Monthly Archives: November 2007

Illusions

“Illusions are dangerous. They have no flaws.” This is a line from one of my favorite movies, Sabrina (1995).

One of the kindest things God can do for His children is to allow us to fully realize just how fallen this old world is where we have to live. No illusions.

We understand that we live with imperfect people (and so do they). We don’t expect everything to work (and we are not disappointed). Days can be cold and rainy, people can be mean-spirited and selfish, and we can get sick and, even, die.

But, though we live in a fallen world, we get to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, we can give and accept small kindnesses, and we can let others see Jesus in a word of encouragement or a demonstration that we care that they may be having a bad time of it just now.

And, we can decide not to live totally for ourselves. Instead of seeking fame and fortune, we can live for that final commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

I have few illusions about this world. It can be a sad place. Isn’t it amazing that some of us can walk around in it and Jesus gets to do nice things for others through us? How cool is that!

“So little do we see before us in the world and so much reason have we to depend cheerfully upon the great Maker of the world that He does not leave His creatures so absolutely destitute but that, in the worst circumstances, they have always something to be thankful for; and sometimes are nearer their deliverance than they imagine. They are even brought to their deliverance by the means by which they seem to be brought to their destruction.” (From Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe)

Hope your Thanksgiving was good. I have so much to be thankful for. I’ll bet you do, too.

Writing a philosophy

I am getting ready to apply for a teaching position in a school in Jerusalem. They have required that I send them my personal philosophy of education in 200 words or less. Try to write your philosophy of anything in 200 words or less! Not easy. But, I’ve tried and decided to post it here. I admit it is written with this particular school in mind; but, it’s really what I believe. So here’s my philosophy of education in 200 words:

Never before in history have nations been required to pay so much attention to preparing their youth for a place in an ever-shrinking world where technology dominates, communication is instantaneous and individuals must eliminate negative (or arrogant) attitudes toward other people-groups and cultures or face certain failure.

It is imperative that today’s young people receive an education adequate to the times. However, as schools strive to provide a quality, contemporary education, are they also able to answer the question, “How does one raise and educate an individual so his or her life will ultimately glorify God?”

Christian educators must approach their tasks by first acknowledging that, in the sight of God, there are no “generic” human beings. Rather, God creates each individual with certain specific talents and giftings and then commands us to “Raise up a child according to his way…” (Proverbs 22). God intends that those who raise and educate the next generation help that generation become skilled in those areas in which God has gifted each child. Then, the promise of Proverbs 22 can be fulfilled in each: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will not stand before ordinary people. He will stand before kings.”

So, there you have it in 200 words or less. By the way, Thanksgiving was great. Ate with a family whose parents have followed the above philosophy while homeschooling their 11 children for the past 25 years. Great family. Great kids. Reminds me of my own.

Hey, Elizabeth, when are you going to email me what’s going on with you guys? Tell me all… Daddy Davis awaits!

So, now I’m finally “Certifiable”.

The teacher told us it would be a grueling 60 hours. And it was! One of the women in the class ended up in the hospital last night and one of the men and I both ended up fighting sinus infections as we came down to the wire.

Tonight was the last class of a 3-weekend course to certify us to teach English as a second language. I should now be able to get a job just about anywhere in the world to teach English (translate: to take Jesus anywhere in the world). I am wiped out but, at least, I am certified! I must say that it’s a nice-looking certificate, too.

Unfortunately, the course’s teacher was either very lazy or just didn’t know how to teach teachers. On the first day of class I asked him, “What percentage of time did you enter a class with a lesson plan and what percentage of time did you enter a class knowing you were going to ‘wing it’? His response was, “My time is too valuable to do anything I am not paid to do, so if I’m not paid to prepare, I don’t. So the percentage of time I ‘wing it’ is about 90%”. Right then, I should have been clued in to how he would “teach”! (Dirk, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, buddy, but you COULD have made the course really amazing if you had simply spent time modeling for us what it looks like to present each kind of communication skill to the various levels of student ability. We all were literate and could have read the book on our own).

But, it’s done and, as I said, I’m worn out. I plan to sit on this certificate for awhile and ask the Lord what He wants me to do with it. My sister (who has 25 years experience as an ESL teacher) has suggested the two of us open an ESL school out west, somewhere).

Other than that, everything else is fine. For the last year and a half I have enjoyed being by myself. I have learned a lot about myself. I have never been closer to the Lord than I am now. A lot of things I used to think were true (especially about myself) I no longer think are true.

One thing has changed: I no longer enjoy being by myself as much as I used to. I take this to mean that the Lord is preparing me for something new.

I’ve run out of things to say and my brain has turned to Jello as this sinus infection says, “Eat something and go to bed!”

I obey…

OK, Seth.

Seth says my last post is a month old and that I need to write more. Being the shy person that I am and, also, not thinking anyone is really out there wanting to know what I am doing, I don’t write. When I lived in Israel I wrote for my own sake, just to keep a personal journal, and I’m not of the younger generation who feels it necessary to keep a “public diary” so the whole world will know what I’m doing or thinking. Besides I consider it a little “cheap” to talk to one another this way when hearing someone else’s voice means so much to me.

BUT, since Seth says write, and I’m the ever-obedient father, I’ll share some of the latest:

I just came home from my 3rd session in a course that will prepare me to be certified in teaching English as a second language (known in the “industry” as ESL, ELL, etc.). If all goes as planned I will, by the end of next weekend, receive my certification and be able to apply for teaching jobs just about anywhere in the world. This is an interesting adventure for me as I have never liked grammar and grammar seems to be an important part of teaching English as a second language. Can you say, “Duh!” Actually, our teacher doesn’t believe that grammar is all THAT important, but I disagree. I am the oldest member of the class and am actually wishing I had done this a couple of years ago when I was a little younger.

Other than that I am still working as Principal of the little Christian school in Nashville, a city I don’t particularly care for. But, I like the work and definitely appreciate having something to do that makes me feel that I am contributing and am appreciated. Very few of the kids know the Lord and it’s nice to have the freedom (and the encouragement) to share about Jesus at any time I think it appropriate.

How’s that for now, Seth? You may actually need to coach me a little on this “blog” thing. After all, you are the one who can help bring me into the 21st century. DAD