Posts Tagged ‘Society’

Words are powerful when you know their meaning. They are even more powerful when you believe them.


          Although it sounds cliche, pay-it-forward is the approach I take in most things I do. This especially applies to teaching and working with youth. I guess it’s my way of paying tribute to the people who saw beyond my mistakes and through my insecurities and

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poor self-image. These people consist of the “others” in my life. The ones who had the heart and foresight to look past everything within myself I perceived to be negative. The ones who refused and refuted my excuses, who saw and drew out qualities and abilities I didn’t know I possessed.

          The “Why” statement for my life is this. “I want to help young people not make the same mistakes I made…to help them discover, develop, and deploy their own value and sense of purpose in life. I want every youth with whom I have contact to know they are valuable and have purpose and something meaningful to offer this world.”  I am confident that emulating and honoring the memory of loving, supportive “others” in my life is the strategy that will propel me to success in my endeavor to make a difference in the lives of young people.

          I consider myself to have achieved success and happiness in life. For this, I am grateful to God and appreciative for the “others” He has placed on my path. I know,

Original Art by Joe

without doubt, that every measure of accomplishment I have achieved or will ever obtain is due, in no small part, to the “others” who have answered the call to pour and sow into my life. One of my prime goals, now, is to honor my “others” by answering my own call to be an “other” to as many people as I can. From my perspective, this is how we overcome evil by doing good.  And…isn’t this exactly what the world we live in needs?

          When we fight hatred with hatred, hatred wins. Hate focuses on what is negative…the differences between us. Not only that, it thrives and feeds on negatives and differences. Love, on the other hand, looks past the negative and promotes the positive. Love sees how we are all similar and how we are all connected. Love is what motivated the “others” in my life to look past my differences and negatives. The love OF “others” FOR “others” is the only thing that will make a meaningful difference in our world. I know I now have a responsibility to those who have sown into my life to sow into the lives of others. This is how the movements of Paying-It-Forward and Honoring-The-Others combine to perpetuate the power of goodness. By taking responsibility and showing gratitude for being the beneficiary of the goodness of others in your life.

          And…if you’re being honest, you would have to recognize that you have had them, too. Do some self-reflection. Think about the people who saw good in you when nobody else did. Not even you. Think about those people who didn’t give up on you when everybody else did. Even you. Think about those people who looked past the mistakes and failures, who, when you fell, extended their hand to lift you up one more time. These are the “others” in your life. Write their names down. List their contributions to your life. If they are still alive, thank them. Then… GO…

…do the same for someone else.

Peace and blessings…


My destiny is not determined by my demographic.

Love opens the doors closed by doctrine.

Freedom is not the license to do as you please, rather, it is the liberty to do as you ought. The former promotes self indulgence while the latter promotes self control.

It’s unfortunate that band mates will sometimes leave when you start singing a different tune.

There is nothing quite like working with middle school students to garner a profound awareness for the power of rumors.  Unlike political America, there is seldom any fact-checking on a middle school campus. Unfortunately, what “they” say happened or will happen or might happen is frequently received as truth without question. As many of you may know, middle school students are developmentally equipped with a highly developed “emotional brain” combined with an under-developed “reasoning brain.” Translation: Their emotional brain will short circuit their reasoning brain and lead them into poor decisions and actions before they have thought it all through. All too often the consequences of their choices are not even considered until they are happening.  Therein lies the power and danger of “They Say.”  Below is an offering which paints an example of how this dynamic can play out. It represents the responsibility we have as parents, educators, and youth workers, to “train them up in the way they should go.” Social and Emotional Learning is everyone’s responsibility.  If I may wax cliche, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  (c:]

~Food For Thought

~Peace and Blessings…




She said he said that they say it’s true.

Armed with this knowledge, I know what to do.

I recognize the face of this newfound foe.

We once were good friends; now, I’ll throw the first blow.

How dare he say what they say he said.

It’s all the reason I need to go bust his head.

They say she said he said this or that.

The details are sketchy with real shady facts.

But it makes no difference ‘cuz they say it’s true.

So, I’ll blindly give in to what they think I should do.

How will I look if I don’t stand up for what’s right?

So, I’ll settle this beef with a schoolyard fight.

What? He’s denying the words they say that he spoke!

What a big, fat liar! This guy’s a real joke!

“C’mon you big loser! What’s your play?

                    Defend all these words that they said you say!”

“I never said nuthin’.  It’s all a big lie!

Better check your facts. You got the wrong guy!”

          “But that just can’t be ‘cuz they ALL say it’s true;

          So, put up your dukes, fool, so I can pound you!”

So, I beat him down good for his supposed infraction.

I never once thought he would end up in traction.

Three broken bones and wounds to the head;

All for the words they say that he said.