• All I Want is Character
    communication,  education,  faith

    All I Want is Character

    I had just finished speaking to a group of parent educators when a mom approached me. “I don’t think it really matters whether my children master any of their academics. My son isn’t very academically inclined. I’m mostly just interested in his character.” “How will you help them grow in character?” I asked, genuinely interested. “Well, uh, I’ll teach my son to be nice to his sister.” “Good start,” I replied. “What other character traits would you like to see him demonstrate as he grows up?” She thought a minute. “Well, perseverance…and follow through…and respect.” We continued talking. She began to see that every character trait that mattered to her…

  • The Dangers of Competence without Character
    communication,  education,  faith

    The Dangers of Competence without Character

    “You’re wrong. My daughter could never do something that dishonest. Have you seen her?” Malinda sat across from me in the small university room adjacent to tournament headquarters. Her voice shrieked and quavered. “Sylvia’s one of the most competent young ladies her age.” Sylvia’s competence was not in question. She had been disqualified by tournament officials for plagiarizing evidence in her national championship debate round. Sylvia denied it. Her teammate Missy was horrified — she had no idea what had happened. Still, the consequence was the same for both of them. The guilty and the innocent. Both extremely competent. Both disqualified and embarrassed. Both shedding lots of tears. They left…

  • Hope in the Wilderness: Guest Post by Cassandra Shepherd
    faith

    Hope in the Wilderness:
    Guest Post by Cassandra Shepherd

    Guest Post by Cassandra Shepherd     It’s not often all of our plans are so thoroughly thwarted, our freedom so collectively restrained, our daily life so completely disrupted on a global scale… We are in a communal time of massive transition because of the pandemic. Nothing in the world is ‘normal’ anymore. People’s daily routines have had to change. There is a level of unprecedented anxiety on a global scale, and so much that seemed predictable is now very uncertain. There is so much that is painful, and there is a profound sense of loss. It has been more than 5 weeks since we last saw my husband Richard:…

  • How Should Christians Behave During a Pandemic?
    faith,  leadership

    How Should Christians Behave During a Pandemic?

    In a time of global unrest and uncertainty, Christians everywhere are seeking wisdom on how to respond to a pandemic. We know there’s trouble in this world. As a community of Jesus-followers, we have this unique opportunity to model how we can be joyful in the face of such trying times. John writes it this way: be of good cheer. Why? Because we know the One who overcomes even the worst crises in this world (John 16:33). Hard times are to be expected. But how should we, as Christians, respond to mass sickness and uncertainty? In the 16th century, Protestant church father Martin Luther gave this answer on how he…

  • Flooded with Fear; Faith for the Future
    education,  faith

    Flooded with Fear; Faith for the Future

    “You’ve successfully navigated 100% of your worst days.” Those words from a mentor struck a chord with me. I have. I’m still here. So what are those days? When I think of my worst days, one of the first events that springs to mind is back in 2010. Tennessee experienced what has been called the 500-year flood. During the torrential rains and subsequent flooding, my family lost 30% of our property – which serves both as our family’s home and a training center for leadership residencies in the nonprofit I founded, the Institute for Cultural Communicators. As the water levels continued to rise, our home began filling with standing water.…