Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I don't mind re-reading the same book to my 5-year-old because...

literacy can make or break a child's education. It encourages curiosity, introduces new and tougher words for young minds to learn, improves vocabulary, and provides seemingly hundreds of additional benefits.

As a child grows into a young adult, communication skills borne of literacy offer a scholastic and workplace advantage. One of my most engaging professors at the U of Alabama was a veteran of corporate America, having worked at Time Warner and Pfizer. And she was a firm believer in the power of the the written and spoken word. She once imparted the following to me verbatim: "The most underrated skill in business is the ability to communicate clearly."

Amen. And I provide this link as further evidence of the power of literacy--especially for children. Now go read something before you nod off tonight.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never say never--or always

During our 8 years of marriage, my wife and I have had a few laughs about this. She often punctuates her speech with never and always--which unleashes the English major in me. Because rarely in life is something an always or a never. Chances are, we've done something of which we're speaking at least once.

And that's what I remind my wife. And that causes her to change her "never" to occasionally. As an example, she might say, "I never get to shop anymore."

Me: "You went last month."

Her: "Ok. I hardly ever go shopping."

Me: "And you're going again tomorrow."

Her: "Ok. I don't go shopping often."

Fact is, it's just too easy to rebut always and never. Whether in conversation or the body copy of an ad. That's why I steer clear of it.

Full disclosure: my wife is highly intelligent; I'm simply a word freak. Always.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A simple understanding of the word "faith"

Theologians and secularists debate its meaning and implications ad nauseum, but for me--a word freak--it's really quite elementary.

Faith is not and never has been about certainty. The word dates to the 13th century and embodies belief itself through its myriad contextual uses. But here's the thing (and I'll use a sports analogy): it's similar to being ahead 21 points heading into the 4th quarter. More than likely, you'll win. Yet you have to compete knowing that it's still possible to lose.

Faith allows for doubt--a probing, intellectually curious kind of doubt. The kind of uncertainty that seeks to further its own understanding for the purposes of unearthing deeper knowledge. So I'll leave you with this head-scratcher. If doubt didn't exist, would faith?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christians in Cinema

I attended an Act One weekend seminar a few years ago in Nashville. Had a blast. I hope these folks come back to the Southeast again soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This may not have much to do with writing--or does it? My two-month-old daughter, Alex, (short for Alexandra) is beginning to coo. Not only is it an adorable sound, it's a baby's first effort toward speech. So yes, I'd say that's germane to writing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Imagine the words as he's saying them


Since I live in Birmingham, I'm clearly not one of Sen. Graham's constituents. But do yourself a favor: listen both to the content of his response and his word choice. This outstanding bit of Q&A shows how the senator from South Carolina notes the coarsening of political discussion via mass media while also taking a longer view of the next several years. He's able to view this time in our history with the cool detachment of a historian.

Should be obvious--but it's not


They're not from Moses, but they're good advice.