View From the Cheap Seats

Apr 24

Image Courtesy

Image Courtesy

In the very top row,
Way up high in the back,
The cheap seats are safer,
At a price I can hack.
And I yell at the players,
I scream for my team,
And I counsel the ref,
If you know what I mean.
I am safe way up here,
I can’t get a bruise,
I won’t miss a ball,
And I can’t ever lose.
But I criticize well,
All the guys on the field,
I’m so far from the game,
That it must be revealed…
It scares me to death,
How they fight for their team,
While my cheap seat is safe,
They are living their dream.

Brene Brown in her studies on shame reminds us that “It is not the critic who counts.” It’s easy to criticize the players from the cheap seats. How long will you play it safe? The real credit goes to those who enter the arena and dare to compete, whether or not they are fully prepared.

Are you happy to be sitting on the sidelines of life while others are out living their dream? Criticism is not exactly a strategy. Why not jump in and contribute to the team? You may win. You may lose. But at least you dare to jump in.

Affirmation for the day: “I am over my shame and jump into the game.”

Get in the game!


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Bad Things Will Happen

Apr 24

Bad things will happen,
They happen all the time,
But let’s look for the good,
At least for this rhyme.
Bad things are teachers,
Brutal though they be,
They show up as lessons,
Customized for me.
Now you can poo-poo,Slipping on floor
These things that cause strife,
And try to ignore,
These calamities of life.
Or you could deny them,
As long as you can,
And suffer in silence,
On the de-nial plan.
But bad things still happen,
Can’t hide in your room,
You cannot avoid them,
No one is immune.
Since bad things are lessons,
Just try to complete them,
And learn what you can,
Or you’ll have to repeat them! 
Dang! Why is it that lessons often have to be so painful? But then again, why is it that we sometimes keep repeating even the most painful of lessons? What lessons have you been learning lately that you might recognize from the past? When will you complete the course and move on?  When we don’t learn our lessons and continue to repeat them, some would call that suffering.
And, I don’t remember exactly who said it, but it is very, very true. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Of course, learning doesn’t have to come in bad packages, those are just the ones we notice. They are the ones that bloggers write about. They are the ones that often repeat themselves because the painless ones were, well painless. If that wasn’t profound, I don’t know what is. 
Have a glorious and pain-free day! 
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Don’t Give Him Too Many Chores!

Apr 23

I’m not really lazy,
So why should I try,Boy Doing Chores
My mother will do it,
If I just fuss and I cry.
My parents are the greatest,
And this I can tell,
They do all of my chores,
And I know they mean well.
But the chores that I’m missing,
Teach skills I could use,
When I’m off on my own,
I’ll have much more to lose.
I won’t try solving problems,
With wisdom and grace,
And I’ll likely leave stockings,
All over the place!
And I’ll have to find someone,
To get me to work,
Woman thinkingAnd I’ll often be late,
Boy my boss is a jerk!
And I’ll ruin my credit,
Cause my bills won’t get paid,
And dishes won’t be done,
‘Till I find me a maid.
I won’t know how to manage,
My time or my life,
Hey, I’ve got an idea…

I’ll get me a wife!

Yeah! I’ll find me a woman,
Where my mother once stood,
And I’ll have her do chores,
Like a good woman should!

I will get me a woman,
Who loves doing chores,
And she’ll make us some babies,

Glamour portrait in blue sunglassesWhen she’s not washing floors! 

That’s my future sweet parents,
So thanks Mom and Dad,
There’s no chores in my future,
But you shouldn’t feel bad.
You have let me off easy,
From that chore list of life,
But – could you make me a copy,
I can give to my wife?


Ohhhhh baby! Now this is no doubt going to irritate a few! But, hey, that’s my job on my blog so go tell a hog. Okay, all seriousness aside. The huge issue we have in America, just one of them anyway, is called “Overindulgence.” It’s when we simply allow too much, buy too much and do too much for our children. The reality is, as a parent you only have one primary job in addition to keeping your kids safe. And that is, being their teacher. But not like the classroom, not by home schooling, none of that.

Dr. Jean Illsley Clarke, author of "How Much is Too Much."

Dr. Jean Illsley Clarke, author of “How Much is Too Much.”

Everything we do as parents should be to help our children learn something. So, that’s why we let them learn to do their own laundry. That’s why we let them learn to cook. That’s why we let them learn what happens when they ignore your advice and get burned, scraped, bruised and humbled once in a while. That’s why we DO let our kids have a cell phone and a credit card. And that’s why when they overspend or abuse that parent-given privilege they do LOSE that phone or credit card until they learn to use them responsibly.  That’s called learning. And yes, it’s uncomfortable.

The most successful adults are usually the ones who learned something about personal responsibility while growing up. And that means, letting kids learn to do chores when they’re young so they don’t make someone else miserable trying to avoid them later in life! That’s why we want kids to learn how credit cards work because that’s how our world works.

If you want to learn more about the issues of “Overindulgence,” I highly recommend you take a course from Dr. Jean Illsley Clarke, parent educator. Also, buy her latest book called, “How Much is Too Much?” Eileen and I have been through Jean’s trainings and we’re certified to teach her programs so I know that of which I speak! Or rhyme. Or both. We’re not perfect parents but I think our adult kids will tell you that we didn’t often overindulge them and they learned a lot. Sometimes, the hard way, but usually a memorable and an effective way.

I don’t mean to sound like a hard ass but I am trying to make a big point in a little space. Overindulgence is not just a problem for families while their kids are growing up, overindulgence is a big problem for those young adults and it can continue for the rest of their lives. So, give your kids some chores.

Check out Jean’s website at

Steve Dahl

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I Shot a Man

Apr 19

You probably think I deserve it,
A life sentence is mine,
I shot a man to death one night,
And now I’m doing time. 
Prison Cell

Prison Cell Image – Courtesy

How could I do this violent thing?
How could I take a life?
I pleaded self defense in court,
I am a beaten wife.
So I ask you now to answer this,
Have you ever been so mad?
That you lost your cool and act a fool,
And did a thing so bad?
“Well yes!” You say, “I threw a book,
But I’m such a lousy shot,
I missed my boyfriend by an inch,
And still feel bad a lot.” 
There’s not much difference between us two,
It’s what anyone might have done,
YOU picked up a book to throw,
But I picked up a gun.  



Anyone of us have the potential to make a life-changing decision that we regret. We are all more alike than we might want to admit. We all have the capacity to do terrible things and wonderful things. This poem was inspired by a true story I heard about that took place during a healing process at a woman’s prison.

Drs. David and Bonnie Paul have been leading a process of self-forgiveness and healing inside California prisons for years. They give me hope for humanity with their important work. Learn more about this process at

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Why Let Them Struggle?

Apr 18

Within his chrysalis,
Pushing and twisting,
He turns and struggles,
Caterpiller knockedoutWith endless persisting.
Slow motion escape,
From his caterpillar prison,
It’s the price he must pay,
For a butterfly’s vision.
But I do not like this,
There must be a way,
To speed up this battle,
And free him today.
If he could break out,
And skip all this work,
Wouldn’t he be happy?
What would it hurt?
What would it hurt?
If I helped him get out?
He could skip all that pain,
Start flying about!
This squirming and fussing,
Is wasting his time,
Crysalis knocked out from wikipediaSo I opened his prison,
And thought he looked fine!
I was waiting and watching,
For wet wings to dry,
For his wings to flash color,
To catch wind and fly!
As I tried to rush him,
To make darkness – light,
I shattered the patience,
Required before flight.
Nothing was happening,
I don’t understand,
Why he ended his struggle,
Lying still in my hand.
He is no longer moving.
Does he know that I cared?
Did he need some more time?
To get more prepared?
I thought I was helping,
His wet wings to spread!
But instead of unfolding,
The chrysalis is dead.
There’s a lesson I guess,
In letting one struggle,
If we don’t let them learn,
We cause them more trouble.
Some struggles will change us,
And some make us cry.
Some struggles will teach us,
How to live – how to fly.

butterflies from hand


Image of chrysalis courtesy

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