What makes a role model?

Being great at what you do is awesome, even if this is your job. But does this job make you an automatic "role model?"

Being great at what you do is awesome, even if this is your job. But does this job make you an automatic “role model?”

There has been a lot of discussion lately about role models, especially when we talk about the disaster that is the NFL today. We see a man who makes millions of dollars beating a woman. We see another man who whips a child. We see these things and we shake our heads and say things like:

“Doesn’t he know he’s a role model?”

“People look up to him.”

But you know what? I look at millionaires who don’t know how to not beat women and children and ask why are these me “role models?” Who made them role models? Are these really the best role models we can come up with? There is nothing that inherently prevents a ball player from being a role model (I don’t even buy the argument that “football is a violent game, therefore players can’t be role models”). But are players role models just because they put on a jersey?

If any good can come out of these situations, I think it is that maybe, just maybe we as a sports obsessed society will stop and think and maybe even reevaluate who we are elevating to the level of role model in the first place.

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I sometimes think about great people, the kinds of people who change the world, the kinds of people who make history.

I think about the great people I admire, and I wonder how do they spend their days.

I wonder how the great people of the world start their mornings. Are they early risers or do they like to sleep in? How do they take their coffee? Do they eat cereal like me? Are they morning or evening shower-ers? (Okay, I don’t think I have ever wondered that.)

I sometimes wonder what it is like to be a great person who people admire. What does a day in the life look like for someone who makes a difference in the world? Do they know when they wake up in the morning that they are going to do something world-changing that day at eleven o’clock and then have a ham sandwich for lunch?

My guess is they don’t. They say that celebrities are just normal people. I have to assume the same is true for the great men and women of history.

Doing great things is just their normal. They get up, drink their coffee, eat their cereal, and do something. And most days, what they do is probably small. 

But I think the difference is that great people do small things in great ways. I think they see opportunities that you and I often miss.

I don’t think the secret to being a great person who is admired and respected and makes a difference is doing one great thing. I think the secret to being a great person is actually doing a whole bunch of very small things very greatly. 

You and I are going to have a whole bunch of opportunities today. Most of them will be quite small opportunities. We will have a choice about how we spend five minutes. We will have a choice about the conversation we have at lunch. We will have the choice to speak to someone or ignore them. We will have a choice about how to resolve a conflict. We will have a choice about dinner tonight.

I think when you add up all of those small, unimportant choices, we find the very difference between an average life and a great life. It’s just that most of us spend our lives wishing for a great big opportunity, while ignoring the great number of small opportunities we have every day.

small things

There might never be any great opportunities. Better to just take the small ones and make them great.

Howdy friends! I hope it’s been a great week for you as it has been for me. The anticipation around our house for the arrival of The Little One continues to grow, as does my wife.

There was plenty of good stuff to go around this week. These were the highlights for me.

On My Bookshelfplaydates

You can’t read Playdates with God by Laura Boggess yet…but I can. And I did. Actually, my name is on the first page, as I offered an endorsement of the book. Laura’s aim is to draw us back to the relationship with God we used to have, (or never had) when we were children. Strip away all of the layers that we add as adults. You should plan on reading it when it hits stores in early October. In fact, you can pre-order it on Amazon right now.

In My Blog Reader

As bloggers, we don’t always get too many perspectives from the older, less bloggy generation. I really enjoyed this personal story of confession and redemption from Lyle Dorsett.

My pal, Darrell Vesterfelt discusses how to act in spite of our fears, rather than out of our fears.

Everyone’s favorite blogging funeral director shares twelve of the worst things that have ever been said at a funeral. Holy crap.

Zack Hunt shares the surprising reaction an Oklahoma church demonstrated to the local Satanists. How many of us can honestly say we would treat Satanists the way this church is treating their neighbors?

Finally, Sarah Bessey lets us into her home by introducing us to one of her oft-repeated parenting phrases, Guard Your GatesIt’s something we do not often discuss in the age of limitless and unfettered Christian freedom, but we do still have to guard our spiritual gates. We just cannot go through this life, much less remain spiritually whole, if we allow (force?) ourselves to absorb everything there is to see and hear in the world. Humbling and poignant.

That’s it for me this week. What inspired, challenged, entertained, or fueled you this week?

My wife is pregnant.doctor-scale-by-enthalpyy

At this point in time, it’s safe to say she’s quite pregnant. No, she’s not eating everything in sight. In fact, she did not really at at all for the first three months. Most of the weight she has gained is truly baby weight.

But it’s funny. While she was sick for three months, she put me in charge of making meals. She just could not stand the sight or smell of cooking food. And so for three months, I made dinner every night. And even though she struggled to force down a meal, I never felt sick. I just kept putting the food away like I always have.

And then a couple of weeks ago, my sweetie, the woman I love, sat down next to me on the couch.

“Honey, I have to say something”

Uh-oh.

“You aren’t going to like this.”

Red alert.

“It’s just that…Are you putting on some sympathy weight?”

And just like that, my pregnant wife had called me out for being fat.

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Can I be honest?

Last week was an intense week of worry. Cheri and I had our first taste of the worry which all parents know. We know that we have signed on for a lifetime of worry.

Still, our first taste was extremely bitter.

Our week was filled with anxiety over the health of our unborn son. Not just ordinary health concerns. We were dealt revelations about the family’s genetics, premutations that pose threats to future generations. Visions of worst-case-scenarios filled our minds. My back even wrenched itself out of place on Wednesday. I still don’t have full mobility in my neck today after two chiropractic adjustments and a massage.

You know the doctors give you just enough information to worry, but not enough information to be able to give you guarantees. And so you do more tests, but the tests only do what the last tests did. They give you more worry.

By the end of the week, we had spoken to the right people who could give us the strongest reassurances that we could ever hope for. Our boy, in all likelihood, will be normal, healthy.

A week of agony, for nothing.

It’s true, ignorance is bliss. And people used to be a lot more ignorant. What did parents do before we know about all the ways our genetics can go haywire? They did not worry. What did people do before the nightly news broadcast stories of all the scary stuff around the world? They did not worry.

We suffer today, not just from information overload, but worry overload. Because much of the information we are exposed to causes us to react with anxiety, fear, worry, anger, and all of the other toxic, poisonous emotions that will slowly kill us like cancer.

Jesus knew the poison of worry. He told his disciples not to do it, and I don’t think he was being facetious. Today, many of us do not worry about the things the disciples concerned themselves with. But we have a whole lot of other worries. Tomorrow carries as many worries as it did 2,000 years ago. And the words of Jesus still hold true…

worry

Freeing our minds, our hearts and our bodies requires that we do this. That we not waste weeks on worthless worry. That we learn to trust that all things do in fact work for good.

Happy Friday everyone.

I must admit, it’s been a very challenging week in our home. Mostly because we have been suddenly hit with a case of worrying about our unborn child. You know, the emotional state that we’ve basically signed on for the rest of our lives? Well, it’s begun. We know as soon as we get rid of this worry, another worry will come along.

But nevertheless, God is good and faithful, and we are feeling reassurances today and we are thankful for that. Around us, there was so much going on with the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and other things of note.

Here’s what caught my attention.

In My Blog Reader

There actually was not too much about 9/11 that popped up in my reader, but Alece Ronzino offered some good words of remembrance. Emily Wierenga also asked where God is amidst the current threat of ISIS.

Switching gears, I really enjoyed Mary DeMuth’s podcast, Small Is the New BigIt’s a philosophy that I’ve long believed, but struggled to embrace.

Hannah Brencher shares the what happens when you post your phone number on the internet like Bob Goff. (Spoiler: a lot of weird men call.)

Zack Hunt calls attention to a church you probably have not heard of: the church that went broke because it gave away too much.

Finally, from Relevant Magazine, check out this article on how the church can rediscover its roots and create great art again.

In My Classroom

I don’t post too many things from my Art classes, but I was really excited about finding a new use for my underutilized GoPro camera. I posted it on my Instagram, so you should go watch it. It’s less than 15 seconds.

And that is what entertained, challenged, encouraged, edified and otherwise fueled me this week. What about you?