Thursday, May 30, 2013

High School Hero—The Courage of One

"It's always worth it. I'd much rather report something like this than leave it alone. All I can say is what story would you want to see on the news? One person being arrested or dozens of kids dying because of a disaster that could have been prevented." -Truman Templeton

Truman Templeton(Albany, OR)—For the last few months, Truman Templeton had become increasingly concerned about fellow West Albany student, Grant Acord, who seemed to be talking more and more about constructing bombs, according to an exclusive interview by KATU News. (Photo: Truman Templeton/ 

When it was time for a school pep rally, last week, Truman was worried that the plans and diagrams Grant had revealed to his circle of friends, would become reality. He was so worried, in fact, that he skipped going to the assembly.

When he came home from school that day—last Thursday, May 23—Truman's mother noticed that the 17-year-old seemed agitated and nervous. When she asked him about it, he decided to confide in her; explaining about Grant's destructive infatuation, and about the alarming diagrams he'd shown him.

Truman's courageous decision that day could very well have saved the lives of many students, teachers, perhaps even alleged attempted bomber-Grant's own life, as a journal found by police in the troubled student's room listed his suicide before police could stop him, in the eerie "to do" list that detailed his horrific plans.

I think there are times in all of our lives when we are faced with a decision to risk taking action at the price of what others may think; or let someone else do it.

The thing is... Truman wasn't the only student who knew about this, but he was the only one to tell someone.

West Albany High School I remember high school... you spend a lopsided amount of your time during those years, in the pursuit of just "fitting in." To risk incurring the possible anger or ridicule of other students—if there really wasn't a problem—took courage. (Photo: West Albany H.S./

Truman says it was his "conscience" that finally brought him to the place where he knew he had to speak up.

Now Truman's Facebook Timeline is filled with posts of gratitude from fellow West Albany students and friends.

And Truman is being hailed as a hero.

Truman told KATU that he hopes other students—even if it seems like a socially risky thing to do—will also speak out if something is not right and should be reported.
Says Truman, "It's always worth it. I'd much rather report something like this than leave it alone."

"All I can say is what story would you want to see on the news? One person being arrested or dozens of kids dying because of a disaster that could have been prevented," he added.
Well said Truman.

It's something we can all remember the next time we are faced with an opportunity to do something, and we think, "I'm just one person—what can just one do?"

Leslie TempletonThere's another important point to be made here, and that is about Truman's observant mom, Leslie. She must have a close and caring relationship with her son, because she was keenly aware that something was bothering him, and she went ahead and asked him about it. (Photo: Leslie Templeton/Facebook) 

What's more, Truman obviously trusted his mother enough to confide in her, believing that she could help him figure out what to do.

On Leslie's Facebook page, Thursday, she posted the following message:

We have been inundated with sincere love and appreciation and we cannot express how much that means to us. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to show support for Truman, but please do not forget to reach out to your own kids and remind them that they should never be afraid to do the RIGHT thing. That being said, I would like to add that the Acord family is undoubtedly devastated and deserve our support in the days that come. No good can come from vilifying these good people.

Thank you Leslie, for reminding us all to be involved with our kids' lives, and to be praying for Grant Acord and his family—it will be very hard for them in the weeks and months to come… but it could've been so much worse!

Friday, May 24, 2013

More than Just another Holiday: Memorial Day

"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…" –President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

I know… it's the official start of summer—I get it.

As May turns to June, we in the northern hemisphere are celebrating the casting off of cold, and welcoming flip-flops, sundresses and shorts once again.

Propane tanks are being topped off in preparation of barbeques that will fire up this weekend. Boats are being cleaned up after a winter's sleep, and garage sales are being organized.

Memorial DayBut this country's observance of something much more meaningful often seems to get lost in the jubilant re-visitation of summer.

Remembering. …Honoring the ones who laid down their lives in service and protection of this "Land of the Free."

While I don't really consider myself as having been raised in a "military family," my father and brother both did serve for a time in the U.S. Navy. And, I have always felt it was important to consider the cost of those who have been a part of defending the values and freedom we hold close, in various wars throughout this nation's history.

For one thing, God calls His people to remember—to consider all that He has done in their lives and how they have come to where they are now.

And, to remember the sacrifices made along the way by others for future generations.
At the risk of quoting a philosopher who seemed to be fairly atheistic—George Santayana—I do agree with his often quoted (and misquoted) text; "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It's important to remember the reasons why battles were fought, and those who fought them.

King David wrote in Psalm 3, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Memorial DayWays to Remember
Throughout all civilizations on this earth, history has been handed down from generation to generation, through storytellers, then through writing and print, then film and TV and now through blogs, videos and photos on the internet.

It's pretty easy these days to find ways to spark our memories of our country's past, and those who helped to protect it and shape its history.

Perhaps though, some of the best ways are still the simple show of respect and honor; such as attending a Memorial Day parade; going to a Memorial Day service to honor fallen heroes; or even just reaching out to shake the hand and say "thank you" to a Veteran.

There are also some good movies that can remind us of what was endured to keep this nation free.

So, while you gather with family for the ushering in of the long-awaited summer months; take a little time to reflect and remember the ones—and The One—who made your holiday possible.

Because, Memorial Day is more than just another day off.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What's Your Footprint?

"What we leave behind is not engraved in stone monuments but woven into the lives of others." -Pericles

It's been the trendy buzz-word for a while now; "footprint." And, like a lot of things these days, it doesn't exactly mean what it used to.

"What is your 'carbon footprint?'" is a question that gets asked, in reference to what kind of damage you leave on the ecosystem after you depart this world.

Grasshopper on rice paperImages come to mind of the old Kung Fu TV show; "Grasshopper" steps lightly, but purposefully, on the runway of rice paper, looking back to see if he was able to walk to his master without indenting the paper with his footprints.

(You can see this concept has been rattling around my brain a bit!) But there is one fact I'd like to point out.

None of us DON'T LEAVE FOOTPRINTS. We all do.

Now, I'm not speaking ecologically. I love this earth that God has created and given us to be good stewards over, and I agree that we need to do what we can to take care of it. But, I'm referring to the impact one life has upon another--or on many.

It might be impact for good, or for bad, but each one of us leaves footprints of where we have walked here on earth, how we have lived, and how it has touched those around us.

Pericles, an influential orator in Athens, Greece, during its golden age, once aptly said, "What we leave behind is not engraved in stone monuments but woven into the lives of others."

We leave behind footprints. And, where our feet have taken us will directly affect where those whom we leave behind will go.

Thoughts like that make me want to bequeath the best things to my loved ones and friends, and to generations to come. Not expensive tangibles, but things like wisdom, security, faithfulness and compassion. And footprints that ultimately lead to the Lord.

In the everyday clamor, it's easy to be focused on the "tyranny of the urgent" and getting where you have to go. I'm guilty-as-charged. But, it really is in that everyday minute-by-minute living, when our lives bump up against others' lives, that footprints are created.

By the way, that "contact" with others will naturally create friction. That friction can lead to warmth or to annoyance.

Investment in another life, or pushing it aside? Construction, or destruction?

The choice is ours...the choice is mine, today.

To again borrow Grasshopper's scenario; as we head toward the Master, stepping carefully on our own rice paper, what will be the footprints that we leave behind?

Moms, their Kids and Facebook—Keeping in Touch

"Facebook has been a boon to family relationships." Paul Levinson
FacebookAs Mother's Day rolled around this year, an interesting article caught my eye online… "Moms On Facebook: How Mothers and Kids Keep in Touch On the Social Network."

Writing for the Huffington Post, Martha Mendoza tells the story of young professional, John Knoller who had refused his mother's "friend request" on Facebook for years, but finally acquiesced.

According to Knoller, he and his mother now have an agreement that she will "try not to make embarrassing comments, and he can delete them if she does."

The stat Mendoza shares is that 1 in 3 moms "are connected with their teens over Facebook."

When the social networking giant began to take off, and my kids migrated from My Space over to Facebook, I joined up as well with the single goal of keeping tabs on my children.
a mom on fbI admit; it has been both good and bad.

Young people can sometimes be over-dramatic, and my kids are no different. During those times of melancholy posts from my offspring I learned (in order to keep my sanity) I would just need to wait about 24 hours for the light-hearted "status updates" to return.

But, I'm glad to have kept in touch in this way, and it's been helpful as a tip-off on how to be praying for them at times when a phone call wasn't possible.
By way of advice, I'd say when you see those posts by your kids that cause you concern, don't be overcome with worry. Just give it to God, He is "able to keep what I've committed to Him…" as it says in 2 Timothy.