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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  EDUCATIONAL
 
Small word, big problem
 
  By William Grimm  
  PEOPLE who have studied English as a second language tell me that three of the biggest challenges they encount  
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  COUNSELING  
     
 
   
Career choice: You and your child
  By Shaheen Chander  
  CREATIVITY in any form reflects the creator's state of mind. It is even reflected in a piece of clay that moves aimlessly on a potter's wheel before taking the shape of pottery.

Recently, during a visit to an art gallery, I came across a beautiful piece of work -- a canvas depicting the creator's concern for people with suppressed wishes and desires. It showed three human figures draped tightly in dull clothes as if trying to break free from the bondage of suppression.

Unlike other colourful images occupying the room, this piece of art was hanging in one corner, the dim lights further adding more to its agonizing effect. It was a perfect arrangement for something not so perfect. Yes! It showed the agony of people bound by fate, people whose wishes are controlled by others and who have to suffer silently.

This was just a canvas but when it comes to real life, especially our own children, it can be even more painful. Have you ever wondered how as parents we sometimes tend to over-indulge ourselves and suppress our children's desires just for gratifying our own wishes?

Over-indulgence of parents

The over-indulgence of parents can be in any sphere of a child's life -- academic, relationships, other activities of interests etc. This results in a kind of parenting whereby we suppress the child's preferences and try to maintain our own supremacy.

This kind of dominance on the part of parents is more prevalent in the academic sphere, whereby, the students at times surrender to the wishes of their parents. Here a career ends even before it has started.

The child who may be good at something else may succumb to the psychologically invalid, yet practically valid, parental desires. The ascendancy generally becomes apparent when you are planning a career for your child. Choice of subjects is of major concern for the parents when the child reaches higher classes.

This generally causes stress for both the child and the parents. Sometimes, your child might find interest in creative activities -- something he may find soothing but as parents we might simply label it as wastage of time and an inappropriate career choice. Such small, yet significant, issues often leave the child suppressed and demoralised.

Understand your child

As parents, your anxieties concerning your child's career choice are understandable. You would certainly like your child to excel and secure a financially sound and socially recognized career. But have you ever thought of the consequences that your demands may lead to?

If the child is forced to do something beyond his interest and capability, it is only going to lead to emotional disruption and a distressed career move. The child might surrender to these pressures and suffer silently. One should always remember that each child is special in one way or the other. Maybe your child is not good at memorizing equations or derivations and reproducing them on a piece of paper, yet he/she may view things in a way far beyond your imagination.

Help your child make a wise choice

Remember this is a crucial phase of your child's academic life. The kind of career a child opts for should be a good blend of his/her preferences as well as your support and guidance. A child's interest and abilities should be the deciding factors when it comes to choosing a career.

Help your child analyze what he/she is really good at. This is not the time to force, rather it is the time to be the guiding force, the ultimate support to your child. The child may not necessarily take a very wise decision but now it is up to the parents to convince the child in a proper way. Discuss the issue openly and patiently with the child.

Since the choices made at this stage are critical, the child may be perplexed and indecisive and may even be edgy. As parents we can foresee things that our children generally ignore. He/she might prefer to choose a career solely on the basis of interest or out of peer pressure.

Do not criticize his/ her view but tactfully and gently help the child weigh the pros and cons of the choice made by him. Put forth all the positives and negatives of his choice and then let him decide. You will see how, step by step, with your help the child would come to something productive, practical and interesting.

Decisions concerning a child's career have to be made with the consent of the child in the light of parental guidance and encouragement. Let's make career choice an enjoyable and stress-free experience for our children.

A.J. Philip adds:
I know a boy who was exceptionally bright. After his plus two, he wanted to do an arts course. But his parents insisted that he go in for medicine. He was forced to appear for various entrance examinations and he passed all of them. He took admission in a premier medical college in the country. But he could not concentrate on his studies. By the time the parents realized that their son was not doing well, he had become a mental wreck, a condition from which he is yet to recover, even after a decade.
 
   
   
"Victims" of Tiger Woods
  By Jennifer Hartline  
  Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)


ONE of the women Tiger Woods had an affair with has retained an attorney. I watched this attorney on TV explaining profusely why this poor woman was so victimized by Tiger, how much damage he did to her life and her career, and why Tiger must own up to his wrongful treatment of her and offer a very humble apology. Only then can talk of monetary damages proceed.

It was the victim routine again. "The Victim" should be a Broadway production by now. Everyone is a victim nowadays, but I find it especially irksome when women play the victim-card for themselves or each other, as the liberal feminist attorney did for her client. It's always the big, bad man being mean to the poor little woman. And then she cries, "How could you treat me this way?" I'll tell you how -- you let him.

Ladies, I'm going to do you one better than your liberal feminists sisters will do and tell you that freedom isn't free. It costs something and requires conscious effort to protect. And the responsibility is yours. Stop blaming men for treating you badly and kick up some dust on your way out.

Here's the thing: the empowerment you seek, the freedom you crave -- it's all in your mind -- literally. It's in the decisions you make, the choices you purposely choose and the exercise of your will. It is forfeited in the careless choices you make and the bad decisions you won't turn from. It is lost in the mistakes you refuse to learn from and correct. It is restored when you decide to stop playing the victim and become the woman of integrity God made you to be.

It's all up to you. It always has been. Are there men who treat women terribly? Absolutely, and I'm not releasing those men from their guilt. But why is it that here in Land of the Free there are so many women -- bright, educated, accomplished women -- who allow it? They would rather cry victim, suffer terribly and unnecessarily at the hands of a complete jerk than use their heads, make a truly empowered decision and walk away. Somehow it's better to seek revenge in a courtroom after the fact than to use the power of their minds and stay out of trouble in the first place.

It really is all in your mind and your will. It isn't easy, but so what? Isn't your life, your freedom, your prosperity, your health, your body, your heart worth some hard choices? Who's calling the shots anyway? You are.

I learned that lesson the hard way. Before I met my husband, I dated a man who was very charming and extravagant. Gary was quite successful at his job and had a fancy car and loved to dine at restaurants all the time. He brought me flowers unexpectedly, and would shower me with love notes and surprises. He was very romantic and I found it all quite irresistible. He was also a very troubled man, having grown up in a profoundly abusive home. Under the surface, he seethed with rage, and when it bubbled up, it was frightening. He would become verbally abusive, demeaning, cruel, and he would lose all control of his temper. He did not physically strike me, but he would delight in beating me emotionally.

Those scary scenes were always followed by great remorse and affection, and thus our relationship went on like this for nearly two years. He shared with me the horrific stories of the abuse he endured as a child, and my heart broke with compassion and love for this wounded man. We'd pray together for healing, and even went together to seek counseling for his rage. I thought that because I loved him, I could and should help him get well. I saw all his good qualities -- there were many -- and thought how unfair it was that this man was basically ruined by his cruel parents.

Someone needed to stand by him, and it was going to be me. Yet, my own heart was never comfortable with the thought of spending my life with him, and fear gnawed at me constantly. In my soul, I knew the relationship was wrong for me, but I was in love with him and I didn't want to abandon him.

The blow-ups of rage became more frequent, our fights became more intense, and I was disintegrating into a victim mindset. I thought I'd be heartbroken for life without him, yet my soul was telling me I'd be a battered woman for life if I didn't end the relationship now.

I've heard God's voice with unmistakable clarity only a few times in my life, and one night on the floor in my apartment, sobbing, He asked me quite simply, "Is this what you want?" I whipped my head around to see who had come into my room because the voice was audible in my ears. I heard God's voice. Again, I heard Him: "Do you really want to give your heart to a man who ...

will hurt you?" Suddenly, my tears dried, my mind cleared and I heard myself say out loud, "No."

Then came His answer to me. "Then make your choice."

It was my choice and God would let me make it and He would let me have whatever I chose, be it good or bad. I was not a victim, I was a willing participant and it was high time I made a better decision for my life. The responsibility was mine and I had no one to blame but me. As much as I thought I loved Gary, I could not change him or fix him or heal him. I could only stay and surrender my freedom to a man who would continue to hurt me. Gary stopped beating me with his anger the instant I stopped letting him.

I released him to the Lord, moved away and cleansed my mind and heart with God's truth. Less than a year later, I met my wonderful husband and with great joy I gave my heart to a loving man who will never hurt me or our children, and God is as happy as I am that I made such an excellent choice. My life could have been very, very different. I shudder now to think of it. I thank God every day for His grace that saved me.

Ladies, the choices are ours to make. The Lord longs for us to protect our hearts and our freedom by using the good sense He gave us to make good decisions. I believe He weeps when we choose badly and then refuse to take responsibility for our choices. The power we need to live full, happy and free lives rests in the decisions we make. This woman who believes Tiger Woods has wronged and damaged her must start by looking in the mirror. There she will find the person who is responsible for her unhappiness, and the person who can change her life starting right now.

God's abundant grace is there, waiting to be poured out on those who will choose well. Decide carefully, choose well, and you will live well. "Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:21-24 (Courtesy: www.catholic.org)

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Jennifer Hartline is a lifelong Catholic, an Army wife and mother of four precious children. (One in heaven.) She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online on topics of Catholic faith, family, Life, and politics. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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