G.O. For Change

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Archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ Category

Lessons I learned from my Son

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Today is my Son’s 3rd birthday.  3 years ago, I remember taking my wife to the hospital, where our doctor casually informed us that the baby would be coming today,  me going home to let the dog use the bathroom, then as my wife informed me to get back ASAP, me threatening the dog to pee,  speeding back to the hospital, the pushing and breathing, and finally, Logan popping out, looking at me for a second with a “what the hell just happened” look on his face, followed by the loudest cry I’ve ever heard in my life.

These last 3 years have been remarkable. I remember someone telling me that having children changes you. Boy, were they right! Here are some things that I learned from my son, my son has taught me:

  1. Patience (or my understanding of my lack thereof): If you are a parent, I guarantee you just nodded your head. I thought I had a pretty good grip on being patience- I work with youth all day, but this is a different level.
  2. It’s not about ME: As a professional Life Coach, I always focus on the actions of YOU- YOUR goals, YOUR actions, YOUR willingness, but my Son has taught me that it is all about him- I can’t live vicariously through him- so while I will equip him with the things necessary for him to be well-rounded, I can’t force him to be a basketball player, or a Life Coach. 
  3.  It is about ME: Wait…what? I know this contradicts the previous lesson, but the difference is how my actions affect him. My actions, beliefs, and attitude, will, whether short-term or long-term, play a part in how he views things (take a look at Erik Erickson’s stages of development for more insight) I am the first impression that he has of a man, and I work tirelessly to make sure that his father is a role model for what he aspires to be like (better than). This means that the “do as I say, not as a do” crap doesn’t work. If I want to teach him that exercise and eating healthy is great, I can’t eat cheesesteaks every day, and playing “Call of Duty 2” all day (even if I am an elite player).  Whether you believe it or not, our children become interested in what WE do
  4. Playtime is AWESOME!  Just running around, playing, making him laugh- these are the most important things I make time for. Those times when we are laughing and acting silly are times that can’t be replaced.  
  5. Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child:  Support and accountability is understood no matter the age. My son knows what his mother and I say goes. This will resonate with him as he gets older. If you ask me do I spoil my child, I couldn’t say I don’t, but my son also knows what spankings (if warranted) feel like too. Providing support and accountability is CRITICAL in the development of children. Talk to your kids, hug and kiss your kids, but if they need to be disciplined, that’s the way of life. I have seen too many children have poor attitude and behavior because their parents had a laissez-faire attitude. Chances are, you have seen them in your local grocery store, or mall, or at a 3-year old birthday party (just kidding!)

As always, thank you for reading.


P.S.  To my son Logan, when you get older (and the internet is still available), I hope you read all of my blogs. You were my inspiration. I love you.

P.P.S. Please look for a blog later in the future entitled “Lessons I learned from my Daughter”, as we are expecting our 2nd bundle of joy this summer! (Question: do I get a free gun NOW, or after she is born?)



Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

March 25, 2013 at 12:12 am

5 Lessons Learned from Polar Bear Plunging

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This weekend marked the 17th annual Polar Bear Plunge- a charity event sponsored by the Maryland State Police, where individuals take a “plunge” into freezing water (Sandy Point Beach in Maryland), with the proceeds going to the Special Olympics. This year was my first year as a plunger! It was an amazing event! Here’s what I learned:

  1. Great causes are a great motivator: Would I go jumping into a freezing body of water for NO reason? Of course not! But with the donations going to the Special Olympics, I didn’t have any issues spreading the word, getting donations, and taking a plunge!
  1. It’s bigger than ME: We all have our issues and obstacles, but I can say proudly and confidently that I have been blessed. It is very easy to become concerned about our own issues, our own affairs, and turn a blind eye to what happens in our country, our state, even our own communities. Often we turn to our politicians and state officials for answers, but we should ask ourselves, “What can I do?”
  1. Create an EXPERIENCE: Quick- what did you do last Tuesday? Can’t remember? (I’m pretty sure it was awesome) I won’t forget this entire experience- deciding to participate, getting donations, actually plunging- these images are permanently etched into my cortex. I have a couple of rules, but one that I hold dear, is called the “No ifs, ands, or buts” rule- simply put, if I ever become interested in something, I have to do it-no ifs ands, or buts about it. I am glad that I was able to create this experience.
  1. The U in Unity: It is great to get people on board with an idea. Some of the other members in our group (HEEBIE JEEBIES!!) already have participated in the plunge 2-3 times. It was awesome to connect with my friends, and thousands of other people who were there for the same reason. To really feel connected to other people is something that we all desire, and when we have it, it’s beautiful.
  1. Humanity is REAL:  We as people have seen some ugly things in our world, and it’s very easy to become skeptical about helping your fellow man. There have been things that have happened that could easily make you saddened at our state of affairs, shake your faith, and even question our own existence. As a team, we were able to raise $2,000 for the Special Olympics, which spoke VOLUMES about people and their willingness to help. To see people spring to action for something bigger than them really uplifted my spirits, and took the sting off of that icy water. We have seen our share of villains, but we also have witnessed our superheroes emerge as well. To those who donated, volunteered, and plunged, thank you.

As always, thanks for reading,


P.S. I’ll be returning next year, hopefully you’ll be there too!

P.P.S. Even Batman was there!


10 Lessons I Learned from Cooking

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When I was a young spry bachelor, one of the things that I wanted to master was the art of cooking. I’ve made a lot of dishes in my youth- from cheesecakes, to shrimp fettuccine, even breakfast sandwiches weren’t exempt from my culinary clutches. Now, as a father and a husband, I make most of the meals for my family, and it really is a joy and a love.

As you read on, I challenge you to take things that you like to do, and look at the lessons you’ve learned. Bon appetite!

1. What’s Your Purpose? There are a lot of reasons for cooking-holiday feasts, impressing a romantic interest, or a quick bite- knowing WHY you are cooking often leads your actions.

2. TEAMWORK Makes the Dream Work!   If you have ever used too much salt, ginger, or curry, the results have probably been DISASTROUS! Cooking is the balance of different items (meats, fruits, veggies, spices etc.), and how they complement each other for a harmonious results. This delicate dance that happens when cooking can be disrupted if there is too much, or too little of an ingredient.

3. Be Prepared! Have you ever been ready to create a meal and found that you were missing one or more ingredients?  Sucks, doesn’t it? One of the most important things a person can be is prepared. Having the necessary tools (in this case ingredients), is almost as important as the next lesson-

4.  Follow Directions… Every recipe has directions- step by step instructions that will assist you  achieve  the desired result. As I am writing this, I am making cornbread, and I just messed up…yup, instead of adding 1/3 cup of milk, I added  1 and 1/3 cup of milk (perhaps I shouldn’t have been so distracted).  As you, (and I) see, it’s very important to not only follow directions, but perhaps go over them again, just to ensure you avoid mistakes.

5.  …But don’t be afraid to Improvise!  This doesn’t mean to add a full extra cup of milk to cornbread (still reeling over that), but be ready to make changes. If you look online, there are millions of recipes, and even more variations of the recipe. For example, when I looked up the popular dish “egg salad” here was the different deviations that popped up:

  •  Adding paprika
  • Using bacon or ham
  • Using sour cream instead of mayo

Ultimately, if you feel that you want to add something, GO FOR IT! There have been millions of chefs, cooks, and culinary experts that have modified a dish to the delight of their customers. Why can’t you?

6.  Take Your Time:  In my youth, many a dishes were ruined due to me not following this advice. As a cook, patience is key! If things are supposed to marinate, let it marinate! The more you let something marinate, the more flavorful it becomes. If the recipe calls for the sauce to simmer, then sit back, and relax. Cranking the heat up and rushing things does work in any situation…..does it?

7.  Try Something New! The food world is not compiled of things that YOU have made- there are a SLEW of wonderful recipes that can ignite your senses. Be daring! Be bold! Grab a cook book, identify something that interest you and GO!

8.  Listen To the Critics: There is nothing wrong with feedback/critic in reference to cooking. I made my AMA-ZING (patent pending) WINGS for my friends while watching the Ravens/Steelers game. I made these wings previously, and they were a hit! I looked forward to making them again, but I used a different sauce. Unfortunately, they weren’t as EARTH SHATTERING as my previous wings, and my friends let me know about it (not disrespectfully, but they detected a difference). While there is nothing wrong about having feedback, if you feel that someone is a “hater”, please click here for immediate assistance.

9.  REPRESENT! I watch a lot of food shows, and one of the things that I really appreciate is how the cooks present their dishes- even if the dish may not have been the best bacon-double-cheeseburger-cupcake sorbet, it at least looked nice. A lot of people use social media to post their created dishes, but while it may have tasted great, they didn’t visually look appealing. Make sure that all the senses are covered.

10. ENJOY! If I have learned anything from cooking, it is to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The look on my wife and son’s face when I make a great meal warms my heart. Sometimes people who make their meals feel tired, and may not eat what they have made. I say, enjoy it! When you have a hand in your success, it just seems a little sweeter.

As always, thanks for reading.


Ps. The cornbread I made didn’t make it. R.I.P. Cornbread (2012-2012)

P.P.S. If you don’t do well the first time, you can always try again!!

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