Building connections with kids

As we welcome children into the world, we immediately begin to create and build meaningful connections with them. These initial connections are based largely on their total dependence upon us. As we reflect upon their infancy and early childhood, the connections that bring a smile to our face are innumerable. However, as children change and […]

Love and power

People have a love-hate relationship with power. They love to have it, but hate to have it exercised over them. Teaching conflict resolution and leadership skills includes teaching people how to use power and how to work in the presence of power. This is particularly important when working cross-culturally, the norm in California and many […]

Reading is more than just pedaling a bicycle

The teaching of reading never fails to be a hotbed of controversy. For decades, this issue has divided groups of Americans along political and religious lines. I’m perplexed as to why far right-wing religious groups and other conservatives are usually strong advocates for an over-abundance of phonics instruction. According to Frances R.A. Paterson in the […]

Defending whose Judeo-Christian values?

Claims to “Judeo-Christian” values in contemporary U.S. society are ubiquitous. Numerous institutions claim these principles as “foundational.” Various pastors, rabbis, politicians and pundits claim these values reflect America’s foundation as a “Judeo-Christian” nation. However, I fear “Judeo-Christian” values have been co-opted by a cultural understanding that demean them rather than protect them. Should our society […]

Do grades really matter?

For generations, parents have been pushing children to get good grades. When I was a kid, many of my classmates got $10 for an ‘A’ and $5 for a ‘B’ but I received nothing because good grades were simply expected. Today, students continue to receive rewards—candy, cash, ipods, even cars—for good grades from parents and […]

Enough room at the table

There has been a lot of discussion about the emergent church lately and most Christian denominations in North America have been involved in the conversation. Many churches have started alternate worship services, some pastors and parishioners attend emergent cohorts and many churches have begun to incorporate historic Christian practices such as prayer labyrinths, creeds and […]

Job sharing another way to look at work

The typical female over-achiever: do well in high school and college, get a great job, fall in love, get married and have a baby. Now what? The dilemma of most new professional mothers: work or stay-at-home. An increasingly popular option is part-time employment. This doesn’t mean leaving an executive or administrative job for an entry […]

Rethinking the way we get our news

It’s been a few weeks since McClatchy (and The Fresno Bee) announced an initial round of layoffs in an attempt to tighten its fiscal belt. With daily news highlighting tough economic times, such downsizing comes as no surprise, though the sting for those affected remains. Certainly, we’re all feeling the pinch, but the economy’s role […]

In a black and white world, try thinking gray

Would Barack make a good president? How about McCain? Are Bishop Schofield and the local Episcopal diocese taking a needed moral stand, or contributing to religious intolerance and divisiveness? Will Britney Spears ever display stability and good parenting skills? Is High School Musical a gift to society or one more example of mindless entertainment? With […]

Freedom and limits at the library

When I was eight, I wanted to check The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde out of my neighborhood library back east. My heart’s desire in hand, I approached the checkout counter. Miss Shoemaker—one of those always-frowning, cat’s-eye glasses wearing, kid-shushing spirits today’s library scientists are still trying to exorcise from the public […]