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04.10.2015

So you found out your friend is going through a divorce. She may have called you herself, or you may have heard through the grapevine that her marriage is ending, as half of all do.As a friend, you want to be there, but you're unsure of what that means. Do you call? Do you ask how she is?Just what is it she really needs?My own divorce is now years old, but whenever I hear of another marriage crumbling, my heart is quickened to the needs I had back then, and my deepest desire is to give what is really needed. No, not every person facing divorce is the same, but I believe there are universal needs that most who are divorcing share. (I'm writing from the female perspective since it is my own.)What She Needs:She needs you. More than she has ever needed you before, she needs your presence in her life. Divorce often costs people friendships, for reasons understandable and varied. Sometimes friends are mutual between the two who are divorcing, and sometimes they are forced to choose sides. Sometimes people just don't know how to be a friend for a person whose life is suddenly different. A loss...

23.09.2015

I tell my students all the time, "Guys, listen. I've been where you're going. I've been to 10th grade English, and I know what they expect you to know. I've been to the SAT, and I know what you have to be able to do. I've been to college, and I know that the quality you're turning in now won't cut it then." I tell them I've been there because they need to know I'm trustworthy. They need to know my methods aren't haphazard but are preparing them for what's to come. They need to know my knowledge of their yet-to-come determines my actions in their happening-right-now. They need to know, and so do I.I need to know my God is trustworthy. I need to know His methods aren't haphazard, and I need to know His knowledge of my yet-to-come determines His actions in my happening-right-now.It's so tempting and natural for me to forget God knows. He knows what was and is, and most comfortingly, He knows what will be. The future is past to Him, and He is not limited by the space and time that bind me. Nothing I face surprises His heart, and everything I face passes...

21.09.2015

Fourteen years ago, I taught my first group of students, and recently I gave some advice to a practicum student under my supervision. Poor guy - he probably doesn't realize that classroom experience doesn't qualify me as an expert or even mean I halfway feel confident in what I'm doing.Nonetheless, I decided to compile a list of my best advice. If you're a new teacher, here you go. I'm hitting you with my best shot:1. Forget approximately 56% of everything your university just taught you. It's theoretical methodology that only holds water in ideal conditions with high-achieving, issue-less students. The students you face will not follow the formula, and each must be treated individually. There is no "one size fits all" method for your wee ones. Take bits and pieces of the best theories and combine them with your teacher's intuition. A teacher's gut is better than an untried theory any day.2. Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. If your kids are hungry, exhausted, or stressed from their parents' all night screaming fests, they can't learn. Period. Fix what you can and love them through what you can't. If their basic needs aren't being met, your love will have a much...

16.09.2015

There's been a whole lot of this in my life lately.My firstborn - my 6 pound baby boy - is tackling and being tackled. He owns a helmet and knows about defensive plays, and I have to watch as boys built like men drive him to the ground.Needless to say, my prayer life has changed.He loves football, but this is his first year. Most of the other guys have been out there before, so he's had a lot of making up to do. He's had to learn positions and plays, and he also has what we'll call a significant size deficit. (He's a year younger than everybody on his team, so the poor kid is easy to pick out of the crowd.)At this week's game, though, this happened.He got one of the two golden game coins. After each game, the coaches choose both an offensive and defensive player to receive recognition. And my baby boy got one.Now, listen. He didn't score a touchdown. He didn't catch a pass. He didn't do anything for which his name would be in lights.He just did his assignment.He was told to block, so he blocked. Play after play, every time he was in, he...