4 Things To Do When You Go Back To School…as a Parent

 

Over the life of our marriage, I have found myself in this predicament; not only do the kids go back to school but so do I! As I near 40 with three kids and a wife, it is even more difficult for me to retain the information that I need to and have the energy to be able to be husband, dad, full-time employee, and student. At one point, I was going to work at 3 am, getting off at 230, heading to school at 4, coming home at 9, spending what time I had left with my wife, and then to bed just to start over the next day. (I am confident that my wife was ready to disown me at this point…)

I have learned, however, how to balance these things over the years because I firmly believe that we have to constantly learn to be relevant in our professions and in society.  There are 4 things that I learned during this stint in being in school while holding all the other titles that come along with being almost 40;

  1. Read.  This may be the most vital portion of this topic. Reading what you are learning will help you to understand what you need for your exams. A few things here are helpful; highlighters to highlight the important terms and definitions throughout each chapter, take one chapter at a time, write notes as you read or type them out, and re-read what you have written.
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  2. Listen. One thing that I have learned is that listening is vital to studying. Whether you are recording your professor to listen to later or listening to teachings online (including videos), your brain will absorb the information and help recall what you have learned in conjunction with what you have read. Sites like YouTube, Udemy, and your university are a plethora of resources for you to watch and/or listen to lessons to help you retain what you have learned.
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  3. Do. The problem with most courses or classes is that you don’t get the experience of doing what you learn while you are learning it. It is important to find performance-based questions, practice questions, and quizzes to test you for your readiness for your exams. Another way to do is to teach someone. Showing someone even if they don’t know or even care what you are doing will help you cultivate the part of your brain to jog your memory when the exams come.
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  4. Balance. As a reminder, you are not a superhero! Do not burn out with trying to study at all times. You have to find that balance. I have had to learn this the hard way. You cannot study 24/7 as much as you would like to.  You have to balance your time in studying, family and for yourself.  It has been proven that if you study all of the time, you will lose what you learn because your brain is in overload. In between the comings and goings, I had to make my family a top priority. Whether it was playing games while I was extremely exhausted, listening to my wife talk about the day, or whatever, I had to break down some time to be with my family and put them first. You are nothing without God and family. If you don’t have your life in balance, you will fall flat. This goes back to the first thing I wrote about.

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I am sure that I missed something. I mean, there are a lot of things that I left out. What advice would you give to a person going back to school with a full-time job and family?

 

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When The Coffee Mug is Half Empty…

I try not to be cynical. It is not something that I want to do. The old adage “if you don’t believe anything good will ever happen, you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t” kind of rings a lot in my life. Naturally, I am a negative person. I have to force myself to believe that there are good things that happen in life. I have to make a concerted effort to be a positive person. The coffee mug could be half full of coffee and I will think “well…I am almost out of coffee….” But seriously, over the years I have certainly developed this toxic gift that I am constantly working on. I don’t want to be cynical, but you guys out there in the real world make it really hard for me not to be.

When someone has been working their whole career to get ahead just to be left behind constantly, it is easy for that person to believe in the old adage that I mentioned earlier. When our finances continue to hit a brick wall, it is hard for me to be glad for the guy who was able to pay his house off and start his own business from scratch without borrowing a penny. I digress. My hope is that I can become as successful as Abraham Lincoln….without all the failures…

Time Line of Failures of Abraham Lincoln

1832- Defeated for State Legislature

1833- Failed in Business

1835-Lost his Fiancé

1836- Nervous Breakdown

1838- Defeated for Speaker

1843- Defeated for Nomination for Congress

1848- Lost Re-nomination

1849- Rejected for Land Officer

1854- Defeated for US Senate

1856- Defeated for Nomination for Vice President

1858- Defeated again for US Senate

1860-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NLT

       I was surprised that this article did not mention that Lincoln had lost two of his four sons to death while they were children and one while he was in the White House. Not to mention that his wife was clinically insane. Lincoln had a lot of opportunities to develop an attitude that was toxic. It would have been easy for him to become cynical. It is easy to think only good things happen to certain people and the rest of us are left behind to remove the manure.

It is important that we have our eyes set on greater things and better things. I am not proclaiming some message of weird witchcraft. But I am saying that the Bible verse from Proverbs 23:7 which reads “As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you are thinking doom and gloom, do not be surprised if you get doom and gloom. If you think your kids are hoodlums, do not be shocked when they are arrested for disorderly conduct…okay, that may be a stretch. But do not be shocked if they grow up causing trouble. If we can get our minds around this, what power would we have as men of God? Amazing!

Time Line Source – http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/failures.htm. Retrieved 10.01.14.

The Power of Redundancy

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Driving home from work the other day, I had a thought. Don’t be scared, I won’t be taking over the world any time soon. Though the thought has crossed my mind, I digress. I was thinking about the successes of men and women who are living their dream and what could I do to imitate their actions. The thought that came to mind was this;

“There is great power in redundancy.”

How often do you and I go into an adventure that we have been dying to do only to find ourselves rejected, dejected, defeated, and mistreated? We put on the depressing Sarah McLaughlin music with our tears flowing into our favorite drink with thoughts of just throwing in the towel on our dreams… what? You have never had those feelings? Right. Then, we see the amazingly successful men and women get out there and kick butt. We believe the old adage that they became an “overnight success” only to find it too took them 20 years to see it come to pass.

The thing is that in order for ourselves to be successful, we have to see how they became successful. Whether it is because they keep their nose to the grindstone or kept their eyes focused on the prize. Whether they keep their heart directed towards that dream or they fight to keep that very dream alive. They win! What’s the common denominator?

“The power of redundancy”

Here are three things that successful people do when practicing the power of redundancy;

  1. They keep posting about their vision. In the great algorithm of life, if you keep putting your vision before people, they will buy into it. In the world of Social Media, this is vital. The more you talk about it – the more others will see it. The more you post it – the more others will know. The more you put yourself out there – the more people know you mean business. Regardless of what your mind tells you, you have to move past that thought process and keep talking about it. Keep the dream alive through redundancy.finger-2056030_1920
  2. They keep pushing through the negativity. They do not give into criticism or negative thought. They don’t allow themselves to throw a pity party with them being the guest of honor. They, instead, surround themselves with positive thoughts and uplifting music. It is no different if you eat only junk food. If you fill yourself with junk, you will be sick. If you eat good food, you will be healthy. The same is for our thoughts.desperate-2293377_1920
  3. They surround themselves with like-minded people. If you think about it, the more you hang out with positive people – the more positive you are. Studies show that the people you are close to are the way you will become. If you have negative, hard to get along with people in your circle, don’t be surprised if you are the same. If you are positive and have successful people in your circle, don’t be surprised if you are the same.teamcult
  4. Here is a bonus:
    What your mouth. How many times have you or I been told to “watch your mouth?” I know that I have heard that from time to time from my folks or from people around me. The statement is true. If you keep spouting off how you don’t have enough money or can’t do…do not be shocked when you keep having the same results.

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So my challenge for you today is to tap into the power of redundancy. Don’t quit. Keep pressing forward. Why? Because you’ve got this!

The Day I Unfriended 400 People

“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?”                                                                                                                 Simon Sinek – Start with Why

Have you asked yourself the question “who are all of these people on my Facebook feed?” I did that recently. I was scrolling through my feed and I couldn’t tell you whose story I was reading. I couldn’t even tell you where I remember meeting these people. I scrolled for what seemed like an eternity and I may have seen a few people that I knew, but all in all, I didn’t see very many people that I did know.

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I tried to justify keeping them on my feed and yet, I couldn’t tell you why. One of the things that I learned from reading Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why was to ask the real question. That got me thinking about the reasons why we have certain people in our lives and it hit me; it fulfills the need to have someone in our lives just for the sake of having them in our lives. 

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With that, I began to purge my social media feed. Within an hour, I removed over 400 profiles from my feed. I looked through my list and if I could not remember who they were, they were removed. If I didn’t have a social media conversation with them within a certain period of time, they were removed. If I didn’t talk with them one on one in a period of time, I removed them.

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Now, you may be asking, “aren’t you afraid of offending those you unfriended?” Not really. If I haven’t had a conversation with them, they most likely won’t notice anyhow. It is easy to get tied up with the “what ifs” when it comes to social media. It is almost like a prison. We get so tied up with wondering what other people think that we lose who we are in the process.

I unfriended about 400 people at the time of this writing. I also unliked quite a few groups and pages that I was a part of.  I didn’t do it for the people or the groups. I did it for myself. Why? Well, that’s another story for another blog.

What have you done to clear the clutter out of your life?

 

 

Why Do We Go To Church?

I love God.

It is important that you know this from the very beginning. He is amazing and is the central part of my life. He has rescued me from so many things that I cannot even spend time telling you. Though I have had a great relationship with God, I have found myself lately with an emptiness. I have a great relationship with my wife and my children. I have a pretty good job. Yet, when it comes to a relationship with other people, there’s a hole.

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I used to think that going to a church was a place where relationships could be formed and perhaps even have friendships that would last a lifetime. Perhaps, I am expecting too much from those in the flock. I have come to the point of asking myself this question; “What is the point of going to church?” I asked this question recently from my readers and here are the answers that I received;

“When we choose not to meet together, we deprive ourselves, we deprive the church, and, of course, we disobey a biblical command to meet together with the fellow members of the Bride.”

“To discover the reason to go to church.”

“Because God is worthy of worship.”

“For me, it’s my time with God plus I can be in community with others. As a cradle Catholic, I find comfort in the ceremony as well as the words. I can go to Mass anywhere and it is basically the same.”

Community. ‘No man is an island’ -John Donne”

“Because it changes us. Every time we are in the Lord’s presence I believe we change. When I hear and receive the Word and let the Holy Spirit show me what it means just for me and I can hear how to apply it to my everyday life…I change for the better every time. I also get to hang with some people and develop great relationships!”

“Family. That is what I miss from not being a member of a church. Divorce hurts.”

These are all great answers. They have good intentions behind them. However, it doesn’t answer the question fully. What I mean is this; is there a real purpose in going to church? I have had many people quote Hebrews 10:25 to me as an answer;

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

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It is credible – it’s the Bible! Here’s the thing; we have to read the whole context of it. To get that context, I have included versus 19-25;

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” v. 19-22

Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we can go into the Most Holy Place with boldness. He can go right into the presence of God without any barrier! This is so good.

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“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” v. 23

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We can hold tight in knowing that God will keep His promises! These are all great things. Now – here’s where I struggle;

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” v. 24-25

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From this, I gather that the reason we go to church is that we encourage one another, love one another, and help one another. Our goal as believers is to be there as a community to build one another up, to love one another, and to help one another in times of need.

What can we do to enrich the lives of others when we go to church?