Month: September 2011

The Right Kind of Fear is a Good Thing

I cheated on a test . . . once. I am not proud of it. I did get caught. I am glad that I did . . . get caught, that is.

It was in math: dry and liquid measures, memorized. I thought it was too much.

After all, my head was full of baseball. Now if you had asked me to know the distance from pitcher’s mound to home plate, or first base to second base, or home plate to the fence, or how many homeruns Roger Maris hit the year before, or Mickey Mantle’s batting average, those things would have been different.

So I cheated. Having written down the measurements on an index card, I held it between my legs during the test. Talk about telegraphing a message to the teacher, I could have put up a neon sign and not been any more obvious. (more…)

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What’s fun about that?

It is almost like teenagers worship fun. They crave it. They plan for it. They discuss it. They look forward to it. They reminisce about it. What is strange to me is that I don’t remember my early teen years as being fun as much as being stressful.

Mark Hoffman, in his book The Joshua Principle, describes his adolescence this way:

“I remember my own adolescence as an unwelcome change from my happy childhood. I did not invite it into my life. Suddenly, all of my friends seemed to go crazy. Every move, every action I did was scrutinized by my friends and peers. It became obvious that many of my former friends no longer considered me quite as ‘cool’ as before . I was apparently somewhat behind the learning curve of adolescent ‘cool and acceptable behavior.’ They would correct the way I looked, stood, spoke, what I wore and most of all how I acted around girls. There were very rigid rules for everything. In addition to this, my eyesight started to go bad, pimples would sometimes erupt on my face, and I had a hard time controlling my moods, sometimes lashing out at my parents.”

What’s fun about that?

Growing up is not easy and teens sense it. Something in them wants to retain the carefree fun of childhood and something in them is calling them to grow up. They just don’t know how.

So, they make a lot of mistakes, most of them harmless and insignificant–yet to us adults, maybe a little irritating. They speak too loud, laugh at any mention of body fluids, dress in order to fit in with somebody. The next day they are exceedingly quiet, refuse to laugh or smile at all about anything, and desire to be alone.

What is going on?

They are (more…)

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“He erased me!”


It was a beautiful summer day, and all of our kids were playing outside: Anna, Patrick, William, and Judith.  It was one of those “in and out” days, hot and humid in the deep south. They were coming in for something to drink on and off all day. In and out. In and out.

Judith, just three at the time, was speaking to me and trying to tell me something that was important to her.  While she was speaking, Patrick rushed in, interrupted, and caused her to lose her train of thought.

“He erased me!” (more…)

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