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Loveprints. Wont you be my neighbor. An entire neighborhood covered in love.

Sneak preview of Won’t you be my neighbor, an insight and behind the scenes look at the life and love of Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers Neighborhood is the iconic creation of Rogers, and it holds a special and unique place in American television and education. Included in the doc are the base philosophies of the man himself, and the journey the program took beginning locally in Pittsburgh, and becoming a national jewel. It speaks to being present and in love of others, and its characters are tributes to people in his life. Rogers took stands for things he cared about, often making others uncomfortable in his own personal comfort. He stood up at times others thought he should not, and he spoke out when others thought silence might have been better for him. Most importantly, he loved even when others did not understand how he could, or maybe did not understand why he did.

This is a great American story, one man, one concept, all love. He has reminded me to love more, love louder, and love in action.

 

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Cover the world in love. Loveprints

 

I was asked recently what I wanted my legacy to be when I was gone. I did not have an answer. Not at first. I then came to smile at my first thought. I have it. My family. In the simplest form, I wanted for people to look at them and see the best of me in them. And then see my family, loved in whatever way they need to be loved, at whatever level and depth they wish and choose. My friends, who love unconditionally and consistently, making my life rounded and padded by the real kind of love. And my squads. Picture images of me in how they dream and love.

Relax people. I am not ill and passing. I plan to be around to love out loud for a long time. This is just where I am right now. A loving place.

I heard some people talking about carbon footprints. I paused. Carbon footprints. Your effect on the earth during your time here and its resulting effect on it after you are gone. But carbon footprint does not work for me. So I came up with another phrase. One that said more about how I want to be remembered, and say it in a way that says what I want to be remembered. Not only after I am gone. But while I am here. While you are here. While we are here.

Your Loveprint.

I thought about carbon love print, but that did not seem right. Love print makes sense. I can see hearts. I can see hand prints. I can see hands with hearts in them. I can see hands with hearts in them.

A love print is affecting lives, moments, communities, and the world by touching them with your love. By BETTERING them with your love. YOUR. LOVE.

We know that love begets love. Love comforts. Love chases out hate. Love lifts. Love elevates. Love completes, and Love wins.

So. What I hope is that you will read this and go with love. Go and spread your love print. Spread it so wide that it covers anyone and everyone that you care about. And anyone and everyone that they care about. May you walk around every day and see your love print everywhere. Let it be seen on the faces of those you care most about, and may it be felt in the hearts of loved ones and strangers. May it cover the walls of your home, be seen in your mirror, and be driven around with you like a badge.

So there. That is my blessing to you today. Be aware of your Love print. Think of it often. Share it so much that you don’t even think about it. And then look around and see your life covered in it. That would be a blessing. And that would be better than the other.

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LovePrints. It is time to cover your world in love!

LovePrints.

The effects of who we are in love and action on this planet. LovePrints are a trail of where we have been, who we touched and how, and how we left them. LovePrints are the life marks that we leave on those we interact with, and hopefully, they are prints made and left with love. If done well, we leave a planet of people covered in our love.

As we take our individual and collective trips around the sun, it becomes clear that we all have a limited, unknown number of trips around the sun. We have to pack as much love in those trips as possible. We don’t always know when our trips are to stop, so we play this odd game of hope and wish. We hope we have more than we ever do. We hope that we speak all of the love that we have. We hope that we empty our love in those trips. We hope that no love is left unknown or unshared. We hope. We wish that everyone we love knows, we wish that no love goes unspoken, and we wish to be love, and loved.

We do not know how much time we have, but here is a bit of wisdom from ole Coach DP. “We all have an unlimited amount of love. We all have limited time on this planet. There is no reason to limit sharing the love you have. You will always run out of time, first. “

As our trips around the sun increase, the number left is lowered. As the number increases, so do the number of people and situations we are introduced to that we can share love. As the number of trips remaining decreases, so do the number of people and opportunities we lose. We must remember to spend our love account. We can’t take it with us. We need to leave it behind for others. We should try and spend it all. We can’t, but we should try.

Don’t dare waste another trip around the sun to begin sharing your LovePrints. Don’t you dare wait. Don’t waste another day, or another moment. Start covering those you care about in them. Start seeking out others who need it. Make it rain! Start with yourself. Do not devalue yourself. Don’t let anyone else love you less than you deserve. Don’t let a day pass without humbling yourself in love of something greater. Cover your faith in LovePrints. Cover your home and house in LovePrints. Make it a tribute to a life of love. Let your heart be full. Let your feet move you with a loving purpose. May your hands be acting in adding love wherever you go.

In the past few days, I have been stunned by the loss of loved ones. In the past few days, I have been blessed and favored with new people to love and be loved by. I wish that I had told the lost one how special and loved they were, again. I hope to tell the new loves how thankful I am for their place in my world. I wish and hope that I have loved whoever reads or shares this. I hope you know that you are loved.

If you haven’t been told that you are loved today, you just were.

That’s my LovePrint for the day. I hope that you are covered in love just a bit more than you were before you read this.

I hope that it wont be the last time. My wish is that we get a chance to do this again tomorrow.

Go. Cover your world in love. Love it out loud!

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LovePrints. Stoneman Douglas Bracelets.

Here’s what you all sent. Custom with the school name. I appreciate your generosity and action in love.

The greatness of love is that it can reach places we may never go. Once there, love can cover that place so nothing else can stick.

#StonemanDouglasEagles #MSDStrong#GoEagles #LovePrints #LoveInAction

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LovePrints. Dear Us.

Dear Us.

America, we are powerful. Our deeds have impact, as do our words. When we use them directly in someone’s name, it has more value.

Please, lets use them for love. Let’s use them for good. We deserve it.

Bullying comes in several forms, and none of them are purposeful or good. One such form is verbal abuse. It has several subsets, from face to face, untruths, and malice. In some cases, it is the devaluing of another person by not identifying them by the name given to them, or the name they have chosen. It is the dropping of names.

Why would you ever want to call someone something other than their name?

Put the labels away. Let’s use names. Let’s use love.

Generalizations are problematic. It is mentally lazy, and emotionally disconnected. Call people by their name. Say it to them. Give them credit for who they are, and what the name is for. It is being present enough to tell them that their name matters. We all deserve it. We are all worthy.

Use your words for good. Use your words with love. Call a person by their name and use love to do so. Identify an act by its name and speak to it for the good of us all. If an act is good, say so. If an act is not good, speak to the person committing the act and demand better from them, and tell them specifically why.

Use our names with love. Add a thank you. Add a you are welcome. Feel generous in using please. Feel free in using first and last names. (Leave the middle names for parents) Feel free to repeat them all, with love.

Every courtesy that we were ever taught starts with addressing people by their names, and by adding love to it by our actions.

Social media has created walls that do not need to exist. It has created voids that have been used to do damage and cause pain. Those spaces can be filled. Those spaces cannot exist when love is present. When confronted with a situation where your voice is required, find names and love before addressing it. Online allows for disconnected voices from the shadows. It allows for loud noises from the dark. Love can add light and cause a connection.

Your next post is important. Your next text. Your next call. Be the light. Be present. Be love.

Use your words to make the deed a love filled one. Speak directly, and specifically. If someone did something worth speaking on, say their name. If someone did something that requires questioning, say their name. Do not add them to a group. Do not allow them to remain nameless. Connect to them, their name, and do something good from that point. We need it. We will all be better for it.

Leave those group names and anonymous ghosts alone. Get personal. Give credit where it is due. Ask questions to where they can get answers. Give love to someone specific. Act in love to someone. Use their name. You want them to know that what you say and do matters. Be present.

America, we are powerful. Our deeds have impact, as do our words.

Please, let’s use them for love. Let’s use them for good.

We ALL deserve it.

 

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LovePrints. Your love in action.

 

Love in action.

It is not your feelings that matter, nor is it your opinion. It is not your thoughts that matter, nor is it your wants. Those things can be important, but they are not the thing. Those things have value, but they require something else. Something more.

They require action. They require love.

In these days of 24-hour news cycles, constant airing of opinions, and a flood of loud and noisy voices, what moves us in any direction is action. What moves us in a better and higher direction is love. So many people want to be know first, speak first, and be heard first. Those are all fine and good, but they aren’t alone enough and great. What is needed to give the most recent thing value is the action that follows the news. Yes, we need to look, listen, and learn. We then need to act. We need to see what is and move towards it or away from it. We need to see well and clear enough to understand what is, and what isn’t, and then go. We need to hear what is, decipher what is not, and then proclaim the truth out loud in our next step. We need to make sure that our opinions are fact based, and love focused.

I slipped the love in there on purpose. See no evil. Speak no evil. Hear no evil. Forward no lies. Act in love.

It should be see the truth, speak the truth, hear the truth. All of those give value to them. All of those highlight purpose. Love can do that.

Once we know the truth, we can then act on it. We can then move in it. The most important thing immediately following something new should be an action of love. Without them, we accomplish nothing. We idle. Love does not idle. It moves. It elevates. It inspires. It improves.

Once we know the truth, we can then act on it. We can then move in it.

Once we know love, we can then act in it. We can then move in it.

Our mission should be to cover our world in love. We can do so by taking the truth and acting on it with love. For love. Because, love.

As they saying goes, “don’t talk about it, be about it”.

Do not just listen, speak, or hear the news. Act on it. Love.

Love without action does not accomplish much, and action without love does not accomplish anything good. Together, they can accomplish anything.

That is your LovePrint. Covering the last thing, and the next thing, in love.

Go.

Love.

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Your LovePrint is exactly what someone needs right now.

You are exactly what someone needs right now.

Imagine that.  Someone needs exactly what you have to offer right now. They will cross paths with you, and they are ready for you to fill the void of the day. Or of the moment. Or of a lifetime.

It can be a smile that makes the bad experience go away. It can be the connection that reminds us all that we belong, we matter, or that someone cares. Your smile can be the perfect smile. It is the perfect smile.

It can be a hug that makes us feel protected, acknowledged, or involved. It can close the gaps caused by the past, or it can be another opportunity tomorrow. The hug is a wonderfully consistent medication for a lot of what ills us. Your hug makes everything better.

It can be the voice of reason, the voice of logic, or the voice with exact the information required to make things move forward and up. That voice can be the perfect explanation of why, the directional leadership to how, and the confirmation that why we do what we do is right and good. Your voice is the perfect pitch, and music to ears in need.

It can be the added question that leads to clarity, or it can be the insight that allows us to make a decision that has been lost by chaos. It can be the answer to the one question that has provided doubt and hesitancy. Your voice has the power.

It can be an open hand that elevates, it can be a push or a pull, or support for those in need. That hand can lessen burdens, it can lead a partner to the right path, or the pointing of a new direction and way. The hand can applaud with another hand, it can alter what would be a bad decision, and it can be the acknowledgement that something wonderful is happening or going to happen. It can be a hand up, a hand out, or a helping hand. Your hand is steady and strong.

It can be an ear that pays attention, acts as a sounding board, or the place where a great or bad idea goes for testing. It can be the resting place for a great story, and awful joke, a question that does not need answering, or a place to just be heard and considered.

It can be you. Simply you. It can be you occupying space, being in the right place, or simply sharing your wonderful face. It is often you. Just you. Being you.

Pay attention to your space. Often, you are where you are for a reason. A good reason. Exactly what you have to offer, is needed.

Have some love with you when you get there.

Love always is welcome and needed. That’s who you are.

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LovePrints. One coach. One experience. No gun.

Here goes.
A little of my experience.
I was coaching football at an unnamed High School. ( I have coached at many, so this protects anyone offended by this sharing.) In the middle of hot August two-a-day practices, 90 plus degree heat, tempers are short, and nerves frazzled. Both the coaches, training staff, and players are all exhausted from dehydration, extremely hot weather, ridiculous football conditions, and the fight for positions and placement for the upcoming season. Mind you, the regular season had not started yet, just practices and scrimmages, so we were in the early phases of things.
I believe that this was the second practice of the day. We had just returned from lunch and recovery session, and were going through some individual drills in the days afternoon practice when among the whistles blowing and pads popping, I heard a voice scream out from the other side of the bleachers. It startled me. It was not a voice that I was familiar with among coaches barking, and players chanting. The voice was an adult male. “COACH SO AND SO!” “COACH SO AND SO! WHERE ARE YOU? COME FACE ME YOU SON OF A ……..!”
There was a pause, and then the voice bellowed out again from a different place, which let me know that he was on the move towards us. “COACH! YOU HEAR ME?!! COACH SO AND SO, COME FACE ME LIKE A MAN!” The voice had cut down the distance between where it was and where we were. I was at the far end of the field, which was closest to the early bellow rather than where he was now. I saw a shadow of him, and took off in a full sprint to the place where paths needed to cross before he would face players or coaches. I wanted to be there first. I needed to be there first.
Not one part of this is heroic. In the words of the local police, I should stay away, make the call, and let them handle it. I fully understood that. Who knows if they are armed or not. They are obviously angry and moved to the point of action. Even at school, it would take a while for them to get there. So I sprinted to where he was. I never looked back.
I got to the man behind the voice. He was the father of one of the players. We kind of knew one another, but were not friends. I asked him what was going on. He said that he had issue with the head coach and how his son was being treated and slotted for playing time. (Again, we are in summer practice, and slots were not assigned yet, and certainly, this was NOT the way to handle this. Approaching a coach about playing time is a big time no no. Approaching a coach during practice, with other players around, in public, another big no no.
I explained that this was not the way to handle this. But my inner dog barked that nothing was going on without going through me. Talk to me. Talk to me, so that it just remains talking. We do not want to do more than talk. Trust me. He barked a little more and then settled into an angry rage rather than an erupting volcano. Yes, being a big dude provided some buffer. I used it.
The head coach showed up after I did. At that point, things were in discussion mode, and they went off to talk about all of it. I looked around, and noticed something. Me and the head coach were the only ones that came running. Yes, my two buddies on the staff had their eyes on my back in case I needed them, but of the 10 or so coaches, only 2 were at the stand off point. I kind of chuckled. These were football coaches. Maybe they simply wanted no part of the confrontation. Maybe they chose to stay away. Or as my two buddies told me, “We heard him bark, and before we could react, you were already in full sprint. We knew it was going to be good. ” I also know and trust that if something popped off, they had my back. No doubt. The three of us chuckled about it. Insanity. Who shows up at practice and challenges a coach?!!”
Real talk. This could have gone horribly wrong. I am thankful that God has his hands on me. The head coach said he was impressed that I reacted and rallied as I did. He also noticed who did not. So did the players on the team. The KNEW.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Adults misbehaving, parents flying off the handle, players being emotional. It happens often. Calm heads and big hearts can often solve the problems. Often, insanity ad chaos happens. There are mountains of videos of parents fighting, referees fighting, coaches fighting, players and fans fighting. To add to that with an expectation that teachers and coaches are in control of their emotions and faculties is a reach. It only takes one adult to cause havoc. It only takes one to set hundreds of angry reactions in place. And here is this, not everyone is there to thwart nonsense. It is not what they signed up for. Its not why they are there.
I am not a stand around guy. I get that. But, I am also not an escalator either. I made a horrible mistake. I was lucky and did not pay. I did not know why he was there, nor did I know his intentions. I simply reacted. Most did not. I don’t blame them. I just know that in every case where this happens, there are those mouthy folks who say they will react, and don’t. They cant. Actions are greater than words. They require more.
Lets not add weapons to the equation. Lets add love to it. Lets add common sense. Not everyone is built for it. Not everyone cares enough to react to it in love.
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Why do scandals like Michigan State and Olympic Gymnastics happen?

How is it that incidents like the Michigan State or the  Olympic gymnastics scandals happen?

Their reason “WHY” is broken.

Their adults have forgotten why they are there. The value system and the priority of why they matter are broken.

Both can be fixed. Both must be fixed.

Any athletic or academic department, no matter the level, must have their why on the marquee. It must be on the sleeve, on the chest, and on the agreement. “This” is why we are here. “This” is why it matters. “This” is the first thing.

How about this? Decide what the first thing is, and keep it first.

If the thing is academics, say it. If the thing is winning, say it. If the thing is creating positive experiences, a community of intelligent, loving people, or creating a nation of decent human beings, say it. If faith matters, it must be constant. If the bottom line matters, it must be constant. The confusion of why leads to a lack of focus, direction, or purpose. The confusion leads to a lack of accountability. We can fix this.

Decide what the why is. Then, say it. Then, repeat it. Done. If actions do not confirm this, change the actions to match the why. If your actions do not match where you said you need to go, you’re allowed to change directions. You are required to change directions.

If the young people are not following direction, change the direction. If academics are the focus, and actions do not match the focus, point to the focus. Point to the North Star. Say, THAT is where we are going. I said we. The adults and the young people. Together, they must go.

If the adults aren’t leading them to the place they promised to, the young people have the right to say so. THIS is not where you said we would go. THIS is not how you said we were going to get there. If they aren’t going anywhere, say so. Why aren’t we moving?

All of this starts at the top. The signatures on the paycheck. The keyholders. The people who turn on the lights. The people who write agreements. They must be clear about why they are there. To lead. To remind. To redirect. To applaud actions. To correct misdirection. To stand loudly in the light for those wandering in the dark. If the rest do not know who is leading, or where to go, to get right, all is lost. Everyone is lost.

Michigan State is an institute of higher learning.  Intelligence, facts, and wisdom should be simple. The Spartans can say who they are and then redirect anyone who wants or claims to be there for the right reasons. They can celebrate those in the right. They can remove those in the wrong. If winning is the thing, say so. If the university is about academics, say so. If it is about the business of either, say so. Pretty simple.

The US Olympic team needs to state why it exists. Is it the best in us? Is it the shell for money makers and check cashers? Is it for the young people, old people, or the best people of any age? Is it the best this nation has to offer?

Ask why. Why are you here? The answers should open eyes. The question is simple. So are the answers.

I hope the leaders have a great answer. We know that the young people need answers. We know that they need leaders.

Keep the first thing first.

 

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Its only just a game.

It is only just a game.

I said it. Its only just a game.

When caught up in the emotion of the moment, it is sometimes easy to forget that it is just a game. Even if it your job, it is still just a game. Even if it’s the most important game of the season that week. Or that season. Or that career.  It is only just a game.

If you are in little league, as a coach, parent, fan, official, or player, it is just a game. It is not going to determine your draft status, scholarship offer, financial tax bracket, or your reputation. It is just a game. It simply isn’t. Go to class. Have some laughs. Learn how to make friends. Allow yourself to grow up. Enjoy the orange slices and juice boxes. Chase butterflies on the field, and turn your back to the play. Enjoy yourself. Parents, feed them. They are growing. That includes on the field and off. Coaches, be delicate. Important cargo on board.

If you are in middle school, it is just a game. It does not matter what the wins and losses amount to. It is just a game. It does not matter how many points Jr. scored against another 8th grader. Alabama does not care. Neither do the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Yankees, or Montreal Canadians. There are too many more games to be played to award you their time, money, or energy. Relax mom and dad, they will find out about your child when they are old enough. Go to class kids. Listen to music. Amaze your parents with how fast you are growing. Check on their class work parents. Ask them how their day went. Deliver them to high school with a smile coaches.

If you are in high school, it is still just a game. Everyone knows the numbers on the small percentage of athletes that move on to the next level. (3%) Everyone knows the numbers on the larger percentage of students who move to the next level. (65%) Everyone should know the number of parents whose behavior makes their young people unattractive to colleges. High school coaches who understand that its just a game might get asked to pack up and move up to college athletics. Parents can only hinder their young person from going. The way for them to help is to love them, cheer for them, and then hand them over to the game.

If you are in college, it is still just a game. You aren’t paid. It is not your job. (I know, this is the topic for another piece!)  One percent of college athletes go pro at all, and usually not for long. ONE PERCENT. If you are a college coach, it is still about the young people. Prepare them for life in the majority. Give them skills to succeed in life, and off the field. That is why they are there. To be prepared for life away from the game is the focus. The game is just added value. Added and valued experiences and knowledge. The disciplines learned, the socialization, the maturity of hard work, time management, dating, social media exposure, diet, exercise, and mental health maturation are all learned here. This is the coronation. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Understand that while the game may have been fuel for the journey, it is not the reason for the journey. Parents should be in release mode. Stand and applaud all that has been done, all that has been learned, and all that has been achieved. Coaches, deliver them into life with a smile. Enjoy your paycheck. Enjoy your exposure. Its still just a game.

Professionally, Its still just a game. While it is your job, it is not your life. Who you are is not what you do The game leaves you. The game ends. The crowd dwindles, and so does the payday. You resort back to your adolescent days. You have some goals still unfulfilled, and some reason to get out of bed daily. Athlete, player, coach, parent, or fan, it ultimately is a game that is taken way from you because it is just that. A game.

 

 

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