It was 25 Years Ago Today that I brought the news of the Challenger explosion to my own school. I remember it VERY well. I stayed home to watch the launch, being a big fan of the space program, and having met the astronauts of the first launch (Columbia) personally, due to some connections at Rockwell International via my church.
A Sight I Will Never Forget
I saw it happened and was stunned and shocked, of course. (I was in 9th grade) When I got to school and checked into the office they saw my crying and asked why, and when I said, “I’m just upset about the Challenger explosion” they were not aware of it. I was the one to bring the news to one of the largest high schools in LA. (Lakewood High School) Soon it was announced over the PA, classes were canceled and everyone was around TVs watching the news. Being the one who had delivered the bad news was a strange feeling, especially after having met some of the astronauts (Bob Crippen and Bill Young) and having sat in the cockpit of the Columbia at a tour of Rockwell International.
What are your memories of that day?
Remembering the Crew
President Reagan’s speech that night:
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But, we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths.
They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them…
There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve founded a new school with only one student and I’m calling it Dad School!
I’ve appreciated the feedback and advice I’ve gotten on facebook, comments and e-mail! Thanks! Day One is in the can and Luke seemed to really enjoy it a lot. The challenge was that I wanted to do an assessment on day one so I’d have both something to measure progress with – and even evaluate my own effectiveness, but how do you start out with “testing” and have your boy want to do Day Two?! LOL
I decided to take an interest of his, cars and parking lots (he absolutely LOVES parking lots, and has mommy make him a new one nearly every day!) and use it as a review tool to see which letters and numbers he can recognize. He loved it and didn’t even know it was a test!
By the time we got through all the letters and numbers 1-20 I had a record of which he knew and have my assignment of what will be focus on in the weeks ahead. Here is what the “test paper” looked like when we were done:
Shhhh, Luke doesn’t know it was a test!
I also made a kite sheet to work on scissors skills and had him try to cut it out since that was a skill the preschool said needed work and we dated it and I wrote “dad helped hold the paper, but Luke cut it out.” Every few days we will cut out the same kite and date them so he can see his progress. (Download the kite here)
We ended with reading “Go, Dog, Go!” which allowed us to end with laughter – but also with a promise, “Lukey, someday soon you will be able to read this book yourself!” He is so excited.
Let me just finish by saying – the point of Dad School is not to push my son to learn, it is first and foremost to build my relationship with my son around a purpose and goal of helping him learn. He will learn, and together we will celebrate his progress. But the learning is secondary. He would learn all these things eventually – without me. But by learning them with me, and from me – I am being his father. Dads need to engage with their kids while their children are young. Otherwise, dads will wonder why their kids don’t engage with them later when they are older. It’s all about investment.
Dad School isn’t about education – education is the benefit. The purpose is relationship.
Not to be confused with Home Schooling – though it is very similar, I have started something called “Dad School.” Now, all you home schoolers out there – don’t be offended that I’m not calling this home school, in fact, I’m seeking your advice! The only reason I’m making a distinction, is that home schooling is when you aren’t sending your kid to school. And my son does go to preschool and we will be sending him to full time school this fall. But in the meantime – I want to start pouring into him as his dad, while he is still in the home while he is young. There is so much I can teach him, and relationally the benefits will be huge!
I already do an evening “Family Pit Stop” for spiritual formation, but I’d like to invest just one hour a day in teaching my son other skills that he needs as a young boy, especially areas he is struggling with in school. We had our “parent-teacher” conference last week and learned where he is struggling, and what is a parent to do, say “O.K., that’s interesting?” Not me. I prayed about it and decided, just as it isn’t the church’s primary job to teach my boy about the Bible, it isn’t the school’s job to teach him his life skills either. If he is struggling – it is MY responsibility to step in and help. I took Luke for a walk that evening and we talked about school and where he needs help learning (turns out he is a lot like his daddy!) and we came up with the idea of “Dad School.” Of course, Luke loves the idea of a full hour with dad, but he also agreed that he would work hard – and I promised some rewards. We plan to surprise the teachers when the next test day comes around and they are surprised how well he does! He can’t wait to answer the question, “How did you learn all this?” and say, “In Dad School!”
So today was spent setting up Luke’s “classroom.” We got a really nice desk on clearance a few weeks ago at Pottery Barn kids (a floor display with a few bumps and bruises) and I took Luke to the “School Store” today, Lakeshore Learning Center. He is so excited! And I set him up on an old iMac we no longer use and he played his first learning computer game with Thomas the Train:
I’ve been a teacher in church for nearly twenty years, and I consider myself a pretty good parent – but I admit this is all new to me! I’ve got a bunch of supplies and a son whom I’ve earned respect and obedience from so I’m confident I can get him to focus for the hour (with a little wiggle room) but I’d love any advice on home schooling from you “pros” out there.
I have some specific goals for the next few months – many are obvious, the alphabet, upper and lower, numbers 1-20, learning small words, penmanship, etc. but then I want to get into some Christian history and biography and other areas that I know schools never touch. I remember the things my dad taught me informally (never calling it “Dad School,” though it was!) and I remember being at school and being surprised by the things my peers didn’t know that my dad had taught me. Its a heritage I want to intentionally pass on to my son now that I’m the dad.
So, all you home schoolers out there – I have the eager student, I have the “classroom,” I have the supplies, and I’m teachable!
Let me know your thoughts!
Update: O.K., I’ve had a few questions/requests if I had a “plan” and/or an actual lesson plan, which I do. Here is a copy of my first week’s lesson plan/overview. There is more behind it than I’m going to bother explaining here, but it’s just the skeleton to keep me on task and there is a rhyme and reason behind it – and more than meets the eye – but I do have a plan and a strategy. But it will give you an idea of where I’m headed at least initially.
Object Lessons on Steroids! That’s how I described Kidz Blitz when I first saw it at my church back in 1999 at the very first Kid U conference! Children’s Pastors have been using object lessons for as long as… well, since Jesus used them! But it was Roger Fields who decided to take them and blow them up ten times bigger. (Sometimes literally!)
Roger Fields, the creator of Kidz Blitz, is a pioneer of Children’s Ministry. In fact – he was one of the first workshoop presenters I heard at my first CPC waaaay back in 1995 at my first CPC. I loved this guy’s passion and unique approach to ministry and knew right away he was a guy to watch, learn from, and one who would always approach ministry differently than everyone else. He isn’t afraid to try new things – whatever it takes to reach kids. (He was the one who brought leaders the Children’s Ministry Conference Cruise in 2001-2002 and is the creator of CMX!)
Famous for his “T.P. Blower” – Roger is a guy who knows how to “BRING THE FUN” to a kids outreach event!
Here is me “BRINGING THE T.P.” to Roger at CPC:
Kidz Blitz has been a sponsor at more than one Kidology Conference and here is a glimpse into what happened to one of our attendees at the event, to give you a small taste of the fun we had:
If you are looking for the most OUTRAGEOUS and CRAZY and OFF THE WALL event that KIDS and FAMILIES will absolutely LOVE and be talking about for the rest of the year… then KIDZ BLITZ is the event you need to bring to your church!
But it’s not just the fun – it’s the Message too! Roger and his other regional reps use high energy and audience participation and large group repetition to teach kids simple but important Truths about God and the Gospel, so its fun, but with a purpose. It is the perfect outreach or community bridge building event. If you’ve done events that you were kinda embarrassed to invite your neighbors too – it’s time you brought Kidz Blitz to your church and packed out the place!
This is DA MAN who can BRING YOU THE FUN and ENERGIZE your next OUTREACH EVENT!
At CPC last week, I got to teach a workshop with Michael Chanley on technology – and it was a lot of fun! We bantered back and forth, live webcasted and confused half the room with everything we covered, but it was a blast!
I demonstrated remote accessing my Macs back home as well as all my backup drives from my iPhone and iPad among other cloud perks and tried to answer questions on a wide variety of technology issues. I went over why Cloud Technology is so important – why it enables you to have access to all your data from anywhere from any device and never lose your data again, as well as the difference between POP and IMAP e-mail so your e-mail is all synced across all your devices. Plus we did webcasting with live chatting right from my iPhone – and showed how to do that for free and embed it on your website with live chat, also for free. (See it on my blog and Kidologytogo.org as well.)
I’ve had a ton of requests for the workshop, so here’s what I’m gonna do.
At CPC you get to meet lots different kinds of people. My favorite is getting to finally meet ordinary people who use Kidology.org every week and are helped by our ministry and who I’ve perhaps e-mailed for years but finally get to put a name with an e-mail or who come up and introduce themselves and I find out they’ve been blessed by the ministry or somehow we’ve been able to “equip or encourage them” over the years. (Which is, by the way, our Mission!)
Some people like coming to CPC because you get to meet some pretty well known people too who have made an impact in children’s ministry. It’s true; you can, and in general, most are pretty approachable. I find most of those folks seems to handle their “status” with grace and humility, but just like high school, there are always a few who are surprisingly a bit snobby, which is disappointing, this is kidsministry, after all! I remember the first real “Big Name” kidmin person I met at one of my first CPC’s. My first time as a speaker I got to go the the speaker lounge (ooooo) and when I introduced myself to another fellow and said, “Hi, I’m Karl Bastian, who are you?” The answer I got was, “You don’t know who I am?” Well, I’ve never forgotten him since! I still have a hard time receiving his ministry – but I try to figure he was just having a bad prideful day, we all have those, right? Best to keep giant pictures of yourself off tall banners, it can have a bad effect on you! LOL.
But other times, and more often, luckily, folkds are pretty down to earth. And every so often you get to meet someone who has really touched your family’s life and they are completely unaware of it – and even when you thank them, they answer, “You must be confusing me with someone else, I’m not who you think I am.”
Oh, but she is.
I don’t have Karyn Henley on a pedestal at all. I’m sure she’s as human as the rest of us. Though, she’d probably never say, “You don’t know who I am?” Even though she has produced and written many wonderful products from the original Beginners Bible to the series of DVDs that I give a lot of the credit for my young son’s Godly character. I think she is one of those quiet gems that just is contributing to the Kingom without creating a lot of fanfare for herself. She and her husband Ralph have been faithfully ministering at CPC for as long as I have been coming to CPC, and that’s a very long time. They are what I call a rock solid ministry. They have blessed countless churches and families – but more specifically, I credit so much of my son’s character to the influence of Karyn. And she hasn’t even met him! But he has been singing her music for as long as he could sing and humming it since before then.
When so much preschool music is pointless rhyming drivel, we chose to fill our son’s mind with Karyn’s music and visual imagery starting at the youngest age. And while she may be quick to point out how “old” hervideos are, I’d just say, “so is the Bible” but they both still contain timeless and life-changing truths that can transform young lives.
I could not believe the difference her music made in our little boy as he would listen to her music and then we could see the impact it was making in shaping his character. So getting to meet her today, and just say, “Thank you” was such a treat.
Thank You, Karyn. From the Bastians. I’m sure I represent many other families as well.
Despite the popularity of my ToyBox Tales, I don’t consider “voice impersonations” a talent of mine. I believe the secret of ToyBox Tales is simply the humor and (more importantly) a grown up entering the world of children and playing to teach the Bible – BUT, having said that – Micky Mouse is one voice I have down pat, so much so, when I do it at Disneyland, I get heads to turn and have people thinking the REAL mouse is coming around the corner! Granted, I usually only do this for my son, and when I do this at home, I add the word “Pal” to the end of every sentence. (Quite to the annoyance of my wife!)
Well, Pal, I’m off to CPC 2011 in the morning, and it’s at Walt Disney World, PAL! – and it’s my zillionth CPC, Pal! (I’ve lost track – I haven’t missed a single one since 1995.) If you will be there, Pal – it’s a special year because KIDOLOGY IS EXHIBITING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER FIVE YEARS! So look for us next to DiscipleLand, Pal.
Also, here are my workshops, all on Thursday:
8am – Technology - An Easier Way (Taught with Michael Chanley) We will be explaining some very interesting stuff on using Cloud Technology and how it can make you a better more efficient leader, Pal.
9:15 – Twitter My Facebook - All About Twitter and Facebook. What they are, if you should be on them, the difference between the two, and applications for ministry, Pal.
1:30 – Put the Pastor Back Into Your Job Description. Administration driving you nuts and pushing you away from the kids? (Which is why you got into this in the first place?) Come, I’ll show you how to rescue yourself. Many have thanked me in tears for this class, yeah, Pal.
THEN – THE KIDOLOGY GATHERING! Friday Night, Pal! After the Exhibit Hall Closes, from 9:30 to 11:30p.m. Location RIX LOUNGE, across from Pepper Grill.
Going to San Diego? Don’t miss my PRE-CON PAL! (and no, you don’t have to go to CPC to attend the pre-con.)
Oh, and we are giving away OVER $1000 in FREE KIDMIN RESOURCES TO ONE PERSON PAL!!! So, be SURE to drop by our booth for your chance to win!!!
O.K., I gotta go to sleep and dream of Minnie, er, Disney World! …… Pal.
I consider myself the most patriot person I know. I love this country passionately. Today my emotions are a mixture of deep sadness and anger – I don’t even know where to put them. Sadness for the families impacted today. My heart and prayers go out to everyone who is personally touched by the tragic events that unfolded in Arizona – I am simply stunned.
And anger at the way so many are politicizing this event. While politically I may have disagreed with Rep. Gifford on some issues, I had never heard her name before today, and I applaud her for being a politician who was holding a “Congress on the Corner” event. Being one who was desiring to listen to the people. I hope this doesn’t discourage our public officials from being accessible. Regardless of where anyone is on the political spectrum, what makes America Great is that we fight our political battles at the polls and not with guns. Whether it be the dramatic shift of 2008 that brought us Obama and his gang and the swing to the Left or the big swing back that just occurred with past November to the Right. Either way – we’ll swing back and forth again as we are a diverse nation and hopefully get some things done in the meantime.
What makes me angry is the people who politicize this horrible tragedy even before the blood of the victims has even dried and we even know the motives of this shooter. Too many are quick to be blaming Sarah Palin of all people instead of the young man with the gun when there were uses of the words “target” and “cross-hairs” and “reload” on both sides of the political spectrum during the election. (Already clearly documented today before websites were purged, which I researched and saw myself.) In hindsight, of course, everyone regrets this, and I’m sure in light of this, such language will be avoided in the future for sure. I was disgusted and shocked to read the tweets and comments on facebook and blogs!
In our shock and agony, why people jump to try and exploit this for political gain is both sad and sickening. Instead, we ought to be simply praying for the families involved and seeking justice against those who perpetrated it not attacking those who had nothing to do with it and are equally outraged by it. I’m sure many of those making such outrageous claims, had a Republican been shot, they would not be making the same claims about their own leaders being at fault. This blame game in America needs to stop.
It starts with us no longer blaming others for our own mistakes and failures. This disease of pointing the figure away from the one who did it to anyone else other than the one who did it has escalated to a national level and was on full display today in our nation.
Let’s make sure its not on display in our own life and homes too. It’s contagious.
I am excited to announce that I have launched a new ministry called BeTheDadToday.com – it is a new website for Dads, brought to you by a dad. Not a perfect dad, but an intentional dad who has been encouraged by many via facebook, his blog, twitter and in person to start a ministry to Dads – encouraging, coaching and providing insights on how to be – not a better dad (you are probably a great dad already!) but a more intentional dad.
There is plenty of great “parenting help” available – that’s NOT what this website is about. You may get some parenting help and guidance via BeTheDadToday, but that isn’t it’s primary goal. That may be a benefit of it – and if so, this author is grateful! But the goal of this website, the Twitter account and Facebook page will be to give Insights and Reminders on how to MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT.
Sometimes what dads need is not so much “Advice” as just REMINDERS. Nudges to do what they already know they should be doing.
Creating this site will do that very thing for me. I waited fifteen years to be a father, and the lessons I’ve learned I’ll share; and the wisdom I have, I learned from being the son of a very real and transparent father who was always very open about being a work in progress, as I am myself today.
So if you need nudges, want to make every day count, and are open to helpful suggestions on how you can too before your days as dad with kids in the house are over, then:
As we started our Family Pit Stop yesterday I asked Luke if he would review for me our Bible Trading Cards. Sara grabbed my iPhone and Luke surprised us by going through all the cards with very little help. This wasn’t staged or planned. And while the video is a little longer than I normally would post – I post it first and foremost for family to enjoy and secondly as an encouragement to dads to show them just how effective just a few minutes a day is of being intentional with your kids in opening up the Bible (or Bible trading cards as the case may be) and teaching your kids the Word. It’s not the church’s job, it’s your job to teach your kids the Bible. (Deut. 6)
Hear me dads: When we are doing our Pit Stop (as we call our family devotional time) Luke is often fiddling, fussing, fidgeting, etc. and I half wonder if he is “getting it” – but this video demonstrates that he is hearing it and learning, and there is lots he knows that comes up other times that isn’t reflected here in the video.
It was especially touching when we got to the Cross and Luke said, “I don’t want to learn about that, it’s sad” but then kept going back to that card with several questions.”
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey