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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

June 2021   Issue 1


ATTENTION: Things seemed a lot less chaotic 50 years ago, yet 1971 was the year Herbert Simon (1916-2001) coined the term “attention economy.”  His work and research as a psychologist and economist led to the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1978.  He postulated that attention is like any other economic component, it has limited supply.  The overabundance of information, and choices, leads to a deficit of attention.  For that reason, the limitations of attention must be allocated appropriately so as to not be completely consumed and depleted.  We’re now fully immersed in the attention economy where every marketing scheme is vying for our attention, because that’s the pathway to our money.  The pull is so great that there are even publications titled, Resisting the Attention Economy.  Fathers have a limited supply of attention – make sure your family gets the lion’s share of that focus. Berkeley Economic Review, 3/31/20; People, 1/18/21, p.39
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” Charles Swindoll (American pastor/author) Denison Forum, 6/4/21
A month before Father’s Day 2021, Arthur Muir became the oldest American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.  It was the first climbing season in two years since the pandemic closed the mountain in 2020.  Bad weather and a COVID outbreak among climbers made the feat even more challenging.  The 75-year-old retired attorney from Chicago didn’t start climbing until he was in his late 60s, and failed in a 2019 attempt when he had to turn back because he injured his ankle.  When he was able to reach the top of Everest this time, Muir didn’t stand on top of the world, he sat.  He said, “I was just surprised when I actually got there (the summit) but I was too tired to stand up, and in my summit pictures I am sitting down.”  Recounting his experience after reaching home safely, Muir noted he was a bit scared and anxious during the arduous adventure: “You realize how big a mountain it is, how dangerous it is, how many things could go wrong.”  In a world of easy answers and quick fixes, Arthur Muir’s record-setting quest provides a realistic picture of true effort: it’s tough, scary, and often leaves you so tired that you have to sit down.  It sounds like a father’s job description. Houston Chronicle, 5/31/21, p.A2
June 2021 began with the announcement that legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is retiring after the upcoming season.  He’s been Duke’s head coach since 1980 and will turn 75 before next year’s Final Four.  During his four decades at the helm, the Blue Devils became perennial fixtures of March Madness.  They’ve played in the Final Four a dozen times and won the national championship five times.  Coach K became the first men’s Division I college coach to win 1,000 games, and he coached the U.S. to three Olympic gold medals.  But he didn’t have an illustrative start at Duke.  His teams lost more games than they won in the first three seasons, and they didn’t make one appearance at the NCAA Tournament.  His third season ended with a humiliating loss to Virginia by a score of 109-66 and boosters wanted him fired.  Athletic Director Tom Butters decided to retain him and the rest is Hall of Fame history.  In his 6th year, Duke made it to the championship game for the very first time.  They lost, but they were there.  Many men have had rough starts only to quit before things picked up.  Failure doesn’t have to define us, and it can be a catalyst for great success. Houston Chronicle, 6/3/21, p.C6

During the summer of 2003, Robert Rogers was interrupted from his Saturday project list by his 7-year-old daughter Makenah.  She wanted to build that bird-house they’d been talking about for several weeks.  Time was scarce, and his list was long, but after hesitating, he realized this memory was more important than his household tasks.  They spent the afternoon measuring, cutting, assembling, and letting Makenah paint arrows directing the birds to the food.  It was cherished time that fulfilled his wife’s mantra: “Let’s make a memory.”  Seven weeks later on Labor Day weekend, Robert and his family were swept away by a flashflood while returning from a relative’s wedding to their home outside of Kansas City.  Robert’s wife and four children died.  Thankfully, that birdhouse he built with Makenah wasn’t an exception to Robert’s practice of living without regrets as a Christian dad.  Since that crushing blow nearly two decades ago, Robert has dedicated his life to pointing parents towards Christ & fewer regrets. Into The Deep, Robert Rogers, 2007
Mark Merrill notes that every man must ask, “Am I a serving or self-serving leader for my family?  Am I living my life to give or to get?”  Much is said about leadership in the workplace, but our greatest responsibility is to lead our family well…and that takes a mindset of servanthood. All Pro Dad, Mark Merrill, 2012, p.97
Matt Tullos wrote his son a poignant note that helped shape and define his understanding of manhood.  Here are some of the excerpts: “I’ve learned the hard way that manhood is not an age but a choice.  A boy is selfish…a man is sacrificial.  A boy speaks easy lies…a man speaks hard truths.  A boy has a foul mouth, relying on a few vulgar words to communicate a myriad of messages…a man uses a robust vocabulary to solve a myriad of conflicts.  A boy refuses to listen with an open mind…a man listens much and talks little.  A boy is controlled by anger…a man channels his anger to create godly change.  The pleasure of a boy is unbridled and thoughtless…a man lives for a cause that ultimately brings him more pleasure than anything a boy could ever imagine.  Life is difficult…and once you accept that, you’ll find that it’s not too difficult to handle.”  Tullos ended his note by writing, “You are loved, accepted, and celebrated.  Today I regard you as a man.  Now it’s your turn to change the world.  I love you! Dad” HomeLife, June 2011, p.72


FATHER’S DAY: Nissan may have the perfect Father’s Day gift.  Using the technology being developed in cars, the automaker has created a golf ball that never misses a putt.  Whether you’re 6 feet out or 60 feet from the pin, you just tap the ball and it doesn’t stop until it drops in the hole.  The downsides are…you have to be in Japan to try it out, and it requires setting up a bunch of sensors to work as guides to the hole., 8/17/19
FATHER’S DAY: Comedian Mike Dugan said, “I have mixed emotions when I receive my Father’s Day gifts.  I’m glad my children remember me, but I’m disappointed that they actually think I dress that way.” Reader’s Digest, June 2017, p.35
MEN: “Go big or go home” isn’t hard for men to understand, but sometimes it gets us in trouble.  Several years ago in Clay County, Missouri, a guy found his trash burning out of control.  Instead of using something smaller like a fire extinguisher, he jumped in his van and tried to run over the flames to put it out.  When his tires caught on fire, he remem-bered he had a full tank of gas, which then made him recall the rounds of ammunition he had purchased.  The whole thing went up in flames with an accompanying volley of shots in every direction.  He went big…and then walked home. AARP, Jan/Feb 2016, p.46


IN OTHER WORDS... began in 1991 and is produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry, Senior Pastor of the Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.  Subscribers receive full access to our Web site of over 5,000 illustrations PLUS two email issues per month filled with fascinating facts, quotes, humor, and spiritual illustrations from headline news.  All content is copyrighted.  Visit to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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