Today I had a very pleasant experience. I received a follow- up call from a Taekwondo instructor that I’m hoping will be able to teach my son sparring lessons.
You see, I met this gentleman at a homeschooling vendor fair. After I told him about my son, who has Aspergers and needs to get in shape in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, this gentleman was very confident he could help. He offered to give my son a free lesson to see if this would be a good fit for us.
And I desperately need this help for my son. I want him to reach his potential, but I know that something has to change.
I was glad that this gentleman called me today and I have his first lesson time all set up. What a big relief!
As Christian work at home business owners, sometimes it’s easy to forget what our customers want. Instead, we are product or service centric, rather than trying to fill a felt need.
So what is it our customers want?
Here are some basic ideas:
1. To get from Point A to Point B as quickly and effectively as possible.
2. To be listened to.
3. To know that you care.
4. To receive what you promise in a timely manner.
5. For you to return their phone calls promptly. Read More→
Question: Why does my child ask the same question multiple times in a row?
Answer: Children repeat their questions because they want to drive you to the brink of insanity and then giggle as you fall over the edge. Or maybe, because they are so young they are impatient and expect an immediate answer. If you fail to answer in the 2.2 seconds allotted they will repeat the question for your benefit, we are old after all and could use constant reminders.
Solution: Tell your child(ren) from now on you will only answer a question that has been properly phrased and asked one time and remain consistent to your word. True to form this is not a behavior you can anticipate ending anytime soon. My own mother tried to ground me for this very action just last weekend. Being grounded to my room does not seem like such a punishment anymore.
Question: Why do my children wake us so early on weekends?
Answer: Children wake up before the sun on weekends because sleep is overrated. Parents do not remember the youthful joy of waking up with the birds and kids are here to remind them of these simple pleasures.
Solution: I have found with my children the later I put them to bed the earlier they wake up to force me into a zombie like state. Changing their bedtime to earlier usually rectifies the situation. Start in half hour increments until you find the bedtime that works for your family. Please keep your coffee pot on standby until you have found the best bedtime.
Question: Why do my kids look at me, acknowledge what I say, and then do the exact opposite of what I asked of them as if they didn’t hear me? Read More→
Prologue: The Legend of the Phoenix
The caterpillar into the butterfly. The duckling into the swan. The peasant into the princess. Since childhood I’ve been obsessed with the idea of transformation. Perhaps it was because I wanted to shed my skin and emerge something better than I was, but at the core of my soul, I believed change was possible.
In college I read “The Rising of the Phoenix” as part of a project on Greek mythology and a spark ignited within me like a match to dry fodder. There was something about the story of this bird that moved my soul and gave me hope. The legend permeates more than Greek tradition and has been told and retold over years and cultures. The origins of the bird can be traced back to Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, and Persian cultures. But to early Church fathers like Clement and Lactantius, this bird was a symbol of resurrection, rebirth, and renewal. As I read the story, however, the Phoenix was more than a far away fable or symbol of faith . . . it was me.
My life was up in flames and I had nowhere to turn.
Perhaps it was the bird’s loneliness or the isolation or the hiding or the silence or the desire to be transformed, but I lost myself in the prose of ancient times. Soaring above my life, I had a bird’s eye view of a story that was to be my own. As the exhausted bird traveled out of desperation to an isolated desert, I caught a glimpse of my life and turned each page for the promise that one day I—like the Phoenix—would be made new.
Reading the mythological story awakened the reality that so many of us will face. There will be proverbial fires and flames that threaten our lives; moments that make us feel like all hope is gone and nothing can or will change. But I remind you, the fire that boils and softens a potato is the same fire that hardens an egg. It’s not about our circumstances, but simply what we’re made of. Read More→
It was just another day and I was indulging a carefree moment of complaining about the weather. “I can’t believe it’s so hot today,” I muttered. I thought I was talking to myself but obviously, I had an audience.
Have you ever said or did something not realizing somebody was watching you?
Every time I am in a restaurant eating, I endeavor to remember there is an audience and try my very best not to spill the soup on my lap. Although, I must admit that that kind of lap dance always gets a vigorous round of applause from the audience. Don’t ask me how I know.
I thought in my own special way of thinking that I was alone only to find out the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was within earshot of my remarks. I must say she is rather remarkable. Those “earshot moments” are quite extensive. I will not go as far as to say that she can read my mind, although I think she can, but she seems to know what I am thinking even before I go through the effort and labor of thinking.
I do not know why I even spend the energy thinking on my own. Even when I do think up a thought of my own and go so far as to express it I am always challenged. The challenge is, do not think that way. The challenger is my wife.
Life would be so much easier, not to mention less stressful, if I just would quit thinking my own thoughts. It is when I am thinking my own thoughts that I get into trouble. Life would be so much easier if I allowed someone else to think my thoughts for me. After all, isn’t that why men get married? Why women get married still baffles me.
Getting back to my moment of complaining. “I can’t believe,” I muttered, “it’s so hot today.” To which, my wife said, “Don’t you know it’s summer? And don’t you know that it’s supposed to be hot during the summer?”
I did know that but it did not make the heat any more bearable. Then she said something that rather confused me. I have been confused before. Confusion is a familiar territory to me. But this confusion was different.
“If,” my wife said rather sternly, “you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.”
What the kitchen had to do with it being hot outside is way beyond my pay scale. There was a brief moment when I almost threw caution to the wind and asked my wife what she meant by that comment. Boy, am I glad I didn’t. Read More→
Author’s Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of CWAHM, the spectacular editor and counselor Jill Hart, or evangelical Christians. As always, I encourage/invite you to appropriately comment or start a dialog if you are offended by this topic or by the opinions contained within . . .
Recently I’ve noticed that the teenage kids in our neighborhood have started joking about being racist.
At first I was shocked to hear, “that’s racist” used in conversation. Then, to hear the context, made me laugh. Everything involving color, or shade, is ‘racist.’ You have a black (that’s racist) dog? I got some new black shoes – that’s racist. My oatmeal turned a dark color – don’t be racist. It is the natural result of their public school education and having the focus be on a hyper-awareness to being racially appropriate to people of Negroid decent.
It probably sounds awkward (even . . . “racist?”) for me to say ‘Negroid,’ but I actually have to differentiate between the group of United States citizens coming from African lineage with dark pigment when it comes to this trend in school. There are all kinds of ‘color’ pigment and racial background at my kid’s school. We live in Florida, so there are a LOT of ethnicities represented.
The idea of ‘multicultural’ (many cultures) is much different than my small town where I grew up in Indiana; there were maybe . . . 3 . . . ethnicities represented in the school I attended; and that’s counting Amish. But Florida aside, we live in a much smaller world than I did growing up in the 80’s. People would have to live under a rock, or, in certain areas of Tennessee or South Carolina to never see a person of non-white color. And that was only said in humor, I’m sure people in Tennessee and South Carolina get internet and TV. The point is, that the Unites States is OBVIOUSLY diverse and truly a ‘melting pot’ of different ethnicities.
Back to my kids. They have black kids at their school, but a high percentage of students are Hispanic, or from the Caribbean, or Asian. Florida is a melting pot of racial backgrounds. There is a percentage of dark skinned kids that don’t consider themselves black. Kids from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad or other nearby islands don’t want to be considered part of ‘black culture.’ One of the students that has ‘hung out’ at our house, is from England, and he doesn’t like to be called black; it makes him angry, even though his skin is darker than most of the kids I see with African descent.
But there is a hyper focus on race in the media, and kids pay attention to media. Combine that, with the hyper sensitivity to racial issues taught in school, and you get everything being ‘racist.’
So, what is a dad to do about this issue? We may not be able to solve racism for the world, but being grounded in multicultural diversity is definitely within our grasp.
Don’t condone racism: Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Beyoncé’s pro Black Panther tributes, telling racist jokes, riots, racial slurs in song lyrics, — all need to be called out to your kids, exposed, and condemned as a sinful act. By the way, jokes that disparage another race = bad. Jokes that point out the difference in racial culture = ok. For instance, did you know that if you look in the bathroom mirror and say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and offer you a Starbucks coffee?
It’s a fine line, but basically anything that puts down another person’s race . . is racist.
Celebrate Diversity! – God made all the people and races of the world. Everyone is unique and special on purpose. The fact that some of my friends look different than I do; is good. Learn about other cultures and share those experiences with your kids. Ask appropriate questions. Experience different languages. It’s a great way to promote racial understanding, and it really helps them as they grow to participate in global understanding since our world is becoming more and more digitally connected.
Don’t lock-step to “African American History Month.” It really seems unfair to focus on one racial background and neglect the rainbow of other ethnicities represented in the U.S. The result seems to be that black ethnicity then becomes a joke. Racism then becomes a disrespect for ethnicities; exactly the opposite of what the forefathers of racial equality envisioned.
As a dad, I suggest augmenting the school curriculum that only focuses on one ethnic group, with some information on other ethnic groups. Or possibly highlighting the times African Americans were included and treated equally in history. However, don’t forget to learn about Harriet Tubman; she was pretty amazing…
Know the Biblical background on racial diversity. When I was a kid, no joke; I would hear people try to use Biblical justification for racism and bigotry. I once heard an adult point to Scripture where Cain was “marked” for killing his brother (Genesis 4:15) and supposedly fathered all dark skinned people of the world. (And, of course, the mark had to be black, right? Dark skinned people of Mesopotamia wouldn’t get a ‘white’ mark . . ) Or, possibly even worse was the time I heard an adult use Ham being a “slave” for looking at his naked father (Genesis 9) as a justification for slavery (and, to make that ridiculousness work, Ham also had to have dark skin . . . as opposed to his brothers). I’ve also heard adults justify prejudice against mixed marriages or people using Old Testament references to associating with foreign nations (passages that were taken waaaaaay out of context).
Biblically, God spread out people by making them different so that they wouldn’t be so prideful to think they could compete with God.
Genesis 11: 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
And in the Gospels, God seriously smacks down prejudice by the well-known story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. There are others, but those are the ones you should know to be able to share with your kids.
Don’t buy into the media. I met with a guy not very long ago that was very incensed with how police were mistreating the residents of Ferguson, MO and the resulting riots there. The media sure made it seem like racial minorities of that area were rising up en masse to protest the police. However, a little research behind the news shows that rioters were bussed in from other areas and that the whole fiasco was financed by a European . . . yes, a ‘white’ European.
Lately the news outlets are full of situations like these. People don’t realize that murders and violence statistically are less than they were in subsequent years. However the media makes the most money when there is controversy and tragedy. Teach your kids to look behind the “news” into the truth.
Look to your leaders. I pointed out earlier that Jesus was a champion of diversity, and he struck an eternal blow to prejudice by just telling a story. He didn’t revolt, riot, burn down buildings, and the only thing he disparaged, was pride. I have a great respect for other leaders that enact great change while following in the example of Christ. Martin Luther King Jr is one such leader. Nelson Mandela is another. Gandhi is another. Chief Joseph is another. The world needs more leaders who embody the Scripture “overcome evil with good.” People you see in the news recently do not follow such principles.
Don’t try to solve society. It’s easy to get angry and take a global view of racial issues. But very few of us are in positions to change the mindset of city officials or correct all the ills of society. What we can do is to vote our beliefs. We can teach our kids to be aware of the world, pursuing truth, and to be loving of all races. And, of course, we can set the example as leaders in the world for following the leadership of Christ.
I invite you again to comment or e-mail if you agree/disagree. That’s another thing that makes the U.S. great: freedom of speech.
Also, I saw someone post a little snippet from an interview with Morgan Freeman the other day. It echoes much of what I wrote above, and, it’s Morgan Freeman! Here it is: https://youtu.be/GeixtYS-P3s
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . .
at home. It’s wonderful. But it also can be very isolating. After all, when you have a brick and mortar store, or you have a professional office, you can, so to speak “hang out your shingle” and everyone will come to you, right?
Well, not exactly. Local networking groups and events is one of the best ways you can get your name out there. Especially for work at home business owners. But many professionals with public-access offices recognize this crucial fact was well.
So how can local networking groups and events bring you brand visibility? Here are some ideas:
1) Focus on building relationships. Don’t focus on selling. When you enter a networking meeting or social, think about how you can be of service to a person who needs help. It’s that simple!
2) Start by introducing yourself to someone you don’t know. Shake hands firmly. Be prepared beforehand for conversation starters. Ask questions, like “What are you looking for these days?” After the meeting, follow up. Friend them on Facebook and other social media. Call them or send them a postcard.
3) Have your business cards on hand. But make sure they are memorable and speak to the essence of your business, not just a run-of-the-mill card that everyone else has. Be sure your phone number is current and the information is readable. If you really want to appear ultra professional, carry your business cards in a business card holder with your logo imprinted on it.
4) Find several networking groups to be involved in on a regular basis. You might consider a weekly, monthly, and quarterly one. Develop relationships. Prove trustworthy. Volunteer to help. Show that you are invaluable. But don’t get over involved in networking groups or you will be only socializing and doing no work!
5) Look on Meetup.com and get involved in several groups that interest you. Think outside the box. For instance, if your hobby is photography, think about joining a photography group. It’s a different way of meeting people and you have no idea what kind of connections that can be made that might prove useful for them and you.
6) Start your own group! This fall I am going to be doing just that! I recognized that there is a need for homeschooling businesses and entrepreneurial teens to get together. I will be facilitating that and as a result have a prime audience to promote my entrepreneurial and graphic services to. Read More→
Owning a business is a challenge in many respects. This encompasses the boundaries we put around it so that it doesn’t run our lives. I have written several posts lately about cultivating boundaries and priorities to develop healthy work habits.
This summer I have had to continually reestablish these boundaries. One thing I have been struggling with a lot is over scheduling and planning out my work in advance. Since I have a service based business each client’s project takes a certain amount of time. Some projects like fitted slipcovers take 10 to 15 hours while hemming a pair of pants takes only 20 mins.
My big challenge has been the abundance of phone calls, and increased demand for my work. Because I am a people-pleaser at heart it is difficult for me to say no when I am too busy. Just yesterday the phone rang, it was a new client who needed a dress altered and pants hemmed to take on vacation in 4 days. My natural instinct is to tell her, “Sure I will fit you in,” because I like to be helpful and it gives me satisfaction to meet a need. Instead I had to politely decline and refer elsewhere.
Why? You might ask.
Several months ago I firmly decided in my mind exactly how much I wanted to work each week. As projects come in I estimate how much time I will actively have to work on them. On the wall I have a chart of the next four weeks. Each project gets assigned to a week based on the number of hours it will take to accomplish it and when one week is filled with 20 hours worth of work, the job gets moved to the following week. This provides a visual image for me and constant reminder. When I look at the chart which has the next three weeks filled with 20 hours worth of work already I mentally tell myself’ “I will not accept any more jobs with a deadline of anything sooner than three weeks from now.” When the phone rings with the request I have already mentally prepared myself to answer. This is a huge victory on my part because saying “no” has always been a challenge.
Perhaps you are wondering if turning jobs down could affect the reputation of the business. Read More→