By Dennis J. Trittin

13Like many of you, my knowledge of the Columbine story was at a 25,000-foot level. I heard, I grieved, and I prayed from afar. As a father of two, I couldn’t even imagine. And, I felt utterly helpless.

But, little did I know that one day God would arrange a connection—a match made in Heaven—between my story and theirs.

A few weeks ago I was invited by the Pure Flix team to review their upcoming film, I’m Not Ashamed, because of the synergies they saw in our respective work. My immediate thought was, “how does a film about Columbine fit with a book of wisdom for the younger generation?” That said, it was an honor to be asked to review the film … and see for myself.

That evening I watched this great film and inspirational story of Rachel Joy Scott. As a movie devotee, father, and Christian, there were so many things I appreciated about it:

  • Its “evangelism by example” approach through the life story and person of Rachel Scott
  • Its relevance to teens as they grapple with issues of identity, acceptance, disappointment, and an uncertain future
  • Its authentic depiction of the faith journey of a young believer in today’s society
  • Its uplifting message of compassion, forgiveness, and hope
  • And its inspirational story of how “God doesn’t waste the bad stuff.”

Truly, a job well done!

And now, the connection … but, first, with some background …

In 2008, I retired from an amazing 30-year investment-management career. During that time, I researched and evaluated thousands of leaders around the world, bringing me in contact with the “best and the brightest.” Knowing my heart for kids and my corporate background, God led me to an “encore career,” as an author/publisher to equip young people with the leadership skills they need to succeed. Our family founded LifeSmart Publishing, and our first book was released in 2011, What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead.

This book—described as a “Guidebook to a successful life” and a “Modern-day Proverbs”—is now in families, schools, mentor programs, and the faith community all around the world. And, it all began with a divinely inspired list I created for my son before he left for college!

Conversationally written to the teen/young adult, it covers topics like life perspective, character, relationships/communication, spiritual life, college, career, family, and finances. Though our 109 life-success pointers, it serves as a preparatory life coach for the teen and a third party voice for the parent.

And, finally: the connection! After reflecting on the film and its main character, I was astonished by how Rachel Scott modeled so many of the principles I share in my book! Would you believe there are at least 30 out of the 109 highlighted in the movie?!?

After learning more about Rachel through I’m Not Ashamed, I can’t imagine a better example to inspire young people! Clearly, my friends at Pure Flix agree.

Because of this incredible connection and the generosity of Pure Flix, I’ve been invited to create a special blog series to share some inspirational wisdom from my book that Rachel represented so well in her life. I hope it blesses you, her family, and the incredible legacy of this beautiful young lady, whose life continues to touch millions of people … just like she prayed it would!

Dennis J. Trittin is the President and CEO of LifeSmart Publishing, LLC and the author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead; and Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Learn more at