Don’t Judge and Drive

I have to admit. I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have. I was on the phone (albeit hands free!).

I was at the corner of the intersection of Parkway and Main Street.

Let me tell you about this intersection. If you want to go south at that intersection, there is only one lane. If you want to turn left to go south, you cannot be out in the intersection at all, or you will make it very difficult for the cars that are turning left coming from the north (going east) to get around you.

This is the single lane heading south

I was in that turn lane coming from the east to turn south where you cannot be out in the intersection.

The white Ethra bus is where I was. Notice that it is several feet behind the line. I was about that far in front of the line.

Earlier, I had noticed that a cop had come by and gone south, but I hadn’t paid that much attention to what he was doing.

The left turn signal turned green, and I was ready to head south. So, I began pulling out into the intersection.

Then, uh-oh. There was a stationary semi that sitting in the only lane going south. I could not turn, but I was already out in the intersection a little ways.

Never mind. I’ll back up. Uh-oh. There’s a truck right on my tail. I’m stuck. I can’t go anywhere.

The light turned yellow then red. Still, I could not move. There was nothing I could do.

Finally, it came time for the cars coming from the north to attempt to turn left and go around me. It was not easy.

I got nasty look after nasty look. Several cars gave a long honk on their horn.

There’s one of two possibilities here. They may have seen the semi blocking my turn, and then they thought I was an idiot for trying to turn; or, they didn’t see it, and they just thought I was an idiot who just wanted to make their lives difficult.

I thought, come on people, it’s either an innocent mistake or an impossible situation.

At that moment, I thought of all the times I had honked my horn at other cars. I wondered, how many times have I honked the horn without realizing all that was going on? Probably quite a few.

A good lesson for me. Don’t judge and drive.

3 Principles for Speaking into Your Child’s Life

There are a large variety of areas in which you need to speak into your child’s life. You need to help them with finances, schooling, jobs, God, ethics, relationships, and so on.

In each of these areas, you need specific wisdom and insight into how to speak well to them. I like to develop little phrases that I can go back to again and again. Some I invent. Others I borrow. In most sports, one of the keys is “keep your eye on the ball,” which is a good life principle as well.

However, there are several ways of relating to our children that apply to any and every situation. Let me suggest three of them.

Value them
First, value your children. Children can be overwhelming. It’s easy to see the things that you could be doing if you didn’t have them.

Children can cause you trouble and pain. They have their own minds and wills. They don’t always follow you or do the things that you like. They sometimes decide to get angry or do crazy things in public. Let’s be honest. It can be wearying at times.

It’s so important that we don’t let the struggles cause us to miss what a blessing they are. The Bible tells us, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3, 5).

Be Present
Second, be a calm presence in their lives.

This has two parts. First, we need to be a presence in their lives. Quantity of time matters. We can’t just show up when there’s a problem. We need to be developing relationships with them.

The second part is that we need to be a calm presence. We should not let the children bear the brunt of our anxiety. There are ways to resolve anxiety. Dumping on our children is not a good one.

Think of Jesus and the disciples. He had opportunities to speak into the disciples’ lives because He was with them constantly. He was also a calm presence in their lives, even while they were really struggling.

Teach Them
Third, do teach them.

It’s easy to think that we might not have much to offer or that you have no influence. You do. Your children do listen, and you have much to teach. God has put you in the position of parent in large part for the very purpose of helping your child learn how to live.

Whatever other things you do in discipline, let the majority of your shaping of their lives be through conversation, discussion, and instruction.

The Bible tells us, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

The book of Proverbs is a great guide. The book is basically a father teaching his child about the consequences of various actions.

These are rather simple principles. I find, though, that the most important principles are generally the simplest.

What are some general principles that you might offer for speaking into our children’s lives?

A Day at Neyland Stadium

Have you ever been to an SEC football game? It’s something to behold.

A year ago, I went to my first game–UT vs. Mizzou. It was an amazing experience. 100 points scored. The deafening cheers and the loud boos. United emotions all directed toward one object. You’re part of something that’s much bigger than yourself.

This year, I wasn’t sure I’d make it. I studied the ticket prices over and over, thinking over the dates. Could I afford it? What was a good day? A lot going on this fall.

Then, my good friend Jeremy Daley said he was going. He wanted us to go with him.

I pulled the trigger. 8 tickets for $23 a piece for the UT-UMass game. 4/4s of his family and 4/9s of mine.

The Trip to the Stadium
The days passed. Game day arrived. We left at 9:00 a.m. from our house in Sevierville to drive 45 minutes down Chapman Highway to get to Knoxville.

Knowing that it would be a long walk to the stadium, I decided to stop at Bojangles to use their restroom. Plus, I could get a country ham biscuit. I also purchased 6 Bo-Berry Biscuits for the girls at a combined total of 2,820 Calories. The fact that they were shaped like footballs made them even better.

We parked at the Kern Bakery on this side of the Henley Street Bridge. This bridge crosses the Tennessee River and leads into downtown Knoxville.

There are several advantages to doing this. It is easier to get out after the game. It only costs $10 to park. You get an amazing view of the city and the Tennessee River. In addition, you are going to walk no matter where you park. There are very few parking spaces directly next to the stadium.

Still, as children complained about the long walk across the bridge and asked to be carried, I doubted myself. Was this really the best place to park? Continue reading “A Day at Neyland Stadium”

What’s Your Story?

What’s your story?

Like most Americans, I was pretty hazy on where my ancestors came from and how they got here.

My Mother was born in South Africa to American missionaries. My Father was born near Owensboro, KY. I always thought of my Father and Mother as having very different backgrounds.

A few things happened recently that led me to do some research and realize that the two sources of my ancestry were quite close.

One ancestor that I knew of was Levi Parks Keith. He was from my mother’s side, was in the Illinois cavalry in the Civil War, and died of disease late in the war.

I realized that “Levi Parks Keith” was a pretty rare name, so I did a Google search. This led me to a site called Grave Finder.

On that site, I found not only where he was buried but also information about his life and links to other family members, including his father and mother.

His Father, Mason Parks Keith, came from Virginia to Kentucky and then moved to Southern Indiana where most of my family stayed.

This intrigued me because I knew my Father’s family was rooted in Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana as well.

I began to plug in some general history. The Great Lakes States as we know them were not open to settlement until quite a few years after the Revolutionary War. In addition, Kentucky was opened for settlement before the Great Lake States. Continue reading “What’s Your Story?”