Written on February 20, 2023 Published on February 21, 2023
We come to the end of summarizing Dr. John C. Maxwell’s excellent gem: MAKE TODAY COUNT. Please go buy the book. What I have given is just a little hint of what is really a wonderful book about making every day you live count! We don’t have many days. Really. We don’t. As you get older, you realize life is really a blink of an eye. I am 57 years old. I suspect – God willing – I have another good 20 years left and things begin to really become planning to get to Heaven. Not to be morbid. The one thing I have in common with you is we are going to die. Other than that – you and I may have just a few other things in common.
Before we die, we grow! The final chapter of MAKE TODAY COUNT is titled, GROWTH.
I guess that is another think we have in common – WE GROW!! Okay, so now there are two things we have in common – growth & death. Between you and I, the difference will be how you and I choose to grow. Dr. Maxwell has another excellent book about growth, THE 15 INVALUABLE LAWS OF GROWTH. He does a wonderful job teaching us how to intentionally grow. Not just get old but grow old with wisdom through experiences. Learning not to waste time. He teaches lessons about developing and following a personal growth play for your life. This chapter is a great introduction to that book.
MAKING THE DECISION TO SEEK AND EXPERIENCE GROWTH DAILY
Dr. Maxwell has five steps to help you seek and experience growth daily: Answer the Question: What is My Potential?; Make a Commitment to Change; Set Growth Goals; and Learn to Enjoy the Journey; Put Yourself in a Growth Environment.
Make a Commitment to Change
I had planned to teach until I was at least 62 years old. However, our nation is changing. What I was doing in 1994 writing “God bless you” in cards to my high school seniors was now in 2021 was deemed “unprofessional.” My love for my nation was seen as “jingoistic” with a hint of “masculine toxicity” or “white supremacist.” I would ask my music teacher colleagues if they had their students perform sacred and/or patriotic music. The answer I would get, “I don’t want to get into trouble.”
Saying, “I love ya” to a student in 2004 made me a great teacher, while in 2021 I was the weird teacher with gray hair saying, “I love ya” to the student who was failing my class. I said, “Veronica, I am moving you away from ‘Matt’ and ‘Mark’ not because I am mad you, I am mean to you, or I hate you. No. I am moving you away from them because I love ya.”
My commitment to change I found out wasn’t about being a better public-school high school music teacher in California. The change I needed to commit to was being a more sincere, devoted, committed Christian man. If I was going to be more of a Jesus follower, be more committed to being a better Christian man, grow as a Christian man, I needed to not only accept change, but seek change.
Therefore, when I was told I couldn’t say, “I love you” to my students, couldn’t use social media because it was to ‘divisive,’ could NOT say ‘mijo,’ mija,’ or ‘bro’ because that is culturally inappropriate (code for ‘hey, you are a white man! You aren’t allowed to use those words!), it was time to make a serious change! December 22, 2022, was my last day teaching high school music at a public high school in Northern California. As Dr. Maxwell writes, “to make something out of yourself, you need to be willing to change, for without change, there can be no growth.” Again, the growth was not being a better music teacher. The growth was being a better Christian man.
Please know / learn from my experience of making a change, it is TOUGH! You will be lonely. You may feel lost. Yet, you may be like me and get a phone call from a friend, “Paul, we want you to teach music.” Currently, I am teaching at two schools. I teach music at a public high school and a charter school. At the charter school, I teach 5th-8th grades and I am loving it. There is something about 5th-8th graders in California that allow me to be more of who I want to be. The scholars are not worried about “adult issues.” The scholars are worried about learning how to play an instrument.
MANAGING THE DISCIPLINE OF GROWTH
As you make your plan for growth, you will need to grow on purpose with your plan.
- You need to do the following:
- Make It your Goal to Grow in Some Way Everyday
- Have a Time and Plan to Grow
- File What You Learn
- Apply What You Learn
Apply What You Learn
Since 1985, I have been a Christian. I was a sophomore at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. I attended a Chi Alpha meeting. Chi Alpha was a Christian group geared to college students. It was over the top!! Guitars! Drum set! Electric Keyboard. Loud voices! All of this was really new to this 19 year-old college freshman. In fact, it was so over the top, I became a CATHOLIC! To earn my Merit Badge for Religious life, I attended the Camel Mission masses. My mom or my aunt didn’t take me. I went with a friend of my aunt’s.
As I got older, I realized I didn’t “have” to be a Catholic. I was a Christian.
So, I studied and began to make Christianity an important part of my life and it has been ever since.
How can one be a Christian and not apply what the Bible teaches us? To be a better Christian, I need to apply what Jesus taught us. I do this purposefully. Being a public high school teacher in California applying what I learn in my Bible / church services frankly is very challenging. I have to be very careful not to upset people. At the Charter School, I can be a little more open about my faith.
I do appreciate the paragraph in MAKE TODAY COUNT about Apply What You Learn.
Mike Abrashoff, author of It’s Your Ship, says, “Up is not an easy direction. It defies gravity, both cultural and magnetic.” Often the most difficult part of the upward climb of growth is putting into practice what you learn. yet that is where the true value is. The final test of any learning is always application. If what you’re learning can be used in some way to hep and improve you or others, then it is worth the effort.
With our lives being short, do what you can to make each day count and in fact, make each day better than the previous day! By you making yourself better you will then have the opportunity to help others make their lives better. Just imagine what our world would be like if all of us had as a goal – I want to help you be better by helping you succeed using your “growth plan.”
I would love to have help you and those around you be better. If you are interested in hiring me to give you and those around you seminars using the excellent material written by Dr. John C. Maxwell, please let me know. Here is my email address: email@example.com
Buy MAKE TODAY COUNT
Also buy THE 15 INVALUABLE LAWS OF GROWTH