Freeing Prisoners of The Here and Now

Freeing Prisoners of The Here and Now

Prisoners of the Present

It’s not very complimentary but we need to face it: many North Americans are sheltered from reality by the all-encompassing present: the barren, boastful, tyrannical here and now. Our ubiquitous, highly entertaining technologies encourage us to speed through life in the superficial lane, with not much thought about where we’ve come from or where we’re going. Thanks to modern social engineering, coercive media and monolithic secular education, young people especially, have been indoctrinated with a highly intolerant and proscriptive set of contemporary values and attitudes – telling them what to think rather than teaching them how to think. And even when cracks appear in their thought control dam, they’ve been taught to respond to uncomfortable or unfamiliar ideas with pre-adolescent name-calling (bigot, hater, you-name-it-o-phobe) instead of with reflective reasoning and rational arguments. Insults, name-calling and bullying are weapons of the morally and intellectually bankrupt.

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Quick Tips to Dramatically Increase your Productivity and Reduce Stress

Quick Tips to Dramatically Increase your Productivity and Reduce Stress

Stress has many causes. One cause is feeling overwhelmed with everything on our to do list, especially the ones in our head and our subconscious selves. The shear number of things to do can create stress. So can guilt when we don’t feel like we are getting enough done.

We can reduce the stress caused by being overwhelmed and by “productivity guilt.” I define productivity guilt as the guilt we feel when we don’t believe we got enough done or the right things done. Here are a few things you can do to get more done with less stress.

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Controversy—A Way of Life for the School Leader: Gun Control, Safety, and Walkouts

Controversy—A Way of Life for the School Leader: Gun Control, Safety, and Walkouts

Controversy—a way of life for the school leader. 

Sometimes we create controversy. Sometimes it finds us. Such is the case with the national call for school walkouts for school safety and gun control. 

Everyone is for school safety. The controversy lies in the call for gun control and in the political groups behind the call for the school walkouts. Some parents and staff support more gun control, others do not. I venture that most of my readers do not wish to support many of the political groups behind the call for a national walkout. We also do not want our students manipulated nor do we care to lose class time. At the same time, we do want to take advantage of every teachable moment. We want to give our students an opportunity to appropriately express themselves. We also want our worldview teaching to be practical, timely, and relevant. 

What to do? We could take the stance that our students will not participate and if they do there will be school discipline. We could decide that we will ignore it and see what happens—a bad idea. We could embrace the walkout and encourage students and staff to participate—many public and private schools have taken this approach. 

Each school will need to determine what approach fits its mission, values, culture, community, and context. As you consider or reconsider your approach—and as you deal with the inevitable controversy—perhaps the communication that we sent to our parents outlining our goals and approach will be helpful ...

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Six Principles to Promote Parent and School Partnerships

Six Principles to Promote Parent and School Partnerships

This is part one of a two part series on promoting effective parent and school partnerships. Part 2 focuses on Seven High-Touch Communication Strategies.

During new parent orientation, I ask parents to pray for us because we need the wisdom of Solomon in making good decisions. After all, as I tell them, “We only deal with people’s children, money, and religion: what could possibly go wrong?” 

This lighthearted acknowledgment elicits hearty laughter, creates a relaxed atmosphere, and conveys an important truth. As school leaders, we deal with three of the most important things in parents’ lives—their children, their religion, and their money. And depending on what is going on around us and what might be said in a classroom, we can throw politics into the mix. What could go wrong?!

Indeed, things do go wrong or are perceived to have gone wrong. Either way, too often parents, teachers, and administrators find themselves at odds and engaged in tension and conflict. My purpose in this article is not to address the reasons for the tensions, which are many. Instead, I will focus on practical things we can do to promote positive partnerships with parents. 

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Seven High-Touch Communication Strategies

Seven High-Touch Communication Strategies

In Part 1 of this two part series, I outlined Six Principles to Promote Parent and School Partnerships. In Part 2 I am focusing on Seven High-Touch Communication Strategies. 

Good communication fosters confidence, trust, and positive relationships. Poor communication does the opposite. Promoting a positive partnership with parents is ultimately not about the programs we put in place, though those are valuable. It is about fostering positive relationships. Such relationships are best nourished by consistently and warmly engaging with parents. When strong relationships are encouraged, a strong partnership with the school forms. This is honoring to the Lord, life-on life transforming, and ultimately enhances the school’s ability to fulfill its mission.

High-touch communication is essential to developing healthy partnerships with our school parents. While we cannot always control how others communicate to and with us, we can certainly work on responding in ways that effectively address the issues at hand—as well as do our part to foster positive relationships into the future.

While technology has its place, it must be kept in its place. More often than not, our over reliance on high tech communication diminishes the effectiveness of our communication and impedes the school-to-home partnership. Here are seven specific strategies for developing high-touch communication, which if applied consistently will go a long way to fostering an enduring healthy partnership with your parents.

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How to Answer Our Accusers

How to Answer Our Accusers

Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:16

When it comes to a worldview that encourages judgmental, legalistic attitudes, it’s hard to beat atheism. Maybe that’s because it’s a perspective that hasn’t room for biblical concepts of sin, repentance, redemption and spiritual rebirth, and so has to depend on a list of externally imposed, arbitrary rules to hold society together. So it’s no surprise that in North America’s functionally atheistic society - especially in its media - legalistic, condemning judgements are the popular pastimes du jour: 

Evangelical Christians? = “BAD!” 

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The Six C’s of Effective Leadership

The Six C’s of Effective Leadership

Thousands of books and millions of pages have been written about leadership because leadership is essential to healthy thriving families, churches, businesses, and governments. It is also essential for creating and leading thriving schools.

Although I could add more “C’s” to the list, here are six that if consistently practiced will significantly enhance our leadership resulting in stronger schools.

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We CARE: A Biblical Framework for Engaging Conversations on Controversial Social Issues

We CARE: A Biblical Framework for Engaging Conversations on Controversial Social Issues

I recently moved to St. Louis (wonderful sports, food and Jazz in this city!) to become the Head of School for Westminster Christian Academy. As most of my readers are aware, three years ago, smoke and flames filled the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. The riots started after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. What fewer of my readers may know is that in 2011 former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011. Yesterday the judge issued his verdict acquiting Jason Stockely of murder. 

 Given the tensions around police shootings in St. Louis and around the nation, we anticipated reaction in our community if the former officer was found not guilty. With that in mind I wrote a letter to our staff and parents suggesting a biblical perspective on how to respond to events like this. 

Although this case may not affect you directly, there are many controversial issues that do. Perhaps what I shared with our school community will be helpful to you or others you know. 

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Sleep, Screen Time, Social Media and Student Success

Sleep, Screen Time, Social Media and Student Success

I have often shared with parents that character is more important than competence for our children’s success. In fact, character leads to greater competence through hard work, self-discipline, integrity, and other virtues, which help a child maximize his or her God-given abilities.

Sleep

Character does not just happen, it must be cultivated. For maximum benefit, good character needs to be reinforced with good life habits. One of those is getting enough sleep.

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