Archive for November, 2009

President James Buchanan Speaks to Homeschoolers

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153 years ago today James Buchanan was elected President of the United States. Buchanan graduated with honors from Dickinson College 200 years ago on September 19, 1809, served in the War of 1812 and had already served in the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, as US Minister to the United Kingdom and been offered a seat on the US Supreme court- which he turned down. November 4, 1856 marked the culmination of his accomplished academic and professional life.

But what you may not know is that James Buchanan was expelled from college for poor behavior. He appealed for a second chance and was given that opportunity. Buchanan obviously learned from his mistake and made the most of his merciful reprieve.

Do you need a second chance? Most of us do at one time or another. Whether it’s in parenting, marriage, our spiritual life, homeschooling, financial management, friendships or any of 100 other areas. God is in the business of second chances and if you’ll take to heart the lessons from past mistakes like James Buchanan you can change the future together with the Lord.

Tell your children the story of James Buchanan and his second chance. Maybe THEY need a new beginning today too.

 

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Chevrolet Speaks to Homeschoolers

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No, this isn’t about baseball and apple pie, nor is it about “the heartbeat of America.” In fact, it’s not even about the automobile specifically, but rather the man behind the automobile; Louis Chevrolet. It was 98 years ago today that Louis Chevrolet and his partner Will Durant officially entered the automobile market- competing against Henry Ford’s Model T.

Durant was the business man and Chevrolet was the engineer, having designed and built his own overhead valve 6-cylinder engine. Chevrolet was also a race car driver, having met Durant when Durant hired him to race Buicks for the company.

Together, the pair teamed up to form what would eventually become the best-selling motor car company in American history. But before that happened, there was a disagreement over the design of the Chevrolet and Chevrolet sold his interest in the company to Durant. Durant later merged Chevrolet into General Motors.

Louis Chevrolet died penniless at age 62. In one of the worst business deals in history, Chevrolet had sold the birthright to his automobile- indeed he had sold his own name.

It reminds me of the story of Esau and Jacob in Genesis 25. As you recall, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew that Jacob had prepared. Esau’s hungry stomach ruled his heart and head in another terrible business deal.

Did you know that you have certain birthrights? One of those is the right to teach your own children. But every day some of us are choosing to sell our birthright for a few dollars by enrolling our children in charter schools and other quasi-government programs in exchange for a free computer or free textbooks. Like Louis Chevrolet and Esau- we’ve sold our inheritance for a pittance.

Purpose in your heart today to follow the Lord on this homeschooling journey. If HE tells you to enroll your children in school then do it cheerfully and obediently. But if financial pressures and “hunger” tempt you to sell your long-term birthright for a “bowl of stew” today, remember the story of Louis Chevrolet who died penniless after selling his own name and design to someone else.

 

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Mississippi John Hurt Speaks to Homeschoolers

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Black blues/country/bluegrass musician Mississippi John Hurt died 43 years ago today. Born in either 1892 or 1893 (depending on which account you choose to believe) John Hurt began playing guitar at age 9. At age 36 he recorded an album on the OKEH label and then disappeared from the music scene until he was more than 70 years old. During all those years Hurt continued singing and playing guitar for local dances in rural Mississippi but he worked as a sharecropper and lived in musical obsurity.

He was “found” and brought back to the national music scene during the last 3 years of his life from 1963 to 1966 recording numerous albums and appearing on the Johnny Carson show. So think this through- this legendary musician worked manual labor and lived in musical obscurity his entire life with the exception of 1928, and the last three years of his life from ages 71-74. Yet he is remembered and revered as one of the great roots music musicians of the 20th century.

Sometimes the Lord chooses to have us work in obscurity for most of our lives. Sometimes our contribution isn’t really appreciated until we’re 70-years-old or even older. Sometimes it’s never appreciated. But the gifts that were imparted to us remain alive even when the spotlight isn’t on us. We are charged to use the gifts we’ve been given even if nobody’s watching.

Talk with your children about Mississippi John Hurt who died on November 2, 1966. Watch this remarkable video of a 70+ year old Mississippi John Hart singing “You Got to Walk That Lonesome Valley” and enjoy the gifts and talents of a man who spent most of his life as a Mississippi sharecropper.

(NOTE- Well, an hour of working with WordPress to successfully embed a YouTube video or even a link has been unsuccessful. SO- go to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and SEARCH using “Mississippi John Hurt Lonesome Valley” in the search box- THEN Watch the video! I suggest the 3:25 version instead of the 2:51 version.)

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