Friday, August 19, 2011

Simply



During my college days, my room mate used to tease those new students from Kerala. Almost all of the new students from Kerala use the word, 'Simply' to answer any question.  He showed it and proved it to me as well. Ask those new students any question, and all we would get in return would be, "Simply."

Question: Why are you combing your hair like this? 
Answer: Simply.  

Question: Why are you wearing this blue colored T-shirt today? 
Answer: Simply.  

Question: Why did you join the engineering college? 
Answer: Simply.  





Our Turst



One of the phrases that came up quite frequently and recently in our church community is that, "If certain individuals leave the church, it will be foreclosed."

Let's meditate on this topic using just two simple thoughts:

(1) Who owns all these?  (2) Whom are we putting our trust in?

God owns all of these - it may be hard to believe, because we do not see the owner around His property, claiming, "I own all these."  Let's look into Bible to see who the owner is. It says, “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom.” - 2 Chronicles 29:11

Are we putting our trust in money, in the form of gold bullion, jobs, bank accounts, real estates, wall street investments - or in qualified and rich professionals, without the presence of God?  It sure is leading towards worry, anxiety and a spirit of greed or hoarding.  Even the dollar currency says, "In God we trust."

In the recent few weeks, there's been so much financial turmoil all over the world. Trillions of dollars were wiped out within a matter of few hours. The so called financial security was shattered across the globe leaving investors with hardly any financial security.  The key to financial security is that understanding God owns it all.  Trusting in God brings inner peace.  God promises us to meet our needs.   Read this scripture carefully: "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19.  God promises us to meet our needs - not our wants; but our needs.

A group of individuals want a new church and have been spending time and effort for that cause. Again, it's not just a need - it's a want.  They are already members of one congregation, but want more freedom and privacy to gather together.

Regardless of whether people belong to the parent church, or belong to the one waiting for an approval, all of us, we need to base our trust in God; not in it's member's wealth.

Moral: Security is in God; not in money.

Food for thought: "Are we making contributions towards the foreclosure of a church?"


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The challenge of being a stay-at-home dad


Dad feeding babies

For the last nine years or so, I’ve been a stay-at-home dad, but I prefer to call myself a write-at-home  dad. That’s because I spend a lot of time writing. I mostly write emails to my wife with questions such as: “Why isn’t the baby drinking from the bottle? Doesn’t she like Coke?” and “Is it okay if the baby watches Law & Order with me? She seems to like it.”

Actually, I don’t ask many questions these days. That’s partly because my three kids aren’t babies anymore – the youngest is 5 – and partly because I’ve become an expert at being a stay-at-home dad. If this were a real job, I would have been promoted by now. I’d be the Director of Domestic Affairs or the CEO of Home Management.

Being an expert at this job does not mean doing everything well. It means making a list of everything that needs to be done and figuring out a way to get the kids to do it.

My youngest child, Rahul, often helps me load the washing machine. My oldest child, Lekha, often helps me sort the socks and underwear. My middle child, Divya, doesn’t help much, but at least she doesn’t leave her dirty clothes lying around on the floor like a few other members of this household, who apparently believe that Dad has nothing better to do than pick up after them. I do have something better to do: watch Law & Order.

Yes, being a stay-at-home dad isn’t easy, even when you’re an expert. There’s so much to do at home -- cooking, washing, sweeping – and it’s hard to get it all done during the commercial breaks. I don’t know how the stay-at-home moms do it – I just don’t.

Thankfully, I don’t do most of the cooking –  my wife does. It’s her main responsibility when she returns from work, aside from spending time with the kids and asking me why the house is such a mess.

Most of the cleaning falls on my shoulders –  and then I flick it onto the kids’ shoulders. At least I try to. When I turn on the vacuum cleaner, my son gets excited and I can usually con him into doing some of the vacuuming. He loves to watch things get sucked up. This arrangement has worked rather well, especially since my wife hasn’t counted our children recently.

The biggest challenge for a stay-at-home dad, I’ve come to realize, is dealing with society’s expectations. Dads are not supposed to stay at home. We’re supposed to go out and make money. And if we can’t make money, we’re supposed to go out anyway – go out and play golf, go out and watch a movie, go out and do yoga under a tree.

A woman can call herself a housewife and no one will bat an eyelid. But you should see the looks I get when I call myself a houseband. “Stay-at-home dad” is more acceptable, of course, but even then, the first question you’ll get is “Are you looking for a job?” Trust me, I know. I’ve heard that question hundreds of times – and not always from my mother.

It’s going to take another century, perhaps, for society to completely embrace the idea of a father staying at home, looking after his kids. After all, the custom of fathers working outside the home goes back thousands of years.

Just imagine a caveman saying to his wife: “You go kill mammoth. I stay in cave, look after baby.”

What do you think would have happened to him? Yes, he would have received a threat: “You no kill mammoth, you no get my mud pudding tonight.”

Caveman: “Me no need your nasty pudding.”

Wife: “You no kill mammoth, you no get my fire-roasted worms tonight.”

Caveman: “Me no need your nasty worms.”

Wife: “You no kill mammoth, you no pudding your little worm anywhere near me tonight.”

Caveman (grabs spear): “How many mammoths you want me kill? One or two?”







Credits: Melving Durai 
Website: http://www.nshima.com/2011/07/dad.html
(c) Copyright 2011 Melvin Durai. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit: Michael Verhoef

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Different perspectives

Today I spoke to 3/4 of my new class and started listening to them as far as what their expectations about the Sunday school is.  I patiently listened to all they had to say.  Some were up front, while others were bit shy in expressing their thoughts - they need more time to adapt and open up.

I am viewing our class as a triangle with three sides, comprising of the students, parents and myself.  All three sides need to come together in order for the class to be complete and successful.  I also spoke to the parents and collected their input; made notes of their expectations and am going to connect the dots.  

After visualizing the end-point of how this class should turn out, now I am working backwards - trying to fit in and organize each and every piece of the jig-saw puzzle, to make it complete.  We will be working as a team - there will be times of fun, times of stress, times of agreement and disagreements. In the end, we will be one happy family.  

One may think that why I am so serious about teaching a Sunday school class. What we see and what the students see are lot different.  Adults view things from one perspective and the kids will be seeing it through another set of eyes. While preparing their lessons, I need to be thinking just like a child :-)




Get the idea?

Allow the child within you to emerge and come out!!

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The pudding guy



Let me share the story of the pudding guy.

David Phillips, is a clever consumer who earned a lifetime of free air travel by taking advantage of a Healthy Choice pudding promotion. Phillips, who teaches at the University of California, Davis, calculated while grocery shopping that the value of a mail-in promotion for frequent flyer points exceeded the cost of the entree on which it is offered. In May 1999, Phillips received 1,253,000 frequent flyer miles.
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David Phillips, a civil engineer at UC-Davis, has become a cult hero in the obsessive subculture of people who collect frequent-flier miles by converting $3,150 worth of pudding into 1.2 million miles.  Oh, yeah - he's also going to claim an $815 tax write-off.

Back in 1999, Phillips was pushing his shopping cart down the frozen-food aisle of his local supermarket when a promotion on a Healthy Choice frozen entree caught his eye: He could earn 500 miles for every 10 Universal Product Codes (bar codes) from Healthy Choice products he sent to the company by Dec 31. Even better: Any Healthy Choice bar codes mailed by the end of the month would rack up double the mileage, or 1,000 miles for every 10 labels.

"I started doing the math, and I realized that this was a great deal," he said. "I wanted to take my family to Europe this summer, and this could be the way."

Frozen entrees were about $2 apiece, but a few aisles away Phillips found cans of Healthy Choice soups at 90 cents each. He filled his cart with them, and then headed to his local Grocery Outlet, a warehouse-style discount store. And there he hit the mother lode.

"They had individual servings of chocolate pudding for 25 cents apiece," he said. "And each serving had its own bar code on it. I did some more math and decided to escalate my plans."

Phillips cleaned the store out - bought every last cup of pudding in the warehouse. He then asked the manager for the addresses of all the other Grocery Outlet in the Central Valley and, with his mother-in-law riding shotgun in his van, spent a weekend scouring the shelves of every store from Davis to Fresno.

"There were 10 stores in all," he said. "Luckily, most of them were right off the freeway."

He filled his garage to the rafters with chocolate pudding and stacked additional cases in his living room. But Phillips wasn't finished yet - he had the manager of his local Grocery Outlet order him 60 more cases.

"A few days later I went out behind the store," he said, "and there were two whole pallets of chocolate pudding with my name on them."

All in all, he'd purchased 12,150 individual servings of pudding. Around this time, Phillips began to reveal his scheme to fellow of the Webflyer Web site where he posted an account under the name "Pudding Guy." Phillips' tale was met with skepticism, if not outright disbelief, until he uploaded photos of his haul.

But then Pudding Guy discovered he had a problem on his hands: The deadline for earning double miles was quickly approaching, and there was simply no way Phillips and his wife could tear off all those bar codes in time. "I had to come up with something to do with all that pudding, fast" he said. Phillips trucked the pudding to two local food banks and the Salvation Army, which agreed to tear off the bar codes in exchange for the food donation. "We'd never seen anything like it," said Larry Hostetler, community relations director for the  Sacramento Salvation Army. "We've gotten some big donations, but always from companies and institutions, not individual people."

Phillips got his bar codes in the mail in time to beat the deadline, and then held his breath. The promotion specifically said I could get the miles for any Healthy Choice product," he said. "But still, it seemed like there was a good chance they'd get me on some technicality. "But then packages — large  packages — started arriving in the mail from Healthy Choice. In all, they contained 2,506 certificates, each good for 500 miles. That's 1,253,000 miles.

Under the terms of the promotion, Phillips could have the mileage posted in any airline account. He split 216,000 between his United, Delta and Northwest accounts and posted the rest 1,037,000 miles to his American Airlines account.

By surpassing the million-mile mark, Pudding Guy now has Aadvantage Gold status for life, entitling him to a special reservations number, priority boarding, upgrades and bonus miles.

While we talked on the phone, Pudding Guy did a little math - as you might have noticed by now, he's very, very good at math - and figured out that scheme netted him enough miles for 31 round-trip coach tickets to Europe, or 42 tickets to Hawaii, or 21 tickets to Australia, or 50 tickets anywhere in the U.S.

"Wow - 31 trips to Europe for a little over $3,000," I said. "That's less than $100 a ticket."

"Oh, it's better than that," Phillips said. "Since I gave the pudding  to charity I can take a tax write-off of $815. So that brings the cost of a ticket to Europe down to $75." As it turns out, Pudding Guy didn't donate all his stash to the food banks. He kept about 100 servings for himself, and he's just about finished them. "Actually," he said, "I really like the stuff."

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Phillips' pudding story received international attention from news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The Times. The story was re-created in the 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love.

Want to know more about him and his current activities - click here.

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Source: Snopes

All nighter - definition





Credits: Imgur

It's not enough

Looking at the 11th grade syllabus spanning 35 chapters, it is going to be a  trade off between quality vs quantity. Do we even have 35 productive Sundays to dedicate one Sunday per chapter - let's wait and see the yearly calendar.

Last Sunday, it was communicated that that the first 30 minutes of the Sunday school will be devoted for general session, followed by classes lasting 45 minutes.  In reality, students need the first 10 minutes to settle down and start paying attention.  All the teacher gets is about 30 -35 minutes per Sunday to teach the prescribed course material.

I am pondering on questions like, "Why can't we have Sunday school all year long?"  "Why do we need to have a summer break for Sunday school, while the church is still functioning, when both teachers and students come together?"

Teachers build up momentum, team spirit, self-esteem, unity and connection year long and then all of a sudden we let them loose - like deflating a balloon.  Then it is the job of the next teacher to pump it up (again) and prepare students from the basics. Instead, we could have a steady flow of classes without interruption enabling everyone to go deeper on a topic rather than just scratching on the surface.

Parents see immense value in Sunday school.  To many of us, it's the mortar that holds all those individual bricks together and forms the foundation of church.

To the best of my knowledge, not every family vacations every year. I am referring to vacation as a trip to the country of origin of the parents. Only a select few can afford it financially every year. Even those who vacation every year do not spend more than 4 - 5 Sundays away during their annual break.  We should allow such vacationers time to cool off and could still have a sizable audience of teachers and students to run the Sunday school. Majority of families who take a break during summer go to nearby places lasting about 10 days.  Ultimately, most of us are present here during summer months.  

Summer months at Sunday school could be ideal for those interested in teaching to give it a shot, to get a feel for, or taste of teaching.  These months could serve as a training ground for those who want to get involved and be part of the Sunday school. Further, we could use those summer months to experiment a new idea or try out a new concept.

Apart from few benefits described above, there are numerous other factors such as psychology of children, family atmosphere, sense of belonging etc., which come into play while gathering every Sunday.

Honestly, I do not know whether anyone is even serious and interested in all these - I may be the only one worrying about these factors. Maybe it's just because I love teaching kids so much that I want to provide my students the very best.  We have all necessary resources - the Sunday school building, individual class rooms, furniture, study material and teachers. In my opinion, if we are using the building and these resources for about 50 hours a year, then it's not worth paying the huge price on mortgage. We might as well give it to someone to run a day school on weekdays and make good use of the building.

Hopefully, one day our church leaders will see the value of having an uninterrupted Sunday school system.  Hopefully our Sunday school is blessed with extremely talented, gifted and dedicated teachers who can pass on the word of God to the next generation. Hopefully there are individuals who can take up the role of teachers and role models and are willing to come forward.  Hopefully our parents see the value in bringing their kids to Sunday school every Sunday. Hopefully our children get an opportunity to be part of a true and meaningful Sunday school, which they will love to attend.

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Characters

Our class will have a character prize given to each student every month.  I am assuming that there will be Sunday school until May 2012 and here are the months broken down.

August – Responsibility 

September – Kindness & Fairness

October – Sharing

November – Honesty

December – Respect & Gentleness

January – Courage

February – Loving & Caring

March – Loyalty

April – Joyfulness 

May – Peacefulness

These are the qualities I can come up with, on my top list.  The certificate will be home delivered at the very end, which will be signed by our entire class.  


Typing fast


Louis L'Amour, novelist (1908-1988) once quoted:

One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter - who was a child at the time - asked me, "Daddy, why are you typing so fast?"

And I replied, "Because I want to see how the story turns out!"

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Credentials vs. Character


We are in a community where credentials are given 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd prize, while character is hardly appreciated. Why is good character so important? Why even bother to teach it at Sunday school? After all, students are here to learn what is in their text books, and we should focus on their credentials based on academics - right?

Sitting here at my desk, past midnight, I am already thinking about the outcome of this year's Sunday school - even before the first class has begun. This week, I will call up every student, introduce myself as their teacher/mentor and begin to get to know them better. One of them will be given a credential - 1st prize; another 2nd prize; the rest will feel like losers and move on to the next grade. The system we have in place is not an optimal one, where majority of students will neither be credited nor motivated for their contribution(s); instead, they will carry the scars from the previous class and move on.  While I cannot (or should not) try to attempt to modify any of the existing infrastructure in place (which is the job of those in leadership roles), the least I could do is take care of my own students.  It may dawn to those leaders further down the road that the system needs to be overhauled.  Here are just my thoughts and opinions.  

When we teach Sunday school, we need to spent time teaching our students about good character. It also fulfills deeper purposes. Parents feel comfortable sending their children to such an environment; children feel safe in an environment that encourages good character.

 Abraham Lincoln once quoted, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing."

We should be mentoring children how to relate what they learn at Sunday school to their practical world. While we want our children to remember what they learned at Suday school about God, we also want them to remember how to apply all the stories, parables and proverbs they learned into their real life.  What good is a future scientist, doctor, engineer, lawyer, mathematician, teacher or priest who uses his/her knowledge to create pain or heartache for others? We should aim towards our children using the knowledge we impart, to make a positive difference in the world.

This needs to be at the heart of every, single lesson we deliver each Sunday.  We need to integrate this philosophy into the way we teach, through the words we say, and through our body language.

We, Sunday school teachers, must be the leaders in this lesson. Teachers are seen almost as role models and we have an extreme pressure to be almost perfect - at least when it comes to doing “the right thing”. Being a Sunday school teacher keeps us on our toes to be punctual, show justice and fairness, behave well and maintain high expectations/standards for good character.

Haven't we all noticed those little eyes watching us?
Haven't we all looked upon our teachers when we were young?
Don't we all still remember those few teachers who created positive ripples in our lives?

As Sunday school teachers, we can teach children that people in every profession can have this high expectations /standards for good character.

Here is a comparison of credentials vs character.

Credentials are transient.
Character is permanent.

Credentials build memories about what we have done.
Character builds a legacy for others to follow.

Credentials are locked into one person.
Character is transferable.

Credentials will get us in the front door.
Character will keep us there.

Credentials tend to invoke jealousy.
Character attracts respect & stimulates others to develop character as well.

Moral : Always pick character because it commits itself to principle over personal gain, to people over things, to servant-hood over lordship, to the long-term over short-term.

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I am planning to come up with something new - a character certificate which I will frame and deliver to each students' house and personally hang it on their wall.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A short fairy tale



Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She went shopping wherever she liked, danced whenever she felt like, traveled wherever she wanted to and didn't have to call home. She always had a clean house, never had to cook, never had pointless arguments, ate lots of chocolate, watched anything she wanted on TV, had many friends, talked to her friends on the phone as long as she wanted, and didn't share her money with anyone.

She had all the hot water to herself and the whole bed too. She went to the theater, never watched sports, and never cried or yelled simply out of frustration. She read all those books by her bed and sat in the sun and drank iced tea.

She felt fabulous in sweat pants and wore them whenever she felt like, without having to dress up for anyone.

She smiled and laughed and was pleasant all the time!

And the girl lived happily forever-after.

The End.

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Hope


The path to Hope, is not far away
Look around, don’t go astray

Life is a journey, Life is short
Life is amazing, Life is comfort

Take my hand and walk with me
Life gives us clues, not the map you see

Don’t wait for better things to come
When Faith is Hope, Hope becomes

Enjoy what life brings your way
Live it now, every single day

Don’t sit and wonder, what might have been
For this alone, is a sinful sin

Take a chance on what tomorrow may be
Open your eyes and you will see

The gift of life is for me and you
Pick it up, this Hope is too

Be good to each other as each other can be
Love one another and you will see

Hope is there leading the way
To greener pastures is what they say

Hope is there, do you hear it call
It is for one, it is for all

Bad times will be a thing of the past
The Hope of salvation is there to last

Love one another as Jesus told us to do
Forgive one another as He forgives you


Monday, August 15, 2011

What makes a good friend


A British survey found that the average person will have 363 friends during their life — but only six of them will be true friends! So what makes a good friend or a true friend? Here are seven elements:

What makes a good friend is someone whom you respect and who respects you.

What makes a good friend is someone whom you can trust and who can trust you.

What makes a good friend is someone who is there when things are tough for you.

What makes a good friend is someone who will stand up for you when others are putting you down.

What makes a good friend is someone who is proud to hang with you and doesn't walk away when someone more interesting happens to show up.

What makes a good friend is someone who doesn't get mad at you easily and yet will call you on your mistakes when it is right to do so.

What makes a good friend is somone who if they know that being on time is important to you, shows up on time - all the time with no excuses ever.

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11th Grade

Ok - I am teaching Sunday school this year (again)!!  This time around, I've been assigned the 11th grade - the one and only senior batch I missed in several years of my teaching here.

After going through the text book yesterday, I found the material to be extremely boring (no surprise there) - makes me wonder why people even author text books such as this. My challenge this year is to translate this (dry) material into something meaningful, make it interesting to the kids and most importantly, present it to kids in a fashion they will remember for life. I can see myself putting in several hours (even days) of work to come up with a lesson plan. I need the help of Holy Spirit to accomplish this feat - else kids will start sleeping, if not stop coming to my class.

We are starting on a new slate; all those material we gathered and prepared for the 10th grade is gathering dust - even being eaten by termites; sad that we cannot re-use any of that stuff.  Hopefully I've managed to sow few seeds into the hearts of our prior batches.

I may be out for the next couple of Sundays and had to find someone real quick for next Sunday. When I do have to be out of the classroom - which I try to prevent at any cost, there is no greater relief than handing over my Sunday school class to a certain few substitute teachers.  The job of a substitute teacher is harder, I think, than the job of a regular Sunday school teacher. After going through the church directory (thrice), I have a list of just 2 people whom I feel comfortable turning my Sunday school classroom over to. Call me a control freak. People close to me would say that it is a manifestation of a form of professional arrogance, as if only a select few people have the capacity to fill my shoe size-13. Maybe there's a touch of that, but I like to think that it has more to do with the fact that I believe every minute of time I can offer my students is critical; so sacred that I lament any potentially lost minutes of instruction / teaching.

As far as my world goes, I will stick to my commitment as long as there is a single church in town.  If another one is born, I'll re-validate my commitment and cross that bridge at that time. After my first Sunday school meeting yesterday, I've decided - just to stay focused on my students and concentrate on their nourishment. By all means, I shall not interfere with the general direction of either the church or the Sunday school.  Let others in leadership roles pave the path and I shall just oblige to follow their path (obediently). Even if I have an opinion, I will just swallow it and think, "Is this decision pertaining to my class? How can I better my 11th grade students and be their mentor?"

Personally, I feel that I'm being moved from one class to another - maybe God has a plan and I submit myself for His plan. God knows that I am taking up this assignment with genuine interest, hope and anticipation. I truly have a duty to accomplish and am patiently waiting for the same.

In short, I look into the future with faith, hope and optimism.

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Donations


After watching sales falling off for three straight months at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Colonel calls up the Pope and asks for a favor.

The Pope says, ''What can I do?''

The Colonel says, ''I need you to change the daily prayer from, 'Give us this day our daily bread' to 'Give us this day our daily chicken'. If you do it, I'll donate 10 Million Dollars to the Vatican.''

The Pope replies, ''I am sorry. That is the Lord's prayer and I can not change the words.''

So the Colonel hangs up. After another month of dismal sales, the Colonel panics, and calls again.

''Listen your Excellency. I really need your help. I'll give you $50 million dollars if you change the words of the daily prayer from 'Give us this day our daily bread' to 'Give us this day our daily chicken.'''

And the Pope responds, ''It is very tempting, Colonel Sanders. The church could do a lot of good with that much money. It would help us support many charities. But, again, I must decline. It is the Lord's prayer, and I can't change the words.''

So the Colonel gives up again. After two more months of terrible sales the Colonel gets desperate. ''This is my final offer, your Excellency. If you change the words of the daily prayer from, 'Give us this day our daily bread' to 'Give us this day our daily chicken' I will donate $100 million to the Vatican.''

The Pope replies, ''Let me get back to you.''

So the next day, the Pope calls together all of his bishops and he says, ''I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that KFC is going to donate $100 million to the Vatican.''

The bishops rejoice at the news. Then one asks about the bad news.

The Pope replies, ''The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.''

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Like the colonel in this humor, people try to make donations to church leaders with hopes of having things their way. The message they send in itself is incorrect. Currently, there is a similar rumor floating around - about the permission to form a new church in town. I strongly believe that it's just another rumor - so does my sources say too. If (by some miracle) the rumor is true, I am really surprised and wonder: (a) What about the future of this church?  (b) What about the credibility of this bishop's words? (c) Do I infer and teach my Sunday school kids that money is the scale tipping factor in a God's temple?  While there is no authoritative source to verify the rumor, I have to wait and see if there is any meat to it. Until then, let's keep praying for the unity of this congregation.

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Are you happy?



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Sunday, August 14, 2011

College expense


A young boy goes off to college, but about 1/3 way through the semester he has foolishly squandered all the money his parents gave him. "Hmmmm," he wonders, "How am I gonna get more dough?" Then he gets an idea. He calls his father. "Dad," he says, "you won't believe the wonders that modern education are coming up with! Why, they actually have a communication program here that will teach our dog, Fido how to talk!"

"That's absolutely amazing!" his father says. "How do I get him in that program?"

"Just send him down here with $1000," the boy says, "I'll get him into the course." So, his father sends the dog and the $1000. About 2/3 way through the semester, the money runs out. The boy calls his father again.

"So how's Fido doing, son?" his father asks.

"Awesome, dad, he's talking up a storm," he says, "but you just won't believe this - they've had such good results with this program, that they've implemented a new one to teach the animals how to READ!"

"READ!?" says his father, "No kidding! What do I have to do to get him in that program?"

"Just send $2,500, I'll get him in the class." And his father sends the money. At the end of the semester, the boy has a problem. When he gets home, his father will find out that the dog can neither talk nor read. So he shoots the dog. When he gets home, his father is all excited.

"Where's Fido? I just can't wait to hear him talk and listen to him read something!"

"Dad," the boy says, "I have some grim news. This morning, when I got out of the shower, Fido was in the living room kicking back in the recliner, reading the morning paper, like he usually does. Then he turned to me and asked, 'So, is your daddy still messing with his secretary at work?' "

The father says, "I hope you SHOT that lying dog!"

"I sure did, Dad!"

"That's my boy!"

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It is hard


It is hard
To forget
To apologize
To save money
To be unselfish
To avoid mistakes
To keep out of a rut
To begin all over again
To make the best of all things
To keep your temper at all times
To think first and act afterwards
To maintain a high standard
To keep on keeping on
To shoulder blame
To be charitable
To admit error
To take advice
To forgive

But it pays!
- based on Matthew 7:1-2