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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 6, 2008 3 Sivan, 5768

A Path to Purpose

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "The Path to Purpose" sounds like the title of an autobiography of Barack Obama or John McCain. But it's not. It's a sad story about children who never get started on that path. These are children of the "purposeless" generation, and if that sounds too broad, the problem is broad enough. By one estimate, a quarter of our children who should be launched into adulthood with a sense of purpose in their lives instead are singing a reprise of "Gimme Shelter," that hymn to the self-indulgence of the '60s. You could call them the "boomerangers." Instead of moving on, they keep coming back.


William Damon, a human behavior scholar and director of the Center on Adolescence at Stanford University, in his book scolds society for indulging the young rather than instilling a sense of responsibility. Many who set out to "find themselves" put off the search by delaying a purposeful career. Others, bewildered by their choices, can't connect the dots between what they know and where they want to go. One of the reasons, Damon suggests, is that education offers "bits" and "pieces" of information without relating them to a higher aspiration. Teachers rarely discuss a broader purpose.


Neither do our politicians, who sound no appeals to the young to find ways to do something for others, for the good of society rather than seeking goods for themselves. Many of the young — following the example of many of their elders — concentrate only on what a job-seeking politician can do for them.


John F. Kennedy's ringing call to unselfish service sounds quaint today: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Ronald Reagan's description of "the American sound" as "hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent and fair" sounds like something from Currier and Ives, too.


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia describes how America is unique in the way Americans characterize themselves in relation to the Constitution. We all know, instinctively, what it means to be "un-American." But no one speaks of something as "un-French" or "un-German," he told Tim Russert of MSNBC. "We are a very strange people, that we really identify ourselves not by our blood or where we were born, but by fidelity to certain political principles."


We may no longer be inspiring the generation following us with the fundamental idea of what it means to be American. While these young adults cherish wide choices in their careers, they often put off marriage and children to keep their options open. This can delay the maturity that encourages the larger commitment to others that would give their lives meaning and direction.


Barack Obama was on to something in his speech the other day to the class of '08 at Wesleyan University: "At a time when a child in Boston must compete with children in Beijing and Bangalore, we need an army of you to become teachers and principals in schools that this nation cannot afford to give up on." The best teachers fuse idealism with practicality, with a little personal sacrifice on the side.


When John McCain came home from five and a half years of torture, torment and anguish at the "Hanoi Hilton," he wanted first to thank a teacher at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., who had taught him grammar, the structure of language, the meaning of literature and something more. "He helped teach me to be a man, and to believe in the possibility that we are not captive to the worst parts of our nature," he told the students where he once studied. "I wanted to tell him I finally understood there in Hanoi all the things he'd been trying to tell me about life."


He arrived too late — the teacher had died. But such understanding never arrives too late. Such teachers show the distinctions that are driven by moral purpose. "Finding noble purpose means both devoting oneself to something worth doing and doing it in an honorable manner," says William Damon. High test scores won't reveal it. Emphasis on such test scores, in fact, can narrow vision and limit goals.


The good news is that there are signs of renewed interest in doing purposeful work. The non-profit Teach for America program, which sends college graduates into troubled schools in low-income communities, reports a surge in applications and placements. This fall, the organization will send 3,700 new teachers into urban and rural classrooms. Those who have worked in difficult classes know how teaching envelops their lives with a renewed determination to succeed. You could call it a path to purpose.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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