Sir Ken Robinson’s thought-provoking words

My wife and I recently attended curriculum night at our kids’ elementary school.  If you’re not familiar with curriculum night, its basically the point at which the teachers get to tell the parents all about the curriculum that the kids will be studying during the school year.  If your kids are in 1st grade you attend the 1st grade presentation and so on.  Our boys are both in a supplemental gifted program and the gifted teacher showed the video below during her presentation.  I must give props to the teacher for having the guts to show this video; one because it’s rather long (almost 12 minutes) and two because it flies in the face of much of what education is doing these days.

The video made me think, it challenged me and it also gave language to much of what I believe about education but had never voiced or attempted to flesh out.  I have heard of Sir Ken Robinson but had never looked into his work; after hearing this I find myself quickly becoming a fan.

I must make a disclaimer here so you can understand some of the filter through which I processed this video; my wife is a teacher, though inactive at the moment, I have 3 children in elementary school and they are completely unique in each and every way, and lastly one of my children takes Adderall for ADHD.  All that said, I wholeheartedly believe that Sir Ken Robinson is on the right track here and that our education system is horribly ineffective in many ways and downright damaging in others.  I’d love to know what you think…if you have the patience to watch it all the way through.

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dusty people

I recently attended a meeting in which we took communion.  It was impromptu and unexpected and a very simple setup.  During the serving of communion the organizers played “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.  I had heard the song several times before but was struck by the single line

you make beautiful things out of the dust

It got me thinking about dust.  Oh not the biblical kind of dust that God created us out of but the annoying, coats your furniture, gets in your nose kind of dust.

In our world dust equals neglect.  If something is covered with dust it hasn’t been touched or moved or worse yet played with for a very long time.  It hasn’t been held or opened up and it probably hasn’t even been looked at or noticed for quite a while.  If something is described as dusty, it’s considered old and outdated, it’s probably unwanted and forgotten, and the word dusty certainly doesn’t conjure up images of attractiveness or beauty.

But God makes beautiful things out of the dust, out of dusty lives and dusty people.  People who feel neglected, unwanted, forgotten, outdated, unattractive and ugly.  People who haven’t been held or touched or opened or played with for a very long time, dusty people.  God can blow the dust off of them, he can clean them up, he can open them up, he can fill them with his spirit, he can let them know that they are not forgotten, that they are wanted and that they are beautiful in his eyes.  God can make beautiful things out of dusty people.

Enjoy the song

JNS

A few things I’ve learned in marriage

This summer my wife and I celebrated 15 years of marriage, woo hoo!  I truly cannot believe how quickly the time has passed.  The following are just a few things I’ve learned in that 15 years.

God uses my wife to speak to me – Men if you’ve been married for any length of time you’ve probably stumbled across this truth, or been hit upside the head with it.  God uses our wives to speak into our lives because the way they see and think about life is so different from the way we do.  Their perspective is sometimes shifted just enough from ours to help us see what we can’t in a relationship or situation.

Unvoiced, unmet and assumed expectations are very often the reason for our arguments – Most of the arguments that my wife and I have could be avoided with a little prior communication of our expectations when it comes to handling a situation or dealing with the kids.  And a little in the moment communication to say “Oh, I thought you were expecting ___” or “I’m sorry, I expected ____ and didn’t tell you” would keep many of our arguments from escalating.  We live with our own selves all day long creating expectations for others and situations and sometimes we simply forget to let them know what those expectations are.

Someone has got to say “I’m sorry” first – This is the pride killer but the marriage saver.  Someone has got to decide to say the first word, to make the first apology, to take that step towards the other.  Men I hope it’s you because we need to model humility, servant hood and love to and for our wives.  It’s not and easy thing to do but after 15 years it get’s easier every time and the duration of our “misunderstandings” shorten every year.  An argument that would have gone on for a couple of days is acknowledged, talked out, worked through and reconciled in a couple of hours now because we have learned to trust the other when we take that first step.  Oh and wives, when your husband puts himself out there and does take that first step please don’t cut him off at the knees or he won’t do it the next time.

The sex gets better and better – I can’t stand the stereotype of the older couple who have been married so long that everything is the same, work, kids, routine and sex.  I’m sorry but this has not been the case for my wife and I, we refuse to let it be.  The first few years of sex in our marriage were great…but the last several years of sex in our marriage have been mind blowing.  It’s one thing to join together as one, it’s another to enjoy each other as one, and that is the place that we’ve come to.  Understanding that sex is not just for me and making it for us is a small shift in your thinking but a huge shift in your approach and enjoyment.

There is always more to learn about your spouse –  I love the moments when my wife is talking to me and I find myself looking at her realizing that I still have so much to learn about this woman, it’s as if I’m seeing her again for the first time.  I have known my wife for 23 years and I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of who she is.  Part of that lies in the fact that she continues to grow and change and be shaped by God and I get to witness that growth and learn something new about her character almost daily.

Figure out their love language, then speak it – I kinda suck at this.  I mean, I know my wife’s love language, it’s gifts, but I fail so often to speak it when it’s such an easy thing to do.  A card or a note in her lunch would mean the world to her, but I don’t think that way and I am continually reminded that a small gift that let’s her know I’m thinking about her will pay huge dividends for us.

These are just a few thoughts that popped into my head as I quickly wrote this post. I do want to throw a part 2 in here later to flesh out some more pearls of wisdom and share some of the books and resources that have been helpful for us, but for the time being, lets hear from you, what have you learned?

Giving credit where credit is due: I quickly wrote these thoughts down after reading this post by Michael Hyatt.  If you don’t follow Michael’s blog you should he’s an absolutely amazing thinker, leader and writer.

ITP, OTP & WOTP…

If you’ve ever visited metro Atlanta or been around someone from the area you may have heard them talk about ITP and OTP.  Quite often it’s thrown out in conversation and you’re not sure whether they’re using text shorthand or if its a “southern thang”.  From an ITP’er it may come out sounding something like…

Well you can’t blame him for his ignorance, he lives OTP.

From an OTP’er it may sound something like…

Check out that dude’s skinny jeans and plaid shirt.  He’s either a worship leader or he lives ITP.

I’m here today to clear up the confusion.

  • ITP = Inside the Perimeter
  • OTP = Outside the Perimeter

Oh, and there’s also

  • WOTP = Way Outside the Perimeter (where I live)

What is the Perimeter you ask?  The Perimeter is I-285.  An interstate that runs a 50+ mile loop around the city of Atlanta.

Interesting isn’t it? A city that consistently ranks as having one of the worst commutes in the nation uses a single road to divide and label people…I digress.

So what is an ITP’er an OTP’er or even an WOTP’er?

ITP’ers are hip, their hipness is legendary.  They purchase the latest gadgets, download the newest songs, watch the edgiest shows, and wear the latest fashions.  ITP’ers are a blend of urban, hipster, bohemian, artist, metrosexual and socialite.  They are single or young marrieds, or Elton John.  They listen to iPods.  They get their news from Huffpo, CNN & NPR, and they’re usually democrats.

OTP’ers are a mashup in every way.  At times they combine the fashion sense of the ITP’ers with the drink chioce of the WOTP’ers.  At other times they drive their pickup trucks to the High Museum of Art.  They are generally married with kids and usually drive ITP to get to work.  They listen to the local FM morning show of choice and get their news from a combination of Fox News, CNN & the local nightly news.

WOTP’ers are fond of Jeff Foxworthy and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.  They generally drink beer from a can, drive pick up trucks or SUV’s, and did not vote for Obama.  They are married and often live in the same town they grew up in.  They listen to talk radio and get their news from Fox News & The Drudge Report.

I know, I know this post is blatantly stereotypical and depending on the area of town you live in you may be thoroughly offended.  Most of my friends who live WOTP with me are reading this and thinking “That’s not me” and their right, it’s not them, or me, but it is how the ITP’ers see the WOTP’ers and how the WOTP’ers see the ITP’ers isn’t it?  Anyways, I’m just having some fun here, but I would venture to say that those of you reading this in other parts of the country can define areas of your town in the exact same way.  You may not use the same names, but there are ITP’ers, OTP’ers and WOTP’ers in every town, right?

So there you have it, you have been edjumacated in the language of metro Atlanta.  Our next lesson will be on the amazing food brands that have come from Atlanta; namely Chick-fil-A, Coke & Waffle House.

SIDE NOTE: All of the joking aside, one of the things I love most about my church is that we have campuses ITP, OTP & WOTP.  Three locations, three people groups but the same message.  Sure we do ministry slightly different in the individual campuses and we have different “issues” to deal with, but the message never changes and the stories of life change are always the same.

JNS

new puppy lessons

A while back we rescued a puppy from a local shelter.  Our kids were getting older and had been badgering us for a serious pet.  It seems that the interactive capabilities of our beta fish were just a little too lacking for their liking.  So we actually researched, found a good shelter and welcomed a new little bundle of joy into our home.  What follows are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned from our new puppy.

  • Any & all items of clothing, toys or food left unattended become the property of the puppy.
  • If you’re a parent, be prepared to explain sniffing & licking
  • Puppies loose that cute puppy smell when they roll around on wet grass.
  • Beanie babies are not filled with beans but plastic beads…and so was the puppy…for a little while at least.
  • Nothing is as simultaneously cute & frightening as waking up nose to nose w/ a tail wagging pup.
  • When you’re home sick…nobody loves you like the puppy.
  • Most every argument with your spouse ends when the puppy starts licking your toes.
  • Puppy gas is not nearly as cute as puppy breath
  • Puppy poop is not nearly as easy to clean up as big dog poop.
  • Before puppy…Barbie; After puppy…massive headwound Barbie.
  • What goes in must come out. Follow the puppy around long enough and you’ll get your Lego back.

JNS