RLL 48: My Best Friend's Wedding

Real Life Leading #48

My Best Friend’s Wedding

My best friend and me, goofing off and re-enacting a post from our younger days, before putting on our fancy clothes for the ceremony

My best friend and me, goofing off and re-enacting a post from our younger days, before putting on our fancy clothes for the ceremony

Yesterday I had the privilege of standing up with my best friend as he got married, and during the ceremony and reception, I was reminded of a few important things that I wanted to share. First, that marriage is all about love and respect, as best told by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in his aptly titled book Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs. Second, I was reminded of the privilege and joy and spending time with family and friends in celebration.

In Ephesians 5:22-33, after a discussion on the roles of spouses in marriage and about what love looks like, Paul ends by stating, “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” This verse is the key to Dr. Eggerichs’ book, and it provides a great reminder to all of us who are married; namely, that as husbands we are to love our wives sacrificially, giving up our own desires in order to serve, protect, and cherish them above ourselves. When seen this way, marriage is a reflection of the Gospel of Jesus, wherein Christ gave Himself up for his bride, the Church.

Yesterday’s ceremony was a wonderful reminder of what marriage is and the picture that it paints of how spouses are to reflect Christ’s love to each other in different ways. This is also a great reminder to us as leaders in general: we are to lead through service, through self-sacrifice, putting the needs of others above our own desires. When we lead this way, we honor Christ, and we also serve others out of love.

My sister and I with the groom at the reception!

My sister and I with the groom at the reception!

After the ceremony, the reception also provided an amazing reminder of just how much fun it is to celebrate an amazing occasion! We danced, we ate, we laughed, we took pictures with friends and family, and we it was all done as part of an encouraging send-off for the newly-married couple. What joy it is to be able to share in those celebrations! We saw our favorite teacher from elementary school, my sister and mom and stepdad all came in from different states, and we had a very encouraging afternoon sharing in the occasion. This is also a great reminder to us that life can be joyous, and we need to celebrate it whenever possible. Life is a beautiful gift, and when we have the chance to share in such joy, we should embrace it.

I hope your week has been as enjoyable as mine has, and I would love to hear about it!

Action Step: This week, ask how you can better serve the people around you, and remember to celebrate the successes—large and small—that you experience!

RLL 42: Lessons from the 'Worst Class in School'

Real Life Leading #42

Lessons from the 'Worst Class in School'

Happy Sunday, everyone! I'm excited this week to share with you a few things I've learned from what has been labeled 'the worst class in school' (I mentioned them in last week's blog post. You can find it here: Last week I mentioned the importance of setting high expectations early and to believe the best in people. This week I want to follow up with two others lessons associated with this group.

First, I find that it is vital to address the 'elephant in the room', the giant issue that everyone knows is there but most people refuse to acknowledge. The reason for this is simple: if you just ignore it, it continues to be an issue. For this class, the elephant in the room was their reputation and the things that have contributed to it: being disrespectful, constantly breaking rules (e.g. dresscode, gum-chewing, etc.), and generally being disinterested in their school work. So together we addressed these issues by discussing their importance, and once the students saw that there actually is a purpose for these things, their approach became somewhat more respectful. Keep in mind, though, that habits take time to break, and these are still kids after all. That's where it's important to have grace, and it also leads us to the second point.

The other important thing is to revisit the expectations daily or at least very regularly. Students shouldn't have to be reminded to follow the dress code; but neither should adults have to be reminded to follow the speed limit. And yet we need those reminders. Whether through simple forgetfulness (or, more likely, sinfulness), we tend to slack off. So in my class we revisited each issue once or twice during the week, reminding the students of the policies, but more importantly, reminding them of the progress they're already making in terms of changing their reputations.

I find that it's extremely important to "catch the students being good" (if I could remember who I heard that phrase from, I would gladly credit them!) and to show them that you saw what they were doing. Much of what I've shared this week has been strongly influenced by a book called 'The First Days of School' by Dr. Harry K. Wong. It's a must-read for every teacher, and I also believe the principles would be useful in any leadership setting.

So, this week in your world, be sure to address whatever 'elephants' are causing your group problems. Just remember to do so with patience, grace, and love, the same way we want people to address us when we're not doing what we should. Jesus has forgiven me for much bigger things than leaving my shirt untucked; therefore, I need to be willing to forgive students when they don't follow the rules in my classroom. Discipline still occurs, but it's done to teach and instruct, not to punish; again, in the same way God disciplines us. 

Thanks for your time, and feel free to share this article! Also, I'm still booking speaking engagements for the rest of 2018 and into 2019, so if you'd like to learn more or hear me in person, contact me via the form on the website, or email me at Thanks, and have an amazing rest of your day!


RLL 37--Lessons from Science Camp

RLL 37--Lessons from Science Camp

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you've had an amazing week filled with watching World Cup games and spending time with your family. Whether you have or not, I hope to encourage you a little bit this morning with three quick things I learned from Science Camp. On Tuesday and Thursday, I and some other teachers had the opportunity to travel a few hours south and help put on a STEM Science Camp, with the focus being on Marine Biology. Here are a few things I learned about leadership from science camp.

Bioluminescent Octopus

Bioluminescent Octopus

1) Kids are kids. The schools we went to this week are definitely some of the more rural and underfunded places that I've been. Having said that, the administration at each school and the students there were incredible: friendly, respectful, and (the students this time, not so much the admin) goofy. Kids are kids, regardless of what type of socioeconomic background they come from.

I was teaching about special adaptations of certain types of marine creatures (ones that glow in the dark, ones with specialized attack abilities, etc.), and we did that by first comparing different adaptations of sports balls, looking at size/shape/covering material/density of soccer, tennis, baseball, golf, football, and basketballs. Kids like to play games, and so to get to toss different balls around the classroom was a lot of fun for everyone. After that, they also understood the concepts of comparing/contrasting different adaptations for the various creatures.

Leafy Seadragon

Leafy Seadragon

2) Enthusiasm is key. Remember, these are 7th-12th grade students in a classroom in the middle of June. Not typically a recipe for anyone to have a great day. However, these students were engaged and attentive, especially when I showed enthusiasm for what we were doing. Again, we tossed a tennis ball, I juggled a soccer ball, I let a few of them spin the basketball on their finger, and then we did some more science work. But, as with any leadership venture, when I was enthusiastic, my students were enthusiastic. If I had come in and been dry and boring and monotonous, I can't imagine the students would have really had a great time either.

3) Relationships can begin with just a handshake and a question. First, let me say that I was encouraged by how the administrators at each school related to the students: they were encouraging, they were attentive, and they were genuinely concerned with student well-being. Second, that made me also want to form good, if brief, relationships with these students. As I wrote in my recent book Inverted Leadership, relationships begin to be formed with the first interaction. So for me that meant looking each child in the eye, shaking his/her hand, and then asking them to tell me their names and something important about themselves. Is it standard, bordering on summer-camp/cheesy? Certainly. But it also is genuine, if you look them in the eye and are interested in their answers. And this started us off on the right foot, setting us up for a great day.

Ok, there's three quick thoughts on what I learned at Science Camp. I hope you're able to apply some of these things in your world, whether it's at work, at a VBS this week, or elsewhere! Also, if you haven't yet gotten a copy, be sure to go by Amazon and pick up your copy of Inverted Leadership today! If you have gotten yours, I'd be grateful if you'd go to amazon and leave a review of the book. Thanks!