You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

For some reason the other day, I was reminded of the old school desks at Washington Elementary School.

As a student advanced through the grades, the desks increased in size. In the beginning they were the desks with no lids – we had to reach inside, often pulling out the guts of our desk’s contents to retrieve one item which was almost always wedged in the back. To one with a semi-OCD personality, this was quite frustrating because everything had its place and must be restored to order.

By second grade we had advanced to the big leagues when we sat in desks with lids that raised. I was in heaven because I could maintain order and neatness. My morning books were on the left and my after-lunch books were on the right. And if that wasn’t enough, some actually had a pencil ledge inside and on top of the desk!

Mine did not.

And always, there was the ever present school/pencil box. My first few years they were actually cigar boxes. My great-grandfather, Garrett Clary, provided the cigar box which Mother painted and decorated with my name. Around my third grade year, they actually began selling school boxes in one of the local stores. I kind of missed having the personalized cigar box, as Mother always made mine look incredible.

Then there were those wonderful days of indoor recess!

The bidding and plotting began early in the day when it was apparent we would be staying indoors during recess. I remember one particular day in third grade when I began bartering with Becky Cress. Becky sat in a desk that was much newer, the top of the desk un-scarred from years of use, and a much coveted pencil rack inside, and on top.

Looking over my desk, Becky was not certain she wanted to trade desks. After all, my desk had been used at the Valley Forge encampment, and was rusty at the bottom. She feared her white tennis shoes would get smeared with rust. Girls! I did one heck of a sales job pointing out how much taller my desk was and she could see over Tammy Croy who was slightly taller, and the piece de resistance – there was an ink well in mine which would easily hold her cough syrup bottle. Becky aptly pointed out that she would not need her cough syrup much longer.

True.

So I raised the stakes… my unused Snoopy eraser that was coveted by so many classmates. He who possessed the Snoopy eraser would receive much respect – until another classmate out “erasered” me.

Sold.

Within seconds, our desks were pulled to the back of Mrs. Hennegan’s third grade class room, and the switching began. I spent the next two recesses organizing, and reorganizing my new desk.

A few weeks later, I noticed Jody Dauenhauer was the new owner of the Snoopy eraser. This did not matter. I had an organized, big desk.

Our fourth grade year my classmates and I moved upstairs with the big kids – the fifth and sixth graders – as we graduated to Mrs. Lane’s class. One day, while delivering papers from Mrs. Lane to Mr. Fihe (I think he was still there), the principal, and sixth grade teacher, I noticed Elisa Abner had pictures taped to the underside of her desk’s lid. How cool was that? None of my fellow fourth graders had anything like this.

That night, I scoured my bedroom for postcards from Jefferson’s home, Monticello, which I had visited that summer with my grandparents, shortly before President Nixon’s resignation. The next morning, I left a few minutes early, and was in the front of the crowd waiting for the doors to open. I rushed up the stairs, being told by Mrs. Fernung to please walk – until I rounded the double-winged stairs. There at the top was Mrs. Brugger who ordered me to walk back down and “try it again, Mr. Jolliff.” Schoolmates moved around me as I retraced my steps more civilly.

Once secure in my new desk, with Mrs. Lane’s tape dispenser, I began the collage as friends gathered round my desk. Some hurried to their desks to retrieve anything they could find to add to their own desks. A few weeks later when school pictures were traded, we all found a new way to collect, and count, the number of friends we had by taping the pictures to our desk lid. I, however, decided friends should not be inside my desk and began taping them to the metal rim of my desk. Others followed suit.

Mrs. Helpling was the school’s secretary, and before the arrival of Mrs. Knoop, and the principal before her (his name is forgotten to me), the library and school’s office were in the narrow, rectangular room between the then-sixth and fourth grade classrooms, overlooking North A Street and the playground.

Mrs. Helpling knew my love for US History and President Lincoln, and she called me to her office. There she had a stack of magazines she was pulling from the library which contained photos of Abraham Lincoln and other items of history. “I knew you would want these so I won’t throw them out.”

Heaven!

More photos for my desk, and walls of my bedroom.

The desks themselves, are one thing. The many academic lessons, and life lessons I learned while sitting in those desks throughout various classrooms of Washington Elementary School are still with me today. The 1894 structure of Washington Elementary School was the last of its kind… yet, the knowledge and experiences taken with so many of us were also the last of their kind.

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This was just a fun day. There is no other way to describe it.

At 7:15am I was driving Jose to national guard drill. Back at home I busied myself with a ton of items before running Quintin to band practice at Fairhaven. By 2:00pm we were seated with Bill & Ann Impson, their four children, and Chris & Shere Meyers at Spaghetti Warehouse to celebrate the adoption finalization anniversary of the Impson children.

Kitten and I picked up Jose from guard drill, hurried him off to percussion ensemble practice, and ran some errands. At 8:30pm, we joined other parents and guests for a preview of the percussion ensemble’s show. Very nice.

And now, we are all tucked away in the Haasienda – the boys in the basement playing games, and I in my study to relax with some Facebook and several episodes of TWO AND A HALF MEN.

Tomorrow is already booked with almost as many items.

Unfortunately, our family shall be missing the baptism of my beautiful niece, Carolyne Leora Haas.

July 4th, 2007, Jose and I were present for the naturalization ceremony that took place on the expansive lawn of Monticello, the mountaintop plantation of President Thomas Jefferson.  It was a poignant moment for me since this was also the dual-death anniversary of two American icons – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

That morning, following the swearing-in ceremony, motion picture and television great, Sam Waterston gave the address.  I found it incredibly moving, and it has stayed with me to this day.

Tonight, Jose is working on an essay for his US Government class: What Makes A Good Citizen?

It came to us that a good starting point for his essay would be to read Mr. Waterston’s remarks from nearly four years ago.

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Sam Waterston’s Remarks at Monticello, July 4th, 2007

It’s wonderful to be here and a privilege, indeed, to congratulate you, the heroes of the moment in the great work of making and sustaining a government that derives its authority from individual liberty.

My father came to this country from Scotland via England, and became a citizen. He knew beforehand that the ceremony was going to be a significant event. Even so, he wasn’t prepared for the emotional power it had for him. He became a citizen in a group like this, neither very large nor very small. The ceremony’s power multiplied with their numbers. Everyone in his batch of new citizens was moved for themselves, my father included, but they were all overwhelmed by each other, new members of a centuries old tide of migration here to the ’empire of liberty’. It lifted them out of what we mistakenly call ordinary life into the realization that properly understood, life is grand opera, as one is sometimes made aware by a wedding, or the birth of a child.

Something like that, momentous and every-day, is afoot here. Brand new Americans are being made, and I’m delighted to be here to celebrate my father’s becoming an American citizen through your becoming American citizens, and your becoming American citizens through celebrating him, and through all of you, the rest of us, who were lucky to be given what you reached for and took. It’s delightful. We are all lucky, the old citizens in what we got for free, and you, the ones, in knowing what it’s worth. We have a lot to tell one another. Congratulations. Bravo. Yay. The conversation begins now.

Monticello is a beautiful spot for this, full as it is of the spirit that animated this country’s foundation: boldness, vision, improvisation, practicality, inventiveness and imagination, the kind of cheekiness that only comes with free-thinking and faith in an individual’s ability to change the face of the world — it’s easy to imagine Jefferson saying to himself, “So what if I’ve never designed a building before? If I want to, I will.”) — to make something brand new out of the elements of an old culture, be it English Common Law or Palladian Architecture. With its slave quarters and history, it’s also a healthy reminder that our old country, your new country, for all its glory, has always had feet of clay, and work that needed doing.

So it’s good that you’ve come, fresh troops and reinforcement. We old citizens could use some help.

It’s a glorious day, making allowances for the heat. It’s the Fourth of July, the 181st Anniversary of the deaths of the second and third Presidents of the United States, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, the individual who impertinently designed this house. It’s a double birthday, of the country, and of your citizenship. A great American Supreme Court Judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, describing a similar day, said that it looked as if “God had just spit on his sleeve and polished up the universe till you could almost see your face reflected in it.”

We know all the beauty of this day wasn’t arranged exclusively for those of us gathered here, we’re reasonable people, but you who are about to become citizens here, are within your rights to look at it all and see your own faces reflected there, as Justice Holmes said, because it really is a place and time made for you. You’re joining a country already in motion that looks for your effect on it, so that it can better know what it needs to become, for tomorrow.

Welcome. We need you. There’s much to be done.

My talk is, effectively, your graduation address, and every good graduation address begins with a call to the graduates to help the world they are entering discover its future. Consider yourselves called. And if the sea that’s America looks large in comparison to the size of your ship, don’t be dismayed. Let Thomas Jefferson be our example:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. The words are so familiar, so potent, so important, so grand and fine, it’s hard to believe that a person, any single person, actually wrote them, picked up a pen, dipped it in ink, and, on a blank white sheet, made appear for the first time what had never before existed in the whole history of the world. By scratching away at the page, he called a country into being, knowing as he wrote that the country was no more than an idea, and the idea might, at any instant, be erased and destroyed, and the United States of America become just another sorry footnote in the history of suppressed rebellions against tyranny…. And went on writing. You can’t help but be impressed by all that that one person, and the small group of individuals around him, not much larger than your group of new citizens, won for so many.

I guess you can see where I’m headed.

Abraham Lincoln called ours “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” I claim that the word ‘people’, as used there, stands for a great many individuals, rather than for a collective. It wasn’t a mob, but individuals acting in a group that made this country up out of whole cloth. These are just the sort of people the country needs now, individuals acting together for the common good.

How apt, how opportune, that you should come to join us just now.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The foundation stone of national life is, and ever must be, the high individual character of the average citizen.” That understates the case: the United States — a participatory democracy is one way political scientists describe it — counts on its citizens turning out to be above average, like all the students in Lake Woebegone.

And that’s where you come in.

Thomas Jefferson’s fragile idea looks pretty solid now, with all the history and highways and airports, and webs of all kinds tying us together. But for all the building and bulldozing, the wealth, and the resources, the United States is still a contract among individuals around an idea. If the saying is, ‘contracts are made to be broken’, we want this one to hold, which requires all hands to be on deck.

That’s where you come in. You come in from Togo; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Canada and Peru; Afghanistan, India, and Mexico; China, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom; Croatia, El Salvador, Ghana, the Philippines, and Vietnam; Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Turkey — The names themselves a poem about all the migrating peoples who come here. The United States may seem like a fixed star, but it isn’t. It is a relationship between citizens and an idea, and, like all relationships, it changes with the people in it. Its past is always up for reargument; its present is constantly unfolding, complex, a continuum of surprises; and the future is yet to be written. A country is alive, or it’s history. As long as this country endures, it will always be in search of how to understand itself and where to go from here.

That’s where you come in. That’s where we come in.

We all need to exercise our lungs in the discussion: what does our past mean, what are we to do now, and what will be our future? This is not a job just for the talking heads on TV and the politicians. Nor for moneyed interests, nor for single-issue movements. As the WWI recruiting poster said, “Uncle Sam needs you”, needs us.

You just heard John Charles recite the three cardinal rights that no one may take from us, to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. As newly minted citizens, they were already familiar.

But my question is for the rest of us, the ones who are citizens already. In the midst of the interests and pressures of our own lives, don’t we leave a good deal of Life and Liberty to the Government to attend to, so we may concentrate full-time on the Pursuit of Happiness?

Don’t we too often think of our part as being to vote, occasionally, not in very great numbers, and only if there’s time and inclination, to keep up with the news, if it’s amusing and entertaining, but, like the man in the song who was hardly ever sick at see, never, never, well, hardly ever interfere, as individuals, with the work of the politicians?

But if this be so, or partly so, would that be a reason to be concerned? History shows that America is the all-time greatest self-correcting nation. It almost seems to be both a perpetual motion machine and a self-righting machine. Why would any sensible citizen and patriot want to throw a wrench in the works, or try to fix what isn’t broken?

I would like to suggest that if we think this way even a little, we have the wrong idea. We are greatly mistaken to think sharing our views with the television set and our husbands and wives, and voting a little, is enough. Don’t you who are new pick up these bad habits from us.

America has been marvelously able to correct its course in the past because the founding idea — of individual freedom expressed through direct representation — has stirred its citizens to participate, and interfere. Information from the people makes the government smarter. Insufficient information from us makes it dumber. Or, as Abraham Lincoln more elegantly expressed it, ” Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?” Leaders, if they are wise, will be patient. But we mustn’t try their patience too much. For us, finding that ultimate justice means thinking and talking until we reach it, and continuing to speak until the politicians understand it.

We may not leave it to the three branches of government to sort things out, to bring us the right questions for decision, to make the right decisions themselves.

Never has that statement been truer than now. Our national politics have stalled over a quarter of a century over very large issues, including immigration, social security, health care, and especially, since it affects the countries you’ve left, the country you’re joining, and all the countries in between, the health of the planet. War has both parties running to extremes.

If you think the problems are not any more urgent, or the discord any worse, than normal, then, well, I disagree, but my point remains: in our country, things are ‘normal’ only when your voices are clearly heard. The old model of our citizenly relation to politics was of a group of people under a tree, taking turns on the stump all day, discussing the issues of the time. The old model was the town meeting where every citizen can have their say. Old citizens like me hope that between you and the Internet the old model will get a new lease on life.

Whether you work within the Democratic or Republican parties, or join in supporting a bi-partisan ticket for 2008 as I have, in an effort to drive the parties to work together and to show them how it’s done, do do something.

From your first breath as an American citizen, make it known what matters to you.

We can’t let ourselves become mere units of statistical analysis. It appears to be so, that if you ask any 1000 Americans their views on anything, you’ll have a pretty good idea what all Americans think. You might almost conclude that individuals didn’t matter at all anymore.

But then here you come in, and prove the opposite.

By individual choice and individual effort, you traveled the miles, and did the work required, to arrive here today to join the country whose whole monumental structure rests on personal freedom. Will you make yourselves content to become a mere grain of sand in a vast statistical ocean?

Don’t be discouraged by the odds. It isn’t all determinism and the tide of history. An individual can up-end what is determined, and speed or reverse the tide. The man on whose estate we stand, by pushing his pen across a blank page, proved that.

Besides, the science of statistics has another aspect. It appears that the most reliable way to know who will win the next election or whether the stock market will go up or down is to ask as many people as possible to make a bet about it. Their bets often tell more than all the opinions of the pundits and economists, politicos and market watchers. It turns out Lincoln was right about the ‘ultimate wisdom of the people’. But here’s the catch: if you don’t make yourself heard, your bet can’t be counted.

“Men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master,” as Jefferson predicted. But will we, by our silence, indifference, or inaction, give the trust away, cede it to the wealthy, present it to the entrenched, hand it off to the government, entrust it to any process or procedure that excludes our voices? It could happen.

“As a nation of freemen,” Abraham Lincoln said, “we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

That’s where we all come in.

As graduating citizens, you will know how the government is set up: the justly familiar separation of powers, the well-known system of checks and balances, and the famous three branches of government: the executive branch, the judicial branch, and the legislative branch.

If these are the branches, what is the tree? Do not think it’s the government.

We are the tree from which the government springs and spreads into its three branches. Every citizen is part of the root system, part of the trunk, no mere twig or leaf. Help our government never to forget it.

We have to bring energy, action, participation, and money to the three branches, or they get no nourishment, and nothing will prevent them from becoming brittle and dry, and unfruitful.

I hope you don’t waste all the time I have in figuring out how a citizen should relate to his government. Talk to it. Tell it what you like. Tell it what you don’t like. Vote, of course. Think about what you want our future to look like. Let the government know. Roll up your sleeves, stick out your chin, sharpen your elbows, get in the middle of things, make them different.

You will be bound to get a lot of things wrong. That’s what we do. But the possibility of error is no excuse for being quiet, and I say this on the good authority of past Presidents:

“Man was never intended to become an oyster.”

That’s Theodore Roosevelt talking.

“Get action. Seize the moment,” he said, and he also said, “The credit belongs to the man…. who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who… spends himself for a worthy cause”

And President Thomas Jefferson wrote,

“The evils flowing from the duperies of the people [— that is, the ignorant errors of folks like you and me —] are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents [ — that is, the arrogant errors of those who speak and act for us].”

So it turns out citizenship isn’t just a great privilege and opportunity, though it is all that, it’s also a job. I’m sorry to be the one to bring you this news, so late in the process. But don’t worry, it’s a great job. Everything that happens within this country politically, and everywhere in the world its influence is felt, falls within its province. It’s a job with a lot of scope. You’ll never be able to complain again about being bored at work. As we multiply our individual voices, we multiply the chances for our country’s success.

Which is where we all come in.

May your initiation here be a reminder to us all to put the participation back into ‘participatory democracy’.

May all our citizenship be individual, unflagging, and vocal, and may our old country, your new country, so prosper.

There’s lots to do. All hands on deck. Members of the class of 2007: Congratulations. God bless you. Let us hear from you.

It’s evenings like this that keep reminding me why I love being a dad.

My first student made it over from the high school next door, and the second student followed but was gone by 4:00pm. The remaining students canceled due to the weather.

In 1978, while the blizzard of the previous century was burying the Midwest and East Coast, Elwood Community Schools actually canceled – one of the first, and very few times while I was a student. The night of the snow’s arrival my grandmother could not get back out to the farm, and stayed with us. By 9:00pm, we were already experiencing cabin fever and decided to brave the elements and drive to Pizza Hut. I can still remember the smoothness of the streets before us and turning to see our single tracks trailing.

At 13, that was a memorable adventure. And it was only one among many with Mother, and my grandparents, who were hearty Hoosiers.

I have carried this Hoosier heartiness with me, and tonight, while Shroyer Road was fairly quiet, we drove to Elsa’s for dinner. The boys, were telling jokes, and picking on me – and naturally, it was all returned.

Dinner time for us is always one of my favorite times. Sadly, our dinners together will be sparse until mid-April. Jose has now joined Fairmont’s percussion ensemble which saps every bit of his free time – as well as our spring break trip to Florida – and Quintin is now involved with the youth bands at church, as well as the Wednesday night youth program. Jose also works the two remaining nights he is free of percussion ensemble.

Despite the juggled nightly suppers, I am glad the boys are involved in very worthwhile projects – both of which are in music.

After dinner, we drove to Big Lots for some snacks since the boys are certain we will have a snow day. I hope not. I have a meeting at the middle school, followed by an early lunch with Bill Hetzer whom I have not seen in months. I can easily make lunch, but the school meeting is important.

The laughter has settled while the boys play one another on XBox 360 Live from different areas of the house. I am holed up in my study until 9:30pm when we three shall barrel into the kitchen for a small snack which is always accompanied by tons of laughter.

The laughter… my favorite part….

Just doing what you have done for me…assisted me when needed and supported! Love D

PS. I am class right now…wow is this going to be a hard semester.

Destin L. Haas-PrincipalBenton Central Jr.-Sr. High School
4241 E 300 S
Oxford,IN 47971
(O) 765-884-1600 ext.5101
(M) 765-491-3133
http://bc.benton.k12.us.in

On Jan 8, 2011, at 11:22 AM, "Darin Jolliffe-Haas" <dljh> wrote:

Without going into detail, I can honestly say, "I am glad last week is behind me."

I truly value my younger brother, Destin, all the more, as a shining example of what our nation’s education needs in the leadership arena. Had it not been for my brother’s guidance, and encouraging coaching, I could have been hopelessly frustrated dealing with less than prompt communication, and condescending administrators who inferred I did not know "my shit." Oh, well… at least those with whom I will be closely working were far more satisfactory and enthusiastic in their approach.

Of course, I am baffled that my older son’s high school counselor can be utterly ineffective, and a piss poor example of educational counseling at its finest! Thank heavens for counselor-friends who came to our aide these past six months.

Destin is a gem in every sense of the word. I am so delighted his school corporation, his community, other Hoosier administrators, and state officials recognize his knowledge, talent, and leadership skills. Destin is gifted, and understands his duty of sharing these gifts where they are needed. His photo seems to appear frequently in newspapers for his fine work, and the letters from parents, students, teachers and other administrators I have been fortunate to read are thrilling. The respect, affection and adoration is impressive. While others know him as teacher, principal, superintendent, chairperson, board member, son, husband, daddy, son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, Mr. Haas, Moose, Moosie, Coach, friend, pal, cut-up, class clown, the only senior to take 30+ college days without visiting one college, student… I feel as though I have one of the most honored connections to this towering figure… he’s my brother.

My students were also a blessing this week! I could lay aside the exasperation of dealing with individuals, and corporations, while studying up on IDEA and other federal education guidelines, and simply immerse my self in the music of my students. And then, this was often followed by fun times with my sons at dinner, and doing other things together.

Friday afternoon, my students seemed to relax me even more. And of course, it was the official start of the weekend.

Quintin and I drove to ACTION Adoption Services. En route, I finally had a chance to call Mother and spend some time with her on the phone. Upon arriving at ACTION, Quintin sat in the front hallway entertaining other adopted children with his guitar, while I taught a class of prospective adoptive parents. The topic was "Cultural Diversity." It does seem to be an appropriate class for me, and a fun topic I am beginning to enjoy, more and more. Last night’s class was particularly fun, and the thoughts shared by the class was quite exhilarating. Interestingly, we had an African American couple of mixed races, and a woman from Cambodia. This certainly made the class’s sharing all the more meaningful as we were all reaching within to share our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and hopes about bringing other races, ethnicities and cultures closer together.

Even more exciting is when I see my sons with other adopted children from ACTION families – Now, this is true cultural diversity!

Today, I am taking Quintin, who is becoming more affectionately known as "Kitten" by all, to a guitar audition at church for one of the bands. I am excited for Quintin to begin his first actual step into music.

This week was exasperating, yet so refreshing in a number of ways. I learned that I can continue to be resilient, and that I still have much capacity to learn new things – even topics (educational law) that are not as thrilling to my interests of history and music. I think we all benefit from remembering the story of David & Goliath when confronted issues that may appear overwhelming, and even unobtainable. Attitude. It all stems from "attitude."

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a kid brother who is "Kick Ass" in every possible way!

Photos:

  • My brother, Destin, and his beautiful wife, Stacia
  • Quintin & Jose with friends from ACTION Adoption Services

<Family HAAS DESTIN – Destin Stacia.jpg>

<155182_10150335570675074_651860073_16365811_5103525_n.jpg>

Without going into detail, I can honestly say, “I am glad last week is behind me.”

I truly value my younger brother, Destin, all the more, as a shining example of what our nation’s education needs in the leadership arena. Had it not been for my brother’s guidance, and encouraging coaching, I could have been hopelessly frustrated dealing with less than prompt communication, and condescending administrators who inferred I did not know “my shit.” Oh, well… at least those with whom I will be closely working were far more satisfactory and enthusiastic in their approach.

Of course, I am baffled that my older son’s high school counselor can be utterly ineffective, and a piss poor example of educational counseling at its finest! Thank heavens for counselor-friends who came to our aide these past six months.

Destin is a gem in every sense of the word. I am so delighted his school corporation, his community, other Hoosier administrators, and state officials recognize his knowledge, talent, and leadership skills. Destin is gifted, and understands his duty of sharing these gifts where they are needed. His photo seems to appear frequently in newspapers for his fine work, and the letters from parents, students, teachers and other administrators I have been fortunate to read are thrilling. The respect, affection and adoration is impressive. While others know him as teacher, principal, superintendent, chairperson, board member, son, husband, daddy, son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, Mr. Haas, Moose, Moosie, Coach, friend, pal, cut-up, class clown, the only senior to take 30+ college days without visiting one college, student… I feel as though I have one of the most honored connections to this towering figure… he’s my brother.

My students were also a blessing this week! I could lay aside the exasperation of dealing with individuals, and corporations, while studying up on IDEA and other federal education guidelines, and simply immerse my self in the music of my students. And then, this was often followed by fun times with my sons at dinner, and doing other things together.

Friday afternoon, my students seemed to relax me even more. And of course, it was the official start of the weekend.

Quintin and I drove to ACTION Adoption Services. En route, I finally had a chance to call Mother and spend some time with her on the phone. Upon arriving at ACTION, Quintin sat in the front hallway entertaining other adopted children with his guitar, while I taught a class of prospective adoptive parents. The topic was “Cultural Diversity.” It does seem to be an appropriate class for me, and a fun topic I am beginning to enjoy, more and more. Last night’s class was particularly fun, and the thoughts shared by the class was quite exhilarating. Interestingly, we had an African American couple of mixed races, and a woman from Cambodia. This certainly made the class’s sharing all the more meaningful as we were all reaching within to share our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and hopes about bringing other races, ethnicities and cultures closer together.

Even more exciting is when I see my sons with other adopted children from ACTION families – Now, this is true cultural diversity!

Today, I am taking Quintin, who is becoming more affectionately known as “Kitten” by all, to a guitar audition at church for one of the bands. I am excited for Quintin to begin his first actual step into music.

This week was exasperating, yet so refreshing in a number of ways. I learned that I can continue to be resilient, and that I still have much capacity to learn new things – even topics (educational law) that are not as thrilling to my interests of history and music. I think we all benefit from remembering the story of David & Goliath when confronted with issues that may appear overwhelming, and even unobtainable. Attitude. It all stems from “attitude.”

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a kid brother who is “Kick Ass” in every possible way!

Photos:

  • My brother, Destin, and his beautiful wife, Stacia
  • Quintin & Jose with friends from ACTION Adoption Services

I think all of us have known truly great individuals who have passed away, and think, “There will never be another one just like them.”

Of course there will not be another just like them.

However, I believe that when an individual dies, regardless their status or impact on their world, they always leave a spark with each person who knew them. Sometimes, when I work with someone I sense it is much like each of us holding sparklers, or Christmas Eve candles that, when touched, share a small flame or sparkle. I love receiving “light” from others, no matter who they are. I can always find a use for their light, or add it to my own for an even bright glow to share with others.

Yesterday, January 3rd, a brilliant light in The Miami Valley’s theatre/performing arts scene faded. Having enjoyed a directing class taught by Marsha Hanna in the mid-1990’s, I knew her well enough to carry on brief conversations when later running into her at public, or theatrical events. I always loved having my seat in the back row during The Human Race productions because Marsha would often stand behind the half wall and share tid-bits about the production, or life in general.

Once after introducing a newly adopted son, Marsha, with her hands in her pockets, and smiling, asked, “When are you going to adopt a son and actually change his name to ‘Joshua Logan?'” (Marsha was referring to my own directing mentor)

I do sense the void that has been created in Dayton’s performing arts community as Marsha, along with her dearest friends and colleagues, Scott Stoney and Kevin Moore, has long been a theatrical machine in Dayton for thirty-plus years… a triumphant trio of artistic entrepreneurs and cheerleaders that have improved, constructed, reconstructed, designed, encouraged, challenged, planted, nourished, fostered, pruned and blessed our community – and beyond – with something for which all of us can be terribly proud, and truly enjoy.

So many people, both in and out of the theatre community, were touched by Marsha’s generous smiles and numerous kindnesses. My heart goes out to her close friends and colleagues, and to all those brilliant lives and careers in which she had a role in molding.

Knowing that Marsha has touched so many lives makes me confident that she will eternally be with the performing arts world of The Miami Valley. There will be scholarships, programs, and other items named in her memory and honor, but nothing will compare to the legacy of light she shared with countless souls that has been, and will continue to be shared with many more on the continued chain of mentors and students.

I believe the Saints & Bishops of Broadway – George Abbott, Joshua Logan, Edward Harrigan, George M. Cohen, David Merrick, JoAnne Akalaitis, Melvin Bernhardt, and countless others – have raised the curtain for Marsha’s entrance on a brand new stage, accompanied with the greeting, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.”

I think all of us have known truly great individuals who have passed away, and think, “There will never be another one just like them.”

Of course there will not be another just like them.

However, I believe that when an individual dies, regardless their status or impact on their world, they always leave a spark with each person who knew them. Sometimes, when I work with someone I sense it is much like each of us holding sparklers, or Christmas Eve candles that, when touched, share a small flame or sparkle. I love receiving “light” from others, no matter who they are. I can always find a use for their light, or add it to my own for an even bright glow to share with others.

Yesterday, January 3rd, a brilliant light in The Miami Valley’s theatre/performing arts scene faded. Having enjoyed a directing class taught by Marsha Hanna in the mid-1990’s, I knew her well enough to carry on brief conversations when later running into her at public, or theatrical events. I always loved having my seat in the back row during The Human Race productions because Marsha would often stand behind the half wall and share tid-bits about the production, or life in general.

Once after introducing a newly adopted son, Marsha, with her hands in her pockets, and smiling, asked, “When are you going to adopt a son and actually change his name to ‘Joshua Logan?'” (Marsha was referring to my own directing mentor)

I do sense the void that has been created in Dayton’s performing arts community as Marsha, along with her dearest friends and colleagues, Scott Stoney and Kevin Moore, has long been a theatrical machine in Dayton for thirty-plus years… a triumphant trio of artistic entrepreneurs and cheerleaders that have improved, constructed, reconstructed, designed, encouraged, challenged, planted, nourished, fostered, pruned and blessed our community – and beyond – with something for which all of us can be terribly proud, and truly enjoy.

So many people, both in and out of the theatre community, were touched by Marsha’s generous smiles and numerous kindnesses. My heart goes out to her close friends and colleagues, and to all those brilliant lives and careers in which she had a role in molding.

Knowing that Marsha has touched so many lives makes me confident that she will eternally be with the performing arts world of The Miami Valley. There will be scholarships, programs, and other items named in her memory and honor, but nothing will compare to the legacy of light she shared with countless souls that has been, and will continue to be shared with many more on the continued chain of mentors and students.

I believe the Saints & Bishops of Broadway – George Abbott, Joshua Logan, Edward Harrigan, George M. Cohen, David Merrick, JoAnne Akalaitis, Melvin Bernhardt, and countless others – have raised the curtain for Marsha’s entrance on a brand new stage, accompanied with the greeting, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.”

I thoroughly enjoyed these past two weeks. They were absolutely wonderful.

However, it is time to get the Jolliffe-Haas family on a schedule. Quintin’s December 20th arrival was perfect timing because it allowed him to have some “down-time” with Jose and my self. Now it is time to ease him into the structure and schedule of what life is actually like in the Haasienda.

Saturday night we were invited for a New Year’s dinner with the Carter family. At one point in the conversation, Jose said, “I always kept thinking that basic and advanced training was ‘next year’ but now it is actually this year.”

The night before, while having a great New Year’s Eve family dinner with with the Lockharts at Tumbleweed, Valerie looked over and said, “This is a year for changes with our family.” Valerie was referring to the graduation of Jackson and Jose, as well as their impending departures for college and military training.

Val & Mike Lockhart, Joyce & Rob Carter, and I all have children graduating this June. Our lives will not only change when our children graduate, but our structure and schedules will greatly change.

I don’t know what the future holds for Quintin, but it does look as though he is gearing up for a life of music. And with Sophie Lockhart as his self-appointed manager and agent, Quintin will be kept very busy with music. My niece, Sophie, a 15 year old with a true servant’s heart, has been a God-send with Quintin’s arrival as she is eager to get him as involved in music as she is – and that is a good deal of involvement.

Now, I will assist Quintin with scheduling, and finding structure in his new home and school. Fortunately, his foster parents in New Mexico were fantastic at setting this pace, and now I will fine-tune this next chapter.

This morning I planned the entire day, anticipating a fully structured afternoon once the boys returned from church with the Lockharts.

Well, God had other plans…

I ended up meeting Mike, Val, Jackson, Sophie, Jose and Quintin at Wendy’s for lunch at 12:30pm. By 2:00pm, we were wrapping up a fantastic conversation. Mike, Val and I have always had tons in common, but it seems these past few months have intertwined our worlds a little more with Sophie’s growing passion for music, and the impending graduation and departure of our two 18 year old sons.

The boys and I ran an errand, and upon our return home, Jackson and Jose headed to the gym, and Sophie came over – not for lessons – but to spend the afternoon with Quintin. I looked over the list of what needed to be tackled so that the school and work week could get off to a good start, and decided that it could all wait. I took a two-hour nap. Upon waking, Jose had already left for work, and the sounds of guitars floated up from the basement.

The list…

Well, I decided to bake the lasagna from a student’s family. An hour later, Sophie, Quintin and I sat down to home-made lasagna and garlic toast. We drove Sophie home, ran a quick errand, and returned to find Jose already getting a start on de-greening the Christmas decorations.

I prepared to busy myself with all the prized breakables – nativity scenes, Father Christmases, clocks, snowmen, etc. – but I caught a glimpse of Jose and Quintin removing all the ornaments from the tree. I stood watching the duo defrock the beautiful tree, and listened to their comical banter. I was glad I ignored my list of things to be accomplished for the afternoon. It did not ruin my day that the decorations were not down before Jose left for work; however, it did deeply enhance my evening.

As I snapped a photo of the two taking down the beads and ribbons from the tree, I thought ahead one year…

“Will both sons, or even more sons, be joining in this particular moment of family fun?”

“Will Jose be in Afghanistan serving our country?”

I decided that I would not think ahead. I did not wish to waste the moment at hand. And what a fun moment we had!

Quintin turned in by 10:00pm, and Jose came into my study to talk. During the course of our conversation, he said, “I realized that I can’t put off moments with you, with Quintin, with Justin, and others I love because in six months all this will change.”

To top that off, my 18 year old son said, “It is amazing how much I really do listen to you and apply your advice.”

Had I stuck to my schedule and structure this afternoon, I might have missed a set of truly wonderful moments.

Tomorrow we will hit the schedule and the structure… but by golly, we will not miss those moments!

I am watching a neat program on The History Channel about decoding certain items within the framework of our nation’s history. Some very interesting information!

This one episode was investigating the origins, and hidden meanings of the Statue of Liberty. One of the Frenchmen involved with the original design and engineering referred to Lady Liberty as a “Lucifer.” This created a good deal of consternation amongst the modern day investigators until they learned the history of Lucifer.

THE HISTORY OF LUCIFER…

“How art thou fallen from heaven

O day-star, son of the morning! (Helel ben Shahar)

How art thou cast down to the ground,

That didst cast lots over the nations!

And thou saidst in thy heart:

‘I will ascend into heaven,

Above the stars of God (El)

Will I exalt my throne;

And I will sit upon the mount of meeting,

In the uttermost parts of the north;

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will be like the Most High (Elyon).’

Yet thou shalt be brought dow to the nether-world,

To the uttermost parts of the pit.”

– Isaiah 14:12-15

This is the only passage in the bible that mentions Lucifer. In Christian tradition, this passage is proof for the fall of Lucifer.

However, it is more probable that this passage is an allusion to a Canaantie or Phoenician myth about how Helel, son of the god Shahar, sought the throne of the chief god and was cast down into the abyss because of this. Evidence for this theory comes from an Ugaritic poem about two divine children, Shachar (dawn) and Shalim (dusk), who were born as the result of the intercourse of the god El with mortal women. That would make El, Elyon, and Shahar members of the Canaanite pantheon and the “mount of meeting” is the abode of the gods, which corresponds to Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. Unfortunately, this is just speculation as archaeologists have not uncovered any Canaanite sources that describe Helel ben Shahar or a revolt against Elyon.

Many Apocalyptic writers interpreted this passage as referring to Lucifer, and wrote about the fall of the angels. 1 Enoch refers to the falling angels as stars (see the watchers) and may be the beginning of the overlap between the story of the watchers and Isaiah.

Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means “light-bearer” (from the wordslucem ferre). It was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. For this meaning, English generally uses the names “Morning Star” or “Day Star”, and rarely “Lucifer”.

The New Testament does not name the devil as Lucifer. Use of this name in reference to a fallen angel stems from an interpretation of Isaiah 4:3-20, a passage that speaks of a particular Babylonian King, to whom it gives a title that refers to what in English is called the Day Star or Morning Star (in Latin,lucifer), as fallen or destined to fall from the heavens or sky. In 2 Peter 1:19 and elsewhere, the same Latin word lucifer is used to refer to the Morning Star, with no relation to the devil. However, in post-New Testament times, the Latin word Lucifer has often been used as a name for the devil, both in religious writing and in fiction, especially when referring to him prior to his fall from Heaven.

The Lucifer story

A myth of the fall of angels, associated with the Morning Star, was transferred to Satan, as seen in the Life of Adam and Eve and the Second Book of Enoch, which the Jewish Encyclopedia attributes to the first pre-Christian century: in these Satan-Sataniel (sometimes identified with Samael) is described as having been one of the archangels. Because he contrived “to make his throne higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble ‘My power’ on high”, Satan-Sataniel was hurled down, with his hosts of angels, and since then, he has been flying in the air continually above the abyss.


Gustave Doré‘s illustration for Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book IV, lines 1013–1015: Satan (alias Lucifer) yielding before Gabriel

Early Christian writers continued this identification of “Lucifer” with Satan. Tertullian (“Contra Marcionem,” v. 11, 17), Origen (Homilies on Ezekiel 13), and others, identify Lucifer with Satan, who also is represented as being “cast down from heaven” (Revelation 12:7–10; cf. Luke 10:18).

But today some contemporary exorcists and theologians, such as Father José Antonio Fortea and Father Amorth, asserted that Lucifer and Satan are different beings.

In the New Testament the Adversary has many names, but “Lucifer” is not among them. He is called “Satan” (Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:13, 4:15; Luke 10:18), “devil” (Matt. 4:1), “adversary” (1. Peter 5:8, ἀντίδικος; 1. Tim. 5:14, ἀντικείμενος), “enemy” (Matt. 13:39), “accuser” (Rev. 12:10), “old serpent” (Rev. 20:2), “great dragon” (Rev. 12:9), Beelzebub (Matt. 10:25, 12:24), and Belial (comp. Samael). In Luke 10:18, John 12:31, 2. Cor. 6:16, and Rev. 12:9 the fall of Satan is mentioned. The devil is regarded as the author of all evil (Luke 10:19; Acts 5:3; 2. Cor. 11:3; Ephes. 2:2), who beguiled Eve (2. Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9). Because of Satan, death came into this world, being ever the tempter (1. Cor. 7:5; 1. Thess. 3:5; 1. Peter 5:8), even as he tempted Jesus (Matt. 4). The Christian demonology and belief in the devil dominated subsequent periods. However, though the New Testament includes the conception that Satan fell from heaven “as lightning” (Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:7-10), it nowhere applies the name Lucifer to him.

The Jewish Encyclopedia states that in the apocalyptic literature, the conception of fallen angels is widespread. Throughout antiquity, stars were commonly regarded as living celestial beings (Job 38:7). Indications of belief in fallen angels, behind which probably lies the symbolizing of shooting stars, an astronomical phenomenon, are found in Isaiah 14:12.

The Morning Star in Isaiah 14:12

The Book of Isaiah has the following passage:

When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased! How his insolence has ceased! … How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of congregation on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who would not let his prisoners go home?

The passage refers to the king of Babylon, a man who seemed all-powerful, but who has been brought down to the abode of the dead (“Sheol“). Isaiah promises that the Israelites will be freed and will then be able to use in a taunting song against their oppressor the image of the Morning Star, which rises at dawn as the brightest of the stars, outshining Jupiter and Saturn, but lasting only until the sun appears. This image was used in an old popular Canaanite story that the Morning Star tried to rise high above the clouds and establish himself on the mountain where the gods assembled, in the far north, but was cast down into the underworld.

The phrase “O Day Star, son of Dawn” in the New Revised Standard Version translation given above corresponds to the Hebrew phrase “הילל בן־שׁחר” (Helel Ben-Shachar) in verse 12, meaning “morning star, son of dawn”. As the Latin poets personified the Morning Star and the Dawn (Aurora), as well as the Sun and the Moon and other heavenly bodies, so in Canaanite mythology Morning Star and Dawn were pictured as two deities, the former being the son of the latter.

In the Latin Vulgate, Jerome translated “הילל בן־שׁחר” (morning star, son of dawn) as “lucifer qui mane oriebaris” (morning star that used to rise early). Already, as early as the Christian writers Tertullian andOrigen, the whole passage had come to be applied to Satan. Satan began to be referred to as “Lucifer” (Morning Star), and finally the word “Lucifer” was treated as a proper name. The use of the word “Lucifer” in the 1611 King James Version instead of a word such as “Daystar” ensured its continued popularity among English speakers.

Most modern English versions (including the NIV, NRSV, NASB, NJB and ESV) render the Hebrew word as “day star”, “morning star” or something similar, and never as “Lucifer”, a word that in English is now very rarely used in the sense of the original word in Hebrew (Morning Star), though in Latin “Lucifer” was a literal translation.

A passage quite similar to that in Isaiah is found in Ezekiel 28:1–19, which is expressly directed against the king of Tyre, a city on an island that had grown rich by trade, factors alluded to in the text. In Christian tradition, it too has been applied to Lucifer, because of some of the expressions contained in it. But, since it does not contain the image of the Morning Star, discussion of it belongs rather to the article on Satan than to that on Lucifer.


Lucifer (Le génie du mal) byGuillaume Geefs (Cathedral of St. Paul,Liège, Belgium)

The same holds for the Christian depiction of Satan in other books of the Old Testament as, for instance, in the Book of Job, where Satan, who has been wandering the Earth, has a discussion with God and makes a deal with him to test Job.

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary states that there are many who believe the expression “Lucifer” and the surrounding context in Isaiah 14 refer to Satan: they believe the similarities among Isaiah 14:12, Luke 10:18, and Revelation 12:7–10 warrant this conclusion. But it points out that the context of the Isaiah passage is about the accomplished defeat of the king of Babylon, while the New Testament passages speak of Satan.

Other readings

Joseph Campbell (1972: pp. 148–149) illustrates an unorthodox Islamic reading of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, which champions Lucifer’s eclipsing love for God:

One of the most amazing images of love that I know is in Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something inferior to him (since he was made of fire, and man from clay). And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there for eternity, apart from his love.

This interpretation of the satanic rebellion described in the Quran is seen by some Sufi teachers such as Mansur Al-Hallaj (in his ‘Tawasin’) as a predestined scenario in whichIblisShaitan plays the role of tragic and jealous lover who, unable to perceive the Divine Image in Adam and capable only of seeing the exterior, disobeyed the divine mandate to bow down. His refusal (according to the Tawasin) was due to a misconceived idea of God’s uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love. Hallaj criticized the staleness of Iblis’ adoration. Excerpts from Sufi texts expounding this interpretation have been included along with many other viewpoints on Shaitan (by no means all of them apologetic) in an important anthology of Sufi texts edited by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, head of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan taught that ‘Luciferian Light’ is Light that has become dislocated from the Divine Source and is thus associated with the seductive false light of the lower ego, which lures humankind into self-centered delusion. Here Lucifer represents what the Sufis term the ‘Nafs’, the ego.

Latter-Day Saints point of view

The belief that Lucifer is Satan is a core part of Mormon doctrine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints tradition claims The Book of Mormon was written beginning around 600BC. The author in 600BC, Nephi, claimed to have copied parts of Isaiah in Isaiah’s original words. Roughly one-third of the Book of Isaiah is present in The Book of Mormon, however the verses copied in The Book of Mormon include the Latin mistranslations of Lucifer that are present in the King James version of the Bible.

Another book of LDS canonical scripture, The Doctrine & Covenants, furthers this doctrinal belief when it affirms the doctrine that Lucifer refers to Satan. This doctrine also spread into a third set of LDS scriptures, The Pearl of Great Price, which describes a war in heaven between God and Lucifer.

Cited from:

http://www.deliriumsrealm.com/delirium/articleview.asp?Post=184

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer

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