Category: success


St Martin's Secondary School

St Martin’s Secondary School

With the death and burial recently of one of my high school teachers, Ezekiel “Scatter” Butcher, I started to purposefully reflect on my times at St Martin’s Secondary School in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines. It was the best a boy could get in terms of a quality education at a conducive and learner friendly environment.

I entered St Martin’s in September 1987 and I can honestly say that the next five years were among the very best years of my entire life. They were really golden years. This is a sentiment being echoed by many of my classmates and schoolmates who were privileged to be enrolled at the institution in that golden era.  Prior to 1987 I had never known or heard about St Martin’s; however, it was after I was only one of two boys from Evesham Methodist School lucky enough to pass the 1987 Common Entrance exam that my teachers told me about St Martin’s.

I was immediately excited and thrilled about the prospects of attending a “town school” because it would mean that I would be riding vans every day. Vehicles and rides were scarce luxuries in the Evesham of 1987. I can still vividly remember jumping up and down when I got the confirmation slip from the Ministry of Education that said I would be going to St Martin’s Secondary School.

One of the first challenges was having to be in “town” on my own. So far, the only place I went to on my own was the village next door. So my brother and mother accompanied me to the school on registration day. That event happened in the library. It was my first time meeting the Christian Brothers—Br. Alfred Marshall was the principal and conducted the exercise himself. Up to that point I had only seen “white people” on TV and so it dawned on me that my world was really expanding.

That summer we were invited to attend Math classes being taught by Mr Bradley Brooker. I shall always remember walking out the gate after the first session and realizing I was lost because I had not memorized the immediate street. Panic gripped me but then a voice said to me just follow the other students and see where they go. That idea got me back on the right track.

I would never lose my way again.

The rest of the summer was a new adventure everyday. As I began meeting the other boys I realized that I was meeting children from all over St Vincent and the Grenadines. We shared our respective memories of our various primary schools at every chance we got.

Then the 1987 school year began. During the summer there was just a handful of us new students—about twenty or so—but on the first day of school I felt totally lost at the awesome sight of literally hundreds of boys in blue and white. It was like I walked into an ants nest of blue and white. I had no idea what to do, where to go, who to talk to. So guess what I did?

I followed the students who were in front of me when I entered the gate. So I stayed in that bright blue and white traffic. I kept climbing the steps. On the second flight of stairs, a friend I made at the summer lessons, Clinty Joseph, was on his way down. He said to me, “Is you I coming to look for you know. Come see where our class is.”

If there ever was a Godsend, that was Clinty right there!

He told me to check on the door to see which of the two form ones I was in. Back then the class lists were placed on the doors. I scanned the first list and found my name. Clinty could not be happier because he, too, was on that list.

Even though I had been at summer school, the classrooms looked quite different. They were cleaner and shone just as brightly as the uniforms and book bags of the new students occupying them. As the years went by I would later learn and see that it was Mr Butcher who used his summer to lead a school painting taskforce every year.

One of the first things that struck me about my new class was that it was so roomy and clean. It had louvers on both sides and so very well ventilated. I smiled to myself. I already loved my new school. When I later heard a man speaking over a speaker I was astonished. The school had a PA system. I automatically gave the school two thumbs up and all five stars!

St Martin’s Secondary School (SMSS) was a family. I saw that in operation every day. There was a real sense of caring and sharing. Looking back, nobody seemed vexed with you or having “bad mind” as the youths say of themselves these days. There were 38 students in my Form 1 Set 2 and I honestly can say there were no “haters” in that large group.

St Martin’s taught me a lot about friendships from day 1. I had met Marlon Roberts who lived in Questelles and had attended the Petersville Primary School. I tried sneaking up behind him one break time to cover his eyes with my hands. It was a game we played. But somehow Marlon must have known I was there because he turned around just as I was about to clamp my hands over his eyes.

What happened next I would never forget. The plan backfired in that my finger got in his eye and he was immediately upset. He said: “Alyo man always a do stupidness you know!”

I felt so guilty and embarrassed that I ran away and tried my best to avoid him from then on. Then a day or two afterwards it was Marlon who sneaked up on me and actually apologized to me. That showed me who a real friend was. It was the first time in my life another person was apologizing to me.

Marlon did one other thing that year to make me understand friends are really people who care about your best interests. It happened when our Algebra teacher, Mr Best, had given us the option of attending either algebra or camera lessons after school. I went in the camera group, which had upper form students.

After a while Marlon came over to me and he said, “Ashford, you can always learn to use a camera you know, but you can’t always learn how to do algebra.”

That struck me to the core.

Never before had anyone analysed my actions and given me advice for my benefit. Additionally, because it came from somebody my own age, I was totally impressed and realized I had a real friend. Without saying a word, I left the camera group and joined my friend in the algebra lessons.

In those days we used to have what we call a “Special Schedule” on Fridays. Classes lasted only 35 minutes. There was no break; however, lunch was from 10:40 to 11:15. School used to over at 1:25 PM every Friday.

Our Form Master, Mr Kelly, used to stay back with us and do fun activities. Often, we would join with the students from Form 1 Set 1 and their Form Master. That is how I learned to make and fly a kite.

Other notable experiences that first year included getting licks for doing home work in class. Mr Sarkar was the Dean of discipline. Homework was to be done at home. The first time Mr Sarkar came to teach us Geography, he wrote four Ss on the board. The first S meant “stand up”. The second S meant “shut up”; the third S meant “Sarkar”,  and the fourth S was for “Sir”.

It was not that he just wrote and told us about these Ss. He bellowed them to us new terrified students. I could have sworn I was in the military! I won’t be surprised if some boys with bladder problems did wet their pants that morning.

But Mr Sarkar also wrote four other letters on the board. H.A.R.P. That would prove to be his motto for teaching. The letters stood for Honesty, Ambition, Respect and Pride.

We enjoyed Geography class after that unforgettable introduction.

St Martin’s Secondary School gave us local boys a chance to meet people from around the world. Mr Kelly, for example, was a young American who was volunteering a year teaching us English. There were different volunteers each year. We also met other boys who were in St Vincent but citizens from overseas—from Caribbean islands to America and Canada.

As we did our work we soon realized that our teachers wanted us to also have fun. There were times when all we did was just tell jokes and old talk.

And we did not just learn about the academic syllabus. I remember the first time I experienced a sex education lesson was from Mr Butcher in his form four Social Studies class. Up until then I didn’t think teachers ever talked about sex or relationships in class with students. But it helped us. It was a real life lesson.

In a Form 3 Religion class, Br Robert made us all sit up with mouths open and eyes popping out of our heads. He began his lesson: “What does somebody really mean when they say fuck you?”

No body slept in that class.

St Martin’s Secondary School made a name for itself in sports as well. Apart from the usual inter-House and Inter-School athletics events, we were a force to be reckoned with on the football and cricket field as well. In 1smss football news story990 the St Martin’s football team won the finals of the secondary schools football competition after beating the Bethel High School. I still can see students like Curtis Greaves (now principal of the Emmanuel High School in Mesopotamia) stamping the wooden stands at the Victoria Park so passionately that I really was expecting the stands to collapse.

In 1991, the St Martin’s football team was back in the finals of the secondary schools football tournament. We faced off against the Barrouallie Secondary School. The match went into overtime and the boys had to have penalty shootouts. Christmas came early at St Martin’s that year because we won the game and were football champions for two years in a row! We all left the Victoria Park pretty hoarse that day.

That same year, in 1991, Mr Brooker led the St Martin’s cricket team to the finals of the secondary schools cricket competition. NBC Radio, back then known as 705 Radio, broadcasted the match live. I remember clearly, sportscaster Mike Findlay asking student Grant Connell (yes, he is the lawyer of today) who he believes will win the match. And Grant simply told him that St Martin’s already has it wrapped up. Mike was just impressed by the smarts of the St Martin’s student.

St Martin’s secondary School did win the 1991 secondary schools cricket championship. So in that year we were both football and cricket champions of all the secondary schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines!

But it didn’t end there. In 1992, guess who was back in the finals of the secondary schools football competition? Yes, St Martin’s. And guess which school we came up against? None other than the St Vincent Boys Grammar School. Now this was poised to be an interesting and historic match indeed. You see, there was always this unspoken competition between the Grammar School and St Martin’s to see which of these two all-boys schools was really number one. Because the match was played at the end of the calendar year, my group had already graduated from St Martin’s. In fact we were now in 6th Form (what is now called Community College).

The sole Sixth Form on the island was attached to the Grammar School. Nonetheless my classmates, St Clair “Herbie” Stapleton, Ronnie Daniel, Harold Lewis, Sheldon Venner, and I, all came to support St Martin’s that afternoon. Now our Sixth Form teacher came and sat among us in the section with St Martin’s students. As if that was not odd enough, she had the Grammar School flag. I just felt she was “in enemy territory”. She made the mistake of waving the flag when Grammar School had made a goal and all I saw was the Grammar School flag flying in mid air to the ground at the front of the stand. Almost immediately someone ran and tossed it into a green garbage bin nearby.

The entire stand erupted in an uproar that would have drowned out any Carnival Monday jam.

By the end of the game St Martin’s Secondary School had created history by winning the secondary schools football championship for three years in a row! And we did it by beating the St Vincent Grammar School. Coach Gary Thomas had really worked very hard. Players such as Rohan Keizer, Dominique Stowe, Terry Anderson, Jimi Jack and Maxion Richardson, among others on the team, really were top football players in the country, even though they were teenagers.

smss football champs

This is the football team that won the 3rd title

Now, just before we had graduated in June of 1992, our graduating class also did something that I don’t believe any other graduating class has done. We re-enacted the finals of the football championship between the the champs, St Martin’s, and the opponents in the finals, the Barrouallie Secondary School in a floodlight football match at Victoria Park. The moon was out in all its glory. We had students picking up ticket monies. We had students in charge of Bar be que. We had students manning the bar. It was an unforgettable night. Oh yes, I was responsible for getting the event advertised and so Chester Connell, a past student of St Martin’s who was a top radio announcer at 705 Radio at the time, did the ad for us.

There are so very many other precious memories from St Martin’s. It struck me during times when school was closed that other students who were not from my class would actually say hello to me whenever and wherever we met. That comforted me so much. I knew I was not just a student in a school. I was a brother in a large family.

Up to this day those of us who grew up at the school in that era, refer to each other as “Brother”.

And we saw it even as the news spread of the death of Mr Butcher. Old boys came to the funeral dressed in their St Martin’s uniform. I was one of them.  Seeing all the other people associated with the golden era of St Martin’s made tears come to my eyes.

butchercoffin

Mr Butcher’s body leaving the Anglican Church in Kingstown

We were mightily blessed to have been at St Martin’s in those times. A lot has changed over the years. The Christian Brothers are no longer in St Vincent. That wonderful cadre of men and women that comprised the teaching staff has long since disbanded to various other endeavours in life.

I know many of us past students wish that our St Martin’s was still engulfed in that magical atmosphere of love, hope and excellent academic pursuits and results.  We may not be able to wave a magic wand and reverse the hand of time but what we can do is let the spirit of SMSS live in all of us.

St Martin’s role was to prepare us for life. That is what Mr Butcher was eagerly doing over all those years of his life. So it is up to us to live out the life lessons we learned within it’s happy walls. It was encouraging this year that the child who came first in the CPEA—the exam that replaced the Common Entrance exam, is the son of a past student of St Martin’s Secondary School.

Let us all use whatever talents we have and make our mark. We can still change the world. I believe in doing so, the present crop of students and teachers at St Martin’s will see the rich legacy of the school powerfully at work and that will keep inspiring them to up their game as well.

Mr. Butcher

Our teacher Ezekiel “Scatter” Butcher at school

I end this lengthy but necessary post with the very words Ezekiel “Scatter” Butcher wrote in my graduation souvenir book when I graduated in 1992:

“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. All the best. May your inspiration come from the Lord at all times.”

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SOCCER-WORLD/M61-BRA-GER

 

Yesterday, Brazil took the beating of a lifetime as destructive Germany pummelled them 7 goals to 1 in a semi-final of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. To add insult to injury, it happened right at home on Brazilian soil right in front of their countless die-hard supporters. Brazil’s only goal was scored in the very last minute of the game’s regular time.

I watched the game online and, I, too, could not believe what was happening. All of us from the Caribbean were generally backing Brazil. We wanted them to be the 2014 champions.

The Germans must be congratulated; however, for taking the game from right under the host’s nose in such spectacular fashion. In so doing, they also broke a Brazilian record, Renaldo, for the individual scoring the most goals in a World Cup competition.

When it rains it pours.

Today must be such an emotionally distressed day across Brazil. But I want to leave them, ad their global network of supporters, some timeless encouragement.

Every great winner experiences one or two great defeats.

It is very interesting that the very word “defeat” has the word “feat” as its origin. And those of us with prior knowledge of this word will know that a feat is the accomplishing of an extraordinary outcome.

Just as the sun shines after the rain, this epic defeat will one day empower Brazil to win a FIFA Championship in a colossal manner as was not seen before.

Such a victory will not necessarily come by merely scoring a large number of goals but by the demonstration of highly articulated, calculated and professionally organized talent and skills.

So let your defeat, with all its sorrow and shame, soak in, Brazil. Let it soak in well. For tomorrow you are going to need today’s pain as your impetus and fuel for your football and national glory.

Never write off or condemn a winner. Indeed, the greatest glory consist not in never falling, but in rising each and every time you fall.

Defeat is the base nutrients of champions. I am convinced that Brazil’s defeat will inspire their greater feats.

 

choices cover

 

This blog stands on the premise that readers are world changers and Eldon Taylor’s latest book, Choices and Illusions, is a masterpiece which beautifully reinforces the truth in this statement.

Over the lifetime of this blog I have voiced opinions and perspectives on a variety of real life issues and developments which affect the quality of life of all my readers, no matter which part of the world they live. While I have attempted to sift through the labyrinth of issues that represent the maize of life all of us are chosen to walk in life, I have come across a writer who has done a quintessential job of helping the average reader understand how to unlock their real and full potential.

Eldon Taylor’s book reminds me of the treasure maps of yesteryear films which, when followed, lead to a rich trove of endless delights that is the desire of all living people.

The simple truth is that all of the seven billion men, women and children on this planet are searching for their individual happiness and sustainable fulfilment. choices and Illusions is the best human prescription with a universal appeal that I have seen in a very long time.

This is a book that is not only worth your read but also worth your application of the simple and profound ideas indicative of the life changing power of the mind.

Every change in life begins in the mind. that is, if your life is to change then your thinking has to change. One of the things that this book brought back to my consciousness is the scientific knowledge that we use a small fraction of our mind’s powers. If humans have been able to accomplish so much while using so little of their brain power, how much more can we amaze ourselves by unlocking even an additionally small amount of our unused mental capacity!

My message here is simple: you don’t need to incur the loss of an arm and a leg in order to get fairly good advice to make your life better. Just read Choices and Illusions. The only prerequisite is that you approach it and read it with an open mind.

Even though I am an individual with grounded faith and spiritual values, I was refreshingly inspired by Eldon Taylor’s ability to incorporate he potentially controversial religious issues of life into Choices and Illusions. And he did it with charismatic success.

For every child seeking a reason to have self esteem, for every adult who is struggling with intimacy or isolation due to past hurts, failures or rejection—Choices and Illusions is the clearest way to get you to the place where you are fully and freely empowered with no strings attached.

We use gadgets such as our smart phones and tablets without understanding exactly how they are able to do what they do. If we were to get an inside look at their unseen processes and how they achieve their mesmerizing performances, we will love them even more.

Well, that is what Choices and Illusions has done for us. It removes the veil from our subconscious so that we are able to for the first time able to understand what we thought was impossible about the workings of our own brain.

This is critically important for all those of us who are trying to aspire to a new and more meaningful life every day we wake up. We have to be willing to be different. We have to be willing to change. Indeed, we can only change what we believe can be changed! It is a lesson that rings loud and clear in Choices and Illusions.

I choose to end with a quote from actor Sylvester Stallone in one of his Rocky movies. After defeating a Hercules of a Russian boxer, a feat the media thought was impossible, he says quite confidently: “We all can change.”

And that is the message of good hope that I believe Eldon Taylor wants all of us to know from reading his book Choices and Illusions, “WE ALL CAN CHANGE.”

Ryan White

I never knew Ryan White while he lived but like so many who have come to learn of his life in the years following his death I am committed to celebrate and promote his mission.

Ryan White died at age eighteen, a time when the average person is expecting to just begin living—the sky is the limit in early adulthood. But Ryan never had this luxury.

It seems his life was meant to be lived for humanity’s moral education and edification. Ryan White was a born haemophiliac who eventually picked up the HIV/AIDS virus when he was just age 13 back in 1984.

Because the disease was new and therefore unknown at the time, Ryan was unfortunately subjected to gross resentment, isolation, hatred and prejudice because of his innocently positive status.

Even within the walls of his church was this young champion of human rights being victimized and made a pariah.

But I am so very glad that this often lonely teenager never gave up on trying to make the world a better place for all people, regardless of their health condition.

Eventually, Ryan became a national spokesperson on and for AIDS in the renowned United States of America. Along the way, he made several high-profile friends including entertainers, movie stars and politicians.

Ryan White never asked to be made a famous person; he just wanted a normal life for himself, his sister and mother. But he taught the world how to face crises with daily hope and perseverance.

If you have not yet read Ryan White’s autobiography you do need to get a copy like since yesterday. I guarantee you that it is a book that will positively impact your life and enable you to value your own existence and that of your fellow men with new understanding purpose.

We all would have wished for Ryan White to be alive today. We all miss him so very much. We all feel badly not being able to be there with him as he faced his final illness.

That is why each one of us who get to know how and why Ryan White lived and died must now pledge to keep the flame of his life burning brightly.

It is a torch we must pass on to upcoming generations.

Ryan never got to enjoy many of the simple pleasures and happiness that should precipitate the life of a teenager. In his book, My Own Story, Ryan explains how it was even challenging getting a date and finding a girlfriend. Most teenagers today will find it incomprehensible to think of dying when they have not even had a girlfriend or had sex.

Throughout his struggles and travels, Ryan kept pushing for the public’s acceptance of people with AIDS, who were just as scared and confused as those without the killer disease.

So even being expelled from school, being victim of vampire-like rumours and having a bullet penetrate his home window, Ryan White refused to keep quiet and disappear from life just because many people thought he was not fit to be among them.

Make this moment the “one moment in time” when you choose to overcome your own personal struggles

The world is reeling from news that singer Whitney Houston is dead. the circumstances of her sudden death are all too familiar to other celebrities who have died over the years.

While there is probably a price to be paid for world fame, resorting to some form of drug addiction has become a fatal plague for movie stars, singers and other global icons.

Whitney, a lady unusually gifted with singing talent, struggled with cocaine addiction through the latter part of her life. So many people right now are mostly saddened by this: her career might be remembered only in light of her personal struggles.

But is it fair to magnify the personal struggles of celebrities as though they should not have any struggles at all?

I say no.

The death of celebrities is never welcomed news; people would wish celebrities could live on earth forever. But the death of Whitney Houston is a timely reminder that life on earth IS just a temporary journey.

I wish to point out that each and every human being will and have to face some form of personal struggle. It is part of the human life contract.

It is my belief that God, as Creator and owner of the earth and man, has empowered man at his birth to be an overcomer. God has confidence in each person alive that he or she can face and master whatever opposition is faced.

In order to help you put life into perspective let me share something interesting I just double checked as I weighed in on Whitney Houston’s death.

The last recorded messages from Jesus Christ to people on earth, in Revelation, shows that for each of the seven churches He addressed, He specifically ended with a challenge for His audience to overcome.

I think that is important because Jesus knows life on earth will not—cannot—last forever. But He also knows what will become of each person after death.

Since no corrupt thing can enter heaven, each person is responsible to use his or her days to get his or her soul cleaned up from the many pollutants, viruses or addictions on earth. These addictions and problems were around before you were born and they would be here after your death.

What makes life worthwhile from the human stand point is the ability to overcome one’s personal addictions, proclivities and areas of weaknesses.

A final point I wish to raise also comes from the Bible, this time Peter who asked his audience to “prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled”.

The advice to be self controlled is given multiple times by the Christian writers in the New Testament. I believe it is for a good reason. Nothing is achieved in any life without the person first making up his or her mind to do something about it.

I want to say to all persons reading my words that it is up to you to master and then conqueror your addictions, weaknesses or adversaries. It is the reason you wake up each morning. The thing is, like Whitney Houston and other celebrities, a morning comes when we will not even know it is our last morning on earth.

As you think of Whitney Houston being dead, and as you ponder on your own life, remember that you are a legend in your own way—the whole world need not know you by name or picture. you have what it takes to overcome your difficulties. But you have to take control of your mind first and foremost.

Very few of us can resist sweetness. I remember listening to a childhood calypso in which the calypsonian belted the words “sweetness is my weakness”. As children we were generally given sweet tasting snacks and drinks as an easy meal or means of stopping further crying or pouting.

I was quietly reflecting on the reality of time and the changes that mark the passage of time in our lives. Do you know that even though we live several decades it is still just a brief moment along the path of time. For example, I am remembering all the years I was honoured to have my mother around but those years are gone. Mommy is in heaven but I remain on earth. Time marches on.

Indeed, life goes on.

Earlier today I was listening to cable television and heard of an event which happened thirty years ago. Now thirty years seem like a long time, but for those of us who would have been around we remember the 1980s as though they were yesterday.

I suppose it is the beginning of a new year that makes my analysis of time particularly important at this point in time. 2012. Hmmm. It seems like just the other day my classmates and I were looking forward to graduation from secondary or high school. That was 1992. Wow, so that would mean it has been twenty years since our graduation. My, how time does fly! But I don’t think too many of us would proclaim that we were having fun over the last two decades though.

So what does all this time sensitivity have to do with the title of this post? I will say that it is only as we analyse time we can appreciate how our lives have been shaped along the way. Looking back over the years lets us recognize what our lives have been shaped into. Have we achieved those youthful goals that we set so many moons ago?

I can speak only for myself to say that my existence in this life has come some distance. However, there are ways still to go; I was one of those late bloomers who would not have set early specific life goals. From wanting to be a banker, a radio announcer, a preacher and a writer to being an educator today, it seems that some goals were never materialized. Many, in fact. But I don’t take it too hard because I never really wanted to just grow up, have a family, house and land and work all my years to repay one mortgage for one property until death do us part.   I cannot just live in adulthood conformity to the socio-economic norms. I should not just work for money–money should work for me. Definitely.

And, by the way, let me be absolutely clear: I do want a family but it has to be a workable situation like every other attainable goal in life.

My point is that it seems to me that there are some side attractions along life’s road that are meant to detour me from achieving those inner dreams. Everybody has their detractors and side attractions I guess. Those side attractions look tempting like sweets in a store to a young child. But when you finally get those side attractions and bite into them you realize that beyond the showy camouflage of a sugary crust there is nothing of substance or value on the inside.

I find while on the good path over the years, even with good intentions, I stopped or diverted to eat the sugar-coated side attractions only to find that there is nothing of worth or meaningful help beyond an outward appeal of beauty.

I am pretty sure each of my readers can right now look back to times in their own decision-making when they turned to candies of sugar-coated emptiness. Such side attractions only have delayed personal progress and timely self actualization. We have had relationships gone bad, neglected income opportunities and marginal successes.

But it is good to identify one’s sugar-coated emptiness side attractions. They attempt to keep one from one’s earthly purpose for being alive. What are your side attractions of sugar-coated emptiness?

You know what, man is on earth to be in power over everything else on the earth. It is never too late to become the person one was meant to be. The way I see it is like this: side attractions of sugar-coated emptiness will always be lurking around but our time on earth is very limited. Each person’s life is really a clock counting down to departure-from-earth time. If you don’t believe me, just put your right hand over your left breast/chest. You won’t hear that forever.

While it is stupid to turn aside to sugar-coated emptiness I believe it is far worse to end one’s earthly life continually trying to be satisfied by these sugar-coated emptiness side attractions. It is my decision to no longer look to the left or to the right. I invite you to join me and begin fashioning a future for yourself that is what you want it to be. Let us no longer remain paralyzed by the effects of sugar-coated emptiness and allow side attractions of the past to become our reality of the future.

I have found that man’s Creator never gives up on His children. You and I should never give up on ourselves either. The reason for each person’s birth into this world is always there to be fulfilled. And the fulfilment of that birth reason is never up to any other earthly person, it is only up to each of us. “If it is to be then it is up to me.” Hey, whatever you know your dreams are, keep patiently working and waiting for them to come to pass.

I am going to bring this post to an end. I have more to say but I realize this is possibly the longest post in a while. Maybe there will be a part two of “Sugar Coated Emptiness”.

There are times that you are confronted by a situation not of your own making, which gives you an opportunity to drive home your inalienable human right because you were offended. Every person enjoys the power that comes from being in the right and dig deep in the sands of empowerment. But then some greater calling beckons at your conscience to not “press charges” in the matter.

For example, a business transaction may have been incorrectly interpreted and you were charged less than the selling price of whatever you are buying. You double checked and were told that the amount is correct; in fact you are even given back money. Days later, you are asked to return the same amount that was refunded to you!

Another illustration is that someone damages your property or some possession of yours. You are within your right to demand the faulted party to compensate or rectify the situation physically, financially or otherwise. However, to do this means that the offender is being stretched financially to a limit that their financial resources are able to reach.

Some narrow-minded person who does not really know you has spoken all sort of negative things about you. It may be leading to third parties forming a distorted view of the situation and indeed of you as an individual. It seems easy to put the lying party in their place. You can make a scene and create a final showdown that would prevent any further incident of that nature in the future.

But you realize that the position of absolute rightness does not need a retaliatory force to defend itself. There are times when maintaining one’s coolness and staying true to one’s life’s mission becomes more important than a temporary fix of a problem founded on ephemeral troubles or lies.

Life is 10% of what happens to you but life is 90% of how you respond to what happens to you. None of us can change or choose which two persons would have become our parents, or which country, ethnic group or blood type we would have at birth, but for sure we can choose how to live with those factors during the course of our lives on earth.

We become more valuable and more successful by growing our inner person’s character and not just creating a response that magnify our reputation to those people around us at the present time.

Our present and immediate situation may be urgent and may be screaming for our attention; however, it is our future outcome that is quietly calling us and that future outcome is what is most important. Train yourself to respond to the important and not just to the urgent.

The summer of 2011  will most certainly be recorded as one with several upheavals in groups protests or out right violence. In a matter of weeks it will be ten years since the terrorist attacks in New York. The world entered a new phase after that. It has been similar to our very rural communities where our older generations will tell of days long gone when they would leave their houses unlocked, clothes on the lines outside and go into the city or the mountains/farms. There was no fear; on their return everything was as they left it. The only difference might be that the clothes were taken up and brought inside by their neighbours after a real or perceived threat of rain.

Today, people keep their homes locked even while they are inside. Such has the open freedom of our civilizations changed over the last few decades. It is a sad realization that as the western world pushes forward with innovations designed to make for a better standard of living, we are gaining more physical assets of high quality but we are losing our priceless ability to be in free safe, free, happy and worthwhile relationships with each other.

That is a tragedy.

What is the price of our 21st century age of technology and general knowledge? There are young people and adults among us who are losing their assurance of their self-worth and acceptance within the very society where they live. A very real divide is growing everyday between the haves and the have-nots.  Yes, it starts with material possessions, but it does not end there. It is said that we are what we own. Those who own little or own nothing are being made to feel that they have somehow failed to reach the minimum mandatory standard necessary to be considered a human being.

That is the highly flammable substance that is being ignited all across the planet. We saw its effects in London, We saw its effects in Philadelphia. We are seeing its effects in Trinidad where policemen are walking off their jobs. We are seeing its effects in Israel where the citizens are recognizing the politicians are very removed and disconnected from the feelings and hurts they are facing (and I don’t mean the struggle against the Palestinians).

Like wildfire, scores of young people and hopeless older persons are silently coming together to literally destroy what most of us appreciate as a “civilized society”. While a tiny percentage of people put their lives together, a larger silent majority are living like lab rats in a maze. And they are getting very fed up of such a cyclical futile existence.

No established traditional leadership in the forms of governments or institutions seem to be able to understand what is going on. In London, the prime minister was cautioned that just arresting thousands of is citizens will not solve the problem: how can a person take advantage of an opportunity to destroy his own village at the first available opportunity?

We have the wrong definition of what makes for human progress and development.

What is the sense having  all of the modern quality goods and services when in the same process  we are also breeding among ourselves a deadly form of real human cancer that is destroying us from within?

 

 

Justin Bieber                                                          

Until a couple years ago the words Justin Bieber only meant an identifiable expression to close friends and family of the then unassuming child. But many things in life are connected to the proverbial domino effect and so with the advent of the Internet and its cousins–the social networks–the circumstances were aligned for a little known Justin to upload some simple home videos for mutual family fun and bonding.

Since then the name Justin Bieber has become unanimous with teenage stardom and the all pursued get rich quick philosophy of the masses of “huslas” youths. Justin has had a sudden change of status and his whole living experience really, that most can only hope to come close to experience via the movies or a good book.

The  global following that he has received from his fellow teens have been largely due to his down to earth attributes as a person. talk with his childhood friends and those who first  sampled his music and you are sure to find out that it was Justin’s physical features, voice quality and humble personality that generated an ascent to the position of a teen idol.

The world probably needed someone to come on the scene at the time when Justin did. One of the world’s most recognizable face and voices had just been silenced. Michael Jackson, how for so many years had epitomized life itself by his extraordinary performances died in 2009. The world of pop music was therefore in some form of mourning and had a vacancy to fill.

A close look at the new multimillion dollar star will now reveal some rather grown up changes that may be an indication that the Justin Bieber that the virgin fans fell in love with has evolved into the superstar Justin Bieber. Fans will observe that his outfits are taking on a permanent on-stage look and the teen is also brandishing earing(s).  The hairstyle is no longer reflective of the simple down to earth child of a few years ago.

One of the biggest changes though, probably has to do with Justin’s emotional or love life. He has, after a few days of denial, jumped headlong into a relationship with Selena Gomez, another teen performer. While they both undoubtedly will have some things in common, one has to wonder to what extent Justin is in control of his personal and even professional life. The world has been privy to the couples rather intimately romantic adventures.  It is no accident that the word virgin was used earlier in this post; however, has stardom catapulted Justin from his own virginity or to embark on a journey of validating the “new cow” theory? Not too long ago the viral information was of a possible break-up of the teen couple over a simple text from Justin to another young lady.

Justin and his girlfriend

Justin’s parents in the earlies were doing what they could to ensure that their son still has a normal coming of age experience. Somehow I don’t think that the influx of monies from performances, product deals and royalties are compatible with that. A look at the  personal lives of stars will reveal that in over 90% of the cases, their relationships seem to last as long as the pair of shoe that they wear. Has Justin been prepared for the emotional seesaw of relationships, especially at such a tender years?

Being a globally recognized figure is always fun. Until it sets in that the media never, ever stops following your every move and action. While Justin has a competent team of advisors I can’t help but wonder if his young emotional needs and concerns are at the heart of the advice given to him. When your friends or advisors suddenly start seeing you as $$ signs and no longer as a human being first—things will never be the same.

The history of child stars as well shows that in too many cases, particularly after their careers have matured and reached a state of decline, they are unable to make a smooth adjustment to life as a regular guy again. Some years ago Jonathan Brandis was a handsomely popular television star. He hanged himself in his room after his career started sliding down a slippery rope. River Phoenix, backed by fame and fortune, sacrificed his existence to illicit drugs usage. Recently, Amy Winehouse died from complications it would seem stemming from alcohol use. (I was wondering the other day if it is a coincidence that someone  with the name Winehouse became an alcoholic).

The intent of this post is to act as a catalyst for a modestly objective but urgent intervention at rehabilitating Justin Bieber so that he can handle his new life. The information suggests that Justin is being considered as a “brat” by persons who are closest to him in his business ventures. He alledgedly made a lot of passengers on a recent flight very uncomfortable by his actions. He refused to give the pilot an autograph as well. Refusing autographs seems also to be a new habit of Justin’s. It seems to me that something is going to give soon where Justin’s stardom is concerned.

There are more negatively ending lives and careers of once-popular child stars that  are all around. Is Justin Bieber surrounded by genuine people who don’t put money-making above life-saving? Is Justin happy with himself? What plans are in place for life after the stage or the glitter of it all?

Sex is indeed a sweet, honorable, decent and pure act that climaxes the expression of mutual love. However, with the constant public overkill of the sex topic it seems that the word “sex” has become a four letter word; on the contrary it is a common acronym For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge that has become a dirty word but refers to the act of sex.

I am presenting to you some of my reasons why sex has always been and will continue to be a very positive and healthy activity. I hope you not only read but also think deeply on the rest content of this blog post.

Sex is one of (but not) the most enjoyable act you will ever take part in
• Sex offers you the chance to show that you are ready to start your family
• Sex allows you to share with someone special what you hide from everybody else
• Sex is the best human way to bond and be committed to another person
• Sex is God’s gift to you to ensure you are HAPPY with someone else while you live
• Sex is the ultimate act that shows your innocent childhood days are forever gone
• Sex is the final act that shows your days of adult responsibilities have come

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

• That when you take off your clothes to have sex, you are also taking off your innocent    childhood and your simple happy future as a teenager or young adult
• That the blood spilled by a virgin during sex is the blood of a covenant established by     God, binding the persons having sex together forever
• That covenants are God’s trademark when dealing with humans
Virgins find it hard/impossible to love anyone else the way they love the man whom     they gave their virginity to
• That when you take a girl’s virginity you are robbing her future husband
• That many women “butt” their boyfriends/husbands because they cannot forget about     the man who took their virginity away
• That God expects you to stay forever with the FIRST person you have sex with
• That having your first sex in marriage is the best way to make your marriage work
• That a man is less committed to a woman because he didn’t take her virginity
• That whoever you have sex with remains a part of you forever, even if you break up
• That men and women alike say if they could live over their lives they would wait until       an older age (and for another person) to have their first sex
• That the person you choose at 15 is not the person you will choose at 25
• That SEX IS NOT JUST A PHYSICAL ACT
• That if you play with the Sex Covenant, God WILL curse your life
• That if you honour the Sex Covenant, God WILL bless your life

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