THINK: Be The Light

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Don’t be afraid of change. You might lose something good. But you could gain something better.
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THINK: The Jerk Whisperer

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THINK: Be The Church

Just something I’ve been thinking about since seeing it posted by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chicago. And maybe you should think about it, too.

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Ray Bradbury dies at age 91

In Susan Yokota’s sophomore English class (she’s now a librarian) at Moanalua High School, Fahrenheit 451 ended up being one of my main go-to sources for rhetoric. Considering how much I used his words and thoughts to help craft my own expressions, Ray Bradbury’s death touches me. 

Grandson Danny Karapetian quoted The Illustrated Man in his thoughts of Bradbury’s passing in Los Angeles at 91 years old, “My tunes and numbers are here. They have filled my years, the years when I refused to die. And in order to do that I wrote, I wrote, I wrote, at noon or 3:00 a.m. So as not to be dead.”

Some of my favorite, inspiring Bradbury quotes:

  • "I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it."
  • "If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
  • If you dream the proper dreams, and share the myths with people, they will want to grow up to be like you.
  • If you don’t like what you’re doing, then don’t do it.
Wisdom for the writer:
  • Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.
  • Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
Tony MerevickChicago Phoenix editor-in-chief, shared his favorite passage from Fahrenheit 451:

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”

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If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—I call her “Mama President” just like many of her Liberian followers. Sirleaf is the President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This week, Fred Rogers’ would have celebrated his 84th Birthday.

Did you grow up watching him as I did? I often raced home after school each day, find a quick snack in the kitchen, lay my homework on the bed and turn on KHET to see Mister Rogers Neighborhood.

Mister Rogers and the trolley to the Neighborhood of Makebelieve.

Mister Rogers is more than a television presenter and producer. To me, he is one of the most important philosophers of our time. With a message that promoted love, acceptance and the struggle against the idea of “hate”—even the “little hates” that pervade our individual lives when we least expect they’d arise. Prejudice. Racism. Sexism. I would add homophobia and transphobia.

Central to his teaching, “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” Mister Rogers also said, “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

HATE GROUPS PROTESTED MISTER ROGERS’ MEMORIAL SERVICE

Mister Rogers died of stomach cancer on February 27, 2003.

His memorial service on Saturday, May 3 of that year, at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, was the scene of protest by anti-gay groups including Westboro, which decried that the television producer’s message was too open to “heathens” and “sinners.” Gay rights groups and peace activists held a counter protest, drowning hate groups’ voices by singing Mister Rogers’ songs, many of which are about acceptance.

Mental Floss (15 Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever) wrote that Mister Rogers was probably the most tolerant American to have ever existed. “Mister Rogers seems to have been almost exactly the same off-screen as he was onscreen. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, ‘God loves you just the way you are.’ Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists.”

Remember the song that goes “It’s you I like?” Like many of Mister Rogers’ songs, there’s so much more behind the words.

Mister Rogers shared, “When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

Perfect message to sing to a mob of haters, eh?

YOU ARE IMPORTANT

A major part of my own philosophy is that we are never inconsequential. Everyone we meet, even but for a small moment, we meet for a reason. I obviously brightened up when I first read that Mister Rogers believed in the same.

Mister Rogers said, “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” 

A DEEP SENSE OF WHO YOU ARE

There are some lines from Mister Rogers’ writings that can be haunting to me at a very intimate level. One I’ve been revisiting a lot lately is, “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”

I’ve recently surrounded myself with a couple of guys who have a deep sense of who they are and have turned their Neighborhoods of Makebelieve into reality. They’re reawakening some of my own dormant dreams and have become empowering figures that have led me to some of my newest projects. And praise, Mister Rogers! I like to think his writings, his memories, have helped me find some needed inspiration in a moment where I felt a little disconnected and lost.

Feeling disconnected happens a lot to me, and I suppose to a lot of you, too. Disconnect is sometimes a feeling like something has come to an end. Mister Rogers had a thought for that, too.

YOU’RE ALWAYS AT THE BEGINNING

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

So. I’m standing at the beginning.

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It is easy enough to vote right and be consistently with the majority. But it is more often more important to be ahead of the majority and this means being willing to cut the first furrow in the ground and stand alone for a while if necessary.

Late Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-Hawaii), author of Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act.

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This has been circulating through my Facebook and Google+ circles. I was going to say, “If it were only that easy.” But when you really think about it, with faith, friends and the willingness to give your whole self into some loving, sometimes it is.

This has been circulating through my Facebook and Google+ circles. I was going to say, “If it were only that easy.” But when you really think about it, with faith, friends and the willingness to give your whole self into some loving, sometimes it is.