Another Christmas….

Another Christmas……some can’t wait until it comes

Some can’t wait until it’s over

But now it is here….. Christmas Day

What does it all mean and why such a Celebration?

For Christians it means something different in a more personal and meaningful way than those who just know it as another Holiday…..a day off of work or school, or a day to give and receive gifts.

For some it is a day of joy, and others a day of drama, still others a day of sadness.

For some it’s football.

Whatever this day means to you…..could you pause and read a small note, a personal message.

This personal message from a friend of mine of years past, Freedom Kongvold, might help some find a reason to consider why all the “fuss” over Christmas, a day everyone in the world knows of, and many acknowledge as one of the most important days of all mankind, could be one of the most important days of your life.

Take a read and give some thought.

http://www.freedomkongvold.com/blog/christmas-2016

Father’s Matter

This last couple weeks got me thinking about the importance of a Father in the home. First there was Father’s Day, then our daughter and grand-daughter got baptized. During our Father’s Day church service and then again at the Baptism, we were reminded of the impact parents and in particular a father has on his children.

I have heard various statistics listed different ways but they all point to the need to have a father present.

Consider these statistics:

  • 41-43% of kids in America are being raised without a father.
  • Without a father there is a 700% greater chance of a pregnancy
  • 85% of those in prison did not have a father in the home or stated another way 20 times greater chance of being in prison
  • Without a father present children are 9x more likely to drop out of school
  • Without a father present children are at a much greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse

Larry Elders makes a compelling case for the value of a father in the home. He may address specifically Black Fathers but the number of  Black, White and Hispanic fathers absent from the home has increased and so have the statistics. Watch the video and write out the statistics for yourself, do some research on your own. Lower the statistics if you feel they are exaggerated, but no matter how you slice it, the facts are still the facts. Fathers absent from their children’s lives and specifically from the home matters. Children need a father in the home.

Larry Elders asks the question;

What happened to fathers?

The answer is found in a basic law of economics: If you subsidize undesirable behavior you will get more undesirable behavior. In 1949, the nation’s poverty rate was 34 percent. By 1965, it was cut in half, to 17 percent — all before President Lyndon Johnson’s so-called War on Poverty. But after that war began in 1965, poverty began to flat line. From 1965 until now, the government has spent over $20 trillion to fight poverty.

The poverty rate has remained unchanged, but the relationship between poor men and women has changed – dramatically. That’s because our generous welfare system allows women, in effect, to marry the government. And this makes it all too easy for men to abandon their traditional moral and financial responsibilities. Psychologists call such dependency “learned helplessness.”

Do you agree with Mr. Elders?

Do you feel a father in the home makes a difference?

Crucial Conversations

There are a few defining moments in our lives that make all the difference. Many of these moments come from crucial or breakthrough conversations with important people in emotionally charged situations where the decisions made take us down one of several roads, each of which leads us to an entirely different destination. When a challenge in life is met by a response that is equal to it you have success.
Just as the world is changing at a frightening speed, so have the stresses and pressures we experience. This makes it all the more imperative that we nourish our relationships, and develop tools, skills and enhanced capacity to find new and better solutions to our problems.

25 years of research with 20,000 people and hundreds of organizations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switler have proven that individuals who are the most influential, who can get things done and at the same time build on relationships are those who master their crucial conversations.

Crucial conversations create an entirely new level of bonding. They transform people and relationships. Not a compromise between two opposites but a higher middle way, like the apex of a triangle. Because two or more people have created something new from genuine dialogue, bonding takes place just like the bonding that takes place in a family when a new child is created. When you produce something with another person that is truly creative it’s one of the most powerful forms of bonding there is.

Crucial conversations are interactions that happen to everyone. They’re the day-to-day conversations that affect your life. What makes one of the conversations crucial as opposed to one that is not?
1. OPINIONS VARY
2. STAKES ARE HIGH
3. EMOTIONS RUN STRONG

What makes each of these conversations crucial?
It’s that the results could have a huge impact on the quality of your life.
By definition, crucial conversations are about tough issues and were masters at avoiding tough conversations.

For example:
1. coworkers send an email to each other when they should walk down the hall and talk turkey
2. bosses leave a voicemail in lieu of meeting with her direct reports
3. family members change the subject when a shoe gets too risky
4. a friend who learns through a voicemail message that his wife was divorcing him

We use all kinds of tactics to dodge touchy issues
If you know how to handle and even master crucial conversations, you can step up and effectively hold tough conversations about virtually any topic.

2014 – Let’s Consider Our Legacy…..Again

2014

In a post I did on January 2nd 2013 entitled Your Legacy I challenged us all to;

  1. Be thankful
  2. Change our input
  3. Determine our Legacy

If you haven’t been able to determine what you want that legacy to be for you, perhaps I can give you a perspective you may not have thought of, or some insight into a legacy beyond yourself. That is you know what legacy’s are really all about….what we did for others or what we did for mankind.

 In this excerpt of a recent article on the Legacy of 2013  by Oliver DeMille are some facts and thoughts on where America is headed. For you maybe this article can give you some ideas as to what you want your legacy to be.

During 2013 state governments in the United States passed over 40,000 new laws.

That’s not a typo. It’s 40,000 new laws — which means five times that many regulations when all the agencies of government write these laws into agency policies. It’s even more if you add the new federal laws.

Taken together, these signal a serious period of decline for America. We are a nation being overtaken by our biggest competitor (some would say future enemy) China, and simultaneously mired in skyrocketing levels of regulation.

Governments, federal and state, now seem determined to regulate and overregulate every facet of our lives — private and business. Many entrepreneurs, who were already reeling from reams of Obamacare regulations, are now facing more government red tape from every flank.

The free enterprise economy is literally under siege. Those who think this is exaggerated should try to open a significant new business in the United States. Most of the biggest entrepreneurs and corporations who have attempted this recently have decided to build in China or some other economy instead. The U.S. government has become generally hostile to business.

This is a strange reality for the land of the free and the home of the brave. Long considered the bastion of world freedom and economic opportunity, America is consistently less appealing to many businesses and investors.

The December 31, 2013 issue of USA Today summarized this overarching trend by saying that “aristocracy” is now “in” in America.

Aristocracy, really? That’s a bold statement. Yet it is increasingly true. The lower classes are more dependent on government, and the middle classes only survive by using debt. Only the upper class, the elites, are financially flourishing — and many of them rely on international investment that is growing in foreign economies.

Anyone relying on the U.S. economy right now is concerned. What will the escalating rollout of Obamacare bring? How many more government regulations will come in 2014, and how will this further weaken the economy?

The experts are finally taking notice of sharply rising levels of regulation, even if Washington isn’t.

For example, Francis Fukuyama called our time “The Great Unravelling” (The American Interest, Jan/Feb 2014) and Steven M. Teles called it “Kludgeocracy in America” (National Affairs, Fall 2013). We have become a Kludgeocracy indeed, with more business-killing regulation every week.

In The Discovery of Freedom, Rose Wilder Lane said that,

“Men in Government who imagine that they are controlling a planned economy must prevent economic progress—as, in the past, they have always done.”

What is her definition of a planned economy? Answer: modern France, Britain, and the United States. She quoted Henry Thomas Buckle, who wrote:

“In every quarter, and at every moment, the hand of government was felt. Duties on importation, and on exportation; bounties to raise up a losing trade, and taxes to pull down a remunerative one; this branch of industry forbidden, and that branch of industry encouraged; one article of commerce must not be grown because it was grown in the colonies, another article might be grown and bought, but not sold again, while a third article might be bought and sold, but not leave the country.

“Then, too, we find laws to regulate wages; laws to regulate prices; laws to regulate the interest of money…The ports swarmed with [government officials], whose sole business was to inspect nearly every process of domestic industry, to peer into every package, and tax every article…”

This was written about France, just before it lost its place as the world’s most powerful nation, and it was published as a warning to Britain, just before it lost it’s superpower status. This quote applies perfectly to America today.

Great nations in decline need innovation and entrepreneurialism, but instead they choose anti-innovation and anti-entrepreneurial regulation. It’s amazing how every nation repeats this well-known but addictive path of self-destruction.

As Lane Kenworthy argues in Foreign Affairs, opponents of bigger government “are fighting a losing battle.” In the near future, he says,

“More Americans will work in jobs with low pay, will lose a job more than once during their careers, and will reach retirement age with little savings.”

But this will be offset, he suggests, by more vacation days, less working hours each week, and more government programs that pay for many of these people’s needs.

Many of the experts agree — he U.S. economy isn’t going to boom anytime soon, but this will be balanced for investors by significant economic successes in Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, among other places.

All of this adds up to an America on the verge of what Paul Kennedy called the “fall of great powers”: overreach in international affairs that spends much of the nation’s prosperity, and simultaneously too much government regulation at home — shutting down a nation’s innovative/entrepreneurial class at the same time that the government taxes and spends more and more.

This same pattern brought down the top leader status of Spain, France, Britain and the Soviet Union. Before these, it brought down Athens, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. Unless the United States changes course, it is following this same blueprint for decline.

When historians look back on 2013, they may well see it as the tipping point to a rapid American downturn. Partisan conflicts, government spying on its own people, drastic government spending, constantly increasing regulation, the rapid rise of China — any of these could fuel real decline. Together they may be insurmountable.

But one thing stands out: In a nation desperately in need of innovation and entrepreneurial initiative, the government is handing out innovation-blocking regulations at a breakneck pace.

The good news in all this is that entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. Tenacity is part of their DNA. The future will be determined by this race between politicians (increasing regulations) and entrepreneurs (innovation and prosperity).

Whoever wins will lead the 21st Century.

Our future as a nation, as well as our children and grandchildren’s future depend on who wins. Perhaps the role you could play in helping to develop a stronger and freer America might be your legacy. So look at the last year and determine what you will do differently this year, then look beyond this year and determine when you get to the end of your life what you want your Legacy to be. Perhaps it will be one that changes the course of history for the benefit of all freedom loving people.

Be aware of the magnitude of YOUR significance and remember;

  1. Be Thankful – YOU are alive today to play a role
  2. Change YOUR Input – educate and develop yourself
  3. Determine YOUR Legacy – only YOU can

How Much Intelligence Does it Take?

I, like many people love automobiles. They are amazing! They provide the ability to get so many different places so quickly and in comfort. And many look so good. There are so many awesome designs, engines with great horsepower, climate controlled, with sound systems that marvel, technology to the max. They are designed with style that is not only attractive but engineered with efficiency in mind.

I love the new Tesla S! It is an amazing car. No engine, no transmission, no need for gasoline, a full 17 inch computer screen to handle the functions of your automobile. And even with no engine or transmission it is still a car with great acceleration, 0-60mph in just over 4 seconds. It had to require a different thought process, a paradigm shift to believe you could create an automobile that is fast as most any sports car on the market and not have an engine. It had to have challenged the intelligent automotive minds of today to think and design such an automobile.

2012-tesla-model-s_100365754_m

WHERE’S THE ENGINE?

TESLA S Trunk

Then look at the smart phones of today. Small, with so much technology and apps it staggers the imagination. These people who design these things are intelligent, I mean really really smart.

To have the vision to think these concepts in the mind and the smarts to create these technologies from mind to reality took some major intelligence. Likewise I cannot imagine that to create our world it took any less intelligence or any less design. None of us will deny the fact that the products we live our lives with today, from something as simple as a fork and spoon, to complexity of the automobile or smart phone didn’t happen by accident. Someone had to think and design the fork and spoon just as they had to have the intelligence to think and create the automobile and smart phone.  How can we possibly think that complexity of the earth, with its water, oxygen, plants, animals, insects, humans, etc. all of which play an integral role in each other’s existence, happened without that same intelligence or with any sense of design that our circle of life and ecosystem would all work together.

As a person who studied the sciences we were taught to propose a hypotheses or theory and then prove or disprove it. Many theories that could not be proved were by default considered disproved….until new knowledge became available. Just because we cannot explain something and it is beyond our current level of understanding doesn’t mean it is not possible or didn’t happen. I am not the smartest person in the world, but even the most intelligent minds could not possibly design and create our planet and the life on. I also find it intellectually very hard to believe that like the fork, spoon, automobile and smart phone that they were created by the big bang theory and then evolved into the ordered life systems we know. Many things we are still learning and trying to understand, but how much intelligence would it take to design and create the universe, the planet, all living things and the human race? Could we propose that perhaps a mind much greater than a single human mind, or perhaps even greater than the mind of all of our experts combined?

So……… as an intelligent person reading this blog I want to challenge you to watch this 38 minute video. Listen intently to the questions being asked and the responses to those questions. Ask yourself some of those same questions.

Now think about this. How much time and energy did most of us spend researching our last automobile to make sure it was safe or fuel efficient? An automobile that we might keep for 3-5 years? Would it be worth spending 38 minutes watching this video and then do some research to make a decision where you and your children may spend eternity? It might require a Paradigm Shift, but be smart and do your homework. One thing for sure, the cost is greater and you will be there longer than you will keep your car.

Profiles in Leadership

Profiles in Leadership – Tony & Sharon Hoffman

I had the unique opportunity to witness the culmination of a dream of a young couple this last weekend.

Tony & Sharon Hoffman reached the milestone of Round Table an accomplishment reached by the few who desire to pursue excellence. On stage in front of an audience of over 10,000 they humbly accepted the recognition of their accomplishment. In their introduction LIFE Founder and Policy Council Member Orrin Woodward described them as hungry students. When two educators lead by example, demonstrating their hunger to continuing education and personal excellence                                                                              you know you have teachers you can follow.

The Round Table level of accomplishment is symbolic of the Round Table of medieval times.

According to Wikipedia, the Round Table is King Arthur‘s famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his Knights congregate. The symbolism of the Round Table developed over time; by the close of the 12th century it had come to represent the chivalric order associated with Arthur’s court, the Knights of the Round Table. Chivalric orders are societies and fellowships of knights[1] that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades. After the crusades, the memory of these crusading military orders became idealised and romanticised, resulting in the late medieval notion of chivalry, and is reflected in the Arthurian romances of the time. Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. It was originally conceived of as an aristocratic warrior code — the term derives from the French term for horseman — involving individual training and service to others. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as knightly virtueshonour and courtly love, and less the martial aspects of the tradition.

The Knight’s Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves such as; widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages. Knights not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenceless. Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and “noble bearing.” Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honour of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honour of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe. Knights despised pecuniary reward. They persevered to the end in any enterprise begun. The main vow from the knights was that they shall fight for the welfare of all.[1]

In America today there are few who even think in terms of chivalry. A moral code in America has become a moral decay, where honor, virtue and service to others is a rare trait to be found by the few who desire to live a life of purpose. Tony a former teacher and now a middle school assistant principal, and Sharon a former teacher have taken their initial love that of teaching and expanded their classroom. Tony when speaking to audiences always shares stories of the drama of being a principal in today’s public schools, and the behavior he witnesses is not of those who are maturing to a life of virtue and honor. Wanting to dedicate a life of teaching, but acting more as a MMA referee has given this young and talented couple the desire to take their passion to a difference class of students, those who want to live a life of excellence. In the process I have witnessed this couple grow in their personal lives and in their leadership abilities. In the process they have not only grown in their leadership abilities but have given hope and encouragement to others. Their daughters have watched their parents after a full day in the public school, recharge their personal batteries and go out to help others who want to live the life they have always wanted. As parents to their high school daughters they have demonstrated the benefit of service to others by witnessing changed lives in their community.

I look forward to their continued accomplishments and the many lives they will touch as they continue on their journey.

Life Profile – Adam & Lisa McGahee

Adam McGahee Keynote Speaker at Kings College (read the article)

One of the great privileges you have when you work with emerging leaders is to see them grow. Adam McGahee is one of those leaders.  You tend to find that people as they grow model themselves after others as we all do, but leaders do so carefully. They are careful who they choose to model their lives after. One example of a leader worth modeling was the great Martin Luther King. It is not unusual for other aspiring leaders to choose him as a leader to model. In the process they themselves become figures whom others want to emulate.  Adam McGahee is such a man, a former member of the U.S. Army once stationed in Germany and fluent in German, a Pastor, and musician, Adam is creating a legacy worth following. Adam McGahee has a son, Adam currently a college student at Kings College. Young Adam while in high school competed on the debate team at the college level and was quite successful.  Adam Sr. who is the cousin of Willis McGahee of the Denver Bronco’s has another son Isaiah who is a young aspiring football player who is very competitive and always positive in his speech.

Of course they say that behind every successful man is a strong and supportive wife and that is definitely the case of Lisa McGahee. Lisa herself an accomplished speaker and active in the ministry has created a home environment that nurtures.Their home is warm and one cannot feel anything but welcome. And you can tell the leadership of the parents by the behavior of their children and the respect they show their parents. These sons of Adam and Lisa are two of the most polite young men I have ever met. What a foundation for a legacy.

Adam and Lisa McGahee along with their eldest son – LIFE Members

How’s it Going?

Well it is January 15th, half way into the first month of the New Year.

How’s it going so far…..you know on your New Year’s resolutions?

Any better than last year?

Or the last 5 years?

Do you regret not doing what you said you were going to do?

How about living a LIFE of No Regrets?

How many people say year after year they are going to improve their marriage ……. Or relationships with their children…. Or their finances?

Why don’t we? Because it is tough to go it alone.

Let’s Change that RIGHT NOW!

Why not get plugged into a community of people, a TEAM if you will, to Have Fun, Make Money and/or Make a Difference?

Let’s live a LIFE of NO REGRETS!

Happy Birthday

We as people seem to love to celebrate. Growing up  my parents always had a party to celebrate each of our birthdays. Likewise as we had children we had a party each year to celebrate their birthdays. We have anniversary parties for friends and family members. We’ve had engagement parties and bachelor parties, baby showers, and house warming parties. In fact my wife and I once went to a wedding in Poland where the celebration lasted a week. Yes everyone in the world seems to love a party!

We seem to have a party for everything.

Here is a list of a few I found;

Christening Celebrations First Holy Communions
Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s Reunions
Birthday Parties Pool Parties
Sweet 16’s Beach Parties
New Born Celebrations Retirement Dinners
School Dances Holiday Parties
Proms EMT Annual Awards Dinners
Block Parties Wet downs
Wedding Receptions Boat Parties
Fundraising Events Night Clubs
Corporate Events Singles Dances
Karaoke Sing-a-long College Formals
Dance Parties Graduation Parties
Anniversaries And many more!!!

At Christmas, we commemorate one of the most significant events in history, a party if you will, the birth of Jesus Christ. Just about the whole world will celebrate (whether they believe in Jesus or not) the birth of Jesus. Not unusual to celebrate someone’s birthday. Every year millions of people celebrate birthdays by throwing a birthday party for a friend or family member. But Christmas is an unusual birthday. First it is the biggest birthday celebrated that I know. But it is unusual for another reason, as Pastor Stephen Davey says; “imagine celebrating a birthday and buying a gift for everyone but the one whose birthday it is. Take that one step further by saying that everyone will be invited but the birthday boy”

In your home this Christmas, will you invite Jesus to his own party, so he can celebrate with you? If you invite him not just into your home this Christmas, but into your heart, then he can celebrate for you not just his birthday but yours (John 3:16). You can then experience Christmas with a joy by knowing the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas, the birth of your Savior.

Our Failing Education Systems

Speaking of life and leadership, I read several interesting articles on the failure of our institutional public school systems to provide the quality education necessary to prepare our children to compete in today’s competitive environment.

An interesting article entitled The Great Debate on American Education by Oliver DeMille of The Center for Social Leadership discusses how many recognize the need to make change but cower in timidity to make the necessary changes to improve our failing system.

Former business and science reporter for the Washington Post and Best Selling author Malcolm Gladwell author of the books Tipping Point and Outliers as the DeMille’s article states, “suggests the leadership right now in many arenas — including education– is occurring outside the main stream.”

It is obvious why. Here in Pennsylvania an article in the Commonwealth Foundation states that there are “nearly 82,000 Pennsylvania children trapped within the 141 worst performing schools” “Germantown High School in Philadelphia where the school homepage touts its mission as providing all students with the academic, technological & social skills needed to be productive & contributing citizens in our society.”  The reality is quite different as the school in “2009-2010 had only 8 percent of its 11th graders reaching proficiency in math and only 17 percent reaching reading proficiency.” Rather than failing the teachers they are rewarded with tenure and a retirement program that is far above the private sector.

Main stream is not working. We can debate all day long, but it will take the courage of leadership, or a leadership revolution if not in our government then in our parents to do what is best for our children