Put Others First

On February 25, 2018, I wrote an article for my blog “PLEASE…JUST DO YOUR JOB.”  At that time, we were told that law enforcement did not engage the EVIL at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  I stand by the overall message of that article.  The message is DO YOU JOB.  What I do want to say since writing that article is it was not just Officer Peterson who did not engage the EVIL.  Now, the story is starting to change on the procedure to engage the EVIL.  So, I do want to apologize for “singling” out Officer Peterson.  AND… I still hold him and each officer accountable for their work that day AND PRIOR TO THAT DAY.  Body cameras turned-on?  Could only go in if you had a body camera?  And on and on and on…

I gotta tell ya……maybe even SHOUT AT YOU… we are seeing the ill effects of a disconnecting society!  We are attached to GADGETS.  We have put GADGETS ahead of people.  Look at restaurants.  There all sorts of families who have GADGETS at the dinner table.  IPADS with videos for the toddlers.  Teens with their thumbs going crazy.  There is no connecting with others at that restaurant table.  Multi-task?  Please.  When we are with others, there is no “multi-tasking.”   When we are with others, our task should be “single-minded.”  At restaurants, do I have my phone?  LESS AND LESS!!  I do enjoy taking a picture of me and my wife or family or friends.  But, my GOD… I only get so much focused time with my wife, Diana.  Why would I want to divide that time with a phone?

It is time to re-connect.  It is time to add value to people.  It is time to teach our children how to add value to others and teach our children when we do add value to others, we feel better.  WE FEEL GREAT.  Try this…The next time you are depressed or bumming, smile at someone and they will smile at you.  The next time you are depressed or bumming, go downtown and give a homeless person a sandwich.  Do something for another.

I work for John C. Maxwell.  He is all about LOVE; CONNECTION; ENCOURAGEMENT.  How do we show love; connect with others, and give encouragement to others as we have a GADGET in our hand?  “Well, I have snapchat.  Twitter.  I am connected.”  NO! YOU ARE NOT!!  There are three parts of communication:  WORDS; TONE; BODY LANGUAGE.  Seven-percent of the three parts of communication is:  WORDS.  With the “cool” snap chat or twitter, over ninety-percent of communication (tone of voice & body language) is missing.

I want to give you something to think about… John C Maxwell’s PUT OTHER PEOPLE FIRST from his book INTENTIONAL LIVING.  I am into SUCCESS. However, Dr. Maxwell has “Shifting from Success to Significance.”  When I see people behave with a sense of EVIL, as we did on February 14, 2018, I believe there is a sense of self-centeredness.  Dr. Maxwell says, “Self-centeredness is the root of virtually every problem – both personally and globally.  And whether we want to admit it or not, it’s a problem all of us have.”  If the EVIL that walked on the MSDHS campus had been taught from the beginning of his life, the “importance” of others / all lives, he may have thought differently; see the SIGNIFICANCE / the value of people.

Zig Ziglar lesson is to CARE ABOUT OTHERS AND HELP THEM TO GET WHAT THEY WANT!  From Dr. Maxwell:  Self-centeredness and fulfillment cannot peacefully coexist.  They’re incompatible.  Thinking needs to change from WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?  To WHAT CAN IDO FOR OTEHRS.  People need to have found themselves, achieved something and made themselves valuable before they have something to give to others.


So, let’s go back to my opening.  Technology is not adding value to others.  As their young faces are lit up by THEIR GADGET, almost acting like a “spotlight” on each person, they are not thinking about others.  The spotlight is on them!  We need to get to our children early in their lives to shift their joy from being self-centered / the spotlight on them to working to help others get what they (others) want.

From Dr. Maxwell,

I want to win.

But too often I’m self-centered.

My bent toward competitiveness and selfishness has been one of the reasons I have been successful.  And my success has given me influence and privileges.  I enjoy both immensely.

But my success now allows me to have options.  Do I go for more success?  Or do I try for significance? 

I am at a crossroad.

I want to use my options to add more value to me.

But I also want to use my options to add value to others. 

What do I want my life to stand for?  What do I want it to mean?

I will choose to help others.

There are several “selfish-times” as we grow.  Definitely – as infants.  No baby cares about our sleep or how we will smell when they – ummmmm — do their “business.”  And really…the next high level of being selfish as a human being is THE TEEN YEARS!!  We need to create an environment where we get our teens away from themselves and for others.  Yes… there are all sorts of programs in place to assist teams to be more “community minded,” but for some reason, it isn’t working.  You know why?  And again, I am just a high school band director; so, it is an opinion.  Here is why… THE BEST TEACHERS FOR OUR CHILDREN?  THEIR PARENTS.  Their parents are the ones who need to believe PUT OTHERS FIRST.  Yet, many of them are not even putting their children first.

Now, do not go over board.  You, as adults, need your time.  YOU NEED YOUR TIME!  What I am saying though, is when you are with your children… PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST.  Put the phone away.  Put the computer away.  PUT YOUR CHILDREN FIRST WHEN YOU ARE WITH THEM.  You need to be more intentional with you time with your children.  Please. Please. Please, do not hope for your schools to fill in your holes.  Why would your children put others first when their parents do not put their own children first?  AND AGAIN… don’t put words in my mouth… YOU NEED “ADULT TIME.”  Do not feel guilty when you get “ADULT TIME.”  Do flipping feel guilty when you can’t turn off the phone when you are with your child.

Again, from Dr. Maxwell’s INTENTIONAL LIVING:

  1. Develop a Greater Appreciation for Other People (Dr. Maxwell)  –  Paul Everts:  This needs to be at home.  Show your children how much you appreciate them.  When they do well, give them a hug.  When they need help, help them.  You are teaching them what you want them to be.  Let them see you help your spouse WITHOUT BEING ASKED.  Tell them how much you appreciate all they do for you and again, IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN, tell your spouse how much you appreciate him or her.
  2. Ask to Hear Other People’s Stories (Dr. Maxwell) – Paul Everts:   You got it.  Ask your children to tell you a story about them.  If their young, ask them what do they want to be?  Ask your child about their day.  “Mr. Rogers” says, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”  Even when you have friends over at the house, PUT THE DAMN PHONE AWAY and focus on your friends!!  By your actions, you are teaching your children.
  3. Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes (Dr. Maxwell) – Paul Everts: When you are talking with your children and other hurting people come up, ask your child to put themselves in that hurting person’s shoes.  Teach your children to first understand and then be understood (Stephen Covey).
  4. Place Other People’s Interests at the Top of Your List of Priorities (Dr. Maxwell) – Paul Everts:  there are too many parents who have placed their children’s interests as the top of the priorities.  So, you need to be careful with this one.  Maxwell suggests that we (THE ADULTS) intentionally ask, “are you wondering what you will REAP, or are you wondering what you will sow.”  Remind your child, ESPECIALLY YOUR TEENAGER, to add value to someone.  And then, when they come home, ask your child “who did you add value to today?”
  5. Make Winning a Group Activity (Dr. Maxwell) – Paul Everts: teach your children your family is YOUR TEAM.  What the child does is part of TEAM EVERTS.  We don’t want to let our team down.  You are representing TEAM EVERTS.  What did you today to help TEAM EVERTS help others?

I will say it again… DO YOUR JOB!!  Our children are MORE TIMES THAN NOT who we (parents) want them to be!  MORE TIMES THAN NOT.  Your children are your works.  Every person who did not do their job on February 14,2018 was because people fell short in teaching them (and they fell short in learning) PUT OTHERS FIRST.  I am not going to excuse the EVIL.  No.  He is 100% responsible for every life he changed and murdered.  Every life.  What I am saying or asking is:  will “we” (universal use of the word) accept our responsibility for not confronting IN A LOVING AND SUPPORTIVE manner the EVIL?  Being a teacher, I accept full responsibility for everything I do and do not do.  When I see my students kicking ass, I am so happy.  And yes, when I see my students getting their asses kicked, I check myself.  What could I have done better?

One more thing (if you have made it this far….. THANK YOU! )… I am a sinner and I am imperfect.  Please know everything I shared with you I FALL SHORT OF ACHIEVING.  I forgive myself… you should, as well.  BUT IN THE END… DO YOUR JOB:  PUT OTHERS FIRST.  At fifty-two years-old, I do what I can to put others first.  In part, because I know I am going to be heading into the next “selfish” part of life.  If I want people to be there for me, I need to be there for them.