Posts Tagged ‘love’

Which of these 5 core values define you?

Written by Les Dahl on April 4th, 2016. Posted in Peace, Sage's Scroll



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The Greek philosopher Thales was asked what is the most difficult thing.

To know yourself,” was his reply.


Perhaps that is why few of us look at ourselves in the mirror and ask, “Who am I?” It's a difficult question to answer.


We say, “I'm a teacher.” or “I'm a stay-at-home mom.” But that is what we do, not who we are.


Who we are is not so much about what we do

but rather why and how we do it.


Values filter our responses and attitudes. 'Go-to' favorites emerge as core values. Through habit, these become deeply embedded standards by which we measure our life. Reactions and impulses that seem natural and involuntary reflect our core values.


Clearly defined core values keep us balanced and on track. Without them, we are like a nuclear reactor whose malfunctioning core cannot control the reactions and the energy (heat) produced by circumstances. The potential result is a Chernobyl disaster.


An extensive list of values is not particularly helpful; in fact, it's overwhelming. Five carefully selected values can bring clarity and provide a solid base on which to build a meaningful life.


Why 5 instead of 10 or 15?


  • Diligently creating a habit with just a few qualities is far more effective than trying to manage too many. It's like walking—one step at a time. Or like building—one brick at a time.
  • When David faced Goliath, he gathered 5 stones. Someone has said, 1 for Goliath and 4 more to fell each of his brothers! I like that pre-emptive thought.


My 5 core values are the weapons

that conquer every giant

that taunts and intimidates me.


  • Core values are of greatest effect when inter-woven, inter-active and operating in balance. They bring stability and create the fabric of my being.



The 5 core values I choose to define myself



  • I am industrious.


I work hard, I work smart, I work with enthusiasm.

When I have a job to do, a task to accomplish, or an assignment to complete, I am fully engaged, totally focused and completely absorbed.

But I am not a workaholic. I choose to be master not slave of my work.

Work, even hard work, is just work, often better done by a robot or a machine.



Human energy, dedication and drive

elevate work to the glorious purpose 

for which it was entrusted to humankind

by their Creator.



  • I am self-reliant.


I accept full responsibility for my life. No one else is to blame for who I am, what I do or how I live. I am the product of my own choices, made of my own free will.


Yet I am not independent. My most successful and productive choices are made...

  • when I heed the sound advice of my elders and mentors,
  • when I consider the feedback of friends and peers,
  • when I stop to help others along the way, particularly the generation that follows me,
  • when I am interdependent.



I am who I am today,

having climbed on many a broad shoulder

pulled up by many a helping hand.



  • I am a man of integrity.


Aiming for complete harmony in what I think, say and do, I strive to be honest, transparent and trustworthy—a man of my word.

My moral code is positive and simple with lots of freedom for creative expression:

  • Love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength (resources) and all my mind,
  • Love my neighbor (fellow human beings) as I love myself,
  • Love justice (standing up and speaking out for what is right) and mercy (compassion) as I walk humbly with my God.



I do not compare myself to anyone else,

for in the end I answer to God for

how well I lived, loved and mattered.



  • I respect the thoughts, feelings, wishes, rights and property of others.


If it is true that each of us is created in the image and likeness of our Creator, then there must be a measure of goodness in every human being. The image of our Creator is simply a little more tarnished, the likeness a little more distorted, in some than others.

Jesus looked beyond the faults of even the worst sinners to perceive the creative destiny hidden in each fragmented life. I am learning to do the same.



Respect moves me to accept each in his own right,

and stand up for those too weak or too afraid

to defend themselves.

I cannot in good conscience live only for myself.



  • My love springs from deep gratitude.


My relationship with God is not distant nor religious. Ours is a vibrant Father-son love that grows daily as we share life together.

There are many, especially my family, who have enriched me. Therefore, I value each person I meet. Every encounter is an opportunity to bless and be blessed, to give and to receive.

Who can know how many angels I've entertained in these 'chance encounters'?



Beyond the many hardships,

there is a certain beauty and joy in living.



George Bernard Shaw said,

Life isn't about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself.”


Core values determine the life you create.

Choose them carefully, you are a masterpiece in progress.


St. Francis of Assisi says it well in his prayer.


"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."




Written by Les Dahl on July 31st, 2015. Posted in Education, Family, Learning Solutions



document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Educating our children must go beyond academics. Helping children acquire and practice right moral values is critical. The well-being of a community and a nation depends on it. Holistic development of children is the mandate of parents, care-givers and teachers.

Without sound moral values, children have no basis on which to make good choices. Moral values are guideposts pointing the right direction. They help children appropriately apply what they are learning to situations of real life.

Without positive moral guidance children become self-inflated and self-absorbed individuals with a gorilla-sized attitude of entitlement. They have little regard for, nor interest in, others except for personal gain. Only solid moral values rescue such from their illusionary, self-created universe.


How Can Values Be Cultivated In Children?



Phase 1: Teach

Values are 'seeds' that must be sown into the minds of children. They must be taught the concept (e.g. respect) clearly so they know what is expected of them. Relevance is established as children are shown clearly how the value (e.g. respect) is applied in their real-life experience. Role play followed by discussion can help clarify relevance and context.


Phase 2: Talk

Once a value is 'planted', it must be nurtured. This is accomplished as a vocabulary is developed around the value. For example, as respect is introduced, children must hear and use the word, its synonyms and words related to respect often (within reason, of course) throughout succeeding days. The objective is to establish a consciousness of respect, which in turn embeds thought patterns of respect which eventually become the paradigm by which children make choices and by which they interact with one another.


Phase 3: Walk

In this phase children “walk the talk” with the help of parent, care-giver or teacher. As a child demonstrates inappropriate behavior, the following three steps help get them back on track. The focus of intervention is restorative rather than punitive.


1. Facilitate clarity.

(a) Ask leading questions that help the child identify exactly what was wrong about their behavior. The issue cannot be resolved if the child cannot identify and name the inappropriate behavior.

(b) Guide the child to understand (i.e. identify and name) what would be appropriate behavior in the given situation.

(c) Explore several appropriate behaviors and the outcome each would produce. It is important for the child to see that more than one option provides appropriate behavior. They must see that their power of choice determines the outcome.


2. Help the child own their inappropriate behavior.

As long as the child makes excuses and blames someone or something other than him/herself, the issue cannot be resolved and he/she cannot move on.

(a) Help the child admit they were wrong. e.g. “I was disrespectful when I called Amy a name that hurt her feelings.”

(b) Help the child apologize appropriately. e.g. “I'm sorry for calling you a name that hurt your feelings.” The issue is not resolved with a vague “I'm sorry.” Help the child be specific in naming the wrong.

(c) Help the offended child express forgiveness. e.g. “I forgive you, Amy.” Saying the name tags the forgiveness precisely. It releases the offender to get up from her mistake and empowers her to move forward with a new level of respect—for herself and for others.

(d) Have persons involved in the incident promise they will help each other behave appropriately. We need each other to become the persons we want to be.


3. The goal: children making values-based choices and resolving personal conflicts using values-based strategies without adult intervention.


Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it well, We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.”

Whether by spontaneous, one-on-one mentoring or structured class/group discussion, children will embrace moral values that shape their character and conduct. They will become the kind of adults who make a difference in their community and in their nation.


7  Values That Help Children Live Wel


Of all the values (one list had 225 entries!), the following seven make a good starting point.

  • Respect: proper regard for the thoughts, feelings, wishes, rights and property of others
  • Honesty: sincere, genuine, truthful yet tactful, without deceit or hidden agenda
  • Forgiveness: ready and willing to forgive out of understanding and compassion .
  • Trust: firmly believing someone is reliable and free from suspicion and doubt
  • Patience: tolerating delay, problems or interruptions without becoming annoyed or anxious.
  • Gratitude: being thankful, ready to show appreciation and to return kindness.
  • Love: showing understanding and compassion; ready to sacrifice for the benefit and empowerment of others.


Children groomed in these values are equipped to live well. They benefit their family, community and nation. Where children grow with these qualities of character, there is hope.


What’s Ahead in 2015? (Part 2)

Written by Les Dahl on January 6th, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized

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Not only is 2015 the year of the whirlwind, a year of shake-downs and changes, it is a year of the window. As a metaphor, window speaks of vista, opportunity and sovereign provision. So then, 2015 will be a year of unusual paradox. On the one hand, we will be pressed to embrace massive change, and on the other, we will be faced with unprecedented opportunity. Our ability to seize opportunity will depend largely on our clarity of view.

The year ahead will be marked by windows of revelation—the eagle's point of view as he soars high above circumstances on winds of change versus the turkey's very limited earth-bound perspective as he waddles about quite befuddled by the surrounding clamor. Those who are fully present in the moment and paying attention will steadily find clarity about three fundamental issues: (1) who is God, (2) who am I, and (3) what is my purpose or mission in life. Without clarity on these three issues, 2015 will be very difficult and very long!

Lines in Solomon's love poem, Song of Songs, read: “There he is, standing outside our wall, looking in through the window, peering in through the lattice.” The poet paints a picture of the Almighty standing outside our defensive walls of resistance and exclusion, attempting to get our attention, hoping to be invited in to share intimacy. Sadly, the maiden rejects her lover's advances—it is, after all, rather inconvenient; the hour is late and she has already retired for the night. When she realizes her foolish mistake, he has vanished into the night.

During our darkest nights in 2015, when 'convenience' and hope are already spent, the Almighty will appear at the window. Will we recognize Him? Will we invite Him in? Will we open our hearts to His love?

The Apostle John tells us God's perfect love dispels all fear. His perfect love reassures our fainting heart. Saturated with the Father's love, we can face the shaking of any whirlwind in 2015! But God is also Light, the Apostle reminds us. As God speaks, His Voice dispels the darkness and shows us the path through the night. I pity the one who misses his windows of revelation in 2015.

Not only are there windows of revelation, there are windows of opportunity ahead. Charles Dickens opens his Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” The windows of opportunity amid the whirlwinds of 2015 will be discovered by those whose eye is trained on possibilities and solutions that are camouflaged by problems and adversity. Opportunities are seized by those whose heart is filled with radical, daring faith—faith that is free of the shackles of religiosity and alive in intimate relationship with the Creator! Opportunities are seized by those with technology in their hands and tenacity in their hearts, who press through obstacles and failures until success is achieved. It is such mettle that the Almighty searches out to empower in 2015.

Elisha the great prophet of double-portion miracles lay sick near death in bed. Joash, the king, visited his spiritual mentor to bring words of comfort. Shocked by Elisha's condition, the king exclaims, “O my father, my father. The chariots and horsemen of Israel.” Elisha knew death was fast approaching, but he had one more assignment. “Bring a bow and arrows. Open the window to the east and shoot an arrow.” Joash did as instructed. “Victory is yours!” proclaimed the prophet. “Every obstacle on your path is overcome!” The king's heart swelled with those empowering words. “Now,” Elisha urged him, “take your arrows and strike the ground!” Joash pounded the floor—one! two! three!—and stopped. “Why did you stop!” the prophet shouted angrily. “Had you struck five or six times, you would have brought your greatest enemy to utter defeat! Now your victory will be bitter-sweet and incomplete!”

The arrows in our hands shot confidently through the windows of opportunity are “the arrows of Yahweh”. Victory is assured. But the telling question of 2015 is, how determined and persistent are we? When obstacles, failures and gainsayers stand to impede our progress, will we give up after two or three tries? Or will we get up, muster our last ounce of courage, blow upon the embers of passion in our heart, re-focus and push forward until even our worst fear is utterly defeated!

One more kind of window will manifest in 2015—the windows of heaven.

Besieged by the formidable Syrian army, Israel's circumstances were beyond grim. The king and his captain visited Elisha to hurl accusation and blame at the prophet. God in His great mercy pronounced a word of deliverance, “By the hand of the Almighty provision beyond your hopeless imagination will come into your hands.” Fixated on the austere conditions of reality around him, the general sneered, “This could never happen even if God made windows in heaven!” Elisha answered coldly, “You will see this happen, but others will derive the benefit, not you!” As predicted, the Almighty's angelic host miraculously vanquished the Syrian army. The spoils of war along with enough food and provisions for a glorious victory celebration transferred into the hands of God's people. The stampeding throng trampled the general to death in the rush for plunder.

The windows of heaven will open over us in 2015—miracles of provision, angelic assistance and portals through which earth reaches heaven and heaven touches earth. We must be careful this year to refrain from saying “This could never happen” of miracles we desperately need. Instead, let us declare with our mouth until it resonates deeply in our mind and heart that “By the hand of the Almighty provision beyond your hopeless imagination will come into your hands.” If we hear ourselves say it often enough, we may actually come to believe it. And even if our faith grows weary, our Father remains faithful; He will come through for us.


Image courtesy of dan /