Thursday, April 24, 2008

Insight for Prayer

I thought about this column as I was reflecting on the students that I pray for. Most of the time, the students who garner a teachers attention are the troublemakers- those who are the most dysfunctional; those who we have to correct repeatedly; those who interrupt the learning that occurs in our classes.

However, there is one thing that I have learned. That is that we are all, as people, in the same boat. We tend to see sin from our own human, earthly point of view. The sin that is most outrageous to our principals or ethics is the sin that we deem "the worst" type of sin. I believe God sees things differently, as He has a different perspective than our limited, earthly one. We *all * have issues. We all have challenges that we face in life. We all struggle with our own difficulties within ourselves, our relationships, our avoidance and adherence to personal pain and pleasure, and the consequences of our choices.

You see, the silent ones, the students who never interrupt class, the ones who always do their work and quietly go about their business- they also have needs, hopes, fears, challenges, desires and dreams. It was with understanding that I realized that they need prayer just as much as the students who are troubled.

And so, each morning, when I pray sometimes as I travel to work, whenever I pray for this particular group of students that I have taught over the years, I remember the other ones. Its hard sometimes for me to recall names, but I pray for them as a group, asking God to bless them and keep them; to guide them and protect them, to help them make good decisions and to seek His love.

For I am quite flawed, but He is not. I have, continue to, and will make mistakes in the future, but He will never disappoint. He is the One who made us and loves us. And He is the One who gave His life on our behalf, that we may know Him. I am so thankful for that.

armchair coach
amateur historian

A Must Read for Future Presidents

Above, Fox Connor, mentor to Dwight Eisenhower, who said of him, "In sheer ability and character, he was the outstanding soldier of my time."

The above article is a must read for future presidents of our country. It was a speech, given by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to the graduates of West Point, future officers in our army. It is steeped in the lessons learned by history, wise and practical in advice for foreign policy, cautious and prudent in judgment. In his speech he gives the following advice:

Conner had three principles or rules of war for a democracy that he imparted to Eisenhower and Marshall. They were:

* Never fight unless you have to;
* Never fight alone; and
* Never fight for long.

(Note that our current president has broken all three of the above axioms- would that he should have heeded such advice instead of being surrounded by hawks who spurred him to go to war, all of whom have now deserted him.)

Marshall has been recognized as the textbook model for the way military officers should handle disagreements with superiors, and in particular the civilians vested with control of the armed forces by our Constitution. Your duties as an officer are:

* To provide blunt, candid advice always;
* To keep disagreements private;
* To implement faithfully decisions that go against you.

(Truthfulness, honor, loyalty- such traits should be found in all soldiers, officers and enlisted.) The full article is worth the read, and emphasizes the importance of understanding our history in light of current events.

armchair coach
amateur historian

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

[Click image for larger picture]

I happened upon this object as I was exploring Second Life. Its helps us to get a different viewpoint every once in a while, no?

armchair coach
amateur historian

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Little Piece of Americana

It was in 1925, before the age of popular electronic media that a man came up with an interesting advertising idea. Place road signs across America that came in small phrases as one passed by, making a humorous rhyme, followed by the name of the product that sponsored the signs. Thus the legend of Burma Shave was born. Sales multiplied dramatically.

Those who have traveled across the backwoods highways of America no doubt have seen them, although younger generations may not be aware of this piece of our social history. It harkens back to the days of our grandfathers and great grandfathers, when times seemed simpler, when our government represented us, and it was a good thing to be a patriot. As one passed these signs in the family car (for those who owned them, as a greater and greater percentage of households were able to afford investing in one,) one would read small alliterative quips, often engaging the imagination by filling in the unspoken parts of these little jingles, of a fashion. Here is an example:

A Man, a Miss
A Car, a Curve
He Kissed the Miss
And Missed the Curve

Burma Shave

The idea of a man's amorous overtures causing a disaster, with the car flying over an embankment is quite humorous, but also endearing in the way it is presented. To me, it is reminiscent of the folksy setting of the Andy Griffith Show, with its old time values and sly, dry humor.

This is a part of our national identity, of an age that is slowly fading into history, along with the people who lived in these times. We would be wise while looking to the future, to examine our past, that the wisdom of understanding our heritage not be lost.

armchair coach
amateur historian