Tag Archive: School


He drug himself in the back door once again.  Ten hour days.  Six days a week.  Six years running.  His faithful wife once again had dinner ready.  By this time his daughter was in middle school and the boy was in fifth grade.  The sibling rivalry stuff was in full gear.  Seldom did they look across the table at one another.  If they did it was usually a glare.  Meanwhile, without one single word his wife’s body language yelled at him that it had been another one of those days.  We don’t need to define it.  We all have them.  When they start to string together life turns gray, vanilla, ho hum and the ruts grow a little deeper.

No use upsetting the apple cart at this point.  Let’s see if they can get through dinner without WWIII.  After a little light chatter silence settled in for a few seconds even though it felt like hours.  To break the silence, the tired dad asks his daughter, “How was school today.”  I don’t know what he expected.  “Fine,” was mumbled between bites of food.  I don’t know if Guinness has a record for the most days a dad hears “Fine” from his children but he would bet he was nearing the world record.

Turning to his rambunctious ADD son he hesitated for a moment then let the same old question fly, “What did you learn in school today Buckoo?”  With a gleam in his eye and a smirk on his face the lad responds in glee, “Nothin.”  “Nothin, not one single bit of new stuff learned today?” Dad employs.  “Nope, Nothin.”

At just about every American dinner table they learn what made the ruts in the wagon trails as we moved west.  Running over the same old place over and over again with little movement to the left or right will without a doubt create a rut.  Welcome to dinner.  Rah.

Dad was starting to stew so he looked at mom and let her know he was tired of working so hard and so long to send the kids to private school if all he gets for his effort was “Fine and Nothin.”  He forgot her body language just a few minutes ago told him it was probably not a good time to complain, poke or prod.  We don’t have to go into detail at this point.  Let’s just say mom let it be known that he had no idea what it was like to deal with Ms. Fine and Mr. Nothin over homework before dinner.  Here we go!  The game is on.

Only today, dad was not going to put gasoline on the fire.  Nope, it wasn’t worth it at least not in front of the kids.  Silence once again ruled the dinner table.  It’s a good thing this family was not in the technological age or the iPods, pads or phones would have allowed each one to retreat into their own world hoping dad doesn’t want to have one of “those” talks.

For some reason that only God can say the worn out dad turned to his daughter and asked a different question, “Honey, we are supposed to be a Christian family, have you experienced God lately?”  With mouth agape and the look of complete astonishment she muttered, “No.”  “Well, why not?” He quickly retorts.  Like any middle school student she actually replied correctly, “I don’t know, do you?”  Dad turns to the easily distracted ball of energy to his left and asks the same questions.  The replies were repeated once again.

It was his wife’s turn.  Made as well make it a perfect trifecta.  “Hey Babe, how about you, have you experienced God recently?”  She looked at her two offspring and replied, “Not with these two in the house.”

At this point all three are staring at their father and husband in disbelief.  He got em.  They had no idea what he was up to.  Come to think about it, he had no idea either.  He simply knew they claim the name of Jesus on Sunday but Jesus was hard to find any other hour of the week.  Something had to change.

“Well, I tell you what,” Dad got charged up.  “I’m going to ask these questions at least one day every week until God shows up.  When he does, I want you to share it with us so we can all enjoy God together.”  It took several weeks.  Slowly, the family began to respond.  The first question they started to answer was “Why not?”  The list of distractions began to grow.  All excuses and blames.  Dad didn’t argue.  He affirmed the struggle to find God amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

Eventually, weeks down the line, the youngest responded, “Yeah Dad, I did experience God.”  With a surprised look Dad asked him, “Share it with us I want to enjoy it with you.”  He did.  It was small but it was powerful.  The family began to share.  They began to talk about life.  They began to talk about Jesus.  Jesus showed up and it changed this one family forever.

Sometimes, we just don’t ask the right questions.

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The coach grabbed the young man by the collar of his jersey and lifted him up off the floor pushing him hard into the wall of lockers.  With his hand balled up full of jersey he was screaming endlessly into the players face.  Eventually the anger subsided and he let go of the jersey turning his wrath against the rest of the team.  The only offense to the young basketball player was a weakness in his left handed dribbling and the inability to read the half court press put on by the aggressive opponent.

This would not be the first time nor the last time number 10 suffered the aggressive anger of his coach.  It happens to be the one he remembers the most.  The coach never mentioned the fact that the center never flashed to the center of the court during the press.  He never made adjustments for the weak left hand of his point guard.  Nobody was going to play in the NBA on this team.  Only one player would ever play one game beyond high school.

The coach had a reputation.  Few let out about his anger and abuse.  His reputation was his ability to win basketball games.  He won games with limited talent.  He won National Championships with talented guys and that’s all that mattered.  It’s funny how when one is of impressionable age what becomes expected and normal when the distance between good and encouraging is a world away.

The point guard was asked to show up years later at a banquet honoring the “successful” coach.  He refused.  He was one of the only men to avoid the event.  He got a phone call.  It was one of his old teammates asking him to attend.  The callers voice went silent when he heard the answer.

Without hesitation the now husband, father and coach replied, “If I want to honor a man for his ability to win basketball games I would come.  However, the cost was too great.  It is only by the grace of God that I remain a Christian.  If his example was what a “Christian”  should be I should have given up on the faith a long time ago.  I can’t honor him.  He won games.  He molded young men to be just like him.   He is not what I want to be nor my kids to be.”

That night they hung a banner in his honor in the largest Christian school in the Baltimore, MD area.  I wasn’t there.

Somehow “Christian” was boiled down to praying before everything we did and obeying the school behavior code which was thicker then a large print Bible.  We weren’t allowed to curse.  The coach could but he won games.  Doesn’t the Bible say to respect authority?  As long as we hung under the line of shame it must have been Christian.  Cross that line and there was hell to be paid.  That was the Christianity I grew up with.  At times when my mind reminisces I wonder how I remained a believer and follower of Jesus.

I think of so many who took the other path.  We all knew what we saw and what we experienced was far from Christ.  When what we see and what we hear does not match up a choice has to be made.  So many chose to run away.  The problem is I don’t blame them.  I wanted to run.  It was an act of God that I didn’t.

There are times I still want to run away.  I don’t want to run away because so many are no different then my old coach.  I want to run away when I find myself being that arrogant, abusive coach fighting for recognition and control in my own abilities.

I told a friend lately that my greatest flaw isn’t my left hand is basically useless or I can’t read the half court press.  I also have no concept of mathematics beyond algebra.  I can’t spell a lick either.  No, my greatest weakness is I think to highly of myself.  Not only is it in the genes as you can tell from this story, I had excellent teachers.

For those who have run away, come on back.  The example we ran from wasn’t Jesus.  Begin by forgiving me for the pain I have caused.  Begin by forgiving instead of condemning.  Now that is the Jesus in the Bible not in the locker room or the basketball court.

Maybe I wasn’t listening.  Maybe I was too hard headed.  I don’t want to blame someone for my own self absorption.  All I know is I don’t want to continue in it.  I thirst for having grace dominate my life even when those who light my fuse surround me.  I’m hungry for Christ to make a difference not so much in my moral behavior but more in my heart.  I want a lot.  Just like staying in the faith has been an act of God, it’s going to take the same to keep me from being just like the guy who could win basketball games.  No different than my salvation, it must come from Jesus.