Observations at a High School Honor’s Banquet

My dear daughter Hannah is graduating in a couple weeks and earlier this evening we went to the award’s banquet. It was actually a fine affair and it should have been an encouragement to the top students of the High School. Some interesting things stood out for me as I observed the proceedings…

1) Wonder Women rule! Yes indeed. Eight out of ten students of the month were girls. Top five GPA scores were all owned by the girls. By far the most awards were given to girls. What was even more interesting is that many of the top girls were going on to study science. You hate to say anything that could be seen as taking away from all this excellence. But, there really is something pitiful about the fact that boys are so left behind. The consensus in my family is that there are plenty of smart boys, but many are just plain lazy, or they simply have no interest in their studies.

2) Vocational survey:

Out of all the 35 students honored tonight I counted not one going on to study the humanities (languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts, history, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, law and linguistics) except Hannah (music).

Out of all the 35 students I don’t think there were any going into human service vocations, but two were going into teaching (including Hannah), three into nursing, two into physician assistant, two into pharmacy, and two into psychology.

Hannah was the only student going into a church vocation, and that was contrasted with 2 or 3 of the students going into vocations associated with sports management and training, vocations that 30 years ago I don’t even think were heard of.

3) The superintendent of the school district spoke at the end and encouraged the kids to be good leaders in society and to find the vocation they love so that going to “work” would never be a chore. He also encouraged the kids to forget doing what they do for the money. He told them of his mother’s advice to him when someone asked him the question “What do you make?”: She said “Look him straight in the eye and say ‘I make a DIFFERENCE!’” How wonderful is that! Even though I am not expecting anyone will ever remember to say that, I hope they do!

I am not sure exactly what you can draw from all of this, as it is only one school… but I am thinking that these stats are fairly pedestrian and I just wish that there was more “imagination” in the goals of these kids. The vocations that demonstrate beauty and life such as the arts and humanities are so lacking. We need to light a fire in our children’s hearts and minds!  The exception to these pedestrian results is those top girls who were going into the sciences. Kudos to them! And… of course I AM thankful there is my lovely Hannah, who herself truly excelled in the sciences and math, but has her eyes presently set on making music to the Lord and sharing its joys with so many! She is making a huge difference with a fabulous imagination!

Understanding and Dealing with Race

Recently there has been a lot of noise in the media about the owner of an NBA team for taped (private) comments he made to his mistress that were mysteriously “leaked”. These comments demonstrated an attitude toward African Americans that horrified the general populace and disgraced the NBA. They were ironic because the vast majority of this owner’s very team members is African American – and he makes millions of dollars off of them. The end result is that the NBA has banned him for life to have anything to do with the NBA (can’t even go to a game) and they are going to force him to sell the team.

But we are not being honest with ourselves in our outrage. It is a sad fact that no matter what we do as individuals and governments, no matter our high and good ideals to win the battle against racism, we are never going to be rid of this great division in society.

We publicly stand aghast at what people say out loud, but the reality is we all are guilty. We say and think we aren’t racist, but all the studies show that we actually are. Every one of us. We treat people who are different from us differently. I know I certainly do – even though I hate it. And mostly we treat others for the worse, not the better.

Then the other day I was reading another blogger and he was reflecting on the matter differently than I had ever thought. I had always just viewed the fact of different races as something neutral. But if we understand the different races that are located in the different corners of the world are connected with the Fall of Man into sin and the division and dispersion of humanity after attempting to build the Tower of Babel, we can conclude that the races we have are a direct result of sin and the punishment of God on humanity. Perhaps we can be brave and even associate the different racial characteristics and differences (even besides skin color) to this curse of God.

Now, of course this does not somehow give any of us excuse for racism! But maybe this understanding will give us the liberty to examine our own heart and repent of our sin without somehow thinking that the next fellow has somehow overcome racism. It will allow us to accept that perhaps our different races are (generally speaking) differently gifted (to put it positively). What it does is allows us to help each other forgive our neighbor who struggles with racism just like we do. And yes, as always, it points us to our Savior Jesus Christ who loves to forgive us.

A Call For Action on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day I am thankful for those who have sacrificed their lives for the privilege to live in this country. Heroes they are. But what about the rest of us? Are we letting them down as citizens? What did they fight for? I for one am calling on everyone to be laying down our lives every day for each other and our country – instead of simply living for ourselves as we are so prone to do.

Ultimately, of course, Christians love to serve their country because they love The Lord and because thy are members of a far greater kingdom – the Kingdom of God. They love to serve their fellow man and sacrifice their lives because of the sacrifice made for them by their Lord and Savior. May God bless us all with grace and strength for the day – and love and devotion to our fellow man within the borders of our country – and most certainly then beyond!

If there needs to be someone who falls on the battlefield for my well being and for the sake of peace and order – I want him/her to know that this country is grounded in Godly virtue and noble lives of service. It starts with each of us in repentance and a fleeing to Christ! May God help us!