Thursday, December 14, 2017

Without The Other



My students have very little knowledge of things that kids in my generation would have known. I would guess not one of my students would know anything about the book or incident mentioned below. None of them would be aware that on November 15, 1959, one of the most brutal and senseless killings in American history took place in Holcomb, Kansas. In a botched robbery, the four members of the Herb Clutter family were slaughtered in their farmhouse by two ex convicts. The story would have been forgotten by the rest of the country had not Truman Capote saw the short news blurb in the New York Times and decided it would be the subject of his next work. The book, In Cold Blood, was a chilling step-by-step account of the killings, the police investigation, and the subsequent execution of Richard Hickok and Perry Smith. The following entry, from July 29, 2007, centers on the writing of the most famous crime account in our culture.


Baseball greats Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken took their place with legends today as they were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Class acts as well as amazing players, the duo embodies what baseball holds up as its best. A headline on a sports website stated that Ripken and Gwynn are forever linked with their enshrinement. In an era where players are lured to new cities and teams by more money, Ripken and Gwynn remained with their own organizations the duration of their careers. Their names were in the spotlight for on the field accomplishments, never off the field escapades. Their kind seems an endangered species.Two days ago, I finished a wonderful biography by Charles J. Shields. Mockingbird: A Portrait Of Harper Lee tells the story of the woman who penned To Kill A Mockingbird.....and never published another novel. The tale of Harper is woven with her childhood neighbor, fellow author Truman Capote, whose fame would eclipse Lee's. It was as if the life of one illuminated the life of the other. Capote, the inspiration of the character, Dill, in Lee's classic, was an abandoned child. Lee, whose observations of small town Alabama life became a staple in American schools, had an emotionally distant mother but a loving father, the embodiment of her book's Atticus Finch. Capote became acclaimed with his chilling best seller, In Cold Blood, detailing the horrific murders of the Clutter family on their Kansas farm. But In Cold Blood might not have achieved its success without the research of Harper, who accompanied Capote to Kansas and eased tensions with the local citizens. Even the villages the books center around (Monroeville, ie Maycomb, Alabama and Holcomb, Kansas) are tied together as tragedies create upheaval in rural America. Shields leads readers to question if either Capote or Lee would have become famous without the influence of the other. Harper Lee, still living in her hometown, gives no interviews. We'll just have to wonder.

School starts for me in two weeks. I haven't thought of lesson plans but I know where my eighth and tenth grade Bible classes will begin: the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. The two are linked eternally by the mission of John, fulfilled in the ministry of his relative/Son of God. The life of Christ is so much more easily explained with the narrative of the wilderness prophet. Both were born miraculously after angelic pronouncements and both die at the hands of government officials on charges not worthy of the light of day. But John's message of the coming Savior prepared the hearts of the people for the one they had longed to see. In one of the best tongue-twisters in the Bible, the Baptist describes Jesus in the 16th verse of John 1:
John testifies concerning him. He cries out saying, ''This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' ''
John brought Jesus to the attention of the masses. Jesus delivered grace to a humanity in dire need of a messiah. That's a pretty strong connection. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken are now Hall Of Famers while Harper Lee and Truman Capote raked in awards and money for their efforts. But the best link of all is the one that helped break the chain of slavery to sin. John the Baptist and Jesus; a team for the ages.


Applicable quote of the day:
"Remember these two things: play hard and have fun."
Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres)


Here is a very good article about the Clutter family killings.

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at
steve@hawleybooks.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pete And Press




Holidays aren't the same when your parents have passed away. I was blessed with terrific relationships with my folks but not all are so blessed. In daily prayer requests from my students, petitions are penned asking for better communication with their folks. Some of my students in the past have had no living biological parents so that is an even heavier burden for a teen to bear. The following is about one of the most famous American athletes and his not quite so famous father. This is from 12-28-06.

It's the season to cash in the gift cards. Yesterday was Macy's and today was TARGET. I have $75 left on various Starbucks cards so that will take awhile. This morning, I headed to BORDERS to redeem a gift from a student. Several times I was approached by employees who offered their help but true to form, I rejected their overtures. I couldn't find the book I had my heart set on but just as I was about to leave, there it was in a new hardcover display: MARAVICH, a biography by Wayne Federman and Marshall Terrill. My gift card didn't cover the total cost but it was worth a few extra dollars. I know the basic story of Pete Maravich but I'm interested in the details. The leading scorer in college basketball history and chosen as one of the NBA'S 50 Greatest Players, the player nicknamed Pistol Pete should have had a happy life ....but he didn't. His teams did not win championships and his flashy style turned many off. He had a contentious relationship with his father/coach and his mother, after battling depression, committed suicide. He struggled with alcohol and his career was shortened by injury. I'm only one hundred pages into this well-written book but it has confirmed what I already knew. Pete Maravich was programmed by his father at birth to become a basketball star. In that sense, he was successful. The Pistol was well ahead of his time in terms of ball handling and flamboyant play. His signing at LSU sparked basketball mania in Louisiana, a state dominated by football. But there were always critics who accused him of shooting too much and his dad, Press, of favoritism. His teammates in the pros often disdained his unorthodox brand of offense and he at times feuded with his coaches. For all his glory, it just seems there was no fairy tale curtain call for this magnificently talented athlete. It needed a happier ending.

It's easy to be critical of parents, especially from the hindsight biographers possess. Press Maravich would seem to be an easy target. He saw basketball as the ticket to his son's better life, just as it allowed him to escape from the steel mills of Pennsylvania. Pete showed no interest in studies and scraped by with a minimum of effort, apparently with the blessing of his father. Juggling roles of player/coach/father/son is difficult in any case and with the Maraviches, volatile eruptions seemed to be the norm. Pete knew basketball because his dad lived basketball and the son inherited the hoop gene from the father. Kids model what they see at home. Press Maravich gave his son the opportunity, as well as the DNA, to achieve fame and financial stability and he loved his more famous son with all his being. I haven't reached the end of the story but I bet he wished he might have helped Pete to be more balanced in his approach to life off the court. Late in his life which was stunningly cut short by a heart attack at age forty, Pete made peace with himself and his dad after he turned his life over to God. What a shame that he seemed a tortured soul for so much of his four decade existence on earth. Parents make choices and children make choices. Great parents can have horrible kids and horrible parents can produce marvelous children. The Bible is full of advice for dads in regards to the treatment of their offspring. You can divide the guidelines into two categories:
1. Love them.
2. Teach them.
It looks really easy to me but I'm sitting in the stands in this arena. Bless all of you who have taken on the responsibility. And bless my dad who taught his kids how to live, although in a much more private venue than Press Maravich did. And bless my brothers who have taught and coached their sons, in the classroom, on the field/court, and in the game of life. And while you're at it, bless the mothers, too. They have a little bit to do with the outcome as well.


Applicable quote of the day:
"There is nothing wrong with dedication and goals, but if you focus on yourself, all the lights fade away and you become a fleeting moment in life."
Pete Maravich


To watch a clip of Pete Maravich while at LSU, click below!


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
www.hawleybooks.com

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

He Must Nots: 2017 Edition


Every year, I have my students read the entry posted last Thursday called The Princess Bride And MookDa's List. It will explain what I'm about to type here. On Thursday, after talking about the previously mentioned article, everyone in my Gospels' classes listed five absolutes about the person they will marry in both the positives (He Must/She Must) and the negative (He Must Not/She Must Not). Here is the fourth installment, used by permission, from my junior young ladies. They are all are used by permission:

He must not let me win every battle. -Gaby
He must not swear to God. -Sydney
He must not be rude. -Helen
He must depend on his family. -Joyce
He must not expect me to be his mom. -Samera
He must not argue with me over small things. -Euphe
He must not give up on me. -Jaida
He must not be a neat freak. -Rachel
He must not gamble and smoke. -Grace
He must not be a felon. -Morgan
He must not have contact with his exes. -Paige
He must not be weak. -Amy He must not have a beard. -Linh
He must not want more than three children. -Erin
He must not be nonchalant. -Hope
He must not put down other women. -Gaby
He must not physically or verbally abuse me. -Sydney
He must not sleep all the time. -Helen

He must not be dirty. -Joyce
He must not be aggressive. -Samera
He must not be abusive to our children. -Euphe
He must not abuse any substances. -Jaida
He must not be cheap. -Rachel
He must not insist in living in only one place. -Grace
He must not start unnecessary arguments. -Morgan
He must not give me a reason  to not trust him. -Paige
He must not hold in his anger. -Amy
He must not think all about himself. -Linh
He must not have a low income. -Erin
He must not stop doing the things he did to get me -Hope

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks




Monday, December 11, 2017

1 In 323

We did a drawing this afternoon in my 8th grade Bible classes. Combining the two sections, our oldest middle schoolers were in the mix for two Chik-fil-A gift cards, valued at $15 each. It was an unannounced surprise as we brought my second period bunch in with my eighth period group. There was a twist, though. You see, it was a reverse drawing. All the kids' names were put in an envelope and drawn out one by one. The winners were the names left in the hat at the end of the contest. Under normal circumstances, Vanessa and Aidan would have been the recipients because their names were the first to be drawn. But since the rules were changed, they were almost instantly eliminated. The winners were Sherry and Jonathan, and apparently they like Chik-fil-A. Good for them!

But this is not so much a story about this afternoon as it is about Sherry. You see, we had another, more modest reverse drawing last week and Sherry won that, too! (It was for a CD of the 50th anniversary edition of Charlie Brown Christmas and Sherry was the sole winner.) One of the eighth grade boys, Will, doing some quick calculations and factoring in absences, concluded there was only a 1 in 323 chance that the name of Sherry was not pulled on either occasion! How highly improbable is it that Sherry, who is from China, was never selected? I find it almost eerie!

Here's the point we made in wrapping up the time with these kids. Besides myself, Ruth Pilarte (English teacher), Annette Turner (MS Administrator), and Justin Lacey (WCS Director of Communication) spoke to these barely teens as we tied up the festivities. Sometimes it's better not to get picked as Sherry has proven twice. Jesus turned the thought process of His day upside down by proclaiming the last shall be first and the first shall be last in Matthew 20:16. I told the story of a young lady whose wedding I preached who went though several heartaches which allowed her to meet the man she married. We get upset when we get cut from the team or don't get the role or the girlfriend/boyfriend but often it turns out to be for our blessing. I told them about visiting a twelve year old girl in Vietnam who was in hiding from her violent father who had threatened to kill her mother. I asked the eighth graders how many were willing to trade places with that Asian girl- no takers. We, the adults, tried to get them to understand that they have been blessed so much simply by winning the lottery of the birthplace, coming into a world of affluence instead of poverty. We just finished the story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man who wanted to follow Jesus as a disciple. Instead, the Savior tells him in the incident recorded in both Luke and Mark to go tell what the Lord has done for you. That's pretty good advice, even today. These kids have been blessed so richly, it should be natural to praise God in return. It should be even more natural for us as adults. And we don't even need our names pulled out of a hat.

Applicable quote of the day:
I've done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.
Fran Lebowitz


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mai me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Sunday, December 10, 2017

She Must Nots 2017 Edition


Every year, I have my students read the entry posted Thursday called The Princess Bride And MookDa's List. It will explain what I'm about to type here. On Thursday, after talking about the previously mentioned article, everyone in my Gospels' classes listed five absolutes about the person they will marry in both the positives (He Must/She Must) and the negative (He Must Not/She Must Not). Here is the third installment, used by permission, from my junior young men. They are all are used by permission:

She must not have a bunch of tattoos. -Ryan
She must NOT have anger issues. -Alec
She must not be a glutton. -Drew
She not be an addict of any substance. -Kaine
She must not disrespect my mother. -Joseph
She must not have been previously married. -Ali
She must not constantly criticize my passions. -Carson
She must not like to argue. -Arye
She must not be annoying. -Mannie
She must not be a liar. -Frank
She must not hate her family. -Jeremy
She must not spend all of my money. -Brant
She must not have daily attitude swings. -Brian 

She must not be distant. -Mason
She must not be racist. -Sebastian
She must not get knocked down easily by everyday life. -Gavin
She must not be vegan. -Andrew
She must not be lazy. -Steven
She must not peer pressure me into doing wrong. -Lanz
She must not have TOO short hair. -Casey
She must not jump to conclusions. -Chancellor
She must not smoke. -Kody
She must not have diseases. -Adrian
She must not have piercings. -Andy
She must not be a major hoarder or disorganized. -Justin
She must not be passive-aggressive when it comes to my habits. -Levi
She must not base decisions about me based on what other people say. -Chaz


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Saturday, December 09, 2017

He Musts- 2017 Edition


Every year, I have my students read the entry posted Thursday called The Princess Bride And MookDa's List. It will explain what I'm about to type here. On Thursday, after talking about the previously mentioned article, everyone in my Gospels' classes listed five absolutes about the person they will marry in both the positives (He Must/She Must) and the negative (He Must Not/She Must Not). Here is the second installment, used by permission, from my junior young ladies. They are all used by permission:

He must tolerate and respect my parents' rules. -Sydney
He must attend church frequently. -Gaby
He must be taller than six foot. -Hope

He must have a job. -Linh
He must be strong in faith and physique. -Erin
He must treat me like a princess, wth love, respect, and kindness. -Amy
He must have the money to support me and want children. -Paige
He must have a cooperative mother. -Morgan
He must be willing to take care of his family. -Grace
He must come from a good family. -Rachel
He must clean up after himself. -Jaida
He must think I'm the prettiest. -Euphe
He must ask my dad for my hand in marriage. -Samera
He must speak at least a little Chinese. -Joyce
He must respect my culture. -Helen
He must love and respect his mom. -Hope
He must put God before everything and love Him more than me. -Sydney

He must love and respect God so he can love and respect me. -Erin
He must visit my family in Mexico one a year. -Gaby

He must be clean and organized. -Linh
He must stand up for me. -Amy
He must have a family that gets along with my family. -Paige
He must make me laugh.... a lot. -Morgan
He must support my decisions. -Grace
He must be hardworking. -Rachel
He must adore me. -Jaida
He must always be on my side. -Euphe
He must be supportive and protective. -Samera
He must be handsome!!!!! -Joyce
He must be taller than me. -Helen

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

Friday, December 08, 2017

She Musts- 2017




Every year, I have my students read the entry posted yesterday called The Princess Bride And MookDa's List. It will explain what I'm about to type here. On Thursday, after talking about the previously mentioned article, everyone in my Gospels' classes listed five absolutes about the person they will marry in both the positives (He Must/She Must) and the negative (He Must Not/She Must Not). Here is the first installment, used by permission, from my junior young men . They are all are used by permission:

She must like baseball. -Ryan
She must be willing to hear me out. -Chazz
She must be easy to entertain. -Levi
She must have a stable job. -Justin

She must be well-educated. -Andy
She must know how to keep the house together and cook. -Adrian
She must be an introvert. -Kody
She must see herself as beautiful. -Chancellor
She must be able to run a business. -Casey
She must be a good mother to our children. -Lanz
She must have a sense of responsibility. -Steven
She must aspire to glorify God. -Andrew
She must be confident. -Gavin
She must be shorter than me. -Sebastian
She must be willing to talk things out. -Mason
She must introduce me to her mom. Brian
She must have good hair. -Brant
She must realize her own value. -Jeremy
She must be independent. -Frank
She must believe in God and Jesus. -Mannie
She must be multicultural. -Arye

She must make me fall in love with her every day. -Carson
She must be more beautiful on the inside than the outside. -Ali
She must stick with through the hard times. -Joseph
She must understand the pain of the loss of someone really close. -Kaine
She must be charismatic and have a peaceful aura. -Drew
She must be able to be married til death do us part. -Alec

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com