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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

On Doing the Right Thing

As a former teacher and a lifetime parent, I believe one of the most difficult things to teach young people is to do the right thing when there may be no payoff in sight. Sometimes the right thing is simply the right thing; period.

 Earlier this week I was asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of a woman I knew by name only. All of her family were living in various parts of the country. Although I thought it a “different” sort of request, I agreed and did, indeed, carry her casket … the casket of a person I didn’t know. Interesting, huh?

Why would we do such a thing or, more specifically, why did I? I agreed to be a pallbearer for at least three reasons:

1. I have the deepest regard and respect for the person who called and asked me if I would be a pallbearer.

2. I was available to do it. Various circumstances prevented most of the other men from our small church to be a pallbearer. I was home still, getting ready for a trip to Kansas, but I was home and available. 

3. It was simply the right thing to do. That in and of itself was enough.

I cannot tell you that taking on this little job was a hassle for me, because it wasn’t. Nor could I tell you that doing it made me feel wonderfully warm and fuzzy inside. It didn’t. It was simply the right thing to do, and that was enough.

In the grand scheme of things life got back to “normal” after a 90 minute diversion of carrying the casket of a stranger. There were calls to make and errands to run. I seriously doubt if I will even recall this action a few years from now. But I’m very clear on the fact that, had I refused this request and others like it, I would have been a bit less as a person because of it.

Sometimes doing the right thing is simply the right thing to do.  

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November 30, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational, Parents, Special Occasions | 3 Comments

Five Kernels of Corn (the Thanksgiving Story)

Here is a story of gratitude. It’s taken from the book, Windows II: book for those with a heart for helping kids heal, by Dr. James Sutton (www.docspeak.com) The original source of the material was Marshall and Manuel’s book, The Light and the Glory (Fleming H. Revell, 1977). They did substantial research on the material included in the book. Often, they were allowed to access documents and journals not readily available to the public.

NOTE: To hear a reading of this story CLICK HERE.

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On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in a natural harbor on the inside of the northern tip of Cape Cod. There it stayed. The location was not the Pilgrims’ first choice; they had planned to settle near the mouth of the Hudson.

The area where the ship made landfall had belonged to the Patuxets, a fierce tribe that took intense delight in murdering anyone who would dare invade their territory. A sickness, however, had wiped them out, leaving their land free for the taking. (Other Indians, fearing “bad spirits,” would have no part of it.) The Pilgrims didn’t even have to clear fields for planting. They were alread there for them.

The nearest neighbors were the Wampanoags, a civilized tribe ruled by Massasoit. The chief and his people accepted the Pilgrims and helped them. Squanto, a lone survivor of the Patuxets, made his home with this new inhabitants and taught them how to survive in this new and challenging land.

Although the bounty of the summer of 1621 brought a time of heartfelt gratitude (the first Thanskgiving), the Pilgrims’ obligation to repay the backers who had financed their voyage left them dangerously close to starvation. Food stores had all but disappeared.

At one point, a daily ration of food for a Pilgrim was 5 kernels of corn. With a simple faith that God would sustain them, no matter what, they pulled through. History records that not a single one of them died from starvation that winter. Not a one.

The harvest of 1623 brought a surplus of corn, so much that the Pilgrims were able to help out the Indians for a change. So joyous were they that they celebrated a second Day of Thanksgiving and again invited Massasoit to be their guest.

He came, bringing with him his wife, several other chiefs and 120 braves. All sat down to a feast of 12 venison, 6 goats, 50 hogs and pigs, numerous turkeys, vegtables, grapes, nuts, plums, puddings and pies. But, lest anyone forget, all were given their first course on an empty plate.

They were each given 5 kernels of corn.

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November 23, 2006 Posted by | Inspirational, Special Occasions | 14 Comments

ON Getting Even … and GRATITUDE

This was sent to me recently by a friend. Sounds like a good message in preparation for a day of thanksgiving.

 James Sutton, Educator/Psychologist  www.docspeak.com

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The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
– John E. Southard

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
– William Arthur Ward

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November 22, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Special Occasions | 1 Comment

“Do Things Worth Writing …”

Benjamin Franklin could turn a word. He was by trade and habit an excellent wordsmith. Here is something he wrote in a letter to his children. This letter was written when he was in France trying to get support for our young country as it struggled with Great Britain for independence.

 James Sutton, Educator/Psychologist, www.docspeak.com

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“Do things worth writing, and write things worth reading.”

Dr. Benjamin Franklin (in a letter from France to his children)

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November 13, 2006 Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | 2 Comments

What Money Can and Cannot Buy

Jim Gentil, my friend in Austin, Texas, sent me this over the summer. I believe it contains a good values lesson no only for our children or the children in our charge, but for us as well. Often we become so focused on accumulating our measure of this world’s goods that we forget that there are some things that cannot be accumulated, only appreciated.

James Sutton, educator and psychologist, www.docspeak.com

What Money Can and Cannot Buy
A bed, but not sleep.
Books, but not brains.
Food, but not appetite.
Finery, but not beauty.
A house, but not a home.
Medicine, but not health.
Luxuries, but not  culture.
Amusements, but not happiness.
Companions, but not friends.
Flattery, but not respect.

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November 1, 2006 Posted by | Counselors, Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | 3 Comments