I teach 7th graders a Life Skills class and... oh... I'll wait... I wanted to give those who have known me for over 10 years a few moments to allow the irony of that to sink in. Anyway, we've been talking about communication and the pros and cons of technology in our world today. The class has allowed me to reflect on my own childhood and how different things have become in the past twenty to thirty years. I realized that back then I wouldn't of had a medium like this to communicate with the world. The idea that someone could write a book, publish it, and sell it through a website that reaches millions and millions of people and do so on a modest budget is unbelievable. Certainly our class talked about the dangers of the internet and the influx of misinformation, but, in the end, many of them could see that the benefits outweighed the negatives. I left them with the idea that it was up to them to continue being the positive users of technology; the more kids we talk to about this, and the more we continue to be examples of proper use of technology; the better chance we have of continuing to marvel at the technological advances instead of being exposed to the negatives that do and always will exist. The original VCR that could only record (badly) and was the size of a compact car cost over ten times the price of the top of the line Blu-Ray player that gives the viewer the feel of actually being there today. What an amazing time to live in...
My brother-in-law (yes, that one) just received The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara. It's an award for being the only man old enough to ever to serve in every American war... just kidding. It is a true honor and we are proud of him. Here is what I read about it: The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara is awarded to those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served the Artillery with selflessness; and contributed to the promotion of the Artillery branch. How awesome is that! Congrats Geno! We love ya...
I'm in the middle of my creative writing unit with my 8th graders and will be teaching them about scene writing tomorrow. I've developed a new lesson plan using film. I came up with the idea from a book titled, The Scene Book, by Sandra Scofield. What you do is watch a scene from a movie and then write it out. I did it (as a model for the kids and for my own development) with the Bishop scene in the movie (big surprise here) Les Miserables. Here is what I wrote - at the end I have left you with the link to the scene in the movie. You can either watch the movie scene first or read this first. This was a great exercise - I hope it works well tomorrow...
The snow clouds covered the cold morning air. In the residence of the Bishop much of the light had been provided by the dancing fire in the dining room. The Bishop and the two nuns that lived in the humble home next to the cathedral had just realized they had been robbed. Secretly the two nuns blamed the Bishop for letting that man inside from the cold. His stink was still lingering in the air. The Bishop had fed the man and allowed him to stay the night. Now, they all noticed, he was gone, and so was all the silver, minus the two sterling silver candlesticks that decorated the dark wooden table.
A loud bang at the door followed by the clanging of chains could be heard throughout the house. The Bishop and two nuns turned to see what had caused the commotion. The two officers dropped the thief on his knees. The lingering stink grew stronger. One of the officers held a bag in the air.
“Sir, we have your silver,” Phillip Shaw, the lead officer said with glee, “he had the nerve to say he gave it to him.” The officer set the tan colored bag made from burlap on the ground in front of the Bishop.
The Bishop peered into the eyes of the officer and with a grin said, “Yes, that’s right.” He turned towards the thief in the night and set the bag of silver in front of him. Walking over to the table he picked up both candlesticks, and continued, “You left so early you forgot I gave you these as well,” the two nuns wore a look of disbelief as the Bishop stuffed them into the bag.
He looked over at the two officers and said, “This man has told you the truth, release him.” Phillip tilted his head and paused. His eyes narrowed but he remained speechless. The shackles jingled as Officer Smith removed them from the man.
John, the thief in the night, stayed frozen on his knees. The tears that needed to be cried were held back for the moment. A soothing sensation poured over him like a heavy blanket. He could not, he would not ,look up at the Bishop.
Officer Shaw and Smith left abruptly.
The Bishop over to John. His heart was filled with love for this man. For all of mankind. The Bishop gazed at John and could only see the face of God. A warm smile appeared on the Bishop’s face as he made eye contact with John. “Brother,” the word dallied in the room, “I give you this silver so you can become an honest man. The hate I’ve seen in your eyes no longer needs to be there,” he made the sign of the cross, “I am saving your soul for God.”
The first tear streamed down the face of John. His heart literally broke so God could put the pieces back together. This new heart could feel love, comprehended the word humility, and understood what it meant to forgive. He called me brother, he thought. And this word entered his new heart. He claimed I have a soul, he pondered. And in an instant he was humbled. One word from him and I would be serving a life sentence, he considered, and then realized the full meaning of forgiveness.
The Bishop put his hand on John’s head and caressed, “There is a higher plan,” he said affectionately. He helped the former thief to his feet and handed him the burlap sack. “Go with God,” he finished then stepped away.
And with a bolt of lightning a criminal was transformed.
Movie Scene Here
As always, God Bless...