Jesonian … September 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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It had been a day of storytelling.

Launching out into a boat so that the audience on the seashore could hear more clearly, the young teacher, formerly from Nazareth, had shared great yarns about faith–three in particular.

Taking an ethereal subject, he translated it into the human and earthly. It was what he did best. He had no intention of having followers with heaven on their minds–not when there was still so much to do here on earth.

The first story was about a sower. The lesson was really simple. The seeds of hope, love, contentment, joy and even confrontation have to be sown–whether the inhabitants of Earth received them or not. You just never know what patch of soil might sprout promise.

Another story was about how to showcase faith. It really is not a private matter–it is something that needs to be shown forth, demonstrated, put on a candlestick so the light can fill the room.

And then there was that closing story that finished out the day. An inspiring one. “Faith is like a mustard seed…” In other words, it may be small, but its original girth does not foretell what it will eventually be. Don’t despise small beginnings.

At the end of the day this young teacher, Jesus, decided he wanted to go on a late-night sail across the sea to the other shore. It was a family aatmosphere, and so other folks who had been moved by the message decided to join him on the journey. Jesus had a big boat but those who followed him were in little ships. Exhausted, Jesus grabbed a pillow and headed to the back of the boat to get a snooze on the way across.

Then the atmosphere changed. (It nearly always does.) Into a quiet, peaceful night, a storm arose–a big one. The waves began to splash into the boat.The disciples were frightened. All the stories of faith dissipated in the presence of this threat. They screamed at Jesus, asking him why he didn’t do something. Why didn’t he care that they were dying?

Every teacher in the world will understand his feelings at that point. What is the purpose of sharing a lesson if no one applies it?

But Jesus had other concerns. This was no time to put the disciples to the test to see if they could survive their anxieties. Because, you see, there were other little ships. And if the big boat was in trouble then the little ships were in desperate straits.

So Jesus calmed the storm–not because he wanted to appease twelve frightened men in a big boat, but because he was concerned about the little ships.

Jesus was always sensitive to the little ships. Matter of fact, he made it clear that if we don’t take care of the “least,” we’re really not in fellowship with him at all.

We’ve lost our hearts for the little ships.

Storms come to our country and ravage the land and we scream to the government to help us rebuild our houses. Meanwhile, the least of these–the little ships–aren’t even getting water and food to survive.

I spent three days this year locked up in a hot house, sweating, my brain fried because I had none of the conveniences of which I was accustomed. I was fit to be tied.

In Puerto Rico, it’s been many,many days without food, water, cooling and relief.

Can we care about what’s happening to the little ships, or are we only concerned for our own losses and perishing?

That night, terrified disciples were saved because Jesus took care of the little ships.

I suggest that if we find the little ships in our lives, in the process of doing so, all the boats will be brought safely to the shore.

 

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Turning Kids Into Humans (Part 5) 6-9: Humble Intelligence… September 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Humanating

Probably the most terrifying interlude in the journey of parenting is needing to release your young offspring into the general care of the educational system. This is not to cast shadows of doubt on knowledge nor the teachers who impart it.

But in the pursuit of teaching empathy and gratitude to change kids into humans, you may discover that others do not share the importance of such values. Unfortunately, the goal in our social order is to pass on knowledge and leave it to the hearer to determine application.

As I said, a bit frightening.

So knowing that for the first time in your child’s existence, he or she will be away from you for nearly forty hours a week, under the tutelage of a structure which is not necessarily completely in the flow of what you have set in motion, you need to have special times, when you take the intelligence being passed along to your little one and translate it into a practical humility.

It is humble intelligence.

For we well know that humility without intelligence is basically useless in the human family, and intelligence without humility is often belligerent and abusive.

So it is during this 6 to 9-year-old period that three things need to be established in the life of your son or daughter:

1. With knowledge comes responsibility.

Believe it or not, the goal of knowing stuff is not to make other people feel ignorant or to be able to answer Jeopardy! questions. Knowledge is afforded us so we can better our lives and the lives of other.

2. With prosperity comes the need for generosity.

It may sound a little bit ridiculous, but there are those folks who do not understand the concept that to alleviate poverty will take the assistance of those who are not impoverished. Merely telling people to “get a job” will not guarantee their financial stability. With the acquisition of finance and possessions comes the joy of giving to others.

3. With victory comes the awareness of defeat.

Yes, I will say it aloud: I find it ridiculous to analyze failure because all it does is add guilt and fear into future projects. The time to be analytical is when you’ve had a success and you can fine-tune it without feeling despair.

So let’s put these ideas into “working man’s clothes.” How can you take your 6 to 9-year-old and teach him or her to be responsible for knowledge?

Motivate them to tutor another kid in the class who’s not doing as well. I don’t know why it escapes so many people in our society, but children learn much more easily from their peers than from adults. It’s amazing that we do not have tutoring programs among the students, allowing the accomplished learner to further learn by imparting the data to someone who needs assistance.

Secondly to teach the generosity which should come through prosperity, you must be willing to give your children a weekly allowance and then teach them how to budget it–with charity being included in the process. If you’re going to pay the way of your child, but not instruct him or her about how to pay for themselves, they will have some severe problems when they get into their twenties.

And finally, to make them aware of the need to improve, celebrate their glorious moments of achievement, but help them to realize how they can do it better the next time. Self-awareness is the best way to teach your child how to avoid being criticized.

So even though they’re no longer solely the product of your teaching, you can still establish these necessary guidelines, which will allow for the process of making a kid into a human being continue without interruption.

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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UNTOTALED: Stepping 7–Tackling Laziness (September 4th, 1965) … March 22, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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(Transcript)

Starting the seventh grade scared the crap out of me.

Actually, that particular cliché doesn’t fit very well because when you’re entering junior high school in a new building, the idea of any sound or bodily fluid coming out of your being is completely terrifying.

You want to simultaneously be invisible and also appreciated, which of course, is not only socially impossible, but scientifically implausible.

I had spent the week before school began begging my mother to allow me to go out for the football team. She was afraid I would get injured. This was a maternal prophetic sensation, long before the recent onslaught of concussions and head injuries. What was comical, though, about this assertion on her part was that I was nearly six feet tall and weighed three hundred pounds. The coach joked with her, when trying to solicit her support, that it would be more likely that I would hurt other children.

I whined, cajoled, pleaded, promised, praised, complimented and cleaned my room up enough to get her to agree to allow me to try out for the team.

So September 4th, 1965, was not just the first day of horror in the new junior high school. It was also my first day to go out after school and practice with the football team.

The trials continued when they were unable to find a pair of football pants to fit me.  (This was the era when men’s sizes stopped at extra-large, and anyone who needed anything bigger must order it from the sheep herders of Tibet.) So I wore a pair of tennis shoes and blue Dickey work pants to work out with the other guys, who were in suitable apparel. (They did find a helmet that fit my head, since the term fat-head is merely an urban legend.)

It became obvious to me immediately, on that small practice field, what I liked and what I didn’t.

  • I loved the game.
  • I loved tackling.
  • I loved thinking about what was going to happen next.

On the other hand, I hated exercise in all of its contorted, convoluted and fastidiously constructed forms. After all, every exercise program is really geared to skinny people–even the ones which insist they are trying to appeal to the obese. Their speculations always exceed our limitations.

I hated sprints, calisthenics, too much running of any type, and all the drills which they insisted were essential for becoming a great football player.

I endured the sport for three years, but finally my laziness regarding exercise overtook my love of the gridiron.

Maybe if I’d had the right kick in the pants from an authority figure, or perhaps mercy at the right moments and toughness at others, I might have continued playing the game. I don’t know.

But because I didn’t tackle laziness on the football field, it took me too many years to overcome that gooey, drippy vice that drags one down, draining off potential.

So the next time you run across a kid who has ability, but not much drive, please don’t assume that you should leave him alone.

I was left alone. And fascinatingly enough–it was just lonely.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

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