The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Month: September, 2017

I’ll keep this short.

I was reading Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning today. This short book (in page number, but long in amount of time it takes to read because there is so much to ponder), is the memoir of an Austrian psychiatrist who was taken prisoner in the concentration camps during WW II. He reflects on the unavoidability of suffering and how to cope and/or respond to it. If anyone can write with authenticity on human suffering, it would probably be a Holocaust survivor.


Today, I encountered a quote that left my jaw dropped. It is that good.

“…Often it is just such an exceptionally difficult external situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond himself” (Frankl 72).

Soooooooo good. (In my best Rob Bell voice)

You want your kid to be successful in the year 2020?

I have worked with young adults as a public school teacher, youth group leader, and mentor for well over a decade now. While each youth has different strengths and weaknesses, we adults could come to some sort of consensus to the idea that there are certain characteristics that each person (will) need(s) in order to be successful at life. If I were to pose the question, what are kids in the year 2020 most going to need in order to be successful, what would you answer?

The ability to problem solve? Communicate clearly? Perform tasks consistently? Work well with others?

While those are all important, I don’t think any of those will be the most important thing an individual must have be able to do in order to succeed in the next decade. The Harvard Business Review  reports regularly on the leaps and bounds that artificial technology is making. It can compute tasks given a set of criteria, its robotic aspects can complete tasks repeatedly with precision, and it can state exactly what it is computing.

The one thing a robot cannot do is show empathy.

While a robot can manufacture emotion based on a given set of factors, the true ability to understand what others are feeling and then respond is a truly human trait. And from my observations (as backed up by such publications as Psychology Today), I can say that there is one thing that is lacking from more and more of today’s youth, it is empathy. From customer service, to problem solving, to collaboration, empathy is the driver for success. In the next decade, the individuals who set themselves apart from everyone else are going to need to be able to relate to and be empathetic towards others.

You want your kids (or the ones around you) to be able to succeed? Teach them what it means to put others first, to try to relate to others, and not think selfishly. While that is not the guaranteed fix for how to make a person empathetic, it certainly is a good place to start.

REVIEW: NIV Kid’s Visual Study Bible; or, I reviewed a kids’ book.

This is a review of the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible from Zondervan Kids.

I am a constant reader. I am constant Bible reader too. It is not uncommon to read through one translation of the Bible in a year and then start reading from another. The Bible is one of those books that I will never get tired of reading because there is so much to unpack. Even if I were not a Christian, the Bible would still be in my “top five greatest books ever” lists because of how rich and diverse it is. While I have read the NIV translation through many times so far, I thought I had it all pretty well understood. Leave it to something for young people like the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible to prove to me how much about the Bible I still have to learn, from context, to culture, and everything in between.

Along with the easily accessible translation, the New International Version, this book has plenty of other aides to assist the reader in navigating the Bible. Each book in the Bible begins with an overview of the author’s identity, purpose, the book’s significance, location of origin, and then it moves right into the text. These introductions are helpful for younger readers, because the introductions don’t go on forever. Instead, much of the material some editors would put in the beginning, they instead choose to include as marginal notes. Throughout the book, obscure cultural references are explained in a way that make it clear for someone with a lower Lexile level.

The maps, photos, and illustrated images throughout this edition of the Bible help give needed clarity where a visual aide is more useful than an explanatory text. I found those to be especially helpful during some of the harder to approach books like the Minor Prophets.

In a way, this book is misnamed. While younger readers would find this an easy way to approach the Bible, I would consider changing “Kids'” in the title to the word “New Readers of the Bible.” Looking at this as an adult, the margin notes, illustrations, etc. would be very useful to a person reading through the Bible for the first time. In that light, if I did not know this was intended for kids, I would find all the materials helpful. I give the NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible the nod of approval, not just for kids, and not just for people new to the Bible, but also to anyone reading the Bible who wants to learn something new.

I received my copy of this book for free through the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for reviewing it. The opinions expressed are mine; I was not obligated to write a positive review.

I wish…

Every once in a while, I feel the need to get somethings off my chest. Here goes:

  1. I wish that “Christian” musicians/singers/songwriters would stop trying to sound like “Pop” musicians/singers/songwriters. Absolutely no one in non-Church group browses for music thinking, “I want to hear someone who sounds like Adele/Drake/Taylor Swift who isn’t Adele/Drake/Taylor Swift.”
  2. I wish that health insurance companies could come up with a rational explanation as to why I have less benefits for my coverage, but it costs more now.
  3. I wish I had more hours in a day.
  4. I wish that taking ownership for one’s actions was something that more parents taught their children in the home. I am certainly not seeing enough evidence of that.
  5. I wish that I could never be content.