Back to School ____________________

BLOG, PT Blog, vintage school days

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This Proverb is not only incredibly insightful, but it is the charter verse for Hawthorne Christian Academy. Tonight my wife and I attended an open house for my daughter’s preschool. What makes this unique and special is that the school is my alma mater. I attended Hawthorne Christian from Kindergarten all the way to twelfth grade. It was an out-of-body experience walking around the grounds and walking into my old classrooms.

When we are young, we don’t think about things like, “Where will my kids go to school?” We want to be done with school so bad as children – we can’t wait to grow up and move on. I also got to see my first grade teacher and my high school art teacher. It is a fun moment to see their blank look when I say hi, become a wide-eyed, look of amazement. They are so thrilled to see old students and especially old students who are sending their kids to Hawthorne. I bumped into a guy I went to high school with and he and his wife are sending their daughter to preschool in the fall as well. As we were talking and I was reminiscing, I was recounting stories and memories and discovered that I have a pretty great memory. In high school gym class, I broke John’s nose playing soccer. I thought for sure he’d remember – I know I did!

I have a lot of fond memories of my school days and I recognize the value of not only a fantastic education in a college prep school, but a Christian education that taught me how to be a responsible steward of what God has blessed us all with. I do my best to train up my children in the way they should go and I pray that when they are old, they will not walk away from it. Or if they do walk away, that they find their way back. I am so excited to see what my daughter learns as she starts school in the fall and I thank God that I had the blessing of an education that has stayed with me and continues. I am thankful for the individuals who felt called to pour into my life and the lives of all the other students at Hawthorne. The return on that investment is eternal.


Glory Days_______________

In Exodus, it is recorded that, “The people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.” (Exodus 34:35)
When Moses spent time in the presence of the LORD, his face would physically shine when he came down from the mountain. It was so disturbing, that Aaron, Moses’ brother and the high priest of Israel, suggested that Moses wear a veil.
A respected brother of mine shared with a number of us a very profound illustration. Brant shared that when we go on vacation, people often recognize it on our face. We may look refreshed, or even sun-tanned. Either way, people can see that we’ve spent time in the sun. Moses’ face literally reflected the glory of God. When we spend time with God, people should be able to see it on our faces. People should be able to recognize that we’ve spent time in the Son.


Everybody Needs a Bill Sewall

Last night my wife and I had dinner with our old pastor and my mentor/spiritual father. I was reminded of a blog post I made a couple years ago …

Everybody needs a Bill Sewall. Who is Bill Sewall you ask? Bill Sewall was perhaps the biggest influence in the life of Teddy Roosevelt. This morning I learned about Bill and how his relationship with our 26th president helped shape the man Theodore would become. I heard an interview this morning with Andrew Vietze. Andrew is the author of Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President. This book tells the story of a trail guide/lumberjack of sorts that became a role model for one of the roughest, toughest men in American history. After Teddy’s father, whom Teddy referred to as his best friend and the man he most admired, passed away Bill became something of an older brother figure to Roosevelt. They were so close that Teddy said on his deathbed to ask Bill Sewall he knows me better than anyone.

It is said that if you want to know about someone, look at those who have greatly influenced them. Vietze did this in his book by looking at the person of Bill Sewall. Typically we do this by looking at one’s parents, but let’s be honest, most people are more influenced by those in their social circle, or friends. Certainly those principles handed down by our parents provide a foundation, but by and large, we are the company we keep. My blog today will not be as long as others (I mean it this time). I just wanted to share a quick thought that came into my brain on the train. So listen.

Who is your Bill Sewall? Do you have a Bill Sewall? Are you a Bill Sewall to someone else? We all need a Bill Sewall. We all need someone who is not necessarily a parent or grandparent, but someone who we can look up to. Having someone who is outside your family is, in my opinion, very important. It’s good to have someone with an objective outside point of view. In my life, this person is also a Bill. Aside from my father and grandfathers, Bill has been one of the biggest influences on my journey to maturity. Bill is not a perfect man by any stretch, but he knows that and he doesn’t pretend. Bill is relatable. Bill has a big heart. Bill is a good man. I credit much of my life and views on life to Bill. I in many ways credit Bill with my marriage and family. I am very fortunate to have met, known and spent time with Bill. Even though we don’t see each other as regularly as we used to, he is still very important to me. I am proud to have people learn about me by looking at him. Please don’t get me wrong, I am also extremely proud of and humbled by my father and grandfathers. I am only telling you about Bill because he is the role model I have outside of my own family.

My Bill is a pharmacist and former lay-pastor who overcame the addictions he struggled with as a young man. Bill and I and several other men met weekly at his house and learned about integrity, responsibility and what it meant to be a man of your word. We learned about not breaking commitments and practicing what you preach. Most importantly we learned how to lead our family and treat our wives and children with love and respect. I greatly benefited from having a Bill Sewall. Is there anyone in your life that you can look up to? Is there a male role model outside your family you trust enough to be honest with? Look around. If there is, I would ask you to consider asking them to be a mentor. Look at their character and decide if you want to be more like them in their decisions and or abilities. Maybe you have someone, a younger nephew or cousin, who needs a Bill Sewall. Can you be that to them? They will be forever affected by not only the things you can teach them, but by the sheer fact that you are interested enough in their well being to be their Bill Sewall.

Respect our Past to Enrich our Future.

this post was taken from my existing blog:

Earlier today I was playing with my daughter in her room. I was told to “be the mommy dog.” My daughter is obsessed with pretending she is a dog. I never realized how weak my wrists really were before I was galloping around Jane’s room like the mommy dog that I was.

I saw one of my old books on my daughter’s shelf. It was Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. I pulled it out to see if I could break up the exhausting doggie games and sit and read some of the poems with Jane. As I tried to get her attention by reading louder and louder, I decided she was just not into it. I turned the page and came across a poem that I never remembered being in there. The poem was called “The Little Boy and The Old Man.” It reads like this:
The Little Boy And The Old Man
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
I read this and immediately wanted to share it with my wife who was downstairs feeding our youngest, Maggie. When I read it, she made the same face I made when I read it. It was the classic, pouty, ‘aww’ face. This poem touched her the same way it touched me.
I think that part of me was so touched with this poem because our  family’s business is elder care, but the rest of me was touched because I recognized the weight of the poem.
My generation shows itself more and more as the generation of entitlement. When I look at my late, great-grandfather, my grandfather and then my parents, I see a weakening of work ethic and an increase of a sense of, ‘I deserve ________.’ Please do not get me wrong, I am NOT saying my parents lack work ethic. I am observing generations as a whole. What used to be working hard for what you earn and investing what you have has turned into working as little as possible to ‘get’ as much as I can. And with the increase of entitlement comes the necessity,apparently, for the government to step in and spread the wealth.
My Uncle told me over a holiday dinner once what my great-grandfather would say was the worst thing to happen to this country. Note: I am not attempting to make a political statement, but this next line may be unpopular. My Uncle said that my great-grandfather always said that the worst thing that happened to this country was FDR. Now, before you close the browser window and fire back at me via social media, hear me out. What my great-grandfather meant was that before all the social programs and entitlement programs, people were motivated to work hard and provide any way they knew how. He felt that once the New Deal took place, it took that sense of urgency away and some members of the population stopped working so hard and just held their hand out.
Whether you agree with that or not, it still highlights the difference between that generation and mine. The age at which we all grow up is getting later and later. Men and women living with their parents until they are twenty seven and getting married at thirty and having kids if at all, at thirty two. Kids are growing up with their parents paying their insurance, phone bill, and would be rent and there is no sense of urgency or responsibility. Now the government is forcing us to be responsible (at least  by their definition) and get things like health insurance. We scoff at our elders for being old-fashioned and out of touch, but we forget that our elders helped build this country and they have very strong convictions and very valuable insights. They have the benefit of life experience. Nothing can compare to living through things and seeing what has worked and what hasn’t.
But how do we treat our elderly? They are a marginalized group that we are trying to figure out what to do with. We need to cherish what they have to say. I wish I would have spent more time asking my great-grandfather questions about his life. I got to ask him a lot and I am blessed to have had him in my life for as long as I did. He lived to 102. Born in 1907 he passed in 2009. He was a butcher, he helped my grandfather start a business and he outlived two wives. His first means of transport was a horse drawn cart for his fathers market and his last car was a Cadillac that the family bought him for his 100th birthday. This man was an absolute wealth of values and information and he was sharp until his last breath. Pop, I miss you and I am reminded today that we all should value our past because it will help enrich our future.