Monday, May 31, 2004

Occupational Hazard

So today one of our local high schools is having their commencement exercises. It'll be the 60th graduation I've attended in my career in youth ministry (and I missed another high school graduation last night as it was up against our evening church service).

Since the class is over 650 in size, I'll be hanging with my staff and students, playing Frogger on Gameboy (sound down--after the speeches but during the procession of names but in between the names of the students in my ministry) againt the underclassmen, and then celebrating with the students at a reception at my church.

It's become a Memorial Day ritual...and one that I don't mind, either. I'm not much of a "lake" person.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Once more...this time with a dose of reality

With all the hoopla about the WWII Memorial in D.C. this weekend, the American public has been subjected to more hype about "the greatest generation."

First, it goes without saying the memorial is deserved, and their accomplishment is unparalelled, and the benefits are precious. These men and women are certainly deserving of all the accolades regarding WWII and there's a reason that memorial is important.

Yes. They faught and won a war. They had to sacrfice to do it. However, much of that is based on the times they were in. I guess what I'm suggesting is that any generation of American men and women who are asked to do such things and given the resources to do it will indeed rise to the challenge in front of them. I know that burst of patriotism coming from me may surprise many of you but the reality is that I truly believe that.

So, if the standard is winning the war and fighting the imperialists back, then yes...they were the greatest generation. They did what they were asked to do.

But let us be careful about how we measure them. Wasn't it them that got us into, and never really out of, Vietnam? Wasn't it them who faught against segregation? Wasn't it them who took over the roles in government and caused horrible disillusionment (re: Social Security) and lack of trust? And didn't they raise the most selfish generation of Americans yet (re: Baby Boomers) who still hold their entitlements dear even though their own grandchildren--and beyond--will be paying for them?

My suggestion is that there's a balance in there somewhere. Words mean things, and I'm not sure they're the "greatest." If you're looking for suggestions, I'm looking at the founding fathers, or maybe I'm looking ahead to this upcoming generation who is going to have to fix an awful lot about the "greatest" generation's legacy.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

A Rarity

For whatever reason, I have a Saturday with NOTHING to do. Well, okay, one kid has an art lesson at 1PM, but other than that. Absolutely nothing.

Well, except for the fact I have a yard...

But, I think in some small, minute manner, I know what my higher-order-life-liver sister Jilly feels like every day.

Friday, May 28, 2004

So, today I'm thinking...

...some teenagers and college kids (with all the Passion conferences and such that are all the rage), believing that they're trying to grow deeper through a "worship experience," don't see the irony that they're settling for something that is actually more superficial than they realize.
...that Calgary will win the Stanley Cup this year because they play better on the road, even though Tampa Bay probably has the better team.
...that people who lament that the 65 million people who voted for American Idol are more than voted in the last few presidential elections aren't thinking that if you held the election on TV and allowed everyone to vote as much as they wanted by phone or text messaging that you'd actually have way more than 65 million votes for president.
...thunderstorms are enjoyable experience from a distance or sitting in your house.
...I need to clean out the garage.
...not a day goes past that I don't think most people should not be allowed mobile phones.
...there was some really good music written in the 1980's that most people never heard (people have heard of U2 and REM). Elvis Costello, Talking Heads & The Replacements come immediately to mind. really is dull to dull minds.
...I can't buy any more books until I finish the foot-high stack I'm working on and Barnes & Noble keeps taunting me with "great summer reading" that makes me want to buy them.
...there are very few movies that, upon watching the trailer or commericial, initially interest me anymore.
...the "vibe" of a community slows down when the kids are out of school.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Winning In Dramatic Fashion

(Warning: Proud dad blog ahead)

My daughter Kelsey's softball team made a dramatic run through the city softball 12 & Under championship tournament. They finished 6th in the regular season and bet the #3 team, #2 team and then the #1 team in the tournament to make the championship game.

Well, the #1 team fought through the loser's bracket to make the game and for three innings showed why. We only got two baserunners in those innings and they developed a 5-run lead going to our last at-bat in the bottom half of the inning.

Kelsey started the inning with an infield single. Two walks. A double. Two more singles. A couple of runs score on passed balls and a couple of more singles. Then a long single to center that drove in the winning run.

They won 6-5, and there was a trophy presentation ceremony on the field afterward...and celebratory ice cream after that. Plus, it was the last day of school for the kids, so there were pool parties and sleepovers afoot.

I can't think there's a better way to start the summer...for them or me.
What In The World Is The Matter With People?'s the story. A 41-year-old man (with a teenage son)was arrested yesterday for all sorts of things, but the gist of it is that a lot of teenage girls were showing up at his house. Sex for drugs & alcohol seems to be the deal.

What's the matter with this guy's thought processes? Why would a man his age be interested in teenage girls?

What's the matter with the girls (apparently there were 15 that stepped I'd imagine there were more involved)? Why would they degrade themselves for some drinks or pills? If they're 15 or 16, they're old enough to know better.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Lemme see if I've gotten this right:

"U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating that al-Qaeda or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing recieved by the government since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...

Of most concern, the official said, is that terrorists may possess and use a chemical, biological or radiological weapon that could cause more damage and casualties than a conventional bomb...

Despite the concern, the official said there was no immediate plan to raise the nation's terrorism threat from yellow (elevated) to orange (high)."

Okay, somebody somewhere has some sort of weapon that might be used to hurt someone and we're kinda concerned about it, but not really enough to do anything official.

Am I misreading this?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A Reminder:

Polls are NOT news.
Sometimes I Wonder...

Sometimes it's easy to see why someone is famous (Michael Jordan, Gwynneth Paltrow, etc.) and other times it's more difficult (Astin Kutcher, Paris Hilton, etc.).

Today, I'm trying to figure out exactly why Reba McIntyre appeals to anyone. Average (at best) country music talent, horrible actress/comedienne. Any insights would be appreciated.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Senior Speeches

Last night, my seniors gave their 5-minute addresses to the entire student ministry and assembled parents and friends. It's tradition. An honor for them. A joy for me.

As per usual, there were tears, laughs, wisdom, silliness, the whole deal.

And for me, watching a group who I've truly come to know and love say goodbye is still hard...even after 15 years of this, it's pretty much an occupational hazard. It never gets easier.

These speeches are part of (and I use these words measuredly) a "mini-grieving" process. It starts with the sermon I give each year in the spring, and usually ends when I climb on the bus to go to Mexico (the first event with the "new" group coming in my new seniors).

And this group was very special to me, largely because they had a desire to get to know me. I can't think of another group that spent so much time at my house or that went on so many trips with me en masse. I've enjoyed watching them grow up, both in stature and wisdom and they became a part of my life. Their encouragement and watchful eyes sharpened me, and my walk with Christ is deeper because of them. I don't get to say that about every class, either.

I'll miss them more than they know.
Good Kids

Slow news day, I guess. Lead stories on the news involved some teenagers who died in a car wreck at 4AM (sneaking out with dad's car) with 30 beers in the car, no drivers license (they had permits) making an illegal turn.

Another teen died when "fraternity" initiation went awry and there was gunplay.

More died in when a 16-year-old was doing over 100 miles an hour late at night and slid off the highway overpass.

The common theme among the parents is that these were all good kids. And you know what? I believe them, too. Sometimes even good kids make unwise decisions.

I cannot imagine what the parents must be going through. I only wish teenagers had inherently better thought processes on some of those unwise'd save a lot of people a lot of grief.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Children Really Are A Blessing

Sometimes you have those moments in real life when you want to pinch yourself because you can't believe what's happening is part of your reality.

When you see your oldest daughter's smile and arms raised after she got a game winning hit to send her team to the championship game (and overhear her requisite phone calls to grandparents and friends). All this on the heels of one of the greatest weeks of anyone's life.

When you see your youngest daughter set up the croquet set in the backyard especially so she can play with you...after an afternoon in which you got to have lunch with JUST her filling you in on all the stuff going on in her life right now. We topped it off by reading a book out loud together.

Nothing really happened yesterday in the big scheme of the universe. At the same time, the most incredible things in the universe happened yesterday. They just looked like normal things.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

While Waiting In Line...

Last night our family was off to see the movie "Shrek 2" and the theatre we went to was sold out for the variety of times they offered. We'd purchased tickets for a 9PM show and finished dinner around 8 o'clock, so we decided to get in a line for good seats which was already queing up.

My girls had brought books just in case we had to wait an hour before the show started (even THEY get bummed by the stupid "Reel Trivia" and "Hollywood Hi-Jinks" pre-show entertainment) and Kelsey is reading a book called "Speak" (a 1999 National Book Award finalist, by the way, or so it says on the cover). It's written from the perspective of a "high school outcast" in kind of a journal manner.

Anyway, one entry Kelsey read to me was this one:

"The First Ten Lies They Tell You In High School"
1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly.

Another entry, much later in the book:

"Ten More Lies They Tell You In High School"
1. You will use algebra in your adult lives.
2. Driving to school is a privilege that can be taken away.
3. Students must stay on campus for lunch.
4. The new textbooks will arrive any day now.
5. Colleges care about more than your SAT score.
6. We are enforcing the dress code.
7. We will figure out how to turn off the heat soon.
8. Our bus drivers are highly trained professionals.
9. There is nothing wrong with summer school.
10. We want to hear what you have to say.

Man...I love that my kid is reading this book. Being generally optomistic, I love to indulge my cynical side when it comes along, and apparently my daughter does too.

I can't think of much I would add to "The Next 10 Lies They Tell You In High School" except maybe:
1. It's only "puppy love," not real love.
2. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
3. You have to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps.
4. Everybody has the same chance to succeed.

Feel free to add your own...

Friday, May 21, 2004

Awards Day

So, I get this letter to come to the school. My oldest Daughter, Kelsey, is going to win an award.

It's happened before. She won a student of the six-weeks award from an individual teacher. She got named a "Lamar Leader" by the teachers. Things like that.

I was highly surprised to go to the year-end awards day for her grade and find that my daughter wins "Student of the Year" for her grade (of which there were actually two, due to "block" scheduling requiring teacher "teams").

But, I'll tell you this: Maintaining a "father's poker face" is more difficult than you can imagine when your daughter has a day like she did. And both my daughters give me days to try to maintain it.

I've given up trying to figure out how I have such great kids. I've decided to just enjoy them. I lead a charmed life.
Another Award

My friend, Everett Bradford, made a film for our church's short film festival, and won our first-ever "Shorty". It was computer animated, and entitled "A Boy Named Dilgo." A love story of sorts, about a couple of misfits.

It's my understanding that it's won some other awards. Big time awards, most recently an impressive one that got his name in the newspaper today.

Everett's very creative and I like being around artists like him. Congratulations, Everett...and rock on with this filmmaking stuff. Your future might be brighter than any of us know.
Birthday Birthdayers and the People Who Have Them

Al Franken turns 53 today. We should celebrate by being very intelligent, insightfully funny and being a voice of dissent.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Last night, my junior/senior guys Bible study held our annual year-ending ultimate frisbee contest against the freshmen/sophomores. As usual, the bigger & stronger upperclasemen was a rout.

But that isn't the point. There were incredibly athletic plays and horrible throws, sometimes both by the same guy within 30 seconds. The guys had a good time, laughing and high-fiving and all that. Being guys.

It was a pretty neat deal. I wish that the Christian community had a better bearing on guys being guys.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Queer Eye Update

So, I get a call from the people at Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Suffice to say that everybody's in agreement that I need HUGE fashion help, but, unfortunately for some readers/commenters to The Diner, it won't be happening.

I read in the paper yesterday that the number of kids on medication for A.D.D. has surpassed the number of kids on medication for asthma. This is very disturbing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Undertoad

In John Irving's book "The World According To Garp," the main character lived on the coast. When he was young, he misunderstood his mom when she told him he couldn't go swimming because of the undertow. He heard "undertoad" and assumed that this big, bad animal was waiting beneath the surface. Later in life, he used the term "undertoad" to describe any sense of dread.

Well, the undertoad showed up yesterday at my house on my day off. During the mowing of lawn of the palacial estate, I noticed a wet, spongy area near the house...but didn't think much of it. There has been more rain than normal this spring (we've actually had a spring in Texas this year, but the meteorologist used the words "90 and muggy" during the newscast last night, so I suspect it's over by now), but the more I thought about it, the realization hit me it hadn't rained in over a week.

I asked my wife if there had been any jump in our water bill lately. She said $10 the last month. We hadn't started watering.

The undertoad shows up.

I'm guessing I should call a plumber today.


Monday, May 17, 2004

Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education

I didn't grow up in that era, but my mom did. She was a coed at The University of Alabama when governor George Wallace stood in the door refusing admittance to minority students and said, "Segregation yesterday, segregation today, segregation forever."

I'm glad that on today's 50th anniversary of the court case that started to change that mindset of America. Sure...great strides since then...long way to go...yada yada yada...but it was a start.

I truly believe that all men are created equal and this legal case confirmed that. It was vital to shaping public opinion in our country.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

What's said at the post prom party, stays at the post prom party

This morning I spent 5 hours at a "post-prom" party at Flower Mound High School. It was pretty sharp, too: There were some "bounce house" type games, lots of charicature artists, live bands, and-get this-a full-blown casino.

Apparently, there's some company that has authentic blackjack tables and craps tables and poker tables and slot machines and roulette wheels. They had a casino working for about 4 hours in which teens could try to win chips to redeem for raffle tickets that they could enter for drawings for prizes given away every half-hour or so. I dealt blackjack for the whole time, watching fake fortunes be won or lost (I dealt a hand of blackjack with one kid betting 200,000 chips, and he hit a blackjack and you would've thought he won real money by the table's reaction).

Things like dorm refrigerators, electric guitars, televisions, laptops, and things like that.

We never did anything cool like that after prom. We all just went to some party where there was a keg or two, left because we didn't really know anybody, drove around and watched the sun rise over Hoover's Star Lake with our dates.

Which, now that I think about it, is probably why people organize things like this.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

It was 20 years ago today...

Francis August Schaeffer died on May 15, 1984. If there was anyone who influenced my life and spiritual walk more (even if it was through writings only) and taught me how to see the world through an eternal perspective, I can't think of who it might be. I even did my graduating thesis on his entire works.

We should honor his memory and life's work today by thinking deep thoughts and percieving the world through a Biblical filter...and then doing it every day after that.
Queer Eye for...wait, what? Me?

Those of you know me know that I'm a fashion/presentation disaster. Suffice to say that I'm a continual blend of mid-90's Seattle and late-70's punk ethos. I own one suit and my shoes are Birkenstocks and Doc Martens, one pair of loafers (that haven't been worn in a year) and sneakers. You get the drill.

Anyway, my higher-order-life-liver sister Jilly informs me the television show "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" is going to film 3 shows right here in Dallas.

I filled out an application.
Sometimes the little things really don't matter that much

I officiated a wedding ceremony yesterday. It was held outdoors. It poured rain during the rehearsal, and didn't let up until hours before the wedding. The remaining wind blew the candles almost as soon as they were lit. The ringbearer was too tired and got too fussy so he enjoyed the ceremony from inside the house. The grandmother wanted to get seated early, so we rearranged the order of service. The DJ was 45 minutes late due to the traffic from an exiting PGA golf tournament in the middle of his route with no legitimate escape (we did the ceremony a cappella, if you can believe that) route. The "runner" down the main aisle blew away. The wedding attendants missed a cue and released their butterflies at the wrong time (did you know there's a way to catch and release butterflies?).

And you know what?

None of it mattered at all. It was beautiful in it's simplicity. The bride was beautiful. The groom was appropriately emotional. The families were all happy. The ringbearer got happy. The reception was fun, and the DJ had good music. The food was excellent. The cake was cut and pictures were taken.

The got married, and the little things really didn't matter at all.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Lots of stuff rambling around in my brain this morning...

...I heard that Americans drink $16 billion worth of soft drinks per year. Roughly, that's 12 a week for everybody.
...people that don't want to change, well, there's not much you can do about it.
...the coolest things always happen to my friend Katherine.
...there's a lot of energy and effort and resources involved in getting a wedding ceremony to happen.
...nightly television news is rapidly becoming a colossal waste of time.
...watching your wife make that move from "wife & stay-at-home-mom" to "pretty-darn-good free-lance photographer" is one of the most enjoyable stages of life yet.
...if you don't make time to write the book, the book doesn't get written. playoffs are vastly underrated by the masses. friend Steve is inspirational and challenging on about 37 different levels.
...I'm generally more interested in documentaries coming out than the big-budget movie releases and I don't know how to interpret that.
...watching great dogs age is difficult, and watching young dogs become part of the family is fun.
...eating a good breakfast really does change the food focus of your day, and I really never thought about how much food dominates our thoughts.
...I still can't understand why our government doesn't focus on alternative forms of energy (rather than oil-based) as well as effective public transportation in those major cities that don't have them.

All for now...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A little of this and a little of that

Last night, I sat in a room of 34 teenagers. Mixed company. It's a tradition started three years ago and the girls get to ask the guys a question and then the guys reciprocate.

I'm beginning to see patterns in the questions they ask, too. Maybe it's because the questions they're asking are universal to teenage guys and girls. Maybe it's because they've talked to seniors from years past and know that certain questions get very interesting answers. What changes is the manner in which the answers are given...some teens are better than others at expression...

But what was cool was seeing the unity of my junior/senior guys Bible study (it didn't start that way earlier this year), seeing teenagers care about each other and their spiritual growth, seeing all the opinions listened to whether or not the opinions were agreed with, hearing just how wise some of this year's seniors are, seeing just how funny and witty some of them have become (and that Becca was there, and we KNOW she's funny)...I could go on. It went two hours. It could've gone two more.

The irony is people ask me all the time if I'm going to become a "real" pastor. Why in the world would I want to work with grownups when I get to go to work and see those things?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A Question of Ethics

Hey, here's a modern-day ethical quandry for you. My friend, Stephanie, has decided to make her blog a true journal. She did this be eliminating a "comments" bar from her site.

But yet, she continues to make comments on the blogs of others.

I'm not sure where I stand on it, so could you guys give some insights on the morality of commenting when you're not providing the same service for others? I asked my friend Kendra, B.A. who graduated college recently and she didn't know, either.

We both need your help on this one...

And in a related question, what, if any, punishments should be rendered?

We Are The Champions

My friend Pavi Francis won the women's singles state championship for the state of Texas. She played in 5A, which is the largest classification for high schools (in a state where high schools of 3,000 are not uncommon.

No matter how you slice it, that is impressive. I'm happy for her and proud of her.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Party Schools

So, there's been this big turnaround at the University of West Virginia and I read about the president of said school, talking about the reality that when he took over "one of the top party-schools in the nation" in 1995 that he had his work cut out for him.

Not to say that there weren't problems. Not to say that the president didn't have work to do. Not to say he didn't do something remarkable for the students and the school's image.

But every single school makes some sort of list like that every few years. One year my beloved Auburn, made it to #5 in the Playboy magazine "girl-watching schools" (behind UCLA, Florida, Florida State and USC...all "sun" schools, so rural Alabama had it's work cut out for it) and the next year we dropped out of the top 20. We must've really had an ugly freshman class that year.

My point is that Auburn was on that list of party schools at one point. It was also on Billy Graham's list of public schools he'd send his kids to.

Every school could be a party school...depending on who's doing the reporting.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Big Fish

Saw the movie Big Fish on Saturday night. Very well done and better than most movies out these days. The only thing that made me crazy was that the main character met his wife "at Auburn" and then one of the scenes had him going to see her at her sorority house.

As an Auburn graduate, I'm well aware that Auburn doesn't have sorority houses. That campus was most certainly NOT Auburn. Kinda makes me crazy when stuff like that happened.

But the movie was definitely worth watching. In fact, I think I may watch it again with the commentary on because there were a lot of subtle nuances that I think should have been paid attention to them.
Big Picture Thinking

Last night I had a brainstorming meeting with my staff. Got some stuff we needed to get on the table as to evaluate the last year of our student ministry.

It really reminded me of how cool it is to work alongside the people that I do. Very creative minds.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Mother-In-Law's Day

My Mother-In-Law...

...never said a word to me when her daughter stayed out all night under my watch and missed an early morning breakfast with her, even though we both knew what she was thinking.
...seemed pretty darn excited when I asked for their blessing in marrying their daughter, despite the fact that I was an unemployed seminary drop-out.
...always supported the lifestyle that comes with being a youth minister, even if it meant their daughter had to do without the latest fashions or home repairs.
...was understanding when me moved 662 miles away, even though her son-in-law was taking her daughter and granddaughters to Texas and going to school again.
...makes great spaghetti and a dessert of cherry cheesecake on my birthday.
...really understands the importance of family, and has let me drop right into hers, despite my penchant for naps and reading while I'm visiting.
...has the exact qualifications for being an excellent Grandma (she even saved the toys/games her two daughters had when they were young in anticipation) to my girls.

So, Frances, here's to you on Mother's Day. You've made sure that the last two words of "mother-in-law" aren't a bad thing, and really aren't even necessary.
Mother's Day

My Mom...

...went back to school & got her Master's degree to support two kids after becoming a widow/single parent at the age of 38. me my first car at 16 (and truly surprised me), and then didn't pay for anything else. Arranged a job interview at the local country club so I could apply for a job to pay for the necessary gas and maintainence, too.
...paid for every nickel of my college education, which really amounted to a fraternity house bill and road trips at our football-factory state university (and never complained about doing it, either). If she cared about changing my major 7 times she never said anything other than, "As long as you get your degree..."
...let me leave the nest and be my own man with my own family (this might be the most amazing thing when you think about it).
...loves her grandkids, whether we lived 20 minutes away or 662 miles away.

So, here's to you, Charlotte the Scar (oh yeah, my mom has put up with 15 years of prison references regarding her to the teenagers in my youth group) on Mother's Day. You really are a great Mom.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Fair Warning

Remember those old Peanuts comic strips where Lucy would warn everybody to stay out of her way because she was very crabby? That's me today...just letting you know.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Sorry, Frankie. Kinda.

Today is "Field Day" at my daughter's elementary school. They have all sorts of events where the classes from each grade compete against each other. Shelby is already preparing for victory in the Hula Hoop she should. She's won it before.

Anyway, I remember our field days from elementary school were more like a track meet. Every kid did every event, like the high jump, standing long jump, running events, etc. Really you just goofed around and ate popsicles and stuff.

One of the timed events was running 220 meters or something (back in the day when Jimmy Carter had us all converting to the metric system) like that. So, the lady with the stopwatch told me to go and I went. When I crossed the finish line the track coach, Mrs. Birdwell, called out "22 seconds exactly" so go tell Mr. Smith who has the clipboard. Well, I was huffing and puffing and told Mr. Smith simply "22."

Later in the day, they were calling out the ribbon winners in each event who got points for their class, and I WON that event! Our class got major points, but we didn't win the pizza party.

So, when we went back to class, Frankie Calma, one of my friends, congratulated me and said, "Man, you were really flying! I was glad to get 2nd place with 21.5." It turns out that Mr. Smith had written down "20.2" instead of "22."

I never said anything, but since our 20 year reunion is coming up this summer, I'd better confess that I should've gotten the red second-place ribbon, Frankie. But, don't think I don't remember you slapping a puck past the Shades Valley goalie when we were in high school on one of my shots that would've gone in anyway and you got the I'm calling it even.
When It Hasn't Been Your Day, Your Week, Your Month, Or Even Your Yeeeaar...

Final episode of Friends last night. Predictable. Fitting. But their love lives are certainly not D.O.A...except maybe for Joey's. I'm glad the hype is over.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Freshman Girls

Last night I was invited to answer questions for the freshman girls' Bible study at our church. Naturally, they spend a great deal of time wanting to know about boys and their actions and such. I've been thinking about exactly what a summary of what that hour and a half conversation would look like:

Don't try to be what the media tells you is beautiful and/or sexy. Be who you are, because every boy has something different he's attracted to. Faking it has it's own built-in consequences.

Boys will notice first about you what you want them to notice first about you. Since every boy has something different he's attracted to, if you're play the dumb blonde, eventually, you'll get the kind of boy that is attracted to dumb blondes.

Boys don't get your positive or negative hints. You have to be willing to be honest and direct, but put two or three compliments in front of the reality.

Girls shouldn't be each other or to boys.

Sometimes a girl will not have dates because boys haven't become men yet. This is not a bad thing, and certainly preferable to "settling" on a boy.

Hooking-up has its very own built-in consequences.

When boys aren't good with conversation, remember they grew up playing war and with trucks making explosion sounds. Your play always involved conversations.

If a boy asks you where you want to eat or what movie to see, he's truly looking for information, so answer with your preference. If he didn't want the information, he'd have phrased the question differently ("So, I thought we'd go see 'Walking Tall.' Is that cool with you?").

Strive to be a "total package" kind of girl: Growing in your relationship with Christ; smart; funny and beautiful in your own way (keeping in mind that Edgar Allen Poe said, "There can be no exquisite beauty without some strangeness to the proportion.").

Guys are simply not that complicated.
South Beach?

So, I'm thinking of doing some sort of low-carb diet thing. Any insights or better ideas?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Field Trip

Today is one of many "post-TAKS" days in our school district. You know, once the yearly standardized tests have been completed the teachers kind of "mail-in" the rest of the year with all sorts of parties and movie-watching classes. This particular day is one of the High Holy days of being a kid: The field trip. (The other two high holy days are the "day of the unexpected substitute" and the "surprise video day")

I loved the field trip when I was a kid. Didn't matter where, either. In elementary school, I remember going to see The Children's Theatre in the spring. We also went to see some Indian burial mounds. In middle school we went to see an antebellum home, which, as best as I can discern, was a monument to children born below the Mason-Dixon line never forget how badly the North treated the South in The War of Northern Aggression. In high school we even had one, although in retrospect I can't imagine why: Somehow our entire school got to go see our varsity basketball team in the state playoffs (we even got to drive ourselves...lawsuits waiting to happen, but nobody cared back then).

My oldest daughter is off today to the Dallas World Aquarium. I hope she remembers to stay with her buddy and keep her arms inside the bus windows at all times. If memory serves, those were my weaknesses on the day off from school.
It's Gotta Be Da Shoes, Money

Many of you have no idea who Sebastian Telfair is. New York high school student...a senior who is graduating in a month. Pretty good at basketball. Make that INCREDIBLE at basketball...led his team to 3 consecutive state titles and stands exactly 6 feet tall.

He called a press conference yesterday. He got an agent and will make himself available for the NBA Draft this summer. He might be the first player taken.

He signed a shoe deal yesterday worth 15 million bucks.

I'd sign a shoe deal with Doc Martens and/or Birkenstock today for a free pair a year.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Hello, welcome to the home of the 1st place Texas Rangers, how may I direct your call?

That's how the local major league baseball affiliate is able to answer their phones this week. Why is it that sometimes life seems just a smidgen better when your team is winning?

Monday, May 03, 2004

They Don't Know What They Don't Know

An article in The Birmingham News highlighted something that's going on around the country.

There were 62 cheerleading spots available. 74 girls trying out. Do the math. Parents of the 12 girls raise a stink. 74 spots become available.

This is in no way a slam at the Great State of Alabama...this kind of thing goes on everywhere.

A few years ago, in our community, a similar thing happened. Another time, some cheerleaders got drunk, threw up in class, got dismissed from the squad (because they signed a 'contract' of some sort that said they'd be teetotalers during the season) and were going to miss their senior banquet (because that was all that was left of the school year), Daddy threatened lawsuit, they got to attend their banquet.

Parents question grades. Parents write letters when their children don't win an art show and want to know why. Parents get on coaches about their kids lack of playing time. I could go on, but you get the point.

Parents are the problem.

Now, our school district doesn't have "cuts" in any sport or extracurricular activity. Maybe that's the way it should be.

Now cheerleaders don't have to sign behavioral contracts. Maybe that's the way it should be.

Now, art shows show all the art from all the kids. Maybe that's the way it should be, too.

But how are these kids going to learn to deal with disappointment? How are they going to learn that actions have consequences? How are they going to realize that they don't measure up to others and maybe should focus their energies in other areas?

In some ways I feel sorry for parents in this day and age. It's tough. And I know it's tough to see your child get disappointed. It's hard to watch your kids hurt and discouraged.

But, as I see it, the goal of parenting isn't a happy 15's a functioning 25 year-old who needs to know that sometimes you don't get the job, or if you get drunk at the company party and pop off to the boss you'll get fired, or that sometimes you aren't as good as the other guy at one thing (but maybe you compliment their weaknesses) so you should just let that guy do it...

Parents are really missing a great opportunity here, and instead they're settling on helping their kids wear the cheerleading skirt they never got to, or whatever.

Somebody should write a book. And a good that doesn't involve your child's "self-esteem."
Pine Cove

Sometimes, piling teenagers in a van and taking them somewhere is just what I need to do to remind me how much fun my job really is...and the best way to get a reminder that my work has some meaning.