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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 (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 9 (Need a Substitute?)

Room 1501 pic

Sometimes you just have to be out of town.  This week, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at my University Alma Mater; Manhattan Christian College (MCC) in Manhattan KS…The Little Apple 🙂   They have a chapel service every Thursday and it was great to be able to speak at it.  My oldest Child, Madison attends there too, and it was great to see her.  It had been 2 months since I saw her last. We had fun together.  Winter came early to the midwest.  It was 40 degrees when I woke up the first morning I was there.  It was a great break from the heat.  I’m ready for a PHX Winter!

Joy Christian High School has a graduate that is attending MCC (Riley Corbin) and I made sure to capture a picture of him leading worship so I could send it to his mom…who is also on the Joy staff!  So, in reality…Joy Christian High School led the chapel service on Thursday at MCC.  Riley did a great job…I hope I did a great job following him with my message.  I think I did…but I’m biased.

So…knowing I was headed to Manhattan Kansas on Wednesday night…I had to submit a request for a Substitute Teacher.  The substitute teacher request process at Joy High is pretty thorough.  I let them know 2 weeks in advance, filled out the short paper work, and submitted it.  It was approved!

My wife has just started subbing at JCS.  So…I requested her to fill in for me.

I’m writing this a few days late…I know how the sub did.  🙂

She did great.

Having a substitute teacher, in my place, is a little nerve racking.  It made me feel vulnerable.  I wondered if the students would behave.  I wondered if I would look disorganized.  Now, some might say that I should not have worried because it was my wife stepping in for me. Trust me…that made it worse.  My wife would be honest with me.  I think a total stranger subbing for me would be a little less threatening…they substitute teach for me, and then they leave.  My wife subbing for me…well…it’s called “pillow talk” and I was worried about what she might say.  A stranger that subs for me might simply do what I requested, and go home.  But, if it’s my wife…well…she’ll let me know areas that I could improve, or areas that are out of control…and also…areas she thinks are great!

As I type this…she has already subbed for me and we had fun talking about the different students, their personalities, and the impact that we get to have every day being apart of their lives.  I think having my wife sub for me, helped us have something more to talk about.  I’m not sure it taught us anything we didn’t already know about each other.  We have been married for 23 years.  But, it put us on the same page of discussion in this case.  All too often I think I go to work and do my thing and come home and talk about it with my wife.  My wife would do her thing and come home and talk about it with me.  It is good.  But what is great is when we both have been able to enter Room 1501 at different times and yet encounter the same people and experiences…and now when we talk about it…we know the names, place, and environment, because we have both experienced it.

She is subbing for someone else tomorrow.  So, I’m excited that we will be on the campus at the same time.

I’ll try to keep it professional!  🙂

Have a good week.  Week 9 in Room 1501 was short for me this week.  But excellent.

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 Week-8 (1st bad day)

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic

 

 

Week 8?  No way, that’s crazy.  I can’t believe how fast it has gone by.  Are you humming, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” yet?   I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to decorate Room 1501 in Christmas Decor or not.  My gut says that I’m not going to decorate…don’t call me a grinch….if that bothers you…then come on in to Room 1501 and decorate it!  🙂  

8 weeks in and it is clear that Room 1501 students are getting comfortable with me as their Bible teacher.  This is good and not so good. This is the first week I’ve gotten frustrated with one of the classes in room 1501.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get control of the class to the point where they were all listening and engaged. They were talking over me, and simply not engaging in what I was trying to teach.  I don’t fully blame the students.  I’m learning that classroom order is multi-faceted.  

I have to acknowledge as a teacher, that it is not just the students job to keep the classroom in order. Is it not true, in any situation where order is needed, that all parties are responsible to maintain order?  The person up front must be teaching in an engaging way…AND…the listeners must accept responsibility to practice the discipline of sitting still and engaging in the material being taught.   On this specific day, I was revisiting some material we had already gone over, and it was clear the students were tired of the subject.  I kept trying to capture their attention.  First, I simply asked the few who were talking to please “listen up.”  Secondly, I raised my voice tones a little more to try and make it obvious that I was trying to get them to listen.  Third, I added a little drama to my teaching by pacing and walking around the classroom….all to no avail!  

Room 1501 classes are only 40 minutes long.  In my many failed attempts to get the class to tune in…I actually used 30 minutes.  I’m pretty sure nothing was learned, but it was 30 minutes of pure effort on my part.  So…with only about 10 minutes left I told the class how frustrated I was.  I told them that when I was a student, the teacher would throw chalk and erasers at us when we behaved like this.  I told them I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw dry erase markers and erasers at them…but since I couldn’t do that…I told them all to get out of my class.  I told them that if I got in trouble for kicking them all out of room 1501 with 7 minutes of class left…that they were all busted too!

As the class nervously and quickly exited the room, many of the students walked by me with heads down, saying, “Sorry Mr. Renner.”  It made for a long night for me.  I went over and over in my head what I could have done differently, and this one silly incident caused me to wonder if I’m any good at teaching.

As I type this, I now find it somewhat humorous that I can have 7 weeks of great teaching with great student response, and then only one bad class nearly causes me to believe I’m bad at teaching.  LOL.  I’m becoming more dramatic as I age.  I’m going to assume that most of you have experienced something similar.  We all have great gifts that God has blessed us with and we can have so many great responses…but ONE BAD RESPONSE nearly does us in!  Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to??

Fast forward 24 hours…and nobody got in trouble, and everybody came in the next class day with a great attitude…even me.

As I shared the experience with a few teachers, they simply rolled their eyes at me and said…”Please…Welcome to teaching!”  Not all days are a good day.  I suppose I should just say, “duh.”  I know this, but for some reason that day really got at me.

There was good that came from it all…that specific class of students in Room 1501 were amazing the rest of the week.  I especially smiled, when the worst culprits from that bad day…were now the ones who asked the class to quiet down when it started getting rowdy.

I guess the moral of the story is this.  It takes all parties cooperating for peace to exist and thrive.

I suppose, if I’m really admitting to my own past behavior as a student, I deserve to have some days where the students in Room 1501 cause me some gray hairs.  That is exactly what kind of student I was… too often.   Some people call it Karma.  I call it, God’s sense of humor!”

I suppose it would do me well, right now,  to remember what I have preached so many times.  “Our battles are not flesh and blood.”  To quote the exact Bible passage…

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

You and I are going to have a few bad classes.  Bad days.  Bad jobs. Bad relationships days.  Those days are not the norm.  Those moments do not define who we are.  They are just life. The Bible challenges us to focus on the good.  Even after watching some 10 O’clock news channel, I still believe that there is way more good in this world than there is bad.  The bad just hurts more and thus feels more real and prevalent.  The 10 O’clock news usually only focuses on the bad, and that tends to be all that we see, causing us to think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

It has not.  You are good.  I am good.  God is great.  You and I will become what we are focused on.  I think it is fitting to quote the Bible verse that is resonating in my head right now about this topic.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Philippians 4:6-8.

There are so many things happening in Room 1501 that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable!  I know the same it is true for you and your workplace, your home, and your life!  Don’t give the bad so much credit.  It doesn’t deserve that much attention.

Tomorrow is a good day.  When you get up in the morning, get on your knees for just a moment and give God thanks for what you are about to encounter.  Invite Him into every decision that you are about to make, every meeting you are about to attend, and every action you have yet to do…Then the God of peace will be with you.

That will be a good day…no matter what happens.

Here comes Monday!

 

 


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