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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Groundhog Day)

Dear Hannah,

The best lessons are ones that teach you at least twice.

So, experiencing the same situation multiple times can be painful - but still useful.

Just as it happened in the movie, each Groundhog Day may seem the same - but each presents a new opportunity to grow in how I handle myself.

This is key - because at this stage of my life, I recognize the importance of every relationship, conversation, and moment.

They all matter ...



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"LEarning (Groundhog Day)"
By Derrick Brown

The movie "Groundhog Day" starred Bill Murray as a weatherman caught in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.

His experiences led him to re-examine his life and priorities.

When it was released in 1993, "Groundhog Day" was a modest success.

Since then, it has become more popular, and is now considered one of the best comedy films ever.

It is now ingrained in the public consciousness - the term "Groundhog Day" can represent a situation that seems to occur repeatedly.

I know a little something about "Groundhog Day".

My purpose is to create beauty (art) that helps us LEarn, inspire, and empower.

There are many times, though, when my art inspires people to assign me the task of supporting their purpose.

That is not quite the goal of my work.

My goal is to help us all LEarn how to collaborate and execute in ways that support our respective purposes.

I am your co-laborer ... not your laborer.

Once upon a time, recognition of "Groundhog Day" conditions was an automatic trigger to stand firm and say "no".

For example, 15 years ago I led a project that walked 250 aspiring entrepreneurs through the process of writing their "first" business plan.

This plan was a 5-7-page blueprint that would help them "wrap their minds" around their God-given ideas, and implement them at their life's pace.

That way, their visions would manifest at their appointed times.

The class' last writing assignment included drafting concrete "next steps" that they would execute after the end of the six-week course.

More than one student included "hire Derrick as my first employee" as one of their "next steps".

That was not going to happen.

That was not quite the goal, people.

I digress.

Nowadays, Groundhog Days are trickier to handle.

They are occuring more and more with people with whom I walk closely.

Responding now is not as simple as saying "ain't gonna happ'n, Cap'n".

My response had to be more like, "can't do that ... but here's what I CAN do".

The best lessons are ones that teach you at least twice.

So, experiencing the same situation multiple times can be painful - but still useful.

Just as it happened in the movie, each Groundhog Day may seem the same - but each presents a new opportunity to grow in how I handle myself.

This is key - because at this stage of my life, I recognize the importance of every relationship, conversation, and moment.

They all matter.

I feel an urgent need to redeem the time I spend with everyone on my path.

This urgency leads me to often seek wise counsel when frustration clouds the "big picture".

So why do I have do many Groundhog Days?

I posed this question to my main man ... and he imparted some wisdom I would like to share.

He said ...


"Your work has a technical resplendence, depth, and flair that is awesome - and at times intimidating.

In particular, your music is that way.

When I observed your creative process ... writing the lyrics and the music ... producing the song and the video ... the efficiency ... the artistry ... it was incredible.

It was like watching Prince.

This causes people to say 'I like that, and I want to use that ... but I could never learn to do all that.'

'It is easier for me to ask you to do it.'

This line of thinking is sometimes fearful.

It is sometimes lazy.

It is sometimes slick, manipulative and controlling.

Sometimes it is all of the above.

These are the thoughts of those who hold you in high esteem.

These are also the thoughts of folks who ain't fond of you, but want to own and control those skills and talents.

The challenge is to discern the sincere from the profane ...

... and deal with the profane as profane

... and deal with the sincere as sincere

... never deal with the profane as sincere

... never deal with the sincere as profane

... but deal with it all in humility, and in a way that protects both your relationships and your time.

The reward of doing so is to provide the profane the opportunity to become sincere.

Consider the story of Simon The Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-25).

Simon amazed people with his magic.

He thought he was a bad man.

Other people did, too.

Then the apostles Peter and John came to Samaria and started imparting the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.

Simon The Sorcerer said 'wow.'

'I sure would like to be able to do that.'

'Give me that, and I will give you as much as you want.'

Peter said 'Keep your money and your iniquity ... may you both perish.'

'You have no part in this work, and you cannot prostitute this anointing.'

'Repent, and ask the Lord into your heart.'

Simon then said 'Sorry. Would you pray that my life be spared?'

This is the story that your story brings to mind."


Man, that whole story right there will preach.

I had to take a day to let it all sink in.

Then I had to crack a joke.

See - at least Simon offered Peter and John some money for what he wanted!

Jokes aside, though, there's a "big picture" to see here.

Peter smacked Simon pretty hard for trying to exploit him ... gave him a stern rebuke.

Somehow, though, he did so in a way that left room for Simon's growth and redemption.

Simon went from trying to prostitute the anointing to asking for prayer.

There may be no clearer sign of the awareness of the need for repentance than a prayer request.

Who knows what Simon became after that encounter?

This is why I have to handle Groundhog Days a little differently now.

I think this is why I am getting so many new chances to do so.

But wait ... there's another free lesson here.

The movie "Groundhog Day" was not instantly enshrined as one of the greatest comedies ever.

It took a lot of time for its story, messages, and lessons to be analyzed, reconsidered, and embraced.

Now it will be remembered for all time - it is a fixture in popular culture.

That's another good word for me.

I spend way too much time lamenting how people pay little attention to my work ... unless they see ways to exploit it.

I get it, though - if I don't share it ... and expose it to the possibility of misappropriation, misunderstanding, and outright mocking ... then its stories, messages, and lessons will never be analyzed, reconsidered, and embraced.

If I do share it, then it will eventually be appreciated on its own merits.

What I have to do is create, then wait.


About Derrick Brown (Standup Storyteller)

I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

I am a “standup storyteller.”

I fuse rap, spoken word (poetry), oration (traditional public speaking), singing, and teaching into messages of hope, healing, and change that I write, direct, and produce to help people who help people.

Everything must change - and stay changED.

Tradition begins and ends with change.

Change begins with me and the renewing of my mind ... then continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship (equipping others to equip others) with audiences that respect and embrace mentoring, mediation, and problem solving as tools of change.

I am the product of my mentoring relationships, peacemaking (and peacekeeping), and problem-solving ability.

My education began when I finished school.

After school, I enrolled in a lifelong curriculum that includes classes in ministry, entrepreneurship, stewardship, literacy, numeracy, language, self-identity, self-expression, and analysis / synthesis.

My projects execute a ministry that has evolved from wisdom earned through lessons learned.

I want to share this wisdom to build teams of "triple threat" fellows - mentors, mediators, and problem solvers.

We will collaborate in simple, powerful ways that allow us to help people who help people.

I now know that power is work done efficiently (with wise and skillful use of resources, interests, communication, and expertise).

Copyright © 2020 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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