Cause for Concern?

We are living in a time when there seems to be trouble on almost every front . . . folks are sick . . . health care is in trouble . . . prisons are full . . . many claim that the government is untrustworthy . . . families are falling apart . . . our economy is in the tank . . . it seems that moral values are just spiraling down at a dangerous rate of speed . . . there are wars and rumors of wars . . . there is a serious enemy that lurks about . . . and tragically, it seems that our government does not even recognize the enemy exists . . .  

My Sunday school lesson this week comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel and concerns some rather mysterious things about which Daniel was inspired to write.  Most of the smart guys declare Daniel’s writing in this area to be related to the subject of Eschatology and tribulation that is anticipated to be a serious part of end-time events. 

A couple of times a year, I get a telephone call from someone claiming to be taking a survey and I am asked if I believe that we are now in the “Great Tribulation Period.”  I chuckle and say, “I am not sure that I understand much about that deep and mysterious subject, but if the smart guys are right and it is what they claim it will be, you can bet when it does arrive you won’t need to conduct a telephone survey to determine that it has happened.” 

In all honesty, I need to admit that there was a time when I knew a considerable amount about all of that end-time stuff.  I grew up in Churches having Pastors who were great authorities on the subject and they taught us regularly all about it.  I was pretty full of myself back then so I adopted it along with what each piece of the mystery meant and represented.  Then, as a young man I met some really smart men, who simply said that there was much of that they simply did not understand . . . but they did know that at some point when we least expect it, the clouds will scroll back, a trumpet will blast, and the Lord Jesus will appear.  It is at that time there will be a great separation of those who believe and those would reject.

Children are easily impressed and early impressions can certainly have a profound and lasting influence on them.  I suspect that all of that end-times teaching and influence in my early years have caused me to be inclined to over-focus on the worst parts of society.  Hey, I was always taught that was the great measuring stick of the end as it approached.  

But then, on occasion I stumble onto something which helps me open my eyes and see things in a better and more favorable light.  That very thing happened this morning . . . and of all things it involved a survey . . . a survey conducted by NBC network.  The survey concerned the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and asked Americans if the phrase should remain in the Pledge.  I was startled to learn that 86% of those asked stated that the phrase ought to be left in the Pledge.  Three other things I learned about this matter are:

1. This Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1892, and the phrase “one nation under God” was not part of the original Pledge;

2. The phrase “one nation under God” was added to the Pledge by action of both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 . . . 4 years after I was born!; and

3. The Pledge was changed to acknowledge God because the Knights of Columbus (a ministry group of the Catholic Church) proposed the change to Congress and then did the work necessary to get it passed into law.  Boy was that an eye opener!!!  You would never believe what those early authorities on end-time events told me about the Catholic Church and who she is alleged to be . . .

NOTE: I don’t mean to be critical of those guys who were early influences in my life . . . I am certain that they were each good men and well-intentioned, but the lesson to be learned is that there is a real maturity in being able to say, “I simply do not know, but I know that there is a time coming when right and truth will prevail over evil because of our connection with the Risen Lord!”  It is just me, but I believe there is far greater value in that simple and honest declaration than there is in a week-long conference at which there are long, continuous, and theoretical debates about a topic which Jesus himself told us was safety guarded by the Father Himself.

Want a measuring stick?  Here is one . . . If God did not reveal all of the answers to Jesus, you can be certain that He didn’t reveal it to some dipstick who claims to have all of the answers.  I actually know such a dipstick and I really like him . . . but I also avoid that topic with him.

In conclusion, I am refreshed by the NBC survey results!  I do understand that the NBC organization is not some bastion of integrity, nor is it a driving force to influence our culture toward God.  

Almost a Disaster . . .

I encountered a fellow around noon and the poor dude just looked tired, hungry, and down on his luck.  To his credit, he did not want a hand-out . . . he wanted work . . . honest work for fair pay. He said he had just come in from an outing on a shrimp boat.  He did not get paid for his work and when he got home, his roommate had kicked him out and moved a woman in.  He was told his belongings had been put in some people’s garage, but they would not be home until tomorrow night.  The poor rascal was walking.  I asked him, “When was the last time you had a decent meal?”  He paused, thought about it, and replied, “Gosh, I can’t even remember.”

I told him to get in my suburban and we headed to the cafe. 

As we drove along, my cell phone rang.  I looked down and it was Linda Sweet.  I answered and she exclaimed, “We just dodged a serious bullet!”  I asked what she meant and she said, “Another apartment fire!”  I inquired and she said that one of the residents caught her as she walked through the complex and said, “I am not certain if it is anything to be concerned about, but my neighbor’s smoke alarm has been screaming for a while.  In fact, the tenant left just a bit ago and soon afterward the smoke alarm began sounding off.”

Linda went on to say that she called Homero and he came running, and when they entered the apartment, it was full of smoke.  She reported that they found a hot pot of grease on the stove with the burner on underneath it . . . and the oven was on, too!” 

What a miracle . . . certainly proof that the Lord watches over His people. 

We visited briefly about how someone could actually leave such a mess, and do it accidently.  I assured Linda that the resident would be issued a notice of lease violation and that she would be charged for the damages.

As we ended the conversation and I thanked my friend for being alert and quick to respond and investigate, she began to cry softly and choked up.  I know that she was remembering the fatal fire of the early morning of December 10, 2013, in which our friend, Bill, and his dog, Buddy, perished. 

That tragedy will trouble all of us for years to come.

 

 

A small town and its brush with fame . . .

The date was August 26 . . . the year was 1814 . . . the situation was most dire.  The brave and bold young nation known as the United States was in a life-and-death struggle with the British. The British troops had burned the new nation’s capital and caused the residents of Washington and Georgetown to flee for their very lives.  The refugees poured into Brookeville, Maryland, a small community located 18 miles north of the District of Columbia.  As the refugees arrived, the townspeople took them into their homes.  American soldiers leaving Bladenburg, and militiamen on their way to Baltimore, came to Brookeville.  The citizens gave them food and spirits, as well as a place to camp and pasture their horses.  Washington’s banks sent the specie and clerks brought the U. S. Senate’s papers to Brookeville for safe-keeping. Then, finally, after being on the run in Northern Virginia for two nights, President James Madison and his Cabinet arrived in Brookeville, taking refuge in the home of the local Postmaster, Caleb Bentley.  It was from that home, in this small town, the business of the U. S. Government was conducted at that troubled moment in history.  It was on this date, 200 years ago, that the small town of Brookeville, Maryland, became the U. S. Capital for a brief period of 18 hours, and 200 years later the town continues to celebrate its brush with fame. 

It is at this point that Paul Harvey would have said . . . “And now you know . . .  the rest of the story. Good day!”

Unbroken Circle? Almost there!!

Johnny Cash was the first one I heard to sing the great old country song, “Will the Circle be Unbroken?”  It is a catchy song, with a bouncy tune and just makes one want to tap a toe and even snap fingers, or tap along with a finger on the arm of the chair.  The lyrics begin like this:

“I was standing by the window

on one cold and cloudy day

When I saw the hearse come rolling

for to carry my mother away”

Will the circle be unbroken

Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye

There’s a better home awaiting

In the sky Lord, in the sky.

I am not certain what the authors’ (Ada R. Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel) idea was with the thought of an unbroken circle, but I read that it was concerned with the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator’s mother.

The song was followed in 1935 by a song written by A. P. Carter entitled “Can the Circle be Broken?

The song,  “Will the Circle be Unbroken?” has been covered by a number of artists including Blind James Campbell, Bob Dylan, Roy Acuff, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Monroe, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Cash, and even Willie Nelson.

As stated above, I am not sure what either song might have meant to the songwriters or any of the artists who recorded them, but I know what they mean to me.  When I hear either of the songs, or think of them, it makes me think about how people can be biologically related though birth parents on earth, yet that is not a certainty that that family will remain in tact into eternity.  Every person born must make a decision about the most important matter of new birth . . . birth into the Family of God (John 3:16).  The simple truth of life is that God gives every person free will and that permits each person to make a decision about a relationship with his or her creator. Moreover, He gives each person sufficient light to be able to make that decision.  God not only permits the freedom to make that choice . . . He will also honor that choice all through eternity.  Here is the historical fact of humanity: God can and does change who our family is . . . as Believers we acquire a completely new set of brothers and sisters.  However, as tragic as it is, we can also lose a biological sibling in eternity by virtue of his or her right to exercise and use free will. 

So, the answers to the questions of the song titles are:

Yes, sadly, the Circle can be Broken; and

If all members of the family are reconciled to God through Jesus (II Corinthians 5:21), the circle will not be broken. 

 For Believers, this a haunting question about biological family members.  It is very difficult to stand alongside the grave of a family member who has died . . . even when you know the person was a Believer and are fully confident that you will one day be reunited.  It must be mind-boggling to stand there and contemplate that loved one being delivered to the pit of hell, separated from you and God for all eternity.

Sandy and I received word yesterday afternoon that our precious little Ali made a profession of faith and presented herself as a candidate for Believer’s baptism in her family church yesterday morning.  That miracle took place at the First Baptist Church of West . . . the church of her maternal grandparents and great grandparents for many, many years.  In fact, as a boy Ali’s age, her great grandfather, Jake Tucker (Ali’s mom’s, mom’s dad), lived next door to the Church and the Tucker family were members.  Her other great grandfather (Ali’s mom’s dad’s dad) Bro, Gardner, was the long-term Pastor of that Church.

With the peace Ali’s decision brings, I now turn the subject of my prayers for an unbroken circle toward darling little Abigayle Grace Melton.  When Abi accepts Jesus, it will ensure that the Circle in my little family will not be broken.  That will be cause for rejoicing, just as Ali s decision is a cause of rejoicing!  


 

A Community in a Great Crisis

It started the morning of Saturday, August 9, 2014, and the events of that morning will forever prevent the small Missouri town of Ferguson from ever again being the same.  The town and the people will forever be scarred and never able to find its way back to its comfortable condition of Friday, August 8th . . . of just being another quite, small town in the heartland of the United States.  A town where families live, work, and try to be good neighbors; where Churches try to minister to local folks; and where educators were certainly beginning short-term preparations for the kid’s return back to school and even longer-term planning for Christmas pageants . . . just a few short months away.  Life was slow and rather easy in these final dog days of summer, before the fall school term started, until that shot rang out . . . and shocked the small town.

The dilemma began with a 911 telephone call at 11:51 am announcing the alleged robbery of a convenience store.  A brief 10 minutes later, at 12:01 pm, a young African-American male, Michael Brown, laid dead in the street.  His family was devastated by his death, the local police department came under brutal attack, the community became fractured, and the ugliness of race riots and clashes with law enforcement were soon being played out on the streets . . . as the world looked on. 

As is always the case in these tragedies, those who love the spot-light and yearn for public attention rushed in and threw out their same hate-filled mantra . . . always making everything a black and white battle . . . and without knowing any details or facts, began to scream “discrimination” and getting folks stirred up and ratcheting tensions up to the boiling point. Those self-serving screwballs declared that young Michael Brown was shot to death for no other reason than simply having been a person of color.  In their haste to point fingers and pit a battle between African Americans and whites, they failed to recognize that Michael had lived in Ferguson for years without having been shot for that or any other reason . . . as had many other citizens of color.  But the truth of the matter is that those troublemakers have no interest in truth and justice . . . those things do not fit into their agenda.

The small police department was overwhelmed with what happened on that lazy Saturday morning, and was unskilled in such matters, as well as ill-prepared to deal with and explain the chain of events to the public and media.  Thus, in its confusion and apprehension, the Department naturally clammed up and tried to feel its way through the public relations nightmare, as surely the Chief of Police, the Mayor, the City Manager, and the City Attorney all try to call signals and determine who would speak and what would be said.  Their silence served as fuel for rising tensions, and was interpreted as sheer disregard for the citizen’s right to know, and folks became really angry.  As tensions built, there was no shortage of those willing to add high-octane fuel to the fire. 

Of course, there were events that occurred that fateful morning and an honest explanation of those event could certainly have helped everyone understand what happened and why. Personally, I am inclined to always try to give the local police the benefit of the doubt, as I simply cannot believe that some out-of-control cop simply drove down the streets of Ferguson and shot a young black guy in broad open daylight for no reason than his color.  However, it must also be said that it seems that most local police departments have brought some of this hostility upon themselves.  The truth is that most of them have had a radical make-over in recent years . . . and certainly not for the best!  There has been a serious change in the demeanor of those local departments, and a great shift from the long time motto of “To protect, Serve, and Defend” that was once painted on the sides of patrol cars, to a very real militarization of the local force today.  Even small-town departments (even in towns where the largest business in town is the Dairy Queen) now sport assault weapons and other such military gear.  When I see that junk I always wonder just where and when the local cops plans to use such specialized equipment and upon whom?  Even worse, it is no rare thing to find a local cop who is a bully and a jerk.  I have had a few personal experiences with some of them. 

Accusations have been hurled in Ferguson, threats have been made, looting and rioting have occurred, and violent clashes have taken place; schools have been closed and classes cancelled and hundreds have gathered outside the Police Department demanding  justice . . . and the question remains if there is even any justice to be had in any of this.  Lawyers have already been retained . . . and are quite busy making their pitches and boasts.  Folks have gathered along the streets and the police have launched tear gas from military-style trucks . . . trucks that ought to have been in Iraq and not in small-town America, brutalizing local citizens. 

Al Sharpton arrived on the scene. Jesse Jackson also arrived. Then the New Black Panthers arrived.  Why have they come?  To help?  To help with what?  Actually, the proper question is, “What have they ever helped with?”  Those two clowns have passed themselves off for years as preachers of the Gospel and have lived off of poor, honest, hard-working people’s tithes and offerings, and the truth is that I have never heard either of them even utter the name Jesus! 

Ferguson, Missouri, like so many other towns and communities across the United States, has experienced significant changes over recent years.  Those changes have come in several different forms, as follows:

Demographics: The town has experienced drastic shifts and changes, and has seen a shift from its ethnic composition in 1990 of 73.8% White and 25.1% African American, to a 2010 composition of 67.4% African Americans and 29.3% White.  Such shifts require serious work to adjust and embrace the change and all that it entails.  Had new leadership been encouraged and had it emerged?

Cultural: Over recent years, Ferguson, just as every other small town in the Country, has seen a radical change in values, standards, value of life . . . as well as a great loss in public trust and confidence in those who are charged by the Constitution with the responsibility of representing us.  We have seen them largely ignore us, and seemingly simply to represent their own interests. In recent years we have seen the sitting President of the United States proved to be a liar, sex monger, and an abuser and user of a foolish and easily-impressed young intern . . . and doing so in a perverted manner.  Those who were elected to defend the Constitution and honor that high office merely swept the entire scandal under the Washington rug, and smirked and chuckled about him being “a rascal.”  What a sorry commentary on our rule of law and highly-elected officials.

Religion: As a result of several things, Church attendance is continually falling as member’s interest and commitment wanes, and by and large, it must be recognized that the Church is failing its membership in a number of different areas and that, too, is being reflected in the culture.

Educational system: The educational system of this great Nation is in shambles as Washington dictates to the local school systems.  The evidence is that tests repeatedly reveal that students graduating from high school 40 years ago were better educated than are current graduates.  Our educational ranking amongst other industrial nations is constantly on the decline.  It really is true that students are graduating from high school . . . Who honestly and literally are illiterate. 

And now, the White House has announced that the Attorney General’s office will conduct an inquiry into the Ferguson Police Department, as if that is some solid solution that can add some measure of honor, comfort, and instill integrity in this messy situation by its involvement.  As a reflection of where were are morally as a nation, the truth is that there is no agency of the U. S. Government that is as despised and distrusted as is the present office of the Attorney General . . . and that is tragic . . . as it is the highest law enforcement office in our nation.  Yet, under this Attorney General, there has been one scandal after another . . . and the office has lost all credibility and respect.  That office is more suspect than is the Police Department of Ferguson, so it seems this is another instance of the fox and the hen house.

And . . . now, today . . . reports that another young man has been shot to death . . . just four short miles away from Ferguson.  God help the poor folks . . . both Black and White . . . living in that region; folks who simply want to earn a living and raise their families.  Things will surely escalate in the hours and days to come . . .

And, God bless the families of the two young men who were killed.  I hope they find some answers that help bring them healing, restoration, and peace.  I hope and pray that the allegations of race slayings are false.  I pray that we are well beyond such foolish stuff . . . stuff that once defined us as a confused and troubled Nation, a Nation whose citizens claimed to love and reverence God, but treated their fellow citizens terribly for foolish reasons. 

 


 

Marvin . . . a most pecular fellow!

As I watched him walk up the sidewalk that morning, my antenna automatically began to sound warning signals inside of me.  As that very small, white-haired fellow with the bright blue eyes and the strange bounce in his walk entered the foyer and looked into the office, I made eye contact with him . . .  and I knew instantly that something was just not right about him.  As he entered the office and extended his hand and introduced himself, I felt chills run up my back just being near him.  I immediately recognized he was very well-educated, but sensed he was off the charts unbalanced as well.  Let me explain my story with you about Marvin . . .

I had just assumed control of a lovely apartment community designed for the elderly . . . located just to the south of San Antonio.  That morning was my initial visit to the property.  Of course, I had called the on-site manager a few days earlier and scheduled an appointment with her to get acquainted.  That is always an important time for me as I evaluate the property, the management system in place, the on-site staff, and tried to make a decision if any or all could continue on and work for me.  Actually there are a number of things I am alert about at that time  . . . including signs suggesting certain things . . . such as  things suggesting a relationship between the staff and a resident . . . other than just that of landlord’s representative and resident.  Other such relationships can become quite problematic for me at the property level. For some reason, I quickly sensed that something was going on between Sally and Marvin . . . in spite of there being at least a 30-year gap between their ages.  My first indication of that was a look I saw passed between them, and then strengthened by him addressing me by name, and telling me how happy he was to have me in control, and he even named my company by name and commented on “our wonderful reputation”!   He could only have known that information by someone telling him.  I filed a mental note with my suspicion of who had informed him. 

As Sally guided us into the Community Room, the front door opened and a man pushing a cart tried to make his way into the room.  Sally explained that it was the local Meals-on-Wheels program delivery, and excused herself to go assist the gentleman.  As she left, Marvin, obviously pleased to have a moment alone with me, said that he was terribly concerned about his older neighbors and their declining health.  I remarked that was certainly a sad part of the life process.  He came to an abrupt halt, and said, “It does not have to be!”  I replied something along the lines that there had been those in search of the fountain of youth as far back as Ponce de Leon, but it had never been discovered.  He smiled the most peculiar, weird smile I think I have ever seen, and said, “I have made the discovery!”  Thinking he was joking, I chuckled.  He was offended and informed me that he had spent forty years as a chemist with Dow Chemical, and that his life-work was on that very concern.  He further announced that if I would permit him to spray his magic potion on the Meals-on-Wheels’ lunches before they were disturbed to the residents, he would personally guarantee me that in forty-five days everyone in the complex would be able to walk without the need of canes, walkers, wheel chairs, and such.  I recall telling him that was a bold claim, and his assuring me that it was absolutely true.  I suggested that if that was true, he ought to pursue a patent on his discovery.  He said that was his plan, but first he had to have a study group involved and he was proposing that his neighbors be his study group.

I asked him if he had discussed the matter with his neighbors and local health officials.  He said that he had discussed it with his neighbors, but they were all negative on it.  I asked why they were negative and I will never forget what he said, “They refuse to use my product because they are all crazy . . . and they all seem to think I am crazy!”  

I told Marvin that I would be interested in seeing the list of ingredients in his miracle cure . . . he stopped and looked at me like I had lost my mind, and said “Well, if I was willing to share that information with just any Tom, Dick, or Harry, I would not have much a secret anymore, now would I?”

I chuckled and reminded him that there were laws about tampering with folk’s food without proper disclosure.  I asked Marvin if he was aware that Federal Law required that everything for human consumption required a label identifying ingredients.  His response was that there were far too many laws today.  

A few weeks later while I was on the property, Marvin made it a point to walk over and inform me that I was a huge disappointment to him. He said he had had high hopes for our friendship, but now felt that I was a most unreasonable fellow and he was unable to waste any more time on me.

Over time, several things about Marvin rose to the surface, including:

  1. That he was originally from New York City;
  2. He had, indeed, been a chemist for Dow (and he had retirement funds from Dow);
  3. His primary source of food came from the dumpsters behind the local supermarket;
  4. That he and Sally had developed a relationship much like that of a father/daughter and he often loaned her money;
  5. That his neighbors did believe him to be insane; and
  6. He was a hoarder . . . like those we see on TV (my first experience with this).

There was a rumor that a great tragedy had happened in his family and had left him all alone and disturbed in South Texas . . . far from his home in New York.  I never saw any evidence of that, but it was a rumor many believed.

Soon the condition of Marvin’s apartment/housekeeping became an issue . . . and a serious issue at that (almost health-department-involvement serious).  It finally reached a point that I had an official notice sent to him by Certified Mail, advising him that some of our company officials would  visit the property and inspect his dwelling, along with a warning that if his apartment failed the inspection, he would be required to move out.  I remember it all happened during the time the USA was involved in the war with Iraq (Desert Storm).  Our military was desperately seeking the location of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that had prompted our initial invasion.   There was great frustration and they seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

About 10:30 p.m. the night before the inspection-team was scheduled to inspect Marvin’s place, my home phone rang.  It was Marvin . . . wanting to make a deal.  He asked me if I wanted to become a very famous man and an American hero.  I advised him that sort of thing didn’t seem too attractive to me.  He said, “If you will call off the inspection, I will tell you where the WMD are hidden and you can help the President!”  Through the course of the conversation, he disclosed that under the cover of night, he, personally, had secretly and privately observed the storage of those WMD in a storage warehouse belonging to his former landlord in far West Texas.  I told Marvin that there was no deal to be had and the inspectors would be there as planned.  He said that he did not believe that any reasonable judge would force an old man to move over a few housekeeping issues.  I said that he might be right and suggested that he offer the same WMD deal with the judge.  He assured me that he would do that very thing!

When all the dust settled, Marvin failed the inspection and we had been awarded possession of the apartment in the local court system, and our folks entered the apartment with the court order in hand and began to clean up and move Marvin’s stuff out to the dump truck, they made the startling discovery of nine (9) dead cats in Marvin’s freezer . . . individually wrapped in freezer bags.

I have wondered through the years about just what the ingredients in Marvin’s miracle potion might have been . . . that stuff he wanted to secretly spray on his neighbor’s Meals-on-Wheels lunches.   I suspect that I know what one of the ingredients was.

I learned recently that poor old Marvin had passed away.  As I thought back over time, I am certain that Marvin was certainly the most peculiar individual I have ever encountered . . . and that is covering a lot of ground quickly . . . as I have encountered some really peculiar people over the years.

 


Children Learn What They Live . . . and Children Live What They Learn

Years ago at a motivational seminar I attended, I was introduced to a poem reflecting the truth of the above title. Upon my return home, Sandy discovered it amongst my take-home materials.  We both really like it and believe that it reflects a great truth about humanity and this thing we call life. Sandy ordered a copy of it, framed it, and it now hangs in the house. I have thought about it quite a bit over the years as I have seen different people, as adults, doing exactly what they grew up seeing their parents do . . . regardless if it was good or bad.  Either title works . . . and they each pretty much say the same.

Since being introduced to the truth of this poem, I have often seen this truth played out in serious ways:

. . . Adult children of alcoholic parents, themselves as adults become alcoholics, in spite of having hated the addiction in their parent(s) . . . and its impact on their family . . .

. . . Individuals abused as children, oftentimes themselves become child-abusers as adults . . .

. . . Kids who grew up with loving parents, themselves became happy, loving adults . . .

But, I have also seen it played out in less serious and even comical ways, too.  One such example, occurred just last week within my own family and resulted in a delightful dinner conversation.  Let me explain.

Courtney had flown in to be with us during Sandy’s hospitalization last week in San Antonio. While we were there, our friends, Steve and Cindy Roland, invited us to join them for dinner . . . with Steve announcing that he was hungry for steak.  He suggested The Barn Door, and he and I both chuckled saying that neither of us had eaten there in over 20 years.  It was still right there on Fredericksburg Road, and everything was just as I remembered it.  After we were seated and had each placed our orders for dinner, Courtney told us just such a story . . . relative to ordering in a steak house.

She said, “My parents rarely left us with a sitter when we were kids, and they just took us to dinner with them. As far back as I can remember, I ordered off of the adult menu just as did my parents.”  She went on to say, “When we were in a steakhouse, my Dad always ordered a Rib-eye . . . medium rare . . . while my mom would order a Filet . . . well done!  I just grew up ordering a Rib-eye . . . medium rare, just like my Dad!  Several years later, as an adult, I was having dinner with a co-worker and we were dining in a steakhouse.  My friend ordered a filet . . . medium rare . . . and, while pretty shocked over her order, I still ordered my usual . . . Rib-eye . . . medium rare.  As we ate dinner, my friend questioned why I had ordered the Rib-eye and commented that she had watched me trim the fat and marbling away?  She said that it seemed to her that when I was done with the knife . . . she and I pretty much ended up with the same cut of meat, but mine had cost several dollars more.”  Courtney said she explained to her friend, “When I was a kid, I observed my Dad always ordering a Rib-eye . . . medium rare . . . while my mom ordered a filet . . . well done.  Each of my parents would give me bite of their steak . . . I loved my Dad’s, but didn’t like my mom’s”.

She chuckled and said, “I was an adult, and a professional before I realized that it was not the cut of meat that I disliked . . . but was rather the degree to which it was cooked! I actually had no clue that a filet could be cooked in any manner, just as a Rib- eye could be.” 

She concluded with the declaration . . . “Now, I always order a filet . . . like my mom, but I order it prepared medium rare . . . like my dad!  My discovery . . . It is not the cut of the meat . . . it is how it is prepared!”

I was amazed as I heard my sweet daughter tell this tale.  It never occurred to me that was what happened . . . or why!  It just seems to me . . . that, “Children Learn what they Live . . .

And “Children Live what they Learn” . . . indeed . . . and they do so, regardless of the right or wrong of it all!

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.