Punishment

Discipline comes in many forms. For some of us, it is the focus that drives us every day. For others, discipline means teaching moments and for a few, it means punishment. When my son was 8 or 9, I told him that we would spend the summer working on his discipline toward completing his daily chores. At the end of that summer I asked him, having had no further discussion on the topic and in front of a crew at one of our fire stations, what was this the summer of? Without missing a beat, he said that it was “the summer of punishment!” as he raised his hand into the air. I never had the conversation with him about having order nor was he ever disciplined for anything but his take-a-way was the summer of punishment. What do the people who you discipline take away from the experience? If the punishment was punitive, chances are they just took away a little bitterness. Our job as leaders is to be sure that the punishment fits the crime. If they didn’t know how to or were not equipped to do the job, how hard can you really be on them? A friend once told me that we shouldn’t kill an ant with an anvil. It was good advice about compassion.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…” Psalm 103:13

Discipline takes on two roles – punishment and order. The order that discipline brings is getting out of bed every day 5am to go to the gym for that dreaded spin class or the order that breeds commitment to seeing a job through to the end. Not wanting to repeat myself but the work we do here is pleasing to God, we should have the discipline to do our best – always. On the other side, fear and punishment are not often thought of when we think of our Father in Heaven. We all received punishment for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Child labor is now painful, we have to work the fields for our food and the price of our daily sin is death here on earth. We should fear God! The good news in this passage is that the Lord will have compassion on those of us who fear Him. God loves us and He has proven that by sending His son to die for our sins. We no longer have to fear the punishment of our sins; Jesus Christ did that for us on the cross at Calvary. God wanted His children close to him and while we will not stay in this life for eternity, we will share eternity with our Father in Heaven. A pretty fair punishment if you ask me.

Advertisements

Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful and thankful to everyone for your encouragement and support. Since my injury, I have tried to make it a tradition to reach out to people who have come into my life or helped me in some way and say thank you. I am so blessed by everyone in my life that I’d spend all year making calls. So, I found this today and thought of everyone who follows this blog, all my friends, my colleagues, and my family – you are very special to me, thanks.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 
~Melody Beattie

Found in the book “Attitude is Everything”

 

I’m published!

I took long enough to announce but I finally have been published, twice no less, this year. My article for Fire Chief magazine was published in their August edition which comes out in late September. It was exciting to see my name in a national publication and can be found at: http://www.firechief.com/manmade-disasters/how-civil-support-teams-aid-fire-departments-during-disaster-response

The other news, the Anthology that I wrote about in August has been published and is available now on amazon.com. Yep, that same Amazon! The writers group that I belong to published a series of short stories and poetry. Our group is called the Avondale Inkslingers – hence the title. Yours truly, along with other already published authors such as Michael Bradley, Eveline Horelle-Dailey, Vincent Alascia, Greg Lundberg, Mike McCarthy, Gail Leach and several more contributed to this book which can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Avondale-Inkslingers-Eveline-Horelle-Dailey/dp/1479389072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353285920&sr=8-1&keywords=9781479389070

I posted this once before, but here is what our editor said about my story which, by the way, can be found on page 207. ” I liked the taut pace of Revelation.  From the first few sentences you managed to drop the reader into the middle of the action without making me feel lost — a hard thing to accomplish.  You provided the right number of details to allow the reader to know what was going on but also didn’t elaborate too much, which helped the pacing immensely.  Too many details would have just dragged the story down, and I’m glad you didn’t give in to them.”

Leading and Following

Being a good follower is an important characteristic of being a good leader. We must learn to follow before we lead. The notion of us following someone often depends upon whom we are following. If we don’t respect our supervisor or the company owner, it is hard to follow them. However, following does not mean that we do it blindly. We have to obey the rules established by our employer, the city or town we live in and those of our federal government. While we don’t always agree, we are obedient for no other reason than to maintain order within our society. The bottom-line is that we are all followers at some point in our careers or lives but it is more of a role rather than a position we hold. Those who are better followers are generally tapped to become the next leader when the opportunity arises. These are typically the people that others trust because they follow direction or take orders and get along with their peers. These are the traits that people look for in their leaders. Google the word “followership” and you will find thousands of resources; look for one that sings to your heart.

“Remind the people to be subject to rules and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good…” Titus 3:1

The verse today should sing to heart as well. The 10 commandments, once again, tells us to be obedient to our government leaders. Jesus Christ even told us to “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. He was telling us to be obedient. Titus then reminds us to be subject to rules and authorities and then be ready to do what is good. God is reminding us to be good followers; be a living example of Christian living. Are you ready to do whatever is good? I’m sure that if someone asks us for help, we’ll be there. Most of us rarely look for ways to help; it is easier to react to a call for help then it is to generate support for one. This is the time of year when we reflect on what we are thankful for – God is great indeed! There are a lot of people who need our help, especially at this time of the year. Whether you lead or follow, be ready to do good. Consider becoming a leader, this might be your opportunity. Martin Luther was credited with saying, “God doesn’t need your good works but your neighbor does”. I’m thankful for all of you that follow this blog week in and week out; you are a blessing to me.

What is a Veteran?

As an honored guest in a Veterans Day parade, I had not only the pleasure of enjoying the awesome Arizona Fall weather but I had the chance to meet several of the Tuskegee Airmen. The “Red Tails” were made famous in the movie of the same name. The speaker who introduced them said “They fought not only enemies in the sky but they were forced to  fight for their right to defend our nation.” Almost unthinkable times. I pray that my grandkids will never know what that looks like and that they only have to read about it in school.

So what is a Veteran? We heard today in the closing remarks for the celebration:

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking. He is a cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day to make sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel. He is the little league coach, harder on the kids than we feel necessary but that behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. He or she is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL. He is the Paris Island drill instructor who has never seen combat but saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs. He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and metals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and metals pass him by. He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being – a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any metals they could have been awarded or were awarded… Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag. TWO LITTLE WORDS – THANK YOU.” – Father Edward O’Brien/USMC

Happiness

Being happy at work is important to your physical and mental health. Studies show that people who are “happy” have less stress in their lives and that has a direct correlation to one’s health. While we cannot always control the events that happen to us, we can always control how we react to them. The saying “make lemonade out of lemons” wasn’t coined because people were thirsty. Leaders have two responsibilities – be happy and ensure happiness. Leaders can ensure happiness by helping employees meet their personal and professional goals. Employees who are satisfied at work, achieving goals and being recognized for their efforts tend to be happier. Organizations will benefit from productive employees and satisfied customers. A leader’s attitude is contagious. Some leaders will “put on a happy face” but people can tell when it’s genuine or just for show. Leaders need to focus on their own goals, a project that they are passionate about or simply finding joy in leading others. Whatever the cause, find joy in all you do, it is a gift from God.

“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

We are always giving thanks in our house because we can see God’s blessings everywhere. God can bless you with wealth, possessions, a good job or in some cases simply a job, happiness, etc but have you ever considered them a gift of God? God wants us to be happy in our lives. It doesn’t mean that He will order events in such a way that we will never suffer or feel down. There are enough times in our lives for suffering or feeling down, so when God has gives us “gifts” we should be thankful, enjoy them and be happy. When God gives us troubles, we should accept them too. God is at work in every part of our lives, the good and the bad. We don’t possess the capacity to understand the meaning behind what is happening; we just need learn how to react to them. We should be happy in all we do, remembering that they are all gifts from God and that can’t be a bad thing.

Rumor Has it (sorry Adele)

Rumors are always the start of something bad. So what causes them in the first place? I’d like to suggest that short of the truth, people will make up the story they believe to be true especially when it deals with a subject in an organization. One of the key responsibilities we have as leaders is to keep the truth ahead of the story. Leaders need to be mindful of the “tidbits” of information they share and of what information they don’t share. The most effective way to keep the truth ahead of the story is through regular communications. For many, communication looks like an email or a memo and for others, it’s communicating in person or by video. The old saying is that the truth will set you free and in this case, you will be free from rumor. If your organization is facing still uncertain times, be truthful about what is happening and do not speculate. Leaving people with your speculation of what is to come will only set free their minds to build upon it and generate stories of their own. Rumors can have wide spread effects on an organization and easily take on a life of their own as each person adds a little of their story to the one being spun. The rumor mill can only be defeated by fact, our job, as the leader is to fill them with facts.

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.“ Proverbs 18:8

Who doesn’t love a juicy bit of gossip? We love to fill in the blank when someone asks, “did you hear?” God gave us the Ten Commandments, in which He warns us about how we should treat our neighbors. Pretty soon the rumors we pass on become our truths and then these “truths” will start to fill our lives. Rumors are the devil’s work and he loves for us to spread them. When we do, we become more concerned about the rumor we’re spreading and less about the real truths that God has placed before us. These “choice morsels” start to fill us and soon we’ll no longer need the truth to feel satisfied. God has communicated the truth to us through His inspired word of the bible. If the truth is what stops rumors, then we need to know the truth; which we do by reading the word of God. Be filled with His truths and not those of the devil. Take in more than morsels and let it go down to the inmost parts so that you are satisfied and nourished by God’s word.