30 December 2019. Fully Commit. Discard The Past – JLD. With our last post being over two months ago, we did not want you worried we fell off flat earth or were abducted by aliens. Rather we have been doing some deep reflection and wanted to go into 2020 with more relevant entries to our weekly blog. This week, we want to share the life lesson with you to “fully commit to the future and discard the past. If going back is an option, you will retreat when the going gets tough.” In The Church and The Community, Page 64, I spoke about switching from roller skates to roller blades, and discarding my skates before taking my first trip on the new blades. It was a risky endeavor, which became scary when obstacles, like not knowing how to brake, presented themselves. But without the option of quitting and going back to skates, I was fully motivated to push through on my blades. What new things do you want to do in 2020, and what will you discard, to commit to it?
28 October 2019. Physical Altercations and Bullies – JLD. My first physical altercation happened at my elementary school, one weekend while my siblings and I were playing. Some boys said I was looking at them a certain way and although I only got pushed a few times, then slapped, getting “beat up” was a huge blow to my self-confidence. My father made it worse by scolding me for not fighting back, but I was outnumbered and did not want my younger siblings to get injured or implicated. Years later, I matured into a young man who did not back down from fights, and in The Church and The Community, Page 52, I talked about a student named Phillip who shoved me to the ground during Physical Education (PE). I got up quickly, took Phillip to the ground, then raised my fist to smash his face in… what is the best way to deal with bullies? At what point in a physical altercation are your actions no longer “self-defense”? Did I punch Phillip that day?
21 October 2019. Many Ways To Get More Money – JLD. I mentioned money almost two dozen times in my business and professional growth book, but it is hardly because I am affixed on it. There exists a medium of exchange for goods and services within our economy and without it, we would not be able to get things we do not make ourselves. But how do we get more money? Well an honest day’s work is one good place to start, wherein you provide a good or service, and are compensated for it. From there you can work overtime, or pick up additional jobs but in The Church and The Community, Page 39, I detailed an unconventional way to get money… cashing in on negative attention. A student at my middle school was bullied for having a disorder along the autism or Asperger’s spectrum, which manifested in his desire to collect coins that students threw at him. Those coins however, added up, and he gladly picked them up. Would you be willing to do the same?
14 October 2019. Keeping Your Priorities Straight – JLD. On October 10th, a husband, father, rabbi, and author announced that he would be running for Mayor of Georgetown Texas. As if Jonathan Dade’s schedule was not full enough, how will he be able to keep his priorities straight with God first, his family second, ministry third, and the consultancy fourth, as he wrote about in The Church and The Community, Special Mayor Edition, Page ix? The answer starts with identifying the most important things in one’s life, then ordering them based on importance, while also factoring in which things will require more resources. The next most important consideration is knowing which people or things to say yes to, and which to say no to, based upon what adds value to what you are about. Finally, delegate, delegate, delegate… without a team of people around you, it would be extremely difficult to do a lot, while also keeping your priorities straight. Yet, it is possible.
07 October 2019. Mental Health And Homelessness – JLD. Have you ever come across someone you would describe as “not quite right” or “troubling”? The person might just be socially awkward, or maybe your unease around them might be due to deeper reasons. An increasing number of people suffer from mental health issues that make it difficult to live a normal life, and without the proper support or resources, these individuals often find themselves homeless. In The Church and The Community, Special Mayor Edition, Page ix, the story of an eclectic attendee named Nicholas was told, and no matter the issues he struggled with, his Church and Pastor cared about Nicholas deeply. Unfortunately though, Nicholas’ continued struggles led to him resent others for not helping enough, and he turned on the people who cared most. So while you balance having a big heart for people who are not quite right, or troubling, be sure you are equipped to safely navigate the deeper issues.
01 October 2019. Can Faith Leaders Run For Office – JLD. Despite Synagogues and Churches being great places of influence, where likeminded people should rally around political candidates who reflect their values, the Internal Revenue Service prohibits 501(c)(3) non-profits from participating in political campaigns. The “separation of church and state” further states that congress (the state) cannot drafts laws to favor religion (church), or prohibit the free exercise thereof, but does this mean your Rabbi or Pastor is unable to run for local, state, or federal office? In The Church and The Community, Page 1, we learn that President Ronald Regan affirmed separation of church and state but reminded everyone that America is a Judeo-Christian nation, under God. President Regan also spoke against prayer being taken out of school. Your Rabbi or Pastor, representatives of faith or “the church”, can run for office, and praise God, hundreds are doing so!
23 September 2019. Unaccompanied Veteran Funeral – JLD. Funerals can be difficult for the family, attendees, and also the officiant. As I wrote about in The Church and The Community, Page 214, sometimes the wishes of the family might not be in keeping with the deceased, so it is important to draft a will. There is also the attendees, who have their ideas of how to honor (or grieve) the deceased but who’s desires do they represent? And finally there is the minister who was asked to officiate the service… we do the best we can, but it can be difficult to speak about the life of someone we did not know. This was the case for Rabbi Jonathan, who officiated the funeral service for an unaccompanied veteran, and thanks to calls for support from the media, there was hundreds of people in attendance. So while death might not be the most enjoyable of topics, we invite you to consider your funeral, draft a will, and know that loving people want to honor your wishes, if you ask them to beforehand.
16 September 2019. Ready To Be Held Accountable – JLD. Have you ever noticed how some people want to hold everyone else accountable, but when it comes to their own life, they act like they answer to no one? These people also tend to be experts in crafting excuses for the things they fall short on, as if their shortcomings and mistakes are okay, but ultimately this makes them hypocrites, at best. In The Church and The Community, Page 130, there was a brief mention of a guy who told everyone about his past mistakes, because he wanted to reconcile with those he hurt, and he wanted people to help hold him accountable. Are you strong enough to share your life with others, the good and the bad, so that people can help hold you accountable? Do your leaders have mentors or peers they answer to, to ensure they stay on the straight and narrow? What about your elected officials; what do you do so they remain responsible? It’s time to hold folks accountable.
09 September 2019. Humble Beginnings and Experiences – JLD. Not everyone has a meager start to their life, or a time when they were severely lacking in resources, but they should. Granted, poverty is not inherently enjoyable, it is rich in ability to give people perspective. When you do not know where your next meal will come from, you learn to appreciate the food that is before you. If you are not able to afford basic needs, when you finally enter a season of financial wealth, you never forget the importance of budgeting and not wasting anything. Some of the most affluent people I know, are ever searching for deals and coupons, despite them hardly needing the discount. As for myself, in The Church and The Community, Page 2, I talked about growing up on a small farm, and it was not necessarily because my family loved plants and animals. We were poor growing up and I had a humble beginning, but looking back, I see that as a rich way to raise a child.
02 September 2019. Preferring Unity Over Division – JLD. To be certain, we live in a world where many people prefer division over unity, and severing of relationships before honest attempts are made to reconcile. You might be able to name couples that talked about getting a divorce but did those same couples ever talk about scheduling mediation, or going to a marriage counselor? What about that employee at work who is clearly unable to perform the functions of their job? Good leaders would make every attempt to understand why the worker keeps failing, and help prepare them for success if possible. Bad leaders think the solution to underperformance is terminating employees, or forcing them to resign. Churches and Pastors should be no different in sincerely wanting every member who departs, to return in love, and in The Church and The Community, Page 132, I detailed how good it made me feel, when a member family that left, came back.
26 August 2019. Faith Leaders Make A Difference – JLD. Three weeks ago, the Austin American Statesman published an article wherein Rabbi Jonathan called out a judge who perpetuated an injustice. The backstory is a law enforcement officer in the county over which said judge presides, made demeaning, racist, and sexist posts on social media, which the judge liked. Now while it would be natural for that judge to react negatively towards Rabbi Jonathan for admonishing his actions, Judge Gravell did the opposite. Following several public apologies, Judge Gravell appointed Rabbi Jonathan to a special committee to review policies that would deter county employees (and officials) from making similar mistakes. Wow. In The Church and The Community, Page 87, there was an apology narrative involving high schools students but this folks, is a story with much more modern, and epic proportions. This story also reminds us, faith leaders can make a difference.
05 August 2019. When They Become A Liability – JLD We all had that employee or relationship that we contemplated terminating. For some, it might still be a difficult decision or conversation, but after the worker has violated the handbook multiple times, or the friend continues to not respect your boundaries, you have to let them go. In The Church and The Community, Page 163 I talked about people I let go due to federal compliance, but what about local law enforcement officers who cross the morality line? The Austin American Statesman recently published an article about Commander Deaton of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, who stages, photographs, then posts images of date rape, murder, and other explicit acts. To be certain, we do not have all the facts, and Mr. Deaton might be the victim of internal struggles, but at what point might we need to accept someone is a liability to the organization, and needs to fired? To be continued…
27 May 2019. Pushing And Developing Resilience – JLD. The cyclists began dropping like flies, due to the extra miles, in 90 degree weather, which felt like over 100 degrees! The high humidity added to our discomfort, and it made matters worse. Several of the more seasoned riders knew how to stay hydrated and keep their electrolytes up, but eventually, everyone reaches their limit. In The Church and The Community, Page 83, I wrote about the training I did back in high school, which even years later, had a profound effect on how long I can avoid quitting. Not everyone pushes themselves to these levels though, which is unfortunate, because in doing so you realize your body is often able to endure much more than your mind says it can. Yes, it may hurt and you might feel like you can not go on, but with proper training, and the right amount of resilience, you would be surprised of your capabilities. Let today be the start of something new; endurance.
13 May 2019. Alabama’s Restrictive Abortion Law – JLD. Many of us are taught to avoid discussing politics and religion, because people get emotional too quickly. There is also difference of opinions, which makes agreement even more difficult, yet the Alabama Senate had just enough consensus to pass a bill that intersects both religion AND politics. So not talking about when life begins, the morality of governing a woman’s womb, and bible standards applying in secular world, is no longer an option. In The Church and The Community, Page 19, I mentioned how my parents did not want any more children after my youngest brother was born. They probably explored tubal ligation, vasectomies, and or contraception, but what is really the difference between those options, and the morning after pill? What about abortion within 30 days of conception? 60? 90? Politics and religion are becoming law, whether we like it or not, so let’s talk about it, civilly.
30 April 2019. What Debating Has Become – JLD. About two decades ago, I took a debate class in high school. We learned how to research topics or resolutions for which some of us would argue in the affirmative, and the others in the negative. The instructor taught us to also develop a strategy, find ways to refute the opposing side, and speak eloquently to the audience (and judges). Debate was an art, a process, and a subject that required in-depth study, but now “debating” is no longer academic in style. No need to articulately and systematically refute the opposing viewpoints when you can simply talk louder than your opponent, and “win”. And when someone writes something you do not agree with, your response in ALL CAPS lets them know who is boss. Or so some people think… In The Church and The Community, Page 86, I wrote about winning a debate against my teacher and principal, because I kept my cool and had a strategy. Do you?
08 April 2019. Never Give Up The Ship – JLD. It is an absolute tragedy when someone other than the founder or president of an organization, thinks it is their duty to change how things are run, or worse, stage a take over. It happened to me in The Church and The Community, Page 26, where the guy I trusted to bring on as a director, broke me down to the point I offered to let him assume control of the non-profit I founded. Thankfully my other director did not agree with the usurper, nor did the mediator, so I maintained control. Some of my peers have not been so lucky though, and after being broken down emotionally for months on end, they resigned from the companies they started. The worst is when they subsequently watch their visions end, the organization go in a new direction, and that new direction effecting the company’s demise. This is why if you found or lead an organization, you should don’t give up the ship. Stay strong. Be encouraged.
01 April 2019. Lying Has Become The New Normal – JLD. Granted, we should expect a playful amount of dishonesty and subterfuge on April Fool’s Day, we must also admit that the spreading of false narratives, is at an all time high. Once upon a time a man’s word was his bond, and if you said you would be somewhere at a certain time, come hell or high water you would be there. Now and days tardiness is commonplace, and we have a whole litany of reasons (excuses) why the truth cannot, should not, and will not be shared. Lying to ourselves and other people, has become the new normal and in The Church and The Community, Page 207, I described how lying caught up to someone, as it always does. Sooner or later you will forget your lie, or someone might fact check what you told them. The worst is when you have lied so long, you believe it… try being 100% honest about everything, for a day, then a week, then a month. It’s worth it, honestly.
25 March 2019. How To Leave Without Damage – JLD. Whether the employer requires you to undergo an exit interview, your significant others wants to know why, or that friend simply asks why, the importance of how you act on the way out, matters deeply. A new trend amongst younger workers is to “ghost” on their employers, where instead of providing a two week notice, you just mysteriously stop showing up to work. Do that enough times and your resume will look like a horror movie… not to mention, afyer potential employers contact your previous ones, they may ghost on the interview process. In The Church and The Community, Page 178, I talked about an exit interview I had with a member of my church, and how it showed me the member’s true colors. If you want to be successful in your life, career, and personal life, be honest and professional when leaving any commitment, job, or relationship. Your past exits, affect future entrances.
11 March 2019. Suicide At The Highest Levels – JLD. An Olympic cycling medalist, Kelly Catlin, committed suicide in her dorm at Stanford University. Freeda George Foreman, the daughter of former heavyweight champion George Foreman, recently died by suicide. And a Forbes Top Ten influencer, Justin Beiber, is asking his fans to pray for his depression. There is no amount of success or fame that can shield someone from the thoughts that lead them to a fatal decision, and some might argue that the spotlight exasperates the issue(s). The key issue is doing what I did in The Church and The Community, Page 193… telling loved ones you are struggling. If you do not think you have anyone to talk to, please contact RLB Echad and we will connect you with Jonathan Dade. No one is ever alone and especially those of faith should know that a higher power is always present. Please stay in this broken world with us. We have a job to do.
25 February 2019. When an African American Cries Wolf – JLD. Some of us are quick to believe any allegation of racial discrimination, while others call such outcries “playing the race card” or “being a victim”. And then you have the allegation made by Jussie Smollett, claiming he was the victim of a racially motivated, as well as homophobic, hate crime. Add in the detail that Smollett received a letter from his producers, stating his television series (Empire) was not getting enough attention, and it is no wonder Smollett wrote a $3500, on top of texting, the alleged perpetrators, who just so happen to be black. In The Church and The Community, Page 100, There is factual account of a black man being discriminated against, by someone in his own community. In the case of Jussie Smollett however, based on facts presented thus far, and him making false statements to police in 2007, it might be time for Smollett’s allies, to admonish him for crying wolf.
18 February 2019. Remembering Black History Month – JLD. It is all too easy to focus on President Trump, Governor Ralph Northam, or Jeff Bezos, but during #BlackHistoryMonth, lets consider things that affect people of color. For 246 years, black men and women were taken from their homes, beaten, raped, and treated worse than livestock. Then for another 90 years, black people had to deal with dishonest sharecroppers, discrimination, and segregation. In the The Church and The Community, Page 100, I talk about attending a Historically Black College (HBCU) and although it was not perfect, ask yourself why did such a school need to be chartered. The scales were not tipped in favor of black people for over 300 years, and it will take more than 50, to continue righting the wrongs. Please consider the ongoing issues black people face. Watch this panel discussion on black migration (https://youtu.be/sT7WmKD3wXg), and, find a way to remember that February is Black History Month.
06 February 2019. Dealing With Bullies In Adulthood – JLD. Lorraine Brady, Editor of The Williamson County Sun, wrote about someone who recently confronted her brutally. She went on to say that the experience left her “feeling shaken, intimidated, and bullied” but the craziest detail is her alleged bully being none other than the town Mayor. Now there is always two sides to every story. Maybe Lorraine is misrepresenting her encounter with the man who governs our city, but I feel her pain, and in The Church and The Community, Page 121, I wrote about my experiences with some bullies. I was in medical school and whenever my laptop was not locked to the desk, they hid it from me. When I ran for class office, graffiti was placed on my campaign posters. And there was no chance in the world anyone would agree to letting me in their study group… doing so would be telling the bullies “make sure to brutally confront us too”. Have you dealt with bullies?
28 January 2019. Local Politics and Renewable Energy – JLD. Many of us spend our time and attention on national politics. Republicans want taxes (costs) lowered, while Democrats desire government (taxes) to expand. Sometimes, this bias blinds our eyes to local politicians who (allegedly) have our political party or best interests in mind, while their actions prove otherwise. Take Georgetown Texas for example… in a Republican State and City, a Republican Mayor is quoted to say he bases decisions not on partisan politics, but facts, and what is good for his constituents. Mayor Ross goes on to state how renewable energy is all about costs, but along with Democrats Al Gore and Bernie Sanders, Ross gambles that renewable energy will lower utility costs. Well, Georgetown’s utility bills have since gone up, significantly, and in The Church and The Community, Page 37, I talk about fame and politics. How will our famous Mayor, and the City Council, make things right? Or, is new leadership the solution?
21 January 2019. Before Going Out, Dress Your Best – JLD. The truth is, every time you leave the privacy of your home or apartment, you enter into a public spotlight that shines brightly, and takes meticulous notes, on everything you do and say. While out at the grocery store, do you want to become known as the business leader who did not take the time to put on a matching shirt and pants? Or even in a casual setting, such as a trip to the park, is it okay to have you hair unkempt and wardrobe a mess? In The Church and The Community, Page 88, I shared the true story of how meeting the friend of an editor who previously would not share my side of a contentious subject, changed my life. Thankfully I dressed to impress and communicated well that day. Lesson learned; as much as possible, we must always be on our A Game, while in public. You never know who you will meet, or how something you say, might become news. So mind what you say, and always dress business casual or better.
14 January 2019. The Bible Can End The Shutdown – JLD. Bible teachers are hardcore devil stomping ninjas, and Scripture has the key to end our government shutdown. Yet has your Pastor or Rabbi addressed the shutdown, from the pulpit? Now, more than ever, our beliefs need to be integrated or united, into our worldly-secular problem. We are at 24 days and counting of the FDA not inspecting our food, E-Verify not working as an electronic wall of sorts, and TSA employees working without compensation (and proper staffing). The Bible provides guidance, on how to overcome the current impasse or stalemate between Republicans and Democrats… forgiveness and letting go of bitterness, meeting with the goal of resolution, and communicating what each side will give, are principles that will also solve our problem. In The Church and The Community, Page 221, the conclusion was that faith leaders need to step up… will they? And when we encourage them to do so?
07 January 2018. Consumed With Righteous Anger – JLD. We all know that person, and a few of us have been there; we perceive someone to have done something wrong and our new mission in life is to expose them. How dare this evil person continue living their life like they are not the piece of scum we see them to be? And God forbid they exist in society without people knowing the concerns we have against them! In The Church and The Community, Page 58, true story… there is a guy named Bill G., who was consumed with “righteous anger”. There was a falling out Bill had with his previous Pastor and Bill could not rest, or find peace until he saw the Pastor exposed. The Church and Leadership disagreed with Bill’s concerns, and begged Bill to move on with his life, but he never did. If you are similarly consumed with a righteous anger, deal with it by alerting authorities and following the process, but after that, move on. Do not let anger consume your life.
01 January 2019. New Years Goals and Resolution – JLD. So you want to lose weight or commit to something in 2019? Great! You just need to find a way to not become one of the 25-33% of people who fail with similar goals, before January comes to a close. You also need to strategize how you will not become part of the 90% who fail to maintain resolutions, balance of year. In The Church and The Community, Page 221, the recipe for success is detailed in a simple, yet thorough manner. You need to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound) goals in 2019, like “I plan to jog at a 6 miles per hour pace, for 30 minutes, three times each week.” Next, you need to find a community of like-minded people who also jog at said planned speed, or interval. Lastly, how will you make your new habit or goal, part of your lifestyle? The tools to making your New Years goals and resolutions are more attainable than you realize. Grab them!