A strong family life creates a sense of belonging for parents and kids alike.  Providing security and warmth, a safe place to land and grow.

ImageWe have noticed as we travel that no matter what the climate at a school, kids in our society do not feel valued. Why? It is a fundamental human need to feel loved and accepted. For some reason adults are missing at home. Not out of intentional neglect though that is sometimes a problem. What we are seeing is business, frantic chaotic business at  home. The kids are feeling it, and they’re looking to other places for love and acceptance trying to to fill the void.

We would like to challenge you to evaluate  yourself, your relationships and your definition of success. Is climbing the ladder and pushing your kids for top achievements robbing your family of time, fun, relationship and memory building moments?

A strong family life creates memories and builds a strong emotional foundation for our kids.  Passing on a legacy of love, compassion, and laughter are more important than a big house, big bank account and worldly success. Lets face it, at the end what will we wish we had focused on?

So make an intentional shift not to fall into the trap of being disconnected.  Raising a child isn’t just about the grades or awards they receive.  It’s also about the person they become; a person with a strong emotional skills and compassion for others.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent or neighbor. Join us in mentoring, modeling and mirroring a powerful example of the amazing human person. Watch for the Mirroring campaign beginning in October. Let us know if you want to join the team. We cant do it alone!

Suicide prevention week is coming. What do you do if youre worried about a friend?

This is taken from a post back in April, but I thought now is a good time to repost.

When I was 16, I was a camp counselor at our pool club. I had my life guard certificate and often helped with swimming lessons. One day our 3 year olds were having lessons. They were lined up on the top step of the pool with the child who was ‘up next’ standing on the bottom step. For a moment I looked up to say hello to someone, when I looked down I saw a little face with sheer panic in her eyes.

She had slipped off the bottom step and had her tip toes on the bottom of the pool. Still, she wasn’t tall enough to keep her mouth and nose above the water. She could have very easily put her foot back on the step and stood up, but her panic and young age didn’t make that simple move possible. I immediately broke the cardinal rule of lifeguarding and jumped in the water to pull her out.

Depression can be the same. The person, like my little friend, might only have to reach their foot over to find the step and lift their face above water. But often they are immersed in the weight of the depression and can’t see the step. To rescue them I think the basic lifeguard rule applies.

The Rule:

Reach, Throw, Row but don’t go


If you have a friend who is isolating themselves and not interested in life like they used to be. Ask the friend if they’re ok. Tell them you are there for them, to help them, and you will go with them for help. If they don’t give an answer that seems right, tell an adult.

Your friend might need a lifeline thrown to them, but the person concerned needs to have their feet firmly planted on the ground to throw out that life line.


In life saving, you stand firmly on the ground and throw a floating device to the swimmer in trouble, and then pull the person towards you.

You must know what you are qualified to do and what your limits are. Young people often think they can fix their friends problems. They need to know that adults are not the enemy and must be involved to find the right help.  I would call a ‘lifeline’ an offer of a tangible option for help, bringing a friend to a parent, priest, minister or teacher, helping them be brave enough to call for counseling, giving them other options for relief other than substance abuse.


If a person is stuck out in deep water, you ‘row’ to them. The guard goes protected in a boat so that they arent aren’t pulled under the water by a panicked swimmer.

If you have a depressed or suicidal friend you must get help. You need to protect yourself and the friend you are trying to help by knowing your limits. There are adults that are professionals that must be called when your concerns are serious, they have been trained and they can help.

Don’t Go:

If you try to go into deep water to save a swimmer alone without a floatation device, in their sheer panic they could grab you , pull you down as well and then you’re both in trouble. If its a rip current,both people can be lost.

Have you ever seen a save with the line of guards from the shore line to the swimmer caught in a rip current? They line up connected by a long rope lifeline with the strongest guard as the ‘anchor’ and then together they pull them in.

When a friend is in trouble, ‘find’ the head lifeguard, find an adult you can confide in, your parents, their parents, get a professional and get help.

Always be kind to everyone. If depression effects millions of people every  year, you could make a significant impact in someone’s life without knowing it. You never know what a small act of kindness can do. It could be the encouragement a person needs to open up. Don’t be afraid to approach someone, it’s better to reach out and have a friend mad at you for a week or so than to miss something. But it’s very important to know that adults need to be informed of your concern.


Society for the Prevention of Teen suicide: Began by two local fathers who lost their children to suicide in our cluster. This is an excellent resource of the best information out there. They have a philosophy of prevention that is proactive and tangible. They have the country’s leading expert on suicide clusters Maureen Underwood as an advisor. http://www.sptsusa.org/

Other links and resources are available at our site:http://www.youcannotbereplaced.comImage

My Response to #BlackSuicide & A Call To Action #video #religion #suicideprevention

The recent death of actor 

Lee Thompson Young has brought a lot of press attention to awareness. This time our friend at you’re not finished has a thoughtful response to an article saying prayer isn’t enough.  It’s essential, but not enough. We need to read, we need to listen and we need to refer people to professionals. That’s all part of being prayerful in action. 


It’s kind of like the story of a man caught in flood and stuck on the roof of his home.

He prays for God to help. An OEM truck with huge tires comes. ‘Get in; we’ll bring you to safety.’ ‘NO says the man, God will save me’.

A boat rows by and says ‘come in’; the man says ‘no, God will save me.’ A helicopter comes and says ‘grab the line!’ the man says ‘no, God will save me.’ Then the water washes him away. 

As he stands at the pearly gates, he asks God. ‘I trusted you, I asked you to save me and you didn’t!?’ God replies, ‘ I sent you an Emergency vehicle, a boat and a helicopter, you said no to each one!’ Makes you think huh?

  My Response to #BlackSuicide & A Call To Action #video #religion #suicideprevention.

Elmer’s glue

ImageYCNBR likes to make you think, shift your thoughts and be creative.

I offer you Elmer’s glue. Does Elmer’s Glue change your view of the struggles and pain in the lives of others or your own life? What?

There is often emotional damage left behind in the aftermath of a life struggle.  A person can end up feeling like they are ‘falling apart’, flaking or peeling like a painting that has survived years of harsh sunlight, or that has been lost in an old building that still stands after a war.

How do we approach helping the ones we care about, or how do they take that first step forward to restoration themselves? Simple, pure Elmer’s glue.

The church we were married in is a replica of the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria Dei Miracoli church in Piazza de Popolo in Rome. A couple of years ago it underwent a full restoration of the art work. The transformation was amazing. The same beautiful paintings were suddenly clean and vibrant.

One day I sat watching a crew repair the amazing 100 year old artwork. I was able to chat with one of the restoration artists about the process they went through to restore the art. How could they possibly take a brush to such beautiful work? Clearly, I had no knowledge of restoration.

She said, ‘Every piece is different. Some need just to be cleaned with soft rags, q-tips or brushes. Some need special chemicals mixed added to the cleaning for stubborn stain…’ I asked her what they do when the painting is so badly damaged that the paint is peeling off. She said bluntly ‘We glue it back on‘.

Funny right? Imagine a white bottle of Elmer’s glue sitting by a master piece. How absurd! Wouldn’t you expect a bottle of fine solution that costs thousands of dollars from the rarest of ingredients to repair the damaged treasure? I did, but the answer was not complex rare bottles of potions, it was simplicity.

One of the most significant things I remember from that conversation is the thought I had when I left the building was that the restoration artist didn’t repaint the masterpiece. She didn’t try to change the original work.

She respectfully looked and evaluated the situation, then chose the simple tools that she needed to help the piece return to its original beauty. She was grounded in the fact that she did not own or create the work. She was only there to help it heal and return to its original beauty.

Sometimes to go forward you need two steps back. Clear the mess, clean it and then gently repair before you can move on.

People are the same. We can’t fix one another or change the original masterpiece that God created. Each one of us is a unique and valuable treasure.  We deserve and need to be treated with sincere, simple and honest care.

My friend Susan gave me another perfect example of this during our hurricane recovery efforts. Susan is an amazing counselor, but an even more amazing, tender and loving individual. Her greatest gift is listening. She is truly listens with her whole being, the words travel from her ears, to her heart and then she processes slowly her response. Susan is a joy to watch and learn from.

One day we had a teenage girl whose father had just died, was estranged from her mother and completely alone with no money. There was no power in her house, she was cold and had no money. She needed clothes, she was wearing flip flops in the snow (we had 5 inches a week after Sandy); she was a crying, distraught bundle of confusion.   The girl told her story, her voice shook, her pain was deep and her mind raced.

After some time she took a breath and Susan, looking her straight in the eyes was ready to reply. I waited to hear what nugget of wisdom she gave. I sat up and watched the exchange….

Susan said, “Have you eaten?”

The young girl and I stopped for a second.  What? Food?

She settled down and stopped crying. “No”.

Take a step back.

Have you eaten? Do you have shoes? Are you warm? Let’s stop, breathe and fix that now.

Glue the piece back on with simple pure love and compassion. Nothing fancy, no great phycology. Pure and simple Elmer’s glue.

We cannot fix others who are broken, or ourselves. But we can work for renewal and restoration. Be something better than the original. In ancient times, gold was used to fixed broken clay pots. Those broken pots are actually more valuable restored that in their original state.

That’s a subtle difference. But think about it.  Being a healthier version of who you are with the wisdom gained from experience becomes a gift for others. Don’t wish away your struggle, it’s your story.

Our stories become a part of who we are and enable us to one day help others restore. You may not be able to be the glue now; you might need others to do that for you. But one day, one day soon, you can be the artist who helps the masterpiece glue the pieces back together.