Formative: a new blog series

Over the past week, football coaches have been on my mind. This is because my dearly beloved Cleveland Browns are searching for their 14th full-time coach in franchise history. I watched a good chunk of the Fiesta Bowl so I could scout out Oregon’s Chip Kelly. And I spent way too much time on Friday and Saturday tracking on Twitter Kelly’s dinner plans. He was the Browns’ first choice, but when he went wishy-washy, they walked away.

And now, they’re back to square one. They are making lists of candidates and interviewing potential coaches. The off-season is always the most hopeful time to be a Browns fan.

In a coaching search, one thing is always a big concern – that particular coach’s family tree. Whom did he learn under? From whom did he get his coaching philosophy? Who are the other coaches he coached with? Interesting (to me, anyway) articles have been written about the various NFL coaching trees – those who came from Paul Brown, those who came from Bill Walsh, those who came from Bill Parcells, those who came from Bill Belichick.

The question of coaching trees is a question of formation. Who formed you? With whom have you rubbed shoulders that has made you the way you are? These are important questions, not just when you are picking a new head coach for your football team, but also when you are evaluating your own life.

I tell you all of this as a way of getting to my point. Which is … in my attempt to blog more frequently and more consistently, I am excited to let you know about a new series here on my blog. I’m calling it FORMATIVE.


Each week, I’m going to blog about someone, some place, some book, some event, some thing of some kind that has been formative in my life.

I find it interesting to here about the stories about how people have become the people they are.

Who has influenced them?

Why do they care about what they care about?

What’s the backstory?

What unexpected thing captured their attention and changed their life?

And so I’m going to tell you some of mine. Just like anybody else, I have my own list of people, places, and things that have formed me. Some are probably expected while others might surprise you. Tuesdays are going to be the day that I tell you these stories.

I think it’s important to recognize and even celebrate those things and people that have been formative in our lives. It is a humbling discipline to intentionally admit that I did not get here on my own. I have been influenced. I have been encouraged. I have been shaped by the lives, thinking, words, and actions of others. I would not be who I am if I had not come into contact with these others. That’s what Formative is about.

So … get ready. Get excited. Get down and boogie. Formative starts tomorrow. And maybe the Browns will have a new coach by then too.


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