Another Day, Another Scandal

Hillary gateAnother day and another saga in the ever-growing Hillary Clinton email scandal. Several emails which were not part of the 30,000 which Clinton “handed over” (she was actually forced to give) to the FBI have surfaced proving that she and members of her staff were conducting business for the Clinton Foundation (CF) while she worked as Secretary of State.

When Hillary Clinton accepted the job as Secretary of State, she signed a written statement that her activities at “State” would be completely separate from her connection to the CF. For years, it was rumored that Hillary doled out favors and access to foreign governments and individuals in exchange for large donations to the CF. Until now, there was no paper trail showing this to be true, but several of the emails make it clear what was happening, and many people feel this is just a drop in the bucket.Above the law

Making the situation even worse, according to their own records, only 10% of what the CF collects makes it through the system to needy people or service organizations. So who gets the 90% leftover? We will probably never know, but that’s another story for another time.

The conservative foundation Judicial Watch, a non-profit organization which “fights for accountability and integrity in law, politics and government,” sued for the right to see these emails under the Freedom of Information Act. Judicial Watch pressed the issue, and finally a federal judge ordered them released. It is clear that the Clinton Foundation (CF) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared at least two employees: Huma Abedin, Clinton’s Chief of Staff, and Cheryl Mills, former Chief of Staff to Clinton.

Judicial Watch released 725 emails this week from Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin, some of which showed the influence peddling that flowed between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. At least 85 private individuals requested and were granted meetings with Hillary after donating $157 million to the CF. One email from 2009 showed Abedin working with CF Executive Doug Band to set up a meeting for Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain with Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton essentially put the US State Department up for sale! In what the media is calling “Pay for Play,” people who wanted to effect policy or gain favors made a “donation” to the CF, and they were rewarded by the US State Department. It’s a practice similar to the Lincoln Bedroom Scandal that took place under then-President Bill Clinton. President Clinton’s guests in the Lincoln Bedroom gave a total of at least $5.4 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during 1995 and 1996, according to a study for CNN by the Campaign Study Group.

They found 24 overnight White House guests who gave $100,000 or more to the DNC. CNN’s $5.4 million figure does not include monies given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, or any state party committees.

JW uncovered the present Pay for Play set up that gives donors to the CF access and favors in exchange for the money they donate to the Foundation. As an example, a DNC operative emailed Hillary’s Deputy Chief of Staff at State Dept Huma Abedin asking her to find a job for a person whose name was scrubbed from the public record. The original request for the job came from a billionaire who was a major donor to the CF, an Arab of Lebanese descent living in Nigeria. Abedin sent a reply by email telling him she has several options to offer the unamed person.

The State Department will not name the individual nor tell whether he/she actually got the job. Nor will they answer whether the Obama administration tried to squash the investigation. Two reporters asked three or four questions which the spokesman clearly would not answer. Rather she hemmed and hawed around about things in general, most of which had nothing to do with the questions. Finally, one of the frustrated reporters asked, “Am I not speaking English here?” No matter what was asked, it was clear that she would not answer.

In addition, while working for the State Department Cheryl Mills went to New York and interviewed people for high level positions at the CF. She claims her work there was as a volunteer. Since when do volunteers get to select and hire prospects for top level positions?

At least three FBI agents requested that the Department of Justice investigate this conflict of interest and illegal situation, but Attorney General Loretta Lynch has declined saying there was not enough evidence to pursue the matter. Unlike her decision to “Follow the recommendation of the FBI, as she did in the previous email scandal, Lynch is going against their requesIdiott. How she can ignore this conflict of interest and potential for criminal charges against Clinton is beyond the pale of minimal oversight.

So far, Clinton has gotten off “Scott free,” but on Monday, she was delivered a rude reminder that her long-running woes will likely persist all the way to November — and potentially beyond. A federal judge ordered the State Department to review 14,900 documents discovered by the FBI as investigators probed Clinton’s use of a private email server during her four years at the agency, and he set a hearing date for next month about the “production” of such emails.

Advertisements
Posted in Current Events, Family, politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Republican Convention Theme:  “God Bless America”

Liberty

Yesterday evening I posted this message on my Facebook page:

If you listened to the Republican Convention speeches tonight, who do you think was best considering the content, delivery, and passion? You can give your first, second and third choices if you’d like. I’ll keep my choice a secret until I hear from a few of you.

I had several interesting replies, but before reading all the posts, I wrote down my choice for best speeches:

  1. Laura Ingram – knocked it out of the park with the content, enthusiasm, and delivery. I loved her stories about her family and how they worked hard to give her an education. She said she would work just as hard to leave her kids a better world. She also painted Hillary Clinton to look like the criminal she is. Laura would make an excellent press secretary for Trump.
  1. Newt Gingrich – He made the case for Donald J. Trump and against Hillary Clinton for keeping America safe. His delivery was strong, to the point, and he didn’t stop and wait for applause, but kept it moving. His knowledge and experience would make him a good Secretary of State.
  1. Eric Trump – Amazing speech for his age and experience. The same was true of Donald Jr. the previous night. And I expect Ivanka Trump to be just as effective. I didn’t hear Tiffany Trump’s speech, but everyone of Trumps’ kids make him look good.

Even though the Trump siblings are privileged (spelled RICH), they are not spoiled. They are poised, articulate, and gracious to one another and to other people. They have experienced at least two family divorces, but they seem to be very well-grounded, loving, and united as a family.  As far as I know, there has never been a bad publicity about any of them.

We know they have speech writers, but they can think on their feet as well. They are interviewed by the press and always answer respectfully and thoughtfully. Ivanka was asked yesterday about her father’s choice of Mike Pence for VP, whether it was a matter of demographic expediency. She said, “My father doesn’t think in terms of demographics. He thinks about the individual:  Does he have passion and drive? Is he knowledgeable? Does he have energy? Does he have a vision?”

What a great answer! She also told about following her father “on the job” as he dealt with workers and saw that he expects each individual to perform. That’s where the work ethic was displayed for his kids, and apparently they were not given positions until they learned and earned it.

I’ve never been a Trump fan, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be voting for him. Anything to keep “Crooked Hillary” out of the White House. I am sure Trump’s rough persona in public has been shaped by dealing with people from all walks of life, from the construction workers to heads of state. He isn’t always kind, politically correct, or a smooth talker, but he is intelligent, fearless, and direct. We need someone who doesn’t fear his peers, whether they are in Washington, Tehran, or Moscow.

A matter of who gave the worst speech last night? I think it was Ted Cruz, who came across as a sore loser and missed a great opportunity to raise his own image in the eyes of voters. He promised to support whoever was the GOP candidate, but his speech was generic and looooooong!

I was a Cruz supporter, and voted for him in the primary. I heard a lot of negative stuff, but I didn’t hear anything verified, so I never really turned away from him. The media make up so much stuff, it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t.

But I was very disappointed in his speech tonight. What he said about the party standing for freedom was good, but it’s what he didn’t say that bothered me. He never endorsed the candidate, and went 13 minutes over his allotted time pushing Mike Pence’s speech into the 10 o’clock hour. So disrespectful!

Ironically, Trump heard Cruz’ speech before the convention and knew he wasn’t going to endorse him, but let him speak anyhow. Very wise, I think, because Cruz had a lot of supporters there, and it would have given them more fuel for feeling they were marginalized.

So Trump gave Cruz an opportunity, and he blew it. Too bad for him, but good for Trump. That move will not sit well with voters in 2020. If he and the other GOP candidates (Kasich, Graham, Jeb Bush) can’t put aside their egos and support Trump, they don’t care as much for America as they do for themselves and their political careers.

All in all, I’ve been very pleased with the tone and speeches of the convention.  Most every speaker referenced their support for the police, the Constitution, free market capitalism, small government, and their pro-life stance. They emphasized that we are “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  I daresay the Democratic convention will mention God, unless it is to boo Him, as they did four years ago.

I’m a registered Republican, have been all my voting life, and probably will not change. I’ve been very disappointed with this year’s election results, and my candidate didn’t make it. But I still believe in our political process, flawed as it is, because the alternative is what we see in so many other nations – bloody coups, violent overthrows, or dictators who kill anyone who threatens their position and power. Along with Irving Berlin, I say:

God bless America, land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, bright with foam.

God bless America, my home, sweet home!

GOP

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Storm is Brewing!

We’ve lived in Oklahoma for 39½ years, and our residence has never been hit by a tornado. I say that with all humility and thankfulness to God, because there are so many who have lost everything in such storms. On May 31, 2013, a devastating tornado wiped a huge part of Moore, OK, off the map. We have a rental house in Moore directly across I-35 from the Warren Theater and Moore Hospital. The house lost its roof and was almost totaled, but we were not living there at the time. Thankfully, our renters went to a shelter nearby and were unhurt. These pictures show a little of before and after the storm condition.

It so happens that I posted our experience that evening on Facebook, and it came up in my memories today, so I decided to share it. I must add that we had no idea at the time how bad things were elsewhere until the next day since power, phone lines, and most forms of communication are sometimes among the casualties. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be expecting a tornado to hit, read my account of three years ago today.  It’s long, but it will give you an idea of the emotional roller coaster that’s a part of the impending storm. Here is my account posted that night, May 30, 2013:

We’ve had a wild day and evening, but are safe and sound…thank you, Lord.

3:00 Started watching storm coverage and sending msgs to family members to warn them
5:20 Friends from Woodward, OK, were in OKC for seminar and called from their hotel on the west side of OKC. They are coming over to get out of the storm’s path
6:00 Friends called saying they were close by, but stuck in traffic
6:10 Scott & Lancia called saying they were coming down to get out of the storm’s path – they live about ten miles north of us
6:25 Friends from Woodward arrived
6:30 Ordered three large pizzas, started baking cookies and brownies, made tea, and put out soft drinks, paper plates and cups

6:45 Cookies done
7:00 Lancia’s family arrived
7:10 Marci called saying she, Adam and a friend were coming over. Her friend had to leave work and head south, so she came to Marci’s.
7:15 Pizza delivery arrived
7:20 Everyone started eating
7:25 Family of four arrived, two from Iowa, and their daughter who lives here. Darcy was supposed to babysit for him, so they all came here. We knew none of them.
7:30 Marci, Adam, and her friend Lisa arrived
8:00 Everyone finished eating
8:15 High winds and swirling clouds, along with TV news convinced us the storm was almost here, and nine people went to two neighbor’s storm shelters
8:25 Lights started flickering and TV went off – we had torrents of rain and swirling wind, so the rest of us got couch cushions and throw pillows and went into the two inner bathrooms
8:30 Tornado passed over Norman, according to the reports on Jim’s Iphone, so we came out into the house. Sent msgs to those in the shelter to stay put because it looked like a hurricane outside. Sent messages to out-of-town relatives and friends that we’re okay.
8:40 Some of those in shelters came home and toweled off.
9:00 Everyone back in the house dripping wet!
9:15 Everyone leaving in their cars, but there is still lots of rain, hail, and flooding.
9:20 Cleaning up the kitchen and rearranging the house.
9:30 Our Woodward friends have decided to spend the night since road conditions are so bad.
9:40 Posted notes on Facebook and checked on our church family.
10:30 Saw lots of things on TV that make us thankful to be here and safe. I began checking
11:00 Everyone is worn out and getting ready for bed.
11:30 Signing off for the night

Thank you EVERYONE for your prayers, and THANK GOD for our safety.

 

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, but remember, we were the lucky ones! Seven lost their lives and hundreds lost their homes. We have been blessed, indeed!  When you hear accounts of tornadoes, take a moment to pray, even if you don’t know someone in the area of the storm. Most likely, they will not have the relatively pleasant outcome we had in this one.

Posted in Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honor Thy Mother

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mother at age 14

 

She was married at age 15, had her first child just shy of her 17th birthday, and moved away from both families to another state at age 18. In their new location, she and her husband worked together, building a home for their 15 children, and building a life together. She sewed curtains and made slip covers. She painted walls and scrubbed linoleum flooring.

They planted a garden, raised and butchered chickens, gathered eggs, milked cows, kept bees, planted grapevines, berry patches and fruit trees, and canned the fruits and vegetables to keep the family table spread with good nourishing food. She was an excellent cook and fed us full meals. We could never afford to eat at a restaurant because there were too many of us. There were no fast food places, and cake mixes were about the only prepared items she bought. Everything else she made from scratch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Daddy and Mother with their first four children and one on the way in 1940

She sewed shirts and dresses from muslin feed sacks that were decorated with flowers or other designs. She brushed and combed hair, ironed clothes, and shined shoes for her little ones. She scrubbed on a board, bleached, blued, ironed and starched to keep the whites looking clean and fresh. Later she would have a wringer washer in the basement, and a clothesline in the yard to keep the family in clean clothes. Her first automatic washer and dryer came as her last child was just getting out of diapers.

As a mother, she taught her children to work, sing, play games, quote nursery rhymes and poems, and pray. She even stopped her work long enough to play with us at times. She and Daddy made us a horseshoe pit, bought us a bat and ball, a badminton set, and a couple of bicycles and sleds to share. At night we played board games, pick-up sticks, jacks, worked puzzles, or listened to stories on the radio before there was television. Each evening before bed, she and Daddy gathered everyone to the living room where we knelt around the sofa and chairs and had family prayer.

She never learned to drive. With a new baby coming along every two years or so, there was little reason for her to do so. She never complained about her lot in life, although an outing for her was as simple as a day in town shopping and buying groceries to supplement what they raised. Occasionally she treated herself to lunch in the café while shopping or by having her hair done in the beauty shop. She made most of our clothing, but we got a new outfit and shoes at Easter and Christmas. No doubt she sacrificed having new things for herself more often than not. When I married, she made my veil and prepared flowers for the wedding.

13

Daddy, Mother, me, Jim, Jim’s Mom

Holidays were her favorite times, and she made them special, decorating a tree, buying Christmas gifts all through the year when they went on sale, and hiding them from curious kids. Easter and Thanksgiving were also special because of the turkey and dressing, pumpkin pies, and the Easter baskets filled with eggs and candy.

Her life was spent making meals, raising kids, and supporting her husband. She was a pastor’s wife and a true servant to her family, her neighbors, and anyone who asked a favor or needed a helping hand. She loved people and invited many into her home, though the table was already full, and the beds taken. Several people made our home theirs for weeks, months, and for some even years at a time. She never turned anyone away who asked for her help.

She played the guitar and sang alto, and we sang as a family in church regularly. In her later years, with no little ones, she happily served the church in various functions that she had no time for earlier. She loved the Lord and loved people, and seemed to be the happiest when she was surrounded by children, whether they were church kids, neighbor kids, or grandkids. Children often frequented her table, and she seemed to be able to whip up a meal in 30 minutes for a houseful of people. She continued to keep her home filled with books, toys, music and all the things grandkids loved.

11

Daddy and Mother and the first eight children. I’m the baby on her lap.

These are the things she DID, but they do not tell enough of who she WAS. She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She was keenly intuitive about people and their feelings. She was an optimist and looked for the best in people. She loved to read, loved stories on the radio and TV, and loved to sing. She had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed laughing and spending time with several close friends. She loved to cook and eat, and loved to feed people who loved to eat.

Her body gave out early after years of investing her life in birthing and raising children. She died at age 73, but she lived every day to the fullest during her time on earth. She always looked forward to what was coming next, never spending time fretting over what was past.

On this Mother’s Day weekend, I want to honor her. Today, May 7, is her birthday, the 99th anniversary of her birth in 1917. I can’t think of anyone who was more loving and giving than my Mother. I cannot wait to see her again in Heaven, wrap my arms around her, and tell her how much I love her and appreciate all she did for me and others.

Posted in Family, Sacrifice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grand Old Party…No More

Back in 2012 during the election campaign, I wrote a piece about Democrat Joe Biden’s bizarre behavior during the televised Vice Presidential Debate as he and Republican candidate Senator Paul Ryan made their worldwide television appearance.Not laughing

Biden was like a court jester from the Middle Ages whose behavior bordered on psychotic as he smiled and joked about such topics as millions of people without jobs and the four Americans assassinated at our embassy in Benghazi.  ABC News Online said, “Big Bird has a new replacement, and his name is Laughing Joe.” about Biden’s ridiculous performance four years ago.

On the Fox News channel, a stunned Chris Wallace said Biden’s behavior was “unprecedented” and called his 82 interruptions and his attitude towards Republican opponent Paul Ryan “openly contemptuous.”

Joker

Wallace continued, “I think I have watched almost every presidential and vice presidential debate since the first four Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960, and thinking back, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight.

I myself was shocked that anyone who wished to be taken seriously could demonstrate such outrageous behavior. “Thank God I’m not a Democrat!” I reflected.  Fast forward to 2016, and we’ve just witnessed a repeat performance by two Republican candidates – Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. As of this weekend, I am officially ashamed to identify myself as a Republican due to the unprecedented juvenile behavior of both candidates who rank among the top three with voters.

As if these two weren’t bad enough, another one-time GOP candidate who has dropped out of the race made a maniacal statement at the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner on Friday. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who hates Ted Cruz because he won’t bow down to party leaders, said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”  

At the same dinner, Graham said, “Our Party has gone batsh_ _ crazy!”

Rick Perry

As if to prove his point about the Party going crazy, Lindsey Graham jokes about killing Ted Cruz on the Senate floor. 

Graham told his Democratic colleagues that they aren’t his enemy. “We have a lot in common. We just don’t realize it.” I guess he must be referring to the fact that both parties have members who are Looney-Tunes!

Graham did say one thing I can agree with:  “You can’t nominate a nut job and lose, and expect it doesn’t have consequences.”

Hearing these three guys speak this way publicly is just so embarrassing to any Republican who wants to be considered a serious voter. Trump’s style has always been to brag, bully, insult, belittle, and intimidate in an effort to neutralize his opponents. I guess Rubio has now decided that any publicity must be good publicity and has joined Trump’s playground tactics.

Rubio Trump

Rubio and Trump exchange insults at the recent Republican Debate.

Trump tweeted out his insults calling Rubio, “Little Marco,“low life,” and “lightweight.” He brags to his adoring audience that Rubio “…couldn’t be elected dogcatcher, and jokes about his gulping water, having a “sweat mustache,” wearing make-up, and having big ears.

In return, Rubio entertains his college-aged pep rally by repeating the insults and trying to one-up Trump with remarks about his frequent misspellings in the tweets. He called Trump a “con-artist” who was hijacking the Republican Party, and ridiculed his spray tan, comb-over hairstyle, and small hands. He said, “He doesn’t sweat cause his pores are clogged from the spray tan that he uses. Donald is not going to make America great. He’s going to make America orange!” prompting laughter from the audience.

Today Britt Hume, one of the most highly-respected journalists in television news, recalled Chris Christie’s debate attack on Rubio for missing Senate voting and subsequently Christie found himself out of the race. Hume said, “It’s hard to berate an opponent and still come off looking good yourself.” Of the current campaign rhetoric and shenanigans, he said, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”

Well, neither have I, and I’m sick of these stupid, irresponsible men pretending they are mature representatives of Republican voters and are fit to lead our country. I wouldn’t trust them to be dogcatcher, much less President of the United States, and I’m embarrassed to be associated with such infantile behavior.

Can you imagine what people in other countries think? They must assume all Americans are nuts if these are the best candidates we can put up and actually see 30% or more of us vote for them.

In addition to the tarnished image these Republicans portray to the world, what do they think Democrats are going to do with such craziness? Of course, they will exploit it! We’ve just given them excellent material to use against us in the general election in November. As bad a choice as either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be, neither has publicly made a fool of himself/herself during this political race. Though neither is a worthy leader, they do publicly conduct themselves as adults and make some of our candidates look like fools by comparison. And we begin to look like fools for voting for them.

I have long since left the left-wing establishment of the Republican Party, or rather it has left me. When Republicans began adopting the Democratic platform of  big government, runaway spending, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage, it moved WAY left of me. I have been a proponent of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, the conservative faction of the GOP which was formed as a protest to our exploding Federal Government, a runaway national debt, and ever-increasing taxes. We (the TEA Party) have been ridiculed and called almost every ugly name imaginable, not only by Democrats, but even by some of our own Republican leaders.

I have continued to stay registered as a Republican ONLY because of local politics, and because I want a vote in the Primary Elections which you do not have without an affiliation with one of the two major parties. But I now find myself questioning whether there is even any value left in that. I cannot abide being associated with the likes of Trump, Rubio, and Lindsey Graham.

This weekend’s idiotic display by these three men was a classic example of Proverbs 29:9, “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” (ESV)

GOP

Alas, the GOP (Grand Old Party) is no more! She has lost her dignity and the nickname no longer fits.

Thankfully, there are still sensible factions, and we still have three candidates who are able to rise above this childishness and discuss issues that matter: Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, and Governor John Kasich. I hope and pray American voters do not reward the misbehavior of the others with their votes.

I cannot believe any thinking person would willingly hand the reins of America over to such fools…either of them.

Posted in Current Events, politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Freedom is Never Free

VetsDayIn 1950, just a few years after World War II ended, our country went to war again. But they didn’t call it war. The Korean Conflict, as it was known then, was the result of Communist North Korea invading South Korea with 75,000 troops in June 1950. The country was divided into two after the war to keep peace with the Soviets, and was a symbol of the conflict between good and evil. Unprepared to deal with such overwhelming force, South Korea requested help from the Allies.

Though fighting another war was the last thing America wanted to do after losing so many of our troops in WW II, our leaders stepped up and led the fight against Communist dictators. President Harry Truman said, “If we let Korea down, the Soviets will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.”

Star Spangled Banner

The US sent troops in July 1950, among them was my Uncle Ray Steele. Another was my next-door neighbor in Crab Orchard, West Virginia, Donald Trent. By November 1950 Donald Trent was missing-in-action (MIA) and for more than 50 years, no one knew his fate.

In 2007, the Boston Herald reported that the remains of two American soldiers had been recovered in Korea in 2000 and were identified through dental records and DNA testing. Donald Trent’s remains were finally back in America, 50 years after his death. In October 2007, my sister and brother-in-law Nancy and Ed Cook met Donald’s siblings Reginald and Willis Mae Trent and attended the burial ceremony in Arlington Cemetery. Before her mother died, Willis Mae had promised that she would never give up the search to find her brother.

Uncle Ray returned from Korea, and went on to serve in Vietnam, and various other places. He later became a Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs in the Pentagon. In 1972, during a visit to the US by King Hussein of Jordan, Uncle Ray’s body was found in his car. Most likely, he was assassinated, though it was staged to look as though he had suffered a heart attack.

My niece Tania Combs Ferreira at the grave of our Uncle Raymond Steele, Lt Colonel USMC

My niece Tania Combs Ferreira at the grave of our uncle   Lt Col Raymond B Steele, USMC

These two men and their families are examples of the great sacrifices made by thousands of families to ensure freedom around the world. Freedom is never free! Thank you, veterans, for your sacrifice and years devoted to ensuring freedom.

To quote President Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Posted in Current Events, Family, Sacrifice | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will you Read to me?

March 4, 2015 is World Read Aloud Day. Join others in this effort

            March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day.            Join others in this important activity.   

We often hear this question when our children are young. But when is the last time you read aloud to someone?

Well, that’s too long! March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day.

When I was in grade school, our teacher had us to lay our heads on our desks and listen as she read a story aloud to us. We were learning to read ourselves, but only in early primers like the Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot books that used repetition to instill the words in our minds. So when the teacher read us a real story, a chapter per day,  it was a delight.

I have ALWAYS loved reading. And I believe that’s the result of hearing my teachers read, as well as seeing my parents read. We didn’t have a TV until I was almost 10, so we read or listened to the radio, which may be why I so enjoyed hearing the teacher read. I remember having lots of books and magazines in our home and seeing my parents read. They raised 14 children, so they worked hard and were very busy. Still, both my Dad and Mother read every evening.

teacher reading k4In my humble opinion, those who don’t read are missing one of the most important and enjoyable activities of life. What’s more, they may be depriving their children of a most useful tool for success in the future.

If the saying, “You are what you eat” is true of the physical body, then “You are what you read” should be said of the mind and heart. The things we take into our hearts and minds eventually come out in the form of words and actions. Our thoughts determine the course of our lives. I’ve heard it explained this way:

Sew a thought, and reap an action.

Sew an action, and reap a habit.

Sew a habit, and reap a lifestyle.

Sew a lifestyle, and reap a destiny.

When we read a good book, we are changed. Oh, we may forget most of the story details, but not the underlying truths and principles. It is very likely that everything we read leaves an impression upon our brain and our soul. We are changed without even being aware of it. We become happier, stronger, freer, better informed, more challenged, more tolerant, more enlightened, more curious, more innovative, more dependable, more grateful, or more determined. Conversely, if we read negative things, we fill our minds with thoughts that are detrimental to us. So it is important to find and read good books.

Mom reading

If you have young children, you must not miss the opportunity to instill in them a love of reading, a gift that keeps on giving for a lifetime. The very best way to do this is to read aloud to them. Begin reading stories with colorful pictures that catch the eye and capture the imagination.

Another way to instill that love of reading is to make sure they learn how to read well. If they struggle reading the books on their grade level, ask your local librarian or the school for help and/or tutoring. I am partial to the phonics method of learning to read, but whatever works best for your child is what’s important.

Make sure you always provide reading materials appropriate for the child’s age. Even very young babies love to hear you read as they see pictures and grasp the meaning of words. And it’s not just entertainment, it is also a bonding experience. In addition, hearing you read aloud produces synapses (connections in the brain) which give them the capacity to develop a larger vocabulary and better language skills.  Child development specialists have determined that the environment of a child’s earliest years have lasting effects that span a lifetime.

child reading

The good news is that every social and economic class in America has access to excellent reading materials through our public libraries. Reading gives us all the opportunity to fill our minds with wonderful ideas and exciting vicarious adventures. Once a child learns and becomes comfortable reading, you won’t have to encourage him. He or she will want to read.

older man readingBut reading aloud isn’t just for kids. In our ever-changing world, we can and should be lifelong learners. When our children were old enough to read on their own, we still read to them from the Bible, from Emily Post’s books of etiquette, and other types of informational books. I often read aloud to my husband today as we travel in the car. It not only allows him to fill boring hours while driving, but it gives us an opportunity to share information or enjoy a story together.

Don’t sit idle and let the world pass you by. Indulge your dreams by reading great works by gifted writers whose gift to the world is yours for the taking. And, if you have the opportunity to read aloud to a grandchild, an aging parent, or someone who lives alone, so much the better.

Posted in Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment