Life and Musings of Ed

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Brokenness in Education

In Christian Education, Life and living on 15 February 16 at 10:40 am

I am deeply troubled by my recent experiences teaching mathematics in a public high school.  Not only have the vast majority of students entering my classroom lost any wonder or desire to learn mathematics, they come in with a deep set disdain, even hatred of the subject and severely deficient proficiency.  Consider the following example from an integrated math 3 student [similar to algebra 2, for those used to a traditional high school course sequence].  The selected problems from a quiz follows the student’s opportunity to see examples in class and practice both by hand and with the assistance of a graphing calculator.  This is not an anomaly.

MyWorkContinues

Couple this with general class response of “yeah, we agree”  to the following quote from Mike Rowe [Dirty Jobs], and the anecdotal evidence is already very troubling!

MikeRowe_ChallengeToStudents_IsItTrue

There is no shortage of laments regarding the state of public education, and in particular, mathematics education , in the US, nor is it difficult to find any number of suggestions for “fixing” the problem.  One might hear buzz focused on “data driven” education, and “brain based learning”, etc. etc. , for example.

From my perspective, there is a serious world view clash and I will be laying out proposals and offerings for anyone interested in Christian Ed.  My heart is torn daily when exposed to brokenness in so many of my students.  The Good News is that there is Good News [the Gospel] and a real solution to this brokenness.

To start my online and public thinking process, here is a short paper about my philosophy of education, which I wrote for one of my Master’s courses at Concordia University :

Philosophy of Education

I believe the purpose of education is to transform students into the image of Christ, to equip them for every good work, and encourage them to live such that they will glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  As a teacher, I facilitate the development of a Christian worldview, guide students toward Truth and knowledge of God’s creation, love and edify them through trials and struggle, encourage perseverance and the development of Godly character, uphold hope, and foster their understanding of God’s call and will for their life.  By pointing students to Christ, I help them to understand excellence and beauty, their intrinsic worth and value, and principles for a joyous and fulfilling life — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27  ESV).  

Because I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children, I seek to partner with parents, to involve them as much as possible, and acknowledge their right to choose the best educational setting for their child.  Because I believe we are created as relational beings, incorporating collaborative learning experiences, promoting teamwork and citizenship are critical in my classroom.  Because the great narrative of humankind, the patterns of sin and redemption, of evil and heroism, of love, passion, tragedy, destruction and discovery are recorded, shared and best expressed through language, the written word, mathematics, and the fine arts, these disciplines are critical components of education.  As citizens of the United States of America, I believe we share a common heritage, that students should fully understand philosophies and ideas which led to the founding of our country, should be able to read and comprehend founding documents, the constitution, the history of our country, and the great sacrifices that have been made to establish the freedoms we enjoy.  They will come to understand that such freedom requires a moral, responsible and educated populace. To best understand America, students must be able to compare and contrast all aspects of the history and culture of the United States with the rich cultural diversity and history of other nations.  Because I believe God’s creation is worthy of study and that we are called to be stewards of His creation, the study of science, mathematics, technology, the history of their development and their effective use are critical components of education.   Because I believe all students are created in God’s image, have special gifts and talents, and a purpose or “calling”, I will do everything in my power to ensure equity in my classroom, school, and community.

Finally, the effective impartation of knowledge and wisdom in my chosen discipline of mathematics and science demands my diligence in professional development.  I will continue to stay abreast of research regarding best practices and effective pedagogy, of current understanding of the brain and implications for learning, of new technologies and their effective use, and of current discoveries in mathematics as I seek to deliver a coherent curriculum which engages students multiple intelligence, and is accessible to a diverse community of learners. I will adhere to the simple principle that students must be given a rich exposure to, a variety of ways to engage with, ample opportunities to process, and some choice in expressing mastery of new skills and their ability to use newly gained knowledge.  I will do whatever it takes to ensure every student is able to demonstrate proficiency of a common core of research based, internationally bench-marked standards.

 

Tag A Giant — TED Talk

In Life and living, Technology on 14 October 10 at 1:48 pm
Tuna Flume
Image by kqedquest via Flickr

Barbara Block and her Tag A Giant project are well known to folks at Duke Marine Lab, where I work.  It was fantastic to see her talk and I encourage you to take 20 minutes to see how technology is shaping our view of the oceans and [finally] contributing to our knowledge.  Perhaps some day in the near future we will put to rest the fact that “we know more about the surface of Mars, then about our very own oceans”.  Thanks to Barbara and other ocean scientists.

Oceans Map Alexandre Van de Sande, 2004.
Image via Wikipedia
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Connectome

In DUML Physics, Life and living, Technology on 1 October 10 at 11:02 am
Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also kn...
Image via Wikipedia

This is a very interesting TED talk on an ambitious project to better understand the brain.  The scope of the project of mapping the “connectome” –the sum of the connections between neurons and synapses, etc in the brain — is enormous and the potential for understanding the brain is astounding.  Although I would tend to say I am even more than my connectome from a spiritual and Christian worldview, I think you should watch the talk, it is well worth a few minutes of your day.

http://on.ted.com/8bfp

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Father’s Day Essay

In Life and living on 17 June 10 at 12:14 pm

Interesting Essay from the Editor of the Patriot Post:  Alexander provides an historical perspective and  includes well known statistics concerning the importance of fatherhood to a healthy society.  I am so thankful for my father and the quality of character he has always demonstrated!

Alexander’s Essay – June 17, 2010

The Centennial of Father’s Day

And a case study in the fate of the fatherless Barack Obama

“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.” –James Wilson

Father’s Day was first celebrated the third Sunday in June in the year 1910.

The original observance was in honor of William Jackson Smart, an Arkansas veteran of the War Between the States, who raised a daughter and five sons on his own, after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Smart was devoted to his children, as they were to him, and his daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, wanted to honor her father for that devotion.

Though Mother’s Day had been observed in one form or another for centuries, Fathers Day was a fitting complement, and within a few years following the first ceremony, it became a national rite.

While this first formal recognition came about just a century ago, it was abundantly clear to our Founding Fathers that families with both mothers and fathers were critical to the well-being of children.

John Adams wrote, “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families…. How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?”

His wife, Abigail, wrote, “What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.”

The vital role of fathers has been extolled throughout history, in virtually every religion and culture. No less, it is now well understood that the foundation of our nation is “laid in private families,” and that this foundation is critical if the next generation is to be “wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.”

Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of negligence among fathers today, and consequently (according to the CDC, DoJ, DHHS and the Bureau of the Census) the 30 percent of children who live apart from their fathers will account for 63 percent of teen suicides, 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71 percent of high-school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80 percent of rapists, 85 percent of youths in prison, 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children.

The causal link between fatherless children and crime “is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” notes social researcher Barbara Dafoe Whitehead.

More to the point, a counselor at a juvenile-detention facility in California, which has the nation’s highest juvenile-incarceration rate, protested, “[If] you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I’d like to meet him. … I don’t think that kid exists.”

Arguably, the vast majority of social problems confronting our nation today originate in homes without fathers, including those without functioning or effective fathers. (It should be noted here that an increasing number of fatherless homes are the result of mothers who separate from fathers without reasonable grounds for severance.)

“Maturity does not come with age, but with the accepting of responsibility for one’s actions,” writes Dr. Edwin Cole. “The lack of effective, functioning fathers is the root cause of America’s social, economic and spiritual crises.”

Of course, there are young people who were raised by a single parent, or in critically dysfunctional or impoverished homes, but who overcame that impediment. Either they were blessed with a parent who, against all but insurmountable odds, instilled their children with the values and virtues of good citizenship or, somewhere along the way, those children were lifted out of their misery by the grace of God — often in the form of a significant mentor who modeled individual responsibility and character.

As a result, they have been empowered to internalize their locus of responsibility, to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices and behavior.

However, the vast majority of those from homes without fathers externalize responsibility for problems and solutions, holding others to blame for their ills, and bestowing upon the state the duty of providing basic needs and, ultimately, of arbitrating proper conduct.

The failure of fatherhood is more than just a social problem; it is a menacing national security threat. The collective social pathology of the fatherless has dire consequences for the future of Liberty, free enterprise and the survival of our republican form of government as outlined by our Constitution.

One may rightly conclude that most “liberalism,” the rejection of Essential Liberty and Rule of Law, is rooted in pathology that runs much deeper than topical ideological indoctrination. Indeed, psychopathology dictates, or frames, worldview, and worldview is manifested in such expressions as political affiliation.

In this respect, the pathology of the Left is transparent.

This pathology tends to result in mental rigidity, fear, anger, aggression and insecurity, the result of low self-esteem and arrested emotional development associated, predominantly, with fatherless households or critically dysfunctional families in which children were not adequately affirmed. Such individuals harbor contempt for those who are self-sufficient for much the same reason. They believe that conforming to a code of non-conformity is a sign of individualism, when it is nothing more than an extreme form of conformism for those who are truly insecure. Though they feign concern for the less fortunate and the primacy of individual liberty, they are ardent statists.

They fear loss because most have suffered significant loss. They often come from socially or economically deprived single-parent homes, though inheritance-welfare trust-babies (see Gore, Kerry, the Kennedys, et al.) manifest similar insecurities about helplessness without external sustenance (their trust funds). They reject individual and social responsibility because such principles were not modeled for them as children — and the generational implications for Liberty are ominous.

Some of the fatherless (or those with ineffectual fathers), seek to compensate for the resulting insecurities through overachievement, which is to say they are case studies of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the standard reference used for psychiatric evaluation. These deprived children are relentlessly driven by self-interest, narcissism and visions of grandiosity.

The more notorious of narcissists in the last century include Adolf Hitler, Iosif Vissarionouich Djugashvili (Joseph Stalin), Mao Zedong and Saddam Hussein.

The more seemingly benign of the fatherless in recent U.S. political history include Bill Clinton, Albert Gore, John Kerry, and the textbook case of Barack Hussein Obama.

On the official White House website, the bio for Obama begins, “His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family…”

That is certainly the image Obama would like to project, but it is most certainly not accurate.

Like so many Leftists, his roots are shallow and broken, and they are in no way a reflection of “values from the heartland.”

“Barry,” as he was called when a youngster, was born in 1961 to Stanley “Ann” Dunham, an atheist anthropologist, and Barack Obama Sr., a Muslim from the Luo tribe in Kenya. When he was just two, Obama’s parents separated and later divorced. Obama’s mother then married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian national. Barack took his stepfather’s name and he and his mother moved with Lolo to Jakarta, where he spent four years in local Islamic schools. Ann and Lolo also divorced, but not before sending Barry to Hawaii to reside with his maternal grandparents and attend the exclusive Punahou School.

In those years, young Obama was greatly influenced by others, most notably an avowed Marxist, Frank Marshall Davis, and later a “spiritual mentor,” Jeremiah Wright, who spewed racial hatred.

Barry Obama’s search for identity

Often accompanying narcissistic pathology, as in the case of Obama, are strong charismatic abilities, which attract a cult of sycophantic followers, or as Obama put it in the opening pages of his political autobiography, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

It’s no coincidence that Obama’s most loyal constituencies are the product of the social, cultural and economic blight in many urban settings, breeding grounds for legions of disenfranchised Leftists, those who are largely dependent on the state for all manner of their welfare, protection and sustenance.

When campaigning for president, Obama proclaimed, “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” Unfortunately, young Barry never received enough of it himself that he might provide it to anyone else, much less an entire nation.

To be sure, all good-hearted Americans should possess a measure of compassion for young Barry Obama, whose bizarre formative years were marked by complete familial disintegration.

Unfortunately, misplaced empathy has played a key role in his unchecked rapid rise through the ranks to the most powerful political seat in the world — at great peril to the future of liberty. Actions have consequences, and the grossly negligent act of electing a “community organizer” to the presidency — is producing devastating consequences, as even many leftists are now discovering.

So where to go from here?

In regard to fatherhood, the foundational future of our nation will spring from our homes, as John and Abigail Adams understood.

The fate of the fatherless is, at best, a broken heart. At worst, it is the root cause of the social entropy we observe in contemporary American culture, because the fate of the fatherless is directly linked to the faith of the fatherless, their relationship with God the Father. Broken trust with earthly fathers often results in a lack of trust in the Heavenly Father.

On this 100th Father’s Day, we should pay tribute to the irreplaceable institution of fatherhood — and the importance of a father’s love, discipline, support and protection for his children. Every day, those of us who are fathers should encourage other fathers to be accountable for their marriages and children. (For excellent fathering resources, link to First Things First).

There is much that can be done for the fatherless — mentoring through Boy Scouts, coaching little-league sports, teaching in Sunday school, tutoring and volunteering to work with high-risk kids through an inner-city ministry, to name just a few. We, as American Patriots, must bridge the gap for these kids.

As for this publisher, it is a privilege beyond all others to be a husband to Ann and father of three. Indeed, no reward could be greater than the close relationship with my children, and to see their progress as Patriots-in-training — responsible young citizens committed to carrying forward the flame of liberty.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post

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Why Boys Fail

In Christian Education, Life and living on 26 March 10 at 2:56 pm

I have lamented the state of education in the public sector and have noticed the shifting policies which tend to demonize much of what was once “normal” behavior of boys.  Here is a commentary, with which I generally agree, that addresses a key to the apathy of young men toward education, school and life. Think about the lack of opportunities for boys to live out the life of a hero in today’s risk-averse, nanny state.  Then think about what you can do to reach out to provide an opportunity for a young man to be a hero — not a fake hero — a real hero, taking risks and serving; in fact, if you are a male role model, show him how to be a hero — display some character and grit!

Commentaries
Another Reason Why Boys Fail

A coarsened cultural environment has eliminated the heroic ideals that once inspired young men.

By Stephen C. Zelnick

March 11, 2010

Editor’s Note: Stephen Zelnick is a member of the Department of English at Temple University and co-founder of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC).

I happened to catch an interview with Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind. His is the latest voice in a chorus of writers who have focused attention on the weak performance of boys and young men in education. Whitmire, a capable and committed journalist, follows the social science approach of gathering statistics and then guessing at likely causes.

And the data are stunning. Boys do poorly in reading in the early grades, they fail in great numbers to graduate from high school, they go on to higher education at lower percentages than young women, and they fail to complete higher education programs at a noticeably higher rate than their female counterparts.

So many theories have been proposed for these failings that it is difficult to keep up with them. Boys’ brains don’t work right for what school does; boys’ energies are not suited to sitting still (more Ritalin, please); boys are biologically best suited to manual labor; boys lack male role models in school settings; boys see cooperative behavior as submission; boys resist cupboard-keeping neatness; and so on. Undoubtedly, these are all true, and always have been.

I would like to propose a wider perspective by looking for causes in the broad cultural environment. As a humanist who teaches literature and labors as a core curriculum and Great Books advocate, I premise my thoughts on old notions of human nature, social values, and cultural continuity.

Thus, I would add something I am not hearing in this discussion. Boys, and young men in particular, respond very well to noble purpose but haven’t had much to go on in the past fifty years of our bedraggled history. So many of the young men I see in my classes have mentally and emotionally quit, given up. They are not supported by inspiring ideals that help organize and focus their energies.

They seem prematurely weary, defeated by obstacles they haven’t met yet, bored and restless and merely going through the motions. Some have adopted the cool pose of indifference, and, indeed, they really don’t care. When I ask them where they are going with their educations, they look perplexed, as if I had awakened them from a deep sleep. Instead of a direction, they tell me a long wandering tale of possibilities, a tale told with an embarrassed smile and no conviction.

Our society has not totally forgotten about the affinity between young men and ideals of service and sacrifice. My guess is that the military’s advertising works precisely because it appeals to young men (and it is still aimed primarily at men) and their desire to serve a higher purpose and prove their valor. The football field provides another example of young men pulling together, sacrificing to win, admiring tradition, and responding powerfully to the strong-hearted guidance of a coach. However, these examples are too restricted to answer the needs of most young men, and I fear they live better as images than as sustaining realities. As far back as The Republic, Plato noted that the best leaders (he termed them “guardians”) are driven by visions of honor and service and not by dreams of gain. Our military seems still capable of producing soldiers and statesmen; I am less sure about our universities.

I am now an old codger approaching age seventy. Growing up, I could idolize sports heroes, but also scientists, and artists, and entertainers, and statesmen, and businessmen, and politicians. My sports heroes were never bigger than the games they played and were neither puffed up on mega paychecks or mega drugs. Businessmen were giants of industry and made things you could see and use, and created prosperity that improved everyone’s lot. Bankers, like judges, were noted for probity and not for manic and destructive inventiveness. Today’s celebrities run faster, express themselves with extreme energy and talent, and master the media with finesse and power never dreamed of by my heroes, but they seem not much motivated by anything other than greed. “Show me the money” is not an inspiring message for the young.

A 73.5 cm x 61.1 cm painting (oil on canvas) o...
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Though in my family we were reflex-Democrats, Eisenhower was viewed as a noble man, a decent and high-minded person who cared about the country and about the government that protected us. Perhaps that time was equally corrupt, but I wonder. Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men was shocking because it exposed the corruption of a political figure, Willie Stark. Would Jack Burden, seeking some nobility in Willie Stark, now seem merely credulous and naïve? Whatever the facts underlying the appearances, our public stories once were honorable in substance and intent.

As a boy, I revered George Washington and was not baffled by the fact of his slave-owning or his land dealings along the Potomac, as if that was all to be known about him. I hoped I would tell the truth about despoiled cherry trees; I hoped, like Benjamin Franklin walking down Philadelphia’s Market Street as a young man on his own, that I would see the world before me as an open field of possibilities; I believed I would, like Lincoln, chase after the poor woman who forgot her three pennies because it was the right thing to do. How does a boy become a man without these inspirations?

The social and cultural atmosphere has been so polluted one wonders how young people can form life-projects that demand decency and tenacious effort. Everything seems to be for sale, and no one is ashamed by it. The fix is in on the Left and the Right in Washington. Turpitude in the coal and oil industry, with their locust hosts of lobbyists to protect them from those who would protect the environment, is an old story. The new stories are about agri-business and healthcare and education, and now even the green NGOs that take big bucks to moderate their advocacy.

A recent National Public Radio interview featured a sexual dominatrix who earned praise from the interviewer for her entrepreneurial inventiveness. College campuses promote celebrations of sex and invite young men and women to share the dorm and each other. State and local governments pay their bills by sponsoring gambling and constructing casinos (when those are exhausted, is prostitution next?). No politician aspires to courage, or risks moral conviction; it seems to have become a great game for small prizes. Our wars appear to be not only immoral but also pragmatic embarrassments—founded on lies, blood, power, and profits. Young men can be excused for pondering whether ours is a wicked nation, or a stupid one.

In the “boys fail” discussion, girls enter as victims suffering from a lack of suitable life partners. The crisis now faced by well-educated African-American women in finding similarly high-attaining mates among African-American males is projected to the population as a whole. If women constitute nearly 60 percent of the four-year college population and graduate at a higher percentage than men, the future looks bleak for marital parity—and bliss.

I am seeing more aggressive young women and fewer aggressive young men in my classes. Unlike their female counterparts, young men tend not to complain about unpleasant grades and do not chase every stray GPA point in petty obsession to excel. Young women, praised for being strong and belittled for perpetuating weakness, cheer for King Lear’s Goneril and Regan and believe Cordelia is a wimp. This is not good for the future of couples, and it is not good for women. Without the restraint of shame, the encouragement of honor, and the inspiration of noble purpose, none of us can lead fulfilling and happy lives.

Young men are more uncertain about sex and marriage than ever. Women have been coached to take the lead and to think they need men “about as much as fish need bicycles.” They no longer seem to seek male protection and support. Our films and books and TV stories counsel the foolishness of depending on those expectations.

This shift to the narratives of distrust robs men of their edge and purpose. Historically, men have been ennobled as protectors and have justified their hard work and sacrifice as heads of families and protectors of their communities. Without that aspiration, young males can aspire to be earners and consumers and lonely foragers in the sexual forest, but that is not the same thing as being men.

Every time we hear yet another tale of mendacity from our muddied public life, our young suffer and education is driven down to a shoddy business of getting ahead. We end up with cynical business majors on the one hand, and the slackers on the other, both defeated by the atmosphere of unapologetic greed and self-promotion. We pay a heavy price in all our institutions, from poisoned food to dilapidated infrastructure to our ridiculous political circuses. How can education, this delicate flowering of culture, not be a front-line casualty?

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Office Hours with Randy Jirtle, a discussion about epigenetics dukeuniversity on USTREAM. Educational

In Life and living on 3 February 10 at 1:39 pm

Duke Professor Randy Jirtle provides a very clear, accessible and understandable discussion of epigenetics, a burgeoning new field which looks at environmental effects on the expression of genes; to use his analogy–the software or programs which regulate the hardware of life. He suggests that perhaps the majority of diseases are related to epigenetics, he opens up vast new fields of research, provides a fascinating look at applications to evolutionary theory and ends the discussion with a great “ponderable”. It may be the case that you are what you AND what your parents and grandparents eat/ate, since these “software” mutations may be passed on to offspring. This is a grand talk — well worth the time [~55 minutes]

a discussion about epigenetics

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Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

In Christian Education, Life and living on 27 January 10 at 8:25 am

A sweet friend of mine sent the following story to me this morning and as a coffee lover, this resonated with me.

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee…..You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word…

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.


When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Do you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.



May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!

Postman Speaks

In Christian Education, Life and living on 4 December 09 at 12:14 pm

Stephen Clawson, a valued friend of mine, turned me on to the works of Neil Postman some time ago.  Today I ran across a new (at least new to me) blog of Robert Talbert, who I have followed for some time via his Casting Out Nines blog.  He had the following quote from Postman posted 😉   Postman, as usual is incredibly insightful and clear, yet this only serves to raise the question — What do we do with this insight?  Do we simply accept it and deal with it somehow? Do we seek to make societal changes and if so, how in the world do we begin to turn the tide?   Do most folks even see this as a problem, or is it just those, like me, who came of age in a seemingly different world, who are troubled?

http://rtalbert.tumblr.com/post/265498253/how-television-stages-the-world-becomes-the-model

“How television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails. As typography once dictated the style of conducting politics, religion, business, education, law and other important social matters, television now takes command. In courtrooms, classrooms, operating rooms, board rooms, churches, and even airplanes, Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.” -Neil Postman”

Lord Christopher Monckton Speaking in St. Paul

In Life and living on 20 October 09 at 4:48 pm

Lord Christopher Monckton speaks on October 14th, 2009 at a climate skeptic event sponsored by the Minnesota Free Market Institute.

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President Obama’s Address to American Students

In Christian Education, Life and living, Uncategorized on 14 September 09 at 3:58 pm

The President encourages students to overcome and work hard to succeed.

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