Tuesday Question – For the Parents

It’s Tuesday Question time!  Last week I asked about debt keeping you from achieving your dreams – a tough subject for some people but very important. Let’s brighten things up this week!  This one is for the parents out there.

What’s the best part of being a parent?

Friday Video – Walk Off The Earth

I don’t know how I missed it being a music and social media lover, but I just recently learned about the band, Walk Off the Earth, which blew up in the last year on YouTube.

Not only are they brilliant musicians who clearly work their butts off, they create incredible live music videos.

Here’s one of my favorites – a cover of Adele’s Someone Like You.  Enjoy!  And if you get some time go watch more of their videos.

Friday Video – Mothers and Courage

Before taking a job at the Pentagon in 2010, I had the great fortune to lead the Public Affairs team at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. The base is home to Arnold Engineering Development Center, the world’s most advanced aerospace ground test center.

Simply put, it’s where military aircraft, rockets, jet engines, and more are tested before they’re ever flown.

Today’s video below is the 2009 Year in Review video we produced to honor all 2000+ team members at Arnold as well as past and present team members we lost that year.  One of those was one of my team member’s sons – Wesley Amacher.

His name appears at 2 minutes, 34 seconds.

As a leader, I’ve faced nothing more difficult.  But any difficulty I faced of course paled in comparison to what my team member, Vickie, felt then and still today over Wesley’s loss.

I remember the funeral service like it was yesterday.  Amidst all the sadness and tears, she displayed one of the most inspiring acts of courage I’ve ever witnessed.

The place was packed with mourners.  People from all streets of Wesley’s life intersecting in a standing room only funeral home. The receiving line was out the door.  And instead of standing at the front of the room, allowing us to come to her, there was Vickie making her way up the line, hugging and comforting all of us who had come to comfort her.

Seeing Vickie’s courage along with all of my emotions was overwhelming.  By the time we met in the center of that room, I couldn’t speak.  I stood there looking at her, she back at me, and I couldn’t muster a single word.  I felt like I was going to explode into a million pieces if I did.

After a couple of seconds of struggle, she just looked into my eyes and said, “I know. I know.”  Then we hugged.

To this day, I don’t know.  I don’t know how she did that.  I don’t know where the strength came from.

Click the video to view it.  If it won’t play, click here.

Friday Video – Pooh Bear and Communication

I think I’m going to start sharing videos on Fridays. What do you think?

Okay, good!

Here’s a short and hilarious video courtesy of Winnie the Pooh and company.  My wife sent it to me this week in an email that read, “When you have a minute and wanna laugh.”  Just click it and it will play, but if it doesn’t click here.

Have a great weekend, ya’ll!

I Didn’t Plan For This

Quarter-sized snowflakes are falling from the sky in the DC-area right now.  I see them through my office window.  “Hey there, snow.”

Knowing my wife, she’s probably sitting in front of the window at home right now with a huge grin on her face, wondering how life could get any better.

I on the other hand am questioning how I will survive the day and accomplish my 2012 goals.  You see, snow is the enemy of Joel.  One major reason is I like European shoes, which generally lack sufficient tread.

Always plan for unforeseen circumstances and insulate your ability to achieve your goals by wearing the right shoes.  Or risk ending up flat on your back.

That is all.

Is someone getting the best of you?

Jesus would have been the kid who got beat up every day at recess.

He would have just stood there and taken shots from the schoolyard bully.  Most of us would have at least tried to fight back.  You know why?

Because Jesus is better than we are.

Someone slaps us, and we want to slap them back or worse. Someone curses at us, and we lob our own profanity in retaliation. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and the inner child emerges armed with invisible fireballs and bolts of electricity for which we use to destroy the horrid offender.

If someone was to cut Jesus off in the Jesusmobile during a leisurely Sunday drive, you know what He would have done?

Prayed.  Then he would have gone about his drive.

The Bible says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21

The rock band, Foo Fighters, has a song called, “Best of you.”  It’s on my iPod, and I’ve heard a lot lately during workouts.  (Tuesday’s arms and back.)  Every time I hear the lyrics “Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?” I think of the same thing.

Is someone getting the best of me?

While the song is about a relationship gone bad, that’s not the way the lyrics strike me. On the contrary, I ask myself, “Am I giving the best of myself?  Is everyone I encounter getting the best from me?”

That’s what Jesus did and He commanded us to do the same, even when we want revenge.

Yes, that means when a co-worker takes credit for something you did, continue to give them the best of you.  When a friend forgets to call you on your birthday, continue to give them the best of you. When your spouse says something hurtful, give them the best of you. That may mean they sleep on the couch for a night or two while you cool your jets but whatever.

There’s no doubt this isn’t easy.  It isn’t easy for God either, as the Bible clearly says God hates evil. But at the same time, the Bible says God loves all His children. He just has an issue with his naughty kids.  If you’re a parent, does this sound familiar?

Back at the schoolyard, Jesus not fighting is His way of giving us the best of Him.  And the reason is simple.  By taking the punishment, which everyone would have been watching, He would be modeling what God commands us to do – not seek vengeance.

But, as the verse above says, let God repay in ways only God knows and understands, while you close your eyes for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and go to God in prayer.  This will give you the best shot at continuing to give them the best of you.