What are we to do? 

2016 has been already made itself a doozie of a year. What’s sad, shocking and sobering is that we still have 5 months to go. What do we do? 

Lots of folk are just raw. They’re emotions are exposed.  They’re at a slow boil and they’re scared. They’re at their What’s End.  The future doesn’t look sunshine and rainbows.  

And I have to say that I fully and completely understand.  However, I want to add perspective and hopefully be helpful to those very passionate, upset, angry who may come across this post. 

No matter what we’ve come to accept, mankind is wicked.  That includes the most precious infant born today all the way to the most vile and blatantly wicked person who ever lived.  We’re messed up. 

That being said, we do wicked, evil and depraved things to one another, the world and even to God.  The passage I posted before was penned by one who knew his own state, but wanted to do differently.  He knew just how wretched he was and that if God didn’t guard his mouth he’d only foul up the situation more. He also knew just how deceptive wicked actions were.  He called them delicacies (I’m thinking of some kind of baked goodie topped with goodness and filled with splendor) Just like that cake, pie or whatever he wanted to stay away from it. 

Maybe, I need to take that into account before my slacks don’t fit anymore.  ūüėā

The actions seem good for a while, but they never satisfy and sadly we need more and more to get us there and they never will.  We’ll just keep going and going gobbling down these tastiest only to regret it.  Then we start over again! 

It’s quite clear that whatever the author wanted to say wasn’t on par with his new life going after righteousness.  It can also be seen that the relationship between what’s in the heart and what’s spoken can’t be denied. Our words and deeds follow our hearts. 

So our hearts are the problem.  All the external things, though horrible and wicked are just outcroppings of our desperately wicked hearts.  Badge, t-shirt, expensive pant suit, uniform or just a pair of jeans, we all are dastardly wicked and it’s only a matter of time until we show out. 

There isn’t anything we can do. We’re lost. 

Unless…. 

A chance to sit down and think

Everyone knows what it’s like to be busy. To be at it all the time and not really have time to sit down and think about what’s going on, how life is effecting you and what our response should be. You’re just doing well to keep up with the routine. While that’s been true I’ve been pondering somethings.

A¬†thought I’ve been going back and forth over¬†has zero to do with teaching or bow ties. How am I growing and developing as a disciple of Christ? How am I being changed by Christ compared to me trying to change Christ? Most of the time, if I’m honest I spend a great deal of time trying to coax¬†Christ into co-signing things I’m doing rather than surrendering my life in order to glorify Him. Just think about it. How often do we violate principles and commands that He gave with little or no thought that we’re off base.

Being challenged to examine what I’m putting in my life as truth. Recently, ¬†I was really digging this motivational speaker. Very positive and upbeat. Lots of good, solid non-churchy content. However, I started examining closely¬†what he was saying in light of scripture, which has to be our measure. I started wondering did God want this for me or was it just a good sounding, positive man-made idea? Then some of the glaring contrasts to solid teaching began to show up. Some of it is just flat out new age. Not my cup of tea at all. I’ve kind of eased off this guys channel for that reason.

As you can guess my TV watching has taken a hit as well. I haven’t been settled enough to really sit down anyway. But like most people I’d make time for my favorite shows. Been wondering if what I’m watching is pushing me away from Christ or drawing me in? If it’s drawing me in, how? Needless to say now I have a DVR full of shows and no scheduled time to watch ’em.

Within all this I’ve also been¬†thinking closely about who I surround myself with.¬†Had to do some cutting and trimming. Even the best of people aren’t always the best for us at this time. Tough choices now yield better results in the long run.

If it’s any consolation meal prep still makes the cut every week.

Not my usual classroom hi-jinx blog post. I will make sure soon to discuss the wonders and joys of “conference week”.

Working wounded

Anyone who’s worked 15 minutes knows what it’s like to work wounded. Maybe your physically sick, but you can’t take a day. You might really not “feel” like work today, but you also know you need to be there. You may have 1000 other things you’d rather do than go to work, but you go.

Many people also know what it’s like to still go workout because you love your sport, your committed to the challenge or someone is going to be looking for you. You’ve worked wounded.

Here’s a little kick in the pants to keep going after your goals and keep adapting.

24 hours of “what ifs”

Creativity is an area I feel I can build, grow and expand in. I don’t think that I’m horrible, but I don’t think I create stuff like I should. So I’m reading a book on nurturing the creative mind. An activity in the book is asking “what if”. The more ridiculous the better. I sat down for 24 hours and came up with 200 What if scenarios. I have more, but I stopped myself at 24 hours. I then sorted out the absolute insane time travel, flying and invisible ones. Leaving only the ones that could, maybe possibly happen. Then I threw out the ones that were only about me. I was left with those that dealt with a large group of people, my neighborhood, my family. Then I excluded all the ones that I needed A LOT of help to do. Then I said “Stop”. I went back and put them all back in the list. Here’s my little list of my favorite what if questions. I may go back and ask some follow up questions since each of them requires probably 4-5 follow ups.

  • What if we moved out of state?
  • What if we moved out of the country?
  • What if I could meet with a mentor for 1 hour a week?
  • What if we had four kids?
  • What if every house in my neighborhood had a garden?
  • What if we all had solar panels on our houses?
  • What if I get all the really low students this year?
  • What if I get all the really well behaved students this year?
  • What if we read a book in order to be able to watch TV?
  • What if we worked 4 10 hours days?
  • What if we all took off for the Sabbath?
  • What if we could record our dreams?
  • What if the Church was persecuted globally, right now?
  • What if no one tithed?
  • What if everyone did 3 missions trips by the time they were out of college or turned 25?
  • What if every HS student had work experience in 3-4 different areas?
  • What if my entire community composted and recycled?
  • What if we were paid $50 for every lbs of fat lost and $10 for every year we maintained?
  • What if Christians were 100% confident Christ was with them, right now?
  • What if Christians were as passionate against sin as they were politics?
  • What if everyone saved 10% of their income for 5 years?
  • What if I get 100% parent involvement this year?
  • What if I have a class of all girls this year?
  • What if I have a class of all boys this year?
  • What if every time you needed, you could call up a duplicate of yourself to do 60 minutes of work?
  • What if it were harder to get into college?
  • What if college was cheaper?
  • What if it were possible to communicate with other creatures?
  • What if we all rode bikes?
  • What if we were paid for the books we read?
  • What if we jettisoned our trash to the Sun?
  • What if we buried our trash deep in the earth?
  • What if I don’t get any supplies this year?
  • What if I have ZERO parent participation this year?
  • What if we created a ship to filter trash from the sea?
  • What if I did 12 30 day challenges?
  • What if my family/Small Group didn’t have any debt?
  • What if my family(s) moved closer/further?
  • What if I taught in an all white school?
  • What if you had to get a license to have kids?
  • What teachers were able to take off for a year, do another job/career and come back and explain how that year made them better teachers?
  • What if I have NO support this school year?
  • What if we did job swaps?
  • What if food trucks over took brick and mortar establishments?
  • What if food trucks did neighborhood deliveries?
  • What if all abandoned/empty properties were torn down after 2 years of being unoccupied?
  • What if everyone brought their lunch/homecooked for 30 days?
  • What if every family in my community created and lived on a zero based budget?
  • What if I could carpool whenever I wanted to?
  • What if I rode a cab to work everyday?
  • What if healthy, good food was cheaper than processed food?
  • What if certain companies got a tax break to help a city stay neat, clean and orderly?
  • What if Marietta City set a goal to save $ rather than spend?
  • What if woke up 1 hour earlier everyday and worked out?
  • What if we looked for leaders who served rather than those who wanted to be served?
  • What if I went and met all my social media “friends”?
  • What if no one wanted credit for the good done in the world?
  • What if the next 5 years were all we had left?
  • What if we saw ourselves as God does?
  • What if we were all able to live to our 200s?
  • What if churches collected membership dues rather than offerings?
  • What if my neighborhood saw a 25% increave/decrease in income?
  • What if we could really multitask?
  • What if teachers were paid by the hour?
  • What if we all spoke 3 languages from birth?
  • What if we could travel back in time only once?
  • What if we could write our futures?
  • What if Christians became passionate about sharing the Gospel?
  • What if half the human raced lived in space or on the moon?
  • What if we could create hydro electric power AND not disturb the environment?
  • What if we could create an engine to propel a space craft at light speed?
  • What if were possible to transform a desert?
  • What if we could make ourselves faster, thinner, prettier with a pill?
  • What if we stopped trying to do the last one?
  • What if…SELF DRIVING CARS!?
  • What if politicians got paid nothing?
  • What if we knew when we would die?
  • What if we got paid for our mistakes?
  • What if we NEVER forgot?
  • What if all schools went online?
  • What if we had a set % of success and it increased the amount of times we tried?
  • What if we could communicate with our younger and older selves?
  • What if we had a regular Bible study for a month?
  • What if we had to solve a problem before we could complain about one?
  • What if we didn’t have any regrets?
  • What if I found 6 non-crossfitters to agree to CF for 6 months with me?
  • What if all the businesses in Cobb county adopted one homeless person and gave them a job for 1 year?
  • What if my blog started getting 10k reads a day?
  • What if I didn’t send home any homework this year?
  • What if my students did 7 major projects in class and out that were worth their entire grade?
  • What if my small group became a house church?
  • What if we had to be quiet and think for at least 30 minutes but no more than 1 hour a day?

I got some great ideas from this exercise. I know some are whack-a-doodle, but some aren’t that bad. What are your thoughts? Do you have any crazy what if questions to add? Mind you I didn’t include all 200, but I’d like to see/read yours if you have any good ones. Even those not so good ones will be appreciated.

School starts back in 15 days and I have to say that I’m mentally ready. Now I just have to find where my dry cleaning ticket is.

 

Happy Father’s day

image

Bet you can’t guess what my girls got me for Father’s day.¬† 1 guess.
Wow, you’re pretty good. Got any good stock tips you want to share?

I enjoy this time of year.¬† Mother’s day last month now a celebration of dads. My girls have so much fun. When we factor in that this how God wants to bring about change/legacy in the earth, it’s refreshing to be on this venture with this little family I have.
This year I have a glut of pics from my social media friends of them and their dads. I need to make a trip up north to get some pics of my dad and I. One common thread I saw with a lot of these pictures and even my own was a sense of hope. Some know they don’t have a good relationship with their fathers. Some do, but in each old picture you catch this sense that there’s a belief that things will be better. Faith for the future.
I also noticed how many young dad’s took pictures with their kids. They then put them side by side with a old pictures of their dad holding them that same way. Besides the fact that we do start to look like our dads, this was an awesome testament to what I said before. We believe that something was good, something long-lasting, there was noteworthy and we need to preserve it.
Well, I’m going to go look for some pictures of me and my dad. Maybe I’ll just book a flight.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Summer Academy has been awesome. I have the best group of students and student teachers in the history of 2014 summer academy.  We’re all learning so much. I’ll be a better teacher next year because of these youngsters. 

Weights don’t make you stronger

You all know I enjoy CrossFit, but joining a CrossFit gym won’t make you stronger.¬†Going into said CF gym and working your butt off, listening to your trainer and eating better will make you stronger. You’ve got to work in order to get stronger.¬†Just like this example, carrying a book bag, a book, sitting at a desk will not make you smarter. Even wishing and hoping won’t give you a grasp of the content. You’ve got to apply yourself in order to get better.

I mention this, because, I’ve found that most of my students are serious about FAITH. They believe that they’ll have a great life, full of riches, fame and success. They also are convinced that they will not have to do a lot of work to get it. They’re just going to “be ok”. Or the really sad response is the blank stare. Most adults realize that this isn’t a good strategy. Most successful people know that this is a horrible idea. But how do you get someone excited, bought into working hard?

To me this is one of the biggest issues. I have to find more ways to get my students excited about learning. Not sure if making them do burpees and our power cleans for time would be a good idea. I’ve located a HUGE area for growth across my entire class. Reading. Next week I’m zero-ing in on their specific shortfalls. We’re going to have a Readers Bootcamp. More details to follow. I just want this school year to be a real demarcation point for my class. Something is going to have to break free this year.

No goals left behind

I like this time of year, December-February. I enjoy planning, thinking and setting goals for the year. I always set aside time during this season to just think, dream and plan. 5 out of 7 years I set and accomplish the goals I set. This year I'm going BIG. I'm going to accomplish 100% of my goals. And, I'm not going to set only 2 goals so I can get it done. I have 9 good, strong, SMART, life changing goals set out with a plan to get each of them done. There are 2 elusive goals, however that have evaded me for YEARS. This year the year I turn 40 I will see them accomplished. No goals left behind. Here we go. Want to know what my goals are for 2014? Just watch…you'll see them soon enough. 

Here's my plan. I will share my goals at the end of January. 

1. Research my goals. I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I'm not GREAT at research, but I'm pretty good. 

2. I Decided that either I'm going to obsess over this or not. If I'm not going to obsess over it, then I'm not going to do it. 

3. Reduce the picture. Small bite sized pieces, daily steps, weekly steps, monthly steps you get the point. 

4. Make it public. I chose to blog about it. You can ask me questions about my goals. I'll gladly share where I am. 

5. Seek accountability. I LOVE to surround myself with people doing stuff. I want them to intentionally and unintentionally prod me on. 

6. I now expect it to be hard, but along with the struggle I expect, seek, look for the strength to get this thing done! 

7. Encourage and seek encouragement. 

8. Visualize the goal completion. I spend a little time daily thinking what it will be like to be as fit as I can at 40, to be debt free, to make my job the career I never hat to work at ever again, to be a multi book author. I like the picture now I need do it so you can see it, too.  

9. Learn from failures. If the goal is worthy of my time then failure isn't a STOP sign. It's a This ain't the way sign. 

10. Focus on 1 goal at one time. I need help on this. I tend to keep my goals in a family so I can do more than 1 in at a time cause they're related. 

11. Practice walking goal out every single day. I have to obsess about being the man God wants me to go. It has to consume my thoughts, words, actions and deeds. Then it will become easy.

12. Take responsibility for all of it. It's all mine. The success, the failures, the set backs the set ups. They are all mine. 

Lucky Number 13. Celebrate cause the journey was well worth it. 

If you need wisdom

This week was tough. It was very draining. To call it what it was, I was at my Whit's End by this afternoon. Thankfully that's where I'm supposed to be. 

Honestly, I think I rely on my own insight/wisdom to much. James 1:5 gives very clear directions on what to do when you need wisdom. Sadly, we "try" to long and never actually ask God for wisdom on a matter. We think we are supposed to have the solution and that asking is somehow not good. 

All this week I've been coming to grips with the fact that I don't know what to do to help these students get excited about learning. Yes, I have a lot of ideas and I have access to some great thinkers, but if James 1:5 is to be trusted I need to ask God a lot more than I have been doing.  

Yesterday I started asking God and expecting to receive some insight on Room 157's residents. I certainly made some inroads and next week I'll see more. I know that I made some major changes to make this last 9-10 weeks of school better and more powerful than those before.

Like I said in another post, the House must work in order for other things to work. I do believe that. However, I'm charged with the task of helping these kids. If God's word is true then I have the access to the Resource to make a difference even with no support at home. Ok, off to enjoy my weekend. You do the same. 

The Crossfit challenge ends next week and I certainly think I'm on track. I have 6 more days of my green juice fast. Overall I'm down quite a bit of weight and I'm certainly doing well in my workouts. Can't wait to report back on my win in the challenge. 

Looking forward

   Tomorrow starts another semester working with a great bunch of kids. Our next phase of our journey begins soon. I know that I have the skills needed to help them progress on and become the citizens that they were intended to be. Tomorrow we go at our goals with a new drive and passion. Tomorrow we move from 2nd graders to Rising 3rd graders. There are great things in store for us, tomorrow. 

    Today, however, I'm going to get my last mid day nap. 

Let’s talk about prayer in school

Let's get a few things straight:

  • I'm a Christian.
  • I'm a father of elementary school age kids.
  • I'm a public school teacher. 
  • My kids go to a private school.
  • I'm a conservative.
  • I'm heart broken for the parents, communities and children of CT. 
  • I'm not interested in prayer in schools. 

    What?! Every Christian with a bible is ranting "God has been removed from schools and that's why we're…." Yes, I've heard that argument and I've even made it a couple of times. However it's wrong and it's not very smart. There is a talk show host who went as far as to say the reason this horrible event happened is because God has been taken out of schools. 

    What most people are asking for is a teacher-lead, school-lead time of prayer during a time of the day. 30 seconds during announcements, before lunch or something like that. 

    Putting prayer in school is opening a box to so many other things that teachers will have to tend to. I'm surprised no one has said it. We're already, Parents, Coaches, Advisers, Counselors, Teachers, Nurses and Referees. Now you want us to be Pastors, Priests and Rabbis?

    Let me just wave a magic wand and "put prayer in school". Can't you see/hear all the howls from some parents because "you prayed in Jesus' name, we pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

    …or You prayed in the NIV, but we only accept the KJV.

How about this one, …We're Southern Baptist and you're  a Mormon teacher, What Jesus are you talking about?  

    These are just a few, a very small few complaints out of the bag of insane complaints we'd hear. Let's not even talk about the fact that now America is a sort of kind of Christian. So many assume we're talking about praying to the Judeo-Christian God. Ok, but what about when America becomes a majority non-Christian nation? Think you'll be ok with us praying to another god that you don't think is God? 

    Ok, people, we're tasked with such a weighty chore that adding one more layer is going to only add more strain to the profession. I challenge that there isn't one profession that has so much heaped on it from all sides as teaching. If you know of one, please let me know.

    For quite some time teaching has been the surrogate parent of the community. I know a lot of folk aren't going to like this, but you're welcome to comment. We've become EVERYTHING to these kids and it's made really, seriously…LAZY PARENTS. Yes, I did call most of us lazy. We drop our children off at school with very little and want a college bound, scholar in return. This might be shocking, but it's not going to happen. Neither is prayer in school. 

    If you want prayer in school send Prayers to school. Send kids who cherish the honor of speaking to an ever loving, God. Drop off a child who are confident in themselves, because they know that no matter what they're accepted by God and that He thinks they're pretty neat. Send students who much rather quote Be Attitudes than cop and attitude. We'd welcome students who rather than pick on each other and name call understand that everybody needs love and acceptance and they've found that in God. How do we get that, Jason?

    This is going to REALLY make some people mad, so feel free to log off. In order to get the kind of student I'm talking about many parents need to parent and pastor their OWN kids. You're going to have to put prayer, God and all that in your home. Put it in your heart and in your kids hearts. I can tell you that the Love of God is absent from my community. I can see it in the words my kids use with each other and adults. It's obvious in the MIA status of support at home. I as a teacher am not going to do it for you. Sorry, but it ain't going to happen. What I will do is pray silently that you get a clue that these are your kids, your future and that you need to make the most of it. 

    I choose to make my wife and my faith a center of our girls' growth. If you don't that's on you. I simply believe it's much easier for you to raise your child than for your child's teacher or school to do it for you. 

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