Kids Deserve It




Check them out today. I cried twice today during their presentation at CUE Rockstar Admin.

Kids Deserve It

Coleman will never see this

I simply love Mr. Coleman. And I’m going to gush about him for a bit here, and it’s fine…because I know he’ll never see it.

And those of you who could…don’t share it with him. I don’t need him coming and telling me I went too far.

He’s a great leader. Why?

  • He has a willingness to change, if it’s going to be better for kids. Parent conferences were my first chance to see this in a big way. We had an idea, he said, “Let’s look into it!”
  • He always says “Together, we’re smarter than a super computer!”
  • He is ALL about kids. Kids flock to him. They know he loves them. They think he’s funny. They know he’s kind. They know he won’t dismiss them out of hand. He’s got nicknames for them. He’s got pet phrases with them. He calls them in to talk about their grades and then holds them accountable. AND THEY CHANGE. For him. That’s his power.
  • He reminds us on Fridays that it’s Friday. All day.
  • He is a great listener. He knows how to diffuse an angry parent (by listening). He knows how to get to the root of a problem (by listening). He knows how to discover new solutions (by listening). He knows how to get a defiant kid to ultimately admit they need to change (by listening). And he knows it. I’ve heard him say, “You really want to get to know what somebody’s all about? Let ’em talk.” Let’s just say that listening is a skill I could develop.
  • He calls me on his drive home just to tell me he appreciates me.
  • He knows how to treat people. He won’t put up with a fool. He engages people that need love. He silences toxic people by praising what’s good in them. He lets some kids have a really long leash (because most people in those kids’ lives are beating them down). He lets me play devil’s advocate…and pushes back (and I don’t feel threatened). He is constantly frustrating adults by loving kids extravagantly…I think he knows we shouldn’t always give kids “what they deserve”. If you’re not pulling your weight, he doesn’t hold back. I’ve let him down a few times…I’ll tell you what, that’s a pretty good motivator to not do it again!
  • He buys me mixed nuts from Walmart sometimes. No peanuts!

I simply love him. #ThankfulThursday

Coleman will never see this


“…underneath all of the parts of us that are wrecked and wounded and flawed and human is God-in-us.” — Leeana Tankersley, Brazen

I have a great friend who is an author. She has written three books, and lots of blog posts. I don’t have any evidence that she has any other male readers (her latest book, especially, is specifically targeted to women), but I don’t mind. Her stuff just hits me at my core. She often puts into words exactly how I feel about something that I have not been able to express well. I might even say that reading her words sometimes crystallizes even for ME what I feel.

In any event, I’ve been doing a lot of hard soul work lately (think half-hour daily homework for the Bible-based recovery group I attend). And one of the concepts that I struggle with mightily is my identity in Christ. I feel like I choose to label myself a sinner. And I reject the notion that I am good at my core. I feel more like a wretch that is only worthy of God’s love because of that very love he has for me (if that makes any sense).

So this idea that at my very Center is God…it’s hard to accept. It’s hard to grasp. In fact, I think perhaps my Adversary wants desperately for me to not believe it. If I can actually wrap my head around this idea, I get the notion that it might just change everything.

And Lord knows…I could go for that.

“Goodness lies deeper in the heart of man’s nature than sin, which came later and entered from the outside. Goodness lies deeper in man because God put himself there. It was very good! Goodness is intrinsic to man’s nature; sin is not. Sin is the corrupting virus that has temporarily corrupted goodness.”

— Michael Phillips, A God to Call Father


A Newsletter for the Digital Age

What you’re seeing below is the first digital newsletter published at Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Selma, CA. I work there as the Program Manager, and this has been a dream of mine for two years.

Why a digital newsletter? Well, we’re fighting the battle of kids not taking things home when we give it to them (better said: things disappearing into the black holes that are called backpacks). Printing and mailing a traditional newsletter would get cost-prohibitive quickly, and besides…

*This digital form has clickable links! In this issue, that means links to the athletics website, links to the testing calendar, and a link to the Spanish version!

*We can send this multiple ways: we sent via Remind. When we get our email list up-and-running next year, we’ll do that, too. We can put a link (and QR code) on progress reports that are mailed home. We can post it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We even print a couple copies to have in the front office (nobody really needs it, but we provide it).

*I can include high quality photos! I didn’t take full advantage of it in this issue, but that’s pretty neat. The little, grainy photos shared in most newsletters aren’t that great. In this format, you can really see the detail!

*The ability to update after sending is nice: If I’ve got a date wrong or even want to add a whole new slide, it’s super easy! Cool, huh!

A Newsletter for the Digital Age

10 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

growthThat’s it. Read it. I told you I wasn’t going to write a full-blown essay every time.

  • Acknowledge imperfections: Observe where you went wrong.
  • View challenges as opportunities.
  • Use learning instead of failing
  • Cultivate a sense of purpose
  • Welcome constructive criticism
  • Learn from other people’s mistakes
  • Celebrate actions rather than your traits
  • Understand the relation between learning and brain training
  • Keep on creating new goals
  • Mind the time with patience and consistency
10 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

I sin. Do you?

1 John 1:8 – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

The obvious application is in the recognition of our own sin. The idea that God knows anyway, and I’m better off if I simply acknowledge my sin so that I’m in the same place as God so he can work with me more easily.

But what’s resonating for me with this verse right now is the idea of transparency and vulnerability. And thinking about it in the workplace environment from the point of view that we all mess up. ALL OF US. And people that can admit this are attractive to me. People that cannot admit their mistakes really get under my skin.

Just own up to it. It has often been said that Americans are a forgiving people (think Bill Clinton). If you just admit that you screwed up, we can all work on a resolution together! But if you dig in your heels and refuse to acknowledge you’ve made a mistake, you’re just making the situation worse. Now…if you do this ALL THE TIME? You’re building an army of people who can’t trust you.

Now…as I’m typing this, I think it’s obvious that I’m thinking about one person in particular. And I am. But I’m also feeling convicted that this must be me, too (even though I claim transparency as one of my personal strengths). But there’s the old adage, “If you spot it, you’ve got it.” I wonder what it is about this behavior irritating me so much…what does it reveal about me? I’ll have to chew on that for a bit…

I sin. Do you?

Circus Freak

299211_2505120667695_571058956_nHave you ever seen me balance something on my nose/face? I have no idea why I possess this skill, but what I tell people is that I went to school in Kansas…and there wasn’t a ton to do there. That might have played a role, but surely I was able to do this trick in high school…but the fact is, I can’t remember doing it back then (and I think that would have been a go-to for the attention-seeking teenager I was, don’t you think?).

In any event I can balance lots of things on my face. The longer the item the easier (so, it’s easier to balance a baseball bat than a drinking straw, for instance). I’ve done folding tables (with a near-disastrous outcome once), student desks, chairs, a crazy-long (25+ foot) piece of PVC pipe, sticks, branches, poster boards…you name it. It’s a pretty good party trick, but elevates to an art form in front of an assembly-sized audience.

Side note: I also have the ability to balance all these objects from my hand, my elbow, my knee, or my foot. Weird, huh.


Some of you may be aware of the now-retired infamous “quarter trick”. I can shove a quarter up one nostril and make it disappear from view (so that if you look up my nose, you see nothing). Then, I make a big production about shoving a quarter up the other nostril. Then, with a fair amount of (totally unnecessary) snorting and hacking, pretend that I’m moving the quarter (via my septum?) to the side where I have the original quarter stashed. I blow my nose with that nostril visible, and the hidden quarter pops out halfway. I then pull it out the rest of the way, place it in my mouth for cleaning, and offer it to the crowd.

It always blows the crowd away (they’re grossed-out, but fascinated). I performed the trick once as a chaperone at a Grad Night at Disneyland to the in-line crowd of hundreds (on the outdoor plaza for the line before it enters the hallways to go down to the entrance). It slayed. It was, at the time, one of the proudest moments of my life. I retired the trick at the request/suggestion of my wife. I do think it has helped my reputation. And, since I know Renee Newlove is one of the very few people actually reading this, I feel safe recounting the story/trick here.

Circus Freak