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Love in action. Action in love. One act at a time. One person at a time.
What is the answer? What will make things better? What will pull us together?
As a coach, as a man, as a speaker, as a mentor, I get to make things better than I found them. I am tasked with standing as the lead energy source in a classroom, a locker room, an auditorium, or a boardroom. I get to set the standard for words in the air, actions of the masses, directions for the day, and for the orders in play. That is a daunting task no matter who you are or what you do. I don’t mind. I look forward to it. I am given a microphone so that whatever I say is amplified. It needs to fill the room. My voice must fill the room. I know what is needed in each of those rooms.
Every family, every business, every boss, every student, every athlete, and every listener that I speak to is its own community. Its their own vacuum. What I put into the vacuum will occupy it, and if done well, will take it over. I must be careful what energy and message I put into the air. It is powerful. It will gain life and multiply. I must choose one thing as the ultimate thing in my words. What else would I put in the air than this?
I understand that whatever I put into the room will not only occupy the room, but it will cover the people in the room. Whatever it is will leave the room and be taken into other rooms, buildings, and beings. What I release into the room will cover the closest ones, the next ones, and so on. I can choose wisely what I cover the closest one with, because I know it will reach others. That is its purpose. I can choose fear. I can choose hate. I choose not to choose either. I choose love.
How does fear and hate take over a company? A relationship? A team? A community? A school? A home? It requires air and action to do so. It requires acceptance as a norm. It requires repetitive noise. It requires acknowledgement by several connected, empowered people as an option.
How does love take ownership over a person? A relationship? A house? A community? A company? A team? A school? It requires air and action to do so. It requires acceptance as the norm. It requires repetitive noise. It requires acknowledgement by several connected, empowered people as the only option.
Look at us all. What is the norm? What is the accepted and required habit? What have we deemed the only option? There should only be one answer.
I choose to stand in love. I choose to action in love. I choose to love out loud. I choose to do so daily. When chaos happens, slow down, and love. When fear or hate shows up in a hurry, slow it down, and love. When a crossroad is met, act in the direction of love. When there is a question of what to do, how to do it, why we do it, the answer is the same.
Go with love.
“Losing family obliges us to find our family. Not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood. Should we have the wisdom to open our door to this new family, we will find that the wishes we had for the father, who once guided us and for the brother, who once inspired us…”
Finding Forrester has always been one of my favorite films. It is a film that changes itself around me, whenever I see it. It molds itself around me, and then it leaps into the holes and fills them in with energy. It moves my heart differently each time I see it, and I grow every time it bumps up against me.
I would not dare try to change the words that speak so perfectly. It would be a travesty to do so. What I want to do is pay tribute. I would love to use those words to create my own.
If you read the words from the film, it begins with losing family. If you are never changed by losing family, you are not alive. Part of each loss is to stand firmly as the world around you move and rotate. Being prepared for the new you that will come from it is the purpose. Losing family will punch you in the gut, kick you while you’re down, sucker punch you in the jaw, or stab you in the back. It cares not what your current state is. It is there to change you. It is there to make you different.
Losing family is the fork in the road. It requires a decision of what is to come next, and it is never easy. You can hide your head in the sand, close your eyes and act blind, or you can open your eyes and elevate your head to the sky. You can try to keep the heartbeat low, or you can let it beat like the drum of life itself. That is the fork in the road that changes us, we can’t stay where we are. It matters too much.
As the first line above says, “losing family obliges us to find our family.” There is a hole that now has a place in the vital parts of us. Love as a vacuum requires that we are aware of its new deficit. It is called a loss for a specific reason. We have.
In some cases, the universe is waiting for us to acknowledge that negative so that a positive can take its place. In my case, a lifetime door closed became open. I had a door opened that turned wishes into reality. I am not sure that I could ever ask to have more love. I am not sure that it would have made any sense. What I know now is that loss family found is far greater than I ever could have wished. What I know now is that family, whether blood or life experience family, can’t be taken away.
For each of our families, once they are ours, they are forever. If you closed your eyes and sat quietly for a moment. (Go ahead, I will wait)
You just smiled at someone you love. They just smiled at you. They are with us.
I am blessed to have recently find more family. All of the things that I never dreamed of, but better than anything I could have ever hoped for. It did not take family away, it gave me more family. Everything that existed before, still exists for me. Within me. What I have that is new is not better. It is its own perfect. What I had before is not less. It is its own perfect. What I have lost and what I have found are both LOVE. What I have lost and what I have found are both ME.
The scene closes with another line. “… The only thing left to say will be: “I wish I had seen this, or I wish I had done that, or I wish…”
I dare not wish for more. This love lost and found is far greater than any love I could wish for.
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.
LovePrints is covering those around us in love. It is making sure that our loved ones can identify love in action, and actions of love. It is the process in which the other thing is identifiable as NOT love.
It is time to have a talk parents. It is time to action in love!
When the young people are sent off to high school, and then college, and then life, they should be sent with a covering of love. They should have a clear example of what love looks like, sounds like, and feels like. They should have experienced love at its simplest, and at its deepest. They should have been around love, about love, and for love.
What happens is, some parents get lost in the business of acting in like. They get caught up in attempting to be a best friend, a bro, a girlfriend, instead of the love standard. The standard is often the ability to say what needs to be said, rather than what the young person wants to be said. Sometimes, there is a need for cold hard facts, stone cold truths, and absolute boundary. Sometimes, the young people need to know what is important rather than what is easy. That is love. Caring enough to say what needs to be said. Sometimes, no is the best thing that you can say,
What happens is, a hole in the relationship between parent and young person leads to a vacuum that requires filling. When the vacuum exists, it is natural for a young person to try and fill it. Sometimes, they have been conditioned to fill it with love. In some cases, they are familiar with filling the vacuum with the first thing willing and able to fill it. This is when the LovePrint is needed. It should good friendly. It should make the other thing not stick. If love is not present, the young person will search for something, anything, to fill it. Give them something good. Give them love.
What happens is, a change in the environment is inevitable. It is going to happen. The moment the young person becomes accountable for their time, their energy, their well-being, and their spirit, the sharks in the water surround prepared to attack. To feast on the young one if possible. If the young person is taught to recognize danger, they know how to defend, how to analyze, and how to make a decision that honors the mission rather than the impulse.
What happens is, the young person needs access to you. They need the freedom to tell the truth. They need the freedom to ask questions, and the freedom to not have all of the answers. They need to be able to be wrong, but not limited to it. They need the ability to stand up for good, run away from bad, and the wisdom to know the difference.
What happens is, a price tag has mistakenly been stuck on their self-esteem. The price tag is wrong. The ability to understand and have access to folks like the good that they seek to see and be, different from them, and those in question and with doubt. And, if done properly, the young people will know their value, live within their own boundary, and stand strong in their beliefs.
What I hope is that parents sit down and have some honest discussions with your young people. You need to know what apps are on their phone, what emails and profiles exist, what is being said, and at what level. What I hope is that conversations begin with I love you, and end with I love you. If parents remember the mission, the result is clear, and the path is straighter.
Prepare your young people. Give them answers. Give them skills. Do not send them unprepared into the world. Teach them to add to their community and environment. Demand that they know more than to ask for more. Demand that they are capable of basic life skills, basic adult skills so that they are not a burden to you, your family, or your community. Give them the information required to add to whatever school, team, or club they plan to join. Make them impossible for those clubs to refuse them. Do that!
Do not send your young people into the pool with dirt on them. Teach them to be clean, to be considerate, and to be kind. Teach them to handle the basic needs of a young adult away from home. That is an act in love. That is making them better, their future better, and their possibilities better.
Teach them to balance a checking account. Teach them to save money. Teach them to do laundry. Teach them to manage time. Teach them to wake themselves, bathe themselves, and medicate themselves. Make sure that they can prepare a meal, know how to shop, aware of the price of vital items, and to eat well.
Show them how to be online safely, how to date safely, and how to communicate with strangers about boundaries. Make sure that they know their value, they know their contact information when not stored in a phone, and talk about dating apps on their often not smart phones. Have a secondary contact process in play, have a regular check in day and time, and feel open about asking who they are dating and why.
Teach them to iron clothes, use the dry cleaners, use a vacuum, and clean a bathroom. Make sure that they change the sheets, can write a handwritten note, and can look people in the eye as they talk. Remind them that a phone is often used to actually make a phone call, that books are meant to be read, and that you don’t have to have that last drink. Teach them to travel safely, walk with purpose, and to know who to trust.
Let them know that it is always a good time to call home, no matter the hour, day, or reason. Its is perfectly fine to get an ok from the parents before making that big dating decision, and there is always room for the update about good grades.
Never forget to remind them of who they are, what they want to be, and why they are wherever they are. Keep their eyes on the important prize, and nothing is the end of the world. They will never be too old for a hug, even if its after cheers or tears or fears. The next thing is waiting, the last thing is past, and mom and dad can talk them through anything.
The truth is always more welcome than a lie or an omission. A failed test is just a strong lesson, and we all have the same 168 hours a week to accomplish whatever we are doing.
And finally, Cover them in love. Cheer them, correct them, redirect them, inspire them, example for them, and love them. Out loud. A lot.