THE 5 QUESTION TEST
- What is success in _____________? How would you define success in ________________?
- What specifically has to happen with ___________to achieve this success?
- Can you do it? Is it doable?
- Will you commit and do it?
- When you do it how will you reward yourself?
Good To Great, by Jim Collins
The Stockdale Paradox
Chapter 4, pages 83–85
The name refers to Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the height of the Vietnam War. Tortured over 20 times during his eight-year imprisonment from 1965 to 1973, Stockdale lived out the war without any prisoner’s rights, no set release date, and no certainty as to whether he would even survive to see his family again. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything he could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who would survive unbroken, while fighting an internal war against his captors and their attempts to use the prisoners for propaganda. At one point, he beat himself with a stool and cut himself with a razor, deliberately disfiguring himself, so that he could not be put on videotape as an example of a “well-treated prisoner.” He exchanged secret intelligence information with his wife through their letters, knowing that discovery would mean more torture and perhaps death. He instituted rules that would help people to deal with torture (no one can resist torture indefinitely, so he created a step-wise system—after x minutes, you can say certain things—that gave the men milestones to survive toward). He instituted an elaborate internal communications system to reduce the sense of isolation that their captors tried to create, which used a five-by-five matrix of tap codes for alpha characters. (Tap-tap equals the letter a, tap-pause-tap-tap equals the letter b, tap-tap-pause-tap equals the letter f, and so forth, for 25 letters, c doubling for k.) At one point, during an imposed silence, the prisoners mopped and swept the central yard using the code, swish-swashing out “We love you” to Stockdale, on the third anniversary of his being shot down. After his release, Stockdale became the first three-star officer in the history of the navy to wear both aviator wings and the Congressional Medal of Honor.59
You can understand, then, my anticipation at the prospect of spending part of an afternoon with Stockdale. One of my students had written his paper on Stockdale, who happened to be a senior research fellow studying the Stoic philosophers at the Hoover Institution right across the street from my office, and Stockdale invited the two of us for lunch. In preparation, I read In Love and War, the book Stockdale and his wife had written in alternating chapters, chronicling their experiences during those eight years.
As I moved through the book, I found myself getting depressed. It just seemed so bleak—the uncertainty of his fate, the brutality of his captors, and so forth. And then, it dawned on me: “Here I am sitting in my warm and comfortable office, looking out over the beautiful Stanford campus on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m getting depressed reading this, and I know the end of the story! I know that he gets out, reunites with his family, becomes a national hero, and gets to spend the later years of his life studying philosophy on this same beautiful campus. If it feels depressing for me, how on earth did he deal with it when he was actually there and did not know the end of the story?”
“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he said, when I asked him. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
* * *
I didn’t say anything for many minutes, and we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “The optimists.”
“The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused, given what he’d said a hundred meters earlier.
“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”
Another long pause, and more walking. Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
To this day, I carry a mental image of Stockdale admonishing the optimists: “We’re not getting out by Christmas; deal with it!”
Ten Principles of Leadership
By Tod C. Novak
Right Brain vs. Left Brain
Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy. Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.
How Right-Brain vs. Left-Brain Thinking Impacts Learning
Instruction–To foster a more whole-brained scholastic experience, teachers should use instruction techniques that connect with both sides of the brain. They can increase their classroom’s right-brain learning activities by incorporating more patterning, metaphors, analogies, role playing, visuals, and movement into their reading, calculation, and analytical activities.
Assessment–For a more accurate whole-brained evaluation of student learning, educators must develop new forms of assessment that honor right-brained talents and skills.
What is your legacy, heritage, and what will they say when you are gone?legacy-final1
The 2008 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Winner for Northern California.the-upside-of-downs-final
Short but compelling interview on fathers and Fathers Day.
Good and cool content full of good questions and ideas.
Nice basic introduction of Scott and his background, vision, and content behind www.BecomeabetterFather.com
KHUM is the local FM “radio without the rules” …very hip folks, format, station, and culture…
This is my 1st Radio interview with Cliff Berkowitz…nice guy and dad.
khum-interview-6-13-08 Check it out….short and full of content…
We are all suffering from the realities of the Ecomomic Downturn and we as parents need to stop and figure out what is really important.
This is an Opportunity to access and really decide what is the “Main Thing”.
This can be a time where our kids get forgotten –or– actually the focus of our lives in a new and compelling way!
When is the last time you took that Bike Ride or Camping Trip– so long a focus of your kids bugging you?
Worse yet, have they given up bugging and nagging you knowing it goes nowhere?
NOW is the time to take that trip, go for that ride, or go and jump on the trampoline…
Here are some ideas to break the paradigm, the lethargy, and the rut…now and forever.
What is it that we as parents want to leave with our kids after we’re gone?
What will be our legacy and heritage?
Like Curly in the movie “City Slickers” asks: “What is that One Thing? “-That thing that defines and motivates your life?
What will they say about you after you are gone?…and we all will be someday!
Why do we do what we do when it comes to our parenting?
Why is Intentional Parenting so important, vital and a key priority?
In the “5 Tools for Effective Families “we will explore how to nurture our kids by setting a foundation of best practices.
We will learn to incrementally introduce the habits and tools to parent intentionally.
Our goal should be to nurture our children and help them flourish: to be the best they can be.
We will explore listening, good communication, genuine encouragement, choosing to give grace, and laying a foundation of faith in God that governs all of whom we are and where we are going as a family.
It all begins with relationship building on a quality life foundation that results in emotional health and well-being of our families.
The end goal is that we may be able to leave a legacy and heritage for our children and their children as well.
Communication has two parts:
- Listening and
- Expressing yourself
Both must occur for communication to be successful.
When you listen well to family members, you encourage them to talk about what’s most important to them. It’s easy to get careless about really listening, but listening is at least as important as talking. Everyone needs someone to listen to them, someone who supports them and allows them to openly express feelings. Sometimes a person can find a solution or discover the sources of stress just by talking. Some of us process our feelings or find ways to clarify and express our thoughts by simply talking to others. Find out which of your family members process in this way and you will have a key to unlocking their “code”.
Dads sometimes feel obligated to lecture, present solutions, and give an analysis instead of listening. This is not good listening. A good listener should not feel obligated to advise, analyze, or have all the answers. Listening and responding with concern and understanding may be all the help needed. And remember, it’s hard to listen well when strong emotions are in the way.
Effective listening encompasses the following:
- Attentiveness. Paying attention and putting aside what you are doing shows the speaker that you intend to listen. The harder part of attentiveness is putting aside your opinions and thoughts and conclusions until you’ve really heard what the speaker is trying to say.
- An attitude of openness and respect. You may not agree with what your family member’s saying, but being willing to hear and listen indicates respect and honor.
- Clarifying meaning. Check out the interpretation of the message you are getting. Feedback helps to know whether you’ve understood what your family member means. Give feedback or check your interpretation of what is being said.
- A validating response. This lets the other person know you are ready for more listening. This involves body language, posture, facial expressions, and genuinely showing readiness for more communication
Dads tend to be natural lecturers. All of us need to work to be more intentional listeners. I’ve found many times that listening sets the stage for solving problems, great relationships, and genuine peace in our family. Practice just sitting and focusing on your child without any distractions, and it will transform your life, their life, and your relationship together.
The art of listening.
One of a human’s greatest needs is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard. It isn’t always easy, and we live in a busy world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encourage creative thinking, and even save money by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication.
Active listening does not come naturally. Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize them, the opposite of what we should do.
Instead, we should focus on empathetic listening with the intent to understand and we must do this with the goal of helping.
There are four phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey.
- The first is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
- The second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in our own words
- Third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions, empathizing with what or how he feels.
- The fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect feelings.
Sometimes you don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding the other person’s view. This only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice of moving forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the hearer. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what you say. Nonverbal gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening. The art of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective father, leader, spouse, or any other role we must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel. Just remember your kids need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear, so listen well when they speak. It will make you an even better father than you already are.
You may assume other family members know your needs, feelings, and opinions without you telling them.
But relying on mind reading may result in:
- Loneliness or hurt
Here are some guidelines for expressing yourself clearly.
- Describe your feelings. Share your feelings with” I” statements. They build trust and relationships and they give you ownership of what’s being said:” I feel-______”
Say what you mean in a simple, direct way. I’ve found that honesty is always the best policy. People seem to resonate with honesty and being straight up with them. Be specific, rather than general. Resist the temptation to be a pleaser, always trying to tell people what you think they want to hear. This is a big mistake.
Here are some tips to use.
- Describe how other people’s behavior affects you without blaming. ” You” statements can stifle communication and create an accusatory atmosphere.
- Be aware of your nonverbal communication. Your body language gives you away every time. Be attentive to your face, tone of voice, and body language, because they communicate far more than your words.
- Find the time. Perhaps the most important way to express yourself is to make time to communicate with your family. Making a conscious effort to carve out time to talk with each individual, and together as a family, is key to the relational health of your family. A family environment can provide a safe place for its members to share feelings, thoughts, ideas, theories, dreams, and hopes.
It is often family that is left out. During busy, hectic times, it’s especially important to plan a few minutes when everyone can be together, or when you can be alone with a family member without interruption. Be sure to save a difficult problem-solving conversation for times when you’re not totally tired or fatigued.
Many of us are verbal learners and need to process our issues and problems through talking. If you have kids or a spouse who is thusly wired, you would do well in heeding the advice above. People who learned this at a young age will be more likely to cope well with stress as adults. Being able to discuss and vent angry feelings can keep those feelings from creating more severe problems such as alcohol or drug abuse, violence, stress, depression, or other emotional problems.
Take the time and make the time to communicate today. This is an investment in your children that far outweighs money or possessions.
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
Mastering the Art of Encouragement.
It’s amazing how everyone needs encouragement, but is so reluctant to give it.
It costs so little to give, but can yield such high dividends. We cannot afford to overlook this key life habit.
The investment of encouragement can truly build up ourselves, our kids, our spouses, and our communities.
Encouragement needs to be:
- Intentional. Offering encouragement takes extra effort and does not happen accidentally. We must be intentional if we are to be lifelong encouragers. This will mean having eyes to spot people doing things right, especially our children. To catch them doing something right and speak a word of encouragement is a powerful tool.
- Empathetic. Be especially attentive to the needs of your kids. What would it feel like if you were a child in the midst of embarrassment, disappointment, or discouragement? Think about how you would feel. Were you that child? Did someone encourage you? If so, great! If not, how can you make a difference by being an encouragement to both your kids and those around you in your world?
- Specific. Don’t just say “good job”, but rather provide details and specifics; showing someone that you’re paying attention can be encouraging in and of itself. Offer suggestions and remember that constructive criticism, couched in a spirit of encouragement, can be inspiring as a complement.
- Sincere. The word “sincere” is from the Greek meaning “without filler”. Encouragement must not be unmerited praise or flattery. Do not exaggerate a person’s competence, achievements, or potential. Being believable, authentic, transparent, and genuine will help you build trust.
- Prompt. Respond with encouragement as soon as possible and preferably face-to-face. Making positive comments publicly compounds the positive affect of encouragement. Some people would rather see it in writing, so jot them a note or an e-mail. These can be public as well.
- Thorough. Following up by writing a detailed letter with encouraging content can really uplift your children. E-mail is suitable for doing this as well, as kids are often more tech savvy than we. Putting words into writing not only reinforces oral comments, but also provides a tangible document. Your kids can save and refer to it at a later date for needed encouragement.
- Creative. Use your imagination when giving feedback, encouragement, or support and recognition for your children’s achievements. Be intentionally out of the box as your imagination figures out new ways to give creative encouragement. Some people like verbal support, others prefer written, some people like small gifts, and for some just spending time with them is all the encouragement they require.
Encouragement is a powerful gift, which we need to receive and give on a daily basis. Let’s be more intentional in giving it to our kids, as it will help them with the tools they need to become better adjusted, more well rounded and high achieving adults. Be encouraged to be a life-long encourager!!
Law or grace?
That is the question.
How do you deal with your children and those around you when you’re angry, frustrated, tired, and burned out?
- YELL and raise your voice?
- Play the martyr and do the silent treatment?
- Cuss and swear and scream?
- Dole out corporal punishment in the name of training, control, and authority…
In other words, how to we use our authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize his kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others.
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes, so why are we as fathers so quick to undress and apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids?
It’s okay to be angry, and its okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger? Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to relearn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to relearn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives.
So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law?
The fifth and most important “tool” is a genuine relationship with God, both as an individual and as a family.
Writing about our relationship with God is extremely difficult. So let’s start with what it is not.
It is not:
- About attending church
- About giving money
- About being” good “
- About being religious
- About being condemning, condescending, or arrogant about one’s faith
- About religious activity, service, or lifestyle
What it is about could take up several pages of a blog.
But we’ll start with the following:
- Knowing and understanding God’s Word–the Bible–reading and meditating on it regularly
- Understanding and having a genuine salvation/saving relationship with God by faith in Christ
- Being a person who prays on a regular basis, who has two-way conversations with God
- Being a person who’s quick to repent, be humble, and truly make things right, admitting it when wrong
- Being a person who’s willing to serve others, even at their own expense
- Living an obedient life, not out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and deep gratitude for all God has done
- Allowing God’s full expression in me, in my thoughts, my deeds, my words, my motivation, my attitude, my resources, and so much more
- Being a person who puts my walk with God as my number one priority in life, through prayer, Bible study, praise, worship, sharing my faith, serving my church and community and fellow humans.
- Obeying God in the small stuff, being sensitive to details and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
- Relaxing, taking deep breaths, simply appreciating the life and the love God has given me, realizing I can not add to this love. I can only respond to it by living in the moment, and being the obedient son He’s asked that I be
- Utilizing the gifts and the resources He’s given me in the way that He leads me to do so
- Having a heart attitude and disposition that seeks to glorify God in every aspect of my life
Much of this has to do with what I call a “heart attitude”, the core belief system that governs all behaviors, words, deeds, and attitudes.
It stems from the realization of all that God has done for me, is doing, and will do in the future. It comes from a heart of deep gratitude, which seeks to please, not repay, or pay penance, to the God who loves me and has given his all for my life and eternity.
It’s just this: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness, and self-control… against such there is no law.” These are the heart attitudes which demonstrate Christ’s likeness. They only come with a genuine long-term walk with him.
Be careful to understand that we’re not speaking about perfection. We are all human, fallible, frail, weak, and prone to making all manner of mistakes. The giant difference is having a heart of repentance. It’s quick to humble, turn, pray, and make course corrections when we discover we have sinned against God or people. We need to be good repenters.
This doesn’t mean that everything is a bed of roses; in fact Christians suffer as much or more than others. The difference here is:” God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” This means that even the worst challenges, problems, and disasters are actually blessings in disguise as we trust God to work it all together for good. When a person can live this way, in a faith walk with God, all of life takes on a brand-new adventure and excitement, knowing that no matter what happens, I’m going to become closer and more like my Father in each and every situation.
This is the foundation for a great life, marriage and family. It makes for stability, a joy, and the love that permeates a family and a marriage with the sweetness and a sanity that is rare and precious.
To call this Walk with God a “tool” is to misrepresent and underestimate what’s being written here.
This Walk with God is the life-giving, dominant feature of the dedicated Christian family and individual. With God at the vanguard of our lives, life really becomes worth living.
The BIG PARENTING question remains: “What is the essence, core purpose, or bottom line of our parenting?
What do we want to leave behind and instill our children, and why?
At the end of our lives, what would we like to leave behind and pass on to our children?
What heritage, legacy, or inheritance will you leave?
What will they say about you when you are gone?…and you and I will be gone one day!
More importantly, how will they live when you are gone?
Our job as fathers and parents becomes paramount and hugely important for our kids!!
I believe some of that legacy incorporates the following…
- A foundation of faith in God
- Our/Their hopes ,dreams and visions
- Learning contentment and satisfaction
- Children learning to know who they are in God
- Our kids understanding their strengths and weaknesses
- To know they are loved
- To understand fundamental knowledge and wisdom
- To own and live out real values and ethics
- To live a life of thankfulness and appreciation
- To possess as their own a love for God, people, the earth, and all living things
- To be able to apply wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and so much more.
Why are we leave a legacy is as important as what we leave as a legacy.
You must ask yourself why you’d like to be a parent of the highest quality.
What is in it for you, your child, the world at large, and your children’s children?
What is your answer?
I want to leave my children a large heritage: a legacy for generations to come. I have a BIG vision for this stuff.
But herein lays the challenge:
I’d like to leave an inheritance for my children and to keep it for them, but I also need to keep them for it.
This is what I mean: I want to leave my children a life inheritance, but also to prepare my children for that inheritance. Acquiring and keeping an inheritance for them is relatively easy, the true challenge is to also keep them for by instilling a sense of value, faith, and a deep seated heart of love for God and people.
I know I must love them unconditionally, be intentional by making them my priority and focus, and to accept and respect and receive my children. These are the starting points for a quality inheritance for generations to come.
If not me, who?
If not now, when?
So why not you, and why not now.