Do you love your neighbor?

Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?
Jesus replied, ˜You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

Matthew 22:36-40

My wife has decided that our homeschool curriculum must include secondary languages starting with Spanish. I’ve often stated I wanted to learn both Spanish and German but I’ve never made any honest attempt beyond downloading a few free apps and spending a week or less before quitting the efforts. But Stephanie refuses to quit and has really made advances with the kids.

Part of her resolve has been based on the teachings of Charlotte Mason, an educator around the turn of the 20th century. Stephanie has shared several quotes from Mason and I have found them often to be profound. Most recently she shared this quote:

What shall we teach our children? Is there one subject that claims our attention more than another? Yes, there is a subject or class of subjects which has an imperative moral claim upon us. It is the duty of the nation to maintain relations of brotherly kindness with other nations; therefore it is the duty of every family, as an integral part of the nation, to be able to hold brotherly speech with the families of another nations as opportunities arise; therefore to acquire the speech of neighbouring nations is not only to secure an inlet of knowledge and a means of culture, but is a duty of that higher morality (the morality of the family) which aims at universal brotherhood, therefore every family would do well to cultivate two languages besides the mother tongue, even in the nursery

Mason, Parents and Children, Volume 2, pg 7

I had to read the quote a couple of times just to understand it. Her writing style reminds me of one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. The sentence structure is complex and if you notice, most of that quote is a single sentence. I’m told that’s a sign of higher level thinking. For me, it’s a sign that I’m going to need a couple passes at it before I get it. I digress…

As I read Mason’s assertion that we have a moral imperative to engage in brotherly kindness with families from other nations and doing so would be better in the native language of the other family, I remembered another rather famous quote:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

Connecting the dots here, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor while Mason states we have a moral obligation to engage with our national neighbors in their language and Mandela enlightens us to the fact that doing so allows us to connect on a deeper level. I don’t think I have ever considered the idea that learning a second language is a valid expression of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

I feel a strong sense of obligation now to learn another language and although I would honestly rather learn German first, I’m going to tackle Spanish with the family. Now the struggle is to follow through with what I believe to be the right thing to do…


Dale Sackrider turned 40!

What’s special about 40? I have never really made birthday’s an important event in my life. But turning forty seemed like an important one. I understand some of the hype. I’m twentish years into my working life with another twenty years left (I hope)… So half way through my career. Most of us don’t live to be 80, so I’m likely more than half way through my life.

I knew I would change the world when I was twenty. At the very least I would get rich and famous by the time I was as old as 40, right? Then the thirties come and I spent the entire decade with my head down, working, raising kids, buying houses and a couple cars, and paying bills. Then before I realize what’s happened, I look up and bam! I’m turning 40.

I’ve never considered myself to be an ambitious man, but I find myself asking ambitious questions: what have I done with my life? What impact have I made on the world? This is when many others seem to settle into the things they have accomplished. I have a good career. I’ve been married over 18 years to a woman I love deeply. I have three beautiful kids with another on the way.

Oh yeah, some of you may not know that…yup, we’re pregnant!

But is that enough? Working and raising a family. It’s ordinary. There’s nothing wrong with ordinary, right? Many might even call it extraordinary when “grading on a curve”.

Ambitious men don’t grade on a curve and they are not satisfied with ordinary. But I’ve never considered myself to be ambitious. So what am I looking for in the number 40?

I honestly don’t know. I am more ambitious than I care to admit. I want more, but I’m not certain what I want more of. This feels like the stuff of midlife crisis. I don’t care to buy a sports car. I’m not looking to quit my job and finally “chase my dream” of joining the circus. But still… I want more of something.

I have no clever end to this post. No conclusions that grant you closure as you read this post. Just a sense of wonder maybe… What’s next?

I honestly don’t know.


Why I’ll never use PODS again

My wife and I just closed on a new house last week! Its an exciting time for us and we used the PODS service to store our belongings and move them to the new house. But yesterday, when the PODS were delivered – things went south fast.

Our drive way isn’t big enough for both PODS, so the drivers told me they had to put one on the street. I said OK and went inside to tell Stephanie that the PODS were here. When I came back out, they asked me to sign a waiver of my rights because one of the PODS were being left on a public street. Basically the form said PODS wouldn’t be responsible if the POD itself were damaged while on the street. My neighborhood is still under construction – trucks come in an out all day. I wasn’t comfortable signing the waiver and said no. I asked what my options were and the driver said they would have to take one POD back.

Ok – that’s not a big deal – but I didn’t want to pay for a second delivery fee. The driver said he would talk to the second driver (apparently the senior guy) to find out what the situation would be. I went inside to tell Stephanie that one of the PODS would have to be delivered later.

When I came back out, the senior driver was on the phone with his boss and the first driver told me I wouldn’t be “double charged” for delivery, but that I would have to pay a cancellation fee. When I asked how much that was, the senior guy gets off the phone with his boss and was visibly annoyed.

He said the POD was “heavy” and he believed it damaged his truck. He continued saying that if my POD was over 10,000 lbs, that I would be liable for the damage. I said “I don’t understand – its just boxes and furniture.” I felt like he was creating a new issue because I didn’t want to sign the waiver of  my rights and I asked him, “Are you f-cking with me because I didn’t sign the waiver?” The first driver chuckled and gave what I considered to be a head nod in acknowledgement that I was right.

The senior driver replied, “No, I have to go weight the POD and if its over 10k lbs, you are liable for my truck. At this point, this isn’t about the waiver – if its overweight, this isn’t going to happen bro!”

Bro? I’m not his bro and he is clearly upset. I replied – “I don’t understand. What does ‘this isn’t going to happen’ mean?”

He said, “you aren’t getting your POD.”

What? Like, period? Is he threatening to keep my family photos, clothes, and kids bed frames? Now I start to panic. “How did you guys pick it up without an issue if its overweight? Seriously, is this because of the waiver? What do we have to do to make this right?”

He asked me to look at the bed of his truck and pointed to something – but it just looked like a truck bed to me. He said “that’s because of your POD”. I came to the conclusion that I’m not getting my stuff (at least not that day, maybe never?). “Ok – I guess I don’t have any options – drop off the one POD and go weigh that one.” I said, hoping that a PODS manager would contact me afterward with a calm head and reasonable options.

I went inside to tell Stephanie we weren’t getting the second POD. I waited for a few minutes, hoping they were dropping off the POD and leaving before I went back out, but when I stepped out my door, they were still there and the senior driver yells to get my attention, “Hey!”

He jogs up to me with a clip board in hand. “Listen bro – I don’t feel its safe to drive the heavy POD back, so we are going to leave both here – but you have to sign the waiver.”

WHAT? Seriously – I felt like the entire weight thing was just to strong arm me into signing away my rights, but at this point, I’d be happy just to get my stuff and be done with PODS. I sign the waiver under duress that I would never get my stuff if I don’t because of his comment ‘this isn’t going to happen bro”.

They leave both PODS and I unload them both over the next few hours. In hind sight – I shouldn’t have been concerned – I had 57 boxes, three kids beds, a treadmill and a heavy bag with stand and a couple small book shelves. Even if the boxes weighed 100lbs each, I wasn’t over 10k lbs. I’d guess the average weight of one of the boxes was about 30lbs.

At this point – I’m thinking that the whole ordeal is just an unpleasant exchange with a driver – but then my wife gets a call from PODS. Apparently the driver told his manager that my POD damaged his truck and we would be liable. He told his manager that I begged to have him drop off the POD because I didn’t want it weighed. He clearly didn’t say “oh and I threatened that he would never get his stuff back if I left with his POD”. I was out of the house when this call happened, so the office staff told Stephanie they would call back when I was home.

First – my POD wasn’t over 10k lbs. Second, how do we know the truck wasn’t damaged before he picked up my POD? Why did he agree to drop off the POD without weighing it? I had already gone into the house after he said he was leaving – I never asked him after that to leave the POD – I had already considered it a lost conversation.

The PODS are both empty and waiting to be picked up – scheduled for Saturday. If and when I ever move again and if I need portable storage – there are several companies that provide that service. I won’t use PODS ever again.

If they pick these things up with no further contact – then I’m leaving this behind me and moving forward, but I have a feeling this isn’t over.