Sixth grade: Green bell bottom pants and a three-legged dog.

The lessons I remember from childhood are lessons from relationships, not from textbooks or math scores. When I was in sixth grade, a couple dozen of neighborhood kids ages six-to-twelve spent our days in and out of each other’s yards, playing softball and tag, and hitting each other with sticks. On summer evenings, when the…

How the Polar Vortex changed my week.

I felt a little anxious yesterday and I’m not sure why. Maybe because the weekend was busy. Maybe it was because the “polar vertex” (the media’s term for cold weather from Canada) was moving down south again so I nearly died jogging outside in the morning. Or, maybe it’s because I had no idea what…

A lesson from MLK Jr: Do justice or be love?

The first time I was ever involved in any kind of protest was when I was a sophomore in college. Our dormitory was notorious for vandalism and that year it had escalated to such a degree that the director of campus housing made a drastic ruling: No current students living in the dormitory could return…

The strength to get up: Lessons I’ve learned from sledding.

I love snow! When I was a kid we rode snowmobiles at an uncle’s farm one winter. I remember flying through the snow and hitting bumps that would knock whoever was in the back (usually me) into a drift, only to be found later when the person driving thought to turn around. For fun closer…

Blog on: Sunday rest on the worst of Mondays.

When I was in elementary school, Mom made the world’s best fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy for Sunday lunch. After filling ourselves so full we could barely walk, we hung around the house for the rest of the day. We played quiet games and whacked each other with soft sticks, because if we woke…

The carnival ride: What vomiting on others taught me about grace.

One sunny summer day when I was about ten years old, my brother Spartacus, a neighbor kid, and I walked to the town carnival. Upon arrival we arm-wrestled to see who would choose the first ride. After great embarrassment on my part, it was decided that the first ride for all of us (unknowingly, the…

In my attempt to show kindness, I almost committed a drive-by.

My wife, Princess Bride, is very good at buying the right gifts for family members on birthdays and holidays. The reason she does such a great job is because she asks people what they would like beforehand. I don’t like to know ahead what people want because for me it takes the mystery and surprise…

Tending Paradise: Why Monday doesn’t have to suck.

On the first day of school each fall, my teachers would have us draw a picture (lots of fun) or write an essay (not nearly as much fun) called “How I Spent My Summer.” We didn’t vacation when I was a kid, so while others were drawing paradise pictures of plane rides to Hawaii I…

Like a ten-year-old child, I want what I want when I want it.

When I was a kid I had a bit of a temper. Nothing extreme, just occasional outbursts of anger that I usually resolved by kicking a cat or banging my head against a wall. What initiated those ourbursts? Typically they were a by-product of either not getting my own way (I want what I want…