Saturday, April 4, 2015

Thanks for asking

(Rules without Relationship)

      Have you seen any of Marshawn Lynch’s many interesting interviews? He is a player from the Seattle Seahawks, who is not a fan of the media. He has given the media the silent treatment along with some attitude, which led to some hefty fines. Then he transitioned to answering with a tagline to all of the questions for various interviews. These taglines range from “yeah,” “thanks for asking,” “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”(which he is currently trying to trademark) and more. Marshawn is an extremely talented football player who has been a key element to the Seahawks success. In addition, He seems to be troubled and/or annoyed and is looking and reaching out for someone to help. I am reading into the situation, giving my perception of what he might be experiencing, but, until someone actually listens with a desire to know him, things won’t change. It will take more than interviewers just continuing to ask him the same questions over and over again and it will also take more than the NFL continuously fining him without seeking to understand where Marshawn is coming from and discovering what the why is behind his actions.

      With students (employees, kids, really anyone), rules without a desire to know them for who God has created them to be, will get you nowhere. With Marshawn Lynch, the NFL continuously fines him and tries to apply more rules and restrictions on him as well as other players. Don’t get me wrong, whether NFL players like it or not (especially the marquee ones) are role models and should act like them. This standard is not limited to professional athletes, celebrities, etc, it is a standard that should be kept in mind by every (mature) adult. Kids are always watching and we can never downplay our potential influence on the person next to, near us, or within earshot. I wonder if the NFL has tried to sit Marshawn down for a conversation with the desire to really listen and understand where he is coming from. Maybe he had a few bad run ins with the media, maybe he had an event that happened to him as a young man that is influencing his response to those in authority, or maybe he just doesn’t care about following the rules.

      No matter what the case maybe, every person deserves to be known and really listened to, with the desire to know where he or she are coming from without an agenda, besides to love the person. God, has uniquely created every person with unique attributes, family of origin, experiences in their lives, gifts, talents, passions, etc., and we should do all to know that person before we try to think of what we are going to say next or slap another rule (or fine) on them!

A rule without some sort of relationship or desire to know who they are and what makes them tick, seems to only push them further away, let’s change that!

Links to a few of Marshawn's interviews and Stephen A's take

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wisdom from a loss

(Picture of Ryan Picket courtesy of Wikipedia; who played for the Packers from 2006-2013 and currently plays for the Houston Texans. After a tough loss like that, I couldn’t bring myself to put a picture of a current Packer.)

It has now been 8 days since the Green Bay Packers heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks and the end to their season. This loss was particularly difficult because of the way that it happened. The Packers were up 16-0 at the end of the first half, only to be outscored 28-6 in the second half and overtime.  The Seahawks put 15 points on the board in a span of merely 45 seconds just to stay alive. The Packers were then able to push the ball down the field and score the tying field goal to push the game into overtime. In overtime, after winning the coin toss, Seattle wasted no time. They marched down the field in 6 plays for 87 yards, including the game winning 35yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse.  To many who watched the game, they are still in disbelief. The way the Packers let this game slip out of their hands, made it one that many players and fans alike, will not forget for a long time.
The question that Mike McCarthy, his staff, players, and the Packer organization as a whole now face is, where do we go from here? No matter what the Packers try to do to erase this loss, it has been etched in stone. How do they move on? How do you move on? Is there anything that they can learn from this loss or do we just mope about what could have been?
The question of how to move on is a difficult one when you have just experienced a defeat or failure, but it’s one that we must not avoid. It’s okay and encouraged to grieve the loss for a period of time, but we must move forward. When we face a difficult defeat there are questions we must ask ourselves. First, take some time to look at all the positives leading up to the loss, during it, and what is possible in the future because of it. Next, you need to look at the negatives. What are the missed opportunities? Where did we let up and not give it our all? What can we learn from our mistakes and how can we prevent ourselves from making the same mistake(s) next time? Then, move forward. Don’t allow this experience be the one to knock you out! Allow it to be fuel in the fire. Know that you can’t win them all and that you can’t win unless you play!

What have you learned from a time that you’ve lost/failed?
What helped you the most during that time?

Next time you lose, Remember to learn from it, use it to improve your game, and get back out there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Let me set the stage for you: It’s a beautiful Midwest morning in January with temperatures that are unusually high (above freezing) and the sun is shining. My wife and I met two of our friends for coffee at the local Starbucks to catch up on life. I get the new flat white (essentially a stronger espresso in a latte billed as a cappuccino with less foam) and my wife goes with one of her favorites, a green tea Frappuccino. We get our drinks, our friends get theirs and we sit down to enjoy great conversation over some delicious beverages. Then as we are getting more engaged in conversation, Mother Nature hits and I need to make a quick run to the facilities. I speed walk over to the restrooms (trying to waste as little time as possible, for more than one reason) and make my way to the door. When I approach the door, I turn the handle down with a bit of force to try and quickly open it, but it’s locked. I proceeded to wait outside of the bathroom door starting to get a bit impatient, I must admit. I knock on the door to try and encourage the gentleman to speed up the process, so I can take care of my business and return to my table. Then a few more minutes go by (what felt like an eternity but was probably about 5 minutes) and I decide that I’ll give the handle a jiggle and a good pull to make sure that this guy knows someone is waiting outside. When I jiggle the handle up and down and pull, the door flies open. Shocked, I cautiously glance into the doorway to ensure that this guy (that has been taking his sweet time) was not exposed for all to see but as I moved my gaze into the bathroom, I discovered to my amazement that it was unoccupied the whole time!

           I think in life there are many times that we approach other “doors” the same way. We barely knock on the door or give the handle a gentle turn and when it doesn’t open we assume it’s in fact locked, that it’s not the door for us. Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to opening bathroom doors there should be a good deal of caution involved because there is typically only room for one. No two doors are exactly alike. No two experiences or choices are the same. We must hold on to the wisdom from our past experiences but approach the new ones with a fresh perspective. So when you approach an experience or choice where you try to open the “door” and it doesn’t open on the first try, don’t assume that it’s occupied, that it’s not the right one for you. Make sure that you just didn’t turn the handle hard enough or the right way, because all to often we tend to give up too quick, and get left waiting outside to use a bathroom that is not even in use!