Sunday, May 29, 2011

Never Say Never

I recently watched the movie Never Say Never which is the story of Justin Bieber's success.  I must admit that I really enjoyed it and after watching it I developed theory (with the help of my wife) as to why this kid is so insanely popular.

Justin Bieber is so popular because of his wholesome, uplifting music.  Every one of his songs is positive and is something that everyone can, will, or would like to relate to.  His lyrics clearly value girls.  How many songs on the radio talk about love without mentioning sex or being degrading to women?  Not too many.  He is not singing about girls, he is singing straight to the hearts of girls.  Songs with lyrics like "When I smile, you smile", "One less lonely girl", "I just need somebody to love", "Your world is my world, my fight is your fight, your breath is my breath", etc...  I could literally list lyrics from every single one of his songs. 

Add this to the fact that he is talented (he plays the drums, guitar, and piano), young, and most would say good looking and you have the pandemic of Bieber Fever.

Thanks for keeping it classy Justin Bieber.  As you mature as a musician, don't think your lyrics have to mature as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After A Tornado...

There have been some major tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama, and other parts of the United States.  The damage has been devastating!  Neighborhoods, towns, and cities completely destroyed.

After watching people and families being interviewed on the news I have noticed that they all say the same thing.  They are standing in front of what used to be their house and all they can say is "I'm just glad everyone is safe.  That's all that matters."

I think that is a perfect answer.  It is a great reminder to everyone that your house, cars, tv, clothes, computers, and other material things are not very important when it comes down to it.  The important things are relationships, friends, family, and for some people their pets.

Knowing this, lets all make sure we spend our time, energy, and money on the things that are most important to us. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Dog, New Tricks

You try something new.  It doesn't go as planned.  What do you do?  You have a few options...

a) Never do it again. Complain to everyone you know and brag about how you knew it wouldn't work.
b) Keep trying until you're blue in the face, without making changes, determined to make it work.
c) Evaluate, learn from your mistakes, make adjustments, try again.

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks...but it will take time.  Be patient. 
(By the're the dog.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Graduation: The Beginning

Being an educator and living on a college campus, I have the privilege of attending many graduations.  To be honest, I used to hate it.  It's a formality.  It's not required.  You don't even get your diploma on that day.  As a spectator, you sit and listen to people talk for over an hour until your friend/family has their name called as they walk across the stage for 5 seconds.  What a way to spend an afternoon!

My Sister Ashley
However, the farther I get into the field of education the more and more graduation is growing on me.  I might even say I enjoy it.  I like to imagine all of the amazing things that are going to be accomplished by the people in the caps and gowns.  I like to think about all of the problems that could be solved by the people with the tassels and cords.  I like to think about how far each has come from their freshmen year or even middle school years.

Graduation itself is not a life-changing experience.  It is a celebration of the life-changing events that graduates have experienced. 

Another reason I like graduation is that it serves as both an end and a beginning.  The ceremony is often called the commencement.  The root of that word being commence, which means start or begin.  As people graduate from high school, college, or graduate programs, they may be finished with their degree but they are beginning something new.  They now have new knowledge, new perspectives, new goals, new opportunities.  How exciting to be a graduate!

As you attend graduation ceremonies as a participant or a spectator, remember that you are not there for entertainment.  You are there to celebrate, support, dream, and begin!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Faith & Freedom

The biggest story in the world right now is the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.  If you know me, you know that one of my least favorite topics is politics.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole situation.  I have more questions than answers.  I'll supply the questions because I certainly don't have the answers.

Do religious beliefs and national pride conflict?  

Is it okay to celebrate Justice?  Is it okay to celebrate someone's death?  Is there a way to do both?  Is that okay?

What is the difference between Justice and vengeance?

Does killing the leader of unreasonable terrorists make them more or less reasonable?  More or less angry? More or less passionate?  More or less hateful?

Is killing the best way to stop killers?  OR Is killing the only way to stop killers?

When the 10 Commandments, Jesus, and even Mohammad said that killing was bad, were there any exceptions?  You know like for terrorists? 

The foundation of these questions is the battle between my faith and my American pride.

I am so proud to be an American.  I am so thankful for our troops and their families.  I'm so thankful for those who have given their lives so that I can have mine.  I'm so thankful for Justice.  I am so thankful for Freedom that it breaks my heart when others don't have it. 

At the same time I am so thankful to be a Christian.  I am so thankful for Peace.  I am so thankful for Life.  I'm so thankful for Grace that it breaks my heart when others don't have it. 

Do I celebrate when a terrorist dies because he is a terrorist?  Or do I mourn when a terrorist does because a sinner refused Grace?

Should I ask God these questions tonight when I talk to Him?  Or should I Google it?

Thoughts? Comments? More Questions?    

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Father Fiction

I recently finished a book by Donald Miller called Father Fiction:  Chapters For a Fatherless Generation.

I picked up the book because as an educator, I work with so many kids that do not know their dads.  Or if they do, they are in prison or live far away.  Although not what I expected, it is a fantastic book...especially for young men.

There are some things that you typically learn from your Father.  Small things like how to fish, tie a tie, or play a sport.  Big things like friends, work ethic, dating, sex, and integrity.  For the record, it is more than possible to learn all of these things from one's Mom, but for young men it is better to learn from Dad.

Miller learned all of these things later in life in his 20s.  However, he thought if he had a dad he would have learned them as a young teenager and been better prepared for the world.  This book is simply about how he learned these things.

Although I am very fortunate to know, be raised by, and learn from my Dad, I learned a lot from the book.  Comparing sex to inflation, choosing good friends or prison, and respecting authority to airplane traffic, Miller does an excellent job of creatively explaining tough topics and I have already shared many parts of it with other young men.

I highly recommend Father Fiction to any young men or anyone who lives or works with young men.

Here is another post I wrote about this book:  What's The Weather Like?