Wednesday, September 15, 2021

They Call Me Coach

 They Call Me Coach



One of my favorite stories! This is from October 1, 2017!
Again this year, I'm eating lunch with our kindergarten through third graders. We have three lunch periods at WCS; lower school, middle school, and high school. I have a class during the middle school time so that's out. I could eat in the high school slot but it's crowded. Instead, as I have done the past four years, I dine with our little ones. There is no line and if I eat in fifteen minutes, I theoretically gain almost the equivalent of an extra half planning period. Daily, I'm the recipient of hugs and high fives and requests for help dipping out bowls of soup. Sometimes, I'm also the recipient of amazing comments. Last Thursday, I was at the salad bar and as a good employee, I was properly outfitted in acceptable attire. A child came up to me and with the innocence and self assurance of a five-six year old, asked,
"Why does it say STEVE on your name tag?"
"Well, my name is STEVE."
"No, your name is COACH!"
That's an argument I was never going to win so I returned to my table, with a smile on my face. Little kids keep you young.


It came up during a quiz this week that one of the apostles had a number of names; Peter, Simon Peter, Simon, Cephas. But, he still was just one guy! I tell my students that the proper way to address the Commander In Chief is Mr. President but that his kids call him Daddy. (I'll update when we finally have a woman in the Oval Office!) To our WCS student body, I am Coach. The funny thing is that after doing a quick mental count, only twenty of the approximately five hundred boys and girls enrolled at at Westbury Christian have actually played for me. That's right at about 4%. To the best of my knowledge, nobody calls me Mister. When I first started coaching I wanted the kids to call me Mr. Hawley as I thought Coach might diminish my classroom role but it was a losing battle..... and I was wrong. I like it and it doesn't imply any sort of kinship except, I hope, one of respect. 

I once heard in a sermon that when Peter said, ''No, Lord...", it was a contradictory statement. If Jesus is your Lord, you cannot say no to Him. The Master taught as much when in Luke 6:46, He stated,
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
While you can call me Coach and me not actually be your coach, we cannot truthfully call the Savior Lord if we are not obedient. We can wear crosses around our necks and WWJD? bracelets on our wrists but to make it a legitimate relationship, I must do what He says. Legendary UCLA basketball guru John Wooden wrote a terrific autobiography entitled, They Call Me Coach. I never met him but I knew coaches who knew him. That doesn't make him my coach although I wish I had been good enough to play for him! Calling me Coach is honorary. Calling Jesus Lord is obligatory. There's a huge difference that no five year old can comprehend yet. Someday, I pray they will.


Applicable quote of the day:
"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
Coach John Wooden

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Perfect World

 Perfect World



Often, I have my students write in-class essays with no warning and with the caveat that some will be used, with permission, in my nightly blog. Several years ago, I asked all five of my classes to describe in paragraph form a perfect world. I set it up referencing the fall from Eden. Based on what they know, they think life would be difficult at best without cell phones, the Internet, the Mall, WHATABURGER, and football. Their thoughts are interesting to say the least. Again, these are all used by permission and tonight's writings are all from juniors at that time. (Girls are in pink, boys are in blue.)

To me, a perfect world would not be one where no one would have to struggle. I believe that struggling with mistakes is good because when we make mistakes, we learn from them. In a perfect world, people would acknowledge when they have failed, but instead of admitting defeat, they try again, learn from it, and therefore mature. A perfect world would not be one where everyone is good at everything, but one where people are encouraged to express their natural talents. If everyone were good at everything, all individuality would be taken from us. If everything were handed to us, we would become a lazy society, but if we had to struggle to learn something and be good at it, we achieve growth. A perfect world would be one which negative emotions wouldn’t exist. Instead of being stuck with feelings of anger, envy, and sadness, we would be able to help each other and move on. Instead of focusing on the worst situation and assuming the worst case scenario, we would focus on the positive aspects of everything.
Lanz


It is common that most people on this earth envision a perfect world or a utopia, where everyone is equal and no one is superior to anyone else based on their societal status. In a perfect world, there would be one language that all the people of God would speak and understand. There would be no death, sickness, violence, or harm in general. Everyone would spread love, joy, kindness, and happiness. No source of law enforcement would be necessary because no crime would be committed. There would be space/room for everyone and no one would be homeless. There would be no need for rules or uniforms or even school because we would all have the same amount of God-given knowledge. There are so many other things that a perfect world would contain, however, we can comprehend or fully understand because we are only familiar with the world of sin and darkness we live in today.
Sydney


In a perfect world there would be no religion, ethnicity, or any other differences in people. Really in a perfect world these would be no humans. Almost all conflict has been because of humanity. The world would have only plants, soil, clouds, the sun, and water.  There would be no death, sadness, angers, jealousy, or any other conflicting emotions. Without humanity the world can function perfectly as nature pleases. There would be no deforestation, over-use of land, or any other human caused damage done to the earth. With no damage done other than nature balancing natural disasters the earth would never end- all of the negativity of the world would leave.
Cam
In a perfect world, we would not have to worry abut watching how we live because everything would already be correct. We would be able to go out at night without worrying about safety because crime would be no more and no one would try to do us harm. Harmful thoughts would cease to exist and only peace and love would be in the earth.In a perfect world, human need would cease and our human species would learn to love everyone at an equal level. There would be nothing that defines and separates social classes and status. Gaby In a perfect world, there would be no temptation because temptation caused sin to enter the world in the first place. Adam and Eve sinned when tempted by the serpent and when they sinned against God, all the bad things came into the world. So, without temptation, there would be no fear, pain, or sickness. Everything bad would not exist so that would be a perfect world! Morgan God bless, Steve Luke 18:1

Monday, September 13, 2021

Out Of Nowhere

 Out Of Nowhere

We talk in my classes how our culture of total access to social media and mass communication makes it relatively easy for people to become famous overnight...and the results are not always pretty. This is from June 7, 2009.

Has anyone risen from obscurity to fame more quickly than Susan Boyle? I can't tell you how many people forwarded clips of her singing performance on Britain's Got Talent, the English equivalent of American Idol, to me. Yesterday, on the McLaughlin Report, it was stated that YouTube hits on her appearances were in the 100 million range! She finished second in the competition but the story continues. The day after the winning act was announced, Susan was hospitalized for extreme exhaustion. A producer spoke to her in the hospital and reported Susan alternated tears with anger. The sentiment of those close to the situation is she simply was not prepared for the instantaneous fame and media scrutiny as her incredible tale unfolded. Forty eight and considered plain, Susan spent her life in a small town, unnoticed. In a heartbeat, her name and face became recognizable worldwide in the age of the Internet. Opinions differ on her chances of a career in the spotlight but many feel a connection with a voice whose appearance doesn't match the stereotypes which insure commercial success. I hope she makes it.

Sometimes, I ask my students if they'd like to be famous- most say yes. I point out the difficulties of being Michael Jordan or Beyonce'... and they became famous gradually. In our culture, there is no privacy for the famous. Yesterday, in the line at WAL-MART, I saw five tabloids with the Jon And Kate Plus 8 parents splashed across the cover. Apparently, one or both are suspected of affairs. For the uninformed- which would include me- Jon and Kate Gosselin are the parents of young twins and sextuplets and whose lives are documented in a hugely successful reality show. They must be well compensated to exchange their privacy, and their kids', for the chance to be in the public eye. Their eight children, in my opinion, have very little chance to lead a normal life, especially in the near future. So goes life in a fishbowl.

How would we respond if fame were thrust upon us? As I read Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur's in depth look at the apostles, I wonder if they got caught up in their own importance. In their previous lives, they might have been considered nobodies, at least in religious circles. Plucked, for the most part, from Galilee, they emerged on the public stage as the Lord chose them for His inner circle. As His following increased, it could have been natural for His men to feel superior to the crowds. Maybe that was the background to their banning the children brought to Jesus for blessings. The Twelve had a running argument to assess who was number one. MacArthur calls the apostles, "self-absorbed, self-centered, self-promoting, and proud." There is no evidence that they were of this disposition in their pre-apostle days: it could have been the attention from being with Jesus that made it blossom. MacArthur contends Jesus picked them anyway because, as Paul quotes the Lord in 2 Corinthians 12:9, ''My power is made perfect in weakness." They would stumble and desert Jesus temporarily but look what they did in the years after the Ascension- they took the gospel to the entire known world. Do you know what the first song I teach students when they enter my classroom? The Twelve Apostles. (You know- 'Jesus called them one-by-one. Peter, Andrew, James, and John. etc.') I don't think my rendition would win Britain's Got Talent but that's OK- I don't know if I could handle the attention!

Applicable quote of the day:
"
 I don't think I realized that the cost of fame is that it's open season on every moment of your life.”
Julia Roberts


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Brooklynn

 Brooklynn


My 20th WCS homecoming is approaching and some things you just take for granted. The following is from October 31 of 2005. The lovely Brooklynn is now a more grown up and even more lovely sixteen year old.

Her name is a Brooklynn and she is a four year old drama queen. Brooklynn will break hearts someday. Her mother, one of our Biology teachers at Westbury Christian School, is counting the days until her daughter graduates into the teenage ranks. Everybody loves Brooklynn, from her kindergarten classmates to the seniors just a year from college. She defines adorable. Brooklynn is good at toying with my affection. We have played on ongoing charade since she enrolled in WCS a year ago. I like hugs and she is a master at doling them out with extreme stinginess. Each morning when we pass before school, I ask, "Do I get a hug?" Her most frequent response is, "It's not Hug Day!" I press her. "When- tomorrow?" She almost always says "Sunday!" I remind her we go to different congregations and we don't see each other on Sundays but she won't budge. Sometimes, I try to trip her up by reciting the days of the week. "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Hugday." She's too smart for me; hasn't fallen for that one yet. If they had Jeopardy for four year olds, Brooklynn would make a killing. She is one bright little girl. But, every so often, on the rarest of days, she gives me the sweetest hug a child ever gave a grownup, making the game worthwhile. If I ever had a little girl, I would hope the Lord would bless me by using Brooklynn as a model.

Last week, we had Homecoming at WCS. Part of the tradition is that the seniors roll the school with toilet paper the night before the Homecoming game. This senior class has it down to a science. As the parking lot began filling at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, our school family witnessed an education complex as white as a Colorado mountainside after a January blizzard. It was a vision in three-ply Charmin. The toilet paper was everywhere- it was the best rolling job I've ever seen. We all knew it would happen but I was impressed with the extent of the coverage. The underclassmen laughed, the teachers remembered their high school pranks, and the seniors basked in their glory before cleaning up the mess. It's harmless- there's no damage and save for a few strands lingering in the trees, no real evidence left at the crime scene. No one takes it seriously. That is, no one except Brooklynn.

I saw her that morning when she came into school with her mother, her face registering distress. She asked me with the anguish of a little child, "What did they do to my school?" She was agitated. I passed her later in the morning as her class went for water at the hall fountain. Word for word, she repeated herself. "What did they do to my school?" Notice she didn't say THE school or OUR school. She used the first person possessive. We all understood the toilet paper escapade for what it was but Brooklynn perceived it as an unknown threat to her home away from home. She'll get over it; like I said, Brooklynn is gifted and well-adjusted with stability in her life. But if the stable ones can be shaken by something that minor, we have an obligation to be careful in the presence of all little ones. When I was two years older than Brooklynn, I asked my mother what happened to my grandmother who died while Mom was pregnant with me. "Your Aunt Jerry was at the house and she checked on Mother and then she went back in and your Grandmother was gone." Every adult understands what 'gone' means but it has totally different connotations to a six year old. For quite some time, I was terrified that people hang around outside your windows and snatch your body away as soon as you pass from this life. Eberhard Arnold noted that "Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder." He's right. They look with different eyes, think with different minds, hear with different ears, and thank God they have the innocence to believe in the goodness of adults. But they still scare easily. Our little ones at WCS shrink away from Clifford, the Big Red Dog on his visits to the elementary library. Some of our children run away at the sight of our mascot, a make-believe Wildcat with a student inside. Jesus loved and protected the youngest in society and had stern warnings for those who did not follow suit. There are a billion Brooklynns out there, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and languages. Do you recall the line from the old Bible school song: 'they are PRECIOUS in his sight?' That means they should be precious in our sight as well. Be an advocate for the kids, not just socially but spiritually. Watch what we say and watch what we do. In a world where chaos is running rampant, stand up for a child. Our efforts can bless generations. And remember, my favorite holiday may be just around the corner-
HUGDAY!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives."
Maya Angelou (from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)

God bless,


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Karmann-Ghia

 The Karmann-Ghia


My favorite car the Hawleys ever owned was in the Volkswagen family and it's the only car I ever wrecked. This is from November 24, 2005.

This is an anniversary of sorts for me, although not a romantic one. On the day before Thanksgiving my junior year in high school, I wrecked our Karmann-Ghia. I only remember driving to school three or four times during high school. The Hawleys had only two cars and both my parents worked. Most days, I walked to school, a little more than a mile from our house in York, Nebraska. The reason I took the car that morning is long forgotten but not the drive itself. It frosted the night before and I was in a hurry. Not taking the extra minute to completely clear the windshield, I peeked through the small hole where the ice glaze had melted. Running behind, I pulled into the parking lot and discovered it was full. My next option was parking on the other side of the building so I exited and started to cut through the adjacent neighborhood. It was a gorgeous day and the sun was out in full force. Unfortunately, the combination of sun and an icy windshield led to blinding glare. I never saw the Lincoln. I was making a right turn into the subdivision and he was turning left onto the street. He was in my lane but I ran into him. The man, prominent in our community, didn't want to call the police. He said, "I know your dad. Just have him see me and we'll get it straightened out." That sounded good. I thought he would offer to pay for both vehicles because he was wealthy. Dad went to see him and straightening it out meant he paid for his and we paid for ours. In a battle between a Lincoln Continental and a Karmann-Ghia, bet on the Lincoln. His damage consisted of a broken turn signal while the right front end of the Hawley's car was caved in. My father was upset at me. It wasn't the accident itself that disappointed him; it was the lack of judgement I showed in not insisting we call the police. The hardest part of the incident was this; the repairs to the Karmann-Ghia would come out of my pocket. I had hard-earned money in the bank from my job at the Jack and Jill grocery store. My account would be depleted rapidly.

That Karmann-Ghia was the favorite car that I've owned or shared with my family. Ours was tan, a mid-1960's model, that could comfortably only fit two. Karmann-Ghias were intended to be an upgrade from the original Beetle design. They were produced by Volkswagen in conjunction with the Karmann and Ghia coach companies, from Germany and Italy. Only about 440,000 came off the assembly line between 1955-1974. How we got one, I have no idea. It was the second car I learned to drive. Dad taught me on our station wagon with automatic transmission before he let me have a shot at the 4-speed VW. It wasn't pretty- our driving lessons were on a road outside of town that led to the Nebraska State Prison for Women. I'm sure the clutch took a beating before I got the hang of it. After awhile, I could change gears without thinking and the rides became smoother. For a teenage boy, driving a stick shift is so much more exciting than an automatic. To a small town kid, that Karmann-Ghia might as well have been a Porsche Roadster which means I might as well have been James Dean, with glasses, of course.

We romanticize images that remind us of our youth. I think that's what David did in 2nd Samuel 23 when he wished aloud that "someone would get me a drink from the well near the gate of Bethlehem." Israel's second king was battling the Philistines and maybe longing for his simpler days as a shepherd. Maybe that's why I have such fond memories of that Karmann-Ghia; it reminds me of the time when being Steve Hawley was less complex than it is today. Maybe David didn't think the water from his hometown well was so terrific as a boy but it improved in his mind with age. Maybe I'm the same in my memories with the car. My folks sold it after my high school graduation and I have not even ridden in one since. Recently, I made a list of fifty things I want to do before I die. At roughly # 25 is "Own a Karmann-Ghia." They are becoming rare- I have only seen one in the past eight years- and I would presume that would make them very expensive. Just driving one would probably give me enough contentment to mark it off my list. It's funny; when some of David's men brought him some of that well water, he refused to drink it because they obtained it at the risk of their lives. If you let me borrow your Karmann-Ghia, I promise I won't put your life in jeopardy. I learned my lesson the hard way.


Applicable quote of the day.
"Beep beep beep beep, yeah."
John Lennon-Paul McCartney (from Drive My Car)


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

Friday, September 10, 2021

Diverse Outlooks

 Diverse Outlooks


I don't read as much as I used to to my regret. This is from June 15, 2011.
I did something last week that I used to do much more of: I read books. Actually, I read two books and in an ironic twist, they could not have been more different. My landing on the social network led me to read The Accidental Billionaires, the story of the founding of Facebook. As a supplement to my devotional time, I've been reading The Practice Of The Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence. The Accidental Billionaires revolves around the Harvard students who devised, instituted, and developed the program that one might say has changed the fabric of human interaction in our society. Their story was one of greed, deception, lust, and ambition. (It should be noted that some of the key figures refused to speak to the author and some dialog is based on documents and speculation rather than word-for-word quotations.) On the other hand, Brother Lawrence, a European monk who lived more than three hundred years ago, renounced worldly wealth and lived his life in constant prayer to the Lord. His life revolved around serving God and nothing else. The contrast between the two books and the worldviews they spotlighted could not have been more stark.

It's easy to sit and judge people you've never met just by reading a book. The accuracy of the writing can be debated and the slanting of information to prove a point can shed light on the author's own outlook on life. I'd like to think I'm like Brother Lawrence, not necessarily on every theological tenet, but akin to him in his absolute focus on God. I'd like to but I can't honestly make that statement. The practicality of spending most of your time in a monastery would not work for me, anyway, but if you read my devotionals, you know I struggle with distraction issues. The depiction of the lives of the now famous (some more than others) Harvard undergraduates- greed, deception, lust, and ambition- can be chapters in my own biography and maybe yours as well. These are characteristics that dominate our media whether movies, tv series, or reality shows. Brother Lawrence seemingly was not affected by any of these. Fast forward to 2011: What if Brother Lawrence had a Facebook page? What would his activities and interests and relationships say about himself? Would he have alot of friends? Would he get poked and tagged and all these other things I haven't figured out? My guess is these things would not matter to him unless he perceived they brought him closer to the Lord. And I would also guess the writings of Brother Lawrence will remain with us when Facebook has run its course.

Applicable quote of the day:
"
To worship God in truth is to recognize Him for being who He is, and to recognize ourselves for what we are."
Brother Lawrence 


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Voice Of An Angel

Voice Of An Angel


There are little ones who leave an impression on you. Angelle was one of them. She moved to another school and left a big hole in our collective hearts. This is from February 22, 2007.

I saw her in the student pick-up area after school today, almost by mistake. When eighth period ended, Jackie left her camera on her desk and I went looking for her. That's when I ran into Angelle. The sister of Ruby, one of my middle school basketball players, Angelle is a first grader and absolutely fearless. She hugged me and we talked about her singing performance in last weekend's Westbury Christian talent show in which she took home first prize. (I am no judge of talent but I couldn't believe the stage presence of that little girl.) Angelle proceeded to inform me that Ruby, who was standing there, spends too much time on the phone when she should be studying. (I think the word she used was distracted.) The highlight of our conversation came as Miss Angelle asked me a very direct question; she wondered if I might want her autograph? Who wouldn't? I told her if she would just bless me with her signature, I would affix it to my classroom door. Without hesitating, Angelle cracked open her Hannah Montana DVD, pulled out a scrap of paper, and with a little assistance from Ruby, very carefully penned her someday-to-be-famous name. She apologized that her cursive wasn't very good. Ruby and I agreed it is superior to most of our eighth grade boys! You know where that piece of paper is already taped; it is currently displayed on the entrance to Room 258. I'm not sure how long I can hold out. E-Bay will be calling shortly!

How on earth does a six year old have the confidence of a seasoned celebrity? I teach high school students who struggle to look me in the eyes or ask for missing homework assignments. Angelle could give lessons. Maybe its partly inborn but I also believe the root of her self-esteem is that her family treats her in a manner that shows Angelle she is a wonderful child. She acts like she knows she is loved because she is. What a contrast to so many Christians who live their lives in fear and self-loathing when it comes to a relationship with the Father. Hebrews 4:16 speaks of the availability of God to his beloved children:

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Angelle is comfortable with me as well as other adults because even at six, she understands we have her welfare at heart. Shouldn't we be the same with our Lord who loves with us with all his unfathomable being? Angelle has it right; more of us need to get on her level. We have some growing down to do.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others."
Sonya Friedman


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1