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“Adore Him,” you say? “Is this CHRISTmas?”

I was furious when, on Facebook,  I read this; one reason being that the eight-year-old referenced here is my grandson, and the mother’s post concerned how her son was to speak in a public school in San Diego, CA.

My third grader has just informed me that they are now supposed to say “Happy Holidays” and the Christmas tree is to be a “Holiday Tree”.

Wrong. Just wrong. Also silly and unconstitutional. For the holiday season which we are experiencing today, culminates on  the 25th of December, an official United States of America holiday, which day is Christmas. CHRISTMAS. It’s called Christmas, not Holiday. It’s called Christmas because it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let us adore Him, the God of all the universe, who loving us so much, prepared Himself a body, and came to earth. Isaiah beautifully prophesied the event in chapter 9, verse 6.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I recently became aware of the group whose music I’m bringing here. Please listen to this stunning rendition of  Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, an enduring, majestic song of the Christmas season. (If you have headphones, so much the better.)

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America Goodness of man Schools

Take Heart: Conscience at Work

Delightful! A conscience that works! Fifty years after they were due, someone returned two library books, along with a money order to cover the accumulated fines. AP reports this account from Phoenix.

PHOENIX — A high school librarian in Phoenix says a former student at the school returned two overdue books checked out 51 years ago along with a $1,000 money order to cover the fines.

Camelback High School librarian Georgette Bordine says the two Audubon Society books checked out in 1959 and the money order were sent by someone who wanted to remain anonymous.

Bordine says the letter explained that the borrower’s family moved to another state and the books were mistakenly packed.

The letter said the money order was to cover fines of 2 cents per day for each book. That would total about $745. The letter says the extra money was added in case the rates had changed.

Bordine says the money will buy more books, and the overdue books will be returned to the shelves.

Neat, huh. I thought of that person at length this morning, and those two books that sat around somewhere for 50 years, and that smote his/her conscience every time they were viewed. Finally, it was enough. The books were bundled up, taken to the post office, the money order was purchased, and today on this Sunday as I write, someone’s conscience is freed.

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Beware of This Show And Tell

She only wanted to participate in her class Show and Tell. Her pet, though, jumped from the truck before he could be proudly presented. What kind of pet? An alligator!

An alligator lost by a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer at his daughter’s school show-and-tell is likely safe in a nearby swamp and animal enthusiasts shouldn’t worry about the reptile, the agency says.

Complete story here.



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America California Children Courage Culture Goodness of man Schools Social The World

Robert Heredia, A Teacher Who Has My Heart

DSC_0110“What’s your favorite subject in school?” I asked Chloe during the time she was with us.

“Science, Granny,” she told me.

On last Friday when we met Andrew and his family in Yuma, her mother handed Chloe a letter, which after she had read, was passed around the table. After I read the amazing letter, I propped it against something and took this picture, for instantly on reading it, I knew I would write about it here on my blog.

In a world gone crazy, in a world where public schools are often looked on with disdain ( many times, deservedly so), in a world where classrooms are too often a buzz of disorganization, in a world where teachers are verbally abused and where their hands are too often “tied,” in a world where teachers’ salaries are laughable (but where athletes make millions and rock stars rake it in by the bushel loads), in a world where high school graduates can’t identify their own continent or name the president and the vice-president…rises a shinning star named Robert Heredia…No wonder Chloe said to me, “My favorite subject is science, Granny.”  And then she added, “Mr. Heredia is my ‘most favorite’ teacher.” Easy to see why after reading this remarkable letter.

In a heart-tugging way Mr. Heredia goes on in the letter to challenge Chloe (and her classmates) to finish high school. He will be writing them twice a year–once around Christmas, and once in the Spring time. Do they need to talk to someone? He gives his telephone number and his email address.

“Why do you think I am doing this? Are they going to pay me to help you? The reason why I am doing this is because I choose to. Helping you and your other 107 classmates is something I choose to do.”

“What am I going to be doing you may wonder. I am going to University of California San Diego to get my PhD in chemistry. I will then become Dr. Robert Heredia. 🙂 It will take about four years. I have a dream of going to your high school graduation and inviting you to my PhD graduation at UCSD.”

I pay tribute today to Mr. Robert Heredia and to the many other teachers in our public (and private) schools who have a heart for the children of our world. Thank you, Mr. Heredia. Thank you for your contribution to our society, for your obvious concern for the children of San Diego. Thank you for loving my beautiful Chloe, and for being “her most favorite teacher.”

I hope to meet you when Chloe graduates from high school. Perhaps I can sneak in when you receive your doctorate at UCSD.  I would be honored to sit in the audience with Chloe’s family, and you may be sure we will be cheering.

EDIT: I have submitted this article to DIGG. Please go over and vote; Mr. Heredia needs to be honored.

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America Christianity/Religion Courage Lawsuits Life Schools

Superstitious Nonsense. Not.

Pupil’s name is Chad Farnan. His teacher, James Corbett. He taught history. At Capistrano Valley High School in southern California. Teacher had decided the Bible to be false, and one day told his students about that. Creationism is “superstitious nonsense,” he mocked.

Chad sued his teacher. Friday a federal judge agreed with Chad. “Guilty,” said the judge.

Good deal.

Read more here.

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My Brother, Junior

I was excited about it for days and when we began circling the arrivals area at the Las Vegas Airport on the Friday before Easter, I could hardly contain myself. It was our 4th time around when I spotted my brother, Farrell E. Forrest. Junior, he was to me, for he bore our father’s name and I had never called him anything else.

It has been years since we had been together, and there he stood, distinct and sorted out from the bustling crowd as though a spotlight had beamed him. Junior, my brother, my baby brother. He urged out his shy smile, released the handle of a luggage piece, and we embraced there on the walkway–Good Friday in Las Vegas.

Junior had flown from Toronto that day, although he had been in the States for a few days. His home is near Pittsburg, but for several months now he has lived in Antofagasta, Chili. He is an electrical engineer and is vice-president of something or other connected with the Dunlop Corporation. He did his college work in Ohio and immediately on graduation went to work for Dunlop (maybe one of its subsidiaries, not sure), and has continued with them until now–a couple of breaks in there I’ll write of later.

Junior is 64–doesn’t look it–at least in big sister’s eyes, and is the sweetest man you will ever meet. He is smart, humble, soft-spoken, courteous and beyond excellent as a father and grandfather. He speaks glowingly and with obvious great affection of his late wife, Rose, his only daughter, Sandy, and of his two grandchildren, Brad and Moriah.

I had emailed telling him not to eat any airport food along the way and that we would stop for dinner after picking him up. A Cheesecake Factory was near and we pulled in there, snagging a beautiful outside table where, in the picture above, you see him. We talked and ate and smiled and lingered…then it was time to go, and we drove to Lake Havasu and to the door of the London Bridge Resort Hotel.

It’s Spring Break here, and though it was 11:30 at night, the parking lot was jammed and huge boats on trailers were blocking the driveways. Young people ran about in various stages of dress and undress.

“Hope it’s not too noisy, and that you can sleep all right. It’s Spring Break here, and Lake Havasu is one of the major destinations for college students,” I mentioned at one point. He was aware of it and thought he wouldn’t have any trouble sleeping.

We would pick him up for breakfast at 8:30. Jerry helped him in with his luggage and left him standing at the check-in counter.

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My devotional blog is here. 

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Children Culture Life Schools The World

Law School at Eight?

His name is Joao Victor Portellinha, he lives in Brazil, and he just passed the exam that will admit him to law school. Joao is eight years old.

Brazil’s lawyers have been shocked to find that a boy aged eight has managed to pass the entrance exam to law school.

The Bar Association said the achievement of Joao Victor Portellinha should be taken as a warning about the low standards of some of Brazil’s law schools.

“If this is confirmed, the Education Ministry should immediately intervene … to investigate the circumstances of this case,” said the association’s president in Goias state, Miguel Angelo Cancado.

Joao Victor is still in fifth grade, two levels ahead of normal for his age, but his mother says he is not a cloistered genius. “He is a regular boy,” she told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. “He is very dedicated, likes to read and study, but he has fun and makes friends.”

The entire article is here. 

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My devotional blog is here. 

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Cash for Grades?

Is it all right to reward students with cash? Over the years the issue of whether or not it is a profitable action to give monetary rewards to children for good grades has been raised. I know parents who give set amounts for As, Bs, etc. Others object, saying, learning should be its own reward, while some embrace the stance that whatever it takes to get a child educated should be done.

I believe in my earlier years, I leaned toward no money rewards, then became ambivalent, and now think there is little problem with passing out cash rewards for hard work in school.

The New York City School system has developed a large program of such rewards. Is that a good idea? Do you have an opinion?

Annie Tritt for The New York Times

Ruth Lopez gives her student Abigail Ortega a certificate showing her earnings from test scores.

The fourth graders squirmed in their seats, waiting for their prizes. In a few minutes, they would learn how much money they had earned for their scores on recent reading and math exams. Some would receive nearly $50 for acing the standardized tests, a small fortune for many at this school, P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

When the rewards were handed out, Jazmin Roman was eager to celebrate her $39.72. She whispered to her friend Abigail Ortega, “How much did you get?” Abigail mouthed a barely audible answer: $36.87. Edgar Berlanga pumped his fist in the air to celebrate his $34.50.

The remainder of the article is here.

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My devotional blog is here. 

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America California Children Christianity/Religion Courage Culture Goodness of man Honor Integrity Internet Life Schools Social

McKay Hatch Continues With His Notable Mission

Among my hundreds of posts over the past two years, the story of McKay Hatch probably was the cause of more negative responses than any other–some comments were bad enough so that I deleted them. During the early days of McKay’s work, his own blog was hacked, and his righteous posting was replaced with that of derogatory remarks and vile overtones.

EDIT–Thursday am: Again, I want to emphasize the depth of fierce response this story has caused. My original post is continuing to draw vile and hateful remarks. Some I have deleted because of their filth, but I have left as many as seems wise. If you’re interested, please check the ongoing comments here. The passion aroused is amazing, and unfortunately very telling.

Now this remarkable young man is back in the news. Because of the influence of McKay Hatch, the mayor of Pasadena, CA. has declared his city a no- cussing zone during this week. Again, I salute this courageous, honorable teen-ager.

South Pasadena is an official no-cussing zone this week.

The designation comes at the suggestion of a 14-year-old boy who founded the “No Cussing Club” in the city.

This fun-loving South Pasadena high school freshman is on a mission to clean up our foul language. McKay Hatch is the creator of the “No Cussing Club” and this week he’s asking everyone to give up their favorite four-letter words.

“I’d like to have a cuss-free week in every state and nationwide,” said Hatch. “People say it’s March 3rd. Let’s clean up our language this week.”

The link to the complete article is here.

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Children Courage Family Life Photography Schools Social

Ousted for a Mohawk

How far should a school go in dictating the appearance of its students? Is it fair that this little boy was dismissed because of his Mohawk haircut? Is it reasonable to think, as the school has suggested, that such appearance is distracting in the classroom?

While I think the haircut is unattractive, I suspect it is would not be a great distraction given the age of the students. Probably if little attention were paid to the young man, in a few days, no one in his kindergarten class would even notice. Having said that, though, I believe the parents should have respected the decision of the school authorities, should have explained it to the youngster, and have waited until the summer break to let him sport such a style. (Personally, I suspect I would not have cut my little boys’ hair in such a way.)

How about you? What do you think? All the story is here.

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My devotional blog is here.