Mama and the Twins

Today my mother would have turned 76 years old.  She passed away suddenly four years ago – a reminder to anybody who’s paying attention that there are no guarantees in this life.

Like anybody whose life has touched another for that long, I have lived long enough myself to see Mama’s mental, emotional, and moral DNA flowing throughout my own and my sister’s life, as well as through the lives of her grandchildren and now seven (soon to be 9) great-grandchildren.

We had our points of disagreement, some of them quite loud.  We also had hours of conversation – some of them way past bedtime.  And like Abel in the Bible, I love the fact that long after her life here was over, she still speaks to me today.

Give her a chance, she’ll speak to you, too.  Here, in no certain order, are the life lessons I learned from her. [click to continue…]

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Rabbit and DaschundA good friend and I were talking the other day and he told me about an experience he had in Hong Kong. First I’ll tell you what he saw. Then I’ll tell you a story based on that.  Then I’ll apply it in one of many, many ways you can apply the story.

What My Friend Saw

As he and his group were traveling through the market in Hong Kong, he noticed someone selling rabbits. (Note:  I’m pretty sure they weren’t  being sold as pets.)

There was a cage full of rabbits.  Then on top of the cage there was a single rabbit, just sitting there, motionless.

My friend asked, “Why doesn’t that rabbit run away?”

The answer: Because he’s been in the cage so long he’s forgotten what life outside the cage is like. He assumes there is nowhere else to go.

My Little Rabbit Fable

Once there were two rabbits. Both were raised in captivity.  Both had only known a life within the confines of a cage or pen. But that wasn’t all bad. [click to continue…]

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Tucked away in dozens of archived folders on my computer are literally thousands of works of art or horror stories – all in the form of academic papers.  I have been blessed to teach some of the most extraordinary researchers and writers on the planet.  I have also had that fingernails-on-the-chalkboard experience of reading some really bad stuff.  I thought I would go off the reservation a little today to share with you what I have learned from the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

Regardless of whether you are just starting to college or about to graduate with an advanced degree, you will not succeed in online education (or classroom either, for that matter) beyond your ability to write effectively.  Moreover, there is a massive difference between speaking English and writing it in a formal setting.  If a professor ever tells you that you write like you talk, they aren’t giving you a compliment.  Academic writing is a formal setting.  (This post is not.)  I make my living doing both.  If I spoke the same way I write in formal settings, I’d be stuffy and boring.  If I wrote the same way I talk conversationally or when I preach, I would butcher the King’s English and my paper would be filled with colloquialisms, contractions, sweeping statements that had little or no support, and at times poor grammar.

Here are some specific suggestions for writing success with any academic writing that uses the APA style manual (no, “APA” does not stand for “American Psycho Association,” though sometimes you may wonder).  You may need to adjust this for different formats (or different teachers with different hot buttons). [click to continue…]

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Four Things I Never Learned in School

by Andy Wood on April 6, 2011

in Insight, Life Currency

I spent 26 years in school.  At each level I learned many things.  I learned how to read, how to write, how to spell.  I learned that Columbus really didn’t discover America, that the South was doomed from the beginning of the Civil War, and that we really don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews.  I learned to parse a verb, to multiply polynomials, and to define “fallacious” and “facetious.”  I learned more theories related to leadership than I care to count.

But in spite of all the things I learned, those 26 years failed to teach me four very important things – lessons that can determine my success or failure out in the real world, where bells don’t ring and (true story) traffic lights don’t control the noise in the lunchroom.  Let me share them with you – with the understanding, of course, that I’m still learning.  Next year’s list could be completely different. [click to continue…]

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sleeping-studentOkay, you students of all things gloriously stupid!  Time for another round of Hanukkah Hams.  In case you’ve missed previous episodes, a Hanukkah Ham is a reminder of what can happen when unlicensed people are left free to drive an imagination without supervision.

What better place to discover colossal displays of “what-were-you-thinking” than in the hallowed halls of academia?  I once had a college professor that said, “College is the only place where people don’t want to get their money’s worth.” See if these true stories, drawn from the actual testimonies of college professors, don’t restore your hope in the future of America.

Remember, friends – these people will be managing your nursing home.  Or running your country. [click to continue…]

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Ask, and You Will What?

by Andy Wood on September 15, 2008

in 100 Words

I live in a town that prays for rain.

Not with superstition or religious sophistry, but with humble, believing cries to Jesus Christ.

Averaging 14-plus inches annually, our ag-based economy depends on rain.

I also live in a town that educates students.

Lots of them.

Sometimes educated people scoff at people who pray for rain.

They’re embarrassed to live in the same town with such backwards people.

In this town, there is one place where the praying people and the educated people gather in the same spot.

Thursday it rained.  More than six inches, to be exact.

Gimme a “J”!

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