More Important Than the SAT

Getting into college is important. I know – I am a high school English teacher and a parent of three. My oldest, a junior, is starting to look at colleges – which means my husband and I are looking at college tuition. Yikes!! We are encouraging Emma to do her best in school, in her extracurricular activities, and on her SATs so she can qualify for as many scholarships as possible. But as I think through that – the importance of getting a college degree and being prepared for life as an adult – I am realizing far too many of us parents and educators are missing out on preparing our kids for what is most important. We stress grades and college and scholarships – the “head” – but we are neglecting the heart. As...

“Demystifying” Missions

I used a circular saw yesterday. And I still have all my fingers! So do the people around me. I’ll pause while you stand and applaud… My new friend, Cory (an actual, professional Drama teacher), and I (a passionate amateur) were at a Technical Theatre class. The ladies who taught it were experts in all things “backstage” – building sets, creating props, sewing costumes…you name it. They were awesome! And they wanted to share their expertise with other drama teachers and directors, to help us do our jobs better, to have the tools to “build” our programs. At first, they showed us pictures and gave us handouts. It was very helpful, very educational, very impressive. But then, they said, “All right, time to go out...

Cliff Jumping

Have you ever heard this saying…”If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?”? I have. Heck, as a parent and a teacher, I’ve used it on more than one occasion. And when we hear – or use – it, we normally think of peer pressure. Of going to that party or seeing that movie or cheating on that test. But I believe there’s a more subtle “cliff jump” happening everyday, and we don’t even realize we’re in the air: it’s in our minds, how we think. We allow the world’s standards, their version of what “should be”, to be our standards. In dating, for example, many Christian teens/young adults have been sucked into the mindset that you should “date around” or “sow your wild oats” when you’re young. Many are told sex before marriage...

You Have NO Idea

This week, it has been “hot” here in San Diego…it has gotten up to 84. Seriously. Folks are complaining, telling us how unusual this is, assuring us it’ll get back to normal soon. We just laugh. Floridians would kill for a high of 83 in July! New friends from Arizona shake their heads – they don’t even see a low of 84 where they’re from. These San Diegans have NO idea what hot really is. It reminded me of something I learned at a youth leaders’ conference several years ago. The speaker was addressing those of us who worked with middle schoolers. He said when we see our youth crying about broken relationships, we often minimize their heartache — come on, a 7th grade break up?? They have NO idea! Just wait until...

You Stink

Last night, I was walking what has become “my route” – out of my neighborhood and down the street, past the elementary school, to the stop light, and back. It’s a nice walk with great views. Mountains in the distance, ocean breeze blowing, desert plants blooming all around… But what I really kept noticing were the smells. Barbecue smells, laundry smells, someone-didn’t-pick-up-after-his-dog smells. The cooking smells were my favorite! I would walk past someone’s back yard, and my mouth would water. I seriously considered inviting myself to dinner, it smelled so good! That made me think of our first night here. Our neighborhood was visited by a skunk. And we sleep with our windows open. Yep…nasty! The smell...

Obey or Die

Being a Christ-follower is becoming increasingly difficult. It used to be that Christians were respected in our country. Then, we were merely accepted (“Aw, you’re a Christian. That’s great…for you.”) Now, however, it seems that we are becoming quite unpopular. As a people pleaser, this terrifies me! But as a student of the Bible, it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been studying the book of Daniel in my devotions, lately. Yesterday, I read about Daniel’s three friends refusing to bow down to the idol the king had built. This King was the great ruler of the then-known world, the Head of Gold in Daniel 2. What he said was law. Literally. And refusing was not an option. But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego submitted to a...