Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm A Charter Member

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Don't You Beat My Neighbor!

Boy, Mr. Rogers sure takes a beating for all kinds of things. Check out this article from the Journal. Poor Mr. Rogers.

Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why
Young Adults Feel So Entitled
July 5, 2007

Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, says it dawned on him last spring. The semester was ending, and as usual, students were making a pilgrimage to his office, asking for the extra points needed to lift their grades to A's.

"They felt so entitled," he recalls, "and it just hit me. We can blame Mr. Rogers."

Fred Rogers, the late TV icon, told several generations of children that they were "special" just for being whoever they were. He meant well, and he was a sterling role model in many ways. But what often got lost in his self-esteem-building patter was the idea that being special comes from working hard and having high expectations for yourself.

Now Mr. Rogers, like Dr. Spock before him, has been targeted for re-evaluation. And he's not the only one. As educators and researchers struggle to define the new parameters of parenting, circa 2007, some are revisiting the language of child ego-boosting. What are the downsides of telling kids they're special? Is it a mistake to have children call us by our first names? When we focus all conversations on our children's lives, are we denying them the insights found when adults talk about adult things?

Some are calling for a recalibration of the mind-sets and catch-phrases that have taken hold in recent decades. Among the expressions now being challenged:

"You're special." On the Yahoo Answers Web site, a discussion thread about Mr. Rogers begins with this posting: "Mr. Rogers spent years telling little creeps that he liked them just the way they were. He should have been telling them there was a lot of room for improvement. ... Nice as he was, and as good as his intentions may have been, he did a disservice."

Signs of narcissism among college students have been rising for 25 years, according to a recent study led by a San Diego State University psychologist. Obviously, Mr. Rogers alone can't be blamed for this. But as Prof. Chance sees it, "he's representative of a culture of excessive doting."

Prof. Chance teaches many Asian-born students, and says they accept whatever grade they're given; they see B's and C's as an indication that they must work harder, and that their elders assessed them accurately. They didn't grow up with Mr. Rogers or anyone else telling them they were born special.

By contrast, American students often view lower grades as a reason to "hit you up for an A because they came to class and feel they worked hard," says Prof. Chance. He wishes more parents would offer kids this perspective: "The world owes you nothing. You have to work and compete. If you want to be special, you'll have to prove it."

"They're just children." When kids are rude, self-absorbed or disrespectful, some parents allow or endure it by saying, "Well, they're just children." The phrase is a worthy one when it's applied to a teachable moment, such as telling kids not to stick their fingers in electrical sockets. But as an excuse or as justification for unacceptable behavior, "They're just children" is just misguided.

"Call me Cindy." Is it appropriate to place kids on the same level as adults, with all of us calling each other by our first names? On one hand, the familiarity can mark a loving closeness between child and adult. But on the other hand, when a child calls an adult Mr. or Ms., it helps him recognize that status is earned by age and experience. It's also a reminder to respect your elders.

"Tell me about your day." It is crucial to talk to kids about their lives, and that dialogue can enrich the whole family. However, parents also need to discuss their own lives and experiences, says Alvin Rosenfeld, a Manhattan-based child psychiatrist who studies family interactions.

In America today, life often begins with the anointing of "His Majesty, the Fetus," he says. From then on, many parents focus their conversations on their kids. Today's parents "are the best-educated generation ever," says Dr. Rosenfeld. "So why do our kids see us primarily discussing kids' schedules and activities?"

He encourages parents to talk about their passions and interests; about politics, business, world events. "Because everything is child-centered today, we're depriving children of adults," he says. "If they never see us as adults being adults, how will they deal with important matters when it is their world?"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


My blog was hacked (again). There's no way I would post such an article as the one below -- even if it is true.

I'm complaining to Google about their abominable technical security. It's bad enough my blog was hacked before; to have it happen again is unconscionable!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Getting Ready Down Under

Improve Your Prayer Life

From 'The Curt Jester' blog:
Kick up your prayer life!

Have you been meaning to do something about your prayer life? You are kind of into God, yet you can never seem to slice out some time in your busy daily life for him. You know this isn't right, but every devotional practice you look at seems to take too much time - time that you just don't have. In this day and age with so many time-saving gadgets that have left you with no time you end up looking for a quick time saving prayer life that will ease your conscience.

The Church in her history has developed the Liturgy of the Hours which has nourished the life of the Church and countless saints. But when you see copies of the Liturgy of the Hours the words four volume set don't exactly bring you confidence that you can eek out time necessary for this. That was until now with this revolutionary new system that will take your prayer life up a notch or at least a fraction of a notch.

Introducing The Liturgy of the Seconds! This one volume set is really easy to learn and to follow and you will get through Morning and Evening prayers in only a matter of seconds. We are called to fast and pray and now you can pray fast!

You might ask how is this possible? The Liturgy of the Hours uses a monthly cycle of hymns, Psalms, antiphons, and other readings - how can this be condensed?

The answer is simple we pick Psalms such as Ps. 117.

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!

Ps. 131:

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother's breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

And Ps. 134:

A Song of Ascents. Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

Now toss in a couple of really short antiphons and you will be mostly finished with Morning or Evening prayer in the Liturgy of the Seconds. For longer Psalms we break them up and only take a verse or two. Within a year you will almost read partially through the book of Psalms!

Now you say okay I now understand about how you can quickly go through the Psalm readings, but what about the Canticles normally prayed. Well instead of reciting the Canticle of Zechariah for Morning prayer and the Canticle of Mary for the Evening prayer, you just say the word Benedictus or Magnificat depending on the time of day. Now you might think this is really cheating and not pleasing to God in any way, yet we will show you the biblical warrant for this later in our discussion on the Rosary.

The Liturgy of the Seconds also includes Scriptural reading of course and as you might expect reading Titus fits in perfectly with the Liturgy of the Seconds. Instead of the Breviary you will have a very briefery.

You don't have to feel guilty about the Liturgy of the Seconds, for one thing God really understands time expansion. To God a day is like a thousand years and so if the ratio holds up a second is like almost half of a day! So every second you spend in the Liturgy of the Hours is really racking up time. Besides God being outside of time isn't really into time or for that matter in time.

Now once you have started the Liturgy of the Second and find that you actually have the very short time needed for it you might feel brave enough to add other devotions to your prayer life.

Holy Minute - On your way to the store or other place stop by a Catholic Church and spend a Holy Minute before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of in adoration if the Parish has 24 hour Eucharistic adoration. The great thing about Holy Minutes is that your knees never get numb. Or if you don't not have time for a whole minute, try the 40 Second Devotion.

Some people are attracted to the charisms of the various third orders such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, etc. Yet many of these third orders require 30 minutes of contemplation/prayer each day. You can cut this time in half by singing during prayer/contemplation. St. Augustine is attributed as saying that when you sing you pray twice, so surely singing would cut 30 minutes down to 15 minutes!

The Rosary is a popular prayer, but it can take 15 to 20 minutes to pray just one of the mysteries if you use the standard form. Instead of reciting the full Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and the other prayer you just say "Our Father" and "Hail Mary." You can imagine how much faster a Decade of the Rosary is when saying "Our Father, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary." Though we recommend you apply a thin shin of some oil to your Rosary first before speeding through the shortcut Rosary.

Again you might ask about these shortcut prayers and if they are really appropriate? These prayer shortcut are really prayer macros. Macros help you to do complicated tasks in just one easy step. Even Jesus used prayer macros! When Jesus from the cross said "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?", he was referencing Psalm 22 and by using one phrase he was referencing the whole of the Psalm and its Messianic overtones. So if Jesus can uses one phrase from a Psalm to reference the whole Psalm then certainly we can do the same.

It is also reported that the Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia the children of Fatima just prior to seeing the first apparition of Our Lady were praying the shortcut Rosary. So obviously Mary was not perturbed by their use of the shortcut Rosary, though your mileage may vary.

So start with the Liturgy of the Seconds and other truncated devotions. After all God created us, loves us, and maintains us in existence; so the least we can do is spend some seconds with him.

The Liturgy of the Seconds is available from Second Hand Books.

Culture of Death Update

The New York Sun had/has a great blog, 'It Shines for All'. For some reason they stopped running it, but I kept checking back once in a while anyway. My tenacity (or obstinancy) paid off as a couple of months later the blog started up again. Here is a great post that should give the promoters of culture of death something to think about.
Coma Victim Awakens After 19 Years

One has to wonder what supporters of Michael Schiavo's efforts to end his wife Terry's life think when they see articles like this. The Polish man who awoke after 19 years in a coma was cared for by a loving spouse. Terry's parents would have cared for her as well if her husband had allowed them to but that was not to be. This case was regarded as a pro-life issue which in a sense it was. However as Nat Hentoff reminded us in an editorial for the Washington Times, "I covered the Terri Schiavo case for more than four years, going against nearly all of the other media in emphasizing and documenting that this was not a "right to die" case, but a disability-rights case. And that's why many leading disability-rights organizations filed legal briefs unreported by most of the press on her behalf……When Terri Schiavo died, I wrote that hers was the longest public execution in American history. Even the most monstrous murderer on death row would have received far more due process of law than she did. " Jan Grzebski was lucky to be living in Poland.

In the Mold of Sowell

The New York Sun has an editorial today on some of the pithy statements made by Chief Justice Roberts. I read this one and laughed out loud; his comment also immediately reminded me of Thomas Sowell.
"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race," Justice Roberts wrote, striking down race-based student-assignment systems in Seattle, Wash., and Louisville, Ky., "is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."


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