Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Somebody's Watching Me (You too!)


You remember that song by Rockwell?  "I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy.",  as Michael Jackson adds his infamous, "Hee hee" in the background.  I know we have all had moments when you felt that eyes were on you.  You weren't sure who was looking at you or why, but they were.  No, this doesn't have to spook you out.  In fact, sometimes it good.


I was recently at a party celebrating a milestone birthday.  The lounge scene was live and people were really excited.  The live reggae music, dancing, West Indian food, and people everywhere had set the stage for a very festive evening.  It was so much fun.  A relative of ours (we'll call him Joe for this purpose) was getting ready to leave.  He and his wife had a long journey back and had to get to work the next day.  I saw him and gave him proper respects as he was preparing to leave.  He later turns around in the midst of the loud band and singing and says, "I appreciate what you are doing with your family.  I've been watching you."  

"Thanks so much.  I really appreciate it.", I responded. 

And with a few more words he left.  

It didn't hit me until later what really happened.  I'll put it in perspective for you.  I rarely talk to Joe.  Nothing to wrong with that.  I've rarely seen Joe.  I don't believe I follow him on Instagram or even on Facebook, although I might.  Yet, that's probably the way he sees what I am doing.  I sometimes post about what our family is up to.  Besides, I love when my family (aka, The A4 Squad) is together.  We do all kinds of exciting things together, like spending the night in a hotel during the middle of the week for the fun of it, or getting ice cream in Philadelphia because we saw it on the Food Channel.  
Outside the Franklin Fountain in Philly.
The young lady is a good friend of the family.

In fact, it feels almost empty when we are not rolling together.  Well Joe must have been taking notice.

This got me thinking.  It made me think of how much of an example people look at us and to us for.  There have been many occasions where people say absolutely nothing on social media, but in person will mention what they saw us do on social media. (If you want, follow me on Facebook at Ldijon, Twitter at @NOS4Dads, or Instagram at @dijondabassman.)  I get it.  Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying: Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."  No, my family is not a gospel, but I want us to follow it.   I want my family to be outstanding.  I want us to be an example for other families.  I want my marriage to be foundational and my boys to be model citizens.   I never want to hear my family wish or say that they would be happier somewhere else.  

This means I have to consistently put in that work.  I have No Off Season.

In your NOS training, consider these questions:
Are you seriously putting in the effort to ensure that your family is happy and satisfied?
Who are you looking up to for guidance?
Who are you mentoring?

Friday, January 22, 2016

You Never Know -- A Lesson From on Judgements

As I write this we are experiencing Blizzard Jonas, the blizzard of 2016, in which we are expecting anywhere between 12-30 inches with wind gusts up to 65 mph.  Well, we found out that different agencies needed clothing and canned foods.  We had some in the house, so we traveled into DC before the road restrictions took place and receive a $972,463 fine to donate.  My youngest and I walked into Central Union Mission to donate.  As I filled out the donation receipt, an African American man walked in and asked for a free sandwich.  The attendant gave him one without any reservation.  When I really took notice of this man, he looked like all was stable.  He had on a long, black trench coat, was decently shaven, slacks, decent shoes, and a black bag with him.  He left out and I was struck with a 'wow' moment.  Here's why.


The day before, I had on a very similar outfit.  I wore a long black trench coat with a black derby, khakis and carried my black bag.  If you put us side by side, there would not be that much difference...from the outside.  For that matter, we may not have been that different on the inside as well.  This man may or may not have been homeless.  He may have come in simply to get a sandwich because he didn't want to pay for one at the time.  Or maybe he didn't have enough money to go the Subway shop around the corner.  Maybe he was very tight on finances or saving for something else and knew how to manage his funds. Or maybe he was cool with money, but knew they gave out sandwiches and took advantage of the free food.  Or maybe, he was looking for a job.  Maybe he was getting a free sandwich for someone he saw who needed some food and he was being a Samaritan.  Or maybe...Or maybe...

I am so guilty of being around certain people and having the instantaneous mindset they they are well off because of where they live or the job they have or by simply how ...they...look.

Brandon Heath, a recording artist penned these words in his song 'Give Me Your Eyes':

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what's underneath
There's a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work, he's buyin' time

All those people goin' somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see



Dads, teach your children not to judge a book by it's cover.  There's so much more to a man or woman than what we often see.  I'm seeing more and more that a gargantuan house, nice cars, or a prominent job really means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  It's what makes the man.

I will say that it felt good to serve someone else with my son.  We may never know who we helped and that's okay.  My son needed to see that.  I needed to see that.  I needed to feel that.  I have No Off Season.

In your NOS training, consider these questions:

  • In your heart of hearts, do you cast judgements on people?
  • If so, how do your children respond/ relate to your judgements?  In other words, do they follow your lead?
  • How and what will you teach your children on putting more value on the inside of a person than what we see?




Monday, June 22, 2015

You Can't By Yourself. Reflections from The Airport

I missed my flight.  I MISSED MY FLIGHT!�� With unsuccessful standbies and an overnight airport stay, it turned out to be a major headache, but also a wonderful time of reflection. I was reminded that I can't do what I do as a man (father, leader, deacon, teacher, and whatever other 'titles' I have) without help and direction. I re-realized this watching airplanes.

I sat in a terminal window with the morning sun beaming through (so I could warm up) watching planes prep for takeoff.  There was a lot happening for it to be a successful flight. There were trucks moving back and forth on the ground giving planes whatever they give them. I saw food trucks distributing food. There were trucks hauling luggage to and from the plane. What really got me thinking were the trucks that push the planes from the terminal to the strip. There was a long metal guiding pole that didn't bend or flex extending from the truck to the plane. And it guided the plane out. There were also grounds crew informing pilots when it was safe to begin riding out to the strip. (Dads, stay with me here).

My question to you and me is how successful do you think that plane and flight would be without all those elements running together in tandem? Lets deepen the question: How many people do I allow to really help me be my best (add title)? I truly believe it's silly for a man to think that he can do it on his own. There's a great scripture that says, 'Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20 NLT)'. It also says, 'The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)'. Personally, I need true men in my life who are willing to give me guidance. I also need those real dudes who are willing and able to tell me the real truth about me without bending. Willing to be strong with their guidance, just like the truck and guiding pole that leads the plane out. I am that plane, but realizing that there are so many crucial elements that help me soar. 

I want to soar and I need help to do that. I'm NOS.

Questions to consider:
1. Who's in your life?
2. What men are in your life? (Yes, I know there are ladies who are reading this).
3. Can you call these men your real friends? What evidence shows it?