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Monday, June 30, 2014

My Journey to a great training session

Once again I am writing this blog using my phone. It is not the most convenient way to do it, but what can you do? We are at the mercy of technology now.

I am on my way to help a couple that I am very close to who are in the process of moving into their new home. It has been a long-time dream of theirs, and I am so happy for them.

A few days ago, I attended a leadership training at my church, and I am so glad I did. It was one of those moments when you are in need of motivation and you happen to be at the right place at the right time. I went home with a new sense of purpose and ready to serve whenever I can.

By the way, I am listening to the radio on my phone and this particular channel decided to play tunes from the eighties. Now I am listening to UB40's "red red wine". Do you remember that one?

Anyways, back to my leadership training.

The trainer, who has become a very good friend of mine, had a very interesting definition of servanthood. He said that it is like when you have your hand burning and you have only one blow of air left. As you are about to use the only blow of air you have left to appease your burning hand, somebody comes to you crying for help as his small finger is burning. You have only one blow of air left, and you decide to blow on the other person's small finger while your entire hand is burning. With no air left in you, you then cry out to God to heal your burning hand.

I thought the analogy was funny, but it was also true.

I cannot begin to count how many times people have come to me asking for help when I also had urgent and desperate matters to deal with as well. What I found funny about these times is that almost one hundred percent of the time; I found solutions to their problems but couldn't seem to find any for mine.

Now it's Michael Jackson's "Man in the mirror" playing. Great song.

I couldn't help but take notice of this analogy especially because this was the second time I heard this kind of a story. A few years ago I was speaking to a well known music producer when he told me that whenever he worked on another person's music it would always be a great success, but when he produced his own album no one seemed to be interested. 

My guess is that we are the kind of people who were born to serve and who find pleasure in seeing other people succeed. I also believe that it is a great way to sow a seed that (figuratively speaking), once it grows, will produce great results at the appointed time. It is this appointed time that I patiently wait for with great expectation.

Moral of the story? Do you want to serve others? Just do it before your hand burns.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Journey to the Left

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to write this blog and forgot what I was going to write. I can count at least three times that the idea came into my mind and ten minutes later I couldn't even remember the idea.

Maybe it had to do with me being consumed by the victory of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals. What a show! I have never seen such a selfless team demolish an adversary with such ease. It was an amazing show. Sorry Heat fans; maybe next time.

Now back to my story. The idea came to me (numerous times) while I was feeding my daughter. It seems like she doesn't need my help anymore. It felt like she was telling me  “give me this stupid spoon so I can feed myself”. Of course she did not say these exact words, but that is how I felt.

Being a proud father with a potential legacy of a daughter who enjoys food as much as her dad, I couldn't resist giving her the spoon.

While she fed herself, I noticed that she used her left hand. I thought I was mistaken. I tried to take the spoon and put it in her right hand but she just shouted “mine!!”, and put it back in her left hand. Is she left handed or right handed? I really don’t know (this will come in handy many years from now when she starts playing basketball).

All I knew was that only a few minutes later, her dish was empty.

The left hand story got me thinking. I remembered how, a long time ago when we were kids back home in Burundi (a very long time ago according to my wife lol), parents and teachers used to beat up left handed kids while telling them that they were not normal. We had to all use right hands, because “everybody” was doing it. Kids had no choice other than to conform.

Isn't that funny? Those parents and teachers didn't know that it was a brain pattern that made the kids left handed or right handed, and that there was nothing abnormal about it. But for some reason parents felt that they had to be like everybody, or else...

Don’t you think that this is how our society works today? We all have to conform to the norm, otherwise there is something wrong with us. This leads me to two quotes that made my day today.

Here they are:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.
“Take the course opposite to custom and you will almost always do well.”
couldn't agree more with these two quotes. What about you: do you agree or do you disagree?
Moral of the story? Do you want to be unique? Just eat your food with your left hand and you will meet Gandhi.
Always a pleasure
The Journeyman


Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Journey to the Daycare

As we prepare to celebrate our daughter’s second birthday, I am amazed at how quickly she is growing up. Since she was born, I have taken pictures and videos of her (I think I now have hundreds of them).

While on the subway on our way to her daycare, whenever I want her to keep quiet, I would give her my phone so that she can watch her own videos. I am amazed how, at almost two years old, she knows how to use a phone. She knows where to find the videos; if she does not like one of them, she knows how to switch to the next one. It’s simply incredible. She can do stuff with the phone that even I don’t know how to do.

If she is not using the phone, she simply starts to sing. She sings so loudly that people on the subway can't help but watch and laugh  (I think she is the next Celine Dion). As soon as we get off the train, she begins greeting everybody that we meet with a high five while continuing to sing. It’s quite a journey; and what I have shared with you is only what happens during our morning journey to her daycare.

She is so excited to see me when I return to pick her up in the afternoon.  As soon as she sees me, she stops all that she was doing and runs towards me shouting “daddyyyyy”. She is so excited to see me until we get to her stroller. That is when she starts asking me “what do you have for me today?” I better have something, a snack or anything; or otherwise I am in trouble. In terms of food, she is really like her dad. As soon as she finishes her snack, it’s singing time again, until we get home.

Just the other day, on our way to church we passed by a homeless guy who was begging for money. She saw him and offered him the biggest smile I have ever seen, and she offered him her usual high five. I was amazed!

She is only two years old but she is teaching me many lessons.  I didn't realize how much she had grown until I looked at her pictures from last year. Isn’t it the same for us? We go through life, sometimes complaining that we haven’t reached our goals, until we look back at where we were a year ago. It is certainly the case when it comes to me. I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used be (especially last year).

Her loud and innocent singing on the subway always amazes me, because she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She sings regardless of who is there, and people love it. I wonder how would people perceive an adult who did the same thing? My guess is that people would think there is something wrong with him or her. But when it comes to my daughter they view her as expressing her joy with no fear of being judged. I wish I could do the same.

How about the homeless guy? She doesn't even know if he is homeless. She just smiles at him and gives him a high five. In my mind, I am judging the guy, but she is offering him what she has: a smile and a high five. If only I could do that with everybody.

I can go on and on, because I am learning from her constantly. Like her way of asking me “what did you bring for me today?” It is a reminder for me to always go boldly and ask for what I want. Two days ago, I was rushing to get to the daycare on time, and I did not pass by the store to get her snack. Well you probably guessed what happened; I got into serious in trouble.

As I am write this blog early in the morning, I can’t wait for her to wake up so that I could learn one more lesson from her. Maybe today I will take some singing lessons. That would be really tough for her as I am a hopelessly bad singer.

Moral of the story? Do you want to learn life lessons? Just go to the daycare and you will eat some snacks.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Journey of Two Years

Basketball fans, are you ready for the NBA finals? I am so excited to see the Spurs have revenge over Miami (I know I am getting into trouble here from the Heat fans).

The San Antonio team has been on the top of the game for almost two decades. I can’t help but admire the way they do things. If you are only a regular fan of the game, you must admit that they play beautifully, though less flashy. It is going to be a great series. Wait and see.

In just a few days, our daughter is going to celebrate her second birthday. It has been pure joy seeing her grow and take on her own personality. In fact, she is into singing all the songs she has been learning at the daycare. Although she understands everything we tell her, she is only able to speak a few words.  Her favourite word is “mine!!” I guess she heard me so many times using it to refer to my food lol

The other day I was changing her diapers (yes, it is something I have learned to do) and she didn't want me to change her. She only wanted to keep playing with my phone. She was so focused on her game that she didn't want anybody to distract her. Normally, she is calm when I change her diapers, but that day she was very agitated. Nevertheless, I had to do it, which she did not like at all. She started to cry.

Her crying did not stop me; I kept doing it because I knew it was in her best interest.
I guess you can probably tell what I am going to say next: sometimes we go through things that make us “cry” because we don’t like them. But, most of the times, if we really look at it, it is in our best interest that we experience these situations. All I am saying is that it's something to think about.
I think I just broke the record for the shortest blog in almost 5 years. Short and sweet is what my business partner called it.
Moral of the story? Do you want to learn a good lesson? Just change the diapers of your daughter and you will celebrate two years with me.
Always a pleasure
The Journeyman