Category Archives: education

Gleaning Writing Ideas from Election Issues

stars_and_stripesTomorrow, we head to the polls and vote. The policies that each candidate supports couldn’t be more different from each other. I’m not here to influence your vote. I want to help you look at some of the issues and find writing inspiration there.

Abortion

What can you write on this issue? How can you encourage your readers to protect the unborn and choose life? What stories can you tell?

Do you know a couple whose doctor suggested they abort their Down’s Syndrome baby but they didn’t? Tell their story. Do you know a woman who chose life for her unborn baby, even though it brought difficulty? Share her story. What about a woman who gave her child up for adoption in order to give the child life? Or, someone who was adopted? What about someone who survived an abortion? These are all stories you can offer to your readers.

Write about what really occurs during an abortion. Help readers know that the unborn baby is more than a “clump of cells.”

As Christians, we’re called to respect life. As writers, we can help our readers respect it, too.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion hangs in the balance for this election. What can you write about this issue? How can you encourage your readers to fight for their Christian values?

Do you know anyone who was forced to violate their faith in the name of “tolerance”? What price did they pay if they refused? Tell their story. What value did the Founding Fathers place on religious freedom? Teach your readers how important it is and what consequences we face if we lose it.

We can help our readers fight for what belongs to us constitutionally.

Respect for the Military

Both active-duty military and veterans face issues that will be impacted by this election. From care at the VA to military readiness, they need our support.

Do a researched investigative report. Tell a personal story. Interview a military family. Help your readers understand the issues they face.

 

What are the issues that you’re passionate about this election? Supreme Court? Taxes? Immigration? Healthcare? The economy? Education? Write about these issues. Use them in your fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Don’t forget about them after the election is over. Continue to write and encourage your readers to stand up for what they believe.

© Deborah Christensen

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Plowing Together: School Memories — Please Comment

What is your favorite school memory? How can you use it in your writing?

Share your insights. You may inspire someone else.

School Daze

hibiscusMost students are headed back to school. You can see them walking to the bus stop with the backpacks strapped on. Right now, it’s all new – new teachers, new classes, new supplies. They’re excited.

Many publications run back-to-school issues. While they put them together months ago, you can get your ideas now for next year.

For the Kids

You can write things for students that help them overcome the pitfalls of school and make the most of their school year.

What do kids need to know before they start the new school year? How can they change their mindset from summer fun to school studies? How can they approach the school year with a cooperative attitude?

How can they make lasting friendships at school? What do they do when someone doesn’t like them? How can they handle bullying? What do they do when they want to bully someone else? How can they treat their fellow students with love? How can they combat loneliness?

How can they live out their faith at school? How can they share their faith with their friends? How can they show Christ’s love to their teachers? How does their love of Christ affect the way they behave in school? How does it affect the way they study?

How can they choose clothes that are appropriate for school? What does what they wear show their commitment to Jesus?

What is the best way to handle starting in a new school? What stories can you tell to kindergarteners or preschoolers who are starting school for the first time? How can students navigate attending middle school or high school for the first time?

For the Parents

With the new transgender bathroom and locker room policy that’s come down, many parents are re-evaluating their school choices. Other parents simply want to help their children succeed in school and do the best they can do. Parents want to help their children study, choose extracurricular activities they will enjoy, make good friends and enjoy school. You can write things to help them in all these areas.

How does a parent know when it’s time to rethink school options? What are the pros and cons of public schools? Christian schools? Other private schools? Home schooling? How can parents make a decision that’s best for their child?

How can parents get involved in the policies their school adopts? How can they stay on top of what their child is learning? What do they do when their child is being taught something that is contrary to their beliefs and morals? How can parents work with the school instead of creating an adversarial relationship?

How can they help their child make decisions about which classes to take? How can they help their child follow their passion? How can they challenge their child to grow in their weak areas?

How can they help their child deal with bullies? How can they know when it’s time to step in and get the school involved? How can they help their child love their enemies?

How can they teach their child about modesty? How can they help their child live out their Christian faith in an increasingly hostile environment?

How can they help their child adjust to a new school? What do they need to know about the new school environment?

These are just a few questions to start your creative juices flowing. Look for the answers to these and so many other questions, and help provide the answers to the students and parents who read your piece.

© Deborah Christensen

The Guiding Presence of Dads

dadMy dad is 86 years old. He was born on the day the Stock Market crashed in 1929. My grandparents lost everything and gained a son on the same day.

Last Sunday was Father’s Day. We attempted to go to his favorite restaurant but there was almost a two-hour wait. So, we went to another local restaurant. It was just fun to spend the day with my parents. My dad has slowed down. He walks with a walking stick. But, I’m blessed that he’s still with us.

What Does Father’s Day Mean to You?

Father’s Day means different things to different people. Some people feel blessed by the relationship they have with their dad. Others fight the painful memories. Still others don’t even know who their dad is.

What does Father’s Day mean to you? How can you share your story about your relationship with your dad? What has that relationship taught you? What takeaway value can you give your readers?

What tips or advice can you offer to your readers about building a healthy relationship with their dad? How can you help others forgive their father? How can you help them celebrate their dad?

How can you help children of abusive fathers find godly father figures for their life? How can you help them heal? How can you help bad fathers repent of their sin and become the dads God intended them to be?

Helping Dads Be Better Dads

You may know some news dads. Some of your readers may be new dads. What can you write to encourage them on their dad journey? How can you prepare them while their wife is pregnant? What do dads need to know about every stage in their children’s lives?

How can they make decisions with their wife about discipline? Schooling? How can they choose the appropriate technology for their children: computers, tablets, smartphones? What do they need to know about the most current social media? How can they protect their children from the predators that prowl social media?

How can a dad help his daughters become true women of God? How can he help his sons become true men of God?

How can dads teach their kids about God? Work? Family? Finances? Love? Choosing the right spouse? School? Making decisions? Finding God’s will? Forgiveness? Serving others? Patriotism? Marriage? Prayer?

The Spiritual Side of Dad

What does the Bible say about dads? What guidance does it offer to fathers? How can a dad depend on God to help he be the dad God wants him to be? How can he pass on his love for God to his children? How can he create a godly home? What is his role in the spiritual life of his children?

The Love of Single Dads

Through divorce or death, some dads become single dads. What is their role in the lives of their children? How can they build quality relationships with their children? How can they prevent custody battles from destroying that relationship?

What happens when remarriages, step-children and children with the new spouse come into the picture? How can a single dad maintain strong relationships with his children?

 

Dads are essential in the lives of their children. They love and guide their children. As writers, we can write personal experience and how-to pieces to help them. We can write devotions to help them on their spiritual journey. We can write poetry to celebrate them and include godly father-characters in our fiction. Interview inspiring dads and tell their story. Think back to your favorite Father’s Day memories and write about them – even if they took place just a few days ago.

© Deborah Christensen

Seeds of Truth: Proverbs 3:6

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:6, NLT

What does this verse mean to you? How do you seek God’s will in all you do? How does He show you which path to take? How do you discern God’s will? What role does the counsel of wise people play in your decisions? What role does the Bible play in your decisions? How do you ensure that your decisions are based on God’s Word and biblical principles? What do you do when your feelings get in the way of making a godly choice?

How can you use this verse in your writing:

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What take-away value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on the?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, relationships, school, career, work, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, impatience, anxiety, finances, prayer, etc.?

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Plowing Together: Protecting Our Children – Please Comment

Just six months ago, no one ever thought that it would be OK for men to use women’s bathrooms. Common sense, right? Suddenly, the world is turned upside down. We’ve given sexual predators access to innocent children and the OK to invade our privacy without any consequences. Common sense no longer exists.

How can you use your writing to address this issue? Please comment. Together, we can help to protect our children.

The Face of Courage

fall imageLast week, we again heard the shocking news of a school shooting. This time, it was at a community college in Oregon.

The killer targeted Christians. Reports say that he asked all the Christians to stand up and then asked them if they were a Christian. If they said yes, he shot them in the head. If they said no or didn’t answer, he shot them in the leg.

Chris Mintz is a veteran who was a student in the classroom. He rushed the killer and was shot seven times. He’s expected to live.

Imagine you were in that room. How would you have answered? What kind of courage does it take to proclaim Christ, even though you know it will cost you your life? What kind of courage does it take to rush an armed killer, knowing you could die?

Tell the Stories of Courage

Courageous people are all around us: the brave woman fighting cancer, the teenager who gives a pro-life speech to an antagonistic class, the businessman who refuses to buckle under pressure to cut corners, the bakers who stand for their religious beliefs despite the pressure to do otherwise. Tell their stories.

Interview them. Treat them with respect and they will share powerful insights with you. They’ll give you a story and take-away value to share with your readers. The personality profile you write on them may inspire someone else to live a courageous life.

Markets Want These Stories

Many Christian publications are looking for this type of personality profile. You don’t need to profile a famous person, just a person with an inspiring story to tell.

Let one of these stories inspire your fiction or poetry. Write a story for children to help them make brave choices. Write a how-to article and offer practical tips on developing courage and trusting God in the face of fear. Choose a Bible verse and write a devotion. Use the courageous person’s story as the opening anecdote.

Honor courage. It will elevate your writing to truly touch lives.

© Deborah Christensen

Plowing Together: The Funny Side of School – Please Share Your Story

When I was in high school, I had a crush on a guy for three years. We became best friends. When he finally asked me on a date—my first—I spent the entire day getting ready. It literally took me hours to get ready for that date.

I never thought about it before. I could use that as an opening anecdote for an article on expectations. I could aim it toward high schoolers.

Do you have a funny story from school? Please share it here. How can you use that story in your writing?

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Back-to-School Boogie

hibiscusFor a few weeks now, school buses rumble past my house every morning and afternoon. Kids of all ages hike to the corner, carrying backpacks. And, an eerie quiet fills the neighborhood during the day.

It’s back-to-school time. It’s also a fertile field for finding writing ideas.

How-To Pieces for Parents and Kids

Some parents are facing a year of firsts: preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school or college. What can you write to help them navigate these unchartered waters? Give them practical, step-by-step guidance on how to help their child choose classes, dress in current but modest ways, live out their faith in a school full of people who don’t believe, handle bullies. If you helped your child face one of these issues for the first time, you can share your wisdom.

What other things came up in school for your child? How did you handle them? Make a list. It might include keeping your child safe in school, helping them choose friends wisely, practical suggestions for helping kids study, dealing with difficult teachers or setting boundaries. What other issues did you and your child deal with? If you faced these things, other parents are facing them, too.

You can also write directly to kids. Your ideas can do double duty. Write an article for parents and then tailor it for kids. One idea—two different markets.

Tell Stories

Fiction offers you a creative way to guide both parents and kids to solve those pesky back-to-school issues. Incorporate the issues into a novel for adults. You probably won’t want to make it the theme. Instead, make it a sub-plot as another conflict your character must overcome.

Things change when you write for kids. School consumes their life. They deal with bullies, difficult subjects and trouble making friends every day. Create a story and offer realistic solutions. Kids will recognize pat answers. So, give them something that rings true.

Other Writing Avenues

Interview an expert or do a personality profile on someone who can help parents guide their kids through school issues. Write devotions to help both parents and kids depend on God. Remember, aim each one at your specific audience. Share your personal experience and give it take-away value. It’s not just your story. Tell either the parent or the child that they’re not alone. You’ve been there, too.

The air is crisp, the school buses are running. Write to both parents and kids to help them do the back-to-school boogie.

© Deborah Christensen

Plowing Together: Do You Need to Know the Basics? – Please Comment

Years ago, a woman I know excitedly shared a story about her daughter with our small group. She said that the teacher told the class to write a story. They didn’t need to worry about proper spelling or punctuation. Creativity was more important. Apparently, this attitude extended beyond this one story. My friend thought that was great. Why should her daughter and the other students get bogged down with the basics? That would just stifle their creativity.

I’ve been a writer and editor for several years. I live by the basics—spelling and grammar. I kept my mouth shut but the memory still burns in my mind.

Michelangelo apprenticed in sculpting and learned the basics before he created his David. Beethoven learned the basics of music before he wrote his 5th Symphony.

What do you think? Do you need to know the basics to be a writer? Please share your insights and comments.

 

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