Writing Your Way Through a National Tragedy

When tragedy strikes a nation you cannot escape it, living in the country you have to face it along with your fellow country men and women. You feel the sorrow and look for hope like many others but since you are a writer, you have words to express your grief and extend support. In times of tragedy the strength of words is what preserves the national grief for the future generation to read and reflect and it is also a way to share the pain and grief.

So how can you get out of the grief and write your way through a national tragedy? First step would be to reflect. Think about what happened, all the people who suffered and how the nation handled the pain and grief. You have to be able to feel for the people and understand their position before you even begin to write a word on the tragedy. Make that human, emotional connection. Rushing to write at times of national tragedy without proper reflection could result in “half baked”article which lacks depth and understanding of the tragedy and the people who suffered.

Taking time to reflect, you will be able to feel the common sentiment of loss and also be able to come to terms of what you are feeling about the tragedy. Begin writing about the tragedy keeping in mind that there are real people facing the tragedy and you have to be considerate and humble. Trying humor is a total No because there is a strong possibility that even good natured humor could be taken the wrong way at a time of national tragedy. Just imagine what would have happened if someone had tried to use humor while writing about 9/11 just days after the event?

In you writing express your feeling too so that people can know that you share their grief. Write objectively about facts and details, using emotions will make your writing even more appealing because at times of tragedy people look for emotional bond.

If the tragedy is man made, like terrorism, you have to be balanced on issues like race, religion and public sentiment. You don’t want to write something that is racist or biased which will further the divide the nation and add to the tragedy.

Remember that you need time to deal with your own personal grief. So don’t hurry towards writing about the tragedy. Always be clam and balanced, express your emotions but don’t go overboard and remember to be respectful. Words are powerful, use them with caution because at times of national tragedy few misplaced words can make deep hurting cut into the community which will take years and years to heal.…

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David Cook Gives Another Outstanding Performance on American Idol

I was very interested to know how David Cook would do on Andrew Lloyd Webber night. I was interested in how all of the performances would turn out. I was thinking, is it going to sound like I’m at an opera. Also I was thinking how they were going to do with making these well known songs their own. Andrew Lloyd Webber is the guy who is famous for writing songs for Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. I know that there is a lot of talent left on American Idol so I figured that most of the performances would be good.

David Cook came up and I was excited to see what he would do with the song he picked. He picked the song, “Music of the Night” and I know that was a powerful song. I was very interested in how he was going to sing. I think that David Cook did an outstanding job singing that song. He was really good. I think that David Cook was the best one on American Idol Tuesday night. David Archuletta and Jason Castro were not far behind though. They were all excellent. They are stepping it up week after week. David Cook has a lot of talent but I already knew that from the beginning, as you probably knew also. He is doing a great job of keeping his uniqueness on American Idol.

I don’t need to say that David Cook needs to step it up because he really doesn’t need to. I think that he is doing exactly what he should be doing. Keep in mind that he is doing all of this with a very sick brother at home. He has a lot to deal with. David Cook has the talent to go far and I know he will. I think that the final two are going to be David Cook versus Jason Castro. What do you all think?…

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Six Christian-Themed Writing Projects for Kids

If you’re looking to add a creative project to your Sunday school or homeschooling lessons, or want to give the kids something faith-related and fun to do on a rainy afternoon, consider a Christian-themed creative writing project. Simply put, these are writing projects which allow kids a chance to express their ideas and feelings about their faith. Writing projects can ask kids to explain bible stories, apply their faith to certain situations, or express how they feel about the Lord. At the same time, writing projects help kids hone important skills which they will need in school.

To help make these writing projects more fun and special, give your kids colored pens or markers and special stationary or notebooks to use as they write. Keeping these special writing items in sync with the Christian theme of the projects (think Veggie Tales) can help kids get into the spirit and realize that writing about church, the bible, or lessons from Jesus can be a fun and joy-filled experience, not just a boring lesson or drill.

Here are some Christian-themed writing project prompts you may want to use to get your kids started.

Writing Project #1: Being Like Jesus 
Ask your child to consider which trait of Jesus he or she wishes she could have. Why would they want that trait? What would they do if they had it? Some kids may say they wish they could be kinder and more loving and forgiving while others may focus on how Jesus had the power to heal people and perform miracles that helped people. This is a good project for helping kids to think about all the different aspects of Jesus and see ways they can try to be more like Him in everyday life.

Writing Project #2: Jesus At School 
Ask your child to write about a situation they might see at school (or another setting where they’re with their peers) where something unChristian is happening – maybe a kid is picking on another kid, or a fight is about to break out, or someone is considering cheating. After they describe the situation, ask your child to put Jesus in the mix to resolve it. This project encourages kids to consider “What would Jesus do” in the context of a situation they would really encounter. Older kids can be encouraged to use bible verse in their writing, or to write the story as a play with different characters speaking dialogue.

Writing Project #3: A Question For God 
Part of being a Christian is learning to talk to God. Sometimes, both kids and adults have questions they’d like God to answer. Ask your child to write a letter to God asking him something they wonder about. Whether it’s serious, like why a bad thing happens to a good person, or silly, like why He created something like the duck-billed platypus, your child’s question can reveal a lot about what’s on his or her mind and may encourage him or her to be comfortable asking the Lord for help in understanding things which seem confusing. An alternative to writing a letter would be to have a child pretend he or she is walking or sharing a meal with Jesus and posing the question to Him face to face. Encourage your kids to not try to answer the question in their writing, but rather encourage them to be open to getting an answer from God in His own way and time.

Writing Project #4: A Prayer 
There are as many ways to pray as there are people. Writing a prayer down instead of speaking it out loud can be a very powerful way to speak to God. Ask your child, young or old, to write a prayer from the heart. It could be a prayer for a special intention, a grace for a family dinner, or something else your child would like to address. Encourage them to think of all sorts of prayers in the bible and in church including psalms, song lyrics, formal prayers, rhyme, and informal, conversational prayers, and then use any style they like. They may want to begin with thinking about what they want to pray about and then coming up …

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Fun Things to Do with Your Kids in Boston

Living only 2 hours from Boston I can honestly say that there is no other city so close to central NH that offers so much for kids and their families. You could stay in Boston for years and never see it all. I have gone there once or twice a year for my entire 36 years of life and I still haven’t seen everything as of yet. As a matter of fact, today, I was searching the web for open times and pricing for this article when I came upon an interesting website, http://www.gobostoncard.com/ . This website not only tells you all about the 70 or so partner locations around Boston that are perfect for children but it also offers you a discount card that will get you into those locations!! These cards start at only $54.99 for adults and $34.99 for kids 12 & under. A bargain since you can use it at any of their partner sites for 1, 2, 3, 5 & 7 day increments. Since almost all of my top choices for children are found at their site I would recommend starting there first when planning your getaway. Now for my top choices for children in no particular order.

Liberty Fleet Tall Ship Adventures Where else can your kids actually sail a tall ship? I didn’t think you could answer that one and that is why I included this fun cruise on my list. I haven’t tried this yet but as an avid boater I can tell you I will be on the next boat out!! They allow adults and kids alike to set sails, take the wheel and throw tea into the harbor. They are located at 67 Long Wharf, Boston. For more information call 617-742-0333 or go to www.libertyfleet.com .

New England Aquarium No introduction required on this fun classic. If you live in or near Boston you have probably been here a million times or more. I know I have!! Unlike when I was a child, they now have Imax!! I truly enjoyed my Imax trip under the ocean on my last visit. However, my daughter thought it was boring so I will leave the Imax portion of this trip to your discretion. No one disagreed on the fun we had watching the various fish and playing with the assortment of hands on activities. They are located at Central Wharf, Boston. For more information call 617-973-5200 or go to www.newenglandaquarium.org .

The Mary Baker Eddy Library/Mapparium This fun little museum is a new find for me but it sounds like a must see. According to Go Card you can walk across a bridge that spans the interior of a three story stained glass world globe!! So why not bring your kids to the center of the earth while teaching them a thing or two about world geography!! They are located at 200 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. For more information call 617-450-7000 or go to www.marybakereddylibrary.org

Franklin Park Zoo This one is yet another classic. Bring your picnic lunch and make a day of watching all the exotic animals, 160 different species to be exact. Best yet, if you are from the city, you can get a taste of life on the farm at the petting zoo. They are located at One Franklin Park Road, Boston. For more information call 617-541-LION (617-541-5466) or go to www.zoonewengland.org

New England Sports Museum Some people find this exciting but I find it a huge bore. If you are a big sports fan like my husband and kids then you wont want to miss this one. They are located at TD Banknorth Garden, Causeway St, Boston and their admission desk is located at the Box Office. They can be reached by phone at 617-624-1235 or on the web at www.sportsmuseum.org .

Fenway Park My kids and husband love this one so here it is for all of you Red Sox fans. According to the Go Card website you can get a tour of Fenway Park by visiting 4 Yawkey Way, Boston or by calling 617-226-6666. They also have a website of www.redsox.com/tours.

Tomb by 5 WITS My daughter and I read about this fun locations interactive special effects and …

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Traditional Books: The Path to True Research and Learning

In today’s society of instant gratification where things get done with the snap of the fingers, it seems natural that the computer is the answer for students doing research papers for a class assignment. While occasionally they may find this to be the case, they are losing sight of what the true processes of research and learning are. But why should they bother doing all the leg work when Google will do it for them? The answer is imperative to the process of learning: students must learn how to be self-reliant and they must learn the invaluable tool of researching in order for them to realize their utmost potential. Using real books also usually means a trip to the library, which brings considerable other benefits including motivation, social interaction, and a sense of accomplishment. For these reasons, I strongly believe that students should be required to use real books in research papers.

 

Researching through books gives students the know-how and confidence to form their own opinions and perspectives rather than cut-and-paste ideas from what they type into a search engine. Doing in-depth research, writing a well planned paper, and getting the final work done is an accomplishment in-and-of-itself. Students learn the research skills necessary not only for a good education but for real life – a point they may not realize until later when it is too late. Internet search engines are great researchers, and while they give students an answer, going to the library and using real books makes the student earn it for themselves. More importantly, it helps students want to research and learn. Using real books to do significant research rather than just getting a quick answer from a computer is how the students “show their work.” Most professors will tell you that that process of learning and explaining is more important than even a correct answer. It forces the student to learn the research process, the Dewey decimal system, subject classification, and how to talk to a librarian one-on-one in order to come up with an “answer” (in this case their research paper). My professors at Columbia taught me some of the best research methods, all of which I needed for papers and my thesis, and which I still use today. With a real book you can underline the parts most applicable to the assignment, earmark the pages, and highlight the areas that need to be referred back to frequently, all of which can be easily read over and over again until the point is understood. Computers try to emulate this (even the PC uses bookmarks) but you can’t get the same feeling that you do with a book. The bottom line is that just getting the answer is not learning; but figuring out how to get the answer – now that’s learning and that’s why real books and sound research should be required in students’ papers.

At the library, students surround themselves with like-minded people in a very fostering environment that is conducive to research. This helps keep them focused and motivated. Surrounded by books, the collective knowledge speaks volumes (pun intended), and with all the inspiring, great minds that constitute that knowledge, it makes for a great motivational environment. One can’t help but want to learn more, no matter the subject. A library full of wonderful books conjures up images of the greatest minds that have shaped civilization, and it serves as a poignant reminder of how the most amazing thinkers of all time have used real books to research and learn, and not just a PC. These same great minds, these notable inventors and historians, include the very people who invented the computer and the Internet, as well as of course the printing press! By surrounding themselves with real books for research papers they feel connected to the subject in a way that a computer screen alone cannot provide. The librarian and their staff – the caretakers of this wonder we call the public library – are equivalent to having additional mentors outside of the classroom to guide students on how to use books not only for a research paper, but also to guide them to a section on other subject matters that …

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