SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd - ljudd@sportsleader.org

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Letter from a Parent

TKC!

I got a letter in the mail today from a SportsLeader coach in Oregon. His team made it to the State Championship final ...

In his letter he very aptly put:
"Lou, Thought you would enjoy some info on our season. Also ... our team got a big silver trophy ... I got this letter from a parent ...
I'LL KEEP THE LETTER!"


I am not really sure how to say this... .l really want to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul!

I am not sure how much you know about JD's past, but let me start by saying it really was not the easiest of adolescent passages. He was physically struck by football "team mates", called "dirty Mexican, had his gear taken and broken, called "Radio" by coaches and team mates and much more.

Through all of this he defended these boys and coaches and made every attempt to fit in and be liked. He attended EVERY camp and extra practice. Unfortunately this never happened. He took this kind of abuse for years and it finally reached a point that he could take no more. I could see that he was about to loose it. He went to spend a weekend with his Uncle Marcos and Uncle Brad.

They spent time talking to him about what High School and sports meant to them. They didn't spend the time talking about the two football
championships they attended, but the lifelong friends and relationships they formed. Through lots of tears (mostly mine) we concluded that it was time to make a drastic change.

l knew that changing schools his junior year of High School would not be easy, but he was about to fail out of school and was reaching a deep depression. I tried talking with coaches and teachers to keep him focused. I was told that they didn't have time for one child because there were just too many others to worry about.

From day one everyone at JFK welcomed JD with such warmth. He grew not only in physical size (5' 9" to 6'), but I watched, as he became a great young man. A friend approached me one night to ask me, "what is up with JD?". She said that for years she would try to converse with him, but he would shyly look down and away as he spoke softly. She said that HE actually approached her to say hello looking her in the eye and shaking her hand!! She too noticed his physical change and obvious confidence.

I was so proud!! Some other changes he has made is his strength to stick up for the under dog. one day while watching Ty's baseball game, he pulled me aside and asked if he could have one of the boys over to work on some skills because he noticed he was struggling and he felt that he just needed someone to spend some extra time with him. Very proud moment.

His younger brother (who sports has come easily, he didn't lose a wrestling match for nearly two seasons) watched JD play at the Culver game. The Iook on his face was as if Walter Payton himself was playing on that field.

He said, "Wow, how does Jake do that, do you think I will ever be that good" ? Everyone in Silverton calls Ty the " Ben Roethlisberger" of Silverton, so I have attached a poem that Ben's college coach would read to him, as I found it very fitting and inspiring.

One afternoon Frank and I took some of the boys to lunch. As they finished and prepared to leave I nearly came to tears as I watched Ramon , JR, Daniel, and JD as they stood and hugged each other saying, "l love you man, see you tomorrow". That is a teammate, and those are the friends and relationships that Marcos and Brad talked about.

And at that moment all of those sleepless nights were worth every last tear.

JD is now passing his classes, and is looking at going to COLLEGE!!! I tell this story to as many people as will listen, and it still brings me to tears to realize just how far he has come. He never quit and for that he has become such a strong young man.

One day after practice JD came to the car with food once again. I asked him where he got it, and he said, " From coach Randy, because he loves me" . I asked how he knew that and he said, "Because he told me".

Yes, there were tears in my eyes AGAIN. I am forever indebted for the compassion that you have shown to my son. He came to you a very troubled boy, and Ieaves a respectable young man. What is most amazing is that my son isn't special, and he isn't the only boy on this team who feels as if he IS special. But he felt it every day on and off of the field.

JD made a goal during the summer to become Tri-River Conference defensive lineman of the year. He didn't accomplish that goal, but I know as I watched him play with hamstring pulls, fractures, and pneumonia he played to the best of his ability every game, ond he NEVER QUIT!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!


'Don't Quit'

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, Rest! if you must; but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, As everyone of us sometimes learns, And many a failure turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out

Don't give up, though the pace seems slow; You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man, Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor's cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out; The silver tint of the clouds of doubt

And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit; It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

Anonymous

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Myron Rolle: The Student Athlete

I liked this article and the videos (click on the link) because of the example that Myron Rolle provides for young people: a great athlete who is a great student as well, a young man who has a detailed vision and dream for his life that goes beyond sports or simply "going to college".

There are also some aspects that I found somewhat distasteful - the over emphasis of $ and the marketing of a human being ...

Maybe consider showing some of the video to your players ...




OXFORD, England – Myron Rolle put off an NFL career to spend a year as a Rhodes scholar. But his year at Oxford University is doubling as a one-man marketing experiment – can his career as a pitchman start a year before his career as a player?

But while Mr. Rolle is thousands of miles from the gridiron, he and his agents are working to parlay his Rhodes scholarship into a deal with advertisers wishing to highlight an atypical sports name.

Mr. Rolle has long been a dual threat -- a strong athlete with strong grades. He earned all As in high school and breezed through Florida State in under three years with a 3.75 grade-point average while receiving All-America honors on the field.

At Oxford, he is training two hours per day as he pursues an M.A. in medical anthropology, with the ultimate goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. He's trying to bring cachet to a concept that couldn't be further from the tarnished image of a fallen NFL star like Michael Vick.

"Often a lot of so-called friends would say, 'Myron, you're a sellout. you're focused on school so much, you talk properly, you tuck your shirt in your pants. You do things differently than all of us cool kids," he says.

Some experts estimate Mr. Rolle sacrificed up to $8 million by putting off the pros. But his handlers argue the business opportunities he'll derive from his access to the powerful network of Rhodes alumni could help him more than recoup those earnings over time. Mr. Rolle has already garnered one endorsement, from a football helmet company, but he's got a long way to go.

Mr. Rolle's success still will depend heavily on how well he plays once he reaches the NFL. His agents concede that he will compete against a more talented draft class of defensive backs this April than he would have last spring. At Florida State, Mr. Rolle was among his team's top tacklers but only registered one interception over his entire NCAA career. Some scouts already view Mr. Rolle's delay as a sign that he's not serious about becoming an elite player and doubt if he is training well enough in England. And since he isn't playing, some companies have hesitated to sign him.

"With tight marketing dollars and budgets … they want to know hard and fast, 'What can we do with Myron right now?'" said Jeremiah Donati, one of Mr. Rolle's representatives. "And if he doesn't have an NFL team or an NFL city and he's not performing on the field this year, it's tough."

For now, practice beckons. Mr. Rolle is using most of the several weeks Oxford gives Rhodes scholars for European travel to train instead.

He says he's enjoying the experience, meeting new friends from as far away as Zambia and Australia. Before an interview at the Rhodes House, the legendary study hall for Rhodes scholars, including President Bill Clinton, Mr. Rolle mingled comfortably outside with classmates. Some were surprised to learn he was a well-known American football player when they first met him.

Mr. Rolle has used the media exposure around his Oxford stint to try to show NFL scouts and fans that he hasn't fallen out of shape. Still panting after darting down a damp cricket field as part of his early morning workout, he sat down and summoned a cameraman following him.

"You on?" he asked.

Staring fiercely into the lens, he intensified his breathing and delivered a message befitting a Nike commercial audition. "It's hard work right now. It's hard work. My father always told me that. … You can't let anybody outwork you. In time it creates opportunity," said Mr. Rolle.

Mr. Rolle's talent and smarts have gotten him this far. "If they don't know about Myron, they will," Mr. Donati said. "He will be the poster child of the NFL, in terms of what he stands for. Especially given some of the challenges they've had recently with players. Myron will be the golden boy, so to speak, of the league."

But one branding expert said athletic performance would be the main driver of Mr. Rolle's market value. "He's still got to win the starting job and he has to perform," said James Fritz, vice president of a Santa Monica marketing and branding agency. "If he makes the team but he's on the bench, it's going to be a long shot for him."

Mr. Rolle's endorsement deal is with a company that manufactures football helmets designed to provide extra protection against brain injuries. His agents and the company have declined to quantify the value of the deal.

Vin Ferrara, founder and CEO of Xenith Co., said Mr. Rolle's interest in medicine will help him educate young athletes about how to reduce their risk of concussions. "Myron is a great example of someone who is putting his education and his interests as a humanitarian above his aspirations to make money and be a professional athlete," Mr. Ferrara said.

That theme of financial sacrifice is a consistent part of Mr. Rolle's public message – an idealistic notion his handlers want to cash in on. Mr. Rolle's marketing team is targeting businesses that need to appeal to students, like test-preparation companies, while hoping his on-field skills land him the standard sports-drink deal.

Mr. Rolle's off-the-field endeavors have also earned him attention beyond the classroom. He's set up a foundation that has built a free medical clinic in his ancestral home of Exuma, in the Bahamas.

He's started a program to benefit foster kids in Florida. He's also instituted "Our Way to Health," a physical fitness and health program at five Native American schools in Arizona and New Mexico aimed at lowering high rates of diabetes in those communities. Ken Salazar, U.S. Interior secretary, said in an interview that the agency contacted Mr. Rolle after learning about the program, and ultimately worked with him to expand it.

Mr. Rolle says that though some classmates and former coaches have criticized him for his priorities, he has still always sought to differentiate himself.

"Cool is my own definition of cool," he says. "That's what's important. Cool to me is getting straight A's. Cool to me is scoring three touchdowns. Cool to me is shaking the hand of our mayor," he said. "Cool to me is helping out at the nursing home. Cool to me is playing in the jazz band, and playing the lead role in 'Fiddler on the Roof.' I like to define my own path and my own journey.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

Have you ever lost sleep wondering what a partridge and a pear tree have to do with Christmas?

Probably not - but just in case ...



1. On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me... A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

2. On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

3. On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

4. On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

5. On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

6. On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

7. On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

8. On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

9. On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

10. On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

11. On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

12. On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shawn Crawford - Humility

Truly great people are not defined by what they take but by what they give.

American sprinter Shawn Crawford took a giant leap toward greatness at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. As a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Crawford had taken the victory lap and heard the roar of the crowd before.

He earned another opportunity four years later in the finals of the 200-meters. Crawford finished fourth, but was awarded the silver medal.

The second- and third-place finishers had committed lane violations and were disqualified. Crawford felt he had not earned the silver medal and that it rightfully belonged to Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles.

Churandy Martina would have placed second had it not been for the disqualification.

At a track meet in Zurich the week after the Beijing Games, Churandy received a package at his hotel. It was from Crawford.

Inside the package was the silver medal and a note that read, "Churandy, I know I can't replace the moment, but I wanted you to have this because I believe it's rightfully yours. - Shawn Crawford."

Humility occurs when a person's ego sits down and his character stands up. Shawn Crawford allowed his character to stand boldly.


Also, here is a link to a 6 minute video about Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis and his mission to give back to the city of Baltimore by helping the Police and the homeless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Character Builds Coaching Clinic

Coaches,

I wanted to give you a heads up about our SportsLeader Coaches Clinic. It will be Saturday April 24th. This will be our 4th annual clinic.

When: Saturday April 24, 2010
Time: Arrival 9 AM and Departure 7:30 PM
Where: Camp River Ridge, Oldenburg, IN - about an hour in between Cincinnati and Indianapolis along I-74
Cost: $50 per coach ***

*** Special: The first 3 coaches from your staff are $50 per coach. You can bring up to 7 more for free. We would like you to bring your entire staff.
In short, 10 coaches for the price of 3.

*** High school coaches - you may include your youth and middle school coaches among "your 10" in your staff.

Lunch and Dinner are included.

There will be some time to fish - so bring your gear.

More information will come shortly. Call or email me for more information.

Reservations will only be accepted with payment.
Make checks out to SportsLeader.
Mail to:
Lou Judd
1325 Old State Rd
Park Hills, KY 41011

God bless, Lou

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wrestler receives NCAA Sportsmanship Award

A leader is able to make the right decision in a very difficult situation. Here is an example of that leadership in action.


Anthony DiCarlo

Anthony DiCarlo possesses sight far beyond his eyes. The Anderson University (Anderson, S.C.) wrestler normally competes at 141 pounds, but agreed to wrestle in the 157-pound weight class to fill in for an injured teammate. His match against an opponent from the University of Central Missouri was the deciding factor in the dual meet last season.

DiCarlo's opponent had built a substantial lead, but the Anderson University senior remained focused. He fought his way back into the match.

With about a minute left, DiCarlo was a takedown away from securing a win for himself and his team when the Central Missouri wrestler suffered injuries to both eyes, making him vulnerable to attack. DiCarlo did not seize the opportunity. He refused to execute any offensive moves on his seemingly helpless opponent.

Time expired with Central Missouri getting the win. DiCarlo said, “It was one of those matches where things didn’t go my way and I didn’t win, but if someone is able to see a demonstration of sportsmanship in it then I’m thankful for that.”

DiCarlo's actions are a living embodiment of the motto "safety first." He has been a living example of sportsmanship during his time at Anderson. According to wrestling coach Dock Kelly, “Anthony exhibits every aspect of what sportsmanship embodies on and off the wrestling mat. He has always represented our program, as well as Anderson University in the best manner possible. I am both blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to coach Anthony for the past four years.”


Anthony DiCarlo is the recipient of the NCAA’s Sportsmanship Award.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Virtuous Twist to a Birthday Party

During this time of year we can all get caught up it the hustle and bustle and forget the true meaning of what Christmas is all about.

An 8th grader in one of our programs gave us all an amazing example recently. His parents had decided to give him a birthday party. He told them, "I've received enough this year. It's time to give."

So he told all of his friends who would be attending the party to bring gifts not for him, but for the inner city children at Angel for a Day.

He collected 40 gifts and he gave them all away. I'm sure he will never forget that birthday party the rest of his life.

God bless, Lou

Monday, December 7, 2009

UNC Soccer standout, her talent and God-centered character

Profile: Tobin Heath
University of North Carolina's soccer standout Tobin Heath raises the bar for the Tar Heels through her talent and God-centered character.
By Dave Pond

At the University of North Carolina, there’s an old saying passed down from generation to generation: “If God isn’t a Tar Heel fan, then why is the sky Carolina blue?”

The university’s women’s soccer program, which captured its 21st national title Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 victory over Stanford is arguably the cream of the NCAA’s crop—a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by midfielder Tobin Heath, who grew up keeping tabs on the ’Heels from her home in Basking Ridge, N.J., before committing to play for legendary coach Anson Dorrance in the storied program.

“North Carolina was basically the only school I knew about when it came to soccer. You always hear about the Tar Heels,” said Heath, who tallied a pair of assists during College Cup weekend, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team. “So, when I got serious about soccer, I knew that Carolina was where I wanted to go because I wanted to play among the best players in the sport.”

Heath’s YouTube-worthy soccer skills were just part of what made the 2005 New Jersey Player of the Year a highly sought-after recruit, Dorrance said.

“Tobin came to Chapel Hill as a wonderfully spiritual, selfless young woman, and through all the successes she’s had, she remains the same caring person that she was when she arrived,” he said. “You have to attribute that to her character and to a family that has the right value system. We’ve been privileged to have her choose to come to the University of North Carolina.”

UNC players are asked to govern themselves by a set of core values—and subsequent peer reviews—while they are members of the soccer program.

“Tobin’s teammates have a huge amount of respect for her,” Dorrance said. “It’s just fantastic. In every aspect, Tobin is beyond being just an ordinary soccer player. She is a young woman of deep character who receives universal respect.”

A U.S. National Team member, Heath was thrust into the international spotlight a year ago, as the youngest player of the U.S. Olympic soccer team and one of just three collegiate players named to the squad. She saw action in three games and helped the Americans win gold in Beijing.

“That experience—you can’t really put a price tag on it,” said Heath, who first trained with the U.S. National Team in 2007, which was her sophomore season at UNC. “It’s pretty cool that I was able to go do that at such a young age, and experience the big games at the highest level of competition in the sport.”

After missing UNC’s first game of the 2008 season due to the Olympics, Heath tallied eight goals and eight assists, helping the Tar Heels to a 25-1-2 record and an NCAA national championship. It was a profile-raising year that could have swelled the head of even the most humble athlete. But not Heath, said Tom Anderson, her long-time prep coach and a friend whom Heath regards as a spiritual mentor.

“Tobin has accomplished a lot in her young years, but she’s never once gotten on a high horse,” said Anderson, president of New Jersey’s Players Development Academy (PDA). “She’s always willing to come up to the PDA. Even though Tobin’s a star at Carolina, plays for the national team and has won an Olympic medal, she’s genuinely happy to come back and kick the ball around with a bunch of 9- and 12-year-olds.

“There isn’t anybody who has had the opportunity to play with Tobin who doesn’t sense her excitement about playing, and that enthusiasm rubs off on everybody,” he continued. “Much like her soccer ability, when Tobin is around people, her faith just comes out. She likes to be around people and share the gospel with them. Just like her soccer game, she works at her faith.”

From an early age, Heath knew of the gospel and of Christ’s longing for her. It wasn’t until her soccer career began to take off—when she began to travel intensively for tournaments and camps—that she began to understand who God really was.

“I grew up in a very loving, Christian family that showed me from the beginning what true love was, but it took me a few years to realize that my faith didn’t revolve around my family but around God, who He is and what He has done in my life,” she said. “Your faith can’t depend on where you grew up or the type of environment you grew up in; it has to be unique to you. When I decided to figure out who Jesus was for myself, I really started to understand the true God in my life. Ever since then, I just want to know more and more about Him. Every day is a new day in which I learn to love Him more and understand that I need more of Him in my life every day.”

With a soccer schedule that includes events on the collegiate, national and international level (and the notoriety that comes from playing in such a high-profile position) Heath is intentional about carving out time for God before anything else on her calendar.

“You have to be in the Word constantly,” she said. “That’s the number-one way the Lord speaks to me. I can always tell in my relationship with Him when I need to get in to my Bible—even when I don’t feel like it—because I know I really need to hear God’s voice.”

Heath attends Kings Park International Church in nearby Durham, N.C., as well as several campus ministries, all of which offer high-profile athletes like her an opportunity to get out of the public spotlight and focus on what Christ can do with their lives.

“For most athletes, organizations like FCA, Athletes in Action and Champions for Christ feel like home,” she said. “It’s a sanctuary. They are groups of like-minded students who are dealing with the same struggles, temptations and problems, all while trying to find the balance between being a students and athletes.”

From her earliest years in soccer, Christianity and the sporting world have always gone hand-in-hand, offering Heath a way to not only share Christ with others, but to be held accountable in her own walk.

“You always want to find out more about your sport and your game, and once you do that, it allows you to get to that next, deeper level,” she said. “In a soccer setting, you can figure out a lot about someone just by watching the way they practice or play the sport. When soccer and faith come together, it’s a testimony to what I believe in and who I believe in, and I try to live my life in a way that glorifies God. You’re going to stand out from other people, and that’s what makes people ask you why you’re different, how you’re different, and why do you do certain things. And it’s through those opportunities that you are able to tell them about who Jesus is and what He has done in your life.”

Throughout the season, Heath meets with a group of teammates for game-day Bible studies, all with an open-door policy to anyone interested in coming to hear God’s Word, to listen or ask questions.
“We try to have our Bible study right after our pregame practices,” she said. “It’s a time for us to pray, talk, share about what God is doing in our lives and focus on His Word. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s usually a pretty powerful time, too. I really enjoy when new people show up, and want to hear what He’s all about.”

As her faith has matured, so has Heath’s confidence in sharing her faith. It is even evidenced by Dorrance, her nationally known coach and a devout Mormon, who has coached for more than three decades at Carolina.
“One night earlier this semester, Tobin and her Christian housemates invited us over to talk about faith,” he said. “In 33 years of coaching, that’s the first time it’s ever happened to me.

“Tobin is a really sweet, open-minded, kind and thoughtful girl who happens to be this incredible soccer player,” Dorrance said. “It’s kind of neat having her here and seeing what she does with her life.”

Heath’s collegiate playing career ended Sunday, and she will leave Chapel Hill as a three-time NCAA women’s soccer champion. She has treasured the opportunities that have come with being a senior and leader in the program and hopes to continue to play for the U.S. National Team—and claim a spot on America’s 2012 Olympic squad. But—in a show of her extreme faith–Heath is open to whatever, and wherever, God leads her.

“Just talking about God gets me fired up and energized about His plans for me,” she said. “He is in charge. Wherever He wants me to go, I’ll go. Whatever He wants me to do, I’ll do. I try not to look too much into the future. I’m a firm believer in that today has enough going on for me to worry about. But whatever I do, I’m going to do it for Him.”

A Coach's Perspective

“One of my favorite stories came out of our team banquet last spring. At our banquet, we allow all the graduating seniors to give a final address to the whole team. We’ve been experimenting with this banquet for two or three years, and we’ve got it cleaned it up enough to invite the chancellor and the athletic director to it. So they came to this soccer banquet with their wives… of course one of the reasons they came was that we were coming off a national championship, and I think that they wanted to be a part of this celebration of our team.

Well, one of our players, a graduating senior, stood up and started talking about her recruiting visit to UNC. Here I am, sitting at the table with the chancellor and his wife, and the athletic director and his wife, and she starts talking about how she packed all her “hot” clothes because she couldn’t wait to go down to Chapel Hill and have a typical recruiting weekend, and I’m thinking “Oh my gosh, where is this story going?” I’m sitting at the table sweating under my suit about what this graduating senior was going to tell the chancellor and the athletic director about her recruiting trip.

She talks about being all excited about what she anticipated was going to be a rip-roarin’ recruiting weekend, and I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, this could be humiliating!”

Then she talked about being all set to go out, and she finds Tobin in her dorm room, and Tobin says, ‘Hey, why don’t we go out into the woods and sit around and chat?’ What was hilarious is that this story – the potential ramifications of going downtown into Chapel Hill, burning the town to the ground – turned into Tobin taking this girl out into the woods near the dorm and just chatting with her about her life in Chapel Hill. The whole, potentially wild and crazy night was defused by this sweet kid who just wanted to get to genuinely know and care for this player we were recruiting, rather than entertaining her in the bars of Chapel Hill. It was a perfect ending to a story that could have gone in a very different, dangerous direction.”

– UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance, as told to Dave Pond

Friday, December 4, 2009

Teaching Teens: The Risk of Education

I found this article to be very insightful. I put two parts in bold/blue just in case you do not have time to read the whole thing.


Teaching Teens: The Risk of Education
by Rev. Dwight Longenecker
12/01/09

We were driving home from Mass when my seventh-grade daughter exclaimed, "Why do we have to sing all those boring hymns every week?" Her tone was challenging, belligerent even. The expression was a frown, the body language, crossed arms and a slouch.

My wife scolded her, "It's not for you to criticize the hymns we sing at Mass." But I stepped in: "Hang on. She's asking a question about her faith. That's allowed." I addressed Madeleine: "The hymns are part of the tradition. It's true that they're not always the hymns you know or like, but we're lucky that our parish has a good organist and a good music director. Why not give them a chance? Eventually you'll get to know them and you will enjoy singing them."

Maddy's tone changed immediately because her question was taken seriously, and as a result she felt that she was taken seriously. I went on, "It's okay to question your faith. In fact, it's a good thing. But it's possible for the questioning to be done positively -- even if you feel negative at the time. The negative feelings are just the urge to ask the question. Figure out what the question is and ask it intelligently and positively. Then the urge to question becomes a way to learn."

Six months later Maddy joined the church choir, and she now takes part in the parish music program with gusto. Furthermore, her religion teacher at school noticed a change. By the end of the year he reported that Maddy asks the best questions of anyone in the class. She is beginning to engage with her faith in an intelligent and positive way.


The Italian Connection

Instead of quashing my daughter's religious inquiry, I encouraged it -- even though it was expressed in a negative manner. I wish I could say my response was the result of my own inspired parenting skills. Instead, it was prompted by the writings of an Italian priest.

As chaplain at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina, I was challenged by the headmaster to read The Risk of Education by Msgr. Luigi Giussani. Monsignor Giussani was born near Milan, entering the seminary at a young age and being ordained in 1945. He developed an interest in Eastern Christian theology and American Protestantism. In the early 1950s, he requested permission to work in high schools, and taught at the high school level for ten years. During this time he was involved in Student Youth -- an arm of Catholic Action. In his booklets Christian Life and Presence in the World and Experiencehe outlined his ideas on the formation of young people.

Monsignor Giussani went on to teach at the college level, and in the late 1960s he spent time in the United States researching American Protestantism. This led to his scholarly work An Outline of American Protestant Theology. Then in 1969 he returned to head up the former student group that had broken away from Catholic Action to become Communion and Liberation. The group became one of the new ecclesial movements, and he headed it until his death in 2005.

In The Risk of Education, Monsignor Giussani outlines the problem that existed in Italy in the 1950s. On the surface, the situation in the Church appeared positive: Parishes were run efficiently; there were a good number of priests, religious, and sisters; the religious traditions were kept alive in the family; religion was required in the schools; and attendance at Sunday Mass held up fairly well.

However, Monsignor Giussani noticed among his high school students other, more worrying conditions. First, he noticed that there was no profound motivation for belief: There was head knowledge, but no heart knowledge. Secondly, he saw that the Faith did not affect the behavior of the high school students. There didn't seem to be a real connection between the Faith and their lives. Third, there was a general atmosphere of skepticism. Catholic young people regarded the Faith to be an irrelevant tradition at best, and at worst, a dangerously outmoded superstition.

Monsignor Giussani concluded that the problem was in the transmission of the Christian Faith. Faith had to be communicated not merely as a tradition handed down by authority figures, but as a reasonable and relevant philosophy of life. Furthermore, faith had to be verified; it had to be put into action and experienced in order to be real.

This is risky for two reasons. First of all, faith cannot be proven mathematically. While it is reasonable to believe, faith cannot be proven by reason, and attempts to help young people engage with the Faith reasonably might backfire and cause them to lose their faith. Furthermore, to claim that religious experience is necessary is also risky. Religious experiences are notoriously subjective and fickle. They can be faked both by the educator and the student. The religious experience must be authentic, and this means it will be unpredictable. The religious educator must therefore be willing to accept the "quicksand of freedom."

If this risk is taken, religious education becomes an adventure of faith rather than simply the rote acceptance of religious dogma and practice. For Monsignor Giussani, religious education is a quest on which the educator and student embark together into the mystery of God.


Unpacking the Backpack

Up to about ten years of age, a child receives his or her knowledge of the world and its workings from authority figures. Children accept the version of the world that their parents, teachers, and adults offer them. Monsignor Giussani says this stage of the educational process is like packing a backpack for life's journey. At adolescence, however, the student is beginning to realize that the adult world is just around the corner. This causes him to look inside the backpack to figure out just what equipment is in there, and whether it works. The Greek word for this rummaging around is krinein, or krisis, from which we get the words "crisis," "critique," and "criticism." Monsignor Giussani insists that a "crisis of faith" is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is "criticism" always a bad word.

I have witnessed this process unfold in our high school students today. During a discussion with our campus ministry team, a high school junior said, "A lot of the kids don't think the faith works because they've tried it and it has failed them." I asked what he meant by that, and he said, "They probably prayed and asked God for something they wanted and didn't get it."

This instinct to criticize is natural, and the education system must not only cope with it but be built around it. Monsignor Giussani therefore insists that the Faith must be taught with a "critical" method. In other words, the educator must not only propose the truth, he must accompany the student as he seeks to verify the truth.


Three Ways to Go

The instinct to test the truth is God-given. But educators, especially religious educators, have often operated either in ignorance of or direct opposition to this process. As a result, the critical instinct in teenagers takes three forms. The first is rebellion: The student reacts against his religious formation in an instinctively critical manner, but instead of encouraging the proper kind of criticism, the educator views the criticism negatively and quashes it.

The student's inner logic goes like this: "I've been given this religion that I've been told is the greatest thing in the universe, but when I try to question it, I'm told to be quiet and simply accept. Therefore it can't be as great as it's cracked up to be. If the adults can't take a little criticism, they either can't defend their beliefs, or they must be scared that it's all hogwash. That's why they try to shut me up. The whole thing must be bosh. I've got to find a philosophy for life that works, and if this one can't take a little criticism, it must be wrong." The practical result of this thought process is teenage rebellion, not only in belief but in behavior.

The rebellion makes the teenager unhappy because he is now frightened of the future. To extend the metaphor, his backpack turns out to be full of second-rate equipment. He needs some serious gear for the challenge of life, and he feels like he's been given string and picture hangers. The rebellious teenager is desperate for security, for sure guidance and a reliable guide for life. If he feels the one he has been given has let him down, then rebellion turns into rejection, and his life may take a downward spiral into despair.

The second response to the critical instinct appears to be more positive. When faced with the opportunity to criticize, the student declines to do so. He accepts everything the adults have said, toes the line, and remains everyone's golden boy. This response could be called polite conformity. The student has not engaged his critical facilities at all; he has merely taken the path of least resistance. He conforms outwardly to the Faith but has not engaged with it in any real or practical manner. Unfortunately, most religious educators have not only been perfectly content with the response, they have positively encouraged it.

The problem with "polite conformity" is that it is artificial. The student becomes the typical religious hypocrite -- putting on a false front to please the authority figures while behaving in an un-Christian manner. This reaction is actually worse than open rebellion because the student is often fooled by his own fa├žade. He comes to believe that lip service and outward conformity are all that is required, and if he is never challenged to engage his critical instinct positively, his religious development will either be stunted or retrograde.

The third response is the most difficult, but also the most authentic: encouraging the student's critical instinct. Indeed, the educational method from high school upward is built around this instinct and uses it as the motor for the entire educational enterprise. In this response, the critical instinct is seen as positive, and the student is encouraged to rummage through the backpack and test the contents to see if they are true and reliable.



Reason and Responsibility

If the educator accompanies the student as he verifies the truth, then a new perspective is opened up on the educational process. In a Catholic school, the mission becomes not simply to produce good examination results to get students into good colleges. Neither is the sole purpose simply to produce "good Catholics" who learn to "pray, pay, and obey."

Instead, every subject is taught with the critical instinct fully engaged. The reasonableness and necessity of every subject is verified, and the students are truly educated rather than simply given facts. When an entire school embraces the vision of "verifying the truth," the students are given an overarching principle of education that enables them to draw together the different strands of education and experience in order to prepare them for life's adventure.

Engaging the critical instinct in education also brings teenagers into a higher level of responsibility. If he is simply learning facts, the student is not taking responsibility for his learning. But if he is engaging the critical instinct, he is automatically responsible for what he learns. As this becomes a habitual way of responding to his world, the student learns in a most natural way how to apply this critical instinct to every other aspect of life, and so learns to take responsibility for his thoughts, words, and actions.


Youth with a Mission

When I was a senior in high school, I was invited to go on a summer mission trip with an Evangelical team that smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe. I had to pray and work hard for the money to pay for my trip, and on the trip I was on a steep learning curve with my faith. I was challenged, but that summer changed my life. I saw God in action, and my faith took a quantum leap.

As a result, in the first year of my chaplaincy at St. Joseph's Catholic School I started a summer mission trip to El Salvador. Six students volunteered. They prayed for the money to come in, wrote letters to raise the funds, and embarked on an adventure of faith. The summer mission trip is one of many service projects the school undertakes in order to help our students test their faith in a positive way.

Service projects and mission trips take the faith out of the classroom and out of the chapel. Through these opportunities they see faith at work in the real world. They experience the life of faith by working with religious and charitable professionals, but more importantly, they realize that their faith can only be real within community. Service opportunities and mission trips force the critical young adult into a community of faith, and the truth -- that authentic Christianity is never individualistic -- becomes real.

This real-life experience of faith lived in community is vital for the development of Christian young adults. As they face the prospect of launching out into the world, they need real experiences as a testing ground. The initiation into adult life is daunting, but the transition is made easier as they realize that not only is there a loving and dynamic community ready to welcome them, but that community is necessary both for success in life and for the development of their faith.


Bringing It Home

Monsignor Giussani's principles give a dynamic guiding principle to Catholic education. Our school is fortunate to have been recognized as one of the top Catholic high schools in the country, but this means more than simply turning out high test scores and getting graduates into good colleges. Our main aim is to produce young men and women who have embarked on the adventure of faith. One of the hallmarks of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy has been his emphasis on the need for an authentic encounter with Christ. Monsignor Giussani's principles help us understand just how that can happen.

These same principles cannot succeed at school unless they are also used in the home. Many parents view the teenage years as difficult. They are usually so if the parents have not understood how the critical instinct is crucial to positive adolescent development. Oppressive parents continue to use methods that were appropriate for young children; they expect their teenagers to obey without question and to accept authority blindly. This is a recipe for disaster.

A good friend told me what problems he and his wife were having as their oldest son entered adolescence. They were trying to control everything in his life, and the boy was naturally kicking against the restraints. A priest who was a member of Communion and Liberation advised them to prepare the boy for freedom, to step back and let go. They discussed the principle of the critical instinct, and together tried to make the boy's testing and criticism a positive experience. As if by magic, the boy's attitude changed and he began to respond reasonably and responsibly. He developed his own disciplined life of prayer, began to discuss the possibility of a religious vocation, and successfully headed off to a Catholic university.

Much of Monsignor Giussani's insight is expressed in the ancient wisdom of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The wise father granted his son freedom. That freedom was a risk for all, but it was only through that freedom that the son could eventually come to himself -- while the son who stayed at home represents the child who responds with polite conformity.

If we are to teach teens, then we must be the faithful fathers in the story. We give them their inheritance, the Catholic Faith, and then we give them their freedom, and as they seek to verify the truth we accompany them, so that the adventure of their lives becomes an authentic encounter with the Lord of Life.

........

Rev. Dwight Longenecker is a convert from Anglicanism and the chaplain of St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the author of ten books on the Catholic Faith. Visit his Web site at www.DwightLongenecker.com. This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Crisis Magazine.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tebow - He's made unselfish kind of a cool thing

Coaches,

3 different excerpts about Tim Tebow and a question for each.



From Pat Forde of ESPN.com

"I've never seen anything like it," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "… He's made unselfish kind of a cool thing."

What makes Tebow unique in the 140-year history of this game is not just his unquenchable spirit. It's his generosity of spirit.

The numbers and awards are all impressive and voluminous, but they're not what have made the quarterback a historic figure in Florida and beyond. That's due to the winning attributes, the leadership qualities, the endless acts of charity performed off the field, the ability to graciously lead a heavily scrutinized life.


A MAN OF CHARITY - HUMILITY - COURAGE: WOULD SPORTS WRITERS SAY THE SAME ABOUT OUR PLAYERS?

From S.L. PRICE of Sports Illustrated

Tebow decided in January to return to Florida for his senior season, and "the big reason is [that] I wanted to be with Coach Meyer another year," he says. "I wanted to be loyal to him, I wanted to finish strong for him."

Tebow told Meyer just that in his office the day he decided to come back, causing Meyer's eyes to fill and the two men to hug hard. Cynics will say this is because Meyer wants to win. But it's also because Tebow, combining smashmouth aggression with brains, is the player Meyer would have loved to have been. It's because Tebow, by marrying a charitable nature with an in-your-face streak, exemplifies better than anyone else Meyer knows how to be both a hard-ass and a softy. He has made Meyer more spiritual, less anxious, and, Shelley says, he's the one person alive who can ease the sting of a loss. "He just helps Urban feel better about everything," she continues. "Urban knows Tim's in control of that team. There's a comfort in that that Urban's never had before."

WOULD OUR PLAYERS CHOOSE TO RETURN TO PLAY FOR US?

From MICHAEL DIROCCO of Sports - Jacksonville.com
Tim Tebow's Legacy: Away from football, Gators quarterback focuses on Christian faith, charity, mission work

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has one Heisman Trophy and might win another.He has four NCAA, eight Southeastern Conference records and 21 school records and will add to those totals by the end of the season.He led the Gators to the 2008 SEC and national titles, played a huge role in their SEC and national titles in 2006 and has the Gators poised to play for their third SEC and national title in four seasons.

Coaches and teammates rave about his leadership, competitiveness and passion.

There is no doubt that Tebow will be regarded as one of the greatest college football players of all time when his career ends in January. He leaves an on-field legacy that might never be approached.

What Tebow has done away from football in his four seasons at Florida, however, is just as significant. His mission and charity work, his Christian faith, his work with children and his ability to briefly touch a life yet leave a lasting impact also are a legacy that Tebow cherishes more — and one that will last beyond touchdowns and victories.

“In the annals of Doak Walker and other great college football players, Heisman-winning players, he stands out as having made his mark on the field, but off the field he continues to impact people,” said Tom Rogeberg, the executive vice president for communications and marketing for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “… He’s approachable by anyone: other athletes, young children, elderly grandparents, non-sports figures. He just gives them a great deal of attention [and] his time. What he has done with prisoners and what he has done with orphans and the hospital visits he makes, it is hard to imagine that anyone is like that.

“He’s an exemplary role model.”

Tebow’s work with his father’s association — the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association — is well-documented. He has been traveling with his family to the Philippines since he was a boy to spread the Gospel and help in the association’s orphanage.

He has preached in front of schoolchildren and entire villages. He assisted in medical care. He helped with the everyday chores and duties around the orphanage and villages.
In the U.S., Tebow has spoken in prisons and schools, to church and youth groups, at meetings and conferences. He talks of his faith and how it is such a big part of his identity and life.

Tebow does not hit people over the head with his message. He simply tells how his faith has inspired him. He hopes that, in turn, will inspire someone else, who will in turn inspire someone else …

“How you are going to influence someone is they see something in you that is different or seems special,” Tebow said. “They see something in you that they think, 'Wow, that’s really cool. I’m going to look into that,’ or maybe, 'He’s nice about this. He goes about this a different way,’ and then they’ll look into it. But it’s not because I’m forcing anything upon anyone.

“I try to make [faith] a part of my life, just like it is. And I will never deny or force it. But I will always have it as a part of my life. … I hope that people can see it affects my life and how I am so passionate about it, and that’s the biggest effect I hope that people see.”

He also sends that message with his eyes.

Former Southern California running back Reggie Bush is generally credited with popularizing writing on the eye-black patches that football and baseball players wear, but Bush wrote “619” on his, the area code of his hometown of Spring Valley, Calif. Tebow writes Bible verses on his, most notably Philippians 4:13 and John 3:16.

Tebow has been criticized for it, but there is no doubt that it has had some effect on people.

He wore John 3:16 for the BCS national championship game last January, and the verse was the most-searched item on Google the next morning.

“I think it’s great,” UF coach Urban Meyer said. “I don’t mind when my daughter, my middle daughter GiGi, texts me every time what he’s wearing. She looks up the verse and texts it to me.

“I think that’s pretty cool.”

It’s impossible to measure whether Tebow’s admission, in response to a question at the SEC’s annual media days last July, that he was saving himself for marriage will have the same kind of effect on young fans, but Rogeberg hopes it will.

“I hope it makes him a role model,” Rogeberg said. “If someone with that opportunity for fame and so highly recognized wants to keep himself pure, then [he hopes people will ask], 'Is that not something that I should model, as well as his other attributes, his work ethic, his competitiveness, his desire to win, and to care for his body the way he has?’

“That’s part of what he’s doing by remaining pure.”

Tebow also has made an impact in ways that aren’t as visible. He often visits sick children, whether on his own or as part of the Goodwill Gators, UF’s community outreach program. He spent time with Milton Oshay Johnson, a Baker County High School football player who was paralyzed during practice in August 2008, and several children have asked to meet Tebow as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those visits, as well as countless others, aren’t publicized.

“… Being with kids, being with sick kids, making them smile, I think those [memories] will probably be even more special to me than some of the games and some of the wins and the championships and whatnot,” Tebow said. “Because you know what? At the end of the day, that is more special, being able to use football as a platform to make a kid smile, to make a kid’s day.

“… That kid, that’s his life. It’s his opportunity or his Make-A-Wish to see me or to talk to me before a game. That’s a lot more special than even winning a game. When you put all the glitz and glamour aside, that’s what’s really special.”

Tebow’s charitable work and mission trips have had an impact on his teammates and coaches, too. Meyer and his family — wife Shelley, daughters Nicole and Gigi and son Nate — were inspired to take part in a mission trip of their own. They spent eight days in the Dominican Republic in July 2008 with a mission group and helped feed 100 families daily. They also spent time at an all-girls orphanage and a leper colony.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Meyer said.

Tebow also encouraged his teammates to get involved with charity work, whether through the Goodwill Gators or own their own. He did it subtly, asking some of his teammates to accompany him on some of his outings.

“He took the initiative to say, 'Hey, I want you to come with me and do this,’ ” fifth-year senior David Nelson said. “Guys started doing that. They actually started getting out there and seeing what it was and getting firsthand experience. They enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

“It kind of trickled down to the other guys. Now, they want to take some younger guys with them.”

Perhaps Tebow’s most inspirational message to his teammates came after the Gators lost 31-30 to Ole Miss last season in Gainesville. He delivered what is now known as The Promise during a postgame interview.

His eyes red and his voice thick and cracking, Tebow gathered himself and apologized for the loss — and then made a guarantee.

“I just want to say one thing,” Tebow said before pausing to take several deep breaths to settle himself. “To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, um [pause] you know what [pause], I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida’s never done here.

“But I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season, and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season, and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God bless.”

The Gators haven’t lost since. A school-record 21 consecutive victories heading into Saturday’s game against Florida State at Florida Field.

“A lot of people get caught up in beating Florida State [as if] it’s the biggest thing in the world,” Tebow said. “Really, at the end of the day, when everything’s all put aside, it’s just a game.”

One he’s very good at. But he’s even better off the field.

ARE WE BUILDING YOUNG MEN INTO LEADERS OFF THE FIELD?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's My Purpose?

Men,

I thought this was a great reflection to help us prepare for Christ's coming at Christmas.


What's My Purpose?

Consider a hammer. It's designed to hit nails. That's what it was created to do. Now imagine that the hammer never gets used. It just sits in the toolbox. The hammer doesn't care. But now imagine that same hammer with a soul, a self-consciousness. Days and days go by with him remaining in the toolbox. He feels funny inside, but he's not sure exactly why. Something is missing, but he doesn't know what it is. Then one day someone pulls him out of the toolbox and uses him to break some branches for the fireplace. The hammer is exhilarated. Being held, being wielded, hitting the branches -- the hammer loves it! But something is still missing.

In the days that follow, he's used often. He reshapes a hubcap, blasts through some sheet rock, knocks a table leg back in place. Still, he's left unfulfilled. So he longs for more action. He wants to be used as much as possible to knock things around, to break things, to blast things, to dent things. He figures that he just hasn't had enough of these events to satisfy him. More of the same, he believes, is the solution to his lack of fulfillment. Then one day someone uses him on a nail. Suddenly, the lights come on in his hammer soul. He now understands what he was truly designed for. He was meant to hit nails. All the other things he hit pale in comparison. Now he knows what his hammer soul was searching for all along.

We are created in God's image for a relationship with Him. Being in that relationship is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy our souls. Until we come to know God, we've had many wonderful experiences, but we haven't hit a nail. We've been used for some noble purposes, but not the one we were ultimately designed for, not the one through which we will find the most fulfillment. Augustine summarized it this way: "You [God] have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."

A relationship with God is the only thing that will quench our soul's longing. Jesus Christ said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." Until we come to know God, we are hungry and thirsty in life. We try to "eat" and "drink" all kinds of things to satifsy our hunger and thirst, but yet they remain. We are like the hammer. We don't realize what will end the emptiness, the lack of fulfillment, in our lives.

Usually when we keep God out, we try to find fulfillment in something other than God, but we can never get enough of that thing. We keep "eating" or "drinking" more and more, erroneously thinking that 'more' is the answer to the problem, yet we are never ultimately satisfied.

Our greatest desire is to know God, to have a relationship with God. Why? Because that's how we've been designed. Have you hit a nail yet?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

25 Characteristics of a Good Husband

Men,

I thought these were all good ideas to share.


25 CHARACTERISTICS OF A HUSBAND WHO TRULY LOVES AND SERVES THE NEEDS OF HIS WIFE
By: Dr. Robert Lewis

1. Includes his wife in envisioning the future.

2. Accepts spiritual responsibility for his family.

3. Is willing to say "I'm sorry" and "Forgive me" to his family.

4. Discusses household responsibilities with his wife and makes sure they are fairly distributed.

5. Seeks consultation from his wife on all major financing decisions.

6. Follows through with commitments he has made to his wife.

7. Anticipates the different stages his children will pass through.

8. Anticipates the different stages his marriage will pass through.

9. Frequently tells his wife what he likes about her.

10. Provides financially for his family's basic living expenses.

11. Deals with distraction so he can talk with his wife and family.

12. Prays with his wife on a regular basis.

13. Initiates meaningful family traditions.

14. Initiates fun family outings for the family on a regular basis.

15. Takes the time to give his children practical instruction about life.

16. Manages the schedule of the home and anticipates pressure points.

17. Keeps his family financially sound and out of harmful debt.

18. Makes sure he and his wife have drawn up a will.

19. Lets his wife and children into the interior of his life.

20. Honors his wife in public.

21. Explains sex to each child in a way that gives them a wholesome perspective.

22. Encourages his wife to grow as an individual.

23. Takes the lead in establishing sound family values.

24. Provides time for his wife to pursue her own personal interests.

25. Is involved in a small group of men dedicated to spiritual growth.