Category Archives: high school

Advice to Plagiarists

Back in 2006 I was teaching English at David Lipscomb High School, and my juniors were spending time in a special circle of purgatory known as “Research.” At eight to ten pages, these papers were the longest that most of them had ever attempted. The smaller assignments and grades leading up to the paper and […]

Thank your teachers

The English program at David Lipscomb High School was rigorous, to say the least. Miss Smith and Miss Tracey, my favorite and most demanding English teachers, were legends. Miss Tracey also taught Latin, and when it came time to conjugate a verb, she always chose “neco,” which means “to kill.” This was exactly what a […]

Taking Initiative: Learning “I’ll do it” and “I’m sorry”

This is a long post—one of my longest ever. I’m warning you up front because I want you to commit to reading the whole thing. Why? Because I share two of the most important lessons that I have ever learned, not just about taking initiative but about leading a deeply meaningful life. I thought about […]

Cheerleading Tryouts

During my sophomore or junior year of high school, someone decided to turn cheerleading tryouts into a hazing ritual. The decision maker must have been either the principal or the athletic director because I doubt the cheerleading coach volunteered her future charges for solo performances in front of the entire student body. Staging mass social […]

Bless His Heart

I don’t think he was the one responsible for naming the high school girls’ bible study that his wife led, but he didn’t anticipate a problem with the name Just Us Girls. Before long, he started using an abbreviation to make announcements, J.U.Gs, and after listening to him give details about J.U.Gs. meetings for a couple of weeks, I had to intervene.

I just want to be friends

Just tell her you’re not interested and watch the pain and embarrassment of rejection register in her eyes. Don’t soften the blow. Don’t put sugar in the vinegar. Tell her the truth, and even though she might hate your guts for awhile, she’ll come to appreciate your courage.

Self-Sabotage: Be Careful with the Camouflage

I’m confident that all three of those students are remarkable in some way. I just hope that they don’t sabotage their originality long enough to bury it.

Olive Oyl, Naked Buttocks, and Breaking Rules

As several of us were walking into the bathroom, he held up his hand to stop us and said under his breath, “Watch this.” He walked up to one of the urinals, dropped his shorts and boxers, and stood there with his back to the entrance. For the next five minutes, he remained in that position.

We’ll call it our DeSextroyer.

If only we could both be like McGyver and use his favorite hair pick, his Braun electric razor, the blade from his Simplicity riding mower, and parts from his Daiwa fishing reel to make a ray gun that would castrate every sexting jerk in the universe.

Playboy, Creed, and Captain D's

Please no one give me a subscription to Playboy or a Creed album or a gift certificate to Captain D’s. My self-respect couldn’t take it.