It’s time for a Monday Night Facebook News Feed Update

This post might get into the weeds a little bit in regards to Facebook analytics. Bear with me.

Facebook like and dislike thumbs

So, Facebook has changed the rules. Again. This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. I talked about this a few years ago. They encouraged every small business, group, organization, personality, and blogger to set up a Facebook page and get as many people to “like” it as possible.

“It’ll be fun,” they said.

“You’ll build community around your brand,” they said.

“You’ll increase brand loyalty,” they said.

“Besides, it’s free,” they said. “What do you have to lose?”

I’ll be honest. The only reason I set up a Facebook page in the first place was because a client strongly suggested it. And so when I published this post, I also began my Page. It’s become a fun little community where I can ask questions, share what’s fun or important to me, and we can even have some pretty meaningful conversations.

And although the Life in the Fishbowl Facebook Page is one of my smallest social media platforms in terms of followers, it’s one of the most active profiles in my “arsenal.” And, amazingly enough, it provides the most traffic to my stories.

So I, like many other people, listened to the “free” bill of goods Facebook was selling and I worked on gathering those “Likes.” And then Facebook said that only 5-10% of a Facebook page’s audience was actually going to see your posts. That was a few years ago. And now, again, under the guise of trying to make people’s News Feeds show what they want to see,* Facebook is throttling Page visibility.

Again.

People say there are things you can do to ensure that items from this page are more likely to show up on your feed, like commenting and liking posts, but the reality is that Facebook really wants people to pay to “boost” their posts. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the cash to continually pay to promote this page.

As far as I know, Life in the Fishbowl isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Facebook Page isn’t, either. But there’s a pretty good chance this page could disappear from your newsfeed.

So, here’s what I’m going to try. I’m going to start posting a regular update on the blog, highlighting some of the posts that were shared on the Facebook Page. My plan is to do this every Monday. But don’t hold me to that. It might be every other Monday. Or it might even be a Thursday or Friday. I’m not sure yet, but I’m trying to think outside the box here, encouraging other ways to help keep this community together without relying solely on Facebook’s whimsical rule changes.

Of course, I’ll share this post on Facebook. But there’s no guarantee that you’ll see it. Because Algorithms. And Greed. And digital sharecropping. So, in order to help continue building this community, here’s what I’d love for you to do:

Subscribe to the Life in the Fishbowl Newsletter

In addition to this website itself, the newsletter’s subscriber list is the only other thing that I can completely control. And I send out a weekly newsletter, highlighting the recent posts from Life in the Fishbowl. Who knows? New features might be added to the newsletter in the future. That way, if Facebook decides to make my viewership a big fat ZERO, we can still keep the community going in spite of the efforts of Mark Zuckerberg and his money-grubbing minions. So do your part. Stick it to The Man. Subscribe to my newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you. Ever.

Now that this has been said and done, there’s no time to waste. I present to you today,

The Monday Night Facebook News Feed

 

 

*Why would you “Like” a page if you didn’t want to see their updates in your News Feed in the first place? But I digress.

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Nothing but love for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

I love the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I have for a long time.

Exterior of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis #TCMIndy

I’ve been a fan of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis since my first visit when I was a teenager. Growing up in Evansville before Interstate 69 meant that traveling to Indianapolis was a big deal. And so it wasn’t until I was a teenager that we visited the Children’s Museum. I think my first trip with with our Scout Troop. My family went back The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for my birthday that next year. We were already going to be in Indianapolis for the State Solo & Ensemble Festival. So I suggested we go to the Children’s Museum while we were in the area. Because I knew The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a pretty cool place. Even for a teenager.

I have a deep appreciation for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

When we lived in Indianapolis, we had a membership to the Museum. Christy took a very young Aiden and an even younger Alyson to the Museum as often as she could. They loved the old Playscape. It was a family favorite.

Since those days, we’ve loved all of the changes that have happened at the Museum. It has been fun watching it grow and change as my kids have grown and change. And Mihret, of course, is a big fan. I’m sure she always will be.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
I think this is from Mihret’s first visit to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Here’s a few more pictures from that visit.

I have nothing but love for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

It’s an amazing place where creativity, history, and problem solving come alive! I really do love everything about this fabulous museum that is right here in the middle of our state. Indianapolis is lucky to have such a top-notch children’s museum. I hope we as a community never take it for granted.

It’s because of this appreciation for the Children’s Museum that is so deep and so (practically) ancient that this announcement I made on my facebook page a few weeks ago is such a BIG HONKIN’ DEAL!


I am honored to be part of the 2018 Blog Ambassador team. Actually, I’ve looked at the list of other people who are on the team and I’m pretty humbled to be part of such an amazing group.

Check them out:

Seriously. Check out their stuff. It’s fabulous. And they’re going to do a great job sharing all of the amazing things in store at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. And trust me. There’s some exciting things coming up, including the opening of the museum’s biggest expansion to date. So buckle up, y’all. It’s gonna be a fun ride!

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I’m ready to see these movies in 2018. How about you?

As with almost all my posts, this post about movies I’d like to see in 2018 contains affiliate links. That means I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

Cinema marquee from 1977. Check out the movies that were showing.
By Michael Dorausch from Venice, USA (Cinema 1977) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Now that 2018 is in full swing, I’ve set my sights on a few films that are set to hit the big screen between now and May. I’m pretty excited about these. How about you? Which movies are you looking forward to in 2018?

These movies are coming soon to a theatre near you. And I can’t wait!

Black Panther

Coming to the big screen on February 16, you can go ahead and get your tickets now. And if you hurry, you can get a free exclusive poster when you purchase your tickets through Fandango by clicking this link (supplies are limited, of course). And Gamestop.com has some pretty cool Black Panther collectibles available. You should check check them out.

A Wrinkle in Time

I recently finished reading A Wrinkle in Time. I know, I know. The book’s only been around for more than 50 years. What took me so long? Anyway, the book’s pretty good. Should make for a good movie. It’s set to be released March 9. You’ve got time to read the book before watching the movie.

Ready Player One

The more I watch this trailer, the more excited I get about watching Ready Player One. I plan on reading the book first. I have a little time. It releases on March 30.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is due out on Star Wars Day, May 4. It promises a whole lot of heroes. I think I heard that one scene will include at least 40 different superheroes? That’s insane.

I just might have to wear this shirt to the premiere. Because baseball and the Avengers…why not?

St. Louis Cardinals Majestic Marvel Marks of Hero T-Shirt - Black

And….That’s all, folks!

Seriously. That’s all that’s on my list so far. I’ve only gone thru May because that’s about as far ahead as I can think at the moment. I realize this lists full of sci-fi/fantasy/superhero type of stories. But that’s been my favorite genre for as long as I can remember.

Oh…

You might think I’m missing a film featuring a certain flyboy who also happens to be a smuggler/hustler/scoundrel. I’m sorry to say, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this when it comes to the upcoming Han Solo standalone film that’s due on May 25 (the other Star Wars Day). It might wind up being the first Star Wars movie that I don’t watch at the movie theater.

There.

I said it.

I’m serious. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Opie Cunningham might convince me otherwise. But I’m not holding my breath at this point. Of course, I had similar thoughts about Rogue One. And that turned out pretty OK.

Which movies are you looking forward to in 2018?

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S#!+hole countries, Mr. President?

As with almost all my posts, this post about President Trump’s comments about Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador contains affiliate links. That means I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

 President Trump:

I read your statements about Haiti. And El Salvador. And Africa. I’m sickened. And appalled.

There’s a lot I want to say about what you’ve said about these countries. Many have already said it. And many of their statements are more eloquent than I could ever hope to be.

Instead, I’m going to share with you my experiences in Ethiopia. I’ve collected my posts that I wrote while reflecting on my trips to Ethiopia in 2015 and 2016. You might find it isn’t exactly what you said it is.  And the people in Ethiopia are some of the most beautiful, hospitable, and welcoming people I’ve encountered. They should be welcomed to our country with open arms, if you ask me.

Ethiopia…

That’s in Africa, in case you didn’t know.

Ethiopia is in Africa. Does that mean Trump thinks it's a s#!+hole country?

A is for Addis Ababa
Kiwi.com - Book Cheap Flights!

Continue reading S#!+hole countries, Mr. President?

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Some spoiler-filled talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This post about Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi contains SPOILERS and affiliate links. That means I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Episode VIII movie poster

Warning: The Spoilers are coming! The Spoilers are coming!

I think it’s time for me to share my thoughts about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Before I get into that, though, let me remind you of my Star Wars resume. I’ve been a loyal fan since 1980. The Empire Strikes Back is one of the earliest movies I remember watching in the cinema. I remained a fan when it appeared that no one else really cared about the saga anymore.

Immediately after its release, I read the Thrawn Trilogy several times. I was also a fan of the Han Solo Adventures, the Jedi Academy Trilogy, and the Tales of the Jedi Dark Horse comics. I was a Star Wars trivia fanatic – I even won our school-wide Star Wars trivia contest when I was in college. And I have to intentionally get questions wrong so I can get people to keep playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with me.

Needless to say, I’m a big fan. I have been for nearly four decades.

Not too long ago, they announced that the storyline that was created during the three-plus decades of novels and comic books were no longer “canon.” Shortly before that announcement, I had just finished reading the “Fate of the Jedi” series. In some ways, this announcement had come as a bit of a relief. Because while I appreciated a lot about the series – especially the new relationship between the New Republic and the Galactic Empire – I had finally come to a conclusion. It was a conclusion I had been wrestling with for some time and it had been rattling around in my heart and mind for a while. This isn’t my Star Wars anymore.

And it hasn’t been since shortly after the Thrawn Trilogy.


Star Wars

There were hints of greatness, like the Jacen and Jaina Solo dynamic. There’s parts of me that wishes these two were in the new Trilogy instead of Ben Skywalker (who was Luke and Mara’s son). Oh, and a married Jedi who didn’t have to hide it? That would’ve been cool. I really liked Mara Jade’s character.

But there were other things. The lost Sith ship. The Maw. Abeloth. The way they killed Chewbacca. Not a fan. It felt like they started to deviate a bit from the spirit of the Original Trilogy. In many ways, it felt like Star Wars had lost its way.

But it’s not my Star Wars anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time.

Spoilers ahead. Abandon all Spoiler-free hope, ye who continue.

Now that I’ve said all of this, I’m not so sure if I’m happy about what I’m going to say. I can understand the frustration of some of my Star Wars fan brothers and sisters. In many ways, it feels like the latest installment takes a sharp, unexpected 90º turn from the previous two trilogies. It was easy to find yourself disoriented. And disappointed. Believe me. I get it. It’s how I felt after The Phantom Menace. The film just didn’t live up to the hype.

And maybe that’s part of the problem. We build up these movies and expect the new offerings to capture the same magic of the Original Trilogy. That’s an impossible task.


There’s a reason A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are my favorites and will always be my favorites. It was new. It was exciting. And it was unlike anything I’d ever seen or experienced. Of course, the massive collection of Star Wars toys that my friend down the street and I had didn’t really hurt things, either. That was my Star Wars. It’s the saga I grew up on.

These other trilogies are fine. The Prequels are not my cup of tea, but I think I’ve softened on their value over time.* They mostly keep the spirit of the Original Trilogy, building on the grand story that George and Marcia Lucas were able to tell.** Continue reading Some spoiler-filled talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Happy New Year! Welcome, 2018!

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

2017 had its share of surprises. Sure, there were a few bumps along the road. And maybe there was a sinkhole or two along the way. But we did it. We made it through another circuit around the Sun. Congratulations! We did it! Happy New Year!

Here’s hoping for a great 2018, full of hope, love, and a few breathtaking surprises along the way. Sure, there will be some valleys. But it’s my hope and prayer that 2018 turns out to be the best year ever. Let’s work together to make that possible. After all, teamwork makes the dream work. That’s what they say, anyway. Right?

I found a quote a few years ago. I don’t know who originally said it, but I really like it.

“May your troubles be as short as your New Year’s resolutions.”

So many of us enter the New Year with big hairy goals that they want to accomplish: lose weight, get more organized, finish writing that book. Unfortunately, they find themselves making those same resolutions the following New Year’s Eve. Have you made resolutions for 2018? What are you going to do to make this year different? Today is a blank slate. The whole year is a blank slate. What are you going to add to your story in 2018?

What can we do to help you keep your 2018 resolutions?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Or you can share them on the Life in the Fishbowl facebook page. Let’s make 2018 a year unlike any other! We can only do that by working together, encouraging each other and even sharing each other’s burdens.

Community.

It’s what makes the human experience so amazing. It’s a core component of life. And, as the Todd family motto has reminded us throughout the decades:

“It behooves us to live!”

So happy new year! Let’s work together to make 2018 the best year ever!

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A mission for this weary man

O Holy Night
Free Stock Photo courtesy of picxclicx.com

I recently shared that I have a new appreciation for the carol, O Holy Night, and how it suddenly feels like it’s a song written for me and about me, even though it was composed more than 150 years ago. But that’s not the only thing that has stuck out in this song.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name
(emphasis mine)

Yeah, I’m weary. I’m worn out. And I wait in anticipation of the return of the One Who Makes All Things New. But in the meantime (which is a mean time, as Dr. Ramsaran used to continually remind our New Testament Survey class), I have a job to do. In fact, all of us who have put on Christ still have a job to do. As long as there is oppression, we have a job to do.

This isn’t a political movement. It’s not a Social Justice Warrior thing. It isn’t a protest statement or part of some “resist” movement, either. And I’m definitely not joining any fad or trend (I am a trendsetter, after all. Remember?). It’s much deeper than that.

It’s at the very core of the Church. It should be, anyway. After all, we claim to follow the One who was born to a couple from a backwoods town (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” they asked.) in an occupied land, ruled by an oppressive empire where Caesar was proclaimed to be Lord and Savior. The core of our faith is based upon the advent of a baby boy whose arrival was announced to a ragtag group of outcast shepherds and a group of foreigners. We claim to follow a man who, before he went to the cross, chose to spend his time with women, the sick, the prostitutes, the drunkards, the cheats, the liars, the possessed, the oppressed, the “outsiders” and the “unclean.” He made them free.

He makes us free today.

Am I following his example? Am I sharing His good news of peace and freedom? Have you read a headline recently? There is much oppression in this darkened world.

What am I doing about it?

Yeah, I’m weary. But I cannot stop. There’s no time. It sounds like I have a lot of work to do yet. How about you?

Let’s choose to live by the law of love, spreading the gospel of peace. And maybe we can change the world together.

 

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The thrill of hope for this weary man

O Holy Night is not a new Christmas carol for me. I’ve heard the song many times. I had the honor of performing with a small brass ensemble for several Christmas candlelight services during my short, but memorable career as a tuba player. It’s a beautiful song.

Many artists record this song and use it to show off their technical prowess and amazing vocal range. I also remember a Christmas service that our high school student ministry put together during my Senior year. One of the music ministers from our church sang O Holy Night right before a friend of mine was baptized. It was the climax of the service, as a baptism should be – especially during the Christmas season. It was a powerful, powerful moment and it’s been etched in my heart’s memory for the past 20+ years.

That being said, I don’t know if I’ve really felt a deep connection with the song until this current Advent season.

This song was written by a guy in France and it was first performed in 1847. That’s 170 years ago. That’s a long, long time ago. And it was translated into English shortly before the Civil War. That’s still a long time ago. You know?

But it feels like it could have been written yesterday by a neighbor just down the street. Because in the first verse, it sounds like he could’ve been talking about me.

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”

I used to think this was written with just the Second Temple Jewish Era in mind. Everyone was looking for the long-promised Deliverer. “He’s coming,” they said. For more than 700 years, since the oracle from the Prophet Isaiah, they watched, and waited, and continued to proclaim “He’s coming. He’s coming.”

And surely the waiting and watching and waiting wore them out. Especially when Nebucadnezzar and Cyrus the Great and the Romans occupied their land and oppressed their people.

“He’s coming.”

“He’s coming.”

“Our Deliverer. He’s coming.”

And for the longest time, the Promised One did not show up. It had to be exhausting. And frustrating. I’m sure it wore on the entire Jewish world. Shoot, it wore down all of creation. Weariness is the perfect word. All of creation had to be weary in anticipation of the arrival of the One Who Would Make All Things Right.

A weary world, indeed.

I don’t know about you, but that word also describes me. I’m worn out. Exhausted. I’m weary. The last few years have worn me to the bone, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I’m weary.

I’ll be honest. Other than the chorus that requires some significant vocal talent, I really hadn’t paid that much attention to the lyrics of this carol. But I noticed them this year, and they’ve reminded me what to do when I’m worn out and weary.

Fall on my knees. Join in the heavenly chorus. Cling to the thrill of hope.

This isn’t just any hope. It’s not like the hope I have when I really really really hope my favorite basketball team beats their arch rival. That’s trivial hope, at best. No, this hope is the hope in the Everlasting God keeps His promises. This hope is the hope in the life-changing, life-giving, life-affirming power that comes from the One who spoke life into being. This hope is the hope that all things will be made right again. It’s the hope that was fulfilled in that out of the way feeding trough in the middle of an unknown town, watched by unknown shepherds and a faithful married couple.

That hope in that baby boy is the same hope we have today. It’s the hope that God is not done with me. And He’s not done with you. He continues to make all things new and give us hope today.

“He’s coming again.”

“He’s coming again.”

And in the meantime, even though I’m weary and worn out, I will cling to this hope that God is at work, even in me. I’m glad I heard O Holy Night so many different times this year. And I’m thankful that the lyrics hit me right between the eyes.

Because even though I’m weary, I need to remember to continue cling to that thrilling hope promised to us by the coming of the Christ Child Himself.

 

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8 lines I love to quote from Star Wars

8 lines I love to quote from Star Wars

I have this bad habit whenever someone is watching one of the Original Trilogy Star Wars films. I really can’t help it. It just comes natural. But I’m sure it makes my family want to pull the ears off a gundark.

You see, whenever the movie is playing, I say the character’s line immediately before he/she/it says it in the movie. This is especially true when we’re watching A New Hope.

I really can’t help it. I’ve been doing it for years. You see, this is what happens when your Grandmama and Grandpa record the CBS worldwide network premiere of Star Wars and let you watch it over and over and over again.  When I quote Star Wars (A New Hope), it reminds me of when I would used to sit in my grandparents’ Family Room with their bright red carpet and watch it on repeat. And then I get all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. And then I just can’t stop myself. I have to say the line before they say it.

It’s just the way things are.

via GIPHY

I know. Some things are meant to change. But this is a lot like the Han Solo vs. Greedo confrontation in the cantina on Tatooine. No matter how much you try to change things with computer graphics and special effects, Han always has and always will shoot first.

It’s just the way it is. And no matter how much I try, I will always find myself quoting from the Original Star Wars Trilogy. While I try to refrain from quoting the movie during the movie, I still find myself sprinkling my regular, everyday conversations with Star Wars quotes. It’s a natural extension, wouldn’t you think?

A few years ago, I shared seven lines from Star Wars that I love to use in real life situations. I still use those quotes frequently. But I don’t stop there. Here are eight more lines I love to use from Star Wars.

8 lines I love to quote from Star Wars

Star Wars quotes

1.) “Who’s scruffy lookin’?” – Han Solo

via GIPHY

I may or may not say this when I look in the mirror in the morning. Especially when I haven’t shaved in a few days. Who hasn’t?

2.) “I guess you don’t know everything about women yet.” – Princess Leia

OK. In real life, I generally say it this way: “I guess I don’t know everything about women yet.” Because I don’t. And every time I think I’m close to having something figured out, I get a little nice curve ball.

Can I get an Amen?

3.) “No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda

Much like when Vader says “No. I am your father,” this line from Yoda gets misquoted all.the.time. Since I’m kind of a jerk sometimes when it comes to Star Wars, I find myself muttering the correct quote under my breath. Sometimes I’ve outright corrected people. But not very often. Because I might be a Star Wars jerk. But I’m not that big of a jerk. Am I?

But Yoda’s right.

Kind of.

Most of the time, anyway. Within the context of the conversation he’s having with Luke, he’s right on target. Luke is convinced that he isn’t going to be able to lift his x-wing out of the swamp. So he says a half-hearted “Alright, I’ll give it a try.”

Yoda is right in calling him out here. Sometimes giving it the old college try is all you can do. But when you know someone isn’t even coming close to reaching his or her potential, they need a challenge. The old college try isn’t good enough. Do. Or do not. There is no “try.”

via GIPHY

4.) “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” – Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight

We live in a world that celebrates self-determination, cockiness, and brashness. This leads to overconfidence. Just look at the politicians we elect, the celebrities we follow, and the actions we endorse. Overconfidence is alive and well in our society. Many see it as a strength. Luke says it is a weakness.

Luke is right.

Confidence – the belief in one’s on abilities to succeed (per Psychology Today) – is most definitely a strength. You need confidence when you’re walking into an interview. You need confidence when you step up to the free throw stripe when the game is on the line. And you need confidence when you’re staring down a pitcher, waiting for your opponent to hurl that perfect pitch so you can crush it. Confidence is necessary. Overconfidence?

Nah.

That’s most definitely a weakness. And it can create all kinds of havoc.

5.) “You don’t know the POWER…” – Darth Vader

There’s no real reason behind this one. I just like saying it.

6.) “I gave a bad feeling about this.” – Han, Luke, Leia, almost everyone 

via GIPHY

It’s a line that’s said in every entry into the Star Wars saga. Whether you’re Force-sensitive or not, this line is obviously a helpful thing to say whenever you’re taking a risk. It’s a good way to straddle the fence. You don’t explicitly say that you think the task is going to fail, but if it does happen to fail, you can step back and say “See? I told you I had a bad feeling about this.”

Win. Win.

Right?

7.) “We’ve spotted Imperial Walkers.” – Trey Callum at Echo Station 3-T8

I say this every time we have an ice storm in central Indiana. Because it feels like I’m living on Hoth.

I know. I’m pretty creative. And then I usually follow it up by saying something about how we’re having trouble adapting our Speeders to the cold or something about having to go out on Tauntauns. I usually end my discussion about how the surrounding ice and snow make me feel like I’m on Hoth by announcing on social media that Imperial Troops have entered the base.

You know you want to post something similar on social media the next time you’re stuck in a snowstorm.

Go ahead. You have my permission. Not that you need it.

8.) “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by size do you? And where you should not…” – Master Yoda

Someone once told me that “Obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off the prize.” While I’m not sure I agree with it 100% of the time, its point it much like Yoda’s – focus on what can be done, not what cannot. After all, big things are known to come in small packages.

via GIPHY

I just can’t help myself.

I’ve been quoting Star Wars movies for over three decades. I just can’t help sprinkling the phrases into my every day conversation. What about you? Is there a movie you love to quote all the time? If not, I highly recommend giving the Original Trilogy a try.

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Life lessons from preschool

3 life lessons from preschool

When I was little, my mom saw an ad in the local paper about a new preschool starting at Willow Road Baptist Church. Mom believed it was time for me to start my preschool career, so she picked up our rotary phone and called the church office. Mom talked to the preacher’s wife, who was directing this new endeavor, and signed me up for preschool. Apparently, I was the first child to enroll with the preschool at Willow Road Baptist Church. Ever.

I don’t remember many details about the other students who were in that inaugural preschool class. I remember one boy. His name was Toby. I think. He liked pretending he was the Hulk. And whenever he was the Hulk, I would pretend to be Spider-Man. He would do his “Hulk smash” thing and I’d be busy shooting pretend spider webs from my wrists, keeping the girls and their cooties away.

Me and Vader
I think I’m a little older than preschool here, but you get the idea. I was adorable.

While I don’t remember many details, I do remember some key life lessons from my preschool experience. This wasn’t a preschool like many are today. You know the ones I”m talking about. They’re meant to prepare a child for the rigors of elementary school. That wasn’t the purpose of this preschool. The caring adults at the preschool at Willow Road Baptist Church helped me be a kid. They helped me learn how to have healthy relationships with adults, other children, and the Divine.

Everything I needed to know…?

A few decades ago, the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten made a big splash. I get the premise behind it, but my education about life didn’t start with Kindergarten (it didn’t end there, either, but that’s another post for another day). It started in preschool. And while I certainly didn’t learn everything I needed to know about life while I was in preschool, I certainly learned some valuable life lessons.

preschool supplies

Now, some 35+ years later, I look back fondly on my experience at Willow Road Baptist Church Preschool. The preschool is no more. The congregation has dissolved, too. A new church has sprung up in its place. If you know anything about my longtime desire to see new churches doing new things in my hometown, you know this makes me very happy. Although Willow Road Baptist Church is no longer here, I can tell you that I’m still living by some of the lessons I learned in that tiny community.

3 Life Lessons From Preschool

1.) It’s possible to resolve conflict peacefully.

Our indoor play area was relatively small. And although our preschool class was also relatively small (there might have been eight of us – I honestly don’t remember), preschoolers can get wound up pretty quickly. Inevitably, two kids were going to want to play with the same toy.

You know, like a green truck. One that I really loved. That’s what my mom has told me, anyway.

As a preschool aged kid, what would my reaction be if I was playing with this favorite green truck and someone like Toby came over and tried to take that toy because he wanted to do his whole Hulk Smash thing with it?

Hypothetically, of course.

There would naturally be much shouting. Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. There’d be an endless cycle of “Mine!” “No! Mine!” shouted on repetitive repeat over and over and over again. There’d be pulling and pushing and shoving and hair pulling and more shouting and crying. Oh, the crying. Things would just spiral out of control from there, leading to hurt feelings, a bruised ego or two, and maybe a few handfuls of hair scattered throughout the room. And did I mention the tears?

It's a preschool fight

It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

You can share. You can take turns. Shoot, you can even consider playing together. Disagreements don’t always have to end in violence. It is possible to disagree without trying to hurt the other person. I know. In the age of hyperpartisanship, parent shaming, and cyberbullying. We live in an age when a simple comment on a facebook post can lead to a person getting doxxed. But it really doesn’t have to be this way.

Imagine what would happen if you chose to show a little bit of kindness instead of firing off that nasty tweet about someone who hurt you. What would happen if you chose not to give in to your selfish impulses and actually shared something instead of hoarding it? Imagine what would happen if we could have a passionate debate about something, laying out all the facts and actually listening to the other side without getting nasty and personal.

It’s possible to resolve conflict peacefully. Choose kindness, friends. It’s hard to do sometimes. But it helps make the world a little bit less harsh. We don’t have to fight all the time.

Be kind, y’all.

2.) Keep your hands to yourself.

If we’re going to be kind to one another, that means we’re going to have to keep our hands to ourselves. No hitting. No unwelcome touching. Hair pulling? Nope. And no pinching, either. I can’t believe I have to say this, but no groping or any other type of grabbing other people’s body parts. And you can’t just walk up to people and kiss them, either.

It’s not OK.

Keep your hands to yourself in preschool

It’s not OK in preschool. And it’s not OK for adults, either. “Boys will be boys” is not acceptable. “It was meant to be a joke” is not an excuse. How hard is this concept? Keep your hands to yourself. I don’t care how powerful you are.

Wait. I take that back.

do care about how powerful you are. Because it matters how we treat people in private. And this is especially true when it comes to people in power. How you treat people who are less powerful than you reveals a whole lot about your character. Please. Use your power for good, not to abuse people who can’t do anything about it.

Keep your hands to yourself. Is it really that hard? If so, maybe you need to spend some time in the corner.

3.) Keep your clothes on.

Seriously. Is it really that difficult? Nobody needs to see that. Not even scary monsters.

screaming preschool monsters

Seriously.

These lessons I learned in preschool are pretty basic. You can basically boil them down to one main rule:

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

I didn’t think this lesson was that hard to learn. But watching the news makes me think it’s a lot more difficult of a lesson to learn than I thought.

Or maybe it’s a sign that a lot of people just need to go back to preschool.

 

 

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