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Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 18) Walk a mile in their shoes…

FullSizeRenderRoom 1501 is preparing to close down for the semester.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone by.  It seems like only yesterday that I walked into Room 1501 and met it’s students for the first time.  This past week…inside Room 1501…has been pretty uneventful as we wrap up a great semester.  My “having done in Room 1501” and lessons learned, came once again, outside of my room.  I hope you enjoy the rest of this read…

I didn’t take the time to look up who originally said it, but it has been said… “YOU CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND ANOTHER PERSON’S EXPERIENCE UNTIL YOU’VE WALKED A MILE IN THEIR SHOES.”

I personally think that every American should have to do a job swap for a two week period, once a year.  The entire USA workforce should have to do this.  For example…I think every American should have to be a teacher for 2 weeks.  It would be transformational.  On the TV show called Family Feud, 100 people were asked to rate between a 1 and 10 if they felt they could do their boss’s job better than he/she could.  A majority of the people polled answered with a 10.  Meaning…nearly everybody thinks they can do their boss’s job better.

Not only am I professionally teaching for the first time ever, I am also taking on Basketball coaching for the first time ever.  I have always played  basketball, and I like to think I was pretty good at it.  It’s been 18 years since I played basketball for Manhattan Christian College, where I earned the National Bible College Athletic Association Division I All American Award.  Since then I have been in the stands cheering on my kids and yelling at referees and thinking ridiculous thoughts about the coach’s abilities, decisions, and plays.  I have been a critic.  I have thought many times that I would be a way better coach than “that guy coaching that team.”

And…now I’m coaching.  I’m walking in a coach’s shoes…for more than a mile!  Already…just the other day…as I’m sitting on the bench and the team is out warming up for the game about to start… I had a parent walk up behind me and say, “That is not a very intimidating warm up routine for our basketball team.” Frankly…it ticked me off.  Then I remembered how critical I could be from the stands.  It actually made me laugh.  I deserved this comment from the parent.  “What goes around, comes around.”   But…here’s the truth…

It is so easy to be a critic.

It is so easy to watch the slow motion replay for your favorite NFL team and yell at the coach about how stupid that play call was, or how the running back should have cut right, not left.

It is so easy to criticize the Sunday preacher for his misquote of a passage.

It is so easy to think you can do it better.

I really wish…now that I’m a coach and a teacher…when I was being critical…that someone would have had the courage to say, “Shut up Renner…if you think you can do it better, then get your butt out there and do it.”

I love the quote from Theodore Roosevelt about Critics…  Theordore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

You and I need to fully acknowledge that ^T.R.^ was right and still is right.

What have you been criticizing?  Here’s my advice to you.  It is spoken with loving boldness…

“Shut thy mouth!” 🙂  “Being a critic is easy.  If you think you can do it better, then get out there and go for it.”

I love the example of Jesus.  When we…His prized creation…messed up and sinned…He didn’t complain and criticize.  He took on our skin.  He became one of us.  He didn’t just walk a mile in our shoes, He put on our shoes and wore them for 33 years….and He did it perfectly.  He put on our shoes and wore them way better than we ever could.  And still, He is not a critic.  He is love.

I pray we will not criticize others………ever again.  That will be difficult, but possible.

What good does criticism do?  Does it accomplish anything…I mean…other than make us look like a jerk?

Let’s end with a great Bible passage to put us all in our place and direct us to become the kind of people we really want to be.

“3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”  

Philippians 2:3-8

My first semester as a teacher, and now, as a coach at Joy Christian School has taught me a lot.  I can now say, after walking a mile in the shoes of a teacher and coach, how arrogant I must have sounded when I criticized the teachers and coaches of my past.  Oh…I didn’t criticize so much publicly to other people, but for sure God heard it.  I wonder what my words and heart made Him think?

I will try to do all I can to zip my lips when they try to get critical.  It will be a challenge.

If, after reading this post, you have been convicted about being critical towards anybody or any profession, I hope you will have the courage to at least volunteer in that area and see for yourself that it is not as easy as you think.

It will be an adventure that will humble you and make you a better person.

Thanks for reading this…I’m honored by you taking the time to do so, and for not criticizing this blog post. 🙂

Trent


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 16-17) :) Color outside the lines! :)

THIS POST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FERGUSON RIOTS! LOL

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I am at the end of my 17th week of being a first time professional teacher.  I’ve been on Thanksgiving break all week…which is officially week 17.  I haven’t blogged on week 16 until now…well…because I’ve been on T-Giving break!

Last week, as we closed down our 16th week to get ready for this great break I’ve been on, we had an all School Thanksgiving Chapel service.  The chapel service is how Friday ended.  We were done by 10:30 AM that Friday and everybody was so excited to get off campus and begin our full 9 day break!!

Before I talk about what I learned from the All School Chapel Service, I simply want to say, it is a true challenge to try to teach the Students of Room 1501 the entire week, when they know they have a full 9 days of break coming up.  ADD, ADHD, SPASTIC KIDS, TROUBLE MAKERS & RULE BREAKERS come out of the cracks and push any adult irritation button they can find. 🙂

I didn’t mind.  I was one of those students too.  In fact, I’m going to guess that you have trouble focusing at work when you know a big vacation is coming up.   So, I planned for it.  I prepared for the week to be of a lighter subject in Room 1501.  It made for a good week. “If you can’t beat em…join em!”  And when I say “beat em”…I mean it in all senses.  LOL

On Friday, this Chapel service was really great.  See Pic. TGiving Chapel pic

We sang songs, watched video footage of different people saying what they were thankful for.  Played some silly games, prayed, listened to a great message from Pastor Patrick Youngs and then we ran for the parking lot to begin our Thanksgiving Vacation.

I was reminded of something at this chapel service.  Again, it was an all School Chapel Day.  This means that ALL students K-12 were in attendance.  As the chapel service progressed, there was great excitement coming from the 4th Grade and below age groups.  When the speaker asked for a response, this age group complied enthusiastically.  When the worship leader was leading us in song, this same age group sang at the top of their lungs!  They laughed out loud when things were funny. They were fully engaged.

I think this age group is special.  I wish this age group’s carefree and uninhibited demeanor is how we all behaved for the rest of our lives.  I think this type of Child is what Jesus meant when He said, 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:17 NLT

These kids were inspiring to watch and listen to.  They were fully engaged and they obviously didn’t care about the High School and Middle School Age Group’s potential of making fun of them for such “silly behavior.”

I think you know what I mean.  These young kids would do about anything.   They have great courage and are unrestrained.  Some of the sophisticated types might call them, undignified.

That word, undignified, is found in a great Bible story of King David…He came dancing into town in front of the Ark of the Covenant after a great battle.  His wife saw him  and didn’t just roll her eyes but scolded him for such undignified behavior that was not befitting of a king.  I love King David’s reply….In fact…here is the story… It is found in 2 Samuel 6:16-21

16 But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.17 They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 18 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.20 When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”21 David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord.22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

When was the last time you were undignified in an honorable child-like pure way?

When was the last time you rolled down the windows of your car and sang the song on the radio as loud as you could?

When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a total stranger?

When was the last time you made a mud pie or played in the dirt?

Run through a sprinkler?

When was the last time you giggled so hard, your stomach hurt?

Built a sand castle?

Play with play-dough?

Build a fort using only blankets and couch cushions?couch fort

Finger paint using only pudding?

Jump on a trampoline?

Watching the young kids at the All School Thanksgiving Chapel reminded me of how cool it is to be a kid.  Something happens in us when we “grow up”.  I’m not sure its a good thing.  In another passage of scripture Jesus said, “”Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NIV

If I were Jesus I would have had the Apostle Paul add another Spiritual Gift to the lists found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 … I would have had Paul add… “The Spiritual Gift of Immaturity.”

I have this gift.  Just ask the students in Room 1501.  I say things that the average Bible Teacher doesn’t say.  I say things the typical preacher doesn’t say.  It has gotten me in trouble with the people I like to call, “Old Grumpy Pants!”  It will continue to get me in trouble. I’m really okay with that fact.

Life is so short.

We all need to lighten up.

Go get the crayons out.  Color a picture.  Color outside the lines.  Then…bring it to me or send it with your student.

I’ll tac it on the wall of Room 1501. color outside the lines

It’ll inspire others to be child like.

It will brighten someone’s day.

It will give me a story to tell.

I’ll bet God will use it to change a life.

Trent


Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 14) Rat Race…

This week in Room 1501 and the rest of “my world”…I’m convinced I had the busiest week of my life.

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  Below is a list of things that took place in a short 5 day period.

Obviously I had 6 Bible classes of school each day with Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors…7:15AM to 3:15PM.

The Mission Organization I founded and lead called “Return Hope International,” began drilling 3 fresh water wells in Africa.  Uganda Africa is 10 hours ahead of Arizona Time, so you can imagine the crazy times I was corresponding to move on with the details of it all.

My two High School Football boys started their year end football state playoffs. We won our first round and are moving on!

I’m the Assistant Coach of the Joy Christian High Varsity Basketball Team.  Practice began Monday and was everyday from 7-9PM.

I prepared and led our All  Staff Devotion at 7AM on Wednesday Morning, then Joy High’s state playoff girls volleyball team devotions on Thursday at 3pm.(They made it to the 3rd round of state before their season ended…that’s pretty incredible.)  And…I led the football team in a quick devotion on Friday at 2:45pm before their game. (It is such an honor to do Bible Devotions anywhere anytime. I’m humbled by the opps)

I had a Wedding to officiate this week, which meant a Rehearsal on Wednesday Night and then the actual Wedding on Friday night.  I was able to get done with the Wedding just in time to get to Joy’s 1st round of State Playoff Football game by 7PM!  Did I say we WON?!

I’m Grateful.  But full! (I’m probably no busier than the rest of you reading this.)

The past two days…I’ve been trying to do NOTHING!

If your life is as crazy as mine…then maybe the 10 things I had to be aware of this past week, might help you too.  

1.  When you know what you are about to do is going to have great results, then Don’t wait for approval, or permission…go for it.  Deliver! Worst case scenario…if it doesn’t go well…then ask forgiveness and move on.  At least an attempt took place.  Usually when you are waiting for approval…the opportunity to react/respond/act or move, expires…and you miss the opportunity to act all together.

2.  It’s okay to commit mistakes. When things are moving so fast and hectic, there isn’t always a lot of time to stop and think.  Sometimes the temptation is to jump out of the race and stop moving and doing.  But I say, Don’t quit. Get it done.  Go for it!  

3.  Run…Run some more.  Fast…steady…focus on the good work that needs to be done.  Focus on the most important.  You are going to have to prioritize when you have a crazy busy schedule.  Prioritize the most important stuff first…not the urgent.  Many times you’ll end up chasing all the urgent and then suck at the important stuff that needed to be done well.  There is nothing worse than being really good at stuff that doesn’t matter…I fear some live their entire lives doing what I typed in that previous sentence.

4.  If something must be done…Then doing it even a little mediocre is better than not doing it at all.  (Sometimes you just have to live by the “GOOD-ENOUGH” principle.  (Ignore this point if you are building bridges, doing surgery on me, or dismantling a bomb.) CAN YOU THINK OF SOME OTHER THINGS WE CANNOT DO IN A MEDIOCRE MANNER?  Share them with me on my Facebook page where I posted this…or in the comments section of this blog post…it’ll be fun.

5.  If something does go wrong…Own it!  Accept responsibility.  I’m determined in my knowledge of the fact that ANY BOSS hates to fire people.  They just want somebody to accept responsibility, correct the problem, and keep the mission/vision/goal/idea/dream… moving forward.  If bosses hate to fire people, then take advantage of it, by being a risk taker for good.  If you succeed…thank the people who may have contributed to the success.  Give them the credit and trust God to take care of the credit you think you deserve.  Accept Responsibility when things go bad, give credit to others when things go good!                                                

6.  The people in your circle of influence…especially in teaching world, because that circle is youth…will take the inch you give them + an extra foot.  i.e.  If you allow students to enter the classroom one minute late for a week.  They will enter 2 minutes late next week.  3 the next.  If you allow students to sit on the floor while teaching, thinking it will help them pay attention because it’s different…they won’t pay attention even more.  (Veteran teachers are thinking I’m such a ROOKIE right now…It’s because I am!!) Not everybody in your circle of influence has your best interest in mind.  If you leave your classroom unlocked AND leave your Ray-Ban sunglasses laying around…they will get stolen.  Yes…even in a Christian School.  It’s okay…God’ll pay em back later! 🙂  (Just kidding…but not really!)

7.  Winning is everything.  Who are we kidding if we think otherwise.  What’s more important, though, is knowing what a WIN is.

8.  The only way your party/team/wedding/organization/school/church/business/game/etc…can truly move forward and win is by having EVERYBODY on the “team”, supporting each other’s decisions and keeping that united forward movement.  Even one, that is not fully united, can keep any forward potential stuck in the mud.  The previous can only happen with exceptional communication, frankness, and keeping the mission more important than your personal preferences.

9.  It’s very difficult to be friends with the people you lead.  It is possible…but extremely difficult.

10.  The cross of Jesus and the Empty Tomb of Jesus are the only things in this physical life that won’t let you down or fail you…BUT…don’t rely on them.  Rely on the ONE who conquered them both!  He is the real deal.  Only the things we do for Him will last. You better be quick…He moves fast.  If you try to follow Him you will run a rat race, all your life.  You will have to understand what a true win is.  You will have to sacrifice.  You will have to put your personal preferences to death.  It will be the greatest race you’ve ever run.  I pray the following two verses will inspire you to run on…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing”.   –2 Timothy 4:7-8

24 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step.”  — 1 Corinthians 4:7-8

It’s a rat race like none other and you get to run in it.  Me too!

On your marks!

Get Set!

Go…into all the World!


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 13) Fuel to finish strong?

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13 weeks ago, I sat in a classroom at Grand Canyon University with all the teachers and administration from Joy Christian School to be trained and prepared for the coming school year.  13 weeks!  Crazy how fast that time has gone by.

In the training from 13 weeks ago, I remember Joy’s Executive director challenging us to keep our eyes on Jesus and to be really bad at looking back.  Great advice.

We are now approaching the halfway mark of the school year.  We only have 6 full weeks of school before Christmas Break.

I’m new at Joy Christian this year.  Rumor has it that Joy School has had some drama in the past…what org hasn’t and doesn’t?  LOL!  I haven’t seen any of that drama this year.  Forward movement is a wonderful thing.  We all have problems and obstacles that will try to throw us off course.

This week-13 in Room 1501, I have had to lead students who are dealing with education fatigue.  I have heard a lot of talk about being worn out, and ready for a break.  These are obstacles and distractions, that if not confronted, can grow into full blown drama.  I don’t know who said it, but the following phrase is true.  “Tough times never last, tough people do!”

NO ONE LIKES DRAMA….don’t let drama get you all nasty!  Toughen up and last!

So…Christmas is almost here.  That means 2015 is right around the corner.

What is distracting you?

What are some obstacles/problems/people that you want to control and change?

I’ll bet these things are causing you great frustration.  The problem is…the only way you can change them…is if they are about you.

Everything else…Is God’s job to change.

Get your eyes back on your job and your purpose.  Leave everything else to God.  Get rest.  Drink more water.  Eat a little better. Read God’s word.  Choose to find the good and praise it.

When you want to critique…instead…find something positive to say.  Find it!

What is your alternative?  Crankiness? Grouchiness? Fruitlessness?  Complaining to others?  Those things suck.  When you get caught up in them, it causes you to suck too!

You don’t want any of that.  Others don’t want you like that either.

This past week in Room 1501 I am just trying to do my job to inspire the students to love the Lord, learn the Bible and be drawn closer to their creator.  I want to lead by example of how great Joy School is and how bright its future is.  When I keep my eyes on that…Life is good.

Everything else is someone else’s job…mostly God’s.

I just want to lead by example.  You do to.  If you are a teacher.  The semester is almost over.  Finish Strong.  If you aren’t a teacher…Christmas is coming…Year End too.  Finish Strong!   By the way…we’re all teachers…whether vocational or not!

In the process…I’m leading Return Hope International and striving to make a strong spiritual and economical impact in Uganda Africa.  I could say everything above fits exactly for it too.  So this is proof to me that whether I’m in Room 1501 for Joy School or in my office at home administratively leading Return Hope International…its all the same.

We are facing year end….which means new beginnings are coming!

I leave you with 1 Corinthians 10:13,

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

You got this!  Finish strong.

🙂

Trent