When the Worst Isn’t Really the Worst

Recently, I watched a documentary about the Roosevelts. In it, several biographers affirmed something amazing: had Franklin D. Roosevelt not contracted Polio at age 39, he would not have been prepared to be President at age 51. What that disease did for him was teach him to overcome incredible difficulties and connect  to other struggling Americans. Those lessons informed his decisions as he led the country out of the Great Depression and into World War II. What seemed like a tragic event in his life was really a gift. I thought of Joseph in the Bible. He, too, had tragedy thrust upon him. Several tragedies, in fact. Yet God used those tragedies to prepare him for a leadership position that saved his people. I have seen this in my own life – on a much...

Let’s Talk About Sex

Teens today are having sex. A lot. Studies indicate that at least half of all teenagers are sexually active in high school. Personally, I think that number is conservative. It is as casual a part of many relationships as the goodnight kiss was back in the “old days.” It isn’t a stigma, isn’t embarrassing,isn’t shameful. It is considered a natural part of adolescence, necessary, even beneficial. Those who disagree with this view of sex are seen as ridiculous prudes. We are mocked on TV shows, movies, even Broadway musicals. “What is the big deal?” They say. It’s a primal need, an itch that needs to be scratched. Monogamy in general is hopelessly out of fashion, even within marriage. So abstinence before marriage??...

Judged

When I teach characterization in literature, I use Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, “The Tell Tale Heart”. The narrator in that story starts out by saying, “I’m not crazy!” He repeats that throughout the story – as he’s recounting, in graphic detail, how he murdered, dismembered, and buried the old man with the “evil eye”. He says, “I’m not crazy!” as he talks about stalking the old man for EIGHT nights, watching him sleep, laughing at how he scares the old man, and pridefully explaining how he committed the murder. Readers of this story all agree that the narrator is, in fact, crazy. We don’t care what he says. His actions prove otherwise, and we all listen to actions more than words....

What a Year!

2015 was a BIG year for the McGee family: BIG birthdays, BIG move, BIG changes. We started out 2015 knowing we’d need to move, but not knowing where. I prayed…and prayed…and prayed that we wouldn’t have to leave Florida. That’s home! Our friends and family are there, the familiar is there. We love it. At the end of January 2015, Emma and I celebrated BIG birthdays: 16 and 40, respectively. We were gifted with the ability to go to NYC for a long weekend. We were blessed to go with some of our closest friends. It was an amazing weekend. If you HAVE to turn 40, I highly recommend doing it in The Big Apple! (for more about our trip, read this blog post) By March, no jobs were opening up in Florida, so we had to open up the...

Your Grades Do Not Define You

It’s Finals Week at schools across the country. Students are stressing, staying up late, and kicking themselves for not paying better attention in class this semester. Many students feel MAJOR pressure to deliver exceptional grades. However, sometimes, students just don’t “get” certain subjects. Some teachers are ridiculously hard. Sometimes, stress at home or with friends takes over your life, leaving little time to study the way you need to study. It’s stressful, I know. This is your GPA! Potential scholarships are affected. College entrance requirements don’t take into account your tougher-than-nails Calculus teacher or your parents’ divorce. You don’t get to put an asterick on your college entrance essay and...

Dealing With Disappointment

Several years ago, I directed my favorite musical, “The Wizard of Oz,” at my old school. I was so excited about this musical! But the part I always hate about directing is the casting. I hate posting that list, hate knowing some of the kids will be upset at not getting the roles they wanted. The year of “The Wizard of Oz,” I had several girls who could have played an amazing Dorothy. The decision came down to two seniors: Angie and Janell. Both were great singers, great actresses, beautiful young women. Either would have been a fabulous choice. But I could only choose one.  After much thought and prayer and consulting with others, I decided to give the part to Janell. Angie was given the part of Glinda. When I posted that list, I stood back and watched the kids...