3 Easy Ways To Make Parenting 50% Simpler..

There aren’t many things easy about being a parent. From the first public diaper failure as a baby, to the  gentle but convincing talks with your daughter’s new boyfriend about just how much your little girl means to you, while letting him know what a good shot you are in your own subtle way. Some things are just unavoidable, and things we all have to navigate through on our own. There are many things however that have already been tried and tested, and the methods that do and do not work are etched in stone.

Parenting is hard enough so why add extra burden when it is not needed? We do it everyday and spend the rest of our lives complaining about why it was so hard. So in this post, I am laying out 3 sure-fire methods that if implemented will take 50% of the average parent’s stress away quickly. These arent ” tips ” or ideas I came up with. The following are 3 ways that will change things for the better. I can guarantee it. The 3 I chose for this post are a few of many that exist. I would ask that those of you who are serious about getting change in your home, and do implement this-please share your success stories here. I know from the feedback I have received that thousands of you are looking for answers. Lets start here and and who knows, maybe a group for parenting will come of it. Maybe an on-going series. Let me know how it is going!

The “nuggets” as I call them are methods that I have gathered in the 20 years in the field of Social Work. In this 20 years I have been a foster parent to about 35 teenagers over a 5 year period. I have also worked in an outpatient setting for a psychiatrist, more of a clinical environment. Then I served as an administrator for an alternative school for expelled youth. Finally, I was asked to open a school for expelled youth, design a behavior program, implement a clinical component and hire and train 40 staff members to work with these youth. All of these kids had been expelled from public school, sent to a school for expelled youth, kicked out of there and the county was left with nowhere to send them.

Although not my only jobs, I consider them to be game changers in that I learned something significant enough to dare to share. Along with raising my own 4 children I have had a pretty well-rounded view of parenting. I also should add that the youth I worked with had very severe disabilities or disadvantages, physically and socially. Every diagnoses you can imagine from every demographic as well. With that said, I must point out that I stake no claim to invention of these methods. I do not want credit for creating something that I did not create. I do not claim to have all the answers, and just to cover all my bases, I am not a perfect parent, I have made more mistakes than many.

I am simply a gatherer of the scraps that have fallen off of the tables of the great minds. Over the years I have put the ones that work in one pile and the ones that don’t in another. I believe in sharing anything I can that will make other’s lives easier and I hope they will do the same. So if I some how come off as if I have got it all together, I do not. I have the same scars other parents have. I choose to view them and remind myself not of the hurt and the wounds, but as a reminder that I made it out , and the scars are proof.

Now let’s get started. This is for the serious and those willing to actually follow through with these methods, it is for the parent who has reached the point, you know the one. Something has to give.The first nugget is this;

1- Catch them being good.

I was facilitating a parenting class a few years ago when I asked the group to raise hands if they could think of 5 things that their child did that irritated them. Hands flew up so fast I felt a breeze. After that I asked the group to raise hands and share 5 things their child did that made them happy. Only one hand went up and she thought I had asked a different question so that hand did not even count. Silence . The reason is that we have all become excellent at finding what is wrong in others, but when it comes to finding what is right, we are generally stumped. Not all the time, but much of it.

The why and the how

Why? Why is it so important to start identifying and praising the good behaviors in your child? The cold hard facts are that kids are just like us adults. The more criticism they get the more beat down they get, and the less likely you will see any long-term change in their behavior pattern. The secret is this; instead of trying to  catch them being ” bad” – identify what you think ” good ” is, and start looking for them to do that. Even set them up for it once in a awhile. Instead of making 15 critical comments to them every day, try finding 15 things that are positive, things you want to see more of, and point those out each day.

For example if you never get any eye contact from little Johnny , start watching for anytime he does make eye contact, then offer a sincere word of praise, like ” thanks for looking me in the eye Johnny”. Begin to train your brain to see the behaviors you want to see instead of the ones you do not want to see. Eventually it will become second nature to see when your child does something you like them to do. The reason why this small adjustment brings huge change if done consistently? It is because it is a proven fact that negative reinforcement does not bring long-term change in behavior. Just as you do not feel more and more like giving your boss a hug when they tell you what a loser and how sloppy your desk is each day, nor does a child feel like pleasing the parent as they are shamed day after day.

The answer? The answer is quite simple. As mentioned earlier, select several behaviors you would like to see more of. Small and simple ones are fine to start. Make a point of catching them showing these behaviors, and quickly make it known that you noticed and you liked it. Do not buy them a new bike each time they do something good, but do make sure your words are genuine or they will know. The rationale; positive reinforcement is proven to change behavior patterns for good. It really is that simple.

#2- Define what ” good” and ” bad” are – what specifically do you want?

When I was 10-11 years old, I had a friend name Bobby. His parents were so cool. Every time I was over there his parents were cracking jokes, cussing up a storm and heck , they even thought it was funny when we cussed. Come to think of it his dad laughed when he caught us outside the back door trying to smoke one of the cigarettes we stole from him. He thought it was very funny. The problem was, is my mom did not, for some weird reason think the way Bobby’s daddy did. This led to some uncomfortable moments for me. I will leave it at that. Some specific expectations needed to be defined.

So what was ” good” to one set of parents was for sure not ” good” to another. At my age I just assumed that all parents kind of expected the same thing. I was wrong. Here is where this awesome tool of social skills come in. It is the most elementary sounding idea, with the most collegiate results. There are around 20-25 basic social skills although there may be 100 or more in print. For the purpose of this post I will take just 3 of the most basic ones and use them.

# 3 -Implement specific social skills ( start with these)

1- Following Instructions

a-look at the person

b- say ok

c- do the task

d-check back

2- Accepting No

a-Look at the person

b-Say Ok ( no eye rolling, loud voice , or comments other than ok)

3- Appropriately Disagreeing

a-In a calm voice, request to disagree

b- after 5 minutes and using a calm voice explain why you disagree

If you will sit down with your child (age does not matter)-and go over these skills with the steps as the new ” good” for everyone to go by, everyone will have something in common as a goal. It may feel childish at first, but trust me, these skills have saved me from losing more than one job early in my career when I did think I had all the answers!

From then on, whenever you give your child something they need to do, you may need to reiterate, or  label the skill in order to keep it fresh in both of your minds. This way when they do as you asked, you can give them praise for specific things they did, like looking at you , or doing the task. Once these praises and terms become the norm in your home, the frustration of what is ” good ” and ” bad” is taken out of the picture as it is clearly identified.

You tell Suzy to please clean her room by 5pm. She comes to you at 4:50pm and tells you she is done. You go back with her take a quick peek, and say ” Thanks Suzy you did an awesome job following instructions! You keep this up and I am going to have to talk to your dad about those new skates you want!”

(This is not a bribe, and is NOT used all the time, but just as a reminder to your child that the more she keeps doing as you ask, the more time you have to look into things she wants) Never paint yourself in a corner by trying to “buy” you child’s obedience. Not only does it backfire every single time on many levels but you lose their respect. (That is another post ..)

The nuggets above are fool-proof. Money back guaranteed. The idea of this post is to present some proven parenting methods to readers and see how many of you all will take a small bit of time out of your life, and implement these in your home. As I have said, I did not invent them, but I have lived them in at least 5 different settings. I have seen the other ways, and I can honestly say that by far these are the easiest and most effective methods I have encountered. Of the thousands of youth I have worked with, I can think of a small percentage of them who did not respond to these. They were children that had disabilities so severe that clinical intervention was the only way. From teenage gang members, to average teenagers with typical teen behaviors-from youth from a wealthy and healthy upbringing to those who came form the hard streets and were selling drugs by age 7, it makes no difference.

We all love to be praised. I love it when lots of people take the time to like my post or make a positive comment. No shame in my game! Praise works in any color, size, race or religion. It just feels good.

The information I have written here is hardly enough to call comprehensive. There is so much more that follows and works. This is a sampler. If you like it, let me know and more importantly, share your success stories. If we have enough parents really giving this a shot, I would like to create a group for those interested, and of course I will answer any questions you may have. The use of the methods I have outlined and will expand on in future posts, is not only valuable in that it shapes behavior. It is more then that.

Like most of us, who don’t have thousands of dollars to roll the dice on all kinds of psychiatrists, and counseling or double top-secret new Shock Therapy  – this is the very first place parents need to run to. You do not need special training, and it costs nothing . Not to mention the results are outstanding.

In closing, let me say again, I am not against doctors, counselors, or professionals in the field of mental health/social work. I work in the field! We need all of the above mentioned professionals. However we need to be careful to use the least restrictive method possible when addressing behaviors. After all we arent dealing with cars, or bicycles, we are caring for human beings and we arent guarenteed second chances for careless choices.

The purpose of this project is to being awareness to the damage already done, sometimes meaning life and death and prevent it from happening. especially in the name of money.

 

tj

 

 

i

 

Memo To All Non-Believers In Christ-From Us Christians-Our Bad.

10616149_10152908852638324_339800007471134323_nIts been on my heart and mind a lot that the pulpit and many Christians are totally pushing people away from God. New Christians like to pretend their problems have suddenly gone away, they have no sin, and they are too good to hang with old dirty friends.
What is even more discouraging, is that Jesus never paid attention to the ” good doers” or the righteous ones who thought they had it all together. He went directly to the hopeless, the helpless, the prostitutes, drunkards, thieves. Not to encourage them to keep sinning, but to give them the news that they no longer had to be in bondage to sin, as He had come to take our place and pay the price for it all.
Today, it is difficult to find a church that teaches that truth, the teaching seems more like a list of sins you may no longer be a part of as a Christian. How stupid. We all struggle with sin. We don’t have what it takes to overcome the sins out there. The idea is that when we receive the forgiveness and mercy of Christ and realize the work on the cross paid it all- we understand that only by His power can we change. I would burn out in a month if I tried in my own power to never sin. But when I spend time in Gods Word, and with people who know Him, I feel things dropping off me, bondages, sins, hang ups, etc.
So, let me tell you, if you are the nastiest, most vile sinner around and would be ashamed to set foot in a church, you are the kind of person God wants. You just get in there, He will clean you up!
In closing, the most powerful, useful, mighty men God used in Bible times, were once the most ugly, murderous, hideous, and disgusting men. But God knew, that if He changed their hearts, many would come to know the Grace of God. All are welcome, and nobody is too much in sin. When we die- God will look at 1 thing only to determine our eternal destiny. Are we covered by the blood of Jesus, that washed away our sin. Or, did we reject Him on earth, and now must spend eternity apart from God. I don’t know about you but this offer God has made to us is a no brainer. You think about that!
tj
www.dontlabelmykid.com

Do Marriages Today Practice Unconditional Love And Forgiveness ? Or Are We Just Big Talkers?

This week on several levels I have seemed to run into unreal examples of families and marriages holding it together through very hard times. However at the end of the week it came to me that the fact it got my attention meant that its not so common.When it comes to marriages, the media encourages quick break ups and downplays the institution of marriage itself. When you have been married awhile it is going to happen that one hurts the other or there seems no hope.
The heartbreaks that can sometimes come out of marriage , children and the adjustment to it can be tough. By God’s grace all of my boys and girls are healthy and have no medical issues. However just 2 weeks ago their little 11 year old cousin was crushed in a car accident on his way to school,and he has never regained consciousness and is now fed and treated like a baby, with little hope of any progress. That makes you stop and think.
So when a husband and a wife commit to one another, for better or worse, sickness and health etc…what does that really mean? Easy to say but I doubt many are staying with that.
I have been on the receiving end of this for many years.
Medical issues, and personal issues kept me crawling for life, but whenever I looked to my side, she was there.Its a rare woman these days who stick with you through the hard, long times.
I also have noticed over the last decade or so that everybody has a self help book on marriage. Men are from Mars, women from venus sold enormous amounts.
One thing I have also noticed is that men think completely differently then women. I cant count the number of times I thought out a plan to make my wife feel good, or say something that I thought would be nice – only to be left feeling as if I tore her apart. Men are good at that. We do stupid stuff. Even as much as we love our spouses, we can get tangled up on the wrong side of sin just the same. That’s no excuse to sin, its a reason to beware of it creeping into your life.
Ive met every kind of couple you can imagine in my career. The “Were spending 100k on our wedding” but the marriage lasts 1 year.The ” we don’t need any guidance thank you very much” who then crumbles when kids appear.It doesn’t really matter what couple you are or we are, what matters is how quickly we renig on our promise to stay with them through the hard times.I have always been a judge of the heart. Not outward behavior or appearances but whats the motive?
I can forgive anyone who has a good heart but took some wrong turns.Its the ” conditional couples” that have it worst.If you do this, I will do that. If you dare play golf instead of taking the family to the beach,there will be hell to pay.I judge myself the same way. I have been labeled as things I was not, but my outward behavior convinced people otherwise. Talk to a recovered heroin addict who has been clean for awhile. One of the most torturing things people can do is to assume…
Unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, don’t go there. Most recovered addicts I know spent most of their addiction years praying for healing, while outsiders mock them.
Its similar in marriage. Both hearts have to be good. They may get dirty and nasty sometimes, but the heart doesn’t change. Lets forgive if we say we will. Lets love without expectations back. For those of you who are thinking that I dont know how bad its been, I am not encouraging staying in an abusive relationship. There are counselors that can help work through it though, if you are willing.
The best example I can think of is when this saviour I know was with some other guys who were more then ready to kill someone for their sin. The saviour stepped in, took the man aside and drew something that changed their minds. It doesn’t reveal what he drew, but I am guessing it was the time and date of the same sin they themselves committed.
Right now its food for thought, but I would love feedback!

tjbushes

Kids- Nobody Likes To Admit It- But When It Comes Right Down To It- The Tail Waggeth The Dog.

teenagers

My second youngest daughter is 8. That age when she starts to be aware of ” stuff” like Iphones, make up and the like. My boys are 21 and 18 and I think things went pretty well with them, discipline wise. They did something wrong, they knew a consequence was coming.
Somehow I seem to have more difficulty issuing consequences to my little princess, or ” poca” as I call her after pocahontas. I am still totally 100% in control, dont get me wrong.
It just seems that she has a certain way of tearing up that makes my heart weak I know she couldnt be doing it on purpose. She must really be taking this hard, poor kid.
The thing is, about 15 years ago I spent 5 years as a live in foster parent for teenage girls, 6 at a time. I do seem to recall it being a common source of manipulation for them to turn on the tears when they didnt like the answer they got…
Surely those girls had deep troubles. My baby girl is as innocent as they come.
Until yesterday, that is. My little princess pushed it over the ” my daddy loves me” line. It was a simple thing really, we were all doing a little cleaning up, and I asked her to bring the dust pan from the room she was in, into the room I was in. First I thought I heard a little complaining, but I assured myself it must be the television. Just then, around the corner she flew, stopping at the door and tossing the dust pan right at my forehead.
Something snapped in me. I am not sure what exactly, but it ended with no television for the night and she was a few years younger it would have been much worse. After a few minutes I began to pace around and question myself. I used to teach on this! I taught teachers on this! Parents too. Now I found myself stuck in an uncomfortable position. Not having to issue a consequences, but having to ask my the question ” Why would my daughter ever feel comfortable throwing anything at anyone”- that was my real issue.

The answer in case this has happened to you, is not that you are a bad parent, necessarily. The real answer lies within the circle of role models the child is surrounded with. Especially adults, the teachers, parents friends parents etc..You are the first line for your children. The old saying ” the apple doesnt fall from the tree ” is right on. Many hundreds of times I sat in meetings at schools, whether IEP or another type. During these meetings I would hear a parent cussing his teen up and down for acting out. The child realized at a much younger age what is acceptable in his home, by the modeling of his parents.

We could go on about this subject for hours, but for now, let me throw in one other critical topic that will help you understand how and why your child has to have postivie and negative reinforcement. I taught parent training for Orange County Public schools, and several other large parenting groups for years.The one thing that was always the biggest surprise, and the most difficult for for parents to change, was what we call ” ratios”. Ratios happen all day each day to your child. They come from you, teachers, and other adult instructors.

During the trainings, I would ask the class , if they had to guess what the ratios of postive to negative comments or negative to comments would be in their house on the average day. Most smirked because positive comments were not all to common..so when we finished the average for each class was about 15 negatives for every positive comment. Why is this important? Because psychologists have proven over and over that positive reinforcement is the only way to actually change patterns of behavior. Sure, if people are yelling and screaming you might get them to stop for the moment by yelling negative comments at them. but that is just a band aid.

Here is one way to start seeing changes in your childs behavior and it doesnt require doctors or counseling -just parents and their kids. The idea is to reverse the thinking which on the average is about 15:1 and try to eventually reverse it. You may be thinking ” YOU ARE NUTS” but I promise you if you try the ” catch -em being good” method you will not be dissapointed. The trick is to forget about what you dont want to see. Look for the behaviors you do want to see. Take a small behavior issue like a child looking down when you speak to him. When you repeatedly ask him to look you in the eyes you get nothing. Now, lets say a week has passed, and you are talking to him, when all of the sudden he glances your way for a second. This is your chance to start turning the behavior around. You stop everything and praise the boy for making eye contact. After awhile he will look at you just for the praise. You can apply this to any type behavior, school work, whatever it may be. 15:1 positive to negatives. If you are chuckling at this, imagine if your boss started praising you 15 times a day. Wouldnt that make you likely to continue it? Of course.
Well, I have to go and clean my daughters room now. We made a deal if I did that I could watch the sports channel tonite.

tj

Addict Or Mental Health Patient? Lets Quit Playing Games. I Am Going To Keep This Real Like No Other Post, So Beware.

addict

I talk about parents and kids and pedophiles and the like on here. However when I scan through the posts I have done over the years I found it very odd that I avoided the one that has cost me the most in my life. Addiction. I worked with addicts/mental health patients ( depending on where they are treated) for many years. The difference between me and them was that I had a secret. I had grown up an ” addict”. My father laid out a case of PBR when I was 12 and from then on it got worse and worse. I was a full blown ” addict” by 16. I made it through jobs, and even did very well at them. That is called a functional alcoholic. That lasts for awhile until eventually it catches up with your ability to function.

My father , brother are both long term prisoners. My dad will die in there. My other brother shot himself in the head right after graduating UF to be a cop. It took me many people praying and many nights of wanting to die to get to the place where I am today. I have been to 30 day, and 90 day inpatient programs, 2 years of AA type meetings ( they have about a 5% success rate BTW)-
If it was not for the praying people around me and the healing that God did in my body, there is no chance I could be writing this. I am being truthful. One surgeon, after my pancreas exploded, came in my room and told me I would not live any longer due to the damage. That night an old christian friend of the family came in my room by herself, leaned over to my ear, and said ” I have a word for you- YOU SHALL LIVE AND NOT DIE”- Then she left the room. I had not seen her in months.

The next morning the same surgeon comes barging in the door to my room holding up an X-RAY to the light. He said ” I dont understand, what happened? The sickness, it is all gone!” Left that day without anything but another nudge from the Lord that He was not giving up on me. I could tell 15 more events that were nothing short of miracles too. As a matter of fact, here is a quick one. I was driving my convertible mustang down the road and doing maybe 45-50 mph. 3 blocks from my house. I blacked out and headed straight for a very big old tree and hit it head on. I remember waking up with the air bag the color of velvet, my forehead torn open, and then a voice. It was a highway patrol man. He stood back about 6 feet, looked again at the car which was totaled like an accordian, and with a soft voice asked me if I could talk. I kicked the driver door open, it was stuck, and walked right along with him telling him what happened.
This is back in the day when I was one of ” those”. I knew I had to go to the hospital.. and i knew that meant toxicology tests…I was not worried about alcohol. I had graduated to higher class type drugs.
I went to the hospital , got the 45 stitches in my face, the doctor gave the tox report to the highway patrol man and after the report, it said ” medical blackout” cause unknown. It could have read a whole lot different.
My point is, most addicts did’nt ask to be addicts any more then cancer patients ask to become cancer patients. I have been through 15 years of hating my life, and then having others tell me how I am wrecking it, like I don’t know it. Where there are many experts, there are few answers. I will be focusing on the myth of addiction in up and coming blogs. One of the reasons I went into the field of social work was to help these type of people. Little did I know I had a live it awhile before I could be any help.
Peace

tj

Parenting Series- Why Isnt My Kid Turning Out Like I Decided He Would?

I have been around for awhile now, been a parent for 20 years or so. I like to think I have tested and tried most of the good parenting techniques. Sometimes I even feel a sense of accomplishment at how I did in some areas. I truly understand why different people use different parenting styles. I didn’t say I always condone the styles, but I think I get why people do what they do. It is actually very similar to the view I have on addiction. I also feel I understand why people use drugs, alcohol to mask pain and for other reasons. I cannot say I think that self medication is the best solution, but I really do get it, when it comes to the why of it all, maybe that’s because I have been there myself.

There is one style of parenting that I will never understand. The parenting style where the dad goes to his son’s football games, scolds his son when he is not perfect, yells at him in front of his friends, and acts like his life depends on whether this pee wee football game is won by his 10 year old son. This dad is clearly insecure, was likely picked on as a kid, and maybe stunk up the football field as a child. He is selfish and considers not the lifelong consequences of his verbal abuse of his own child. He takes no thought at the idea that maybe it is he who is the loser for treating another human being like this. He does not consider the fact that he is using a 10 year old to validate his sorry feelings about being a loser himself as a child. This dad is ruthless.

 

You will know this dad by his loud and harsh voice tone after each fail his son has. He can easily be spotted by looking for the 10 year old who has a red face, and tears falling down his cheek as he looks embarrassed by his father’s actions. Fearful, the boy continues to listen and nod to agree with his father at any cost just to avoid any more shame. This arrogant and selfish dad gets off by venting his own insecurities on his son, who he knows is too young and vulnerable to fight back. He takes advantage of the fact that his own flesh and blood has failed and capitalizes on his weakness in this time. This dad is all too common today and should never be allowed to parent, or even speak to a child. Finally, if this dad wants to call anyone a loser, and get his jollys by hurting others, perhaps he should start by looking in the mirror where the real loser stands.

Stand up to bullying parents. That’s abuse and unacceptable.

 

Tj

“So we shall le…

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” — Hunter S. Thompson

What an excellent way to frame this life we have to either live or to not live…

DLMK

 

How I Got Burned- By A Milkshake..

How I Got Burned- By A Milkshake..

Every once in a while I amaze myself with the awesome things I manage to do. Self inflicted, needless, no purpose type things. Things I rarely brag about, and never blog about, that is until today. Today I made the decision to laugh instead of getting angry. I challenged myself to not be one of those people who let one small incident ruin their whole day. I will not let a dumb microwave, with no common sense make me walk around gritting my teeth all day. Not me, I am making a change in the way I allow little things to impact my day.
I am sure you all have experienced being burned by a milkshake at some time or another, so this is probably more for me than for you. As I wrote about in my last post, blogging is therapy to me, so let me have my session.
You know how when you buy a really good milkshake, at a drive-thru, and then put the part you don’t finish in the freezer, right? Of course you do. Then when you feel like drinking the rest a day later, we all stick that thing in the microwave for 40 seconds, and let it un-freeze…you know what I mean.
The only problem with this is that microwaves are dumb. They do not think like humans do, and they cook things hotter in different places even though its all in one spot in the same oven. You surely understand. I waited patiently watching the seconds tick off the microwave 10, 9, 8, etc.. and then finally it was done. I grabbed the milkshake, much like the man in the photo grabs his drink, and after a quick slurp to make sure all was un-froze, I dumped it faster than a politician at an honesty conference. I mean I was thirsty.

The problem ( with the stupid microwave) was that it did not consider the fact that I would be feeling ALL of the ice-cream, not just the right top corner or left bottom parts. As it turns out, the microwave actually over cooked the middle, and as I poured it down I spilled some on my shoulder ( you know what I mean) and let out a scream. It was hot. Not ouch that’s warm hot, but OMG what just happened hot. Left a little scar for me to show my children how brave I was.
Listen, if things like this happen to you, you are not alone. They certainly should not define your day, or shape your thoughts. Let it go, I mean we are going to run into stupid microwaves, it just happens.
This moment, not the past moments, is the beginning of the rest of your life!
Thanks for the session. I feel much better. Getting a smart microwave too.

DLMK

Tragic Accident Does Not Stop Man From Marrying His High School Sweatheart. Wow. Get Your Tissues Ready.

An incredible demonstration of true love and dedication, as high school sweethearts are seemingly divided by a terrible accident leaving the young man in a coma. However she never left his side, and 3 years later he was able to ask her to marry her. This is an incredible short story. Worth a view.

DLMK

You Are Who You Hang Out With…

You Are Who You Hang Out With...

Once, many years ago I was talking to a man that I considered to be a mentor to me, and many others. He had lived a rough, tough life, he had been busted and disgusted and broke as a joke many a time. Now he was through those storms, and was living a much better life. He had a great family, solid income and he was just good people in general.
We were talking about my life and I began telling the many stories and tragedies that I had so well memorized and embedded in my soul for such a time as this. Shortly into my presentation, he politely interrupted me and asked me two questions;

1- Tell me about the blessings in your life, the good things.

2- Who are your closest friends, people you spend the most time with?

Slightly confused, I asked him what these questions had to do with our conversation. He responded something like this ” It is all I need to know “. So I fumbled and stumbled before finally coming up with something good; ” I got a couple kids “. Then he pushed me for the names of the people I hang out with.

WHOA! Now he was getting a little personal!

After a few minutes sharing who I hung out with and what their lives were like, he made a statement to me that has stuck with me. He said ” I don’t really care about what you tell me, all I need to know is who you consider friends in order to determine who you are ”

He had some nerve. I mean who cares who I hang out with, and how could he determine anything about me from who I hang out with? I felt like saying ” I hang out with NUNNYA”- meaning NUNNYA business! I could not speak to him like that so I obliged and we discussed my posse for awhile.
He shared with me a story from his career in law enforcement, I think FBI or similar. He said whenever he wanted lots of information on someone, he would go meet his group of friends, sometimes never even meeting the person he wanted to know about. He said he was not meeting the friends for them to TELL him how the person was. He got his impressions from the people themselves, and gathered a profile of the person of interest from the type of people he spent time with.
I got his point…about 3 years later. I began to wonder why I was stuck in a rut. I did an inventory of who I spent time with and found out that they were composed of the following;

1- A dream killer
2- A Lazy person
3- A complainer
4- Another complainer
5- A hard worker

Needless to say, I realized I was not going to get anywhere in life by surrounding myself with average people. They were nice people, but average achievers. I needed to put myself around people that I dreamed of being like. People I looked up to. That was what the man was trying to tell me. Since that time I try to position myself around those I desire to be like, and it feels good. Put yourself around those people that will lift you up, not pull you down. You know who they are, and the ball is in your court. To some extent, you determine what you will become by who it is you have in your circle. Something to think about!

DLMK

Airtime

Airtime

This is a picture of Carey Hart, one of the greatest freestyle motocross riders ever. He created a trick called the “heart attack” and has won as many awards as you can in the sport. I wonder if he had any fear the first time he tried the trick? I mean, who gave him permission to exceed all expectations in the Motocross games? That is an interesting question. We will discuss the idea of breaking through barriors today. Stay tuned.