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Yesterday I went to the gym; I prefer to walk and run outdoors, but it is too cold for me here in Fairbanks, Alaska. While I do cardio on the treadmill, I enjoy watching TV with my headphones on. It is better than just looking at the walls or at others that are really going faster than me.

         As I started flipping channels, I stopped on ESPN for an NBA Basketball game. I saw tattoos all over the place. I also noticed that apparently scoring points was not enough for the players, they have to talk trash, beat their chests and humiliate their opponent.

         Today I went to the gym again. This time, I saw a few MMA fights and interviews. Again, the arrogance, the disrespect, and the trash talking were evident. In the last two days, I watched some of the best athletes in the world acting like fools; that seems to be the norm now. No wonder that is exactly what I see in some of the local games at the high school level; they are trying to emulate their professional idols. What I see is an epidemic of arrogance, ignorance and plenty foolishness that is indeed sickening in this generation.

         I take issue with coaches that seem to only care about the game and show very little interest in helping these young men and women develop character. These coaches are not teaching any life skills, such as integrity, self-respect, modesty, or how to prioritize, nor do they seem to care or know how. Many times, I feel like they are not re-enforcing our values, but actually contradicting them.

         Oh, but I am so glad my weekend ended on a positive note. One of my daughters has been taking Ballet classes at Ballet Praise here in Fairbanks, with long time Ballet teacher Rebecca Smith.


Miss Rebecca is a pioneer, as she founded the first faith-based dance studio in Interior Alaska. The Biblical foundation for their validation as a ministry is Psalm 149:3, “Let us praise Him with dancing…”

         To start with, Miss Rebecca did not charge at the door for this recital. I would have gladly paid and I am sure other parents felt the same way; but Miss Rebecca had a greater idea in mind. Miss Rebecca requested that we all bring can foods to be donated to a local ministry to feed the needy. So the students were actually dancing, not for fame, not for recognition, but to help others in need. Over 600 cans of food were collected that night and a great lesson to our children.

         However, the thing that impressed me the most was what was happening behind the scenes. The students were not only dancing, but also acting as the stage crew. With dozens of children, including very young children, it was refreshing to see teenagers and even pre-teens students so active in keeping the show rolling. They were serving, they were moving, and they were awesome.

         See, I hope that every single student’s dream at Ballet Praise becomes a reality; if that is to become a professional ballet dancer, let it be so. However, teaching kids humility, hard work, servant-hood, and respect was a glass of fresh water for me.

         Ballet Praise is taking a well-deserved break for the Christmas season, but you can bet that in January my daughter will be back. Not only that, my wife and I will add another one of our teenage daughters to the class.

Ballet Praise

         Miss Rebecca started her academy with two students six years ago, but today she has 92 students going strong. Congratulations Miss Rebecca, thank you for all you do; for teaching our children how to dance, but more importantly, for being an extension and enforcer of the values we teach our children at home. I can’t wait for next semester!

         For more information please visit

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