Between Guilt and Shame

Mar 23

Knowing this difference,

Will help you get far,

Guilt is behavior,Eye art

While shame’s who you are.


Guilt is forgiven,

You can let go and learn,

While shame simply smolders,

To fester and burn.


So decide on your blunders,

Take a much closer look,

Is it you that’s so stupid,

Or the action you took?


You see guilt’s a great teacher,

But shame just destroys,

Shame lives inside you,

While guilt just annoys.


So let’s be gentle,

And for everyone’s sakes,

Let go of your blunders,

Don’t become your mistakes.


Brene Brown’s courses do one thing for me, consistently. They make me think. They make me think deep. They make me think long. They just make me think. On those days when I’m feeling guilty or shameful I remind myself that I get to define those words. Knowing the difference between shame and guilt doesn’t make either one of them feel a little bit less yet somehow the increased awareness seems like a good thing. Highly recommend the funny, blunt, and effective Brene Brown.

By the way that amazing eyeball art? I don’t feel a bit guilty that I painted it.

Steve Dahl

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Leave This Teen Alone!

Dec 24

Leave me alone,
Get off of my case,
I’m over 16,
Get out of my face!Poetry about a bully teen

Leave me alone,
But let me be clear,
I welcome some freedom,
But don’t disappear.

Leave me alone,
But please not tonight,
I’m calling from jail,
I’ve been in a fight.

Leave me alone,
And I’ll die in this place,
Can’t you see fear,
All over my face?

Leave me alone,
But please don’t forget,
I look like a man,
But I’m not a man yet.

Leave me alone,
But please mom and dad,
I need my parents,
Before things get bad.

Leave me alone,
But please keep me close,
These are the years,
I need you the most.



From a teen’s point of view, they want freedom but not abandonment. How many parents see our growing kids as adults once they look like an adult? How many of us let our teens have everything their way once they turn 16? How many of us think our teens just need to “figure it out.” Teens might want their freedom but they need discipline. They need guidance. They need parents.

Fact is, a young adult mind is not fully developed until somewhere past the age of 25. We can give them freedom but we can’t give them up. Keep them close. Our job as a parent is not to be out children’s buddies but to be our children’s teacher.

Okay, sounds a bit like a preach session here but this is important. So are  our kids. Just be there.

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Poetic Jealousy

Aug 16

The guy is amazing,
A best-selling poet,
He’s popular and –
Of course we all know it!Author of boring rhymes

 We’re impressed by his style,
Of rhyming a lot,
But what the guy says,
Just doesn’t mean squat!

You should see all the books,
This author has written,
He sells them online,
From Japan to Great Britain.

He’s sold more than most,
Of poets in history,
Yet, what the guy says,
Remains a big mystery.

I don’t understand his,
Audience rapture,
He bores me to death,
Each tedious chapter.Boring Rhymes Reader image

But people still love his,
Rhyming editions,
Of page after page of,
Dull compositions.

His books do not move me,
To change what I do,
They sure don’t inspire,
Or challenge my view.

But one thing’s for certain
On this – I’m quite zealous,
His words make it clear,
That I’m totally jealous!


A New Kind of Poetry is all about inspiration. And, a little perspiration. I recently read Harry Baker’s poetic book – The Sunshine Kid. A friend gave it to me to read after we watched his Ted Talk poetic presentation. Here it is:

I thoroughly enjoyed his Ted Talk and his book was good but not as great as him live. And it got me to thinking – how easy it is for me to judge others for their efforts, while not lifting a finger. All of us are critics yet most of us don’t take the plunge to do what those we criticize have even done! Hence, the self-reflective poetic probe above. What are you critiquing that you haven’t done yourself?

I’m not really criticizing Harry Baker’s book in the piece above, as much as I am reflecting on myself. His book isn’t boring but there are many a book out there that are, but at least those authors have a book! They gave it their best shot!

Steve Dahl



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The Straight Truth About Gay Marriage

Jun 26

Has marriage gone crazy?
There are people in bed,
Who don’t share our values,Portrait of a Gay Couple
And should never be wed!
All this gay stuff is silly,
Lesbians are too,
We must fight for our marriage,
And stop what they do!
You see marriage is sacred,
Not a “Play” we call “Rent”,
It is sacred quite often,
(Well ‘bout 50 percent!)
But while murders continue,
And wars scorch this earth,
We must stop this gay marriage,
Or what is life worth?
All this fighting and killing,
We should really ignore,
Stopping gays from committing,
Is what we live for!
But wait… Are you kidding me?
There’s starvation and depression,
Is there something I’ve missed?
Why’s stopping gay marriage,
At the top of the list?
We have poverty and violence,
The most terrible you’ll find,
Gay marriage an issue?
Are you out of your mind?
These priorities I question,
And traditional ways,
Hetero myself,
I don’t worry about gays.
There’s much more to worry ‘bout,
Bigger fish we could fry,
All this hatred ‘bout love,
Well it should make you cry.
Priorities are mixed up,
I mean mixed up a lot,
When it’s love and commitment,
Give the gay guys a shot!

 Steve Dahl

Hey, if marriage is so sacred how come so many religious fanatics get divorced? I’m just sayin’. Given the recent supreme court decision on gay marriage, can we move on to something important now?

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When Black or White Kids Die – The Lessons of Ferguson

Jun 08

A black man kills a white man,
A white man kills a black,
This cycle just continues,
Is there no turning back?
Black and White Violence in Ferguson

Black and White Violence in Ferguson – Illustration by Elliot Dahl 

The news will cover this one,
Yet let another slide,
Opinion polls will drive us,
To choose a colored side.
Our hearts will ache regardless,
The colors of our skin,
We justify our anger,
And locate next of kin.
Black mothers mourn, white ones sob,
When black or white kids die,
Who’s right or wrong? 
God only knows.
But still I wonder why…
It’s all so tragic – undeserved,
But is it black and white?
When will we learn the time has come,
To finally end this fight?

Of the 1,235 murders that took place in the United States last month, how many of them garnered national media attention? Shouldn’t they all? Weren’t they all part of someone’s racist, biased, fear-based, greed-driven decision to take something from another, control another, or destroy another? Why do some stories get tons of media attention as “hate crimes” or “another meaningless murder” while others go virtually unnoticed? Aren’t they all hate crime? Aren’t they all meaningless?

The only way this will ever stop or even slow down the rate of violence in America is by teaching our families and ourselves the importance of respect, forgiveness, communication, and tolerance. Who will you forgive today? How can you show more respect? In what areas of your life could you be more tolerant? Where could your communication skills use improvement?

Let’s NOT unite against police brutality. Let’s NOT unite against black on white crime. Let’s just unite… as people.


Steve Dahl


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Money Doesn’t Grow on me!

Aug 20

Money doesn’t grow on trees – I said,
And my son looked so confused.
“What does that mean?” he said to me,
That’s when I blew my fuse.Grouchy boy

If I give in and give you cash,
We know how fast you’ll burn it,
If I say “no” you’ll have to think,
And maybe you’ll go earn it.
Yes you’ll be mad at stingy Dad,
Your friends will call me crazy,
But we both know when I say “Yes”,
It tends to make you lazy.
So this hurts inside as I stare you down,
You’re abhorred at my defiance,
But I don’t give in, it’s my job you see,
To teach you – self-reliance.
See I’m your father, not your friend,
And at times I do get – wordy,
But you need to learn this money thing,
So you don’t move home at thirty.
Believe me, I was not the perfect parent. But looking back on what it took to get our children to that point of self-reliance I think it was a little luck, a great partnership with a wife using the same playbook as I was and the ability to say no. I believe our first and most important job as a parent is teaching.
When we have the courage to say no when we need to – with a loving heart of course and when we know how to be a better teacher than a best friend to a child that desperately needs to learn life skills, our children will learn to be become not just financially responsible but responsible in all areas of their lives.
But, wait a second, let me amend one of those comments. It’s not just a parent’s courage to say “No!” it’s really more about saying, “What’s your plan?”  “Sure you can do that, sure you can buy that, sure you can… AND what’s your plan?”
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