Encore on Ash Wednesday – let’s see how well we can repeat our success.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Encore on Ash Wednesday – let’s see how well we can repeat our success.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Neglecting to follow these rules will result in a range of temporary punishments from loss of electronics privileges, to loss of driving privileges, to assigned chores, to restricted visiting privileges (grounded), or any other appropriate remedy.
Refusal to obey these basic rules by any member over the age of 18 years old will mean that you are choosing to be no longer a part of this home, and therefore you shall need to find a new place to live.
You shall have no other gods before me.
Cell phones, computers, Ipods, video games are privileges, not rights, and therefore should not be treated as if they are more important than, homework, chores, human interaction, physical activity - and can be taken away or restricted as necessary.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
All people living in this house are expected to attend church on a weekly basis whenever there is no compelling reason preventing you from doing so.
Honor your father and your mother.
No under-age drinking, and for those 21 & over, only in moderation.
No smoking anywhere on the premises.
No illegal drug usage or possession.
Do not drive away in anger.
Speak respectfully, even when angry.
To assist us in coordinating everybody’s busy schedules, your work and activity schedule must be written down and available for us to consult.
You shall not murder.
Nor shall you EVER attempt or threaten to cause physical harm to yourself, your family members, or anyone else.
Violently emotional outbursts will not be tolerated without an active commitment to ongoing professional therapy
You shall not commit adultery.
nor shall unmarried children, nor friends, participate in any sexual acts within the home.
You shall not steal.
Not money, not possessions.
Not within the house, other peoples homes, or stores.
Not from family members, acquaintances, or strangers.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (nor against family members). Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Be honest, and accept the consequences of your actions.
Do not try to get other family members in trouble.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house (nor your siblings belongings or situations).
Do not be angry because of what somebody else has.
The grass is not really greener on the other side. Act like you understand this concept.
All children are expected to share in the cleanliness of the home. 15 minutes of cleaning is the minimum requirement on a daily basis.
I __________________________ understand that these are the rules I must follow while I live in my parents home. Whether I agree with the rules or not does not effect the requirement of obeying them.
Monday, December 05, 2011
(PS: this one I find exceptionally offensively judgmental, not to mention that "Jay" doesn't even tell us why it's important to him or what actual useful sacrifices he's doing about it AND "Jay" apparently didn't even give it enough thought to use proper spelling... it's "you're" as in "you are" too cool, and "you are" selfish -- not "your". But I should not judge him either - maybe he is spending so much time volunteering at Childrens Hospital or organizing fund raisers to take a moment to use spell check or recall an elementary school English lesson)
Monday, February 28, 2011
Dad’s birthday request:
I have decided that for my 56th birthday, none of my children need to suffer through the decision over what to get me for a gift. Although I will gladly accept any thoughtful gift you might offer me, my true wish is simply for a special and personal birthday card.
In an effort towards self-improvement and a better relationship with my children, I ask for a special “Super Edition” of the “Three Things” routine you all know and love so well. I am asking each of my children to give me an individual birthday card – homemade or store-bought – either is fine. On the inside I want you to write a total of 9 lines;
- Three activities I wish my father would do/share with me.
- Three things I wish my father would do more of, or less of.
- Three things about me I wish my father would brag about to others.
The only rules I apply to this are;
- Each line must be honest and sincere.
- These cards are to be delivered to me by Saturday February 26th.
This way, as of my actual birthday I will be prepared to start acting on your recommendations
Although I think I am aware of what my kids like to do, many times they appear reluctant to do them at my suggestion, so maybe I am mistaken and using out-dated knowledge. Clearly there are personal habits or traits that annoy my children, and maybe there are things I used to do that they enjoyed that I have gotten out of the habit of doing. And many times they express their distaste of being talked about to other people – but of course, we are parents, and therefore are always looking to brag about our kids, or look for sympathy from other grownups who might have survived similar experience. I was very intrigued to see what about themselves they had sufficient pride over and would give me permission to discuss with others. I of course thought that this was an ingenious concept, and worried that some of them might stubbornly refuse to cooperate with the idea. Needless to say, I spent two weeks pondering and predicting who might say what, who would surprise me, who would disappoint me, and how would I respond to the challenge of then following through addressing and acting upon the suggestions put forth to me.
Well, the 26th came, and 6 out of 7 had their birthday cards all prepared (1 declared he didn’t know it was due on that day, but he did voluntarily hand it to me before going to bed on the 27th). One rented a zip-car to surprise me on Saturday to drop off the card (well, and to pick up some things – his surprise was when he discovered we wouldn’t be home from Maine until long after he had to return the vehicle), and the two normally sullen teens were actually waiting in prideful (or ego-driven) anticipation for me to look over their cards. Each one had their own different and individual style, ranging from artistic to analytically profound to minimalist to thoughtfully sweet. Responses ranged from general ideas to very specific; “I wish Dad would have a Beatles Bash on February 9th” ( the anniversary of them appearing on the Ed Sullivan show) and “I wish dad would ask me less questions about school” and “I wish dad would stargaze with me” to ‘I wish my dad would’ “ help me learn new stuff” and “talk more” and “take time to do the things you love”.
One respondent had voiced a pre-emptive concern about not having any accomplishments worthy of bragging about, while others I suspect had trouble limiting themselves to only 3 items. There were two store-bought cards, three hand-crafted cards, one hand-scrawled list on white lines paper, and a one-page essay response, carefully formatted, punctuated and typed which concluded with “The last question was easy for me, although I was a bit surprised that it was included considering it’s a birthday card for dad, not me. Why should I talk glowingly about myself when everyone knows that’s not how I like to carry myself. Nevertheless, the question was asked so I must respond.” [I wish my dad would brag about] “ - my enjoyment of the outdoors in all its forms and wonderment, - my approach to 10,000 mile on my bike, expected by late summer/early fall if I ride at the same pace from the years 2007-2010, - my knowledge involving numbers, and all applications of such (i.e: Calculators, Calendars, Measurements, etc…”
I also did receive one actual gift – homemade fudge (someone had paid attention over the years!)
So let me proceed forth from here on the right foot by planning a hiking trip, a canoe/kayak trip, some campfire singalong nights, and by bragging to all who read this what a great job my children did at honoring my birthday wish by responding in the manner in which it was intended. Maybe I have taken them for granted and underestimated them in too many ways. Here’s to a better year and better relationships with my terrific kids – a challenge I fully intend to live up to.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
"Is this one for the people, is this one for the Lord, or do I simply serenade for things I must afford?"
(What If I Stumble by DC Talk)
How much humble is too much humble? At what point does Confidence and Take Charge Attitude become NOT humble enough?
I believe that I have a reasonably accurate assessment of my skills in most aspects of my life, but acting out my appropriate confidence (or lack of) in the correct doses baffles me. I am not a very good braggart – which is not to say I don’t brag. There are many times I want to project that I have full confidence in my abilities, but I often have no confidence in understanding what volume or intensity is productive or counterproductive.
I can make up my resume to reflect my skills as a cabinetmaker, or a customer service rep, or a QC technician, or a shop supervisor, or a documentation compliance manager, or a Youth/Music Minister. But I struggle creating a cover letter that highlights my abilities without sounding like (to me anyway) egotistical clichéd boasting. Father Tom Dunne once related a story about a young priest who might be in line for a promotion. He was told he needed to write a summary of all the great work that he had done. The young man was unable to do so because, although he was proud of his achievements and believed he was worthy of the promotion, he also believed that he should not be the one tooting his own horn – that his superiors should already know his accomplishments and worthiness. If he had to boast, he must not have done well enough to be noticed by them and therefore didn’t deserve it. Granted, this story is more appropriate to an “in-house” promotion situation, but the dilemma is similar.
Likewise, with my music, I think I am pretty honest with my self-evaluation of my abilities. I pride myself in playing what I play quite well – well enough to earn some extra money at it, and given more devotion could do better (but probably not significantly better – I’m pretty much near the top of my potential). Of course, what I don’t play so well, I try to avoid. I sing on key and reasonably strong, and can generally jump onto any un-filled harmony line as needed. I am not a natural born leader, although when put in that position I can draw on my belief in my skills and, having a vision of what the project requires, can do an adequate job. No matter how well it turns out, I am humble in the knowledge that it did so more on the abilities and cooperation of others, through fate, or Holy Spirit – certainly due to things beyond my control.
I have not been leading Youth Masses (except the annual Confirmation Mass) so I am a little out of shape. I miss it. I enjoyed the steady opportunity to work on improving my skills and attempts to deliver a memorable event. See, if I was truly humble, I would have my first thoughts be of offering my time and God-given talents for the good of the church. Instead, it’s the individual personal benefits I perceive, with an eye towards being favorably noticed by my community.
Last week, I received a call from a longtime Youth Minister friend, who needed a favor. His regular music people from his parish were for some reason not able to lead their Youth Mass music at a confirmation retreat being held on Cape Cod. Of course I was flattered that he would think of me for this occasion. I didn’t stop to consider whether he had already been turned down by dozens of others and I was simply the last on his list. My ego assured me that I was of course worthy of being honored by his request. I did harbor some concerns regarding how it would all go off. Not being familiar with his group/parish and therefore not knowing what songs would go over best, or if my lone guitar and voice would need amplification to be effective, and knowing that I couldn’t know what I might need to know but couldn’t, meant that I had some humbling doubts as to how well I could pull it off. I was informed in advance that another musician would be there to help me out. Well I found the retreat center with plenty of time to spare and started to practice to get a feel for the room. I soon learned that I would have a young bass player and some singers helping me out as well. Throughout the next hour, various teenagers were introduced to me as singers and the bass player, and even another young lady guitarist. Although the other officially listed musician had not yet arrived, I got my little but growing ensemble going through the song list – giving directions and advice, and figuring out who was capable of what. With one song still to go, Jon arrived and pulled out his guitar. With this final introduction out of the way, I explained to him where we were, what we were doing, and how I expected to proceed onward. I started to play – and Jon joined in behind me. As I said, I have a pretty good read on my abilities, and I instantly recognized that there was an absurd flip flop of abilities and of assigned responsibilities. I had no right leading THIS guy. This was like John baptizing Jesus. But similarly as Jesus, fully knowing his ability and place, casually and graciously submitted authority to a lesser qualified person, Jon happily added complimentary guitar parts and harmony lines and went along with everything I had prepared. Father Medairos (my own Pastor – the following day) spoke of humility. He quoted a bit from readers Digest where a great orchestra conductor when asked what was the most difficult instrument to play, claimed that “it was 2nd fiddle. I can find plenty of 1st violinists, but finding a 2nd fiddle who will play with enthusiasm – that’s a problem. And if we have no 2nd fiddles, we have no harmony”. Well, Jon showed no hesitation nor condescension at playing 2nd fiddle to me. Nor were we short on harmonies. With a full-fledged chorus of able-voiced young men & women, we had harmony galore, counterpoint parts, and mid-stream dynamics and key changes on the fly. I discovered (thankfully not before hand – it might have un-nerved me) Jon is a musical evangelist with his own conceived and developed full blown stage show that he performs most every week, locally as well as around the country. His credentials are clearly not those of a second fiddle, at least not when compared to my own, but I never would have known this by his demeanor. It took an explanation from another friend to clue me in as to who/what he was. He never once tooted his own horn (although he played his guitar exquisitely). In the end, it was a very humbling experience, as once again, a terrific event occurred for which I was given gracious credit for, which in the end I had precious little control over. I was simply willingly in the right place at the right time with an assigned task which I hope I humbly performed well, as did the dozen or so others who stood beside & behind me all humbly performing their assigned tasks. It was just left to the Holy Spirit to make something special out of us all, and the results make it implausible to NOT believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Do they see the fear in my eyes? Are they so revealing? This time I cannot disguise all the doubt I'm feeling. What if i stumble, what if i fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?"