But, yes, I am getting older, and with that age has come a realization of things I took for granted when I was in high school.
As an adult, and even more as a parent of a little boy who is just over a year old, I have come to appreciate all that my parents went through. So, as we sit in between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, here’s a list of a few things you may not recognize that your parents have done for you:
When I was in high school, during those ancient years in the 90′s when we had an alarm clock that was separate from our phones, I hated waking up early. Okay. Maybe hated isn’t the right word. Let’s go with loathed. No. Despised. Yeah. That’s it. Look. Let’s just say I would have rather drunk a broccoli milkshake topped with sour cream for breakfast every morning than yank myself out of bed when my alarm clock went off. Unfortunately there’s this little thing known as Read more [...]
It was annoying. It was irritating. It was frustrating.
These are not major things. They are tiny, annoying things that piled up one after another. There are greater tragedies in the world, for sure, but that doesn’t mean that I still didn’t feel like throwing my hands up and wallowing in my own misery.
Well, a lot has happened in those 15 years, and as I prepare to turn the ripe old age of 33 (my Jesus year), I’ve been reflecting on a lot of hard lessons I’ve learned along the way. If only there had been older adults giving me advice during my high school years, perhaps I could have been saved from a lot of heartache and bad decisions.
But, since I didn’t listen to my parents, I made a New Year’s Resolution to develop a time machine, crank it up to 88 mph, and have a little chat with myself.
If this were actually possible, here are 22 things I would tell the high school me:
If you’re anything like me, you’ve become pretty disenchanted with many so-called “heroes” and “leaders” in our world. The cheating, lies, deceit, and more have invaded my television to the point where I barely turn it on any more.
A few years ago, it was the scandal of Tiger Woods.
Just this past week, we’ve been bombarded with the confession of Lance Armstrong taking Performance Enhancing Drugs and whatever the heck is going on with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
Read that verse again. It doesn’t say lay down part of our lives. It says lay down our lives, and that means everything, including our money. For us this hasn’t been easy. As we currently seek to purchase our first home, it would be nice to have that extra money to put toward our down payment. But God doesn’t promise this life to be easy. He asks us to trust, and that’s what we do.
I recently wrote a blog called “10 Fun Things to Do with Your Summer Break”. If you didn’t read it, shame on you. Some friend you are. Just kidding. If you did, I’ve got a little bonus for you. Here are 10 more fun things you can do if you’re afraid of getting bored during the dog days of summer.
One of my favorite things about high school was the last week of school. Sure there were finals, but I knew the school year was about to end, and it was almost time for summer break. Ah… summer break. Oh how I would look forward to it. Oh how I would long for it. Oh how I would plan out all the exciting things I was going to do, only to get trapped in a cycle of boredom within a week. You probably know the drill and have been there before. There’s nothing to do. It’s too hot, and theme parks are too expensive. So, what can you do? Well, if you’re not already going to Life Teen Summer Camp, here are 10 fun things you can do with your summer vacation.
Over the years, I had many teens try to “get me.” Alas, none of them were successful. Ever. Oh they tried. Believe me, they tried, but for some reason I was always able to sniff out their scheming ways (probably because of my high level of paranoia). Anyway, they couldn’t pull it off, but if they did, here are a few fun (and harmless) pranks they could have tried that would have left me with a good chuckle.
Life is hard. We will feel pain, but the pain we face as we struggle along in our journey will one day make sense as we reach our “finish line” and experience perfect joy for all eternity in heaven. It is here where we will be welcomed for who we are, congratulated on the “race” we ran, and showered with an eternal feast the likes of which we could never have imagined. You see, no matter what we may face in this life, it’s worth it because of what lies ahead in the next.
Although there may be times when we face loneliness, whether by choice or by circumstance, as Catholics we’re not asked to walk every aspect of our faith journey alone. This can be difficult for those of us who don’t have support at home or for someone like me who likes to do a lot of things by himself. I’ve discovered though, that as I strive for heaven everyday I need as much help as I can get. It’s your community that cheers you on in this life, encouraging you with their words and actions in the good times and the bad (Proverbs 12:25).
7th grade rolled around, and it was time to tryout for the school team. I made it past the cut and the second cut. There were 18 of us left to fill 16 spots, and well . . . I was one of the last two cut. It was heartbreaking, but I dusted off my wounds and worked harder. I tried out for the 8th grade team the following year, and guess what? I got cut again . . . one of the last ones. The hard work continued, and I gave it a couple more shots early in my high school career, and, each time . . . cut . . . at the end.
The pain was too much, and I couldn’t bear the thought of another year of hard work only to be rejected again. So, when it came time to try out for the Varsity Team my senior year, I gave up. I quit.
I remember one of my first retreats in high school. I came home Sunday night on fire and ready to be a new person. It was time to change. I was going to go to Confession every week, get to mass everyday, pray the rosary every night, and read my Bible every morning. I was going to be holy. No more making fun of people, bad language, or laziness. I knew I could do it. I was inspired.
And that lasted until Tuesday. Yep. Tuesday. I had so much to learn.
No matter what, I stuck to this plan. When it got colder outside, I kept training. When this cold air, combined with the dryness of the desert caused me to gag on some of my morning runs, I kept training. When I was chased by a dog and was almost hit by several cars, I kept training. When I had to travel on 7 different weekends during those 18 weeks, I adjusted to make sure I didn’t miss a run.
Why? Because I had a goal and nothing was going to stop me from achieving it.
We all have goals in life, things we want to achieve with the gifts we’ve been given. But having a goal is simply not enough. We need to have a plan to get there.
One of my favorite things about being a man is that we know everything. Or . . . no . . . wait a minute. We think we know everything. There, that sounds more like it.
But seriously, in high school I thought I had it all figured out. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was because I got my driver’s license and drove a really cool beige minivan, or maybe it had to do with my ability to make sweet graphs on my TI-83 calculator. Perhaps my ever-increasing bench press played a role. (Ok, that last one may be a bit of a stretch.)
But yet, for some reason, I thought I knew it all. If you had a question, I had an answer. If you couldn’t figure something out, I could. And, armed with this array of knowledge, I was gonna teach the world a thing or two. That is until I started getting older and realized something: I didn’t know as much as I thought.
I want to begin by letting you know that I don’t know much about you. I don’t listen to your music. I don’t know your background, and I even had to look up how to spell your name. I think you performed at the Super Bowl this year, but last night, watching the Grammy’s, was probably my first real introduction to you. And if it’s important to make a good first impression, with me, you failed.
To say that I was offended by your performance is an understatement, and I really don’t want to go back and re-live it again, so I’m not going to get into any specifics. What I do want you to know is something all of us Catholics believe.
And you know what was most amazing? On Sunday morning, January 15, 2012, when I got to the start line, do you know what I saw? Several thousand other people just like me. People of all ages, sizes, and body types were out there to see if they had what it takes. And, after a grueling 5 hours, 6 minutes, and 44 seconds, I crossed the finish line. I had what it took, and you do too.
I’m not saying that running a marathon is for everyone, but we all have “marathons” in our lives, and it’s time we put fear and excuses aside.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (Or so I’ve heard about 1000 times a day on my radio.) But seriously, who doesn’t love this time of year? Advent calendars are up, Christmas decorations are all over and the first semester of school is winding down. While that means finals are coming up, it also means that Christmas Break is right around the corner. Whether you’re going on vacation or staying home this Christmas, grab a delicious cup of eggnog and read on as I break down my top 5 favorite Christmas break activities.