In Search of America
“Oh, my gosh, Mr. Paul! The Twin Towers fell, with all those people in them!” I remember my students saying this as the news filtered out from the media about the horrendous events that unfolded about the Twin Towers, the attack on the Pentagon, and the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. Close to 3000 Americans were slaughtered that day and many others became widows or widowers, and thousands of children were suddenly without a parent or parents. Many more loved ones and friends grieve at their loss. The entire country was on edge, not knowing what would happen next.
Rising from the ashes of that day was a feeling of unity. Our differences in race, religion, and income were no longer important; we were (and are) Americans, united against those who would do us harm. We talked and supported each other, resolving that we would not go quietly into the night. All of the previous conflicts, concerns, and disenchantments were swept aside.
We realized that we were more united than we were divided. Well, what a difference fifteen years makes. The goodwill and spirit of togetherness back then is now replaced by indifference; political, economic, and racial divisions gnaw at our core values.
In their various actions, our terrorist enemies are challenging us around the world and at home in America. And yet, some of us worry about our own self-interests, not about our future as a country. American values are still alive for many; but for others these lie dormant, yearning to be reignited by another tragic event.
Before this takes places, why not re-engage yourself by becoming more informed about the founding of our country? I have personally begun reading “The Federalist Papers”, which preceded the creation of our Constitution, and relates the struggles and visions our Founding Fathers had for our country—not just for their generations, but for generations to come.
In the same framework of being informed historically, we as a voting electorate need to be better informed about current politics. By that, I mean whatever your political affiliation; you should take the time to research all of the candidates, the issues they supported in the past, and their values. This should be done not by just watching or reading the news, but visiting their websites and doing independent research of their previous stances on issues, and core values. Then, compare/contrast their vision for our future and select which issue or candidate best aligns with your core political and personal values. After this is completed, go VOTE!
Our Armed Forces have sacrificed so much so that we can enjoy our freedoms, one of which is the right and privilege to vote. God Bless these United States of America and all of the men and women who have and will be serving our country.
This article is dedicated to my nephew, Dustin Paul Napier, who was killed in Afghanistan in January 2012.
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“School days, school days, good ol’fashion rule days!” Usually, by mid-August I would be awakened by my father singing this song around 7 a.m. every day. He even sang it during the day (maybe he was happy that I would be returning to school and not be such a pest, as I had such innate potential to be).
Oh, how I longed for it to be June once again and I could stay up longer and sleep later. That was not to be. So, as August zoomed by and that first day was around the corner, my dread began to turn to excitement. The excitement of meeting many of my friends I hadn’t seen since June, and possibilities of new students attending the Caspian elementary school.
I guess even though that occurred over a half-century ago, times really haven’t changed. The students still feel much the same as we did when we were young. As parents, you are given a special gift, a child. You are entrusted to love, guide, protect, and give direction as he/she grows into an adult (I might add that it never stops). So, here are a few examples in how to prepare your child for the up and coming school year.
I know many adults who will not sleep much the night before school starts, because of excitement of the start of a new year. So, to all of the teachers, students, staff, and administrators, have a great and successful start for the 2016-2017 school year.
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Random Acts of Kindness
A man is crossing the street with bags of groceries in both hands. A car stops and allows him to cross before they proceed down the street.
At a checkout counter at a local grocery store, a lady in line with a full grocery cart offers to the person behind her, with only a few items, to go ahead of her.
Another person offers to open a door for an individual, whose arms are full with items, so that they wouldn’t have to struggle.
On the other side of town, a person wakes up after an overnight snowfall. She finds that her sidewalk has been shoveled by someone.
A stranger passing another person wishes them a good day. After that is said, it is followed by a huge smile.
These acts of kindness are repeated daily, not only in our communities but throughout the United States. For the recipient, it uplifts them even when the days are long and lonely. The message they are receiving is that someone cares. On the other hand, for the one who is giving it, it is also rejuvenating. For, in that act, whether small or large, you know that you’ve attempted to reach out and make a difference in another’s day. Through this act, maybe they in turn will help another person.
Now, I am not going to give you suggestions on what ways to be kind to people. You know in your heart the right thing to do. What I am going to tell you is that it makes a difference to people. It is what Jesus would want us to do. By the way, thanks to the ladies who helped me on the street and in the grocery store.
Today, students are involved in a number of organized afterschool activities and sports. These afterschool programs are very beneficial to the students as they enable them to be physically active and positively challenge them in other areas.
However, something very good can be overdone. When students participate in these activities until 6:00 p.m. every night, it takes time from the family, especially when the students are involved with multiple activities.
Sometimes, out of great intentions, the students begin to feel stressed and the love of the activity turns out to be a chore. Families begin to drift from the lack of communication because there isn’t the time to communicate.
As a coach for multiple sports, I understand as many others do, about family time. If you are encountering some of these stressful situations, maybe these following suggestions can be helpful.
As she was preparing to return to her military base for additional training, she stopped to say goodbye to her grandmother, who is 97.5 years old. As they hugged through tear-filled eyes and large sobs, her grandmother said to her, “When you return home again, I will be watching you from heaven. Do not give up on Jesus because he doesn’t give up on you.” The last memory of her grandmother as she was leaving, was of her watching and waving to her as she walked down the hallway.
It is so hard to say goodbye for long lengths of time, because of the love and close ties that have been nurtured and developed between friends and loved ones. As my mother experienced, so did I, that same day when my daughter was boarding the plane. Emotions cascaded through me from extreme sadness, loss, and fear, to transformations of being proud and uplifted.
The same feelings are mirrored by all of us to one degree or another. So, how do we cope with these feelings? Here are a few examples of how I have developed these skills.
Please keep our Armed Forces, police, firefighters, and all their families in your thoughts and prayers!