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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Midweek Meanderings 

It is midweek and it sure doesn’t seem like it!

The newest member of our household, Aubree’s ferret “Trish”, seems to have settled in nicely. The little creature is very curious and wants to look in every nook and cranny. Aubree has become more comfortable with her and is really enjoying her company.

Ordering stuff online is easy. Making sure the kids don’t open the packages? A little more challenging.

Terri has been sick the past couple of days. I think the freezing cold at the football game might have set her back. I hope she is feeling better soon!

I got perhaps half of my Christmas shopping done on “Black Friday” and a little more of it online in the days afterward. I think one more good shopping trip should finish things off for the year.

Our school team starts basketball season next week. Our gymnasium, which suffered fire damage a little over a month ago is still not ready. We might have to play the first few home games somewhere else.

I have received responses from those wishing to exchange Christmas cards this holiday season. If you would like to exchange cards, please email me so that we can exchange addresses! This is always a highlight for me during the holiday season.

The kid’s mom is flying in from England this week and they will get to spend some time with her. They are both very excited and I am excited for them!

So how is YOUR week going?


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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Glory Days 

We shivered and shivered some more, watching our team lose in the state quarterfinals to a very fine team, led by one of the highest recruited high school football players in the nation. Our kids played hard but were clearly outplayed by the other guys. This is how it goes. Someone has to lose and go home, while someone else gets to play for the state title.

I walked the sidelines after the game, not coincidentally getting myself near some of those portable heaters. Some of the seniors were on their knees, tears streaming down their cheeks. You could read it on their faces: It is all over, all that work, all that sweat, all these years, and now it is just over. Some of them will go on to play college ball and for some this really was the last hurrah.

I patted a couple of them on the back and walked off the field. I could understand the emotion. I remember that feeling, the overwhelming sense that it would never be the same again. I could still play in the back yard but I’d never play for our school, with those guys, wearing that uniform.

Guys, it really isn’t over. Its really just beginning. God help you if the highlight of your life is what you did on the football field in high school. Yes, it is great. Yes, there is nothing like working, sweating, and achieving something with your teammates. Yes, you will always remember those days, the funny stories, the coaches, the big wins, and of course, the heartbreaking losses.

But you move on with life, a process in which you are in the beginning stages. It is all laying out there for you to seize. You may never make another tackle with pads on, may never wear another uniform. Maybe you’ll play a few more years in college or perhaps your football will be confined in those backyard games, which takes you back full circle to how you started anyway. Gentlemen, there is nothing more pathetic than a guy my age whose best moments were in high school. You know the type….they hang around the school, wear their letter jackets with the frayed cuffs, re-live the glory days when they weren’t paunch bellied middle aged guys in a nowhere job. They were somebody then. The crowds cheered, the cheerleaders flirted, their teammates patted them on the back. They envy you.

You don’t want to be one of those guys.

You want your high school days to be another good chapter in your life. You don’t want it to be everything.

You want to be able to look back fondly on your days in school, but the really important things still lie ahead of you. Take that aggression that made you a feared pass rusher and use it to get through college. Take that sense of teamwork with you into the workplace, becoming the kind of leader that others want to follow. Grab up some of that camaraderie and take it with you into your family life, becoming the kind of man your wife enjoys spending time with.

Don’t forget.

Don’t’ dwell on it either.

You did good. You had your day. Others will have theirs. Move on to bigger and better things. This is how it goes, and not just in football.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Midweek Meanderings - Thanksgiving Edition 

It is midweek and Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. I always enjoy Thanksgiving!

Christmas has come early to Aubree this year due to a variety of factors. She is now the proud owner of a ferret! She has wanted another pet for a long time now and this seems to be one that fits with our household requirements and the sensibilities of the members therein.

There is just one problem. She is still scared to hold the little furry thing, tentatively nicknamed “Trish”.

We are going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I am very much looking forward to spending time with family. Good food, football games, hanging out with the gang…what could be better?

Yes, I am probably going to be one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers. I have done it for many years now, sometimes securing some great deals and sometimes just spending a lot of time standing in long lines. Often it involves both.

Terri will not accompany me. She is not on friendly terms with the wee hours of the morning or with holiday crowds.

Our football team plays in the state quarterfinals Friday night. Their opponent is Guthrie, also an undefeated team. The winner advances to the state championship game.

One problem. Have I mentioned yet that it is COLD, with temperatures plunging just today. Why is it that it always seems even COLDER at football games?

I wish to all of my American friends the happiest of Thanksgivings and to everyone an enjoyable end to their week.

So how is YOUR week going?


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Deal the Cards 

It is that time of year again. I would enjoy exchanging holiday cards with those of you who would like to participate. I have done this for several years now and I enjoy both sending and receiving cards! If you are interested, please email me your physical address and I will send you mine. Lets spread some holiday cheer around!


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Midweek Meanderings 

It is midweek and it sure doesn’t seem like it!

There must be something in the air. We have had a lot of student behavior issues to contend with the past few days. These things tend to come and go in spurts. It will be calm for awhile and then there will be a torrent of contentious issues to deal with. This was one of those weeks to deal with contentious issues.

My uncle recently underwent a kidney transplant and has been staying in an apartment in the Dallas area to monitor his progress. Apparently things are going fairly well. He came home for a visit today and met with me, my brothers, and my mother for dinner tonight. We really enjoyed the time together.

I think I actually have all my teacher evaluations done. It is a challenge to work on teacher evaluations while spending so much time dealing with student issues. I told one of the students, “Can’t you guys behave for a couple of days so I can get all this other work done? Is that too much to ask?” He laughed. I wasn’t joking!

I have class this weekend and then a couple of big assignments due by the end of this month. Thankfully, I will have the month of December off before beginning a new class in January.

I was concerned when the professor said, “you all should have a pretty good idea of what you want to write your doctoral dissertation about by now” Gulp. I have several ideas but have not been able to settle on just one. A quick poll of my classmates indicated that most of them were in the same situation.

Aubree called me yesterday after school and she was sobbing. The girl in this story was a friend of hers from elementary school. This thirteen year old girl apparently got in a car with her older sister’s boyfriend. Bloodstains were later found on his clothes and in his car. Police are now searching for her body. Her grandfather is a friend of my brother’s and installed the central heat and air in my home. Please say a prayer for this beautiful young girl and her family.

So how is YOUR week going?


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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oklahoma...OK 


Later this week the state of Oklahoma celebrates its 100th anniversary of statehood. When I taught Oklahoma history I talked to students of the major events that shaped the destiny of our state…..Spanish exploration, Lewis & Clark, the Louisiana Purchase, the Trail of Tears, the creation of Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes and their settlement in this land, the Civil War, the land run of 1889 and the formation of Oklahoma Territory, and of course, statehood. I taught my students of the oil boom, the Tulsa race riots, the Dust Bowl era and the Depression, the development of Oklahoma into a modern state. When we celebrate statehood we remember those things and much more.

This is something of a curious state, this place I grew up in. We are not quite a southern state but not quite midwestern either. I suppose we have an accent, even though I never notice it much myself. It was always something of a conservative place, although you wouldn’t know it by the casinos that seemed to have sprung up overnight. When I was a kid I remember the pitched battles over “liquor by the drink”, the fight over whether people could consume alcohol in public places.

When I traveled out of state as a young man I was asked if there were oil wells in my back yard. Unfortunately, there were none! The oil industry made instant millionaires out of some and busted many more. Some of the lavish homes built on black gold still stand and are open to visitors.

But most people here did not get rich on oil wealth. This state was built on the backs of farmers and blue collar workers such as my grandfathers. One of my grandfathers ran cattle and planted cotton, surviving the Depression and sending his sons off to the university. Another spent thirty years working in an aircraft manufacturing facility, toiling by the sweat of his brow and taking care of his family.

This state was built by them and many others: Native Americans who were forced to move here, enduring injustices, but striving for a better life for their people. Former slaves sprinted across the border during the land run, seeking a share of the American dream and founding towns that still stand today. This was the last land frontier of the American West, the final place homesteaders could find a stake in.

There was a time when I was somewhat embarrassed to be an “Okie”. After all, this derogatory term sprung up during the Depression, conjuring up an image of uneducated bumpkins fleeing the ravages of the Dust Bowl. This isn’t the wealthiest of states, not the best educated, not always the most enlightened. I am embarrassed no more. We still have plenty of problems to overcome here, a long distance to travel to be where we need to be. But this place is home to many of the finest people I have ever known. For all of our faults, this is home to many honest, hard-working, charitable, and kind individuals, the kind of people they used to refer to as the “salt of the earth”. I work with them. They are part of my family. I love them. I am one of them.

I am Okie born and bred and Okie proud!

Happy birthday Oklahoma!

P.S. Happy Veteran's Day to all the veterans out there. Thank you so much for your service to our nation!


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Midweek Meanderings 

It is midweek and cool winds are blowing. We had our first frost this morning and the days are crisp and cool.

The cold weather seems to send rodents running for cover. Terri found a mouse in the dishwasher and her voice could be heard throughout the house! We have mouse poison out and occasionally will come across one…just not in the dishwasher!

Aubree is going on a church youth retreat this weekend. No cell phones. No constant calls to friends. How will she ever survive?

Our football team plays its first playoff game this weekend. If we keep winning we will be playing the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It should be nice and cold by then!

My days are so busy now it is unbelievable. It’s a never ending flurry of phone calls, conferences, meetings, observations, and hallway encounters. I’m lovin it!

Please send prayers/good vibes/comments Karen’s way as she recovers from surgery.

Shaving my head bald as its advantages. At least I don’t have dandruff having sex on my head.

If any sex is going on involving my head I want to be in on it!

So how is YOUR week going?


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Monday, November 05, 2007

Parenting 

There has been much in the news recently about Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and the arrest and conviction of his adult sons on drug charges. The judge leveled some criticism at Reid for allowing such activity to go on in his home and under his nose.

I don’t know if Andy Reid is a good or bad parent but I do know that this is a struggle for many parents out there. Mr. Reid is a celebrity, a millionaire, and from all accounts an intelligent man. Given all the resources at his disposal, how could this have happened to his own sons? Maybe he was so busy trying to get to the Super Bowl that he didn’t pay attention to what was going on in his own home. Maybe he devoted time and energy to his sons but they didn’t listen. Maybe the lure of a quick high overrode any instincts they had to be productive members of society, negating the advantages in life that were built in for them.

The truth is that there are no easy answers. I have repeatedly seen good parents have problems with their children just like the Reid boys. I have also seen very poor parents have kids that were exemplary. Good parenting makes a difference but it is not always the sole determinant of how kids behave, whether they have drug problems, get pregnant in their teenage years, or go to prison. Sometimes young people struggle in spite of good parenting and sometimes they succeed in spite of poor parenting.

I recently made a suggestion to a parent of a student who is very much into drugs that she search his room. She visibly recoiled and told me that she had always respected her son’s privacy and his room. Privacy? He is a minor and his room is in the home you pay for. Given his recent activity it is a no brainer in my mind that you would go through his room with a fine toothed comb. Bad parent? Not in many ways…she obviously loves her son and wants to help him. In denial? Certainly. Don’t you think Andy Reid must have shaken his head and wondered how his storybook life could have come to this?

Good parenting requires love first and foremost, but it also requires communication and realism that your child might engage in behaviors that are not right. It can happen to anyone. It happened to Andy Reid. It could happen to me and it could happen to you. In the end we do our absolute best as parents and pray that what we taught to them sticks. They aren’t just hearing your voice. They are hearing the voices of peers and popular culture, voices that can lead them down the wrong path. Ultimately, they make their own choices.

Hey…no one said it would be easy, did they?


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