The Cross I See…

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The Cross I See…

The cross I see is heavy, rugged, ugly…
It holds death, to the last breath.

The weight of the cross – unbearable…
The weight of humanity’s sin – unimaginable!

Bystanders – watching, spitting, mocking, shouting,…
“Prove thyself,” they say – “Save yourself if the King be.”

The silence of Jesus speaks louder.

Jesus, breathing His last breath…
Head bowed, tired with pain and grief…
Sour wine drink offered for His thirst…
Shadows of darkness overhang.

…Then…

The cry of “It is finished!”
Sacrifices needed no more.

His body – beaten, disfigured…
Now glistens, Holy as once before.

Torn rags now robed white…
Crown of thorns now made gold.

The temple curtain – torn in two…
Access gained forevermore.

Three dark days…
Buried in another’s tomb.

Sunday morning – Silence is broken…
The earth shook, and the stone rolled away!

Christ is risen from the dead!
Now He lives and reigns – Behold!

Death… You have no sting…
Christ, Lord and Savior – Is our Eternal King!

The Cross I see…
Forgiveness, salvation, hope, life.

 

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Stop and Smell The Azaleas…

Yes, the slogan of The Masters… “A Tradition Unlike Any Other”

The wait… Year after year. Name submitted, name not drawn in the lottery for Masters tickets… year after year. Then, BAM!… my brother’s name is drawn for four practice round tickets and on Wednesday, the best of all days.

Thanks to my brother’s name getting drawn, and him inviting me, along with his son and our dad… to Augusta we went. Forty-eight hours, barely any sleep, but wide awake the entire time. Bucket list item, you bet, even better when its with family.

I’ll tell you this, and it is a running joke with my wife’s side of the family. Two things we feel strongly about… Who do you want to eat meals with and with whom do you want to travel? You better enjoy your company when those two things are happening.

Too many times in leadership we have to be around others that are not of our same mindset, and that is ok for we grind through it. However, when it comes to the point of having to be around others because of the “have to case,” no one really profits.

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I say all of that to say this… I am at the point in my life where I want to enjoy who I am around. Are you?

With life, it really is short. The older I get, the quicker the days start and end. More importantly, is the fact that we sometimes realize too late, that we wished we would have done “so and so.” Many people are too “wound tight” to enjoy life. They are worried about satisfying what others think; they stay fearful of upsetting the apple cart and open up the can of “moody spray” with everyone they are around. They cannot have peace with others, because they cannot have peace within themselves. The funny thing is, many want and choose those types of people to keep company with – why?

They say you need to stop and take time to smell the roses. Well, for a few hours this past Wednesday, I stopped and took time to smell the azaleas of Augusta National and take in its beauty that television cannot do justice. Two things were for certain… I enjoyed who I had my meals with and who I traveled with, and that made all the difference. My brother and his son, and our dad for sure made a memory for that one moment that was “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.”

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Teachers… The “Stars” of Education

Would it not be great for the “professional sporting world” to trade places with the “teaching world?” What if there was actually free agent status, trades or even a draft in the “teaching world?” And yes, let’s add the money in there as well. Would education be better off? Probably, but it is not like that, and we as educators (whatever role one is in) do what we do because it is what we do. The only autographs we sign are on the hall passes.

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For the most part, every teacher trains to be better at his or her craft. Great teachers want to get better (now there are some who do not, but we are not going to discuss those). They want high performance in their job. Every day teachers walk into their classrooms wanting and expecting the best from all. It is no different than any other person in the work world. However, teaching is seen as so fragile. Education is underpaid, overworked, disrespected, etc. It is a total mystery how educators “hang on,” and it is to their credit that they do.

The role of what a teacher does is extraordinary. Teachers adapt more than a chameleon does for survival. The predators are out there…

But… through it all, teachers are still the stars of education.

Why? (talking about the good ones here…) Because…

They Have Presence

They are in the moment; day in, day out. They show up ready to teach. They are engaged in their subject and the lives of their students. They keep distractions to a minimum, and their focus is to perform. The energy they emit adds power to the moment. Inspiring by being what and who they are; their presence is felt.

They Promote

Teachers do what no others can. They create a learning environment that promotes each student to a level that they were not previously. To go from here to there, per se… Teachers are walking advocates of what they believe in, and everyone knows if they are true to their walk. Every class they market their message, selling it to those who want to buy in.

They have Peculiarity

Teachers are different. They position themselves well to succeed. They know the role they play and stand apart. Each one, having that special “gift” that is peculiar to only them. They can explain a topic like no other. There is passion in the belief of conveying information uniquely; creating a learning moment that has a lasting, remembering effect.

Yes, teachers are the stars of education. They get results and is that not what we want from all people? They stir the emotion in others, students and adults alike. They play the role no one else can get and no it is not easy. Every day they go on stage and every day is the performance of their lifetime.

If you know a teacher, thank them today for what they do.  They are the stars that provide a light for others. For what it is worth, teachers are the protectors of our future.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Warning… A Disaster Waiting To Happen!

We have all heard this saying, “That is a disaster waiting to happen.”

 

A disastrous situation usually depends on what the situation is and who is involved; more or less – relative. Now let’s look at it from our dealings with those in leadership positions. What determines disastrous leadership? Do you believe a leader can be disastrous? Are they disastrous by nature or only with their actions and decisions? Better yet, let’s just say that some leaders can be disastrous causing.

Every day we are around leaders. We work with them, see them on TV, hear them on the radio, etc… What is it about them that misses the mark on being extraordinary as opposed to disastrous? Here are a few random thoughts that have been on my mind lately…

Disastrous leaders do these too often…

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Create turmoil…
Talk about stirring the pot; they are only happy when they are happy.

Easily frustrated…
At the drop of a handkerchief, I would say.

Unable to make mistakes…
It is not because they cannot or do not make mistakes, but because they are always right.

Do not want to see beyond the now…
They only change when they are forced to or if a change makes them look good.

The higher they climb, the more arrogant they become…
It is almost as if they have an “air” about them; however, they are only breathing in the smell of themselves.

For our leadership to be effective, we must be able to identify what is and what causes disastrous leadership. Knowing these characteristics and avoiding them enables you, your leadership, and others around you the opportunity to be the leader others need.

Yes, some things are a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, there is bad leadership out there, and often we feel the effects of it in our lives. However, we cannot live in a bubble. It is up to each of us, to find a way that enables and empowers others not to be a part of or create a disastrous environment.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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