Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Last week I was at a conference for my profession, but I'll leave the conference unnamed. As has been the case for most conferences that I have attended, several sessions were very good, several were ok, and a number of them were real snoozers. One of the especially irritating aspects is that one very well known minister and author (who has written a book that was on the best-selling list for quite a while) spoke one night - the exact same speech he did at a different conference last year. At least at that particular session, I was far more productive going into the lobby and writing notes on changes that I would like to see in my own context. The best part of a conference is finding the one or two great sessions and using the others to map out your thoughts.

What is the best conference that you have attended?


Digg this

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Kids Re-Writing Beloved Stories

We were at a elementary school fair last night - millions of elementary students running through the halls yelling and screaming, throwing mini-frisbees, climbing on stuff - oh yeah, it was something.

I was roaming the hallways with my kindergarten son, staying to the sides so I wouldn't get hurt. While he was in line for a game, I was reading some of the work that was posted on the lockers. One class had rewritten the ending to a Little Bear story.

Are you familiar with Little Bear? He is the cute little bear cub that has wonderful little friends like duck and cat, and a loving stay-at-home mom and a dad that is a ship's captain (not sure about that one). His stories are generally about playing with his friends and using his imagination, like pretending to go to the moon. I have been blessed that not only do we have Little Bear books, but a few Little Bear movies.

Anyway, in this particular story Little Bear is playing with his human friend Emily. Most of the rewritten stories are like "They played, went home, the end." But here are some excerpts from a few of the best:

A girl's version: Little Bear went out to play with Emily the next day but couldn't find her. Emily had moved far away and Little Bear was very sad.

A boy's version: Little Bear and Emily sat down to eat and Little Bear ate so much that he got fat and couldn't play anymore.

The best (guess whether a boy or a girl wrote this one): Little Bear said to Emily, "Would you like to play?" She said OK and then he ate her.

When I was in graduate school and was subbing, I would try to substitute in an elementary school. If we had some free time, I would play a story game similar to rewriting stories. I would start off with a line like: "I was walking down the beach..." and then the next kid fills in some action. Before two or three kids in, I'm getting eaten by a shark, chased by a dog, and other dangers right at my heels. I no longer ask why grownups act the way they do - those stories are still going on in their head!


Digg this

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Cheesy Motivational Poster That Got Me

I have a love/hate relationship with inspirational posters. OK, maybe most people don't take them serious enough to even have a relationship with them, but this is one of those things that you spend way too much time thinking about and you're not quite sure why. Maybe for you it's why there is braille in drive-thru's. Since you are now wondering, here is an answer that I found (because after I wrote the question, it was bothering me): it's there because of Federal law. the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Public Law 101-336, requires it. This is also why there are braille instructions and labels in elevators. Now the nagging question is why does our government make laws so that braille is on drive-thru's.

I was at my son's school for some kid program when I saw this motivational poster that went something like this: To have things you never had, you have to do things you have never done before.

It's actually been bugging me for about a week now, enough that I am now putting it down on screen paper so that maybe it will bug you too.

That saying is the antithesis of complaining. I don't generally like complaining, even when I do it. In theory, it makes sense and is easily done: I don't like the way things are, so I'd better do something different.

But the alternative solution, as suggested by that pithy saying, is that people should do something different. But the rub - it is just easier to complain.

Maybe this is why there seems to be few powerful people, and "power" meant not in the ability to buy or forcefully coerce people into doing what you want, but powerful in that they are doing what we know we should be doing but can't get the gumption to do so.

I'm interested: anyone have something that they want different, but haven't done anything about it?


Digg this