Expecting more than a baby
Two women. Each anticipating an eagerly awaited baby. One hospital room. No, they didn't give birth together but merely shared a room for a few days for some pre-natal procedures and struck up a friendship along the way.
...I found myself laid up in the hospital with premature contractions, expecting kid number two. Kid number one had arrived in the seventh month, and the doctors were just a wee bit nervous about the outcome of this one.
My roommate was a woman who had been through the long struggle of infertility, and now that she was finally full with new life, the doctors weren't taking any chances.
We struck up a fast and tender friendship, as these situations often lend themselves to doing. We were at exactly the same stage of the game. We lay there together each morning, strapped with monitor belts, listening to the steady "thump, thump" of our unborn children. We fell in love with the signs of life within us. There was a palpable sense that there were four of us in that room.
Read this touching story.
Coming to Terms
By Yael Mermelstein
posted by sunnyday at 10:08 AM
What one of 17 siblings says
That's 18-year-old Dimitry talking, whose parents Vladimir and Zynaida Chernenko welcomed their 17th child early this month. In the Chernenko household, it's love and a big heart that overcome the sometimes daunting task of raising a big family.
I can't help but recall a remark made by a friend of mine who belongs to a family of 8 (or is it 9?). She and I were talking about growing up in a big family (I'm the youngest of a brood of 7) and she was relating experiences from childhood spent in her hometown of Bacolod (several hours south of Manila). "I always thought that the normal thing was for everybody to eat half a cheek of mango whenever there were mangoes around, because that was the way in our family," she recounts matter-of-factly.
We both laughed after she said it, amused at those innocent assumptions that children normally have. But we did agree that growing up with brothers and sisters around provided so many opportunities to learn and acquire the habit of sharing. When you don't have the luxury of having the bathroom, the TV, the telephone, the space (and the mangoes) all to yourself, and instead are taught to share and consider others in the household, it's easier to understand that the world doesn't revolve around you and your concerns. Learning to adjust (sans grudges -- or with less of them!) to other people's needs, not to mention learning to use the bathroom faster, are also among the rewards of growing up in a big family especially when parents foster the "love and a big heart" atmosphere that the Chernenko family mentioned back there.
Anyway, here's the full story about Mr. and Mrs. Chernenko and their welcoming their newest addition to the family:
Couple with 17 children says love conquers fear
A Ukrainian-American family that welcomed its 17th child on December 7 may be the largest in the USA, says the Russian language paper, The Speaker. Vladimir and Zynaida Chernenko emigrated from the Ukraine seven years ago and settled in California. The Christian couple admit that the work and financial difficulties of raising their large family can be daunting. But they overcome fear with "love and a big heart", says Vladimir, a security and maintenance worker for a charter school.
The Chernenko's eldest child is now 22, and the older ones share responsibility for the younger ones. Says 18-year-old Dimitry, "I talk to my friends and they are worried their family has only one child or two. They go home to nothing. I come home from school and I'm never bored. You always have something to do." The parents plan it that way. "Our goal is to raise the children so when they grow up they will not be afraid of anything in life," Zynaida says. "I think if every family approaches it that way, we will have a very healthy society." ~ Yahoo News, Dec 16
"When a mother of a big brood was asked how she manages to divide her love
among her little ones, she replied with a sparkle in her eye, 'I don't divide my
love, I multiply it.' "
posted by sunnyday at 9:43 AM
A postscript to 'Stille Nacht'
For 22 years I looked after the spiritual needs of senior citizen homes. Volunteers helped. Among them was Anna Cairnduf, a lady who hails from a mountain town in Austria. She's the grand niece of Father Joseph Mohr, the writer of the Christmas carol "Silent Night" which for a long time was ignored. Why?
Great music is expected from great cities and great Cathedrals but hardly from a poor, cold, drafty little mountain church, where a few days before Christmas in 1818, a hungry mouse chewed through the bellows of the old organ, silencing it. Oh no! No music for Christmas.
Read the story in full at LifeSite
posted by sunnyday at 3:44 PM
When a child is born
By Kelly Crane, Staff Reporter
Christmas Day was made extra special for three Dubai families as they were each handed their little bundles of joy.
The overjoyed new mums and dads all said they couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.
Full story at GulfNews
posted by sunnyday at 2:42 PM
Wishing you all and your families a peaceful and blessed Christmas, blanketed with the love of the Baby in the manger
posted by sunnyday at 9:26 AM
Putting the light back into the festivities
Here's something to put some focus in our celebration of the season, which I got from Feminine Genius --
Counsel from the Holy Father:
Christmas reminds us of this inner, divine light which announces again the final victory of the love of God over sin and death. For this reason, in the current Novena of Holy Christmas, there are many, significant references to light.
The Saviour people were waiting for is greeted as the ‘Rising Star’, the one that points the way, the one that leads men away from wondering in darkness and in the dangers of the world towards the Salvation God promised and Jesus Christ fulfilled.
Let us get ready to joyfully celebrate the Saviour’s birth in our families and ecclesial communities. Although in our modern, consumer-oriented culture Christian symbols have tended to disappear from Christmas celebrations, let everyone hold fast to the meaning of Christmas traditions, legacy our faith and culture, and pass them on to the next generation.
As we look at our streets and squares decorated with flashing lights, let us remember another light, invisible to the eye but not the heart.
As we admire them, as we light candles in the churches, as we turn on the lights of the crèche or the Christmas tree in our houses, let our souls open to the true spiritual light brought to all men of good will.
posted by sunnyday at 9:23 AM
The Nativity in ink
By artist He Qi, from China
Ink and color paper
Asian Christian Art Association
posted by sunnyday at 9:13 AM
When 'thank you' is engraved in the heart
It turns what we have into enough, and more...
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
- Melody Beattie
posted by sunnyday at 10:21 PM
The tradition of having a nativity scene or "crèche" was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi. It is a reproduction of the cave in Bethlehem with Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in a manger, shepherds, angels, and animals. Each night during Advent, children are encouraged to place in the manger one piece of straw for each good deed done that day by a family member. This Advent tradition combines the spirit of conversion and the coming of Jesus.
Many of us (especially those from the Philippines) grew up accustomed to the sight of the Nativity scene -- or what we often call the "Belen" -- during Christmastime. We had a simple one at home, and it was a staple in every parish as well. Shopping malls usually had more elaborate Nativity sets, and walking along Ayala Avenue, around Ortigas Center or any financial district would let one set eyes on creatively fashioned scenes depicting that now familiar night in Bethlehem, on building facades, rooftops, lobbies, drop-off points. In researching about the Belen, I discovered quite a few things and many different renditions of the Nativity. Talented artists are aplenty indeed!
This is where you'll get some interesting general tidbits on history and the significance of other symbols of the season such as Christmas lights, the tree, the candle, window lights, holly and the delightful poinsettia.
This website called Spanish Nativity is a gem, for it opened my eyes to the whole new world of creches and the fact that there are associations of Belen makers from Spain and other nations! Today also I learned that "Belen" actually means "Bethlehem" -- from this site as well (my mother was hardly surprised as I reported to her this new thing I learned today; I guess "Belen" meaning "Bethlehem" is common knowledge to other people but me). Anyway, check out the site if only to enjoy the pictures. Needless to say, Spain's Nativity sets are not like the ones I'm used to.
While you're at it, you might as well pass by Hans Gruener's website which, besides featuring more Nativity scenes of different styles, gives you some brief and wonderful messages about the season, accompanying each photo.
posted by sunnyday at 9:08 PM
Car still there -- with diamond ring
Fri Dec 16,10:44 AM ET
BOSTON (Reuters) - Are diamonds really forever?
An anonymous gift-giver left a $15,000 diamond engagement ring to the owner of an unlocked car in western Massachusetts with a typed note hinting at a broken heart.
"Merry Christmas. Thank you for leaving your car door unlocked. Instead of stealing your car I gave you a present. Hopefully this will land in the hands of someone you love, for my love is gone now. Merry Christmas to you," the note said.
The three-diamond ring with a white-gold band appeared on the seat of the man's car at a train station in Westborough, about 30 miles west of Boston, on December 7, police said. Four days later, the man reported it to police.
"This appears to be random," said Westborough Police Lt. Paul Donnelly. "I think there was a search for a car that was unlocked."
The 37-year-old man decided to keep the ring after a jeweler appraised its value at $15,000, police said.
posted by sunnyday at 5:30 PM
Stille nacht, heilige nacht
One of my favorite movies about Christmas is the one that has been shown on the Hallmark channel several times. It tells of the story about a mother, her little son and a bleak Christmas in their little cabin in Germany during World War 2. It's called "Silent Night" and none of the cast except Linda Hamilton are familiar to me, but the movie remains unforgettable.
Silent Night, however, is better known as a traditional Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in German by Josef Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz X. Gruber. The version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber's original.
It is believed that the carol has been translated into over 300 languages around the world, and it is one of the most popular carols of all time. It is often sung without musical accompaniment. It is given special significance in the Lutheran Church.
The carol was first performed in the Nicola-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria on December 25, 1818. Mohr had composed the words much earlier, in 1816, but on Christmas Eve brought them to Gruber and asked him to compose a guitar accompaniment for them. The reason for this is unclear — perhaps Mohr simply wanted a new carol for the Midnight Mass, but tradition has it that the organ at the Nicola-Kirche was not working that night (a popular version of the story claims that mice had eaten out the bellows).
If you'd like to read the rest, it's at Wikipedia
* * * * *
Think you can sing this classic Christmas carol in German?
Original German lyrics:
- Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht!
- Alles schläft, einsam wacht
- Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
- Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
- Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh,
- Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh
- Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
- Hirten erst kundgemacht
- Durch der Engel Hallelujah,
- Tönt es laut von fern und nah,
- Christ, der Retter ist da,
- Christ, der Retter ist da!
- Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
- Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
- Lieb aus Deinem göttlichen Mund,
- Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund,
- Christ, in Deiner Geburt,
- Christ, in Deiner Geburt!
- English lyrics:
- Silent night Holy night
- All is calm all is bright
- 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
- Holy infant so tender and mild
- Sleep in heavenly peace
- Sleep in heavenly peace
- Silent night, holy night,
- Shepherds quake at the sight.
- Glories stream from heaven afar,
- Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
- Christ the Savior is born;
- Christ the Savior is born.
- Silent night, holy night,
- Son of God, love's pure light.
- Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
- With the dawn of redeeming grace,
- Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth;
- Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
posted by sunnyday at 1:24 PM
When your gadgets get in the way
A study in the December issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family finds that cellphones and pagers interfere with family life by bringing job worries and problems home. Interviews with working couples - many with children - revealed that cellphone use tends to decrease family satisfaction and increase distress. "People felt they couldn't turn them off," says Noelle Chesley, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who conducted the study. "I couldn't find evidence of benefits."
One mother in her stress-management class boasted that her cellphone enabled her to attend all of her daughter's school activities. "I don't miss anything," she told the group. "Yes, you do," Mandel countered, explaining that when the woman went on a hay ride with her daughter and other children, she spent the whole time on the phone. "Her body was present, but she wasn't there emotionally," Mandel says. "That sends a very ambivalent statement to a child. Sometimes it's better not to be there. To be on the phone with business is ignoring the child."
Sentenced to a cell(phone)
By Marilyn Gardner
posted by sunnyday at 9:44 AM
Decorating as a family affair
Our Christmas tree is up; all our Christmas decorations have been in place since late November. So I'll give the home-made decor ideas (like the one in the picture) a try next year.
I was over at A peek inside the fishbowl and saw Andrea's wonderful ornaments which she fashioned together with her family. The paper chain with the red and green links you see in the pic was a family project, according to her, which everybody is mighty proud of! You can also have your kids make their own tree ornaments, finished off with a nice photo of them, like what one of Andrea's daughters did.
She's got lots of creative ideas on fun (and inexpensive) decorating. Check out this post and this other one to see what I mean.
When the whole family is involved in putting the Christmas spirit around the home via decorations, people get more into the season in some way. And, there's more of a sense of belonging that everyone in the family can take comfort in.
posted by sunnyday at 12:24 AM
'Tell me a story'
By Marilyn Gardner
"Tell me a story" ranks as one of the oldest, most primal requests, filled with hope and eager anticipation. Stories serve as connectors. Whether profound or trivial, poignant or silly, they draw listeners together, uniting them, however briefly.
And few stories bring people together like those told during Christmas. Of course, the most wondrous of all narratives, central to the holiday, is the biblical account of a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem.
* * * * *
A third kind of holiday story remains invisible to the outside world, but central to family life. It features homespun tales recalling previous Christmases. Passed from grandparents and parents to children, these stories involve everything from traditions to feasts to gifts and acts of kindness, given or received.
Taken singly, such anecdotes could appear to be simply an exercise in nostalgia. But collectively, they form a patchwork of memories that open windows onto cultures, customs, and family ties.
A friend's mother sometimes told her family about being a child in wartime England. Because goods were rationed, she received only fruit and nuts for Christmas. Today, when her extended family gathers for a bountiful celebration at her New Jersey home, the stockings still contain only fruit and nuts - humbling reminders of leaner times from long ago.
Read the full story at the Christian Science Monitor
posted by sunnyday at 11:28 PM
Beyond holiday ho-ho-ho
In their book, Saving Childhood, Michael and Diane Medved talk about why traditions are so important: "Rituals offer more than just warm memories. Special behaviors give your family its identity, and assure your children a comforting place" (208). Traditions initiated and repeated with the ones we love have a way of making us feel like we belong to something special. As critical as that is when we're young, it's no less important when we grow up.
Read more (and get more ideas) at Boundless webzine
posted by sunnyday at 4:05 PM
Of wreaths and poinsettias
Less than two weeks to go before Christmas Day and you're probably immersed in work, which normally piles up during this time of the year. Well, in the next couple of weeks there will be more things to do, including preparations for get-togethers, gift-giving, out-of-town trips (if these are among your holiday traditions) etc.
Don't let the season pass by like a typhoon, leaving you reeling and exhausted without even taking a minute or two to ponder what it's all about. Hopefully, this post will help you weave in the significance of Christmas into your days as you go about business as usual throughout the rest of the month. I plan to post a couple more Christmas-related tidbits in the next week to keep up with the season.
Though we're on the third week of Advent already (the Advent season this year started Nov. 27), it's not too late to try to know more about it. We have our own advent wreath at home but to me it's been acquiring more than mere decor status as I learned more about the significance of the season.
The word Advent is from the Latin adventus for "coming" and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas. Advent always contains four Sundays, beginning on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, (November 30) and continuing until December 24. It blends together a penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, and a joyful theme of getting ready for the Bethlehem event.
The traditional color of Advent is purple or violet which symbolizes the penitential spirit.
Customarily the Advent Wreath is constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which are inserted four candles. According to tradition, three of the candles are violet and the fourth is rose. However, four violet or white candles may also be used.
The rose candle is lit the third Sunday of Advent, for this color anticipates and symbolizes joy.
And here's a tidbit on the poinsettia...
Poinsettias are associated with Christmas as the lily is with Easter. In Mexico it blooms at Christmas time and is called the "Flower of the Holy Night." Its name is from the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Poinsett.
posted by sunnyday at 3:57 PM
Strollers and salads
Everybody needs some Kidwarmers now and then...
Kailey, 3, has been blessed with a new baby sister. Kailey has been a little jealous of her new sister. One day their mother took the baby for a ride in the stroller. The baby decided she didn't like being in the stroller and she started screaming to be picked up. Kailey asked if she could ride in the stroller, because she liked it. Her mother said, "Where would we put the baby?" Kailey's response: "Put her back in your tummy!" -- Judy McKnight (grandmother of Kailey and newborn Kaitlyn) of Germantown, Maryland
One evening, when Kelly was about 2, she kept pointing at the salad her mother had made and said, "More cute numbers, Mama, more cute numbers!" She was referring to the cucumbers. Kelly is now a 20-year-old college student and she still loves salad with "cute numbers"! -- Andrea (mother of Kelly) of Pennsylvania
From Kidwarmers (it's the one with the sky-blue background)
posted by sunnyday at 10:33 AM
Love, affection, and your daughter's outfit
The girls who dress the most outrageously are often those most starved for adult male attention, first and foremost from their fathers. This happens most commonly with girls whose fathers have disappeared from their lives, perhaps following a divorce, or because their workaholic schedules leave them little time for their children. Children who are raised with attention and affection tend to identify with and admire their parents. This identification is the basis for both discipline and the transmission of values. Without it, parents can't do their job.
I often recommend that fathers be the parent to take the lead in setting limits on their daughters' dress, because opposite sex offspring typically cut that parent more slack. Fathers can say, "Honey, you can't wear that. I know teenage boys -- I was one!" A dad like this is looking out for his daughter and treating her as someone special.
You can stop right here and check out the piece at The Washington Post. Or, you can scroll down further for another, more forthright excerpt from the same article...
Another even bigger problem I see is indecision: Parents lack confidence in their instincts and in their judgment. Previous generations had no trouble making hard and fast rules. Parents in those days looked like and conducted themselves as adults and role models; kids and teenagers wanted to grow up and get the perks of adult life as soon as possible. Therapists see the inverse today. There are lots of parents who are uncomfortable with their grownup role and want to be young again; their kids don't want to grow up, or wish to postpone it as long as possible.
Nothing beats reading the whole article to see the entire context; besides, some popular culture tidbits from history put the author's assertions in the proper perspective. On a personal note, one thing I found quite succinct and which may help in talking to young people about appreciating modesty and love for oneself is this response to a query titled "Need help for my niece" at Modestly Yours --
Two summers ago I listened to Lisa Bevere's 4-disc talk, "Purity's Power." In it she says the following: "If you want a prince, you need to act like a princess." I absolutely love this, and I think it might help you. The main argument here is centered on what type of men do women want to attract? Ms. Bevere draws an analogy to gift wrapping. Obviously, when you have a very special gift to give, you wrap it up neatly, beautifully, and with care. Well, our bodies are special gifts not only given to us, but also someday to be given to a spouse. How do you want to "wrap" yourself? A woman, and all that she is both body and soul, is beautiful and precious. Dressing modestly both reflects and respects this beauty and value. Finally, to go back to my original thought, every girl is a princess. But if she wants to attract a prince -- somebody who sees the laughter in her eyes, the smile on her face, and who listens to what she has to say -- she needs to act like the princess that she is, otherwise how can he find her?
Two summers ago I listened to Lisa Bevere's 4-disc talk, "Purity's Power." In it she says the following: "If you want a prince, you need to act like a princess." I absolutely love this, and I think it might help you. The main argument here is centered on what type of men do women want to attract? Ms. Bevere draws an analogy to gift wrapping. Obviously, when you have a very special gift to give, you wrap it up neatly, beautifully, and with care. Well, our bodies are special gifts not only given to us, but also someday to be given to a spouse. How do you want to "wrap" yourself? A woman, and all that she is both body and soul, is beautiful and precious. Dressing modestly both reflects and respects this beauty and value.
Finally, to go back to my original thought, every girl is a princess. But if she wants to attract a prince -- somebody who sees the laughter in her eyes, the smile on her face, and who listens to what she has to say -- she needs to act like the princess that she is, otherwise how can he find her?
posted by sunnyday at 10:20 AM
Art and soul
I love representations of angels in artwork. I particularly fancy those that depict the angels as either brandishing swords or blowing into trumpets. Angels in courageous-looking stance are a great reminder of their being our valiant defenders against harm; and can any bad news follow the blowing of trumpets? It's always a piece of good news they deliver, as it was on that night of the first Christmas -- lucky shepherds for being the first to be told by heaven's messengers about the great news.
This angel illustration you see here is by an American artist named Claire Flint.
Happy weekend to all and I hope that amid the constant -- sometimes frenzied -- activity that the season is bringing as Christmas Day approaches, you are able to ponder on the meaning of Advent so as to bring significance into the season for you beyond the toys and tinsel.
posted by sunnyday at 10:47 PM
A daddy and his little boy
Early this morning I heard my son sneaking into my room and I immediately called out from under the covers, "Good morning!"
He replied, "Ahh, I was going to say that! How did you know?"
I told him, "You're my son. We have a mental connection."
"Oh, then what am I thinking right now?"
I guessed what he always has on his mind in the morning, "You want me to get up and fix you some breakfast."
His priceless reply: "No, I'm thinking how much I love my daddy."
posted by sunnyday at 8:19 PM
The problem with an almost-perfect genetic world
MIA PETERSON is not a fan of tests. Because she has Down syndrome, she says, she cannot always think as fast as she would like to and tests end up making her feel judged. A recent driving test, for instance, ended in frustration. Ms. Peterson, 31, the chief of self-advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society, prefers public speaking and travel. And her test aversion extends to the latest one designed to detect Down in a fetus. "I don't want to think like we're being judged against," Ms. Peterson said. "Not meeting their expectations."
That's the beginning of the article; now here are other excerpts, quotes from other people with disabilities or parents of those with disabilities:
"We're trying to make a place for ourselves in society at a time when science is trying to remove at least some of us," said Andrew Imparato, president of the American Association of People With Disabilities, who suffers from bipolar disorder. "For me, it's very scary."
All this makes me wonder, is anyone of us born without a defect?
Full story at The New York Times
posted by sunnyday at 7:55 PM
More than mere partnership
So, when I chanced upon this title --
"Research continues to uphold the value of marriage"
my eyes lit up and excitedly skimmed the article. I'll admit that I've yet to read it in full, but I'm pretty confident that it's got contents worth knowing about and which would definitely reinforce the reality that marriage -- no matter how many couples fail at it, choose not to recognize it or insist on redefining it -- is there for a reason and it is worth defending. We just have to want to understand it more. This caught my eye:
“Marriage is the one family relationship that we can freely choose. But it takes wisdom to make a right choice, and skill to make a successful marriage."
“Data from the left and the right show that healthy mother-and-father families are far less likely to be in poverty than single-parent families. The strong bonds of an intact family are like an inoculation against the disease of poverty. Why wouldn’t we do our best to see every child get that protection?”
The funding proposed in the Healthy Marriage Initiative will go toward marriage and relationship education, through:
- training programs for married couples;
- divorce-reduction programs;
- marriage-mentoring programs;
posted by sunnyday at 4:53 PM
Thank you, Stan Berenstain
He and his wife came up with books that taught kids what too much junk food could do, why the dark isn't really something bad, and how not to be scared of the dentist. And that's just a wee part of it. I remember learning the words "lever" and "scythe" from my copy of The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair.
Stan Berenstain, children's book author, dies at 82
He was 82 and lived in Bucks County. He died in Pennsylvania on Saturday, said Audra Boltion, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins Children's Books in New York.
In more than 200 books, the Berenstain Bears, written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain, helped children for 40 years cope with trips to the dentist, eating junk food and cleaning their messy rooms.
Full story at USA Today
posted by sunnyday at 9:54 PM
What do you tell an 18-year-old?
Tammy graduated from high school a few months ago and a party was thrown to mark the occasion, which she shared with her closest friends and those of her family as well. For the party, her aunt wrote a little speech (well, not so little) as requested by Tammy's mom, and the speech was read aloud during the festivities. I wish someone had written a speech like this for me when I graduated from high school! I would've taken more decisive steps in my journey, made more informed choices, and savored each stage along the way.
Here's the speech, delving on three crucial main points. It's a bit long but well worth the read.
FOR TAMMY AND HER FRIENDS
Do you know what an S-U-M-P-I-T (spelled out) is? That’s ‘sumpit’ (pronounced ‘soom pete’), a makeshift weapon, much used in my classroom some years back. A weapon? In the classroom? – you may ask. It’s like this …
When I was but a high school teeny bopper, we just loved playing tricks on our teachers (Over the years, not much seems to have changed.). We enjoyed that, either because the teacher was so ‘game’ and approachable, or he or she was cranky or plain boring. One of my more daring classmates would then get his ‘sumpit’ ready. He’d hold his empty BIC ballpoint pen tube, take one from the ready supply of small seeds (that served as pellets) from his pocket or pencil case, and inserted the seed into the tube. When the right moment came, that is, when the victim was facing the chalkboard, he’d hold his ‘sumpit’ up to his mouth, and with the wider opening next to his lips, aim at the clueless figure, and blow! Then out would go the pellet and … BULL’S EYE! The startled teacher would turn his back to the chalkboard and, often enough, would see 25 equally guilty faces or equally innocent ones …
One’s high school years are usually punctuated with mischief – some deeds graver than others. Whether it is with fondness and laughter that you recall an incident, or remembering it makes you blush or nearly faint with embarrassment, consider one thing: Mischief is reasonably seen as connected with immaturity. You would not want to stay in that ‘sumpit’ stage.
In connection with this, allow me to share with you three ideas and accompanying pieces of advice.
First, after high school graduation, time flies even more quickly. Learn to savor the moments with those you love and care about. College may pull you out of the home. Make sure you regularly visit your family, and that your time with your parents and siblings is always well-spent … You have friends in one another. College life will provide you with opportunities for even more. The next few years are extremely demanding academic years. Learn to be true friends to your friends. In this way, the needed moral support will be there to make things work. Remember: Time will begin to fly more quickly.
Second, at 18, it is quite common not to know for certain what career you’d like to pursue. THINK: What do I seem to really want? NOT: What do Mom and Dad want for me? I do not intend to look down on what your parents have to say. After all, it is they who saw you grow up. They are witnesses to your strengths and limitations. To a large extent, they are aware of your interests and aptitudes. And most importantly, what they want is what is best for you. Better said – what they think is best for you. You should consider their advice as extremely invaluable. But ultimately, what should matter the most is what YOU want. A word of caution here, though -- Don’t commit the mistake committed often enough – basing one’s decision on what appears to be or not to be lucrative. For many people, what comes out most lucrative is what they REALLY enjoy doing. The passion for their occupation results in competence, initiative and creativity, and their work ends up excellent and well rewarded! After all, isn’t there immeasurable value in work well-done?
Now to the third and final point -- you will discover a higher level of freedom. I don’t mean license to do whatever you feel like doing. I mean your realizing that you have a GREAT capacity to see what is good for you – not just apparently good, but truly good – and to behave accordingly. Never lose sight of the fact that every act of yours has consequences. For example, choosing to eat twenty cups of your favorite ice cream flavor one after another could send you to the bathroom all night. Or deciding to stay in the dorm and study, and not to go out with friends during final exams week, could mean your passing the course instead of having to repeat it. Taking the road to maturity entails learning to use your freedom with a sense of responsibility. Reflect. There is much to gain from doing that. At the same time, learn to seek advice from people who will help you make sound decisions and catch you when you fall. Do not be so proud as to think you can always manage on your own. For me, that has been the greatest challenge. I urge you to squarely face that challenge! I am confident you are prepared to do that.
Since this is getting quite long, I think I’d better wrap it up. Tammy, time has really gone by very quickly.
To you, Tammy, and your classmates, a BIG, FAT CONGRATULATIONS!!!
posted by sunnyday at 9:04 PM
Raising kids to become delinquents
Just as one effective way of teaching kids what they are, is by showing them what they're not, sometimes it's reading about the "backwards version" of raising happy, responsible kids that makes things clearer.
Check out Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children at Ukok's place.
P.S. If I'm not mistaken, this list was drawn up by a police officer (or was it the police chief?) in the Chicago area. That's what I remember reading in the book my mother lent me once.
posted by sunnyday at 8:20 PM
We, our parents
"They say that we are better educated than our parents' generation. What they mean is that we go to school longer. It is not the same thing."
- Richard Yates (1926-1992), American novelist
posted by sunnyday at 8:17 PM
Chitchats with preschoolers
A post from Wonder Mom's blog:
Overheard at Bathtime
Ben, my 5 year old: "We have to take a bath. It's mama's birthday tomorrow and we have to look nice!"
The cute little Spider-boy in the photo is actually not Ben, but John -- Ben's younger brother (presumably the one he was talking to in the bathtime chitchat). Then there's Wonder Mom carrying Ava, the youngest addition to the family.
Children can say really amusing (and often endearing) things which show that they truly are children! More in this post at Wonder Mom's blog.
posted by sunnyday at 10:27 AM
For all who have never climbed a tree
Sometimes I wonder if snails of that variety which was aplenty in our backyard in the 1970s have become extinct. Gazing at those creatures as they made their leisurely way across the concrete path was a regular pastime as a kid. Where, too, have the beetles gone? One shake of the African oil palm in our garden used to bring at least half a dozen of them tumbling to the ground.
Gone, too, is the guava tree from whose branches I admired the aerial view of our wee garden (if you can call 7 feet off the ground "aerial").
Those were the days of play -- always outdoors, in the company of creepy crawlers, winged creatures, trees, grass, open air, open space. Today's generation grows up with electronic playthings and indoor games, which is not always a positive thing. As this article stated, "nature has become an abstraction, the stuff of PBS specials rather than daily life."
posted by sunnyday at 6:52 PM
A 'very ugly puppy'
There was a family whose dog gave birth to 12 puppies. They ran an ad in the newspaper when the puppies were old enough to be given away. The ad said, “Free to a good home. Adorable puppies.”
After several weeks, only a few of the puppies had been given away. So, they tried a different tactic. They ran a second ad which said, “Free to a good home. One very ugly puppy and eight pretty ones.”
In two days, they gave away the ugly puppy nine times.
Have you noticed that the world is full of caring people, always ready to assist the underdog? When we view people as naturally helpful, they often live up to our expectations.
posted by sunnyday at 6:40 PM