Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #8

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Dear Son,
Read Proverbs once a year. Read one chapter a day each day of the month. Start on April Fools Day.
Love, Dad

The book of Proverbs is the greatest collection of wisdom on earth. It is a collection of wisdom by Solomon, son of King David.  God gifted Solomon with wisdom above all others.

Wisdom is the art of living well. Skillfully handling what life brings you. Not acting a fool in a world filled with lunacy and traps.

The book of Proverbs is full of real life. It addresses the things in life that can be so attractive yet so dangerous: money, fame, power, wild women, wine, beer, laziness, and lying. The words of Solomon help us learn to live with justice, loyalty, love, leadership, health, prosperity, and peace. In Proverbs, we learn to live a life honoring to God.

The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters and is broken down perfectly for daily reading over a period of a month.  I suggest starting with April Fools Day…because it is so ironic. It will also make it easy to remember each year. It has not escaped me that there are only 30 days in April and there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  I am sure you can figure out how to handle this dilemma. Whatever you do, do not miss chapter 31 especially as you search for the woman you will spend the rest of your life with. It has paid off for me.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #7

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Dear Son,
You never have a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.
Love, Dad

In your life, you will meet many people. Meeting people and groups for the 1st time is a great opportunity accompanied by both anticipation and anxiety. If handled well, more opportunities will come into your life. If handled poorly, opportunities will shrink and complications will increase.

Here is a little list to help you navigate these 1st encounters:

  • Pray – Ask God to be with you and guide you. Ask God to give you the wisdom and power to fulfill your purpose. The story of Daniel in the Bible serves as an excellent example.
  • Prepare – Do a little research about the person or group you are meeting. Know their interest, passions, and accomplishments. You do not have to throw these facts around in the meeting (you might sound like a creeper). But it will be a useful filter to understand and communicate clearly.
  • Arrive on time. If you are running late, let them know before you arrive.
  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact. Your handshake should not be confused with a dead fish or the Incredible Hulk.
  • Focus – Pay attention to the person and the subject at hand. Do not appear board and do not be distracted by digital devices. IMPORTANT: Never stare down at your cell phone while they are speaking to you.
  • Follow Up – After the meeting; send a hand written note (for important meetings), email or text letting them know you appreciated the time together.

If you happen to make a bad 1st impression, do not give up all hope. Do not cower in embarrassment. Do not ignore them at all future encounters. If appropriate, simply apologize and move forward. If an apology is overkill and it was just an awkward situation, treat the 2nd meeting as if it was your 1st.

“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #6

dearson6Dear Son,
You only have about 4 seconds to notice her new haircut.
Love, Dad

Words are important and timing is everything.

There are certain moments in life requiring special attention and loving care. Sometimes we put too much importance on the big days: Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.  These days are important, but they are not the only special moments to remember and make memorable.

Haircut Day is one of these often-ignored days. If handled correctly, it will bring joy to your loved one…and you. If ignored or handled irresponsibly, consequences may follow.

Special Note: This is not based on personal experience, but from my observation of less observant men…with less forgiving wives.

Wise ways to handle Haircut Day:

  • Upon first sight of the freshly cut or colored hair, comment bout how amazing she looks.
  • You don’t need to go on about it too much…unless it is crazy awesome.
  • Timing is the key…within 4 seconds.
  • Very important, do not let someone beat you to the compliment.

Unwise ways to handle Haircut Day:

  • Don’t ignore it. This can cut deep on so many levels.
  • Don’t say, “You look so much better.” She will worry about how she has looked for her whole life up to that moment.  She will also worry about ever achieving that level of beauty again…ever.
  • Don’t say, “Don’t worry, it will grow back.”
  • Don’t say, “Wow, you are brave.”

Haircut Day is just one example of the many moments when words are important and timing is everything. Do not hold back words of love, kindness and affirmation. They are like water to a relationship. You can use them to grow something amazing, or you can cut them off leading to dehydration.

Be alert and affirming.

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #4

dearson4Dear Son,
Never send, post, text, tweet or email anything you would not want the whole world to see.
Love, Dad

With the Internet and social media, the world is more connected than ever before.  Everyone from preschoolers to great grandparents are online.  As access and communication has increased, privacy has decreased.

Most seem oblivious to the fact that nothing on the Internet is private. They post pictures that would make a Victoria Secret model blush. Text stinging insults about so-called friends.  Document their crimes in living color. Share secrets intended for no one else to know. Use language that is both crude and shocking. All the time acting as if it is a vapor quickly evaporating. Underestimating the ripples of consequences being created.

We must remember that once something is sent from a computer or smartphone it becomes a permanent part of the digital world. You can’t delete it or take it back. It can be shared and retrieved for years to come. It can be seen by parents, grandparents, friends, enemies, employers, your future spouse and even your future children and grandchildren.

I am not saying that you should not be an active participant in social media or texting. I suggest this little exercise before you send, post, text, tweet or email: Imagine it being sent to your parents and displayed on a huge screen in middle of Time Square…then hit send.

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #2

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Dear Son,
Nothing says you care like being there.
Love, Dad

Several years ago, I received a call from my Uncle that I had not spoken to in years letting me know that my Grandmother died. I thanked him for letting me know and asked him to let everyone know that I wished I could be there. I hung up the phone and sat in silence.

It had been about 10 years since I last visited my Grandmother on my father side.  So this made the news a mixture of sadness and regret. Surely I could not just leave work and drive all the way down to Florida and show up in a group of people I had not visited with in years. Surely no one expected me to do that.

I talked to a friend at work, and he enlightened me on the importance of actually being there…actually showing up. He was a pastor in his former life and told me of the impact that a person’s physical presence makes. He said something like, “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.”

So I searched the Internet and found out when and where the funeral was being held. I made the trip and pulled into the driveway of my Grandparents house where all the family was gathering before the funeral. I took a deep breath and walked in. It was like I had been around them my whole life. It was a great time of connecting and showing my respect. It had a much greater impact on me and them than sending flowers.

Your life will be full of choices. People and forces will pull you in many directions.  Make sure that you make time for the people you care about. Take the energy to physically be present at the place and around the people you care about. Also focus on being emotionally and mentally present when you are around the people you care about. Do not be distracted by devices and people that can rip you from what you truly care about. Remember, nothing says you care like being there.

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Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #1

dearson1Dear Son,
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love,
Dad

Thus begins my journey of passing on words of wisdom to my oldest son.  This journey began after listening to my son prepare a speech for school.  The topic was Robert E. Lee.  He was an interesting character, but that is not what reached out and grabbed me by the throat.

As my son read his speech, he gave two quotes.  The quotes where good, but that is not what shook me.  Both quotes were letters from Robert E. Lee to his son.  The fact that this form of delivery of wisdom from father to son grabbed by sons attention…grabbed my attention.

The impact of words of wisdom being intentionally delivered from father to son is both amazing and absent from modern parenting.  

Look through history and you will find excellent examples of heroes and leaders throughout the ages formally passing on their wisdom.  Look in the Bible and you will find the greatest example as Solomon passes his wisdom to his son in the book of Proverbs.

I do not want to miss my opportunity to positively affecting my son and help equip him for the road ahead. I plan to give him one hand-written card (word of wisdom) each week. I will also write a story or commentary for each card and post it on my blog. I hope that the card will serve as a point of reference as he walks through life.

So I begin my journey.  Maybe other fathers will join me.

Ancient Secrets For Today’s Leaders – The Shepherd’s Staff

The ancient shepherds have some secrets that today’s leaders should pay attention to.  I discovered 4 secrets that served them well and I endeavor to make them a part of my daily work life.

“Know well the condition of your flock, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever, and a crown does not last for all generations.” Proverbs 27:23-24

Louis Robbe (1806–1887) Schafherde in hügeliger Landschaft.

1.    Know Your Flock
Know your flock.  Know the people that you manage and are responsible for.  Know their names.  Find out about their family.  Discover what motivates them.

Let your flock know you.  Be transparent about your life (I don’t mean share everything).

2.    Be There!
Nothing says you care like being there.  Every day I take a slow walk around our 60,000 square foot facility.  It is not because I need the exercise…although it doesn’t hurt.  It let’s the employees know that I care about what is going on.  I walk slowly so that they can share their concerns or celebrate their victories.

3.    Lead
Lead by example.  Demonstrate how you want your employees or other managers to act.  Participate when things are in crisis.

Give clear direction.  Let them know your expectations.

Give constructive correction.  Let them know when they are not meeting expectations, but give them steps and advice on how to get there.

4.    Protect
Keep the flocks best interest in mind.  It is your job to make sure that the flock is in a safe and nurturing environment.  Make sure the work areas are safe.  Make sure they are prepared for emergencies.  Give them the training and resources they need to succeed.  Make sure that you are managing the company in such a way that they can be productive and have a since of accomplishment.

Without your flock you are not a shepherd.
Without your followers you are not a leader.