Archives For life lessons

If you’re like me, there are never enough hours in a day, days in a week or weeks in a year to accomplish all that you want to accomplish. Time is scarce and valuable. Who doesn’t wish they had more time. No, this isn’t another post on how to spend your time more wisely. I’m writing this to remind us to celebrate, because this year your wish has come true. In 2012, we all get an extra 24 hours added to our lives:)

That right, an extra day to take your kids out of the house and do something…anything. An extra night to spend an evening on the town with your spouse. A few more hours to finish that project or accomplish that task you have been putting off. February 29th may seem like just another day, but don’t be fooled, it is a gift. So, spend it wisely.

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My Dirty Little Secret

Eric Baumann  —  January 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

Over the past ten years, people have always asked how I can get so much done. They wonder how do I find the time & energy to run multiple ministries at the same time, lead hundreds of volunteers, focus on my creative work, be a dad and husband, read lots of books and find time for myself. Well, I’ll let you in on my little secret. I write it down and plan for it. I call it, “My Personal Growth Plan”.

There is something special about writing your priorities and goals, both short-term and long-term. They give you a score card to evaluate if you are accomplishing what it is you need, and want, to accomplish. BUT it is not good enough to just write them down, create a plan and then forget about it…you have to be methodically looking it over and adjusting it. Your growth plan doesn’t have to be complex or filled with huge goals and dreams, it just needs to be attainable and organic.

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The new year is almost upon us and another chapter has been written in history. When you look back and reflect on your life, what do you see? What emotions stir in your heart when you think of the choices you made…or didn’t make. For me, 2011 has been a wild ride. It has been bitter-sweet. I love where my life is now, but I do miss where it was

My family and I have transitioned from a great ministry in Toledo to a new exciting adventure in Indy. In 2011 we added to our quiver, and now with three boys ages 5 and under, it is definitely full…lol. Personally, I made the move from being a full-time pastor at a church to a full-time stay at home dad. I went from just living my life to learning how to share it with others. BUT, reflection is more than just mentally revisiting the timeline of your life, it is about learning from your decisions….good or bad.

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Downsizing Christmas

Eric Baumann  —  December 20, 2011 — 16 Comments

One of the holiday traditions that my boys look forward to is the Toys-R-Us catalog that comes in the mail or newspaper. This is the opportunity that they have to dream big and circle all the things they want for Christmas. They go crazy as they search for the coolest toys and make their picks for Santa. I have to admit that I think I have just as much fun surfing through the pages as they do trying to find a gift that would benefit “the whole family”…or that I could play with too.

This year though, we put a twist on it. This year, we decided that we were going to downsize our gift giving…well actually our receiving. We explained that each member of the family was only going to get three gifts when they woke up for Christmas morning. We want our focus on Christmas not to be about all the toys we can rack up, but rather about three important things that should make Christmas special.

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I believe leadership is influence and here’s a twist – time is influence. Time spent is money in the bank. As a parent, I am learning this lesson with my kids. The longer you are with someone, the more impact you have in shaping who they are…especially if you start when they are young.

Now, the type of impact you have will vary based on your on-going interactions with that individual and the motives you have for creating influence in their lives. It can breed loyalty, followers, fans or even disciples. The outcome is based on strategy. So what can we learn from Jersey Shore (MTV) and Mickey Mouse (Disney)? They have a strategy for impacting those around them…and knowing that time is influence…they are more successful at getting the outcomes they desire if they begin influencing those individuals when they are young.

So who is “they”? What are “their” motives? How can we learn from “them”?…

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As a huge OSU fan, I rejoiced yesterday as the news was “made official” that Urban Meyer was hired as the next head football coach for the Buckeyes. As a former high school football coach, I know the importance of having a man at the helm that can motivate and inspire young men to greatness…and as a current stay at home dad, I learned a valuable life lesson from Coach Urban Meyer’s press interviews and chats yesterday in regards to his new commitments to both OSU and his family. If you are listening closely, and brush aside the football noise, and hear what this “refreshed” dad and coach is saying…there is great wisdom for any parent on what to say “yes” and “no” to in this life.

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One of the best things I can do for myself, my family and those I influence is to “Just Say No!” I know, I know…it sounds cliche…BUT when it comes to prioritizing your life and maximizing on the time and influence you have with others around you…learning to say, “No,” is crucial.

Some may argue that following this advice seems negative. It’s actually a matter of perspective. Every time you say “No” to something, you are in reality saying “Yes” to something else. Think about it…if I say “No” to a guy’s night out, I am saying “Yes” to dinner with my family. If I look at my son and say, “No” almost every time he asks me to buy him a candy bar or video game when we are at the store…I am saying “Yes” to investing that money in something he actually needs. When we say “No” to that temptation that stares us down daily or weekly, we are saying “Yes” to building character, discipline and integrity in our lives. In a world that is constantly screaming at us to say “Yes” to doing this or consuming that…I say no…and I am trying to teach my sons to do the same…BUT…they know it’s okay to say “Yes” as long as doing so is saying “No” to the right stuff. Are you confused yet?

 

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The turkey has become a universal symbol for being thankful. Even my kids know this to be true. Every time we sit down and “spread out the turkey feast” my kids know that it’s Thanksgiving and the time of year we talk about “What We’re Thankful For”…probably because it’s the only time we actually cook a whole turkey. BUT this has got me thinking…how do I teach my kids to be thankful, not just during Thanksgiving, but everyday…or at least once a week? Do I have to cook a turkey every week or feed them turkey everyday? Come to think about it, as a stay at home dad, I probably do feed them turkey sandwiches and mac and cheese almost everyday for lunch…BUT how do I instill in them an “attitude of gratitude?”

I am reminded of something I say often, “If it’s not in you [as a parent] it’s not in them…” So, the questions isn’t “how do I make my kids more thankful?”, BUT “how can I be more thankful?” Ouch…that one hurts because I think at times I fail to show how much I am thankful for the things in my life. It can be easy for me at times to take things around me for granted. Whether we like it or not, the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree, and the things that we see [or don’t see] in our kids, is really a reflection of who we are.

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One of the keys to clock management in any game, is the proper use of time-outs. They can be used to stop the clock in the final seconds to set-up a winning score, or to just pause for a moment to talk to a player or team about the next play or series. Sometimes you’ll see a coach or fan go crazy because a player wastes a time-out. Time-outs are valuable, and you only get so many in the game.

I’ve learned this to be true in being a dad, and trying to “manage the clock” in the game of life with my boys. I find at times, I need to just call a time-out and spend some one-on-one time with one of my kids. I need to just stop whatever I’m doing and just listen to whatever it is they want to talk about. Now sometimes I need to call a time-out because one of them just dropped kick the other…BUT that’s a story for another time.

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Currently I am reading about the life of Steve Job’s in his new biography that was released this past month. I have learned a lot about innovation, style, determination, creativity, focus, etc. from the life of Steve Jobs, but one thing I never thought I would learn from studying his life is…how important my role is as a dad. The lesson actually comes from Steve’s childhood and his interactions with his own father.

When Steve Jobs was just a little kid, his father would take him into their garage and teach and show him about the importance of craftsmanship. His dad, who was a great car mechanic, would show him pictures of cars he had restored and pointed out to him the details of the style, electronics, chrome, lines of the car body and other features that the average eye may overlook, BUT that made the car special. In his biography, Steve recalls that when his dad was working on a project or building something for their house, like a fence or cabinet, his dad would always give him a hammer and have him help. Ironically, it was Steve’s dad that gave him his first work-bench to work on projects in the “all-to-famous garage” where Apple was born.

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