August 2009


There will be no metaphorical tie-ins with today’s posting.  Although I could think of some applications, this is just a posting about a subject that we all deal with but never discuss.

 

As the parent of two children and a dog owner, it seems that I spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with poop – changing my one year old’s diaper, helping my four year old after she takes care of business, getting the shovel out for my chocolate lab two or three times a day (I think her dog food is made from little nuggets of Fiber One bars).  My oldest is now at the age where she can even carry out in-depth, philosophical conversations on poop.

 

“Everybody poops, daddy.”

 

“Yes they do.”

 

“I like to go poopie.”

 

“That’s good, Olivia.”

 

“I want to poop in the yard like Maggie.”

 

“Huh?”

 

You probably didn’t want to read a poop-posting and I apologize if you are reading this on your lunch break, but last Wednesday was simply pooptastic.  It started in a restaurant with my family.  It was a pretty quiet night and with our two little girls, we were the center of attention in the dining area.

 

Twice during our meal Olivia loudly proclaimed, “I tooted!”  This was followed by, “I need to go potty.”

 

She does this at restaurants occasionally just to get to walk around and see all the other people, so we asked if she really had to go.

 

“Yep.  I have to go poopie!”

 

…stares from around the room.

 

Once we got home, the girls needed a bath.  Both were in the tub when I noticed an underwater mine floating near the baby’s stern.  Of course this terrified Olivia, who pointed with wide eyes screaming, “POOP!”

 

I handed the girls to my wife, who relocated them to another tub while I bleached the bathtub and the four thousand bath toys that were in it.  Afterwards, Sara was getting the girls dressed while I rinsed bath toy number 3,998.

 

That’s when I heard Sara say, “Amelia, nooooo!”

 

Apparently, the task was not completed in the tub.  Amelia was crawling around naked while my wife got Olivia dressed.  During her naked crawling, Amelia made a few more deposits on the carpet (four to be exact – she must have gotten into the dog food) .  Of course, this went unnoticed until she crawled through one of them, leaving a poop trail on the floor.

 

Like I said… pooptastic.

ybr

I am facilitating a study for a group of college students in which we are going through Andy Stanley’s The Principle of the Path.  Basically stated, the principle is as follows:

Direction – not intent – determines our destination.

When we consider this in terms of navigation, it is pretty simple and straightforward.  If we choose to follow a particular road, we will go where that road leads.  Regardless of our race, color, creed, gender, education, or needs, a road leads where it leads without considering the one who is traveling it.

If we get lost, our problems do not end when we discover that we are on the wrong road.  When we stop and ask for directions, we don’t need someone to tell us that we are lost.  We need to discover which roads lead to our preferred destination.

As obvious as this principle is, we see it ignored all the time.  People who eat junk and don’t exercise end up with poor health.  People who spend more money than they earn end up in financial distress (unless they qualify for a bail out).  You get the idea.  It seems that humans have a tendency to choose paths that lead in directions that we don’t want to go.

Here’s the kicker – we’re always on a path.  Right now, you are following the path that you have chosen and you will eventually go where that path leads.  Where is you path leading you?

A while back I put up a posting about establishing a Business as Missions enterprise.  I have since enrolled in school to complete my MBA and now another piece of the puzzle is falling into place.

I have always thought that I would enjoy teaching.  The thing I enjoyed most in my corporate career was conducting training and teaching.  Though I never really did much to cultivate this interest, it blossomed again on my trips to Belarus to teach English.  Upon returning from the last trip, I even remarked to Sara how much I enjoy teaching.

I thought about it some more and decided to seek out a career in teaching.  Even though I lack a teaching certificate, I thought that with my engineering background and the teacher shortage that we always heard about prior to the recession, I would be a shoe-in to teach high school Calculus or Physics.  Well… cracking the shell of the public school system is not exactly easy without a teaching certificate in Georgia.

This is where I finally put two and two together.  I am already planning on going back to school for a Master’s degree in business and there are plenty of teaching opportunities at the college level.  Hey, it couldn’t hurt to look.  Shortly after this realization, I found out I was on our church’s budget and finance team with an accounting professor at a local college.  She told me about a possible teaching opportunity in the math department.  This was only a couple of weeks before the fall semester was to begin, so I was really interviewing more for the spring.

I didn’t really know what my chances were, but for the first time in a really long time I was very excited about a new direction in my career.  I got a call from the chair of the math department last week.  Due to heavy demand, they are adding a class and beginning this fall (next Monday actually), I will be teaching a college mathematics course.  My goal is to eventually become a tenure-track professor, but I have a lot more schooling to undergo before that can occur.

I think this will be a great compliment to my desire to establish a BAM.  I will get to leverage my educational background and contacts to help others establish businesses and I’ll get some great real world experience that will help me teach my students.  I guess I’m writing this to let you know that although it may take a while and there may be many roadblocks, it is worth the effort to keep plugging away in your search to discover your mission.  Too many people get discouraged and give up.  They settle on doing what is familiar to them day after day and dreaming about retirement.

God has a purpose for your life.  Ignoring that purpose for the sake of your present comfort will never allow you to find significance.

I had my first 5k of the season last Saturday. Based on the considerable loss of stomach contents as I battled a stomach bug earlier in the week, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

 

I started running regularly about a year ago. Back then, my main goal was simply to finish the race and not get beat by too many girls. After a couple of races, I found that I was becoming more competitive and started taking it a little more seriously. I also found out that there are some very fast girl runners and I can’t even hope to keep up with them. I finished last year with second and third place finishes in my age group. Emboldened by my improving race times, I went into Saturday’s race with two objectives:

1. Finish in under 23 minutes

2. Win 1st place in my age group

 

Although my personal best time was 23:20, I thought beating 23 minutes was a reasonable objective. The feasibility of reaching the second goal was a little more difficult to predict. You never know who will show up in your age group, so you could run your personal best and not even place. Alternatively, you could have a horrible outing but still go home with a medal if the others in your age group are competitively challenged.

 

I had a good day. I ran a new personal best at 22:40 and won my age group. As a side note, my time of 22:40 is quite respectable but don’t be too impressed – the overall winners (typically high school cross country runners) are usually below 18 minutes. By the time I cross the finish line they are already on their way to their second race of the day.

 

So… I ran a personal best and I won my group. Now what?

 

I guess I could always shoot for a faster time, but I realize that I’m not getting any younger and eventually those times will start heading the other direction. I could set a new goal of getting an overall win, but I’m not insane. I am very much a goal-oriented person, so just running for the sake of running is not an option. So what will my new goal be?

 

I realized my running is falling into the same pattern as my professional career that I wrote about in my book. My race times are taking the place of my salary and my finishing position is taking the place of my job title. It’s amazing how pervasive this addiction to success can be. While there’s nothing wrong with aspirations, when I have a goal I feel like I HAVE to accomplish it and I’m not really good with losing.

 

This got me to thinking… while I did win my age group and run below my target time, I didn’t even come close to the overall winner. In that respect, I decisively lost the race. Out there, somewhere, will always be a faster runner, a higher paid manager, a greener lawn, a cleaner house, a smarter student, or a more humble servant. Our primary goal – the one that will bring the most satisfaction – is not be the first person to finish the race. Rather, we should continually assess our lives to make sure that we “run with endurance the race set before us.” I firmly believe that if we are running someone else’s race not even victory will bring fulfillment.