As a man you were born a leader by nature. You are a hunter and gather by birth. You cannot change that, nor can you escape that. A mighty warrior called to leave a mark on the world by leaving the best piece of you behind and sacrifice everything to accomplish that mission. You have been tasked to fend off all things that will bring harm or ill will to you and yours. At all costs. But your greatest enemy is you.

There is an old Indian tale of a Grandfather sitting around the fire with his Grandson telling him of the two wolves that live within every man and are constantly at war with each other.

One wolf is a dark soul, vicious, evil, wicked, hateful, spiteful, full of ego and envy, who wreaks havoc and destruction to everyone and everything he encounters. He is selfish and mean to others. He only cares for himself. He lives to hurt you. He has no feelings.

The other is a wolf of the light. He is kind, but he is not weak. Strong, yet gentle. Mighty, but humble. We respect him because he is respectable. He listens first, and he judges not. He strives to be the best for him, for you. He leads by example and forgives easily.

The Grandson asks the Grandfather “Grandfather, which wolf wins the war?”. To which the Grandfather replies” whichever one you feed the most”.

As men, it’s during our upbringing that we develop, or don’t, the skills and confidence to lead. Knowing what to do is easy, you just ask someone who is a successful leader in your inner circle. Finding information is easy. It is finding the will to change your life that’s difficult.

Asking for help is one of the most difficult things any man can do. That’s why we don’t ask for directions and drive around for hours or go to the store across town and come home with the wrong item. We don’t ask because we don’t want to seem dumb or incapable.

I once had a coworker who I assigned a task to. In my mind, it was a relatively simple task. I explained it to him in detail, asked him if he understood what it was, I wanted to which he said, yes. I left him with the task and went onto my merry way. Not five minutes later I could hear him cussing across the room, so I went to see what was happening. He informed me he didn’t understand what I had said but did not ask for clarification. When I asked him why he didn’t ask for clarification he replied, “Because I didn’t want to look stupid”.

That how we are as men. When we don’t understand something and don’t ask for clarification, we usually wind up looking stupid. How often has your wife said something that you didn’t understand and didn’t ask for clarification on that you wound up looking stupid over? My guess is more than once.

A very dear friend of mine gave me some much-headed advice. He said, “in any relationship someone will misunderstand you, or you will misunderstand. The trick is to figure out which one it is”.

We don’t ask because we don’t want to look stupid, and yet we wind up looking stupid.


Being a leader of your family is one of the greatest responsibilities you will ever have. Here are some examples of what an outstanding leader looks like that we will dig into to help you become one (Im not giving up on you so keep going).

  • Listen Intending to Hear

You have two ears and only one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. When you listen, listen. Men think of what to say next and miss what is being said. Stop it.

  • Make Eye Contact

When you are speaking with your wife or your children make eye contact. Look them straight into the eyes and don’t look away. Direct eye contact is the surest way to let someone know that you have their full attention and that what they have to say is important to you. This also builds trust.

  • Be Present

Work will always be there. Social media is not being social. Sports are just games. As men we are task orientated. We fall into this trap that work is necessary to buy what’s needed for your wife or the family. What she and they really want is you, all of you.

  • Make an Effort

Pick up the vacuum, wash the dishes, bath the kids, make dinner plans, and surprise her with it, arrange a babysitter, show up at her work with flowers just because, just get off the couch! Do it without being asked. Showing her, you see her; you value her, showing her, you appreciate her will pay dividends for days, weeks, months, even years if done right. Do it with no expectations because any act of kindness with an expectation is not a gift, it’s a bribe.

  • Make Decisions

The biggest complaint I hear from women is that they must make all the decisions in the relationship. Everything from where you eat to what the kids wear. The male ego stops us from deciding because of the false premise that we don’t want to look stupid by making the wrong decision. You make wrong decisions every day, at work, on the road to work, etc. decide, own it, and live with it. It gets easier as you go.

  • Stay Humble

As we get older, we lose a step. There is nothing worse than an ego-driven male who thinks he is all that and a bag of chips but doesn’t know he isn’t. Allow others to receive credit. Give credit where credit is due. Say thank you. Give people a break. Show her you can rise above every situation without needing to receive the credit. Leaders, genuine leaders, take the brunt of the failure, yet give credit to others for the success. And remember, your child’s accomplishments are their accomplishments and have nothing to do with you.

  • Communicate

Communication creates intimacy in any relationship. Intimacy creates trust. Turn off the TV, turn to her and ask her how her day was. Then shut up and listen. When she has a problem, take you Mr. Fix-it hat off, ask her what’s wrong, and just listen. Stop offering advice unless she asks for it. Women value being heard, so hear what she has to say. Digest it. She’s not attacking you; she’s venting. Let her. Be her safe place that she can go to when she’s feeling hurt, sad, worried, or scared.

  • Give her Security

Storms in life will come, you can count on it. When they do, she needs to feel secure in you, in the us in the we of your relationships. Men are rational creatures; women are emotional creatures. They created us that way. It’s the perfect balance. When the emotional storms in life have her down, she needs a solid, safe harbor in you. Too many men today crumble when things get tough. Be strong, but gentle. Mighty, but humble. Listen first, speak second. Assure her it will be all right and do whatever it takes to help her.

  • Cherish Her

Sadly, most men take better care of their cars than they do their relationships. Women need to feel cherished. They need to have their light recharged. Don’t tell her only but show her. Show her in your actions, then tell her in your words, with random acts of kindness. It will make her feel more valuable than anything in the world to you.

  • Lead by Example

A leader who gets to the top of the hill and is alone is not a leader. He was just a man on a walk. To lead a family, you must convince them to follow you. To convince them, they must trust you. They will learn to trust you by seeing you consistently acting a certain way. If you want people in your family to be kind, be kind. If you want people to be forgiving in your family, be forgiving. If you want people to live a life of integrity, live a life of integrity. Do it because it’s for the right reason. Don’t expect a reward, a trophy, big kudos. Let them learn through osmosis. They will model your example.

  • Be the Leader, not the Boss

Often, as men, we can become the bully who acts like a boss. A boss has demands. My way or the highway. This will not create admiration, devotion, loyalty, or respect. It only breeds contempt. A leader must convince those who he leads to follow. He must have a plan. He must share the plan with those who he leads. And we must have buy in from those who we lead. Each person must have a say in the plan. People will do things better, more eagerly, and with more enthusiasm if they have buy in. People must believe in the leader first, and the cause second.


How to Ask for Advice

Advice is easy to get. Just ask the guy who is just as miserable as you are standing next to you and he will tell you exactly what to do. The problem with that is he doesn’t know either. So, what’s a guy to do?

Advice on your relationship must only come from another man unless the advice is coming from a professional counselor in a professional setting, meaning you are paying for the advice. If you violate this rule, you stand the chance of allowing the “appearance of inappropriate behavior” in your relationship. The easiest way to cause your partner to not trust you is to share private moments with another woman outside of a professional setting.

The opposite is also true for her. Women should not share private moments with another man for the same reasons, but that’s another book.


The best advice I ever received was on how to discern excellent advice from terrible advice for getting advice on my relationships. There are six levels of accomplishment in any man’s life that must be in excellent condition for me to heed his advice. Here is what they are.

  1. His Relationship Must be Rock Solid

The way to verify this is to look at his wife and how she responds to him in public when no one is watching. Some couples have grown accustom to putting on a “face” in public for all to see and let down their guard when no one is looking. If his wife is showing she is deeply in Love and has that “that’s my man” face on’ his advice on relationships is worth listening to. Remember, just because they have married for a long time is not the only or major area of credibility in his advice. I know couples who have been together for an exceptionally long time and are just roommates.


  1. His Finances Must be in Good Order

The number two cause for divorce today, according to, is money.[1] Next to infidelity, money issues are the number one cause for relationships falling apart. Ill give you a hint, it’s not from having too much money and fighting over where to spend it. It comes from having less than your lifestyle requires. The delicate balance of living within your means, for some, can be one of the greatest challenges you will face as a couple. Having a strong financial plan, and sticking to it, will ensure your survival as a couple, so the advice you are given must be from someone who has figured this out and sticks to the plan.


  1. His Kids Need to be Good People

Children reflect the values we raise them in. If two people have children and have little or no time to guide them into becoming the person, we destine them to be, the result is usually less than favorable for the future of some children. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[2] parents spend 2.14 hours per day caring for and helping children in the household. When you consider an average day starting at 6:00 AM and ending between 7:00-9:00 PM which is between thirteen and fifteen hours in the average day 2.14 hours isn’t a lot of time to help shape the development of the child. Any father who makes his children a priority shows that his advice is worth listening to.


  1. His Home Must Be in Order

As humans, we all struggle with taking the path of least resistance. It is our nature. When I visit someone’s home and I see it is in disarray, weeds everywhere, clothes on the floor in piles, dishes piled up everywhere, it shows slothfulness. Im not saying you must have everything perfect, but I am saying you must have everything clean. Children model what they grow up in as they develop. As men we are responsible for the home. It is our job to choose the right home for our family situation. If it’s too big to take care of because of life’s requirements, it is our responsibility the change it to something that is manageable.


  1. His Faith Must Be in Order

Any man who claims he is a man of faith must prove it by his actions, not only his words. Many people seek advice from friends of their faith concerning their relationships. I once had a neighbor who hosted couples bible studies who I admired for it until one day I worked with him. During work hours it was impossible to distinguish him from any other foul-mouthed man. If you are taking advice from a man of faith, he must walk the talk, not just talk the talk. Especially when no one is looking.


  1. He Must Be Involved with The Community

A leader worth following is a leader worth listening to. Leaders give back. They get involved as a way of showing gratitude for the blessing they receive. They see needs and they fill it. Im not talking about being a little league coach, although that is very admirable. Being involved without having a personal stake in it, say promoting my child to achieve something I never did as a child for personal reasons, is a quality that is worth admiring. The best examples are those men who get involved and involve their entire family because they teach them the importance of giving back.


As i said earlier, they must meet all six categories for the advice to be worth following. The worst advice is poor advice. Holding those we listen to higher standards will raise our own standards and cause us to rise higher as we lead our families.

You might also like this article.

RELATIONSHIPS✵Are Not About Sex ~ They’re About You


[1] 10 Most Common Reasons for Divorce/ Shellie Warren/ Updated: 8 Jun, 2020/ 08/18/2020/

[2] Average hours per day parents spent caring for and helping household children as their main activity/ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics/accessed 08/18/2020/

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You Matter, even if you don’t think so


Joseph Binning
Subject: Happiness Is A Choice

Dear Friend,

Happiness is something we all strive for. Nobody wants to be miserable. Yet, we oftentimes get in our own way when it comes to being happy.

Did you know there is a difference between feeling happy and being truly happy? It’s true. There are things that can make you feel happy, temporarily. An alcoholic drink, a shopping trip and so forth. But to be truly happy, you must feel it from within, without those instant gratification items.

If you are not feeling true happiness. If you’re relying on someone else to make you happy, you need to grab my book.

Inside you’ll learn:

  •  How we make our lives hard by not choosing happiness

  •  Techniques for being more positive

  •  How to take responsibility for your own happiness

  •  How to stop relying on others to make you happy

  •  How to love without attachment

  • ….and More!





You Matter, even if you don’t think so

Simply follow the link and start the journey today!

Amazon You Matter, even if you don’t think so

If you are tired of being miserable and want more happiness in your life, get started right now. Just follow the link and get started living the life you were meant to live. Your new life starts today!

Here’s to Your Success,
Joseph Binning

Happiness Is A Choice

Copyright © All Rights Reserved.

Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past
Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past

Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past


“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

– Plato


We are all blessed in life because no matter how bad we do, life always gives us a chance to do a do over every January 1st. But in order to create a new beginning, we must say goodbye to our past. We are not to ignore it or deny it, but we are to learn from it if we want a new beginning.

Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past

Life is a journey with many roads they ask us to travel. Some roads are good, fine, and healthy. Some roads are dark, dangerous, and harmful to us and sometimes those around us.

If we do not take the time needed to reflect on our past, it dooms us to repeat it. That’s how life is. We are here to learn. Our mistakes teach us what does not work, and our successes teach us what will.


Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past
If we do not take the time needed to reflect on our past, it dooms us to repeat it.


Every year we celebrate New Year’s eve with parties and festivities. We celebrate the hope of a new beginning. A fresh start. A chance to right the wrongs, make things right, or to just plain old do better.

What we don’t do enough is take time during these moments to reflect on the road taken. We are told to stand on our story of our life, but not stand in it. It’s perfectly fine to visit the past so you can learn from it, just don’t stay there for any length of time.


“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”

― Brad Paisley


Take the time to do three things. Reflect, Identify, and Learn.


  • Take time that you set aside and schedule for yourself to sit and be still. Turn off the phone. Eliminate the possibility of distractions by being in a space that allows you to feel safe and comfortable.
  • Identify:

Reflect on the past year. Don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes and don’t over celebrate with the victories. Just review it in your mind. Don’t relive it! Just note it. Pay close attention to what served you and what didn’t.

  • Learn:

Learning from our mistakes is the best way to prevent from making them again. If you stick your hand into the fire and didn’t learn, it will burn your chances are you will get burned again. This exercise will prevent that.



“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

― Benjamin Franklin


Imagine someone walking down the street with ten large bags on their shoulders.

They would move slower than if they did not have them.

They could not go in some directions because of them.

When we do not learn from our past and release the hold they have on us, we prevent forward momentum in life. Some opportunities would not present themselves or not be accessible because of what we carry from the past.

With every New Year comes new opportunities. New adventures. New chances and new choices. Don’t let the past make you go down the same road repeatedly. Allow the past to be behind you and do not allow it to block your forward momentum. Allow it to die so your new life can begin.


Every New Beginning Is Born by The Death of The Past
With every New Year comes new opportunities. New adventures. New chances and new choices.




If you have enjoyed this article, please visit me at for more helpful tips and articles.

You can also get more helpful information in my book You Matter, even if you don’t think so which you can purchase on Amazon here Amazon You Matter, even if you don’t think so

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Remember: Happiness is a choice, so be happy.

Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow

Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow
Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow

Everyone has a past, some good, some bad. We call it the past because it is behind us, in the distance. History teaches us that if we cannot reflect on our past, it destines us to repeat it. As we enter this new season of our lives, it is always good to take a moment and reflect on it because Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow.

“Time never tires of running,”

-Amad (The great Egyptian poet)

With a new year comes new opportunities. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to serve others. Opportunities to create a better existence for ourselves, our Loved ones, and the world.

With a new year come new challenges. Challenges to us personally. Challenges to our families. Challenges to our tribe. Challenges to our world as we know it.

But we, as people of humanity, can face these challenges and overcome them. We have the power within us collectively and individually to overcome any obstacle that life puts in front of us, no matter the circumstance.

As long as people of humanity have existed, wrongs have happened. We have carried injustices out. Some in the name of progress, some in the name of greed, and some in seek of power.

In order to overcome our past and prevent from making the same mistakes, we, as people of humanity, must reflect and take an honest look at ourselves individually in order to prevent the past from reoccurring in our future.

Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow
Reflecting on the past does not mean standing in it, it means standing on it.

Merriam-Webster defines reflection as:

Reflection noun

: a thought, idea, or opinion formed, or a remark made because of meditation[1]


“Study the past if you would define the future.”


Reflecting on the past does not mean standing in it, it means standing on it. Your past does not make you who you are, it merely makes you where you are. Reflecting on it is how we do not repeat it. We all have made mistakes; we all know that. But if we are to move forward into a bright new era, we must reflect on what did not serve us and change it.

In the definition above, we should take special not to the instructions given:

a thought, idea, or opinion formed…

because of meditation

In order to change the way life has been will require humanity, starting with ourselves, to think different thoughts. Thoughts lead to emotions. Emotions lead to ideas. Ideas lead to action. Action leads to change.

Reflection should start with ourselves first. In this fast-paced society, we now live in a time where spending time alone without distractions is exceedingly difficult for us. We have grown accustomed to the distractions. Some would say addicted to them.

Timothy Wilson, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and colleagues, conducted a test and recruited hundreds of undergraduates and community volunteers to take part in “thinking periods.”

The results were shocking. When given the choice of being shocked by pushing a button while being left alone by themselves or not, 67% of males, and 25% of women shocked themselves because they could not entertain themselves with cell phones and outside distractions removed for the environment there were in.[2]

Arabic Proverbs: Mafish Halawa Min Gheir Nar:

Translation: There is no sweetness without fire.

Meaning: Nothing good comes easy.

Self-reflection is difficult, especially with outside distractions. My suggestion is to start slowly. Go for a small walk and do not look at your phone. Extend the time until you get comfortable without it for a short while.

When you are ready, start reflecting. Reflecting on the past should be constructive, with no judgements or guilt attached.

Your past does not make you who you are, only where you are.

-Joseph Binning, author

Reflecting on the past does not mean standing in it, it means standing on it.
Reflecting on the past should be constructive, with no judgements or guilt attached.

Start with the old self. Reflect on:

  • Mistakes and patterns from the past and how they served you or didn’t.
  • Your attitude towards life and those around you.
  • Your spirt and how you nurtured it or didn’t.
  • Your strengths and victories and how they served you or didn’t.
  • Your weakness and defeats and what can be learned from them.
  • Your attitude overall and how it served you or didn’t.

Next reflect on your Spirit. Reflect on:

  • Your belief system. Did it serve you or not?
  • Your open mindedness or lack of. Did it serve you or not?
  • Did you feel centered and connected to your source or not?
  • Did you test all things or take it on faith they were your truth?

Next reflect on your family. Reflect on:

  • Did you lead them to help them grow or not?
  • Were you kind and did you protect them from yourself or not?
  • Did you put them first or not?
  • Did you serve them or not?

Next reflect on your new self. Reflect on:

  • What can you change to make yourself a better person for you?
  • How can you show yourself more self-Love in order to Love better?
  • How can you empower yourself in order to empower others better?
  • How can you be humbler in order to show others more humility?

Next reflect on the future. Reflect on:

  • Reflect on learning to leave the past behind you in order to protect today.
  • Reflect and envision the feats and memories you want to create in your future.
  • Reflect on how you can help more people outside of your tribe.
  • Reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind.


“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”


History will repeat itself unless we acknowledge our past. We need not stand in it, but on it. Stand on your story, not in it. By learning to be still long enough for your inner voice to speak to you, so you might hear what it has to say that will make your tomorrow a brighter day. Therefore Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow.

Reflecting on the past should be constructive, with no judgements or guilt attached.
History will repeat itself unless we acknowledge our past.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

-Babe Ruth


I’ve written another article that you might like. You can read it here:



If you have enjoyed this article, please visit me at for more helpful tips and articles.

You can also get more helpful information in my book You Matter, even if you don’t think so which you can purchase on Amazon here Amazon You Matter, even if you don’t think so

For my free report Happiness Is A Choice click here: Happiness Is A Choice Free Report

Remember: Happiness is a choice, so be happy.

You Matter, even if you don't think so by Joseph Binning
You Matter, even if you don’t think so by Joseph Binning

[1] Reflection definition/ 11/19/2020/

[2] People would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts/ Nadia Whitehead/ Jul. 3, 2014, 2:00 PM/accessed 11/

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From: Joseph Binning
Date: 09/23/2020
Subject: Happiness Is A Choice

happiness is a choice

Dear Friend,

Happiness is something we all strive for. Nobody wants to be miserable. Yet, we oftentimes get in our own way when it comes to being happy.

Did you know there is a difference between feeling happy and being truly happy? It’s true. There are things that can make you feel happy, temporarily. An alcoholic drink, a shopping trip and so forth. But to be truly happy, you must feel it from within, without those instant gratification items.

If you are not feeling true happiness. If you’re relying on someone else to make you happy, you need to grab this free report pack.

Sign up today and you’ll Learn:

blankHow we make our lives hard by not choosing happiness

blankTechniques for being more positive

blankHow to take responsibility for your own happiness

blankHow to love without attachment

blank…and More!

You’ll also receive:

blankA 365-day planner so you can keep track of your progress

Claim Your Free Access: 

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If you are tired of being miserable and want more happiness in your life, get signed up right now. Just enter your first name and email address above to get your guide. It’s absolutely free.

Here’s to Your Success,

Joseph Binning


Copyright © All Rights Reserved.

This writing is in memory of my Father, who—without knowing it— helped make me the man I am today.

When I was a young boy, my father seemed bigger than life, like most fathers seem to young sons. I looked at him in the same way that I imagine my son Jeremiah looked at me at that age—the Superhero—the towering giant who can fix anything, do anything, and make anything seem better than it is.  We see what we want to see, until we don’t.

Life took him away from me very early in my life, so we never got to have the kinds of deep conversations that my son and I have had. We never shared a beer together. We never ran a half marathon together, never traveled the world together, never went camping, never attended baseball or football games together.  My memories of him are very few, but I have one that will never fade.

I was about seven years old, and we were returning home from somewhere.  We were laughing when he pulled into the driveway. He was good at making me laugh. As we got out, and I looked at him over the roof of the car, all I could see was his head. My superhero dad seemed so small, with only a head and no body.  As I chuckled, I slammed the car door shut with my thumb still in the door.

Screaming at the top of my lungs, crying for him to fix it, I stood frozen, unable to move. What he did next remains forever etched in my mind.

Calmly and gently, but firmly, my father said, “JOSEPH — OPEN THE DOOR.”

At that point in my seven-year life, I had fallen, bumped, smashed, crashed, and broken quite a few objects and body parts.  On those occasions when I’d hurt myself, I’d had seen the alarm in his eyes, sometimes panic.  This time it was different.  His eyes were still, quiet, and wise, as if he knew that he was passing down an important lesson, from a father to his son.

Life guarantees that things will go wrong and we’ll get hurt. Sometimes in those moments, we freeze or panic. The lesson that my father taught me that day is, when those things happen, get calm, breathe—and OPEN THE DOOR. 

My dad reminded me that I have the knowledge, the ability, and the strength to handle the situation. So, I did, I opened the door and I was free. Afterward, he walked me in the house, put my thumb on ice, and did what a good dad does, gave me a bowl of ice cream.  Then, we went to the doctor.  The thumb nail eventually fell off and, to this day, a small section on my left thumb nail doesn’t grow.  That’s just fine with me. When I feel stuck, it’s my reminder to get calm, breathe, and OPEN THE DOOR.

Thanks Dad. 

I was conceived by two people who Loved each other enough to deliver my brother and me into the world and create a family.  Out of his sons, I was my father’s favorite.  As it turned out, he and my mother discovered that they weren’t right for each other and chose separate paths.  It’s a very familiar story. Some in my family have suggested that my father was not equipped, not in the state of mind to be the best example for me. I’ll never know. He took the divorce very hard and was not allowed to see us after they separated.  My last memories of him were watching him sit in his car crying outside of our house.  Without my superhero father, I felt alone.


We moved every year.  My mother struggled alone on a secretary’s salary to raise two boys in Los Angeles, California.  Most landlords wouldn’t allow us to renew the lease, since most months we were late with rent. My brother and I never knew about that—her way of protecting us.


Being the new kid meant you were bullied—unless the other kids thought you were crazy—in which case, they’d leave you alone. I learned early on to pick a fight with the biggest kid on the playground on the first day of school, even if I’d get pulverized, which was the case a fair amount of the time, and the other kids would leave you alone.


I ran away from home a few times. I thought, If I could just find my dad then everything would be alright. I hadn’t yet been told that he was dead.

The cause listed on his death certificate I would later find was suicide.

Alcohol and sleeping pills were apparently somewhat common during that era.  I found out three years after he died, when I was in ninth grade—again, my mother’s way of protecting us.


Although I was a decent student—passing my freshman year with a B+ average—I didn’t feel good enough, ever.  When I was fifteen, my mother dropped me off at the local police station.  From there, I was sent to juvenile hall and sent to live at a boy’s home for troubled youth, called at the time The Pacific Lodge Boys Home.


Woodland Hills, California was a strange place for a boy’s home.  We attended the local public high school, for some sense of normal life.  That worked in theory, but kids can be very cruel. We were referred to as “the Lodge Boys” by the other kids and reminded daily that we were not “normal” kids. Friends were hard to come by, unless they were from the Lodge.  So, most of us just hung out with each other, it created a bond between us.  If someone from school messed with a Lodge Boy-and they usually did—we all came running.

We called ourselves The Band of Wayward Brothers.


The daily schedule at the lodge was designed around individual counseling and occasional family group counseling sessions, with the eventual goal of reuniting each boy into his family unit. I knew I’d never be allowed to return home, that I’d live at the Lodge until I turned eighteen, alone, with no family, no tribe, and no one to belong to—a throw-away child no one wanted.  One minute you belonged to something—be it healthy or dysfunctional, it was your tribe, your family—and the next minute, it’s taken away.  You’re suddenly, unexpectedly, bewilderingly alone.  After losing my dad as a child, I felt alone.  Now I truly was alone and lost.


The multiple dorm residential facility had several counselors who worked and slept there during their shifts.  One of my counselors, Cane, was a social worker. He was a warm, laid-back surfer guy, and was always nice, Cane seemed to genuinely care and never judged us.  I was horrible to him. Most of us were. We were a group of angry, hurt boys, deposited in a home for troubled youth, who felt alone in the world.


Out of the hundred, or so, kids at the Lodge that Christmas, only two of us were not welcomed home to be with our family for the holiday. My friend Patrick and I wouldn’t be going home, which meant that our counselor Cane, who’s shift was that night, had to stay at the dorm with just the two of us, instead being of home for Christmas with his family.


Little did we know, Cane had asked, and was granted permission, to take Patrick and me off campus for Christmas.  We didn’t know what we were getting into, but it was better than being at the Lodge for Christmas.


Cane picked us up on Christmas Eve and off we went on what he called

“Cane’s Christmas Present Run”, visiting friends of his to exchange presents and Christmas wishes.  Not once did any one of them make us feel awkward for being there, even though they knew where we were from.  The day ended at his mother’s house with homemade Christmas dinner and all the fixings.  It was a real family dinner with lots of food and lots of people, none of whom made either of us feel left out or unwelcome. Cane and his mother gave presents to Patrick and me—no ugly sweaters or generic or cheap items—genuine gifts they put thought into selecting just for us. I had never known that kind of generosity.  I didn’t understand it.  I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live.


When he brought us back the next day, I asked him why he was being so nice to me.  He said,


“My job, Joe, is to Love you enough, until the day comes when you are able to Love yourself that much.”


I have never forgotten his words, though I didn’t know what that meant at that time.

My life changed that day. I have had my ups and my downs.

I’ve been homeless to homeowner. Not an easy task in California.

Unemployable to a nationally recognized business owner.

Poor and broke, to not having to worry about being evicted.

A 15-year-old throw away child to a sitting Board Member of the San Diego Center for Children I affectionately call The Pacific Lodge Boys Home South.

A lost boy, to world traveler, knowing now that not all those who wander are lost.

Multiple Ironman triathlon finisher

And now new author of a book titled “You Matter, even if you don’t think so” that will be published next year.



To the next generation of Wayward Brothers and Sisters, or anybody who thinks they are stuck and frozen, here is what I have learned along the way. I hope it helps you.

  1. Good people make bad decisions, that doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes it a bad decision.
  2. Forgive easily and often. Others and especially yourself. Remember, there is only one perfect, and we aren’t it.
  3. You are not broken, and therefore do not need “fixing”. You are perfect, just the way you are.
  4. Life rewards the brave, so be brave. Take a chance, on yourself and others.
  5. Knowledge is only potential, but action is power. Knowing what to do is only half the equation. Take that leap of faith.
  6. Decide to be the best you, just for you. You deserve it.
  7. Love yourself first with all your heart. Those around you will benefit more.
  8. Be your own best friend first. And don’t let him or her down or cut them any slack.
  9. Just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. They have the right to an opinion, but you also have the right to choose to not believe it.
  10. Happiness is a choice, not a place, thing, moment, or a person so stop chasing it. Only YOU can make YOU happy.
  11. Everything in life is a precious gift. Treat it as such. Don’t disregard it or you WILL lose it.
  12. Everything happens for a reason, figure out why. There are NO mistakes in life, only lessons.
  13. Lastly, and most importantly,




If this helped you, spoke to you, or made you think of someone who needs to read this please leave your comments and/or share it.