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Kids Say Some Unbelievably Funny Things

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Apr 21

Can Parents Have Hobbies?

Can Parents Have Hobbies?

It’s been interesting, over the past few months I have been asked multiple times about my hobbies.  At the same time, I have been in settings where I’ve been able to meet lots of new people and learn about their lives, how their lives are structures and how they are able to manage it all.  I love learning from other people!

In the meantime, one of the things that I really started thinking about is, can parents really have hobbies?

I think the answer is Yes and No.

Yes, parents MUST lead balanced lives.  As as a parent, I have come to understand how much our children observe what we do.  They are sponges!  They soak up everything and are extremely impressionable.  It is amazing what simple behaviors we dismiss or minimize, becomes long-lasting constructs for them.  Long days are the gone, do as I say and not as I do.  It is a reality that we are in the “See it, do it” generation.

Parenting LetterpressParents must have social lives so that children are able to see that modeled in a healthy way.  Parents must prioritize their health.  Parents must find room to laugh.  After all, laughter is medicine. Parents must have healthy friendships. Parents must maintain healthy marriages.  All of this matters!

While at the same time, while children are growing, I believe the most important thing that they need is our time!  Among investing in hobbies that involve dancing, running marathons, date nights, cooking classes, sporting events, networking events, and travel, it must absolutely be a non-negotiable that one of our hobbies as parents be our children.

Picture that – investing time in our children that builds the relationship, creates memories, and inherently provides them with a picture of what healthy fun looks like.

Honestly, I see too many parents who are working so hard to provide “stuff” for their children that they never spend quality time with them.  And based on my experience and exposure, children spell love T.I.M.E.!

So, no – if you are limited on time and are trying to maximize the YOLO theme in your life or feel like you’re not ‘fun’ enough with your personal hobby list, as a parent, delay your own personal gratification and pour your hobby time into your children.

The impact that you’ll be making into the next generation and your own legacy gets magnified and there’s a price that becomes unmatched.

Let’s start a revolution!  Let’s join millions of other parents in listing our children as one of our hobbies.  Our children will appreciate it and our world will too! I’ve got to go now…my wife and kids are waiting on me to play monopoly.

Mar 22

The RAW emotions of the Race Talk

The RAW emotions of the Race Talk

 

RaceTogetherScreenCaptureThe conversation around race and racism is not an easy conversation.  I remember while a Graduate Student at the University of South Carolina, I had the privilege of serving as a Diversity Trainer with S.E.E.D. (Students Empowering and Educating about Diversity).  Among all of the training sessions, conversations, one thing that absolutely stands out in my mind were the raw emotions involved in every single conversation.  Without fail, the presentation would start, the statistics would be quoted, the breakout groups would commence, the questions would get debriefed…and almost without fail, a question would be asked, a follow-up question to that question, and then a turning point.  Working hard to follow the “dialogue rules”, you could feel the temperature of the room change.  The tension would thicken and the emotions would intensify.  Before we’d end, there would be folks who would shut down, others who would cry, and even at some point some who would leave the room.  No matter how you cut it, these were raw emotions.

I thought about these experiences when I read that USA Today and Starbucks had teamed together to create a nationwide discussion around race.

Some debate whether this is effective or not.  I won’t get into that, but I will at least commend them for having the discussion.  Make no mistake about it this was a risky business decision on behalf of both companies.  Very risky!  In light of all that’s taking place over the past twenty four months in our country, it is absolutely a relevant topic and a highly emotional topic.  Simply, I commend them for having it.

I hope you’ll join the conversation.  I hope you’ll think about your own biases and thoughts.  I hope you’ll discover your own raw emotions.  I hope you’ll challenge yourselves and invite others to the table.  Most importantly, I hope you will have the conversation. It’s worth it.

Jan 2

New Year Overload

New Year Overload

Happy New Year! It is already 2015 and we’re only a few days away from saying Happy New Year 2016 – or at least it already feels that way.

The New Year is a great time! In the U.S., it gives some a few more days to breathe without having to run into the office. It’s a sport fans dream as NCAA College Football is in overdrive with bowl games, NFL teams are vying to play for last few playoff spots, NBA teams are now trying to prepare for the home stretch, NCAA basketball is kicking it up for March Madness, the talk is picking back up for hockey, NASCAR, and so on. Shoppers are excited about the New Year retail discounts and foodies are excited about the launch of the new menu items.

Lest we forget there are thousands (maybe millions!) of new themes, declarations, and resolutions. Oh, the gym memberships have increased, the request for list of books to read, music to purchase, places to visit – It’s Endless! Dare I say – it’s OVERLOAD!

Information OverloadOn the last week of the year, I was literally overwhelmed as I read the social media postings, the text messages and emails that I received of people sharing new phrases, new ideas, and thoughts about what the year would bring and be about. The fancy videos done to capture peoples take on what 2015 would reveal. It was – to me – Overload! I am not the anti-resolutions police. I support it! Whatever it takes for people to be inspired in their lives, change for the better, and pursue the best – do it! Vision boards, cue cards, spreadsheets, accountability partners, meet-ups, and technical reminders – do all of that! Whatever it takes! BUT – I also believe that we pile it on, jump on the bandwagons, and leave the ideas of intentional reflection and strategic consideration aside. I honestly think – we have too many options! Sometimes simple is better. Sometimes eliminating the options is the best option. Sometimes having too many options and too many decisions is paralyzing.

So, what did I do? What should you do? I pushed back. I literally pressed pause and starting asking myself the reverse.

 

Instead of adding things to my incomplete 2014 list, what should I evaluate from that list that needed eliminating? What do I need to hit the delete button on? What should I stop doing?

Then the questions starting flowing:
How much clutter have I accumulated?
What can I throw out in each room and in each closet?
How many contacts need to be deleted from my phone?
What apps on my phone should I delete?
What music should I get rid of?
How do I eliminate the time wasters?
What files on my computer need to be deleted or archived?
What goals shouldn’t I attempt for next year?
What conversations should I avoid for next year?
What issues should I resolve not to tackle for next year?

Essentially, here’s the summary of my questions –
1. Have I cleared out the clutter?

In a culture of consumers, we have a lot of stuff! There is now an entire industry that makes billions on storing our stuff. And I’m just talking about the tangible stuff. There are companies now helping us collect our electronic stuff. And then I started wondering, where do we store all of the mental stuff? Often times we don’t write it down – so it’s consuming our minds. Less room for any new or greater thoughts or ideas to come through. Where can you clear out the clutter? Here’s a plan to help get you started – click here.

2. Have I said No as many times as I’ve said Yes?

Every time we say Yes to one thing, we inevitably have to say No to something else. Really simple. Look at what you’ve said Yes to – with your time or your resources or your effort and then evaluate your priorities. What don’t I need to spend money on? Have you said No to something that you should be saying Yes to? Here’s a great video to get you started on the right thought process.

3. Have I created enough margin (room) in my life to grow?

Our calendars and timeslots of jammed packed. Our lives are crammed and our work moves at break-neck speeds. Have we created a system in our lives to slow down at points? Have we made a considerable effort to build in time to breath, reflect, soak in life around us, and build relationships, and so on? All of the stuff that really matters in life cannot always happen when you are on roller skates. Much of it is built as you walk. Are you walking or roller skating? Here’s a great book to get you started. Here’s a great video to watch.

On that note, enjoy 2015! It’s the year for Excellence, Rest, Rejuvenation, Restoration, it’s your year, it’s your hour, your decade. Doggone it – it’s your world! Take the world by storm! Hustle, grind, stay focused! Have fun with your faith! Take it up a notch! Take all of that and then decide – what matters most – what’s your destination – and then – go forward with strategic wisdom on your life’s assignment. Driving in your lane will cause fewer accidents. Happy New Year!

I’m going to be writing more stuff to keep you inspired! I’d love to have you join me on the journey. You can subscribe right here.

Oct 2

You’re More Normal Than You Think

More Normal Than You Think

Parenting, family, and marriage are strange phenomenons.
They are daily mysteries that can’t be ultimately figured out nor are they cases that can be solved once and for all.  They are, in fact, puzzles with imperfectly connected pieces.
Once you get some pieces in place you can sort of see the overall picture, but you better believe that there are still some gaps in the pieces.
I am engaged in it every day.
CJHarris-FamilyFunOne of the greatest epiphanies that I had a few months ago and I sat in my house listening to my kids argue, observing my wife get aggravated about homework, taking notice that the house was just cleaned a few hours ago but was now right back with the usual clutter, all while turning off alerts from our multiple devices that an appointment was 30 minutes away.  Nobody was dressed, the kids hadn’t had a bath, I’d done the grocery shopping but no food was prepared and my daughter was really stressing about WHAT to wear.
I’d just heard one of my favorite communicators share about parenting and had just left a restaurant talking with a friend about his family.
We are NORMAL!
This was a game changer!
Parenting can be very fulfilling and rewarding, while at the same time frustrating and overwhelming.
One minute you are in a rhythm and everything is working like clock-work.  In one moment your system that you thought through is working perfectly.
Marriage is satisfying on one hand and can be very stressful on the other.  You and your spouse can leave the house with a kiss and a smile and well-wishes.  A few emails, meetings, and cups of coffee, along with 2 or 3 quick check-ins and you’re walking in the door working hard to avoid one another.
Family is a blend of unique personalities.  For as many people in your home, that many unique perspectives exists.
Navigating that reality is a circus all alone.
And yet, it’s the thing that motivates you to work, pursue purpose, snap pictures and make videos of.  It’s the thing that you really are most proud of and think about – it is the thing that causes all of society to exist.
And yet in the midst of these tensions – fulfilling/rewarding – frustrating/overwhelming; in rhythm – out of synch; satisfying – stressful; well-wishes – avoidance – one of the things that you must attempt to resolve – you’re probably more normal than you realize.
The real reason that THIS EPIPHANY is a game changer is because most of us, if we’d really be honest, spend alot of our time – trying to BE NORMAL!
I could ask lots of questions here: What’s normal? Who told us that’s normal?…
For many families in my context, for years now The Cosby’s defined normal.
The truth is – you’re already normal.
After a quick anecdotal poll of what’s happening in most ‘normal’ families.
I see:
People who love each other
People who can long to be together
People who can long to be individuals
People who can long to have their own space
People with busy lives
People who have real emotions
People who’s homes aren’t always picture ready
People who’s sinks sometimes contain sinks with yesterday’s dishes
People who fix quick meals and everyone eats in a different part of the house
People who have lots in common
People who are very different in some areas
People who share a common faith
People who struggle with areas of their faith
People who have solid systems and plans in place
People who miss the gaps in their systems and plans
People who juggle a lot
People who enjoy silence
People who clean the house
People who forget to take the garbage out
People who pay their bills
People who forget to pay their bills
People who wear picture perfect outfits and styles
People who put on an already worn suit or clothing item
People who parent without skipping a beat
People who parent and misjudge a situation entirely
People who have assigned chores
People who give passes on the chores
People who give lectures and life lessons
People who avoid hard talks
People who remember everything
People who forget big details
All of this – and then some – is what I see in normal families.
So, take the pressure off, breath a little bit, smile a little, laugh a little…and simply realize – you’re probably more normal than you realize.
Now, quit procrastinating and go clean the house!