Four Extraordinary Blog Writing Tips From An Ordinary Blogger

I don’t have a doctorate in blogging studies.

I’ve only been doing this for two years and some change. But I read dynamic viral blogs with huge e-followings. And I also read many thought-provoking blogs with not so huge e-followings.

I learn from everyone. None of this is groundbreaking info, just tools I picked up after a couple of years of poor trading. As a service to the awesome folks in my loyal e-circle here are my four top tips for succesful blog writing:

Write about what you love

Everyone is an expert on something….Oh, you don’t think you are? Let me ask:

What do you day dream about when you’re at work/church/school?

Now go write about it.

Food? Family? Crossfit? Relationships? Mini schnauzers? The “Walking Dead”? A TV show may seem like a trite topic to consistently blog about. But there are literally thousands of WD crazies who’d love to find an e-community that shares their passion.

The world doesn’t need less passionate writers. Half hearted writers produce half-hearted readers and no real following. Might as well be etching your posts on the floor of the Pacific.

No topic no passion is too narrow. It’s the world-wide web for Mary’s sake, someone out there shares your love.

Shorter is better

For blogging this may be the most important advice I can give. I’ve learned it the hard way.

This isn’t writing a thesis or some academic journal. If your word count reaches higher than 1,000 words you need to break the post up into a series. I try to keep my posts around 600 words (this one is 575). First time Internet visitors will scan before they engage. Intimidate them with length and you’ll lose them forever.

If readers want a longterm commitment they’ll pick up a book. They don’t, that’s why they’re at your blog. This “shorter” principle also goes with sentence length and paragraph length. Our collective attention spans are shorter than ever, so you better believe your audience reflects that.

Find your own unique voice

No one here is John Donne or John Piper or Jon Acuff. People know where to find their work. They want to read something from your unique perspective not some parroted regurgitation.

Talk about your quirks, your family, your fears, your triumphs. Be a real person not a ghost writer.

You have a specific God-given voice no one else in the world has. People aren’t reading your blog to hear the echo of someone else. They want to sit down and have coffee with you. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. Be conversational and use words to engage not impress.

Aesthetics Matter

This isn’t a book with static text pages. It is a comprehensive social experience. Make it simple and attractive. Make it clean and user-friendly. You may boast the literary skills of GK Chesterton, but if a reader gets a migraine from your theme forget about a following.

As a new self-hoster I am trying to get better at this. I may have contracted plug-in diarrhea with my new-found freedom so expect some scale backs here in the near future.

One or two photos may illustrate nicely. But bolding, italics, and especially headings (H2!) will make your main idea pop.

There it is. Top secret blogging tips from a non doctorate blogger. Free of charge to you my dear readers (and fellow bloggers).

What tips do you have for first time bloggers?

Bryan Daniels

I Want To Teach (And Love) Like Mr. Wright

I recently garnered “Teacher of the Month” honors from my educator peers. Though it had more to do with being a team player than my teaching prowess I was grateful. I also got a $20.00 gift card to Walmart to go with it, which as you know is one of my fave places in the world.

This past week I took on an Algebra class for a coworker who will be on maternity leave for 6 weeks. Until Spring Break I’ll be lesson planning for my Geography class (which will have a sub) and teaching the Algebra 1 class.

And coaching track and field for kicks and giggles too.

Mr Wright, of teaching legend, is a boss and the type of teacher every teacher seeks to emulate and every student loves. But I don’t know if I’d ever have the backbone to set off classroom pumpkin bombs and light student’s hands on fire. I wonder what parents think about having to sign legal waivers for every new term.

The holy grail of public education, “Classroom engagement”, doesn’t seem like an issue for him.

His instructional practices aren’t the only thing I’m challenged by. Mr Wright has a big sensitive heart for young people. As preteens get more cocky, pimply, emotional, mouthy, and hardened they become inherently harder to love. That’s why secondary education must be a calling, not a job.

These aren’t just pesky punks, they’re broken souls. These aren’t random shells of flesh, bones and hormones, they’re images of a good and holy Creator.

You can clearly see Wright’s heart has been refined and made soft by the birth and upbringing of his physically disabled son. A son that has taught him that an atrophied body and indeliberate self violence are an occasion to know this: Everything, teaching, fathering, disabilities, everything, boils down to love.

I have two precious impressionable souls entrusted to me everyday. My sons get the short end of the laptop or cable news way too often. May the way I steward my time, energy, and resources display they are dearly cherished and valuable in their father’s eyes.

So a short salute to Mr. Wright: For challenging me to become a better teacher and father. And living with engaging simplicity the timeless truth; without love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).

What past or present teacher made a great impact in your life?

Bryan Daniels

Cheesy Movies And Gospel Adornment (SHARK-O-SAURUS!)

I’m a sucker for the cheesiest movies.

The Attack of SHARK-O-SAURAS!!!

I mean, overtly cheesy movies. I gravitate to them like a moth to a flame. Pretentious acting mixed with terrible special effects hooks me every time. I was recently transfixed by “Legend” (1985), which features an elf played by a young unibrowed Tom Cruise. It’s also replete with Goblins and a pair of endangered unicorns.

Tom Cruise in Legend
The Unicorn and Unibrow unite.

My wife saw the melodramatic cheese and immediately said, “Don’t record it.”

“Seriously, don’t record it.”


I recorded it.

A goblin chopped one of the unicorns horns off and the magical world of fairies and gnomes turned into a deep winter Narnian nightmare. Epic stuff.

I’m also a sucker for some of those Syfy Channel made for TV movies. They usually feature an 80s child star and dazzling Atari level special effects. Typically, you can bet on a helicopter faceoff with gigantic mutant Gators or Sharks or Snakes or Spiders.

Syfy Shark classic

The Artist’s Gospel Dilemma

I’m not as smitten with cultural Christian cheese.

I don’t want to offend anyone blessed by the following, but I had to turn off the movies “FireProof” and “Facing The Giants” after a few minutes of viewing. I don’t have the stomach for that flavor of cheese.  If you really have something worthy to say, say it in the most powerful, meaningful, excellent way you can.

The gospel is the most spellbinding beautiful message in heaven and earth.

If we are going to “adorn” it with our art, I say make it the most spellbinding beautiful art the world has seen. Acting should be high quality and nuanced. A plot should have depth and grit. Production should be top of the line.

This goes for our endeavors in writing, music, finger painting, breakdancing, etc. CCM radio shouldn’t sound like an infinite loop of the same rehashed pop country songs. In some cases the contributions are literally rehashed pop country songs.

I’m not a model for this. But I’m trying to get better at my craft (if blogging could be called that).

Not Cool, Creative

I’m not saying we should be “cool” in the trite cultural sense of that weak word. Christ never set up a Kingdom of self-assured cool kids. “Cool” is a term beneath the gospel. But our message and our art should have a winsome way of attracting souls (or even repelling them in some cases). Don’t ever let someone walk away from your baby with a neutral shrug.

We have a God breathed word empowered to resonate with human nature and experience more than any other word in the world.

Be excellent with whatever skill He’s given you.

A God who is Creator has imaged children who are creative.

To be less than that is to be less than human.

What’s Your Favorite Cheesy Movie?

Bryan Daniels

Undeniable Evidence Of God from the Greatest Christian Apologist Ever

(Saw this shared on 22 words and had to reshare)

But seriously.  Miss me some Michael Scott. In my opinion, one of the most hilarious characters in modern television. He also has contributed the following thought-provoking philosophical/theological musings:

On Diversity:

Hi. I’m Michael Scott. I’m in charge of Dunder Mifflin Paper Products here in Scranton, Pennsylvania but I’m also the founder of Diversity Tomorrow, because today is almost over. Abraham Lincoln once said that, “If you’re a racist, I will attack you with the North.” And those are the principles that I carry with me in the workplace.

You may look around and see two groups here: white collar, blue collar. But I don’t see it that way, and you know why not? Because I am collar-blind.

On Communism:

If this were Russia, yeah sure, everyone would go to one Santa, and there would be a line around the block, and once you sat on her lap and she would ask you what you wanted and you would probably say freedom, at which point the KGB would arrest you and send you to Siberia. It’s a good thing Russia doesn’t exist anymore.

On Leadership:

Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

I’m friends with everybody in this office. We’re all best friends. I love everybody here. But sometimes your best friends start coming into work late and start having dentist appointments that aren’t dentist appointments, and that is when it’s nice to let them know that you could beat them up.

On Politics: 

I love babies. I think they are beautiful in all sorts of different ways. I try to pick up and hold a baby every day, if possible, because it nourishes me. It feeds my soul. Babies are drawn to me. And I think it’s because they see me as one of them. But … cooler and with my life put together a little bit more. If a baby were president, there would be no taxes. There would be no war. There would be no… government, and… things could get terrible. And actually probably it would be a better screenplay idea then a serious suggestion.

On Money:

Yes. Money has been a little bit tight lately, but at the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I’m gonna be thinking about how many friends I have and my children and my comedy albums.


Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.

I’m not superstitious…but I am a little stitious

Bryan Daniels

DOOMSDAY MAYAN PROPHECY!!! and the real end of all things…

This past couple weeks in my Geography class have coincided with a section on Latin America. It’s been pertinent to the students, especially since we’ve been able to naturally bring up the ancient Mayan civilization and their doomsday calendar prophecy (supposedly this Friday, December 21st)

I’ve even heard some students mention their parents aren’t making them go to school that day (probably out of fear of Americans not Mayans).

Obviously, I don’t believe such ridiculous claims. Plenty of scholars have given reason to believe the Mayans actually thought their calendar would reset for another few thousand years cycle instead of ending abruptly. People of actual Mayan/Indian ancestry believe Dec 21st is a cause for celebration not doom.

Over-educated old white dudes from America are the ones who artificially drummed up this wacky prediction.

Regardless, people have a natural fascination with eschatology, whether it be through the book of Revelation, Nostradamus, alien/zombie apocalypse, Mayans, or some great climate change holocaust. Even most hardened skeptics believe the earth isn’t going to keep peacefully revolving as is for an indefinite period of time.

The Mayans were advanced in many ways as their art, architecture and complex writing system displays. But there is no reason to believe their prophetic skill is any better than Harold Camping’s fuzzy mathematical end time calculations. Three reasons why this modern Mayan cultural phenomenon is just dumb:

1. They never saw the Spanish Conquistadors coming. Or, even more devastatingly, they never saw the small pox the Spanish brought with them on the boat, which wiped out over 90% of the Mayans in just a few years. They couldn’t see the soon end of the their own civilization but they could see the future end of all the world civilizations? Yeah…

2. Human sacrifice was the norm. Whether to appease the corn god or to dedicate a newly built temple, archaeology has recently dug up 1 and 2-year-old sacrifice victims from Mayan ruins. A culture that legalistically murders its own in droves (some estimates 50,000 a year) doesn’t really seem to be a culture worth obsessing over now. Whatever cataclysmic tragedy the end of the world brings it can’t be much worse than sacrificing your own children.

3. Most importantly: The Mayans absolutely can’t know the exact date of the end of all things. Jesus, the perfect only Son of God, didn’t even know the specific date for the end of all things (Matt 24:36). Only the Father does. Yet people believe God would reveal these deep secrets to a culture of child murderers? What the Son doesn’t know no one else can know. Not Camping, not Nostradamus, not Jehovah Witnesses, not me, not you.

Yet with the most recent Sandy Hook news still fresh in our collective psyche we should be eagerly anticipating a better eternal city with lasting foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). A city where a righteous King will reign with perfect love and justice (Revelation 21).

It really won’t be the end of anything, but rather a great unimaginable Beginning of truer lasting things.

Every last tear wiped.

Every last wrong righted.

I don’t believe it’s coming December 21st, but it’s one day closer than it was yesterday.

Thank God.

Bryan Daniels

Mass Murder Is Why A Suffering Sovereign Came

“Mass murder is why Jesus came into the world the way he did. What kind of Savior do we need when our hearts are shredded by brutal loss?

We need a suffering Savior. We need a Savior who has tasted the cup of horror we are being forced to drink.

And that is how he came. He knew what this world needed. Not a comedian. Not a sports hero. Not a movie star. Not a political genius. Not a doctor. Not even a pastor. The world needed what no mere man could be.

The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Mere suffering would not do. Mere sovereignty would not do. The one is not strong enough to save; the other is not weak enough to sympathize.

So he came as who he was: the compassionate King. The crushed Conqueror. The lamb-like Lion. The suffering Sovereign.”

John Piper

Read the rest of the article.

Suffice to say last Friday was the saddest news this nation has faced since 2001. As a father of two sons (1 a year away from kindergarten) and a public school educator the heartache was twofold for me.

I hope this reeling nation doesn’t get too obsessed over tertiary political/social issues in this time.

The only agent that can change the hardest human hearts is not of this world or public policy. Saul, David, and Moses were all once murderers turned servants of the righteous King.

The only agent that can comfort the most shattered human hearts is not of this world either. The perfect hands that were wounded on the cross are strong enough to bind our wounds forevermore.

I pray Sandy Hook turns to the “Suffering Sovereign” alone for comfort.

I pray the other broken on looking souls in America do too.

Bryan Daniels

The Real Santa Claus: The Brawling, Persecuted, Abolitionist Saint

Folklore sometimes skews reality. Many times it keeps us from remembering that a particular “reality” ever even existed.

Saint Nicholas was a compelling church leader and historical figure before legend claimed that he ran an elf sweat shop.  Believe it or not, Saint Nick was not a jolly obese dude with loads of reindeer love and omnipresent abilities on the eve of  Christmas. As we often do with history, the subjects of our contemporary traditions are made too sanitary and domesticated.

Much is lost when this happens; in the case of “Santa Claus” almost everything is lost that is actually noble about the patron saint of children and widows.

James Parker, professor and associate dean of worldview and culture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, points out some intriguing reasons to get acquainted with the real Saint Nick:

The story goes that Nicholas was born in A.D. 280 to pious and wealthy parents who raised him in the fear and admonition of the Lord and taught him “sacred books” from the age of 5. He was forced to grow up quickly upon the sudden death of his parents.

The first opportunity to do this happened when he heard about a father who, through an unfortunate turn of events, was left destitute with three daughters. Without marriage dowry money, the daughters would be condemned to a life of singleness and prostitution, so Nicholas threw some small bags of gold coins into the window of the home (some traditions say down the chimney), thereby saving the children from a life of misery.

Saint Nicholas was an advocate for human rights and the cultural “least of these.” He wouldn’t necessarily care if posh Western kids had the latest iPhone or game console, but he did care about little girls who would be subject to the demonic underworld of prostitution and human trafficking. Before he was even a notable church bishop Saint Nick practiced the pure and undefiled religion of James 1:27.

This Christmas, would we have a heart for the true religion the Father desires? Give to the forgotten and starving children of the third world here —> Give to those still enslaved by modern human trafficking (even in the United States) here—>

As a young man, Nicholas felt called to become a bishop in the Monastery of Holy Zion near Myra.  His congregation accepted him gladly and admired his boldness to preach against the false gods of paganism and spiritual relativism. Such a radical confession ensured Saint Nick would be a target whipping boy for the religious and political leaders of the Roman Empire.

In A.D. 303, Emperor Diocletian directed the persecution of Christians. Nicholas was the chief Christian priest of his city and an unashamed emissary of the gospel; as a result he was seized by the Roman magistrates, tortured, and then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. Parker goes on:

Those who survived Diocletian’s purges were called “confessors” because they wouldn’t renege on their confession of Jesus as Lord. When Bishop Nicholas walked out of the prison (after Constantine’s Edict of Milan), the crowds called to him: “Nicholas! Confessor!” He had been repeatedly beaten until he was raw, and his body was the color of vermilion. Bishop Nicholas was also said to have intervened on behalf of unjustly charged prisoners and actively sought to help his people survive when they had experienced two successive bad harvests.

Saint Nick bore the stripes of his Savior on his own back. The inspired words of the maligned Apostle rang true with him: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

Instead of feeding the insatiable beast of consumerism, would we give to our persecuted brethren this Christmas? There are precious lambs being led to the slaughter right now for the sake of the Lamb of God (John 1:29) Go here to ease and share their burden —>

One of the most interesting stories connected with him was his role during the Arian controversy. St. Methodius asserted that “thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as death-dealing poison.” (Arius, of course, asserted that Jesus was a created being and had not existed from all eternity.)

One weak tradition has him actually attending the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, when Arian doctrine was rejected. The story goes that he got into a heated debate with Arius himself about whether there was a time when the Word (Jesus) did not exist. Nicholas strongly disagreed.

The debate ended suddenly when Nicholas punched Arius then and there on the floor of the council.

I know the particulars of this story may come from weak “tradition” but I assume such tradition would never have had early legs if one thing were not true: Saint Nick took biblical fidelity very seriously. What would this rendition of Saint Nick do to the contemporary sanitized version?

“No kids. Santa doesn’t want to eat your cookies. But he will give you a knuckle sandwich if you don’t have a biblical Christology.”

Saint Nick was a contender of the true faith and a passionate proponent of Scriptural orthodoxy. I’m not saying we should throw fisticuffs with our theological opponents, I am saying we shouldn’t have a limp wristed wishy-washy approach to biblical truth.

I am suggesting old Nicholas would despise the shrugging, doubting, hem hawing of postmodern Christianity.

Some of the links to the right, particularly under the “Theology” tab, do a stand-up job of contending for the faith once and for all handed down to the saints (Jude 1:3).

We should always be diligent to keep “Christ” in Christmas. But while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to resurrect and demythologize the real “Santa.” The real Santa teaches us that real men protect the marginalized, prepare for persecution, and preach an uncompromising biblical gospel.

Maybe that’s a Santa worth inviting into your household this Christmas season.

Bryan Daniels

God Is Love And He Must Also Hate

I remember reading Johnathan Edward’s notorious sermon “Sinner’s in the hand of an Angry God” in English class my sophomore year in high school. Interestingly, it was a required reading for that public school classroom credit. I don’t recall, but maybe we were studying early colonial Puritan literature (IMO Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” would have been a better portrayal).

As a young shallow cultural Christian with very little grasp of grace that reading was a harrowing experience for me.

Now I can’t breakdown the literary merits of Edward’s sermon. I do know he wrote/spoke exponentially more about heaven than hell. But the theological content of his most famous sermon is, for some, a microcosm of everything that is wrong about modern strands of evangelical/fundamental/reformed/etc Christianity.

So it may be said: A massive God that can be angry at the tiny people He created is too petty to be worthy of worship. OR A God that hates is in direct contradiction with the God who “is love.” OR In the NT Jesus revealed a loving heavenly father, not a ticked off tyrant. And so on and so forth…

To which I say respectfully: Let’s pump our breaks a minute.

As a pretty rotten sinner who finds unique ways to stumble every day, of course I want God to be a merciful Father/Abba, full of invincible grace and unwavering love for me. And amazingly He is that, through His precious Son, Jesus.

But I don’t think a significant point should be lost here: In order to love, you must have some capacity to hate.

For example: Let’s say I were to tell you in conversation that I love the Jewish people and wish the best for them. Yet, in the very next sentence, I said I was emotionally neutral about the subject of the Holocaust. “No!” you may say, “If you love the Jewish people, you must hate what the Holocaust did to them!” And surely you’d be right.

To love some things, is to hate other things.

If I love children I will hate child abuse.

If I love my wife I will hate committing adultery against her.

Human emotion is wrapped around a fallen nature, so even our most righteous anger has remnants of jealousy, pride, greed and general sinfulness. But we mustn’t project those fallen attributes to a perfect God’s righteous anger. God’s love and anger, unlike ours, is rooted in His fundamental holiness. Unfortunately, we usually interpret words like wrath/hatred/anger  and even love through the grimy lens of our own limited human experience and hurts.

But the perfect man, Jesus, was angry with people at times, spoke of wrath much, and I’m sure felt something of hatred when confronting the hypocrisy of the hyper-religious Pharisees.

Jesus was angry at the money collectors who tarnished His father’s temple. Real, visceral, vein popping, table-turning, righteous rage. It’s not a stretch to say he genuinely hated what they were doing.

And yes, Christ graciously dinnered up and fellowshipped with the prostitutes and tax collectors. Yet He also sternly promised millstones and gnashing of teeth to the prideful and scoffers.

For God to really love a bride, He must hate what separates His bride from Him. God’s hatred is not a petty “flying off the handle” explosion of unstable men, it’s a holy rational hatred of the sin that is killing His image(s).

“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity” (Isaiah 61:8)

and conversely His bride must hate what separates Him from her:

“Let those who love the Lord, hate evil (Psalms 97:10)

What is most harrowing/heart-rending is that such holy hatred/anger/wrath was necessarily poured out on the perfect Son, Jesus, at the cross. The Son became “sin” for us, so that we could become sons and daughter like Him (2 Cor 5:21) Jesus took the proverbial bullet of wrath on our behalf, absorbed it fully, and even rose to show it would never…ever…touch us in this life or the next.

So God’s love and wrath doesn’t have to be torn asunder by our uneasy conjectures (1 John 4:10). And charges of cosmic child abuse do not have to be leveled against a heavenly Father who is wholly unique in His holiness.

The bare minimum fundamentals of the cross are too great a mystery to explain: In wrath, it pleased the Father to crush Christ for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:10), so that His love could be displayed in healing us of all guilt and sin(Isaiah 53:6) I’m sure I haven’t grasped a kindergarten level understanding of such grace.

Maybe that’s what old Johnny Edwards was getting at after all.

Bryan Daniels

George Washington Prophetically Speaks On Party Politics

Ol’ George predicted this current American mess a long time ago with harrowing prophetic insight. He saw the creeping danger of partisan parties (before they were even a factor in American politics) in the early constitutional republic he helped found. On his way out of office (1796) Washington warns us today:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

…Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

Farewell Address, George Washington


Why I Love Being An Educator (Satanic Bibles Excluded)

The Kids

This particular reason could equally be the leading point in a corresponding blog post titled “Why I Hate Being An Educator.” But seriously, my job is ALWAYS interesting and it ALWAYS keeps me on my toes; and ninth graders are the main reason for that. You never know what off the wall question, what bipolar mood, what hilarious comment, or what surprising encouragement you may get from day-to-day. I could be stuck in a sterile office environment and chained to a screen and desk.

But I am entrusted with real humans with real issues and real potential that I may play a part in tapping. There is high risk/reward in such an endeavor, especially when factoring in raging hormonal activity.

But maybe their relatively short experience in my class will help them garner a life skill, a moral lesson, a thirst for learning, or just an appreciation for a person that cared about their future. That’s a gamble worth taking.

The Schedule

I coach football and track, so I don’t have as much free time as others, but as an educator family time is easily planned and executed around holidays and summer time. When my oldest son, Josiah, starts kindergarten  next year I will be even more thankful for our corresponding schedules. Being an educator really is a family friendly occupation and I venture to guess that is one reason many of my coworkers are young mothers.

Also, do you remember that feeling you had as a kid anticipating Christmas morning? Teachers, in part, still get to have that.

I get to celebrate and revel in the arrival of Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring/Summer break as much, probably more than, my students. I’ve even been known to blare Rebecca Black’s “Friday” given the weekend occasion, and at the end of last year I can neither confirm nor deny my class may have heard Will Smith’s “Summertime” on the last day of school.

Being an educator keeps me family focused and keeps me young.

The Ministry

As a public school educator, there are some legal constraints as to what I can say in my daily dialogue with students. But being in the mission field of a public high school the past 4 years has kept me cognizant of how lost and hurting and broken this youth generation is. When I was involved extensively in church youth ministry I always felt there was a religious facade that had to be penetrated before real ministry began with a young person. Spiritual games can be easily played at a church.

That facade doesn’t exist in the context of a high school hallway.

Not in the emo kid (with an absentee father) who brings his Satanic Bible to class instead of his Algebra book.

Not in the ninth grade athlete with a violent short fuse because his mom tragically died last year.

Not in the pregnant fifteen year old whose baby’s daddy is in jail for grand theft auto.

These are real kids with real issues. Sure, they can be hyper-emotional, rude, angry, lazy, disrespectful, and scallywags in general. By nature we all can be. But many of those attributes were learned in their early nurturing. And all of them need the same basic virtue applied to them that has been generously bestowed on me by One greater: Grace.

When I can’t give that overtly in words, hopefully they experience it in the way I treat them.

There are certainly more reasons than these, but these three are enough for me to be thankful for my calling/occupation.

Do you love what you do? Why?

Bryan Daniels

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