Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Remember Art Class

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For some reason, I was remembering my seventh grade art class the other day. I don't remember much about my seventh grade experience, but for some reason, I remember what I learned in art class.

I distinctly remember the teacher (I think it was a she) teaching us different art styles (impressionism, modern, cubism, expressionism, realism, surrealism, etc.) in a way that obviously had an effect on me (hey, I was able to list those styles).

After she had taught the different styles over a period of weeks, she asked us to draw pictures of the same object, representing those styles. Same subject, different styles. She told us to choose something we liked. I, being a typical 13 year old boy living during the Vietnam war, chose a jet fighter, much like the ones I saw on the news every evening.

Here's where the impact was made on my life: she asked us to draw pictures of a subject we liked, as opposed to an assigned subject. Sure my F-4 Phantom jet looked unusual in an impressionism style, but I remember to this day what impressionism art is!

What's my point? I was greatly influenced by a person who allowed me to be a part of the learning process, simply by allowing me to choosing a subject for my drawings. Our influence can be greatly expanded by involving those whom we influence to be part of the learning process. I would call it ownership.

Question: Who are you letting be an owner? Share your thoughts below in comments.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Say Less, Mean More

We sure do talk a lot. We live in a world of talking heads, talk radio, cell phones, chat rooms, Twitter, text messages, instant messages, status updates, comments on updates and comments on tagged photos. Whether we use our mouths, our MacBooks or our thumbs (pro texters will follow that), countless words leave us and move through the atmosphere and through cyberspace.

Often what we have to say is important. Many times it is complementary to what another has already shared. Sometimes it's just plain rhetoric. In the end, it is up to us to determine if what we have to say is really worth saying.

I remember once getting caught by my mother in a lie (I was a young boy of eight). After she confronted me on the issue and asked if I had done the deed , she said, "Be careful with what you say." Well I wasn't careful and Mom knew it wasn't the truth. Needless to say, I paid the price. (I can't remember what I did - I just remember the consequence for my lying.)

Maybe Mom's advice isn't just for eight-year-old boys who have the opportunity to lie. Maybe we all ought to consider to "Be careful with what you say." Maybe we'd say a lot less, but it would mean a lot more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's Your Story?

Everyone has a story. Some people's stories are exciting and full of life. Some people's stories may seem bland compared to others. Some people try to "create" an interesting story for themselves (the 15 minutes of fame syndrome) so they will be memorable.

Some people are great storytellers, spinning elaborate yarns about great adventures in far away places that make what they are telling about come to life. Some people simply tell about what has happened to them, and although it may not enthrall us, it is still a story. And everyone has one.

Everyone has a story, regardless of who they are and where they have been, how they have lived and who they have met. Sometimes they are real. Sometimes they are imagined. It's these stories that are the basis for books, films, conversations and instruction. Sometimes the telling of stories is the way history is passed from one generation to the next.

Not too long ago, one of my sons told me to tell him some more of my stories. I received it as a compliment. My life and experiences had found a place in his imagination where as I told the story, he could join me in his mind and live with me in the story.

What's your story? What has happened in your life? Who have you met? What great adventures have experienced? Remember, everyone has a story.

Perhaps the greatest story you could tell would be about the greatest, life-changing experience or relationship you have ever had. For me it was when I encountered Jesus Christ in my life. Now all of my stories revolve around that one. My wife and children are the other great experiences for me. That's my story.

What's your story?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Taco Bell's Fourthmeal

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Taco Bell's newest marketing campaign boasts the concept of the "Fourthmeal, the meal between dinner and breakfast." They go on to say you can "satisfy your late night cravings with Fourthmeal: crunchy, melty, spicy and grilled."

Often I wonder if our culture drives our advertising, or if our advertising drives our culture. Are Americans already filling their stomachs four times a day, or will people watching late night television see the Taco Bell commercial and think, "What a great idea!" and then hop in their cars and drive to the closest restaurant?

My desire is to not get into soapboxing, but I believe that Taco Bell is capitalizing on the fact that Americans like to eat. Often. And our desire to eat makes us a nation of consumers where the average person consumes 2,175 pounds of food per year. Do we need to eat that much food?

While Americans are eating their Fourthmeal, approximately 815 million people in the rest of the world are undernourished, and over 16,000 children are dying every day from hunger-related causes.

Just think: if we ate less we could save money, have less health problems, live longer and feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

OK, now that you know where I stand on the issue of eating, what can we do? I suggest first of all that we eat less. That was easy. Maybe we could consider skipping a meal a week (not the Fourthmeal, but one of the regular three - let's take the Fourthmeal off the table!). If we skip a meal a week, we could consider giving the money we would spend on that meal to feed the hungry.

Something to chew on and digest.

If you like this post, you can re-post, put it on your Facebook status, or forward it to your friends. Follow me on Twitter @bigcloudmusic if you find me interesting. Subscribe to this Blog if you'd like.

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