These are some of my favorites from the National Art Gallery in D.C.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Growing up it did not get much bigger than Bob Knight in Indiana.
Coach Knight created at IU a basketball program that was in the top, the elite of basketball programs. He won 3 national championships while at IU and a lot of basketball games.
He created a cult of personality in which IU fans were not only radical about our team, but also Coach Knight. That allowed for him to win many games, build a nice resume and get away with many things that he might not have gotten away elsewhere.
I loved Coach Knight as a kid, I've read all the books.
And when he was fired, I was outraged. I was saddened, but I often wondered if it weren't time for him to go. However, how it all went down and what happened to him was wrong. I can guarantee it would cause bitterness on him, but if I personalize, it would me, too.
But now we are almost 16 years from the firing of Coach Knight by IU President Myles Brand over him grabbing a student while in a zero tolerance zone. Probably something he shouldn't have agreed to, but he did, he violated it and was let go.
It was a bad time for IU and Coach Knight fans.
But it's been 16 years.
Since that time every single person who was involved with his firing has left IU.
Since that time the university has reached out multiple times to have him back and he has rejected them.
Since that time, he has signed numerous books and spoken numerous times throughout the state making contact with the people he claims to love; the IU basketball fans.
Since that time, he has returned, in a gold sweater, to speak at Purdue function.
And since that time, he returned, in a red sweater, to speak to endorse Donald Trump for President.
Personally, I don't understand it and I don't get it.
It's been 16 years Coach, the horse is dead and come back and recognize the fact that you are still beloved by many IU fans.
What Coach Knight hasn't done in these 16 years is allow for those who were wounded with his firing to heal.
He doesn't owe anyone that opportunity, but it might help him heal also.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
When you visit the United States Capitol in D.C., you come away with a love for the ideal of our country. They sort of run over the warts of the past, and sell the best in all of the tourist things they do there.
But the ideal of our country is awesome.
The reality, sometimes, not so much.
Freedom is not free and should also not be absolute.
In one of the most liberal cities in the country there are more homeless and helpless people living there, stepped over by those that are supposedly fighting for them.
But the great thing about this country is that there are people fighting for all groups, even the ones we do not agree with. That's what makes us different and the moral high ground to fight for others.
But it also requires us to admit our mistakes, move forward, and try to be better.
Visiting Washington D.C. this past week reminded me of why our country was and is so great. But it also reminded me of how far we still have to go.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Authentic: Of undisputed origin, genuine, real, bona fide, true.
In today's world of social media, you can put your best foot forward every day, all of the time. Often that's all we want to put forward, so we can make our lives into what we want rather than what they are. We can create a less than real reality.
You post pictures of smiling, active children. You post pictures of yourself being happy and on vacation. You post positive memes to show how positive you think or believe. You can craft an image that is real or not and sometimes may be impossible to live up to.
Is that crafted image true?
Probably....sometimes. But no way we are always the shiny, polished person we portray online.
We (especially people in positions of leadership and we are all leaders of someone, somehow) need to be "real". The people that we are in charge of must believe that we are authentic because in today's society that may be more important than it ever has been. Those under our leadership know, they just do. A group that has been marketed to since while in the womb knows.
By being "real", however, we can set ourselves up for failure. By being "real", we need to understand that doesn't mean being perfect because we are going to fail.
What kind of failure? By not being real.
Today's people because of technology and social media have excellent B.S. radar. They know if you are real or not. Also, if you come off as too good to be true, they are waiting, just waiting and hoping for you to fail or show your lack of genuineness.
How do you handle if that situation occurs?
Apologize if necessary.
Try to be better the next time.
But understand you can be whatever you want to be as a leader, personable/not personable, but you had better be the real thing or when you think you're leading, you could just be out on a stroll by yourself.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Monday, April 18, 2016
I like rap music, I have since I heard it back in the mid 80's.
I will never forget hearing King of Rock by Run-DMC...created a feeling inside of me I had never felt before.
I've often said that I was the first person at Henryville HS to like rap music, it was 1984, King of Rock and I hadn't heard anyone else listening to it. But I digress...
Since then I have listened to rap and there are great lyrics that come out of some of the music. Yes, there are coarse lyrics also, but good stuff.
In the last few years as I have grown in my faith, I have started listening to what some deem as "Christian" rappers. My favorites are Lecrae and Andy Mineo.
Mineo does a great job lyrically getting points across (here is his latest faith challenging song; Uncomfortable), but I was listening to one of his songs the other day and he used the term "high opinion, low commitment" in a song.
Have you ever heard something and the lyrics hit you so hard that you could be pushed over by a feather? That did it.
My first reaction was to think of all the years I have coached and listened to people complain especially in the anonymity of social media. So many opinions, so little commitment other than complaining.
Then as I thought about it, I realized that despite all of the self-motivated memes I share on Twitter, I have done the same thing?
How many times have I complained, but am not willing to do more? A lot.
Are you high opinion, low commitment? Sure, I am sure you are high commitment in many aspects of your lives, but before you complain about something else that you are involved in...have you committed anything? Have you volunteered?
If yes, great.
If no, rethink what, when and how you say it.
Friday, April 15, 2016
I just bought and started "I am n" today, already moved by some of the content.
What does our faith cost us? Here in the United States?
Here is a quote from Kevin who serves missions in restricted and least-reached nations:
"The further we are removed from the suffering of others, the easier it is to do nothing. We must not allow that option."
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I live in a nice little world where, if I choose, I do not have to actually see many problems.
If I watch the news, I see it.
I teach high school, so occasionally, I am forced to actually see some problems, but we can usually think how terrible, smile and move on.
But drugs have become a scourge on American society.
I know they were a problem in the 1980's when I was a kid, but hard drugs have become more widespread due to their cheap cost.
How is this happening?
When the person who is addicted decided to medicate for whatever reason (fun, hate their life), they began on a spiral that led to their lowest points.
And I bet I am close when almost 100% of the addicts started out thinking and believing, "it won't happen to me".
Yet, here they are.
And younger generations seeing what has happened have still not learned that it can happen to you and maybe will.
I have been involved with education for 25 years and I have seen numerous stories of former students and players who have been addicted to drugs, are addicted to drugs and have spent time in prison due to their addiction and habits.
What can I do to help?
The more we say "drugs are bad, ok?", the more kids laugh at us because, you know, it will never happen to them.
Yet, their worlds are surrounded by people who once believed that and have found out the harsh truth.
Say "No!" to drugs...and alcohol until you are mature enough to make more informed, less emotional decisions.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
My wife is the absolute best wife I could have. I'd argue she's right up there at the top of best coaches wives too.
She is patient with me in my typical male issues that I have and she is supportive. Maybe, especially in others' eyes, too supportive.
How many of your wives would say "yes" if you asked if you could go to Europe to work a basketball camp? Twice?
How many of your wives would say "yes" to going to Asia for two weeks to help coach a basketball team?
How many of them would allow you to go on trips with your friends or on a school field trip to Washington D.C. at the last second even though we have two children who are heavily involved in multiple activities?
Maybe all of your wives/spouses would be as supportive as mine, but I doubt it.
Here are five criteria to having a supportive spouse.
1. If you like to do many things that requires her patience, do not get aggravated or say "no" if she has the opportunity to do the same thing.
2. Know when and what could be the tipping point. If you ask too much even the best will get frustrated with you.
3. She should know that you love her and she can trust you. If you haven't done that, forget asking.
4. Having your families close to support her when you are gone is a huge, huge plus.
5. Show her thanks by being a good father and husband and a few back rubs wouldn't hurt.
Every single situation is different, and you have to figure out what is best for your relationship, but these 5 things have worked for us.
I'd like to say that I looked for these things when I married her, but I can't. They are her personality and she would be loving and supportive no matter who was lucky enough to end up with her.
Thankfully for me, I was that guy.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
1 Kings 19:4 “but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said “I have had enough Lord, take my life…”
I am not sure that everyone has ever prayed that they wanted to die, but I am sure that most of us, if not all, have been at the end of our ropes. Even Elijah the Prophet had his moments where he was done with it. We may not have wanted to die (we may have), but we have wanted to quit moving forward or even questioned God’s plan for us.
Who of us has never been so down it could be called depression? We deal with anxiety or panic attacks and often feel that as a believer in Christ, it shouldn’t happen, but it still does. I think it is important to remember Elijah and Job who in Job 7:6-7 says “My days pass, they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is but a breath, my eye will never again see anything good” when we come to these own moments in our lives.
Elijah and Job’s scriptures do not sound like people who are just “down” or in a bad spot right now. It reads as if they have entered real, legitimate depression.
Maybe you have been victimized by the church or by yourself that you should be a better believer, you should pray harder, etc, but it important to know that you may be doing exactly what you should be doing. Often, especially here in this country, we are so individualistic that we won’t allow others in, we think we can do it on our own and when it doesn’t work the way we think it should, we begin to doubt ourselves and our faith.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord with all your heart and DO NOT RELY ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING…”
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts….so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Because of our selfish ways in this fallen world, we often pray to God and if our desires are not immediately met, we think there must be a disconnect with God. We believe that he must not be hearing us. There is a disconnect, all right, but it isn’t God not hearing us, it may be us not paying attention to his answer which we may not like.
Monday, April 11, 2016
In the United States we've not only become really good at looking the other way at things we do not like, we've also learned to justify the horrific conditions in situations to justify that looking away.
Sometimes a day at the ballpark helps my mind do the above and sometimes I just need to not think about the depravity of man...or myself.
Friday, April 8, 2016
I've coached different sports at almost all levels.
What I have found is that the higher up you go on the ladder of athletics, the more humble the coaches.
It's not always the case, but it holds true pretty often.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
1. They get up and do something even when they don't feel like it.
2. They are self-disciplined to do their job even on days when it feels like the world is against you.
3. They attempt multiple times to help others even when rejected.
4. They don't allow for apathy to bring them down continually.
5. They make much of their life not about themselves.
6. They are genuinely happy about other's success.
7. They live consistently authentic lives.
8. They learn from their mistakes.
9. They are able to comprehend good advice.
10. They attempt to be in a relatively good mood every day.
11. They don't blame their mistakes on outside influences.
12. They accept responsibility for failure...see #11.
13. They realize that not everyone or everything is against them.
14. They put their trust and knowledge in the fact that there is a higher power than themselves.
15. They know their limitations, but are willing to try new skills.
16. They are able to get past their fears to try new experiences.
17. They are respectful of other's differences while still not always agreeing with them.
18. They understand that not all people's perspectives are the same as their own.
19. They are able to put aside their selfishness for the good of a group.
20. They live within their means.
21. They allow themselves some down time to relax and enjoy all life has to offer.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Above is a picture I took in Arizona of the wall that separates the United States and Mexico. Up on that hill is Mexico.
Nogales is your typical border town, it is heavily influenced and full of Mexican people. If you've never been somewhere like this, I recommend you go.
It is a different place to be inside the U.S.
Monday, April 4, 2016
Last week some of our family headed out west to Arizona. We visited family during spring break and we wanted to show our children some of the sights like the Grand Canyon. But it has weighed on me more in the last four years that when we do fun activities that we also give back and show our kiddos how lucky they are and hopefully increase their appreciation for their lives.
After a few days of enjoying the Arizona landscape, we headed to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. I reached out a couple of months ago through a contact at Northside Christian in New Albany to come and do a basketball activity one day while we were in the Phoenix area. They happily agreed and had us out where I put on a small basketball activity for one day.
But the most informative part of our time there was the hour long prayer journey we did before meeting up with the kids. During that time, Diana Lawrence, one of the founders of Arizona Reservation Ministries (ARM) rode with us and told stories of life on the reservation. To say that life is hard on the reservation is an understatement, to say that she and her husband Dale and everyone else involved are doing great work there is an even larger understatement. But I also saw how the Apache themselves are fighting for their community and the love and care they fight for is an even larger understatement.
Drug usage, alcoholism, poverty and the sometimes mistreatment of its children is overwhelming due to the drug addiction problem. The Apache are a great people, a people prideful of their heritage, but are living in a perpetual cycle of failure that has been brought about by many factors. Including, but not relegated to what the US government has done to them, what it has allowed to continue to happen to them, their addictions to drugs and alcohol and the feeling of helplessness of a family who has gang members living in their small home with 10-25 other people on sometimes $250 per month.
How do parents with adult children who are gang members residing in their home with their kids, grand kids and even great-grand kids tell them to leave without fear of retribution? How do the local police living in the community do their jobs without risking the lives of their children? How do the local Apache politicians take care of their extended families; for whom they are culturally and incredibly responsible, while trying to do the right thing for all tribal members?
Why would a potential employer invest in a place of employment on the Reservation when the land you build on belongs to the government, is still under federal trust and already portions taken away five times? When the local casino doesn't have an urban draw, is still paying the debt on the building and few Natives are in management positions after 20 years, and still not one Tribal member receives a "payout" from the casino? When because kids act out from what they've experienced at home, the local schools on the reservation have severe discipline issues and the teachers are fighting each day to save them and educate them? This proud, wonderful people have been invaded not once, but many times throughout history by people and the disease of addiction and hopelessness.
That's where Diana and Dale Lawrence and ARM help. They are providing homes, backpacks, clothing, food, lessons, fun and love to help provide hope and to break that the perpetual cycle all the while allowing the Apache to keep their dignity and pride. With their church bus, ARM pulls onto the reservation as a consistent, vital part of San Carlos, providing help, hope and love.
Driving on our prayer journey, we stopped several times so that Diana could talk to some of the young people. Many saw her and ran with a smile on their face and their arms wide open for the hug she so eagerly gave. Then during the 40 minute basketball activity seeing the smiles and hearing laughter and having Diana say it went well is what I wanted to show my own children. You can understand that the Apache appreciate what is done for them, but strive to do more for themselves.
In our social media world, we often become numb to the latest issue that enters our world online. I know I've done it. You look away because it's on my iPad and I don't have to read it if I don't want to because it's one more thing to depress me in my sheltered good life. That's why I challenge you as I challenge myself to be more than a social media activist. Get dirty, don't go numb. Actually go and do something with those less fortunate than yourself. It doesn't have to be on a mission trip to Guatemala or even to the Apache Reservation, it can be in your local community.
But get dirty, make a difference. Can you save the world? Nope, I believe only one person can do that, but you can make a difference. You can make a child laugh or giggle and at the least take their minds off the issues waiting at home. You can do small or big things. In providing help, work to allow for those who may be less fortunate to find ways to do it themselves. Because true change inside any community will not come from the outside, but from the inside.
Maybe what we did in San Carlos wasn't much, but it's better than sitting on the couch aware of their plight and saying "someone should do something".
You can find out more about what ARM and what the Lawrence family is doing at azrez.org.