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Accidents can lead to greater understanding.

On an overcast day in 1896, Henri Becquerel accidentally discovered spontaneous radioactivity. Madam Marie Curie’s discovery of radium also came about by accident. So did Fleming’s discovery of penicillin – by accident. Likewise, I became interested in the study of learning – by accident.

This accident occurred when I was working as a counselor at the North Lindenhurst Youth Center. I can now say the kids at the center represented a heterogeneous spectrum. At the time, these kids were just simply referred to as motley.

This motley crew was from the other side of the highway. I was from the other side of the tracks. The other side of the highway was much worse.

What amazed me most about this crew was their ability to learn almost anything they wanted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Algebra or Biology. It was foosball and billiards; and I marveled at what these kids could do at those activities.

The angles they controlled on the felt. The spins they put on the ivories.

One day, I watched as a 14-year-old named Johnny controlled the foosball table. What was to follow came to be the greatest foosball move I ever witnessed – before or since!

Johnny controlled the ball with his far defenseman. Slowly, he positioned this defenseman to the right of his own goal. Next, he positioned his goalie directly behind his defenseman – in straight alignment. The scene looked as if he was going to shoot the ball at his own goalie – which he did, in lightning speed.

As the foosball ricocheted off the back wall, Johnny pinned it with his goalie. Slowly, Johnny crepted the ball up the wall until the goalie rested parallel to the playing field and the ball rested on the plastic goalie’s back legs.

With care and precision, Johnny advanced the goalie and ball to the left – over his own goal. Then, with the flick of the wrist, the ball sailed in the air, above the foosball table, with perfect projection and velocity, and landed in his opponents net.

The practice to perfect such a feat must have taken Johnny hours. If he only put that much effort into his schoolwork, I thought, Johnny could be an engineer! A CEO!! A College Professor!!!

For what was true for Johnny was true for all these kids.

Be it foosball, pool angels, joint rolling – whatever, these kids developed the patience, docility and relative quiescence for success in each task.

So why weren’t they successful? I remained baffled. Then, the accident occurred.

One day before work, I had to pick-up my mom’s dog at the vet. Things took longer than expected and I had to make a choice: Bring the dog home and be late, or bring the dog to work.

The dog was a Golden retriever named Buttercup. Buttercup loved kids, so I chose the latter.

The dog received a royal reception.

Buttercup was accepted and cared for by most every kid – except for those fearing that she a drug-sniffing K-9. Simple questions were soon asked: Is it a boy or a girl? What’s its name? How old is she? What kind of dog is it? Is she really a narc-dog?

Day 1 ended a success. The dog wasn’t set on fire and even better, the topic of conversation finally moved from sex, drugs, and Metallica to questions and answers relevant to a present topic – even though the topic was a dog named Buttercup.

The next day, I went to work without Buttercup.

However, she was still the topic of conversation. So, I started bringing her in for weekly show-and-tell.

Soon, I felt myself gaining the trust of these kids. As I did, I began to ask them questions about their school careers. Few had any positive stories to share. Most hated school. All felt stereotyped or left out.

Overtime, Buttercup retired.

Later, I would bring in different pets: my red-eared sliders, my Garter snake, and my friend’s parrot. The kids would touch and hold and interact with these animals. Slowly, our conversation moved from MTV to PBS as the activities moved from indoors to the out-of-doors.

Skateboarders started noticing the environment that surrounded them as they sailed through intersections. Head bangers – at times – removed their headphones to listen to a bird sing. Diesel heads started finds science bitchin’!

Later on, I was no longer the focus of information. More important, the conversation at the center expanded. I was amazing, a miracle discovery, an accidental espial that has led me to the investigation of learning through STEM in the classroom.

No miracle cures were found by any of these kids. In fact, most still hated school. However, for a moment in time, I struck gold in the minds of some forgotten youths.

Today, I cannot say I have all the answers, but I am closer to understanding hands-on learning that I was back then.

What I have learned from this experience and research that followed is neither innovative nor original. In fact, the technique I used in the rundown Youth Center is as old as the ancient Greek ruins from where it was first used.

However, did learn two things: (1) children are stymied by stereotypes – those given and those perceived; and (2) nature can be a powerful catalyst for learning science.

I believed by educating all grades in science about the environment that surrounds them with hands-on experiences (in and out of the classroom), we can break the chains that bind, and produce positive-learners who will retain more and practice more of what they learn – if you only let them.

AUTHOR NOTE:

Taken from James’s upcoming book: WHY CAN’T JOHNNY?

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles.  Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

When Catholics say we are praying to a saint, we really mean through or with a saint.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for a loved one — or even for yourself, we ask a member of the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are with Him in Heaven, to pray for a loved one — or even for oneself.

So, we are literally saying “Saint (insert name), can you pray for me today”.

The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is simply our proof that they are indeed in Heaven in communication with Christ — and Jesus performed the actual Miracle.

When I’m asked: Why don’t we just go directly to Jesus?  I humbly reply:  I do, but sometimes I need more help.  

In short: If you’re in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

Every family has someone in Heaven, so every family has a Saint Grandpa John or a Saint Uncle Pio or a Saint Aunt Theresa.  Every family has a Saint Chuck to pray to.

Your Saint Chuck may not have an official Feast Day or two credited miracles or have “fame of sanctity” beyond the confines of your home — but that doesn’t make your Saint Chuck any less a saint.

So, ask your Saint Chuck to pray for a friend, for a loved one — or even for yourself.

It’s simple.  All you have to say is…

Saint Chuck pray for us … and then let go.

In God’s time, a miracle will occur.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

So, who’s the Saint in your family?  Tells us in the comments below.

Sunrise

Redemption – Corporation You © 2017

We’ve all heard or read these words:

“You have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But I tell you, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute and insult you, that so you may be true sons of your Father in heaven, who makes his sun rise on the evil and equally on the good, his rain fall on the just and equally on the unjust. If you love those who love you, what title have you to a reward? Will not the publicans do as much? If you greet none but your brethren, what are you doing more than others? Will not the very heathen do as much? 48 But you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

But have you ever read those words and wondered, “Could I really forgive anyone who intentionally harmed me or my family?” I have — especially when it comes to my family.

That’s why the video below is so powerful.

For me, it is proof of the Messiah, Emmanuel, the Resurrection and Life.

CLICK HERE if the video no longer works.

 

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Source Footie Patootie

If there’s one thing I was born to do, its making a good sandwich.

I perfected this gift working in an assortment of Long Island delis — back in the day.  It was a career move that did not bring my mom much comfort, but I enjoyed it and gained an incredible amount of inner joy.

One of the places I worked was Knott’s Deli — the setting of Chapter One: Apple Sauce and Grape Jelly in my book Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul.

It’s was St. Patrick’s Day and I was working behind the counter. Of course, Corned Beef and Cabbage was on the menu.

A young woman, in her early 20’s, had just joined the crew. She was an immigrant from the Emerald Isle, so Mr. Knott put this Irish-brogue young lass on the lunch crew — even though she didn’t have the experience.

After the lunch specials were unveiled, she humbly approached me.

“Jim, can I ask you a question,” she asked.
“What it is?” I said in reply.

She looked up to see if anyone else was listening, then signaled for me to follow her to the display case.

“What is that?” she whispered as she pointed to the Corned Beef and Cabbage.
“You’re kidding me,” I said, believing she was joking.
“No, what is it?” she again asked.
“It’s your national dish,” I replied.
“I’ve never seen that in all-my-life,” she said, with a sense of bewilderment.
“It’s Corned Beef and Cabbage,” I added, believing that she would at least recognized the dish after it was named. She didn’t. “You’ve never had Corned Beef and Cabbage?”
“Never before,” she replied.
“I thought you were from Ireland,” I said, now questioning here heritage.
“I am,” she replied. “No one eats that in Ireland.”

Needless to say, I was astonished. I thought the only reason we (as in we from Irish-descent) ate Corned Beef and Cabbage every St. Paddy’s Day was because that’s what our ancestors ate in Ireland. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

If I was wrong about Corned-beef and cabbage, could I’ve also been mislead by my Polish ancestry, as well? Did I down all that Keilbasa for all the wrong reasons too, I began to dread.

So, why do we Irish eat Corned-beef on St. Paddy’s Day? I had to know, and so my search for the truth began.

If you google Corned-beef, you’ll discover the St. Patrick Day dish was invented in Ireland.

However, the Irish people producing the corned beef were so poor, they could not afford beef — or even Corned-beef.  So, for the first 200 years of it’s existence, the Irish went without their beloved Corned beef.  If, by pure luck, an Irishman could afford meat at all, salted pork or bacon was the affordable product of choice.

Let’s fast-forward through Irish history, shall we, passed the English oppression, the Potato Famine, the Great Migration … yada, yada, yada.

Though still poor, the Irish immigrants in America were able to make more money in the United States than under the oppressive Crown. With that, they were able to buy meat and the meat they were able to buy was a kosher cut brisket.

Since the brisket is a tougher cut, the Kosher butchers made the it more flavorful and tender by salting it. So, the corned beef we Irish eat today is actually Jewish Corned Beef, however, the Irish added their beloved potatoes and the cheapest vegetable the could buy: cabbage!

The Irish in America transformed the religious holy day into a celebration of Ireland culture with Corned Beef and cabbage as their celebratory meal.

The cultural connection between Irish and Jewish immigrants appears to be lost in time, but the roots of these two groups of immigrants in American experience go deep. (It personally codifies why I have such an affinity for all things Jewish.)

It also reminds me of something my grandfather, James Farrell, once told me.

“Remember, the Jewish people will always be God’s Chosen Ones. But the Irish are his favorite!”

Our celebratory meal never caught on across-the-pond where they eat Lamb and bacon. In fact, buy law, pubs were closed on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland until 1970 … and their beer in brown, not green.

They even spell Erin Go Bragh differently. It’s Éirinn go Brách.

Ireland forever!

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Author’s Note:
Much of what was written was taken from Shaylyn Esposito’s article in the Smithsonian Magazine titled Is Corned Beef Really Irish? The rise and fall and rise of the traditional St. Patrick’s meal. It’s a great read.   By the way, Polish people eat Kielbasa here and abroad!

 

Why I Love Snow

Snow Day (c) 2017 | Corporation YOU

I just got done snow-blowing my driveway. My very long drive way. Actually, its more like a small road than a driveway.

It took about two hours. (I told you, I have a long driveway.) Like usual, about a half hour after I was done, my neighbor showed up with his plow — but I’m not complaining.

I’m not complaining because I love snow.

Snow slows us down.
Snow gives us time to reflect.
Snow brings us closer together.
Snow makes us think of others.
Snow makes us more neighborly.

But that’s not why I love snow.

Before heading out to take on the snow, I asked my boys, “Do you know why I love snow?”

“Snow forts?” they shouted.
“No,” I replied.
“Making a snow man?”
“Sleigh riding?”
“Hot Chocolate?”
“Catching snowflakes?”
“Snowball fights?”

With each response, I just shook my head snow.

“Shoveling,” my youngest asked, running out of things.

“All very good suggestions,” I added. “But that’s not why I love snow.”
“Snow days?”
“Close…” I added.
My eldest paused in contemplation — he’s my deep thinker — then he smiled.
“Us?”
“You got it,” I grinned. “Snow leads to snow days. Snows days gives me more time with as Us. Now, let’s go out and play!”

And that’s why I love snow.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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…

Need I say more?

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

‘Into the Light’ is an original painting by Osnat

 

Thanks to technology, we are no longer burdened with the task of turning back our clocks.

These days, Daylight Savings almost goes unnoticed since our phones, tablets computers and most of our clocks reset themselves automatically at 2 am.

Pretty soon, the phrase “Spring forward; Fall back” will be an adage of the past.

It won’t be until Monday or Tuesday that we feel the slight effect caused by losing an hour of sleep. But since we’ll have so much daylight, our bodies will most-likely acclimate without notice.

Today, Daylight Savings has a second meaning: It’s the day that we are reminded to TEST the batteries in our smoke alarms. If you don’t know how to do that, I posted a link HERE.

According to the link:  On average, seven people die every day in the US as a result of house fires.[1] Though that number is high, the widespread use of home smoke detectors has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of house fire related deaths and injuries.[2]

That’s good news.

Speaking of Good News:  Do you think it’s a coincidence that on the day where we collectively focus on Saving Light, we too are reminded to protect our family from the threats of Deadly Fire?

Think about it…

God is everywhere.  All you have to do is look.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Artwork Description

Into the Light‘ is an original painting by Osnat, a self-representing Canadian artist, best known for her large-size original abstract landscape and Contemporary modern paintings.  To read more about Osnat’s accomplishments, check out Osnat in the media.

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