The Keys to success are Prayer, Discipline and Consistency: Denzel Washington

28 06 2014

 Denzel Washington: it not how much you have, but what you do that counts

Here is the advice Mr Washington recently gave to a group of young actors:
True desire, in the heart, for anything good, is God’s proof to you, sent before hand, to indicate that it is yours already. That dream that you have to be anything you want to be, is God’s proof to you that you already have it. Claim it!

Dreams without goals remain dreams, just dreams, and ultimately fuels disappointment. Dreams without, minute goals, hourly goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goal, remain dreams, and ultimately fuels disappointment.

Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency. Between Goals and achievement are discipline and consistency.

I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you have to get on your knees in the morning to get it. And while you are down there, thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory of God.

If you just start thinking of all the things you have to say thank you for. We all have the gift to go out and touch someone. Understand that gift, protect that gift and Treasure it.

I have been blessed to make millions of dollars but I can’t take it with me and neither can you, so it not how much you have, but what you do with what you have that counts. And we all have different gifts: some have money, some have love, and some have patience. Use it, share it that is what counts, not what you are riding in or what you are flying in. Please, please watch the VIDEO





Sometimes the Struggle is Exactly What We need: Story of the Butterfly

31 05 2014

 Sometimes the Struggle is Exactly What We need: Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled, but couldn’t seem to force its body past a certain point
Deciding something was wrong, the man took a pair of scissors and snipped the, remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body large and swollen, the wings small and shrivelled.
He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in their natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shrivelled wings.
The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are God’s way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. The “merciful” snip was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need. Parents who make life too easy for their children make life too hard for them as adult





The Simple Secret of An Amazing Woman

17 05 2014

The Simple Secret of An Amazing Woman

A famous writer tells the following story about herself: Occasionally I meet someone who seems to have a secret, some special knowledge that sets that person apart. Such a person was Ruby Free. I met her when she was conducting a Holy Land tour.
I said to myself, “She must have a secret. How else can she accomplish so much, so easily?”
I envied her. She was a good listener, a trouble shooter, an organizer, a mother-hen to all 72 of us … and a real mother to her two children. Yet, she never tired; she was never out of sorts. I wanted to know what her secret was.
Then, back home, I visited Ruby. And I discovered her secret. There it was, a two-word motto over her kitchen sink. It said: “YES, LORD.”
Her willingness to do anything God wants was the secret of her success.





John Paul II Helped Me Become a Husband says Swiss Guard

28 04 2014

John Paul II Helped Me Become a Husband says Swiss Guard

Hundreds of thousands of people will descend on Vatican City today to witness the canonization of two former Popes, John Paul II and John XXIII.

Mario Enzler won’t know what it feels like to be among them, but as a former member of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, he knows what it feels like to have protected a soon-to-be saint.
“To me, there is sadness to not physically be there, but huge happiness because these two men, I knew that they were saints,” Enzler said Saturday from his office at New England Classical Academy in Claremont, where he is headmaster.
Enzler lives in Stoddard with his wife, Julie, and their five children. The couple met in Rome. He was a Swiss Guard, she an American studying theology.

He served in the Guard from 1989 to 1992, meeting world leaders, including U.S. Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa; they were all humbled and small in John Paul II’s presence.
John Paul II had a great sense of humor and a way of making the Swiss Guard feel comfortable and cared for, Enzler said.

As the canonization approached, Enzler was flooded by memories of John Paul, including a day in which the Pope, having passed Enzler at his post, walked back to him and handed over his rosary. The Pope said to Enzler, “The rosary is my favorite prayer, marvelous in its simplicity and profundity. Take this rosary and make good use of it.”
Enzler kept the rosary in his pocket and found himself praying throughout the day because of it. Today, he continues to look to John Paul II when he is searching for an answer and when he is praying.

“I go to the Lord because I’m a man of faith, but I go to the Lord through John Paul II most of the time,” Enzler said.

More than anything, the Pope led by example. Enzler remembers the intensity with which John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist, “how he remained deeply recollected in prayer at the conclusion of Mass, and the devotion with which he spoke spontaneously of Jesus and Mary.”
Over the years, Enzler’s feeling of connection with John XXIII has also grown. In his wallet are some words John XXIII said shortly after he became Pope, in 1958.

“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself with not what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do.”
Like Enzler, John XXIII grew up in the Italian village of Sotto Il Monte.

“I was born in Italy of an Italian mother and Swiss father,” Enzler said.

Enzler grew up Catholic, but didn’t take his faith that seriously as a youth, he said.

He joined the Swiss Army to appease his father, who thought he could do with a dose of reality. His knowledge of languages and his education prompted a superior officer to recommend he apply to become a Swiss Guard.
Enzler immediately took to this idea and applied, believing it would be fun. The uniform was cool and the position impressive.

“That’s the ‘Bella Vita,’ is what we say in Rome,” he said. “My motivation at the beginning was not to go down and protect the Pope.”

He was accepted, trained and assigned.

The first time he met John Paul II and shook his hand, the gravity of his position hit him; Enzler wasn’t in Rome to impress the girls.

“This man is special. This man is something I need to understand,” Enzler recalled thinking.

Enzler left the Swiss Guard to marry and work as a corporate lawyer in Europe, but he left deeply changed by John Paul II.

“John Paul II impacted my life in profound ways, laying the groundwork for my becoming a husband, father, businessman, teacher and most importantly a practicing Catholic. It was his leadership that inspired me, his charisma that gave me hope, and his words that provided direction to my life,” Enzler said.
Enzler and his wife started New England Classical Academy in 2009. The school is not associated with the Diocese of Manchester, but teaches in the “Catholic tradition.”

Enzler said serving his community is a calling he has now because of John Paul II. “I am serving this community because I learned how to serve by serving a saint.”





Marry Late, Divorce Early By Mary Eberstadt

3 01 2014

Late marriageAlas and alack, the end of summer turned out to abound in the sort of personal news one really dreads hearing – especially the more one hears it. Several friends and acquaintances now have the same problem in common: they are all getting divorced. And though every divorce is apparently unhappy in its own way, the similarities among these cases are striking enough to suggest some common denominators. All have occurred among older, married, financially (and apparently otherwise) stable people. All have involved small families – most often, an only child. And each was a shock.
All of these divorcing partners, in other words, had ostensibly followed today’s secular wisdom about marital happiness to a T: don’t rush into marriage, take time to find yourself first, establish your own career before settling down, don’t have more children than you can afford. So what went wrong?
I suggest that at least part of the answer – and by extension, perhaps part of the explanation for the staggering Western divorce rate more generally – might be summarized in two words: late marriage. Of course, we can all conjure examples of blissful marriages made in mid-life or even later, just as we can all think of early ones that have been flaming disasters. But if we step back from individual cases and look instead to the general good, the pluses of early marriage do loom large.
Many a sociologist would quarrel with that point, of course. Teen marriages, they remind us, are in fact the most likely to break up. As the contrary-minded sociologist Mark Regnerus has recently observed, that cautionary note is true – and truly misleading; for who said we were talking about teens here? What about marriage in the slightly higher demographic – say, people in their twenties? Why aren’t our churches and other organizations dedicated to family life encouraging more of that?
Regnerus has written a compelling essay in the August 2009 Christianity Today called “The Case for Early Marriage.” He zeroes in first on one particular (and rarely discussed) problem with discouraging early marriage: it means that men and women generally are expected to stay chaste during the same years that are best for childbearing, and in fact far longer than many of them will. “Over 90 percent of Americans,” he observes, “experience sexual intercourse before marrying,” and “the percentage of evangelicals who do so is not much lower.” (The percentage of Catholics probably isn’t, either.) Yes, abstinence education is all to the good, and yes, religious teaching itself is not at issue here; to the contrary, it is a given. “I’m certainly not suggesting,” the author concludes, “that they cannot abstain. I’m suggesting that in the domain of sex, most of them don’t and won’t.”
Regnerus goes on to detail other drawbacks to waiting till today’s fashionably older ages to tie the knot. It encourages men to have a ridiculously prolonged adolescence, as the popular “culture” of many twenty-something males readily demonstrates; it encourages churches to lean too heavily on sexual ecstasy as the foundation of marriage itself; it forces many women, especially believing Christian women, to look long and hard for a suitable partner in a world where many men their age have become anything but; and very seriously indeed, such waiting risks compromising the fertility of any woman who wants to have a family of size – sometimes even the fertility of any woman who wants a child, period.
To these minuses admirably addressed by Regnerus, I would add one other potential plus for earlier marriage that sociologists have yet to grapple with: treating marriage like the home version of Waiting for Godot also risks perpetuating a kind of human consumerism, a habit that cannot possibly be good for anyone.
After all, once a sufficiently large number of relationships have all failed to lead to marriage for one reason or another, it becomes terribly tempting to view the whole enterprise as more like comparison shopping than spiritual discernment. For example, I once knew a man who had dated a great many women by his late twenties – so many that his friends privately rejoiced when one finally appeared who seemed perfect for him. They shared the same religion, political views, and other interests; she was smart, successful, and what today would be called a real babe, to boot. Yet the consumer’s diffident response upon meeting her rang far more of the Consumer Checkbook than of the swain. “I’m not sure,” he temporized. “Her complexion seems really sallow.” Needless to say, no walk down the aisle.
This is what comes of people shopping, perhaps – the destructive habit of making comparative checklists about human beings. No one does it consciously, of course; but still the pernicious voice of experience assesses the goods. He gained thirty pounds, and my other boyfriends never would have, it tells some people, or she looks great for her age, but not as great as my secretary who’s ten years younger, and if only I had married X, Y, or Z instead, we wouldn’t be having all these financial/medical/romantic problems.
Of course there are good reasons to wait for marriage, chiefly that it is the single most important earthly decision that many of us will make, and that the world we live in does indeed make it easier than ever for things to fall apart. That said, from the point of view of trying to bring more, rather than fewer, thriving families into that same world, Regnerus is right: there’s much to be said for bucking the prevailing cultural aversion and marrying young.

Mary Eberstadt is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution





We Wish You A Merry Christmas ! May God Bless You

22 12 2013

 We Wish You A Merry Christmas ! May God Bless You

The various enemies of Christmas have managed to remove from the public gaze most of its once common external signs. We see few mangers. Everything Christian is swept out or sanitized. What Christmas is finds itself removed. One might argue that things like the Christmas tree itself, the Yule log, or even sentimentalized snow are, in fact, steps to remove any specific Christmas meaning.

Christmas has become a “winter festival,” whatever that is. “Dreaming of a White Christmas” shifted attention from the feast to its atmosphere. “Adeste fideles” and “Silent Night” we still hear, of course. We try to be “joyful and triumphant,” as if the event of Christmas had nothing to do with what causes the joy. We are to be festive without a reason. The increasing emptiness of the feast gnaws at our souls.

Christmas is now a feast without a cause. Folks do not, however, want to give up the days off, the presents, the good feelings, the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” So they are kept without the religious mood that caused them to come about in the first place. We have gone through this elimination of the Christmas theme before. But what interests me is why Christmas in particular, by all odds the most popular of Christian feasts, has found itself under such attack? We cannot even have symbolic signs of its significance or meaning. Why is Christmas feared? Why is it dangerous?

One reason is, supposedly, that it “offends” the sensitivities of those of other religious persuasions. They have delicate consciences. The older notion of “I will tolerate your quirks if you tolerate mine” is not present here. Christmas is what offends. Why is this?

Chesterton’s poem, “The Wise Men,” reads: “Step softly, under snow and rain, / To find the place where men can pray; / The way is all so very plain / That we may lose the way.” Christmas is feared because it is true. If true, it is dangerous. We cannot just ignore it, much as we try. “So very simple is the road, / That we may stray from it. / … And the whole heaven shouts and shakes, / For God Himself is born again….” We may stray from the road.

How odd to have a plain road on which we can lose our way. This not-wanting-to-know about “God Himself” born again is a voluntary act. We do not want to be reminded of the manger. We do not want to see those who actually rejoice in the Christmas Mass, in the family unity about the Holy Family.

We have instead warm colors, winter fests, animals, snow, presents. We do not have the manger, the angels singing on high. And the Word made flesh to dwell amongst us? This we do not want to reckon with.

          No fear here: “The Nativity with God the Father and the Holy Ghost” 
        (Giovanni Battista Pittoni, c. 1740)

If Christmas is just a myth, we can let it alone. But what if it is a history, an event, an account of what happened in the time of Caesar Augustus, “when the whole world was at peace?” We do everything possible to prevent ourselves from considering the implications of this fact.

Christopher Dawson once remarked that, on the morning after the Nativity, the leading papers of Jerusalem, Rome, or Athens – had there been such – would not have announced it. It was not important. From the beginning, the Nativity was only known by a few. It is an event that is “too good to be true.” But that is precisely what it is not. It is true. Its good is something we should know and want to know. Indeed, within the Christian corpus is the sometimes upsetting mandate to make this event and its consequences known to “all nations.” Even if they do not want to hear of it? It seems so.

The fear of Christmas is something even more basic, or perhaps more sinister. Why is that? It is one thing simply not to know something because we have never encountered it or thought about it. It is another thing when, having heard of it, we refuse to allow it to be known. We organize our polity in such a way that every obstacle is put in the way of knowing it.

We are not yet like the countries which seek to prevent private expressions or celebration of Christmas. But with developments such as our increasing denial that marriage is of a man and a woman, we belong to the same mentality. We have taken the first step, and perhaps more than the first.

Christmas is a dangerous feast. We fear it. We do not allow ourselves to consider it. Yet, somehow, we still envy those who know this feast of domesticity. “Unto us a Child is born.” “What Child is this?” If this Child is indeed “Christ the Lord,” what happens to us who make every effort to prevent its truth from being known?..Robert Royal

 

 

 





How to Raise Boys Who Read by Mr. Spence

17 12 2013

How to Raise Boys Who Read by  Mr. Spence

When I was a young boy, America’s elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can’t read.
According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, for example, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. This disparity goes back to 1992, and in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents.
The good news is that influential people have noticed this problem. The bad news is that many of them have perfectly awful ideas for solving it.
Everyone agrees that if boys don’t read well, it’s because they don’t read enough. But why don’t they read? A considerable number of teachers and librarians believe that boys are simply bored by the “stuffy” literature they encounter in school. According to a revealing Associated Press story in July these experts insist that we must “meet them where they are”—that is, pander to boys’ untutored tastes.
For elementary- and middle-school boys, that means “books that exploit [their] love of bodily functions and gross-out humor.” AP reported that one school librarian treats her pupils to “grossology” parties. “Just get ’em reading,” she counsels cheerily. “Worry about what they’re reading later.”

Corbis
Not with ‘gross-out’ books and video-game bribes.
There certainly is no shortage of publishers ready to meet boys where they are. Scholastic has profitably catered to the gross-out market for years with its “Goosebumps” and “Captain Underpants” series. Its latest bestsellers are the “Butt Books,” a series that began with “The Day My Butt Went Psycho.”
The more venerable houses are just as willing to aim low. Penguin, which once used the slogan, “the library of every educated person,” has its own “Gross Out” line for boys, including such new classics as “Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger.”
Workman Publishing made its name telling women “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” How many of them expected they’d be buying “Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty” a few years later from the same publisher? Even a self-published author like Raymond Bean—nom de plume of the fourth-grade teacher who wrote “SweetFarts”—can make it big in this genre. His flatulence-themed opus hit no. 3 in children’s humor on Amazon. The sequel debuts this fall.
Education was once understood as training for freedom. Not merely the transmission of information, education entailed the formation of manners and taste. Aristotle thought we should be raised “so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought; this is the right education.”
“Plato before him,” writes C. S. Lewis, “had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful.”
This kind of training goes against the grain, and who has time for that? How much easier to meet children where they are.
One obvious problem with the SweetFarts philosophy of education is that it is more suited to producing a generation of barbarians and morons than to raising the sort of men who make good husbands, fathers and professionals. If you keep meeting a boy where he is, he doesn’t go very far.
The other problem is that pandering doesn’t address the real reason boys won’t read. My own experience with six sons is that even the squirmiest boy does not require lurid or vulgar material to sustain his interest in a book.
So why won’t boys read? The AP story drops a clue when it describes the efforts of one frustrated couple with their 13-year-old unlettered son: “They’ve tried bribing him with new video games.” Good grief.
The appearance of the boy-girl literacy gap happens to coincide with the proliferation of video games and other electronic forms of entertainment over the last decade or two. Boys spend far more time “plugged in” than girls do. Could the reading gap have more to do with competition for boys’ attention than with their supposed inability to focus on anything other than outhouse humor?
Dr. Robert Weis, a psychology professor at Denison University, confirmed this suspicion in a randomized controlled trial of the effect of video games on academic ability. Boys with video games at home, he found, spend more time playing them than reading, and their academic performance suffers substantially. Hard to believe, isn’t it, but Science has spoken.
The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple—keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books.
People who think that a book—even R.L. Stine’s grossest masterpiece—can compete with the powerful stimulation of an electronic screen are kidding themselves. But on the level playing field of a quiet den or bedroom, a good book like “Treasure Island” will hold a boy’s attention quite as well as “Zombie Butts from Uranus.” Who knows—a boy deprived of electronic stimulation might even become desperate enough to read Jane Austen.
Most importantly, a boy raised on great literature is more likely to grow up to think, to speak, and to write like a civilized man. Whom would you prefer to have shaped the boyhood imagination of your daughter’s husband—Raymond Bean or Robert Louis Stevenson?
I offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?
Mr. Spence is president of Spence Publishing Company in Dallas.

 








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