You know what I believe helps make that a reality? Love God with all our heart first and foremost. The second thing is to love our fellow man as we love ourselves.

If you really want to take being a good Father to a different level, do those two things, but add one more thing to make it very personal: love your wife completely. Serve her. Honor her. Make her the priority that she deserves to be in your life. Listen to her. Protect her. Provide for her. You want to be treated like a king? Treat her like a queen. The children will love and respect you as a result.

Too many men miss this point and think they can be great Dads by spending a lot of time with their kid(s), but neglect or even abuse their spouse. That type of behavior is a ticking time-bomb. Sooner or later it is going to explode and the very thing the Dad was trying to nurture (relationship with his children) will very likely be taken from him.

Love God, love your fellow man, and treat your wife like a queen. Those three simple things will elevate you in the eyes of all and give you peace that passes understanding.

Happy Father’s Day!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Assuming

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

I was reminded the other day that some people are ignorant. I got a call from someone who proceeded to tell me how I needed to behave in a situation and cast disparaging remarks about my character…without getting their facts straight. Never once did they ask my side of it. They assumed they had the story correct and were ready to let me know that I was a big disappointment.

Some people have the attitude: “Don’t confuse me with the facts.” The funny part about this story is that I shared it with my wife and told her that when the facts came to light, it would not matter with this person because they were not about to apologize. They would have to admit they were wrong. I was right.

Good Lord, help me be the bigger person with people like this. It is a good thing that I have a sense of humor. Some people would get into a spitting contest and that never turns out well for anyone. Everybody gets soiled.

Here are the takeaways:

  1. Get all the facts before you decide someone is guilty of something or not. There are a lot of people who are sitting in prison right now because all of the facts did not come out in their case before judgement was declared.
  2. If someone attacks you verbally, consider the source. Dr. Phil says: “When someone shows you who they are, believe it.” Don’t make excuses for their bad behavior. You should have appropriate boundaries between the two of you for your own safety and sanity. You don’t need more drama in your life, do you? You may have to love them from a distance.
  3. Someone needs to be the adult and it might as well be you. Don’t allow the childish behavior of someone else cause you to lower yourself to their level. Take the high road and you will not have to look back with regret at things you said or did. It may require more effort up front, but it is a lot easier to come down from the high road vs the road that has been destroyed.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Enough

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

Domestic abuse is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It is tragic, embarrassing, and in some cases, fatal. I was watching an interview with Andrea Kelly, former spouse of R Kelly, the R & B Artist.

Andrea said the thing that made her realize she had hit rock bottom was when she attempted suicide and knew she would be leaving her three babies behind. That was preferable to one more day of abuse. Wow.

R Kelly was not her introduction to dysfunction. The first time she saw a woman being beaten was by her Grandfather (a Baptist Minister) who was hitting her Grandmother. R Kelly has since revealed that he was abused as a child.

She endured the marriage for 13 years. The verbal abuse finally took the next logical step, physical abuse. She had no easy way out except to end it all. When Andrea was talking about who she was at the time, she described herself as “lost.” That must be a very hopeless feeling, particularly when you have three children to protect and care for.

She said, “You have to love somebody enough to tell them enough!” That is why nearly 10 years after the divorce she is coming out to encourage other women who are in abusive situations. She said she did not believe that he had enough people in his life to be “real” with him…to tell him the truth, not just what he wanted to hear. He lacked people in his life who really cared about him, not just his money.

75,000,000 records sold and 12 albums to his credit, fame came with quite a price tag for R Kelly. His talent onstage was undeniable, but his private life was a train-wreck. The tragedy even 10 years later is that the kids are still paying a price by being bullied on Instagram and in school. It seems that kids are always the ones who suffer the most.

R Kelly denies the allegations. Only God, R Kelly, and Andrea know the whole truth, but I hurt for all of them. It is a disease that needs to stop. Enough!

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

Even Superman Has A Hero

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

I watched the news this morning and I have two new heroes. One is named Cody Runyon. He is a 13-year-old boy that sprang into action when he saw his 12-year-old friend, Evan, drowning in the deep end of the community pool. Cody saw the lifeless body of his buddy and immediately dove in to save him. Cody stands 4’11” and weighs only 80 lbs.

When he got Evan to the bank, one of the neighborhood mothers did something that required superhuman strength. Desiree Pasko, who suffers from fibromyalgia, often requires a walker and wheelchair to get around, but she apparently was filled with adrenalin as well and leapt to her feet and performed CPR on the small boy who had already turned blue.

Within a few minutes, he coughed and came back to life. What could have been a terrible tragedy was averted by a fearless friend and a brave lady who ignored her own health issues to help him.

Every year it seems that we hear the same horror stories of people drowning in pools, lakes and in the ocean. It is estimated that there are around 3,536 unintentional drownings every year that are non-boat related. Add another 332 boating victims and the number is approaching 4,000. That is about 10 deaths per day, with one out of five being age 14 or under.

The sad part of this is it is totally preventable. Kids should never be unsupervised at a pool, lake, or beach. Most of the kids who died were swimming where there was no lifeguard or parent actively monitoring the situation. If they are not good swimmers, they should have lessons and wear appropriate floating gear until they know how to swim. Even then, they need a lifeguard.

I hope that parents reading this will take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves and their family when enjoying the water this summer. It can be a great summer on the water if we just use some common sense.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes