What Students Really Need to Hear

Good thoughts, I’m glad I had some amazing teachers like this guy who were willing to go the extra mile.

Chase Mielke

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Making Decisions…

Have you ever felt that there was more in store for your life? That what you are doing now is merely a stepping stone to something greater?

That’s how I have felt since I started Photojournalism classes in college. Different opportunities are being brought forth and it just yells “HEY YOU COULD BE DOING THIS!” and I honestly believe I could. I know that in order to get where I want to go, I am going to have to take some major risks. I’m OK with this, but I know that some people in my family are worried about where my decision is taking me.

That decision, is to join the US Navy Reserves.

I feel that I have the chance to do something that could make a difference. Not just in my life, but in my family’s life and in my siblings’ futures. I can do something that I can be proud of and they can be proud of me for. In less than two weeks, I will finalize my decision.

This is not a blog to convince anyone to follow me to the service. Really it’s just a way for me to wrap my head around why I really want to do it. I think it’s finally all clear in my mind.

Soon, I will be going on the adventure of a lifetime!
Wish me luck.



Generation Gap: Simplicity vs. Technology

Do any of you remember this show? Puppets and a lady named Holly teaching kids good behavior and simple things like how to blow their nose into a handkerchief. It was simple. In the episode called “Hanky Panky,” the three puppets had colds and were given handkerchiefs to use. Instead of blowing their noses, they played babies and cowboys and other games. They used only their handkerchiefs and a few simple other toys, but they had fun the whole day. At the end of the episode, the puppets had washed their “hankies” with paint brushes and it ended up making their hankies tie-dyed. Iggy the Iguana asks Holly if they can have three more white handkerchiefs to play with and they would use the tie-dyed ones to blow their nose like they were supposed to do. This episode teaches kids that they do not need a lot of toys. They do not need iPods and Smart Phones at such a young age. They need their imagination.

Too often I see 5 and 6 year old kids with better gadgets than me, and I am now 22. My 6-year-old sister can work my mom’s cell phone better than most adults, she can open/unlock my iPod to play games on it (granted I downloaded learning games for her like addition and subtraction, learn to read, and others), and she knows how to record shows on the DVR box.

Technology today is taking over the lives of the younger generation. I may not be “up there” in years, but I can tell just from when I was young til now how much more prevalent it has become. I’m not saying that advancements in gadgets are entirely bad, there are many good uses. I just think that we need to stop letting these gadgets become “babysitters” and actually let your kids explore their imagination without a video game leading them through a pre-set story.


Crazy little thing…

Yup, I’m talking about love. Now I know people are going to say, “you are only 21, you can’t possibly know what love is.” Actually, I can. The bible gives us a pretty good description as to what love should be.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (KJV)

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

It has also been translated as: (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

I have always had trouble with grasping the concept of love. I thought at one time that it was whoever paid the most attention to you, your wants, and your dreams. Usually that is found in family, but I chose to put it on someone else. That person ended up tearing a huge rift between my family and I. I learned the very hard way that love isn’t just about a physical attraction or getting attention.

After 3 years of being in a relationship with that person I began to feel unease about us being together. He had proposed and I accepted, even though my family really didn’t like him (I just didn’t care at the time because I thought I was in love). I thought my life with this guy was going to be perfect. Even if it meant not ever being with my family. Yes, my family and I fought quite a bit but it wasn’t actually worth losing them. Nothing is worth that.

When he broke off our engagement (he found someone else while I was away at college). I felt betrayed and alone. I felt like I couldn’t be close to anyone. Not even my family. When I tried to talk to others about how I was feeling I got responses such as “he didn’t deserve you anyway” and “you can do so much better than him”. The only problem was that I still “loved” him. I didn’t want anyone to put him down, even though he had hurt me. I didn’t want to be with my family because I felt like all I heard was “I told you so” and it hurt.

I ended up falling into a very deep depression. One that even people who weren’t close to me noticed. I didn’t sleep more than a few hours at night, then I would sleep off and on during the day. I only ate when food was put in front of me, and I drowned myself in my work at a martial arts school. I was there 3-5 days a week for most of the day, just so I wouldn’t have to be at home. I started staying out until one or two in the morning walking my dog so that when I got home everyone would be in bed. It was bad, and it was all because I had fallen for the wrong person.

I thought I had learned my lesson, so I tried again and ended up really hurting myself and making the sadness and emptiness I felt worse.

During this whole depression I had stopped going to my friends for advice. I did, however, meet a new friend. While I didn’t plan on falling for him, he helped me realize that with God I had the power to overcome my depressed state. It was with his help, that I got back into church and started my long road to being happy again.

Unfortunately, I placed my happiness into the sole custody of this new friend. He ended up feeling personally responsible every time I got depressed again, even if it was only for a few hours. We hung out every day for a couple of weeks and then one night we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. I started to catch myself doing the same thing to him as I did to the first guy. I put him before my family and my other friends. I gave up things for him (he gave up things for me). Whatever I did to deserve his friendship, I didn’t know, but I was sure that God had something in store for us.

We became like two peas in a pod. Always by each other’s side. Always doing everything together, and if we couldn’t then we were on the phone or text messaging. For two years, everything really did seem to finally come together. My family was leery at times, they were afraid that I would get extremely depressed again, but they seemed to like him much better than the first guy. We would go to church services together, we started singing in the choir, and not once did I ever feel that he was not who I should be with.

Eventually, though, he started to get that “I don’t know what I want” feeling. We talked about it for at least a week and finally we decided that we just weren’t going to make it much longer as a couple. I was being very clingy and smothering to him, I admit it, I knew we were getting close to the same three year point where my last relationship had crumbled and I thought that I could prevent this one from falling apart just by always being around and always changing my plans to match his and so on. My saving efforts ended up driving a wedge between us, so we knew that it would just be better to try our luck at being friends, instead of the arguments we kept having about our relationship.

I am happy to say that he and I are still extremely close and are the best of friends. We come to each other with our problems and just whenever we want to spend some time together, but there isn’t anything romantic there anymore. It hurts me to know he is happier in a relationship with someone else, because he has done and continues to do so much for me that he is literally like a part of me. I worry that I will lose that part of me further on down the road, and we may grow apart just as our boyfriend/girlfriend relationship did, but it was because of this painful process of moving on that I am finally starting to realize what love really is.

It’s being there, no matter how much it hurts, and making sure that the people you care most about are happy. Love is sacrifice, sacrificing your own happiness or time or money, so that others can have what they want or need. Love is dying to yourself, as Christ died for us, so that we can love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Love just is. We can’t help who we love, or what we choose to do with the love we feel for others. But my prayer tonight is that I can love as Jesus loves, even if that means that my only love is God and the wonderful family he has blessed  me to be in.

Love is not about being a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other.

It isn’t the title that makes it real, it is how you show it. It’s in your thoughts and actions, in your hopes and dreams, it’s when you wake up and they are your first thought, you lay down and they are your last thought before you fall asleep. They can be one of those titles, or they can just simply be your friend, but always remember that a love like that never really ends.

College Life and Keeping the Faith

Everywhere I look, there are things that are trying to convince me that my God is not real. There are groups on campus that are allowed to set up tables and sell stuff that is very against my personal beliefs, but you don’t see me starting a petition to have them removed. Though I am pretty sure that if we set up a table for Christianity, on a regular basis, there would be a march on the atrium.

I see people of different faiths talking and getting along wonderfully. It is as if culture and religious beliefs are not as important as many people are made to think. We are all human, we are all on the same planet, and I believe we are all the Children of God. So while people out in the “real world” are out fighting each other, and fighting in wars that really aren’t ours to fight, I’m just sitting here; looking around me at what the world has in store. I am trying really, very hard to live this college life and to keep my faith.