• education

    How NOT to Measure Success in Education or in Life

    It was “one of those weeks.” I had finally found a moment to sit on the couch, sip my iced tea, and close my eyes for just a minute.  My eyelids barely touched before I woke up to a scream. “Devin’s hurt!” yelled my older son, Wendell, running through the patio door. Well, six-year-old Devin’s always hurt. I calmly remained in my reclined position. Have you ever experienced that moment of panic when your mind races between “This is an emergency!” and “Don’t get blood on my sofa”…? That’s what happened when Devin walked through the door. I grabbed a clean towel, snatched my keys, looked outside, and realized we…

  • Leader
    leadership

    How Can Everyone Be A Leader?

    As I prepare for a new season of equipping more leaders… I’ve been thinking about the approach to leadership of Ignatius Loyola and his followers the Jesuits. Former Jesuit seminarian turned successful investment banker, Chris Lowney, discusses leadership and followership in Heroic Leadership, a study of the 450-year old Jesuit institution whose practices, he asserts, are as relevant today as they were in Ignatius Loyola’s day. In the Jesuit tradition, leadership is defined “not by the scale of opportunity but by the quality of the response.” A similar definition is used by the Christian Leadership Alliance: “Leadership is a process of influence. Any time you seek to influence the thinking,…

  • Test
    education

    Evaluating What We Value

    Sharon sat in the chair opposite me at the table in my school office. Her voice was quivering. She had come to share her difficult news with me. She was going to enroll her son, who she had been home schooling, in the city’s middle school for seventh grade. She was afraid I would be disappointed in her choice. I paused, prayed silently, and spoke quietly (three things I’m not naturally good at). “Sharon, I want you to do what you believe is in the best interest of you son…always!” I wanted to allay any concerns she had about making a decision that pleased me – or anyone else. For…

  • Letter
    communication,  leadership

    Leadership 412

    It was Sunday morning and my family was out of town visiting a Christian fellowship with friends. A teenaged young man had been invited to share his testimony of participation in the youth mission trip. He approached the platform reluctantly, accepted the microphone with his right hand and tossed it to his left like a football, then continued tossing it back and forth throughout his address. The next few minutes were awkward for the young man and the congregation. “Like…uh…we….like…..uh……flew in a like…..uh….you know…..plane…and stuff. And we like….uh…you know….helped out some like people…with like…you know…stuff. I’m s’posed to like tell you like…my uh testimony…and stuff…and like y’know it was like…

  • communication,  education

    How Do You Train Wiggly Boys for the Real World?

    As a mom of two young and energetic boys more than two decades ago, I distinctly recall standing at the kitchen counter thinking to myself: If I do nothing else I want to be sure they know what they believe and how to talk about it. That thought motivated almost everything that happens throughout the ICC organization today. After searching in vain for curriculum to train wiggly boys to articulate their ideas well, on and off the platform, I wrote my own. I sensed the need for like-minded community. I invited Christian families to join my children in our communication education adventure. Convinced communication must be relevant to real people,…

  • Lake
    leadership,  rest

    Lessons in Rest and Renewal from My Walk by the Lake

    I like to see a lot happen in a hurry. I’m wired for productivity. An ordinary walk for me is usually spent multi-tasking – phone calls, podcasts, audio books. Today’s walk was different. My hosts recommended the walking path around the lake behind their home. So, on Sunday morning, before church – but after coffee – I headed toward the lake. I told myself I would be distinctly focused on my very clear purpose. I had been reading about rest and renewal for Christian leaders. I needed it for myself. I felt like I was on a runaway train – and not on the right track! My schedule was overfilled…

  • Rest
    leadership

    Real Rest. Really?

    Featured in the Christian Leadership Alliance’s Spring Outcomes magazine! Laughter. The sound emanated from the mobile phone speaker, filling my office. This was the eighth phone conversation and the eighth response of incredulous laughter. Though I hadn’t expected it, I knew I had earned this response to my proposal. I was proposing an organization-wide Rest and Renewal study. I called strategic team-leaders in my organization to pitch the project and to enlist their support. My objective: to complete the required research for my last doctoral course on the assigned topic, “Rest and Renewal,” and, of course, for my team to experience renewal in the process. My colleagues did not mean…

  • Holy Bible
    communication

    This is My Story

    This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. Hymn Sings were a regular part of my church experience growing up. This hymn was a staple. The song leaders – Bert Rydquist, Doug and Lois Larsen, and Pastor Notehelfer, good Swedes in the Swedish Covenant church – led the congregation in a way that engaged even the youngest song-sters. We enthusiastically followed our musical directors along with the entire congregation, belting out the lyrics and holding the vowels as we watched for their arms to cue us to breathe and sing the next word. My young friends and I prided ourselves on holding the…