Americana / Personal Stories

Americana / Personal Stories

Schools fall short on values, virtues

Society's most important task is education. It is through education that we transmit to our children the knowledge and skills they need to function effectively in a modern economy, and the values and virtues they require to fulfill the responsibilities of family and citizenship in a free society. That's why all that separates civilization from anarchy is a single generation. 

Keeping the faith is what counts

Around the time of Mother Teresa's funeral, I bought one of her books, A Simple Plan (Ballantine, 1995). Having overdosed on her deeds, I just wanted to find out more about her thinking and her faith. Her lessons are both clear and simple: Faith, surrender, obedience and prayer gave her the strength to serve others. Once, when asked to account for her success, she said, "It is not my purpose to succeed. It is my purpose to keep faith." 

Looking back, enjoying present

LAFAYETTE, Ind.-- Last weekend, nearly 300 members of the Class of '57 at Jefferson High School assembled in this central Indiana community, home of Purdue University, for their 40th class reunion. This was a great time to renew old friendships and recall lives together during youthful years that "oldies" DJs now call the "Nifty Fifties." 

Are you a builder or a wrecker?

Labor Day means different things to different people. For some, Labor Day symbolizes the end of summer. A last fling at the beach or at the fishin' hole. A parade down Main Street -- at least in many Rust Belt cities and towns. Family reunions. A new school year for the kids. Those things all come to mind this time of year. 

Eco-paparazzi are in our face

The environmental paparazzi are everywhere. Just like their photojournalist cousins, who use bicycles to stalk their celebrity prey, eco-paparazzi use everything from rubber dinghies to spikes in trees to get what they want from oil or timber industry prey. 

Positive Progress On Race Relations

Race relations was in the headlines this past week -- not because of a riot or hate crime or something negative, but for mostly positive and constructive reasons. First, last Tuesday, a Gallup Poll showed that the views of both black and white Americans are converging in many positive ways (despite real divisions that persist in some areas), a "substantial improvement in black satisfaction with aspects of their personal life" and dramatic improvements in white attitudes toward blacks, especially among younger people. 

Permissiveness starts at the top

"The children of today are out of control. They talk back to their parents, slobber their food, and annoy their teachers." Does this sound familiar, like your local school principal or a disgruntled grandmother? Actually, it is a quote from Socrates, the Greek philosopher, uttered sometime around 425 B.C. 

In fact, each generation of kids is viewed as a problem. They're always seen as rebelling. So the real question is whether today's youth is different in kind from earlier generations. The conventional wisdom is "yes," and data seem to support the allegation. 

A note of thanks to the 'greatest'

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a friend, an attorney who reads a lot and is thoughtful about what he reads. He had a good idea for Memorial Day. 

It behooves us to be prayerful

On Thursday, millions of Americans will join together across racial, political and denominational lines to observe the annual National Day of Prayer. Purpose: To pray for our nation and its leaders and to give thanks for the bounty, beauty and blessings of our country. 

Story-telling great Christmas tradition

Three years ago, while standing in line to pay for Christmas decorations at a local nursery, a book calledChristmas in My Heart: A Treasury of Old-Fashioned Christmas Stories caught my eye. The book was compiled and edited by Joe Wheeler, chair of the English Department at Maryland's Columbia Union College. 




It’s better to wear out than rust out.”  That is the message of Reboot!  While American culture glamorizes the “Golden Years” of endless leisure and amusement, Phil Burgess rejects retirement, as he makes the case for returning to work in the post-career years, a time he calls later life.

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