The Life Equation

A couple of years ago, I injured my shoulder surfing and was not able to surf for several weeks. I continued going to the beach and took photos instead while my body healed. I remembered watching the local high school surf team this day as they shouted, laughed, and scored really great waves during a winter swell. What stood out the most was watching some students stylin’ on cheap foam boards that are sold at the local Costco.

I heard a preacher on the radio say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I have heard this saying recycled and re-quoted many times in different forms like, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but is it not true? Anything “awesome” or “epic” usually depends on how you participated in it. The kids who surfed with the foam boards were carving out waves as good as the other kids who had boards that cost 10 times more.

Times have changed and now people reject sound wisdom and will react with, “What if I don’t like lemonade?” and “Why am I getting lemonade when those people get Arnold Palmer’s?”  The victim card is way overplayed nowadays. It is time to put that card down and take that 10% of crap that has been thrown your way and turn it into fertilizer for the 90%. Grow something. Change something. Overcoming obstacles in life is not easy nor comfortable. Stop wasting energy on leveling the playing field and just play. If all you have is that cheap foam board, then use it and make it awesome. The 90% is yours.

How to help your children be happy (Without happiness being the goal)


“I just want my children to be happy.” How many times have we heard someone say that? There is an innate desire in our souls to want our children to be well and well-off. However, should happiness be the goal? Should it be one of the many goals in life? My answer to that question is no. Instead of the state of happiness being the goal of life, the goal should be living a life larger than self. Happiness becomes the natural result of living a life beyond taking care of one’s needs and wants. How do we get our kids to have that perspective?

Last Christmas, my daughter saw a sign in a store that advertised a Christmas project asking folks to donate small gifts to be delivered to children around the world. My daughter wanted to do it, so I told her that she had to do this with her own money. She participated in the charity. I remember the look of satisfaction on her face when we dropped off the shoebox filled with toys and stationary at the distribution center. That moment was a reminder for me to raise my children to have the perspective of living beyond taking care of their needs and wants. How can we help our children find satisfaction in their journey? It is not as simple as having a Top 3, but here are a 3 thoughts to get this discussion going.

God needs to be in the conversation. There’s a constant conversation happening in that space between our ears. That conversation changes when God is invited into the discussion. Teach your kids to read the Bible and pray. Why not just pray? God’s voice will never contradict what He already said in His Word. When God is in the conversation, then self-centered thoughts change to a perspective that looks to others. Any sense of entitlement will be challenged by God’s voice Who says, “What about your family?” and “What about your friends?” and “What about your neighbor?” Think about the Golden Rule. It is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. One of the rewards is the “happiness” that results from living this principle. God takes this relationship beyond happiness. God becomes the source of joy that is not dependent on circumstance. Could our children be at that place? Could we adults be at that place?

Get relationships right. People will disappoint you. You parents disappointed you, and you will disappoint your children. Your children will be let down. Also, they will have their shares of disappointing others. It is important to teach your children to be at peace with people as much as possible. Bitterness has a way of destroying our lives when we let relationships go awry. Some things are beyond our control, but we all have the choice of holding onto grudges or choosing to forgive. Can your children experience the joy of having positive relationships?

Get money and possessions right. I tell my kids that it is perfectly fine to have a ton of money and enjoy nice things… as long as those things don’t have them. Acquiring money and things should not be life’s goal. The ancient Egyptians would mummify their royalty and encase them in gold and the finest things. They believed their riches would go with them to the afterlife. Centuries later, tomb raiders took the treasures that somehow didn’t make the transfer to the afterlife. A person’s well-being includes having a healthy perspective of money and things. I remember witnessing a young boy give his prize and rare Pokemon card to a new friend. The boy was just as happy if not happier than the new friend who received his gift. After all, it is better to give than to receive. Don’t you agree? Can your children get that perspective? Is that perspective in line with yours?

I am trying to keep this list limited to 3, but should there be more? Your comments are appreciated.

Yoda’s Thoughts on Christmas

img_3293“You must unlearn what you have learned.” ~Yoda

Wise words from Pop Yoda. Just like most things, we are heavily influenced by media and the pressure is on to make all the Christmas the best one ever for your family. You have to ask yourself a couple of questions to keep a clear head and a clean heart about this holiday. If getting all the decorations and presents are going to put me in debt, then is it worth it? If all this running around is going to temporarily make me a maniac, then is it worth all the trouble? If this is what you learned to accept to be acceptable, then it’s a good time to start unlearning what you learned.

It’s time to add wisdom to your knowledge

I think I know more now at almost a half-century of life than I did a couple of decades ago. I foolishly thought that I knew it all when I was out of college at 24, but the more I know now, the more I realize I don’t know much. Growing in wisdom is the key to our journey. There is a Jewish proverb that says that wisdom is better than gold, and that is definitely proving itself out in my life, and I bet it is in yours as well.

I think that’s how most good movies play out. Our main character has an enemy he has to defeat or a mountain he has to overcome. Somewhere in the story he gets wisdom that helps him win.

Wisdom is not the amount of knowledge you have but applying the knowledge you have. You can know how to make money, but the wisdom is in how you use that money. You can be an expert at driving, but if you are constantly getting traffic tickets then that knowledge is not being maximized to your own benefit; let alone any good for anyone else.

Wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. Many times, wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Wisdom is selectively choosing relationships and endeavors that are usually not popular. Wisdom is the voice that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Many times, wisdom requires courage to see it in action. Wisdom requires courage because the decisions you make influence others linked to you.

The sign in the picture says, “You know more than you think you do,” and let me add that the greater challenge is to apply what you already know to benefit yourself and those connected to you.

Your children are living in a world that is moving a whole lot faster than we were kids. They are being bombarded with so much information that parents have to “compete” with. It is crucial to be an active and intentional voice in their lives. And by the way,”Do what I say and not what I do,” is about the laziest and most ineffective way of parenting.

Parenting requires wisdom. Show your children over their lifetime how wisdom works. Teach them that wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. You will have to repeat yourself countless times over many years, but keep reminding them that wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Keep modeling for them how you are using wisdom to choose relationships and endeavors that may not seem popular nor easy.

We can all be students of the school of hard knocks, but have the heart of someone who wants to graduate. You and your children can apply that wisdom that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Growing in wisdom requires courage, time, and patience. When we grow wiser those connected to us benefit.

Lastly, if you don’t have wisdom, then ask for it. The writer in the book of James said that if you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. That doesn’t work if you don’t read your Bible because that’s where the wisdom is.

Proverbs 14:1 was written thousands of years ago, yet applies to our families today, ““A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
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Let’s continue to use wisdom to build our homes.

Knowledge is good. Wisdom is better.


I think I know more now at almost a half-century of life than I did a couple of decades ago. I foolishly thought that I knew it all when I was out of college at 24, but the more I know now, the more I realize I don’t know much. There is a Jewish proverb that says that wisdom is better than gold.

Wisdom is not the amount of knowledge you have but applying the knowledge you have. You can know how to make money, but the wisdom is in how you use that money. You can be an expert at driving, but if you are constantly getting traffic tickets then that knowledge is not being maximized to your own benefit; let alone any good for anyone else.
Wisdom is a heart thing; not a head thing. Many times, wisdom is making the tough decisions 90% of people are not willing to make. Wisdom is selectively choosing relationships and endeavors that may not seem popular. Wisdom is the voice that keeps you from repeating that same mistake over and over. Many times, wisdom requires courage to see it in action. Wisdom requires courage because the decisions you make influence others linked to you.

The sign in the picture says, “You know more than you think you do,” and let me add that the greater challenge is to apply what you already know to benefit yourself and those connected to you.

 

Hummingbirds and Hawks

Version 2

I took this picture of a hawk on my roof just moments before it joined two other hawks as they battled crows in the air across the street from my house. Their cries were so high pitched and loud that they wouldn’t be ignored this day. My family and I studied these predators and were amazed by their power and ferocity. My wife noticed, amidst all this action, a hummingbird nesting in the very same tree where the hawks stayed.

Being the researcher that she is, my wife web searched this living arrangement and discovered that a certain type of hummingbird strategically nests next to hawks knowing that the hawks will eat the animals who pose a threat to the hummingbirds. I’m thinking of something very philosophical about this coexistence, but the simple truth of it all is that this hummingbird is one smart creature.