Wednesday, October 22

The answer to many questions is: Keep doing what we are doing. And do it well.

We were asked at our weekly leader meeting: what can we do to put a dent in poverty and hunger?

At first the question was heavy and without a lot of hope. Then I thought about the very core of what we are doing at the Boys & Girls Club, our mission: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

After much thought, that very mission is, in reality, the answer to the question. Our local organization sees over 1000 kids a day. When we achieve our mission, those kids, some of which are living in poverty and are hungry, will grow up and break the unfortunate cycle they were born into. 

I cannot think of one person who reached their potential, who is productive, who is caring and who is a responsible citizen, that is in poverty and hungry. Oh it is possible, just not probable.Those thousand kids will grow up. Lets assume we meet our mission. These kids will marry and likely have kids of their own. Now our 1000 kids and the values we instill have impacted another 3000 people (their suppose and at least 2 children), not to mention any friends they might have mentored along the way. So we, by simply following our mission will put 4000 plus people our of poverty and hunger. 

In the grand scheme of things, 4000 isn't a lot. But according to the Boys & Girls Club of American: “In 2012, Boys & Girls Club youth development programs, training and services impacted nearly 4 million children and teens.” So what if these 4 million kids grow up and get married and have 2 kids of their own: thats 7 million people that may have been on the path to poverty but are now productive, caring, responsible citizens. 7 million is a dent!

I read somewhere that if you feel your job matters to someone, you will find satisfaction in it. Couple that with a good team, measurable goals and a strong since of community and now you know why I love my job. 

Friday, September 12

The opportunity that becomes a offense.

Once upon a time: I had the opportunity to sit in a training with a group of other people. This training was one of those that-while it had to do with my job-really doesn’t offer practical every day chances to engage it (or does it?)  Still, If its important to my superiors, shouldn’t it be important to me, regardless of my assumed relevance? The same people who made the decision to provide this training also made the decision that I was (at one time) the best person for the job. Why would I doubt their decision making now? Hmm...

So I pull out my notepad and prepare to take anything from this speaker that I could put in my tool belt. As the speaker began to equip me for success, between dribbling down as much gold as I could, I looked up and around the room for some sort of confirmation that the information was as good as I thought it was. What greeted me? A few people also taking notes but what alarmed me was a few ‘glazed over eyes’ looking past the speaker and at some imaginary spot on the wall behind him. I thought to myself “They just tuned out for a second, they will surly reengage in a second.” After several more points, and several more minutes, I saw these same glaze. One that continued throughout the presentation.

What were they thinking? 

Perception is the known facts and then imagination filling in the blanks. So my mind started filling in the blanks for them: “Why am I here?”, “Couldn’t this been a little later?”, “Don’t they know how many hours I work?”, “Does this guy do that to his hair on purpose?”. What I was pretty sure they were NOT thinking was this: “This is going to be awesome.”, “Slow start but it’s about to get real.”, “I’m up, I’m ready, bring it on and set me up for success.”.

Now, after time has passed the person is not as much a concern for me now as the lingering attitude. One that, I am sure, was years in the conditioning. One that I am sure to encounter in the future. It is these attitudes that really concern me. Can they be fixed?

Here we have people mere feet from the boss, the one who invited this person in to share, the one who hires, fires, promotes, demotes and will later either tell others of our good work or maybe never speak of us again. Do these attitude holders not think the boss is watching them? Do they not care? Do they think they know everything the speaker is saying? Do they think this is useless information (For the record: any information that we refuse to use, is useless information)?

Can this attitude be fixed? Why was mine different? While I am not wanting to be on a pedestal, I think the answer is: the box. Mine is opened. theirs was more than likely, closed. See, I have a pretty big tool box in my garage. And it is full of tools. Some I may never need and less than relevant in my typical environment. But if and when I ever would need that tool, I have it. It may need some cleaning or greasing to get it to work, but it is there because I was willing to put it there and keep it there. 

All this to say: An open box will always be more desirable than a closed one. Can a close one be opened? Yes, but each one is different and has to be willing to be opened.

My box isn’t perfect and the tools there will always be limited by my knowledge and use of them. But I will keep it open, I will learn as much as possible from anyone willing to put a little something into it and I will always be willing to share it.

So the next time you find yourself in a mandatory offense, ask yourself: is there an opportunity here? Are there any tools here that I can collect? And if all else fails and you decide to keep your box closed and taped up, at least learn to fake it! Act like you care and that just might hold your paycheck for a few months more.

By the way, with a little time, I could deliver this guys presentation if I was asked to (not as good as him of corse). Not because I am smart, but because I am open and willing. Are you?

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast" 'Peter Drucker'

Monday, September 1

Beauty and the Beast Rewind: the typical relationship.

This classic is filled with inspiration and romance. It captures the hearts and awakens the imagination. But the story is different than real life in only one way, yes one: Its backwards from the “typical” relationship. If we were to play this film backwards, we would see an all to familiar synopsis. One, most of us have been in close proximity to, if not played a major role in. Let me give you the rundown, backwards:

We have a couple that are madly in love, happy and destine to live happily ever after. A prince and princess. They have learned to love and earn the love of the other. But then one of them starts to change (maybe both of them change) and selfishness set in. The once prince charming now is prone to being alone, doing his own thing and even becomes mean. He has lost his manners and looks less and less like a gentleman with each passing year. Soon the love is a forgotten skill and self is the only motivation left. Now the transformation is complete. The man has become the beast. The woman tolerates it in hopes that things will get better, hopes for a small glance, a small jester, but the longer it goes, the home slowly becomes a prison: The beast, it’s warden. The request have been replaced with demands. The two were so much alike and in love-now are almost different species and incompatible at best. Things get so bad that all signs of love are gone and fear has taken its place. Questions fill her mind: How did he get this way? Why is he so mean? Can he change? Should he change? Is it may fault? The only thing left to to is flee, to run, to return home into the comfort of family, leaving the beast alone and lost. But the home of our youth cannot fill our souls of our adulthood. We need a helper, a true love, a friend for life.

So we have the classic story told backwards. A fairy tell turned around and into real life. This story happens too often. The culprit: complacency and selfishness. See when we have been exposed to something for a long time, that something becomes expected and even deserved. We forgot what it was like to earn the love of others because, well, it’s just been there all this time…and it’s MINE! This is our mistake and this is where the cures of the beast set in. Complacency leads to selfishness. Selfishness is a trait for beast, not couples.

So all along, the cause of the curse is the cure for the curse. Unselfish acts earn the care of others. Not demands, not expectancies, not arrangements. Nope, just unconditional love. That means, regardless of the way they act, I choose to love them. REGARDLESS. Once we set conditions, we are not being unconditional and unselfish. Conditions like honesty, kindness, and loyalty. If all these fail, unconditional love is there to win the day. And make no mistake: setting a number of times he/she can fail at any of these is a condition.

The great thing about unconditionally love is that it starts with the only one in the relationship that you can change: YOU. But rest assured, it is contagious. 
SO there is hope for the beauty and hope for the beast, as long as YOU are willing to set the new unconditional standard in the home.

And they lived happily ever after…

P.S. I choose to focus on the man to stay true to the fairy tail but this is a gender neutral problem. The man or the woman can become the beast, sorry ladies.

Tuesday, August 19

It's been a wile but I'm still here.

A quick update on the Cannons: we are loving life. We both have health, good jobs, an amazing church family with Crosspointe Fellowship Church. I have been too busy to be on here much but I see you are still checking out the blog so I will try to post something soon.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 15

Thats my judgement and I’m sticking to it!

The other day I was checking out one of our Boys & Girls Club buildings and the custodian, who happens to be a retired roofer, offered to take me up on the roof to survey some leaks. We proceeded to set up one later, climb to the first level roof, pulled up another latter and set it up on the second level roof. Now I am not afraid of heights but I have extreme respect for them. I stay way off the edge and as safe as I can be. This retired roofer was very comfortable near the edge. Too comfortable for my taste. I asked him to step back and to be careful and he laughed at me. I’m so glad he got a laugh out of me but I was serious. He made me nervous. He informed me that he has been on roofs his whole life and was very aware of his footing. His confidence was not contagious at all! We checked the roof and climbed back down to solid ground and (in my opinion: safety).

What is my point in this story? Well, I am glad you asked. See, this man claimed to be careful and skilled but I didn’t care. I wanted him to be careful and step back. He claimed he was safe. I saw things another way. I wanted to absolutely ensure his safety. Now in the Christian world, this same scenario plays out every day-all day. You see someone approaching danger and try to warn them and help them and they jump and call it “judging them”.

Never once did this man assume I had anything other that his safety in mind. He didn’t mind my caring for him. He did, as I mentioned, find it humorous.

Please don't assume people are judging you when they try to help or point out a possible pour outcome of a situation. We are not judging you, we are trying to protect you. After all, it is our job:

Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

And if by chance you do call yourself a believer, you are baptized and claim to follow Christ and you do fall into sin and are fine with it; You can expect to be judged by other believers. Again, it is our job (in love, always in love):

1 Corinthians 5:12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

So please don’t get offended when I ask you to step away from the edge. You may be safe, you may think you are in control but why chance it. Step back where we all know you will be safe.

“Based on the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are 70 annual fatalities for Roofers per year”