Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom


Some Amazing Teens…

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 23, 2013
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This blog is a shout out to the teens in my youth group. They are amazing! They continually impress me with their hearts to serve and their love of Jesus. Whether to pray together, play together, or serve others, they choose to spend their free time week after week in positive ways.

MBC Youth…you ROCK!!

Last weekend, they fed the homeless in Richmond.

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They pray unashamedly and publicly.

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Competition gets fierce!

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Helping others makes them happy.

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Worship is an important part of their lives.

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I love all of you! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the best youth group around. Anyone who believes teens are lazy, uncaring, and/or disconnected needs to come spend a few hours with you.

Quit Beating Yourself Up

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 20, 2013
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Since May 3rd, thanks to a new accountability partner, I have dragged myself out of bed every weekday morning before 5 a.m. to tackle some distance on the “dreadmill”.

Well, I’ve done it every morning except one.

Last Thursday, I received a call from Colton’s school nurse to inform me he hurt his arm/wrist while playing on the playground. After a trip to the doctor and an x-ray, it was determined all was fine, but it still hurt which caused him to have a restless night. Because Colton and I were up and down, the dog didn’t sleep well and between trips to put Colton back in bed and give him Tylenol, I was also shoving Rico out the door to take care of business. Overall, it wasn’t a restful night, so sometime after 3:00 a.m. I reset my alarm clock and gave myself permission to sleep a little later than usual.

Perfectly acceptable, right? Not in my  mind, apparently. Instead of focusing on the many miles I’ve logged lately and that I can even feel a bit of a difference in the way my pants fit, I can’t seem to forgive myself for the day I skipped.

Why? Why do I do that? Why do women everywhere do that? (I’m not saying men don’t ever feel defeated or useless, but it seems to be a more significant problem for women.)

Recently, I saw a video online from the Dove Beauty Campaign showing how tough women can be on themselves.  A forensic artist drew women from their own descriptions and then from the descriptions of their friends. The differences in the drawings are astonishing. Take a look here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk

Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Why, when God’s word tells me I’m worthy, useful, and wonderful, do I believe the negative voices that weasel their way inside my head and my heart? I don’t know the answer, but I know I’m not alone. Why do we waste so much time in our lives without confidence, filled with anxiety?

Do you know a beautiful, productive, essential woman who beats herself up regularly? I’m sure you do. Today, take the time to tell her what you see in her. Maybe the reflection from your eyes will fill her heart for a moment and brighten her day.

Mother’s Day

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 9, 2013
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Here are some of the many amazing women I’ll be celebrating this weekend…

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My mom is, of course, who will be on my mind and in my heart the most this weekend. I’m looking forward to late June when I will be able to spend some long overdue time with her. Last year, I wrote about what an incredible woman she is (This Sunday, Mum’s the Word), and every word still holds true today.

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These lovely ladies with me (love the hair a few decades ago) are my grands. Grandma Louise, Fred’s mom; Nonnie, mom’s mom; and Grandmother, Daddy’s mom.

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Suzy (on the left) enjoyed a little more than a decade with my Daddy before he died. You can read more about this inspiring lady in my post Why Divorce Can be a Blessing. She’s pictured here with her sister, Kit, and her adopted daughter, Willa Kate.

Suzy and Kit’s mom, Kitty, who passed away last summer, was also a wonderful woman, a true Southern belle. I know  Mother’s Day will be hard for them this year, their first without their mom. I pray they spend Sunday dwelling on their good memories.

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My mother-in-law, Pauline Barrick, is such a blessing. She always takes time to help out when our schedules are chaotic (which is all the time!) by picking up kids, babysitting, running errands, feeding us, etc.

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All of Fred’s girls…Mom and all my sisters – Annie, me, Lucy, Liz, and Lauren.

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Mark’s sister Julie and sister-in-law Karen.

With my mom as the one of seven kids and my dad as one of four, I have been blessed with an abundance of love from many aunts as well who have been influential women in my life.

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My mom with all her sibs including the three sisters – Linda, Sandy, and Deb.

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Uncle Rick with Aunt Pam.

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Uncle David with Aunt Pam.

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Uncle Bobby with Judy, who will be greatly missed this Mother’s Day as she is always.

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Aunt Jackie, Daddy’s sister, loved and missed every day.

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Aunt Sandy, Kevin’s wife, and her beautiful kids.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the strong, inspirational women I know. Thanks for blessing my life the way you do.

What Makes a Team?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 5, 2013
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Recently I sat through an hour or so of Colton’s ball practice. It is his first year in the minors of Little League. He has worked himself up from T-ball, through machine pitch, and now faces his peers from the pitcher’s mound. His practices have occurred on Wednesday nights, so I haven’t attended many because I’m usually with the youth group at church, but that one evening I sat and watched as they took turns batting.

For an hour, I didn’t hear one word of encouragement or support from the boys to their teammates. Not a “Good catch” or “Awesome hit” from any of them. The few comments I did hear were taunting and obnoxious when someone made a mistake. It made me extremely sad, and I wondered how they would ever win a game when they obviously weren’t feeling any team spirit.

If you work with others to accomplish an end result – in a sport, at work, with family, at church – you are part of a team.  Collaboration succeeds when every member applies their strengths to the task and willingly allows others to complete the parts in his or her areas of weaknesses. It’s difficult to come up with a team that has members who works seamlessly together because humans are imperfect, and there are so many potential problems to overcome.

1) Not everyone pulls his or her weight. Although this can certainly affect adults, I often see it happen in my classroom. Some students translate “group project” into “my turn to sit back and watch” and then they expect to get the same grade as the group members who have poured themselves into the project. Obviously, this problem can lead to frustration and anger by the members who are doing the work. When I see this happening, I remind the group they will be graded based on the amount of work they contribute to hopefully nudge the sluggish member into action. If that doesn’t work, I pass out the Peer Review cards then instead of waiting until the project is complete to let them evaluate the other members of their team. Some teens understand that being interdependent is a great way to accomplish large tasks, but some are so focused on gaining their future independence (from parents, teachers, whoever), they can’t see the positive aspects of teamwork.

2) A member with leadership skills is too selfish to lead. Some people are born leaders. Others learn to be. Whether it is inherent or a learned skill, these members of a team must be willing to lead the other members. If they have the “knowledge is power so I’m not sharing it with you” mentality, the team will never succeed. Anyone who becomes part of a team has to check their ego at the door or their skills and abilities are wasted. This type of teammate sometimes has a tendency to dwell in the past. He is so busy telling everyone all he has accomplished previously, patting himself on the back, that nothing can get done in the present and it eliminates any hope for the future.

I see this problem on Colton’s team. There are many boys on the team who have been playing in the minors for 2 or 3 years now, and they should be helping the younger boys learn. I don’t think this is happening but not necessarily because of selfishness. The boys are young and maybe don’t see themselves as leaders, but they could be if they were encouraged to help the new players.

3) A member who says “that’s not my job”. I don’t think I hear many comments that grate on my nerves more than that one. I realize I’m a person who has trouble saying “no” and my busy schedule attests to that, so some people may think I should say it more often. However, I don’t think when you’re part of a team you can refuse any aspect of the job if someone needs assistance. Even if roles are assigned at the beginning of a project, team members can’t be glued to their job description. Too many unforeseen needs can appear, and someone must address them or the whole team will fail.

I think there is a vast difference between saying “no” to being part of something and saying “no” to a required task once you are already a team member. I agree I need to say “no” to some of many roles I take on in life, but I pray I never become someone who says “no” instead of finishing a task when I’ve committed myself to a successful outcome.

4) Everyone tries his or her best, but there’s no feeling of unity. I see this as a problem with Colton’s team. I’m certainly not qualified to tell the coaches how to do their job, but I tried to subtly suggest to an assistant coach that the boys don’t sound like much of a team when they are out on the field. I appreciated it when he called out, “Get behind your pitcher boys! Let’s hear some chatter!” The boys didn’t respond with much enthusiasm, but it is hard to expect any because they won’t have team spirit until they feel like a team.

Have you ever seen the movie Remember the Titans? What a classic. Now that coach knew how to build team spirit. Obviously, I don’t want Colton dragged out of bed for a many-mile run that ends at Gettysburg for an inspirational speech, but something has to draw those kids together before they will show each other support and encouragement. Colton probably didn’t even know some of those older boys at the beginning of the season. Were they introduced? Did they find out anything about each other? Do they know if they share any interests off the ball field? I realize the focus is the game, learning the skills, and improving, but there are so many life lessons to be learned right along with baseball. I keep praying Colton has a chance to learn them.

Colton and I have talked a lot about his team in the last week or so. Mark and I are encouraging him to listen carefully to his coaches and to learn from watching the older boys even if they don’t offer help. I’m also trying to get him to start some upbeat, positive chatter from his right-field position and from the dugout, but I can tell he isn’t too comfortable with that. He’s trying to fly under the radar, not make mistakes, and avoid calling attention to himself in any way that might bring on ridicule. How sad is that?


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