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Personal Development

When Superman Dies (Grieving My Dad’s Loss)

By October 3, 2017 Mentorship, Personal Development, Uncategorized

I remember hearing the words… “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird! It’s a plane… It’s Superman!” Superman was indestructible. Every week when watching Superman there was a threat! Yet Superman was always willing to sacrifice his well being for the well being of others. However, in each episode Superman won! He could not lose. I think that is why it was such a shocker when seeing the ending scene of Batman V. Superman. Superman was not just defeated he was dead… and buried!  I remember walking out of the theater dejected! Hurt! I can’t really explain why… until the last day of Summer this year… my dad died.

Superman was not supposed to die… and neither should my dad! As a boy, I remember seeing dad as a super man. Perhaps one reason was that he said Superman was his brother and they were separated at birth (I think I believed that until I was 12 years old… don’t judge me he was a REALLY good storyteller)! Perhaps it was because my dad is who I saw everyday being… well… a man. I watched how he interacted with my mother, with me, with my brother, how he worked at the house, how he laughed and wove a story. I marveled at who he was and held on to every word, every tickle, every moment. To me dad was Superman! Not saving the world (or even Lois Lane) but rather he was the picture of how a man should be and he seemed super! He was the pinnacle of who I could be. So when my dad died… I didn’t know what to do!

If I’m telling the truth (and I am), I have to say that I still don’t know what to do with the loss of my dad but I am learning to point up and move forward. As I process my dad’s death here is what I am reminded of…

Everyone has influence

My dad worked in shipping and receiving over 30 years. He thought he did not have much influence but his life lessons and stories have influenced me and many others. His “life celebration” service was full (we thought it was lame to call it a “memorial service”! We thought about saying “Funeral” but decided against it even though dad thought we should put the “fun” back in “funeral” [I’m telling you he just looked at stuff a little different than most people])! He would often say things like “I’m satisfied with not leading.” But that is the paradox of life we can’t not lead. John Maxwell says that influence is leadership and everyone influences. So dad was very influential in his own way! I am reminded that everyone has influence.

Everyone dies

I hate this one! I catch myself reflecting on Genesis 1-3 and think… “what if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have messed it all up for all of us?!?!”We would have lived together… FOREVER! However, sin has infected all of us! Hebrews 9:27 – says “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” Lest we think we are immortal on this side of eternity we need to live in the reality that one day even the super-est of men and women will die.  

We will meet again

I hate that we die but I am thankful that we don’t just go back to the earth. We have been given great hope in 2 Cor 5:6-8… “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” For those who have surrendered to Christ (who is even better than Superman), they have been given eternal life and we will spend it together! Though my heart grieves I can say with gratitude that “it is not goodbye, just, I will see you later!” So… Dad, I’ll see you later! 

Christ is the ultimate example

As I alluded to earlier, Christ is our ultimate example. My dad was great but he had his flaws (just like every person before him and every person after him). Therefore, Paul’s words are especially meaningful as I consider my dad, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” So as I consider the life of my dad and remember his legacy I will imitate those things that reflect Christ (less I unwittingly worship him which sometimes happens after someone passes).

Closing thoughts:

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird! It’s a plane… It’s Superman!” Superman was indestructible… I thought. However, even Superman dies. Like Superman, but in different ways, my dad made sacrifices but the ultimate sacrifice was made by Christ on the cross. On the last day of Summer this year! … my dad died. I will miss him, hurt for him and I will also celebrate his life and the lessons he taught me! Dad was a super man!

These are the things I am learning. Perhaps you have had a similar experience. Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Remembering my dad, Kenneth Lee White – My Superman

March 8, 1954 – September 21, 2017

 

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Unleash Your Inner Wonder Woman (Developmental Principles Found In The Movie Wonder Woman and confirmed through the life of Joseph)

By July 31, 2017 Leadership, Personal Development

Have you ever wanted to be… um… BETTER? Recently, a string of movies and pop culture icons have shown the negative side of our heroes! Someone had to change the template! I am so thankful for the movie, Wonder Woman which chose to shatter the modern trend. A movie that takes a look at a young girl and shows her develop into a hero! Those developmental principles are also shown in the life of Joseph from Genesis. Lets look at these two heroes while comparing them to these developmental principles.

There are many things we can learn from this movie (and from the Bible for that matter). However, we will focus on time tested developmental principles. If we practice these principles we will grow and unleash our inner hero that we were intended to be!

7 Developmental Principles:

1 – Dream and find your purpose

Early in the movie we see young Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), starry-eyed and wanting to be trained… knowing that her life is important and should not be wasted!  We have seen this played out in the lives of many people throughout history but perhaps none more obvious than what we see from the biblical patriarch, Joseph (see Gen 37). He knew he was created for a purpose greater than what he was experiencing.

We were created with purpose (insightful blog on “being created with purpose” – click here https://goo.gl/y68PYt)! Many people accept an existence that is lackluster! Don’t do it! There is something more, something better! Go get it!

2 – Be trained by the best

Diana finally gets permission to be trained by the greatest Amazon warrior ever. She accepts the training and jumps into it! She completely engages this training… by the best trainer ever!

Joseph went through similar developmental principles. He did not get a choice in who trained him… because he is sold into slavery! He quickly climbs in the house of Potiphar. The LORD is with him and whatever he does prospers.  

So how does that work for us? Most of us don’t get the opportunity to go to Harvard or be mentored by Warren Buffet. But we all have opportunities. Jumping on those opportunities is key for us to be trained. Being trained by the best might mean… the best for us or the best for us for now. Seize the opportunity!

3 – Train as hard as you can

Diana seemed to love her training. At one point Diana unleashes the full power of her bracelets. This came after a lot of training and her response to a particular attack by her mentor (a part of her training).  The only way for her to figure out the full extent of her ability was to be trained and fully engage in the training! Diana did that!

In the life of Joseph, we don’t see the same type of training that Diana engaged in but we do see Joseph engage in his situation wholeheartedly! He is taken to prison unfairly. He suffers in prison unfairly and it is there that he is rescued and through a series of divinely appointed situations he becomes the 2nd in command of Egypt! No doubt there must have been times of frustration and hurt, however, he lives out Col 3:23 and therefore trains as hard as he can accepting every situation as God-given and making the best use of every situation.

What situation is life throwing at us that we are struggling with? Can we accept it and use it as training? If so, how?

4 – Follow your purpose

Diana had to make a difficult decision. She had to leave what was familiar and what she loved to follow her purpose. She had to go toward danger to achieve her purpose. Like Diana (Wonder Woman) Joseph had to make a decision. He stashed food reserves in anticipation of a big famine that will hit the entire region. His only proof of that happening is a dream that Pharaoh had. He chooses to follow his purpose by trusting the interpretation of a dream (he has had several dreams and interpreted them accurately). He saw that the LORD had uniquely gifted him. He follows his purpose.

So… how were you created? What is your gifting? Have you seen it confirmed? Then follow it!

5 – Network with people to help fulfill your purpose

The plot thickens! Diana is taken toward the war (where she thinks she will find her purpose). It requires her to network with a group of people to get where she needs to be. To accomplish her purpose she is going to need to work with people! So… SHE DOES! There could be an argument made that she is not good with people but to accomplish what she needs to accomplish she has to get to know people, trust people and work with people.

Joseph has to work with people to accomplish his goal. It requires a unique matrix of communication and trust. He is in a foreign land but his past has prepared him! Against the odds, he does it!

Write down a list of people that you can network with to help you accomplish your purpose. Who are they? Why did you pick them? Are there other people to network that may know someone who can help you? Who are they?

6 – Don’t depend on others to find your purpose

Toward the end, Diana has to part ways with her new friends. She has to stand alone… and she does. She is not dependent on others to accomplish her purpose. She is accountable for her purpose. Joseph was accountable for his purpose. He follows through. He is accountable.

No one else can fulfill our purpose! No one else is accountable for our purpose. No blaming others! We are accountable for fulfilling our purpose.

7 – Finding your purpose means you will have to allow others to find their purpose

The conclusion of Wonder Woman sees Diana go her way to fulfill her purpose and then her friends going their way to fulfill their purposes. Joseph had to allow his brothers to fulfill their purpose. When they come face to face with him he has to confront them and lead them to an opportunity to embrace their purpose and their ultimate training… and they do! 

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our purpose and training that we think everyone else should engage in our purpose. We can forget that our purpose is OUR purpose and not someone else’s purpose.Others have their purpose. Let them find it. 

Conclusion:

Wonder Woman walks through systematic steps in personal development. Joseph walks through systematic steps in personal development. Will we embrace these principles and grow?

 

If you enjoyed this blog you may also enjoy – Lessons on Communication from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 https://goo.gl/2yanP6

 

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5 Easy Ways to Hear Better? (Okay 4 ways and one bonus)

By July 16, 2017 Communication, Personal Development

What a wonderful world that we live in! You want a cool new shirt? Sweet! Delivered by drone to your house! You need info? Thank you, Google! We live in an instant society. That is pretty great! However, one of the disadvantages (and there are many) is that we are so distracted we often don’t hear what the other person is saying!

Consequently, we then have misunderstandings, hurt feelings, broken relationships and all because we did not “hear” what was being said. I have spent years studying communication, conflict resolution, negotiations, and reconciliation. Let me share with you 5 ways to hear better! You ready? Okay, here we go…

1- Listen with your face –

“Listen with your face!” I heard a pastor say this one time. Actually, he was sharing how his wife told him to listen with his face. As he watched TV he would respond with his default setting “yeah, that’s true.” She got mad at him and told him to “Listen with your face.” I have found that to be a huge factor in communication. We simply need to pause what we are doing and look at the person with whom we are conversing and make eye contact. People feel like we are hearing them… and they are right! We are better hearers when we watch the person with whom we are speaking. We pick up tons of nonverbals (which is a huge factor in communication). We are also better able to connect. There is something about looking into someone’s eyes that make us better engaged!  

2- Fully engage mentally –

So my wife says to me “Kenny, can you drop off your daughter at work and… (I’m not sure what else she said I stopped listening)”! I stopped listening because I was already thinking about what I was going to tell her. In the old days, we had a phrase that we used, we said, “you are not paying attention.” Now we just act like it is okay! Here’s what we don’t like to admit, when we are talking to someone and they start thinking about their “comeback comment” (wait for it… ) we can tell that they are NOT  listening! So… we must pause and make sure that we are understanding what is being said before coming up with a response or jumping to conclusions.

3- Repeat back what you heard them say (sometimes) –

Sometimes it is important to pause and make sure we are understanding what is being said. When the other person is finished speaking… we can stop and repeat what we heard them say in our own words. Here is a word to the wise… if we do that too often we seem… um, well… dumb! It seems like we can’t understand simple English. So let’s use this tool sparingly and only as needed, if needed, when needed. Also, it should never start with “Are you serious…” or “Do you really think…” that is unless our goal is to make them mad (then by all means, that will be very effective).

4- Ask a kind question (maybe 2) –

Did you notice the word “kind”? That’s the key word. People consistently ask questions that are condescending,derogatory or just flat out mean-spirited! That’s not necessary! Ask a kind question. We may have to humble ourselves and ask it like this, “I’m not sure if I understand, can you help me understand what you mean?” Humbling our tone allows people to not feel attacked. It is a gracious way to more easily hear what is being said.  

5- BONUS: Put your phone away

I know this should be obvious but IT’S NOT! I know that it is not obvious because I talk to people all the time who have their stupid phones out and they are looking at something while I am trying to speak to them (often after they ask me a question!!!). This is not just a pet peeve of mine but common courtesy. We can’t engage in two conversations at once. Okay that’s not true… we can’t engage in two conversations at once very well. So let’s put the phone away! People are more important and the good Lord put that person in front of us… we should show them the respect they deserve and put the phone away!

We were created in God’s image. It is good to be heard but we must practice good listening skills if we have any hope in having good healthy relationships!

Is there anything that I missed? Please feel free to post below some additional thoughts you have of easy ways to hear better! Thanks, you are wonderful!

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