Thursday, May 28, 2009
By Mark Earley
Not Just Another Romance
This month’s Great Books Audio CD with Dr. Ken Boa is about one of the most popular books of our era—even though it was published nearly 200 years ago.
As Ken says, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is an “enduring classic of romantic comedy.” “Enduring” is almost an understatement. Austen’s work, always well loved, has exploded in popularity in recent years—with the help of film and TV adaptations and even updates and spinoffs. And Pride and Prejudice is by far the most popular of all.
Ken explores the reason for that popularity, and finds plenty to celebrate. Austen, he says, shows “incredible wit and moral insight” in this “novel of the mind and of the heart.” Even within her relatively narrow field of experience, she was a highly skilled observer of the human condition. Her work provides “rich social commentary” that still rings true today, along with “subversive satire and elevation of the status of women.”
Ken traces Jane Austen’s remarkable depth of insight to her Christian faith. As her brother wrote, Austen “was thoroughly religious and devout.” Yet, as one critic said, her faith was “not forced upon the reader.” Yet it certainly helped to give her a deep understanding of both the faults and virtues of human nature, as well as a concern for showing the importance of character growth in her work.
(As some of you may recall, my former colleague Lori Smith has written extensively about Austen’s faith and morality in her book A Walk with Jane Austen, which I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it.)
Pride and Prejudice, as you may know, is the love story of two intelligent people who nonetheless start by completely misunderstanding each other. Austen excels at helping us identify with the viewpoint of Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine. We see through Elizabeth’s eyes, experience her mistakes along with her, and, as Ken says, we “go through the same learning curve that she undergoes.” So by the end of the novel, we too have learned something about snap judgments, first impressions, complacency, and cynicism.
All these qualities in Austen’s work add up to make Pride and Prejudice something far beyond a conventional romantic novel. And I think it’s telling that Austen’s work is so incredibly popular in an era that lacks so many of the beliefs, values, and manners that she held dear.
It’s ironic that while a society like ours may love Austen’s work, it’s not always willing to change to reflect her principles.
It was true in Austen’s own time, and it’s doubly true in ours. But no matter how far short our society falls of the Christian ideal, something in us hungers to read about people of character and virtue—about what Ken Boa calls “the need for recognition and reconciliation between the conflicting claims of the individual and the culture as a whole.”
Above all, it is this reflection of timeless ideals and standards that makes Pride and Prejudice truly enduring—and a great choice for this month’s installment of Ken Boa’s Great Books Audio CD Series.
With summer coming up, hopefully you’ll have some time on your hands. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Here she is at the shallow part of the pool where she's waving her hands like she just don't care.
THE END. Or until the next Birthday, graduation and/or holiday or just because party.
Here's John with Sofia at the Welcome sign.
Sofia was not too happy or excited with the elephant. She couldn't take her eyes off him, but didn't want to get close either. It was funny to watch.
Sofia is just too little to do anything at the fair. So, she could only watch kids having fun. We think next year she will be able to get in some rides.
This dude is tall. VERY TALL. well, maybe for me, because I'm short. But he looks mean too. But if you place a tip on him he will take a picture with you, but he won't smile.
Here's Sofia. I couldn't sit at this chair, my pregnant belly wouldn't let me.
The End. However, I would like to add that after attending this place several times in the past, I have NEVER noticed there were kids rides and stuff for them to do until now. I guess you really have to be a parent to notice stuff like this. -Sandra.
Here's Sofia as a UT Cheerleader. Everyone loved her outfit.
Here we are waiting to get in. This is becoming Sofia's favorite position.
Here's my sister Medith with her daughter. She's a true Proud Texas Mom!
Here we are. Sofia was cut off from the pic. I blame my brother.After this we all took off for a beautiful sitdown dinner at this really nice restaurant by the Hills. Yep, I finally saw the famous Austin hills everyone has talked to me about for years. They were beautiful, never in a million years, I would have imagined to see something like that in Texas. After dinner, we drove back home. We got home about 12:30midnight. We were so tired but the trip was worth my pregnant back pain!
By Chuck Colson
The Fruits of Overdeveloped Self-Esteem
A recent report on MSNBC suggested that parents’ pre-occupation with their kids’ self-esteem may have produced “rude” children who lack compassion for others.
According to MSNBC, “many experts say today’s kids are ruder than ever.” The word “rude” encompasses a variety of behaviors, from selfishness to deliberate malice. In one example, a pre-schooler deliberately tripped a woman in a crowded restaurant and then bragged to her mother about it. In another, a child continuously insults his mother in front of his mortified grandmother. In both cases, the parent neither says nor does anything.
Apparently, these aren’t isolated instances. A 2005 Yale University study found that “preschool students are expelled at a rate more than three times that of children in grades K-12 because of behavioral problems.”
It isn’t only preschoolers. The media has documented the behavior in the workplace of those born between 1980 and 1996. Words used to describe the behavior of the so-called “Generation Y” include “self-centered” and “arrogant.” As one management professor put it, “They don’t know when to shut up.” And having grown up questioning their parents, they now question their bosses.
Whether or not today’s kids are actually “ruder than ever,” the article and others like it reflect the sense that something has gone wrong in the way we raise our children. Specifically, it has to do with “popular parenting movements focusing on self-esteem.”
These movements produce parents who “[respond] with hostility to anyone they perceive as getting in the child’s way.” By “getting in the child’s way,” they mean doing anything that might make the child feel less-than-wonderful about him or herself—in the classroom, among their peers, or on the playing field.
So today we have a generation of children who believe that the world revolves around them and that they are entitled to feel good about themselves.
Expecting children raised this way to be compassionate or even polite betrays a profound ignorance of human nature—the same ignorance that led to the “popular parenting movements” that created the mess in the first place.
These movements were inspired by the ideas of Romantic Enlightenment thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau. According to Rousseau, “There is no original perversity in the human heart.” So, he says, “when children’s wills are not spoiled by our fault, children [desire] nothing uselessly.” So parents and teachers should strive to produce children who are “authentic, self-sufficient, and autonomous.”
According to E.D. Hirsch, this Romantic ideal that “each person has a natural and uniquely divine spark, which, if nurtured, cannot go wrong,” is behind the emphasis on self-esteem. The problem, as Hirsch points out, is that there is no proven connection between high self-esteem and actual achievement.
In other words, feeling good about yourself isn’t enough to make you good. You have to be taught right from wrong and made to feel bad when you deserve it. As the Scripture says, true parental devotion includes the willingness to correct our children.
The alternative isn’t “authenticity”—it’s spoiling their wills in the worst possible way.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
One of her favorite toys. She knows where to push to make it sing. Which is great for us because we get to sing along and memorize the song after she hits the button like 15 times! John already knows the Spanish part.
What a life!
Below is my Auntie Connie!
Below my Auntie Mari.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Uncle David and Sofia.
My mom and my sis.
David and Yesenia.
The Future Graduate!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
I love this picture of us. Thank you Vanessa and Javier for being our unofficial photographers!
Here's Msgr. Don. We love our priest! He's so full of the Spirit!
There were 3 other couples also celebrating their child's baptism. Sofia was the biggest baby that day.
Here we are at the holy water fountain waiting for Msgr. Don to start. Besides John is Wendy and James Maloney, Sofia's godparents!