Friday, December 28, 2012

Building Better Relationships

All too often, we tend to gravitate to things that are most comfortable to us, which can limit our opportunities for growth. The same could be said of doing things with our kids. The other day, my son wanted to play soccer outside in the snow and sub-freezing temperatures, and we could only wear shorts, a t-shirt, and shoes. No gloves, no hats, no other protective gear. At first, I thought this was a little crazy, but life is all about making memories with those we love. Here is an activity I created based on this experience.

Enjoy. Randall

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

As our 25th wedding anniversary is approaching, I often reflect on wonder journey of life we have experienced together during this time. Of course, for some, 25 years is a very short time, while to others who have been married a few months, it might seem like a lifetime.

For me, it has been a wonderful ride, filled with great joys and some special trials along the way. However, in each passing day, I express my gratitude for a wonderful family and wife who have allowed me to be apart of this experience, and remind myself to take for the ones I love.

I also remind myself what I DON'T want to do, and I created some humorous listening activities on my Web site, Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab ( about this. Just enjoy the ride and seize every moment to be kind.

Wedding Anniversary

Flower Shop

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas

With the Christmas season approaching, I want to share this listening activity on my language-learning Web site that reflects the goodness in people as they think of others. The story isn't based on real events, but its message can be a reminder to show kindness to others, especially those who are suffering:

Over the years, I have tried to emphasize to my children how Christmas can be season of giving: giving of oneself, your time, your talents, and your encouragement to those who most need it. You can't buy happiness, but you can certainly cheer up a downtrodden soul.

Even a simple smile can go a very long way to making someone's day.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wisdom Verses Intelligence

We often here discussion on the difference between wisdom and intelligence, and statements are often made to describe wisdom as something that is gained with age.

Perhaps . . .

Rather, we could also say that we often see people that are "mature" in years, yet lack good judgement about how they act and react to different situations. In saying this, I want my own children to realize that adults don't have a corner of true wisdom. Wisdom can result from a variety of experiences unrelated to age. Whatever the case, true wisdom is realizing that we really know nothing in comparison to what knowledge really exist out there. Furthermore, wisdom isn't simply related to facts and figures. Being emotionally intelligent and wise is also key.

I just hope I am making progress in my own journey along the road of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual enlightenment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Building Long-lasting Relationships

Perhaps, one of the greatest secrets in promoting healthy relationships is being completely honest in all you do. Making up stories about your life, your interests, and your abilities will only lead problems when your lies are discovered. In my listening activity called, "Running Shoes" ( (at Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab) describes one similar situation and the best ways to build long-lasting friendship.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Growing Trees and Raising Children

 From time to time, I have written about forming good life habits, be they related to learning or positive behaviors in our daily lives.

Discipline and care are really necessary to learn good habits. In our garden, my wife has apple trees, and you have to shape and prune (cut) the branches carefully so you can enjoy a great harvest. If you don't do this when the tree is young, it will become unmanageable. The same goes with learning. If you don't form good habits early, you won't see the rewards of hard work.

All too often, people procrastinate and don't train their minds and bodies. The same could be said of any aspect of life. But like a tree, it is almost impossible to move or bend the trunk of a tree after a few years unless you pull it out. Forming good habits early in life can help point you in the right direction toward future goals.

Yes, it is much easier to cast a few seeds in the ground and watch what happens, and caring for a garden takes constant care, but the long-term results of such work are very rewarding. 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Remembering Joshua Scott Davis

One of the greatest blessings in life is having family, enjoying their company, teaching them them the pleasures of life, and helping them through the trials of our existence. Three months ago, our son, Joshua, passed away, and while we feel grief and sorrow, we also feel great comfort and joy know that he had such an impact on all those around him and that his life continues on. Feel free to visit the Web site we created in his honor and learn more about him.

Randall Davis

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dealing with Grief

At some point in our lives, we will all face some time of sadness and grief due to sickness, broken relationships, or death. In fact, death is one part of our human existence from which none of us can escape. However, how we respond to it can have a significant impact on how we respond to other problems as well. For me personally, I realize that life isn't always fair, nor is it meant to be. We all must face great disappointments along the way, but if we allow, they can help forge, strengthen, and mold our character as new challenges come along. Furthermore, such trials can help us become more compassionate towards others.

I would much rather be able to choose my problems, but when I can't, I try to accept the fact that such tribulations can help me build great resolve and faith to become a better person.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrating Special Days

One family tradition that our children enjoy is going out to dinner for their birthdays. It is never a quick meal at McDonalds, but often a nice steak or sushi restaurant where they can enjoy a filling meal. My wife and I enjoy these experiences to bond with our children. Nothing more meaningful than to spend time together.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Relishing the moment

From time to time, I notice young parents struggling with the apparent herculean task of keeping their children from harms way or simply not making a mess of things around the house. When I considered myself as a part of that group, I thought that raising teenagers or at least adult children would be somewhat easier.

Well, as things have turned out, life is always a mixed bag of events, challenges, and new life lessons, but you have to be prepared to embrace the good and the somewhat uncomfortable as it comes along. Last night as I was preparing to go out for a late-night job, one of my older children invited me to go for a walk around 10:00 p.m. And while we might feel somewhat inclined to go, I thought it would be a nice way to wind down and just talk about anything, from zombies and school work to Shakespeare and the evening meal.

I really relish these moments because I don't know when, if ever, they might come around again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Getting Things Right and Healing

Perfection isn't always to be when trying to say things just right in all you do. People tend to say the first thing that comes to mind, not the second, and not being judicious in what one says can have a rippling and collateral affect on others. This is true in family and in friendships. Keep in mind that when you attempt to give advice, the advice might not be wanted or warranted, and even if it is, unsolicited comments often don't go over very well.

So, let's say you DO stick your foot in your mouth, or someone has made comments for which they regret. Give people an opportunity to apologize and allow the person to be forgiven . . .  and allow the even to be swallowed up and forgotten is part of the forgiveness process. No one should feel that in spite of 1,000 acts of kindness, service, and love to repair any damage or heartache that their efforts are in vain.

We all make mistakes, and being allowed to move on without the constant shadow and reminders of past deeds can greatly facilitate the healing process.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"I love you!"

"Dad, you're the best father in the whole world. Let's talk."

Uh-oh. I can feeling something coming . . . "Okay, what do you want?"

I shouldn't always assume that my children have some pre-planned agenda when they come and lavish praises on my such as these, but I am often correct in anticipating that something is coming. My kids often don't mind trying, realizing that my answer will often be "no."
  • "No, I'm not buying another family car."
  • "No, I don't think everyone needs an iPad."
  • No, I'm not going to take you out to dinner tonight."
  • "No, I won't do your chores. Just because I won't clean the bathroom for you doesn't mean I don't love you."
This said, there are many times when we can and should say YES:
  • "Yes, you can come and talk to me any time of day or night."
  • "Yes, I made a mistake, and I'm sorry."
  • "Yes, you are right, and I am wrong."
I often have to suspend judgement before I leap to a conclusion on why my kids tell me they love me. I many cases, they simply mean it. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Gratitude is something that most people appreciate as they go about their daily lives. However, although most parents would like to feel some gratitude from their children for the things we do, this shouldn't be the reason why we have and raise children. Parents will often run around wondering and complaining why children aren't more grateful for our providing the daily necessities of life, but you'll always feel somewhat cheated if you expect life to be fair and children to thank you for paying the electric bill or for putting gas in the car to take them here and there.

Someday, they might thank us, but I'm not waiting around for that to happen. I love my kids whether they recognize my efforts or not, believing that as they mature, gratitude will take root in their lives.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Doing Family History

My children often comment that my main hobby is finding dead people, and I guess in a way they are right. I have enjoyed doing genealogy or family history research for many years, and by learning about our ancestors, we learn more about ourselves.

On of my favorite Web sites for doing research is, developed and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is free to use, and you can find all kinds of records to get your started. The Web site has a number of free online courses, its own database of articles, and information on how to get help at local family history centers.

Give it a try.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Value of Work

One of the things I have tried to instill in my children is the value of work. When I was growing up, I worked a number of part-time jobs including working on a farm, selling vegetables at a roadside fruit stand, delivering newspapers, flipping hamburgers at a restaurant, working as a waiter at another, ushering and selling concessions at a movie theater, and . . . .well . . . other jobs.

Now, it can be nice when things fall in your lap, but the reality of life is that things often don't come easy, nor are they meant to be. For that reason, we have encouraged our own kids to work, for which they have done: on a farm and at restaurants. They have also done volunteer work.

In all of this, there is nothing more satisfying that providing for yourself, at least to the extent that you are able. You might not feel that way, and I certainly didn't when I was delivering heavy Sunday newspapers during blizzard and freezing conditions during one particular winter, but those lessons and experiences are what certainly forge our character in many, untold ways.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Developing Discipline Over Time

One of the challenges of life is to develop the discipline to always be engaged in behavior or activities that we will to greater long-term satisfaction in life. Sometimes, my kids wonder why I don't eat tons of ice cream, cake, and cookies. Well, yes, I sure like the flavor and I have cravings to eat to my heart's content from time to time. However, I realize that they will stick to me like glue, and they can have long-term effects on are overall health.

For someone who runs a lot in long-distance events, you would think I wouldn't be so concerned about that; yet, we can defy age, and not taking care of our bodies will catch up with us eventually.

It is hard to convince someone in their teens or in their young-adult years of these facts. You can sermonize all you want on these topics, so in the end, the best thing to do is live the best you can and hope your example speaks louder than words.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Having Fun Together

As parents, we often spend so much time trying to whoa or entertain our children with all sorts of gadgets, gizmos, and expensive outings that we often fail to connect with them doing much less extravagant activities. Case in point, our family decided to spend five days visiting and volunteering at the largest animal sanctuary in the United States (Best Friends - right before Christmas, and it was a real fun activity to do something together and to help work with homeless pets including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and others.

Yes, I'm sure visiting Disneyland can be fun as well, but it seemed to create bond and purpose amongst ourselves as we spend time thinking about other living creatures in this world.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Beginnings

Many people view the new year as a chance for new beginnings, and perhaps I viewed it in this way. However, by simply viewing life this way, it can stall our potential growth and leave us depressed when we come up short in our goals after two weeks into January.

Rather, I tend to view each day as a new beginning. If things don't work out on one particular goal, revise it and make new attempts to improve on the previous day. Life is meant to be savored each day, and having the chance to renew new ideas and goals on a daily basis can keep us moving forward.

For me personally, finding new ways of building relationships with kids (be they teenagers or adults) can be something you do every day.