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Thinking back on my life, I had a good childhood. We were a happy family of four...mom, dad, and...my little sister. My sister, Sarah, is 5 years younger than me and we had some wild times. When I was about 12 years old, Sarah and I were playing around when we got into a fight over a large rubber bouncy ball. This wasn't the small bouncy ball, it was the super-deluxe version. You might remember the type. It was about 2 inches in diameter and had some weight to it.

Looking back, I don't remember what started the fight, but it quickly escalated as these things usually do. I knew better than to hurt my sister because my dad had engrained into me that if I ever hurt her, or even threatened her, I would be in big trouble.

On this day, I think I forgot all the rules. Angry, I took off after her, chasing her through the house. Our house had one of those islands in the kitchen and I found myself chasing her around and around this dumb island. One time around the island she made a break for her room toward the other end of the house down a long hallway. I realized I wouldn't catch her before she went into the room. I stopped, took aim, and threw that rubber bouncy ball at her as hard as I could.

It couldn't have been any closer. She had opened her door, and as she closed it, the ball hit the door...right about where her head had been. It put an indention in the door which I am sure is there to this day. There was no denying the evidence that I had intended to harm my sister. Boy, I sure got in trouble for that one. Luckily, she didn't get hurt that day.

As I reflect on those events, I am reminded how anger can affect us. Anger, if left unchecked, can be a poison in our lives. Think about the news that invades us every day. The FBI released some statistics on homicides. In 1994 there were 23,305 homicides, a 22% increase from 1985. The notion that the increase was from gang and drug violence is a myth. In 1994 the most common reason for homicide was an argument, representing 28% of all homicides, most occurring at home. The FBI report states that drug and gang killing accounted for only 7% and .6% respectively.

Anger can destroy us. We cannot let anger wiggle its way into our lives or else we will be eat up with it. There are two things we need to do when we start to become angry with people. First, we need to reconcile. Whatever the problem is, recognize it and resolve it. We cannot help the way people react to our efforts, but we can help the effort we make. The second thing we should do is settle it quickly. If we allow the seed of anger to grow, it will consume us. We must do whatever it takes to resolve the problem.

If we will do these things, we will find that relationships in our personal lives as well as the relationships we build in our work place will be much better. Not only that, but we will be healthier and happier. Don't let anger control the way you live, take control of anger and enjoy the benefits of living without anger in your life.

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HLC  It was a hot, humid, August day in Hobbs, NM. I can still remember the football practice that left my 8 year old      body ready to give up. I was tired, it was hot, and I was done. On the ride home I told my dad that I was through with football (which I'm sure didn't make him too happy, avid football fan that he is). I'll never forget how he responded. He didn't chastise me, or tell me how disappointed he was, he simply told me he thought I should stick with it a little while longer. "I don't think you should quit," he said, "I think you should finish this year out" he continued. "I know you're not a quitter.

I didn't realize it at the time, but he was teaching me how to persevere. He was teaching me the importance of not quitting. That is a lesson that has grown with me all of my life, and now I am the one issuing the advice. As a pastor, leader, friend, and father, if the opportunity comes up, I let people know the importance of perseverance.

Teaching me not to give up wasn't the only thing I learned from my dad. The list is probably too long to write here, but he taught me many things...from tying knots in a rope, to walking a dog, to changing a flat tire. These are things that I, in turn, have learned to teach others.

Father's day is coming up, and that has really got me to thinking about my dad. I know that not everyone still has their father around, but I don't think the point is to focus on that. We all have a circle of influence. We all have people in our lives that look up to us and seek advice from us. There are also those to whom we look for counsel ourselves. You may not be a father, or even still have your father, so this Father's day let's not only celebrate our Father's, but also those who have influenced our lives in a profound way. Let's also remember that we may never know whose life we have had an impact on.

I'm not sure who has been your mentor, or who you have mentored, but my hope is that you will remember them on Father's day!

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I’ve done some crazy things in my life. I can remember one day some friends and I were riding our bikes when I was about 10. We were having a great time riding trails through the brush, tadalafil splashing through puddles, finding anything we could make a ramp out of...all the things that boys love to do. We happened upon a trail that led to a large hill. We thought we had struck gold. We would go to the top of the hill and ride down as fast as we could toward a ramp at the bottom of the hill. The ramp was no more than a pile of dirt, but to us it was a dream.

We started out just coasting down the hill. We could pick up some pretty good speed for the ensuing launch off our little dirt pile at the bottom, but soon that wasn’t enough. We began to pedal down the hill to get more speed. With each pass, we goaded each other into going faster and jumping higher. That is when we spotted it. On the hill, down a little from where we were, was a ramp (dirt pile) in the middle of the hill. It was larger than the one at the bottom we had been playing on. It looked quite daunting.

At first, no one mentioned it, but it didn’t take long until we were asking each other who was brave enough to take it on. It seemed as if I became the fall guy. All at once, everyone began pressuring me to take the risk. Terms like, “I dare you,” and “what are you, Chicken?” Began to come my way. Finally I agreed to take the risk. With visions of grandeur I lined up with the jump and started down. When I got to this mound of dirt, I tried to jump it with everything I had. What ensued was anything but glorious.

I had what I’m sure was the most glorious wipe out in bicycle history. I landed on the front wheel and went head over heels down the rest of the hill. When I came to rest at the bottom, the bicycle was on top of me and I thought I had died. I was in so much pain. It was in that moment that I realized that listening to my peers isn’t always a good idea.

We have heard many times not to be the victim of negative peer pressure. I have learned that we have to stand up for what is right. If I would have listened to my gut that day, I would have avoided much pain. I knew taking that jump wasn’t a good idea, but my friends got the best of me. I would guess that many of you reading this today have also been the recipient of bad advice from your peers. Standing up for what you know is right is sometimes tough, but always necessary. If we learn to do that, we might avoid the pain of a crash and burn in our lives. My encouragement to you today is to stand up for what is right. It might not always be easy, but who knows what pain might be avoided if you take the high road.

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CalvaryMentorI'm not sure when it happens, but it seems that our kids go through different stages. First, we have to carry them everywhere because they can't walk. After they learn to walk, they want to walk everywhere. Sometime after that, they want to be carried again. And it seems that finally sometime later they want to walk again. Last year we went to the Texas state fair. My oldest daughter, Morgan, is 5 years old and was in the last stage of this progression when we went. She didn't want to be carried, she wanted to show everyone that she was a big girl. She wanted to walk everywhere because she's not a baby anymore and she can ride the big rides and do the big kid things.

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