Tag Archives: School stories

Quote: “Ready or Not, the Future Will Come”

Hi Friends:

I wanted to share this quote from a soon-to-be graduating Senior at our local High School.

One of our televisions in the Library is always tuned to a news channel, so current events are always “on display” for patrons to view, and, often, to share their thoughts about.
Today, like all days, the news was on, and, like always, we hear comments like “What’s this world coming to?” Or, concerns about “What’s going to happen next?” Needless to say, world political events, and especially the United States’ part in them, are always at the forefront of discussion, especially among adults.

I guess these are the same questions that mankind has had, to a certain degree, always. And, to a certain degree, “always” will have.

For a Senior graduating High School, getting ready to “step out there” for the first time, it does give a different angle to “all things become new.” I sensed the apprehension this young man had, as he contemplated the future … especially his future. We spoke about this, and then, “from out of nowhere,” seemingly grasping wisdom well beyond his years, he said this:

“The Future is going to come faster than you think it will.
The only thing is, “Are you prepared for it?”
Because only you can make your future become reality.
Everyone else can only help you from the sidelines.
Remember:
The future is going to come, whether you are ready or not.”

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 19: “I Can Read!”

Hi Friends:
As the author of the continuing series “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” I am always thinking about things we are blessed with, yet seem, so often, to take for granted.

Only recently, while in prayer, I “just happened to remember” that I was thankful for … the ability to read … What a tremendous blessing, just to be able to pick up a book, a piece of paper, see a sign or billboard … and, be able to read all of the words. What a blessing this is. Even as I prayed, thankfully, for this ability and gift, I was surprised how seldom I had actually, physically, said “thank you” for this ability and gift.

Eventually, we’ll get to the “Freedom of the Press” we enjoy in this country (which so many around the world don’t have), but, for now, I’m just thankful that I can read.

I’m thankful that I was raised to appreciation the written word. To appreciation books. And, to appreciation authors. In fact, I can remember spending many, many hours with my brothers and sisters playing the card game of “Authors.” Remember that game? I’ll try to remember to write an “I Remember” feature story on the game.

Once again, I find myself being thankful for the way I was raised.

It’s true: Parents who read have children who read. Parents who love books will have children who love books.
Yes, you could say the same thing about prayer, but, for now, the emphasis is on the example set by parents, to instill within their children the love of books, and of reading.

Could the following just be a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence that my first side job, after moving to the North Country, was at the College Bookstore?
Is it a coincidence that, after earning my Degree in Theology, I would earn Certification as a Library Media Specialist?
Is it a coincidence that, just today, I left the High School Library, traveled to another Library, and discussed “Library” for 3 hours?
Is it a coincidence that all of my siblings also have large book collections?
Is it a coincidence that these same siblings buy and sell used books, and I consider them to be experts in finding valuable books?
The list goes on and on, but I’ll just add this one:
Many writers, and other public figures, name their homes.
Before moving to the North Country (an operation we code-named “Operation Iceberg”), we named our home “Destiny.”
Yes, Destiny.
Do you know what our School Library Inventory/Collection Management Program/System is called?
Destiny.

By the way, my Beloved Sister had one of the largest collections of books I’ve ever seen. Among my most prized possessions are many of those books, tucked away, yes, but still I have them … has it been that long ago??? … I still have those books, and, sometimes, I’ll open up one of the totes, get out a book, yes, smell the pages, check out the pages for all of those passages she had underlined, and made “side-notes” beside … and … and … just clutch them … hold them … lovingly … tenderly … to my chest … I may not actively read them, but I will always have them … I will always have them …

There are so many quotes about the importance of books, both to the individual, and to society as a whole.
The same can be said about the value of reading.
I’ll mention just one, and, even though it’s so obvious, either I couldn’t remember who first said it, or it was just an original quote I thought I had first come up with:
“Readers are Leaders.” I’ve used this for years, even to the point of printing bookmarks with this quote on it.
After researching this quote, I found a longer version from President Harry S. Truman:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

I don’t remember hearing this quote before, and, just now, located the source. While not remembering if I’d ever heard the original quote or not, I do know this: While reading several “self-help/self-improvement/inspirational-motivational books, I did learn that one quality which all successful men share, is that they are readers. So, that must have been where I got the idea, first, for my “short-quote.”

Again, this is not, necessarily, about books, the right or wrong kind of books … just the fact that it is such a blessing to be able to have the ability to read, and, having just this one ability, can lead to so much further blessing, understanding, and action.

So, as I researched this, I did the Google Search:
“What percentage of the world’s population can read?”

The number is somewhere around 80%. That sounds, on the surface, really good. However (why is there always an “however?), this still means that there are well over 700 Million people around the world who can’t read. Closer to home, I also learned that over 32 Million Americans can’t read. There are a lot of statistics out there, but I was especially troubled by a statistic I read that stated that around 80% of US families did not buy a book in the last year.

By the way, yes, I do enjoy audio books. Especially if they are “dramatized versions.” Just thought I’d throw that in. In fact, at some point, the plan is to produce our own audio books.
I am asked, often, how I personally feel about Digital Books. For simplicity, let’s call them “Kindle” Books.

I can appreciate their purpose, and understand why so many people enjoy them. The “night light,” the fact that they can change (meaning to enlarge) the size of the print, and they can carry an entire Library on one, small device.

However (there’s that word again), I guess I’m just from the Old School. I love the smell of the pages. I love the feel of the book. I love turning the pages. I love placing the bookmark, closing the book, and, lovingly, placing the book where I can see it … looking forward to the next time I can get back to it. I love the smell of the pages (I may have already written that). I have even noticed that the smell of the pages have changed over time. The other day, I was going through a collection of books from the 1960’s and 70’s, and, well, of course, I brought the book up to my face, thumbed through the pages at “nose-length,” and … just the memories it brought back.

I really love the Bible on … on … let’s just say, “Audio Bible.” I was going to write “Bible on Tape,” or “Bible on Cassette,” but many of our audience may not know what that is. I even have Sermons on LP/Album/Record … but, I won’t go there, for the same reason.

Here’s a short rhyme I just got:
“God’s Word is meant to be heard.”
Of course, I agree … but, it is also meant to be read.
Pray More.
Study More.
Be More.

A final thought about Digital Bibles: There are many places where someone would be arrested, even killed, for reading a Bible in public. However … in these places, digital Bibles can be read, without anyone noticing. This is a large ministry, worldwide, in those nations (so many, many of them) which are hostile/dangerous to Christians.

Once again, I remind that this is not about freedom, necessarily, but the ability to, read. I’m thinking that that’s something “they can’t take away.”

You know how you’ll go to the Mall, and everyone splits up … to meet again in, like, 3 hours?
I’m the one, who, 3 hours later … is still at the Book Store.
Just drop me off at the Book Store … I’m not ashamed of that. In fact, I’m proud of that.
To hold a book.
To smell a book.
To carry a book into the Repair Shop, and not worry about “how long it takes.”
I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud of that.
I can read.

Oh … okay … there is one more quote I’d like to share with you. I even have this on a tee shirt, hanging behind me, at the Library.
It is a quote from Mark Twain, and I write it now, from memory:
“The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

I am so blessed … just to have the ability to read. I thank God that “I can read!”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link to the entire series so far:
Wealth Stored for the Righteous

 

Remembering, Honoring, and Thinking: “The Wall” by Eve Bunting

Several years ago, this book was the “Book of the Month” that was shared with all of the students at our Elementary School. Each month, there would be a particular “character trait” focused upon, and a book was shared with the students, which featured that trait “in action.”

I’ve been wanting to share this video with you for a long time. It is a video performance/narration of the book, which was written by Eve Bunting, and illustrated by Richard Himler. Unique to this video performance was the addition of historical video footage, interspersed throughout the book, giving an overview of the War in Vietnam.

The Children’s Book “The Wall” tells of a young boy and his father, who have traveled to Washington, DC to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They have come to find the name of the boy’s grandfather, his dad’s father. As the father and son look for the grandfather’s name, they meet others who are visiting the memorial. They see flowers, letters, flags, and personal keepsakes that have been left at the wall. Finally, they find the name they are looking for.

Eve Bunting was born December 19, 1928, in Northern Ireland. She, her husband, and children immigrated to the United States in 1958. Eve Bunting has written more than 250 books, from novels to picture books, covering a wide array of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. She has a rare gift for writing about serious, important subjects in a way that even young children can understand.

Indeed, Eve Bunting’s work has the ability to touch hearts of all ages.

I had wanted to share this, and wanted to wait, until a time came when we, as a nation, are not currently engaged in a war. I don’t know if such a time will come. I do know that there is never a day which dawns over our Free Country, in which we should not take the time to honor those who have served our nation, given their lives for our nation, and are serving this nation … right now.
Every day we should “Remember, Honor … and, Think.”

Here’s a link to a current list of all of Eve Bunting’s books, from the FantasticFiction Website:

Please enjoy the video presentation of the book “The Wall,” written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Richard Himler:

 

Notes on the Numbers: Civil War

Hi Friends:

I was doing research on another war, when I ran into the statistics for the United States Civil War, and in relation, the statistics for the Battle of Gettysburg. I’ll share these below.

This year, I have decided to study the history of one country, a different country each day, in an effort to better understand what is going on, and has been going on, throughout the world. I have concentrated my studies on countries which restrict religious freedom, and in particular, countries where religious persecution is a part of everyday life, every day, today.

On this issue of “civil war” and internal “conflicts,” it is almost impossible to find a country which hasn’t experienced involvement in war, and I’ve found, equally difficult (almost impossible), to find a country which hasn’t experienced a “civil war” at some point in their history.

We may all agree on the idea of the definition of “civil war,” as meaning “battles among fellow citizens or within a community.” I researched to see when the exact phrase “civil” first came into use. Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Indeed, the Latin term “bellum civile” was first used of the Roman civil wars of the 1st century BC. The English term “civil war” was first used in 1651 to refer to the English Civil War.

I have found it very difficult to find current (2017) figures for wars and civil wars happening right now, around the globe. Most of the online information, for “total numbers” is not up-to-date, but you can get a clearer picture if you research a particular country. There are so few countries not involved, in one way or another, in a conflict, that the list of “countries not engaged in war activity” is really, really, really small. There are also so many countries with internal conflicts, civil wars, that the individual numbers are staggering.

However, there may be no greater current example of “war-torn” than what is happening in the country of Syria. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives in Syria. This, sadly, is just an example of what is happening in countries, “over there.” I read about Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I see the photographs of refugee camps across the globe. And, see the children. As a teacher, in a public School, I am surrounded by so many who take for granted a free education, and the opportunities which surround them. Just going to School, having a family, being able to shop, work, and travel … just having a future that, and understand the context, is “within their control” … puts them so far ahead of so much of the population of the world. So many … I see, every day … have had no church or “religious” experience … so, the thought of the value of “religious freedom” is pretty far down the list.

Then … I think … it’s not just the kids, is it?
Is it?

That take freedom for granted. That don’t know, and, let’s face it (with sad honesty) don’t care what’s happening over there … or … really … what’s happening “over here” … I see so many, who live in this country … with all of their freedoms … yet, their lives … already … are “messed up.”
How true: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, know Peace.

“There is nothing civil about war.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

As I survey the situation around the world … and look around … at my surroundings … Here I am, worried about a little snow in April …Man … we don’t know … we don’t understand what “messed up” is …

Even getting the actual figures for the Civil War is not that easy. Each list I’ve found, and I’ve looked at many, all seem to have different numbers. The numbers may not all match, from different accounts, but they all, regardless if they differ in number and amount, all show how devastating a Civil War can be. And, show the cost of war. As we look at the war-torn footage from around the globe, think of how we looked, “over here,” just 150 years ago.

Here’s the list from the “bookshelf blog.” Again, every list I saw, had different numbers, but I felt this was a fair representation. Keep in mind that the “American Civil War” is the second most written about subject in human history.

And, also note, that even this list was compiled in 2013, almost 4 years ago:

July 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July 1-3 in 1863. The battle is notable for several reasons: many historians recognize it as a turning point in the bitterly fought Civil War, it was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War (the highest casualties sustained in a single day of any U.S. war), and the cemetery at the battle’s site, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, was immortalized by Abraham Lincoln’s brief but poetic dedication on November 19, 1863. The battle’s ferocity and short-lived intensity captured the imagination and interest of historians and war buffs for generations. Bibliographers have estimated that more than 65,000 books have been written about the Civil War — and perhaps up to 50% of those are on the Battle of Gettysburg alone. Bookshelf presents some of the notable numbers behind this legendary battle:

Number of deaths at Gettysburg: 51,112
Total number of deaths during Civil War: 620,000
Total number of casualties in Civil War: 1.5 million (620,000 killed; 476,000 wounded; 400,00 captured/missing)
Comparison to number of deaths in other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – 16,000; WWI – 116,000; WWII – 405,000; Vietnam – 58,000 (If Civil War were fought today, there would be more than 6 million deaths
Rate of death for soldiers: 25%
Population of Gettysburg (before battle): 2,400
Population of U.S. in 1863: 33.4 million
Percentage of the loss: .15% of total U.S. population; .3% of all males
Civilians killed: 1 (Jenny Wade, a resident)
Generals killed: 9 (out of 120)
Horses killed: 3,000
Average age of soldier: 25 (age range 12-80)
Occupation of soldiers: 50% of Union soldiers and 75% of Confederates were farmers
Number of African-American soldiers: about 1,000
Range of weapons: rifles – 1,200 feet; muskets – 375 feet; cannon – 1-1.5 miles
Monthly salary: Private – $210; Colonel – $3,420; General – $5,390
Estimated wartime cost of Civil War: $2.3 billion
Comparison to cost of other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – $100-140 million; War of 1812 – $1.5 million; WWI – 23.7 billion; WWII – 260 billion; Vietnam War – 140.6 billion
Number of Civil War soldiers buried at Gettysburg: 3,706
Number of words in Abraham Lincoln’s speech: 272
Number of words in Edward Everett’s speech: 13,607

Here’s a direct link to this list:
BOOKSHELF BLOG

 

Email Classic: “Prospective Teacher”

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

“Let me see if I’ve got this right.
You want me to go into that room with all those kids,
correct their disruptive behavior,
observe them for signs of abuse,
monitor their dress habits,
censor their T-shirt messages,
and instill in them a love for learning.

You want me to check their backpacks for weapons,
wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases,
and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride.

You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship,sportsmanship and fair play,
and how to register to vote,
balance a checkbook,
and apply for a job.

You want me to check their heads for lice,
recognize signs of antisocial behavior,
and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps or race,
and communicate regularly with their parents in
English, Zulu, or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk,
a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books,
a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this, and then you tell me …
I CAN’T PRAY?

 

Prayer Returns to Public Schools

Hi Friends:

This is another one of those times when I ask you to place the title in context.

There is a thought which says that prayer isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
There is also a thought which says that God isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
Both are just not true. Why?

I go to School every day.
I pray in School every day.
I bring God with me to School every day.
I am reminded of a story told by Evangelist R.W. Schambach:
A man enters a church, sits down, and remarks to the lady sitting next to him, “God is in this place.”
The lady turns to the man, and in a voice which only Rev. Schambach could replicate, says, “How do you know that?”
The man answers, “Because I brought Him with me.”

Yes, there are two distinct problems surrounding this “prayer in Public School” issue.
My Pastor once said that he sent his kids to School to learn about Science, Math, English, etc. Not to learn about God. Again, think of the context. They were supposed to learn about God at home. From Godly parents. I think you can see the problem there.
Then, let’s go back to this “I bring Him with me” issue. The ones who have learned about God, even know God … don’t act like it, once that bell rings. Again, this won’t fit everyone, but please understand the context here.

So, here it is, today. January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day here in the United States. What I wish is that everyone in the United States would learn about how governments are in other countries around the globe. That every American citizen would learn about what is happening “everywhere else.” Again, context. How so many nations are in political turmoil. How Christians are being killed, just because it was “found out” that they were Christians. How, in so many countries, it is illegal to convert to Christianity … how much suffering is going on … and, hopefully, everyone would realize how “good we’ve got it” over here. How many countries have their media “state-run.” Etc.

What I am getting at, is how blessed we are, to have a day like today. Something we’ve heard so many times, but take for granted: “The peaceful transition of power.” The peaceful transition of power.

I am hopeful that many Schools … I would think that all Schools … carried the Inauguration today. I’m not speaking about the Inaugural Address here. I’m writing about the ceremony. Boy … governments love ceremony … Anyway, I would hope, because of the great opportunity to see history, right in front of our eyes … that many Schools carried the Inauguration ceremony today.

Let me get this one out of the way right now: I’m not speaking as a Republican, or a Democratic. I am speaking as an American. An American citizen.

Here goes: I remember, back during the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, as the President was being prepped for surgery, President Reagan looked up at the doctor, which was getting ready to operate. President Reagan said, “I hope you’re Republican.” The doctor answered, “Today, Mr. President, we are all Republican.” I heard this from President Reagan himself.

That’s what I mean. Today, we are all Americans. A remarkable thing has happened. And … it happened right in front of our eyes.

Back to the School … I’ve written how, in our Library, we have a large-screen television, which I use, sound muted and CC on, to carry news, weather, slide shows, and, especially, important news coverage of events happening “right now.” Certainly, an historic event like the Presidential Inauguration, qualifies for “live, streaming” coverage … with sound …

So, that’s what we did today. First thing this morning, I tuned the television to continuous, live coverage of the events, with sound … I must admit, I learned a lot, and was captivated by the historical tidbits the news anchors shared … I learned a lot …

If what I saw, and heard, happened in every Presidential Inauguration, then I may be saying too much about something that happens every Inauguration. But, for some reason, this one seemed different. The amount of prayers. The mention of God. And, especially, the mention of “the name of Jesus.” I mean … I heard Jesus mentioned a lot. Even “the powerful name of Jesus.” Somehow, it seemed like God was mentioned more this time … there were more prayers … the name of Jesus … more than any Inauguration I can remember.

So … innocently … and, I do mean innocently … there I was, with the television on, loud enough to be heard throughout the Library … and, as the ceremony got underway … time, and again … I heard a prayer … I heard Scripture being read … live on television, beaming out to the world … including Schools … prayers … Scripture being quoted … God being mentioned … a lot … Jesus being mentioned … a lot … the name of Jesus … being called on … in front of me … in front of the School … in front of audiences all around the globe … the name of Jesus … “in the name of Jesus” being said on many occasions … right in front of me … on television … in public … at a government ceremony … right in front of me … on television … in Public School … my School … it seems like there were three separate prayers before the Inaugural Address, and three prayers after the Address …

I heard “America the Beautiful.” I heard prayers. I heard Scripture being read. I heard our National Anthem. Ok, I’ll say it … when was the last time you heard these two songs during the same program? Yes … I heard our National Anthem many times last weekend … Football, remember?
I heard … yes, I heard and saw … the Mormon Tabernacle Choir … When was the last time, on National Television, you heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Quickly, allow me to mention this: One of my teacher colleagues, who is not a Donald Trump fan … I heard him proclaim, after the Republican Convention, “If he gets elected, I’m moving to Canada” … this same teacher, as an American citizen, could not believe that there were government officials who were not going to the Inauguration … this same teacher, who understands the importance of this “peaceful transition of power,” regardless of political beliefs … joined me, in the Library, during the Inauguration Ceremony … when the announcement was made to “please stand and honor our country during the singing of our National Anthem” … this same teacher, stood with me, side-by-side, during the singing of the National Anthem … I’ll never forget it … I also have made the decision, during televised sporting events, regardless of how comfortable I am, to stand during the Anthem … and, Monday, I plan to just walk up to him … and shake his hand … because he “gets it;” it’s not about “me,” but about “us,” as in United States …

So, today, there is a School-wide event, so I leave the television on in the Library, lock up, and head to the gym … When I left the Library, the Inaugural Address and benedictions had ended, the former President and First Lady had left the ceremony, and the Parade would follow … I lock up, again, leaving the television on, and enjoy the School event in the gym … When I return to the Library, as I enter, I can hear the television … but … it’s not coverage of the Parade being covered … it’s rioting, taking place, just a couple of blocks from the White House … rocks are being thrown at police … businesses have been damaged … a riot is taking place …

I don’t know what to say, or think … this is the United States, this is Inauguration Day, and this is less than 2 blocks from the White House … I hear, and see, reports about rocks being thrown at police … rocks being thrown at police …

Boy, does our country need prayer. Need to hear the Scripture. Need Godly examples. As I write this, I don’t know how all this turned out. I do know this: Many people can’t handle freedom. Even “the peaceful transition of power.” There are people who don’t have “peace within;” didn’t have it then, don’t have it now … won’t have it later, until they know this “Prince of Peace,” this “Jesus;” the One of whom so many heard the name of today … in the Library … in Public Schools … all across the globe …

Here goes: The Inauguration happened in Washington, D.C. If it had been held in any other city, yes, any other city, there would have been people to “show up” there as well … there will always be “those people” who can’t wait to throw rocks at police, or throw a brick through a business window … they’ll even travel for the opportunity … if this is a “demonstration,” it certainly is … let’s say that again … if “making your point” involves the destruction of property, or throwing projectiles at police … it certainly does “demonstrate” something …

Just 4 days ago, we celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it … Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness … War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”

God, help us. As I heard in the Inaugural Address, as all the world heard … as Schools all over America heard, from our President, the most important “help” we can get … is from God …

Blessings to you, and your family.
And, God, please, bless America

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

Shared E-Mail Classic: “Work”

Note: I got this several years ago (at work), and the numbers have changed … but, the intent hasn’t changed. Enjoy!

For a couple years I’ve been blaming it on lack of sleep and too much pressure from my job, but now I found out the real reason:

I’m tired because I’m overworked.
The population of this country is 237 million.
104 million are retired.
That leaves 133 million to do the work.
There are 85 million in school, which leaves 48 million to do the work.
Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government, leaving 19 million to do the work.
2.8 million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 16.2 million to do the work.
Take from the total the 14,800,000 people who work for State and City Governments and that leaves 1.4 million to do the work.
At any given time there are 188,000 people in hospitals, leaving 1,212,000 to do the work.
Now, there are 1,211,998 people in prisons.
That leaves just two people to do the work.
You and me.
And you’re sitting at your computer reading jokes.