How to shine as a Parent

25 05 2021
Shine

Parenting is not an easy task, sometimes it requires more courage and right thinking than any other endeavor thus little wonder that many people shy away from having children.

In the film, Shine, child piano prodigy, David Helfgott has a father, Peter Helfgott, who is overbearing and turned their little family of four into tense and anxious place rather than a house of peace.  Peter Helfgott’s anger stems from his difficult childhood, a polish Jew and holocaust survivor, and having to struggle against great odd to fend for himself,  thus he never fails to remind David how lucky he is, often asking him to repeat the words, “ I am a very lucky boy”. Furthermore, he pushed the boy to win at all cost, and would shout and hit the table with his fists if he didn’t and even asked his tutor to teach the boy to play Rachmaninoff, a complicate piece music way above his age and yet would not permit him to accept a scholarship to the London school of music.  Consequently the adolescent David rebelled went off to London on scholarship prompting his father to repudiate him and break all ties with him. Nevertheless, at the London school, he finally leans enough to play the Rachmaninoff at an orchestra, monumental effort that triggers his psychosis. The entire plot of the movie leaves very little doubt that Peter Helfgott parenting style is not the right way to be a good parent.

The most importance lesson to be drawn from Helfgott family tragic history is that parental authority is not all about imposing your will on your children, or a kind of obedience at all cost attitude, in which children obey because they are terrified of the consequences of not doing so. David’s father threw the weight of his authority around every decision he made about David and would no broach a no for an answer and hardly even bothered to ask David’s opinion. For instance when David got the scholarship, despite his misgivings, He should have sat down with his son to discuss the pro and cons and listen to his son opinion after all it his future.

Although David true siblings has refuted the claims made in the film,  arguing that their father was not like that and that he was mischaracterized in the movie for commercial gains, it is still pertinent warning for other parents who perhaps may have toe that line

On the opposite extreme of Peter Helfgott, are parents who cave in to every demand of their children, we can call this defect permissive parenting, where the parents feel the need to cater for every whim and caprice of the child.  This is because, according to this article, ~ “parents fear disciplining their children due to some negative consequences they themselves have suffered because their own parents imposed things on them. Yet, to give to a child everything it wants is to lie to that child. Hence as a result we could conclude that the virtue of a good parent lies in the middle of both extreme. It is a balance between allowing them to act freely and teaching them how to take responsibility for their actions, because freedom and responsibility are inseparable. Furthermore, exercising authority comes from offering children the knowledge and tools they need to grow into responsible adults  and this lies precisely in giving them a good example which they can emulate since children generally observe and learn from what they see their parents and other adults do.  This website has videos explaining the common problem that often arises when bringing up children and it might be worth watching.





What Beowulf has to say to us?

21 05 2021
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is beowlf.jpg
Beowulf (2007)

Living in age where the nuclear family is under attack and fatherhood is considered irrelevant hold over from the middle ages, the epic poem, Beowulf, written probably in the 6th century by an unknown author may have something to say to us. Director Robert Zemeckis  2007 CG remake of the poem Beowulf is delight to watch.

The movie Beowulf (2007) is in 507 AD when a legendary warrior, Beowulf (Ray Winstone) comes with his band of soldiers to Denmark to the aid Danish King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) against the demon Grendel who torments his mead hall and kills and eats his men.  To confront the devil, Beowulf told the beautiful Danish Queen Wealtheow, whom he had fallen in love with, that since he had no weapon that could kill a demon, he would fight the devil naked and let fate decide who will win. Though funny, there is a fine logic behind Beowulf’s idea that reminds me of sayings of St. Josemaria, in his book the Way:

“Detach yourself from people and things until you are stripped of them. For, says Pope Saint Gregory, the devil has nothing of his own in this world, and naked he comes to battle. If you go clothed to fight him, you will soon be pulled to the ground: for he will have something to catch you by (The Way, pt 149).”

 If the devil has nothing and comes to battle naked, then those who wish to do battle with the devil must meet him on equal term by equally being naked, or else they would be putting themselves at great disadvantage the fight. Put in another way, if we are attached to anything, the devil will use that thing to defeat us. It happens all the time, for instance, a drunk attached to the bottle is dragged to the gutters by the devil through the bottle, and similarly a man attached to sex and women is dragged by the devil to his destruction through sex and women.

Thus, Beowulf strips himself of everything and lay naked waiting Grendel, and when Grendel (Crispin Glover) enters the mead hall that night catching and eating men, only Beowulf who was naked escapes his clutches and thus was able to fight him, cutting off his arm thus wounded Grendel ran off howling in anguish back to the swamp from which he came and there he died. The King Hrothgar gave a mighty feast in honor of Beowulf and made him a gift of his golden drinking horn. However, after the celebration, Beowulf wakes the next day to find that all his men have been slaughtered except for his friend Wiglaf who was not with the others.  King Hrothgar conjectures that must be Grendel’s mother who has done it, and called her the last of the water demons and confessing that he taught she was dead.

Thus Beowulf goes to the swamp to kill Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, but she meets him in the form beautiful naked woman (Angelina Jolie) and enchants him, promising him to make him a king if he would love her and give her a child. She then took the dragon drinking horn from him and told him that as long as she keeps the horn she will never break her promises and Beowulf succumbs. Back home, Beowulf brings back Grendel head tells lies to his people, that he has killed the queen of the devils but the Hrothgar smells a rat and confronting him asks, “You have brought back the head of Grendel, but where is the head of the mother? To which Beowulf could give no answer except to retort, “Do you think she would’ve let me live if I didn’t kill her? And the old king suspecting what must have happened laughs and says to Beowulf, “It does not matter, what matters is that Grendel is dead and the curse of Grendel’s mother is no longer my problem.” It was then that Beowulf understood that he has now inherited the curse of childlessness and bareness with which King Hrothgars was accursed because of his sexual liaison with the queen of the devil.  Hrothgars then calling his people told them that since he has no son, upon his death, Beowulf would be king and with that he takes a leap through the window committing suicide.

Thus Beowulf becomes king and marries Queen Wealtheow but theirs is not a happy marriage and fifty years later, having conquered all the surrounding kingdoms, he is desperately unhappy and childless. However, Queen Wealtheow who is now a Christian sadly watches her husband’s infidelities, as he crawls into bed with different women, but thanks to her Christian faith  she was able to forgive. Then one day, a slave found the golden dragon cup returns it to Beowulf, who realizes that the evil queen was no longer protecting him and worries and prepares to returns to the swamp to try and return the golden cup. His wife, the queen, begs him not to go. Beowulf finally confesses all he has done and asks his wife forgiveness, declaring he has always loved her and she forgives and returns his love and affection. And his final words to her were that she should remember him, not as a warrior but as a man who had failings and weakness. With the love between him and his wife restored, Beowulf takes heart to confront the evil queen but it was too late for the fruit of their unholy liaison has grown into a mighty dragon that has already begun unleashing terror in the land and Beowulf dies from severe loss of blood because he had to cut off his own arm (much the same way that he cut Grendel’s arm) in other to kill the dragon and save his wife whom the dragon was about to slaughter.

There are many lessons to be learned from this film, one of them is the love of family, both on the side of the good guys and on the bad guys. Later in the film when we learn that the demon, Grendel was the son of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, through his unholy liaison with this Grendel’s mother, queen of the devil, we thus understand why Grendel did not harm Hrothgar, when he first attacked the mead hall, this was because even a demon does not kill his own father, Furthermore, when he returns  to the swamp, his mother, the queen of the devil asks him about his  father and Grendel quickly replied telling her, “I did no harm him,” which made her happy. Thus this film is very pro-family and fatherhood is sacred even to a heinous creature like Grendel.

The second lesson is revealed still in the opening scenes of the movie where we see the, Queen Wealtheow a modest and chaste woman who would not participate in the revelry and debauchery going on at the mead hall and thus when devil Grendel struck, it was as if Grendel had no power over her and she was invisible to him. This has been proven time and again, when girls and women guard their virginity through modesty and by not succumbing to the temptation turning their bodies into a canal play ground and toys, then they would not be tormented by the demons of abortions and others. But to do that they need to   shun pride and avoid dialoging with the devil. This was the mistake Eve made in the Garden of Eden according to the book of Genesis, when she willing entered into dialogue with the serpent in the garden, allowing him to fill her with his empty promises.  Beowulf equally made the same mistake when fell into the evil queen’s trap by dialoging with her and hence allowing her to fill him with her empty promises

 It is just as St. Josemaria advices those who wish to make progress in the interior life never to dialogue with the devil. The reason is because the devil is as old as the world and full of lies and empty promises, we cannot hope to match his capacity for deception, and the best thing is never to enter into dialogue and give the devil the opportunity to convince us because would lose we have an enemy within us that is attracted to sin from what spiritual writers call the wound of original sin. Thus we have a fallen nature and thus find it difficult to do good and easy to do evil, so the best defense against the devil who can easily seduce is never to dialogue. In conclusion, I would say that the movie Beowulf (2007) apart from a few incidents of bad language and adult scenes is very instructive and has a lot to teach us.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





It all begins at home

7 02 2021

On a chilly September night in 1994, two teenage brothers forced an 11 year old boy, Robert Sandifer into the back of a car, drove him to an alley, told him to get out and on his knees and shot him twice at the back of the head killing him. Robert (also called “Yummy”) and the teenage brothers where part of a gang robbing, raping and dealing drugs in the neighborhood, and Yummy was on the run for killing a teenage girl, the problem was that the brothers felt Yummy was compromised and could give them away and the only way to deal with that was to take him out. The news broke in Chicago media and indeed the world was amazed that such young boys where capable of such crime, and the Times featured Yummy’s picture on the front page with the title, “Too young to kill, too young to die.” The two brothers were arrested however, the older who was 16 at the time was sentenced to 60 years jail time, while the younger 14, got 45 year jail.

How did things come to such a pass and how did these youngsters turn killers. Some people blame this tragic incident on the failure of the system to provide guidance, encouragement for youngsters. But all time superstars, Denzel Washington disagrees.

“It all begins at the home,” he says, “because the time the system comes into play, the damage is done. Where was his father? It starts in the house, it starts in the home… If the father is not home, then the street becomes the father.”

So, where were Yummy’s mother and father? Yummy mother was arrested multiple times for prostitution, and his father was in jail for felony and he was seriously abused boy, who ran away juvenile home authorities sent him after his mother’s arrest, and at age of 8 lived out on the streets where he joined up with gangs running drugs and robbing people. 

“So we have to ask where Yummy’s father was.” Washington continues “and if you say he is jail, I would ask where the father of Yummy’s father was?”

Denzel Washington

What Washington is saying is that parents are the first educators of their children and if they fail in that duty, it is usually too late to help. And he is not the only one saying it. The Catholic Church has been preaching this for centuries, that parents have the great duty to bring up their children to be good citizens and no system, or government agency can play that role effectively, making it all important that governments should promote stable families.

 Pope Francis adds that the family is the “center of love” where the law of respect and communion reigns and is able to resist the pressure of manipulation and domination from the world’s ‘power centers’. In the heart of the family, the person naturally and harmoniously blends into a human group, overcoming the false opposition between the individual and society.

St. Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei, when asked about how parents can become good fathers and good mothers said:

Parents teach their children mainly through their own conduct. What a son or daughter looks for in a father or mother is not only a certain amount of knowledge or some more or less effective advice, but primarily something more important: a proof of the value and meaning of life, shown through the life of a specific person, and confirmed in the different situations and circumstances that occur over a period of time. He continues saying that

The parents are the first people responsible for the education of their children, in human as well as in spiritual matters. They should be conscious of the extent of their responsibility. To fulfill it, they need prudence, understanding, a capacity to love and a concern for giving good example.

Being a father or a mother is not simply a matter of bringing children into the world. The capacity for generation, which is a share in the creative power of God, is meant to have a continuation. Parents are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the development of their children into men and women who will be authentic Christians.

It is true that in today’s busy world parents have to grapple with lots of things, including not having enough time to be with their children as a result of work or lack of it, or some other circumstances that impede them from carrying out this duty, but St. Josemaria insist:

Parents should find time to spend with their children, to talk with them. They are the most important thing – more important than business or work or rest. In their conversations “parents should make an effort to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to recognize the fact that their children are sometimes partly right – or even completely right – in some of their rebellious attitudes. At the same time, they should help their children to direct their efforts and to carry out their projects properly, teaching them to consider things and to reason them out. It is not a matter of imposing a line of conduct, but rather of showing the human and supernatural motives for it. In a word, parents have to respect their children’s freedom, because there is no real education without personal responsibility, and there is no responsibility without freedom.”

And in January 16, 1915, speaking at a meeting of Families in Manila, Pope Francis also warned of some ideologies seeking to destroy the family:

“The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life and adds that every threat to the family is a threat to society itself.”

Not to mention the sexual revolution that has been wrecking havoc since its inception in the 60’s on the lives of vulnerable young men and women, resulting in spiking teenage pregnancies, poverty, crime, school dropout and substance abuse. This comes out graphically in the case of Yummy and the two teenage boys who killed him. Lottie Joiner, writing for the Center for Health Journalism, lives in a neighborhood four miles from U.S Capitol claims that “73 percent of children in the neighborhood live in households headed by a woman.”

“And research show,” she continues, “that children in fatherless homes easily drop out of school, exhibit behavioral problems, end up in the criminal justice system, suffer unemployment, and are at a greater risk of substance and drug abuse.”

University of California San Francisco Professor Howard Pinderhughes adds that “If you don’t have a father in the home who can act as a source of support and one of your pillars for your formation of resilience, then you’re less likely to be resilient in the face of a lot of sources of trauma.”

Family therapist Ayize Ma’at chips in that 90 percent of his clients are black boys without fathers, many of whom come in with major depression disorders.

“We look at our youth and say that they’re bad. I like to say they’re hurting,” said Ma’at. “Their behaviors are behaviors of them acting out pain. They’re just trying to meet a need — the need to be included, to be loved, to be welcomed, respected and wanted.”

The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family,” Pope Francis continues:

So protect your families! See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments. Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them! Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care. Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death. What a gift this would be to society, if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation! So rise with Jesus and Mary, and set out on the path the Lord traces for each of you.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba





Wisdom from a third grade dropout: Story of Rick Rigsby

21 01 2021

A few days after, a Journalist, Rick Rigsby, delivered this speech, it received more than 130 million views on YouTube, and it is called the most motivational speeches ever given. In his speech, he said that one of the wisest person he ever met in his life was a third grade dropout, who taught him to combine knowledge with wisdom to make an impact–his father.

A simple cook who left school to help out in the family, his father believed he left school not education, and never let his lack of education get in the way of his achievements. He taught himself how to read and write and decided to be a man: not a black man or white man, but a man. His father challenged him and his brothers to be the best they could saying, “Boys, I have no problem if you aim high and miss. But I have a problem if you aim low and hit.” Again he would say, ” Son, you better be an hour early, than a minute late.”  

Citing Aristotle, his father used to tell them, “Son, you are what you repeatedly do. Therefore excellence has to be a habit and not an act.”

One of kind with a mind chockfull of life changing wisdom, little wonder Rick has three degree and a PhD and his brother is a Judge all because  their third grade dropout Dad. The video below of the talk by Rick Rigby is worth 10 minutes of your time.





Vice or Virtue? Comparing “Northanger Abbey” & “Black Beauty”

23 12 2020

Northanger Abbey ( Henry and Catherine)

The opinion held by most people is that movies should entertain but also help foster virtue.  A comparison of two movies, “Northanger Abbey” and “Black beauty” reveals that one fulfills this goal while the other does not.

“Northanger Abbey” is adaptation of Jane Austin’s novel of similar title and “Black beauty” is an adaptation of Anne Sewall’s novel of same title. “Northanger Abbey” is a high budget film with great cinematography and top notch casts, nevertheless, the characters spend their time gossiping about class distinctions and angling for wealthy suitors, while “Black Beauty” was done a more modest budget with a handful of armature casts, yet the characters are down to earth, concerned about family and helping others.

 “Northanger Abbey” is about a 17 year old girl, Catherine who is introduced to high society and falls in love with Henry, a son of a wealthy man. She is invited to their rich castle called “Northanger Abbey” a  place crawling with servants and rich things, though  her suspicions that the castle is haunted is proven false, nevertheless, there is hardly a mention of the kind of things the average Joe might care about. Rather, intrigues and ball room plots are the order of the day. Somehow the movie leaves you wondering if going to the ball, dancing, and hooking up was all there was to life. What about work? In the entire length of the move, there was not a single instance of someone doing any productive work such as cooking washing or any of the typical things that make up daily life.

On the other hand in “Black Beauty,”  a 15 year-old girl, Audrey  adopts an abused horse and together with her grandpa they work towards restoring it back to health. The movie is chuck full of sublime teaching moments such as when Audrey was accosted at a department store by a rude and antagonistic rich girl  but she simply leaves the store rather than engage in a fist fight. She also gallantly decides to lose a competition rather than risk her horse suffering injury when midway into a competition; something went wrong with the horse. The audience at the competition was so touched by her nobility that they broke out in applause for her even though she was disqualified.

Audrey and Black Beauty

In “Northanger Abbey” on the other hand, Catherine and the other girls care very little for the sublime moments, rather the care more about boys, wealth and fortune. Perhaps that was what Victorian society dictated at the time, unlike them, Audrey even though she was also interested in boys, she was rather gainfully employed rehabilitating her horse and her romance with Josh, a boy that worked in her grandfathers ranch just happened along the way.  Furthermore, she didn’t take Josh’s bank account into account before accepting to go out with him as the girls in “Northanger Abbey” undoubtedly would have done. As far as she was concerned, his financial status was irrelevant and she was happy and enjoyed her time with him and his sister.

Another quite remarkable scene in “Black Beauty” was Audrey’s relationship with her father. They quarreled at the dinner table because he wished she finish school before settling at the ranch, but she had fallen in love with the ranch and with Josh and was thinking of chucking school so she quarreled with her father. Nevertheless, a few moments later, her father apologized for being harsh and she apologized for being rude, and they made up. She also accepted to do his wish and finish school, thus showing that both father and daughter loved each other, and are willing to forego their ego, and apologize when disagreement arises between them. On the other hand, in “Northanger,” General Tilney, Henry’s father, was a harsh and rather vain man, who was only generous to Catherine for as long as he thought she was from a rich home but turned her out of his house in the middle of the night when he discovered that she was poor—a most despicable act.

Hence, while “Northanger’s “plot emphasize the importance of wealth and having a good fortune or inheritance and negate the value of hard work, “Black Beauty’s” plot on the other hand, emphasizes the value of kindness, and altruistic love. Arguably, “Northanger Abbey”, written in 1798, may not be representative of 18th century England that produced English men like James Watt who invented the steam engine or James Dewar and Isaac Newton who greatly impacted the scientific world with their resilience, enterprise and hard work.  England at that time was emerging as an Empire, big vast and strong; a feat that would require hard working men and women with enterprise and determination.

In summary, even with “Northanger Abbey’s” high budget and great cinematography, “Black Beauty” is a more realistic and its short fall notwithstanding, encapsulates the real concern of ordinary life and portrays model behavior that could bring people to live virtuous lives.

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Black Beauty
Northanger Abbey




A life worth living: Denzel and Pauletta Washington’s 40 yrs Marriage

6 09 2020
The Washington family

When Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living, he means that only when we strive to acquire self-knowledge would our life be meaningful. This truth was evident to all gathered last year at the American film institute (AFI) Life Achievement Award to Denzel Washington. Delivering the opening speech to a packed hall full of stars and superstars,  Julia Roberts thanked Denzel for mentoring and helping her put her life back together when she was going through a rough patch during the shooting of the movie Pelican brief in 1992. She said that his warm human qualities drew her to open her troubles to him, and Denzel and his wife took her problems to heart and helped her through it. Undoubtedly, this is an amazing story in Hollywood, an industry famous for men taking advantage of vulnerable women. A black man going out of his way to help a white woman, but not just that, he introduces her to his wife.

Julia Roberts

There is valuable lesson here for married men: If you wish to help other women, do so with your wife. That way your help will be more effective and what’s more, you will not run the unnecessary risk of endangering your marriage by getting emotional entangled with a woman who is not your wife and whom your wife know nothing about. The devil that drives men to adultery thrives in secrecy. When fail to introduce their wives to the women they work with, leave the door open to possible infidelity.

Again,  in Hollywood  where serial divorce, adultery and infidelity are the norm, there is no doubt that a good role model like Denzel Washington who have risen to the very top of that industry and yet kept his sense of duty, family and honor intact is in high demand.

Interestingly, when Denzel finally mounted in the midst of thundering applause, he began by thanking God and asking God’s forgiveness for what he had done badly.

Denzel delivering his thank you address

“I m up here to say thank you to God,  for giving me this ability, for blessing me, for shaping me, for chastising me, for teaching me, for punishing me, for allowing me to be a vessel to touch people around the world.”

 Few actors can boast of the kind of success that Denzel Washington has had in Hollywood: two times Oscar winner, starred in at least 53 movies–most blockbusters, in a career that spanned 40 years, yet even fewer actors can boast of his capacity for self-examination. While success often spurs disdain for religion, Denzel’s success, on the other hand, makes him more humble in acknowledging God and his instrument for sustaining, nurturing, and supporting him.

In his speech, he appreciated his mother at 95, and declared that his father taught him how to be a man. Turning to his wife of 40 years, he proclaimed, “I would not be alive, without Pauletta Washington. 40 years of sacrifice, 40 years of forgiveness, she taught me about faith, spirituality, love, real love, unwavering love, inspite of myself.”

Older than Denzel when they got married, Pauletta has played the balancing force in his life helping to anchor him from the illusory world of make belief to the nitty-gritty of reality. Mother of his children, she surely must have fought many fearful battles with jealousy whenever it rears its ugly head as beautiful dashing damsels  flock towards her handsome husband ready to give him anything if he so much as smile at them. However, she did not let fear override the trusting confidence that every spouse deserves. Her devotion to the home, made him long to return home, to her and his children. Today, she is blessed to hear him acknowledge it before the rich and powerful and attest to the truth that the power of a woman is not solely in her external beauty, but the internal as well.

Unfortunately, many people claim that happy marriage is all about the money and that having made money, Denzel and Pauletta no longer need struggle to love each other. This is not true. A cursory look at the dismal marital landscape of Hollywood full of battered, violent, and ruptured marriages, with all the abuses, infidelities, and misery is sufficient to refute this argument.

Denzel and Pauletta have confirmed that marital fidelity is possible regardless of the environment. Their example is a challenge to those who have already caved in to licentiousness to pick up the pieces and begin again, and an encouragement to the young. It also demonstrates that the prevalence of toxic culture opposed to life, values and spirit, is largely due to individual choices.

Denzel then played a video where Pauletta’s father said:

“We were put her for a reason. God created man and God intends for us to love all mankind and by being in a loving mood, caring for one another, that is our purpose for life. We should care for one another, and we should love one another.”

His words echoed the words of Jesus Christ, “Love one another by this all men will know that you are my disciples,” reminding all that all lives matter. Love does not discriminate. Jesus said to love our enemies and do good to them who hate us and thus we will be like our father in heaven. The hate we see today is the proof that we have ditched the Christian faith and that witness is lacking.

 “In this twitter-tweet mean world we have created for our children,” Denzel continued, “the least we can do is to consider what we have done, and think about the young people, the future and individually, collectively do the best we can to try and turn this thing around.”

 Perhaps to the surprise of many of his colleagues whom have been blaming President Trump for all the evil in the world, Denzel said, “I blame no one, I look in the mirror.”

“On the other side of it,” he continued, “what an opportunity we have–because tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives– what an opportunity we have to practice what Pauletta’s father preached.”  

 In the end, Denzel qualities as an actor, for which he was being honored, is the quality expected of all, but more especially from Christians. The Christian faith calls all Christians to do all things well as Christ did. St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, has preached message of sanctification of work since 1928 that Christian holiness depends on work well done, for God.

Finally, Denzel has borne witness that a well-done work leads us towards God, and that work sanctifies, and sanctifies others. Millions the world over watched as Julia Roberts narrated how working   with Denzel and seeing how much he loves his wife made a deep impression on her.  Julia, who herself is a remarried divorcee, knows more than anyone does the challenges of marriage. She has now been married for 17 years with her present husband perhaps due to her emulating the life of Denzel, a life worth living.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor of Authors-choice





Marry her! People tell man who shielded girlfriend from shooter with his body

8 08 2019

They say that real men protect women. The terrifying video of a man who used his own body to shield his girlfriend from the shooter in the recent shooting at Dayton Ohio has gone viral. Camryn Crowder, 24, jumped on top of his girlfriend, Brittany Dungey to shield her from flying bullets when a gunman killed nine people, including his sister, and injured 26, in less than one minute on Sunday, 4th August 2019

CCTV footage showed Crowder using his body to shield Brittany as bullet flew.

The couple was walking through the Oregon District around 1am when they heard gunshots ring out. Brittany took off running and Crowder instinctively pushed her to the ground and pulled her body under him and army crawled towards the curb, checked that the coast was clear, then both ran away from the scene

“I turn my head and I see some guy pointing a gun,” Crowder said, adding he pushed his girlfriend to the ground “to make sure she didn’t get hit.”

Many of the comments on the dailymail.co.uk where the story was reported are calling on the couple to get properly married.

 They have been living together unmarried for a while and Brittany recently gave birth to a baby girl for Crowder.  After what happened, she should be rest assured that he is a real man ready to protect her and marry him.

Brittany pregnant with Crowder’s baby

Studies show that marriage confers a lot of benefit such as happiness and stability to a relationship.

Married couples are generally healthier and live longer lives than their single peers, they are also more economically stable and earn much more than the unmarried counterparts, and typically, the economic capacity of a married couple’s household exceeds that of a single-parent household by nearly three times the amount in income.

 Also research show that children do better in a stable home with a married mother and father, and are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier than their peers raised in non-married families and are significantly less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and thoughts of suicide. Read more about the benefits of marriage here

Whatever they decide going forward, Crowder has restored people’s faith that real men still exist. He has been praised as real hero and rightly so, for believe it or not or not, this old notion that real men protect women, is fast disappearing everywhere.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





The Millionaire Who Loves Street Children

27 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Mully family

His father was an alcoholic and often beat his mother. At 6, he knew the pains of hunger, cruelty and indifference and at 17, he ran away from home, walking all the way to Nairobi. There, a kind lady offered him a job. He later worked for a construction company and started his own transport business, with one taxi, which grew to a fleet, then a bus company, a transport company and finally, an insurance company, and by age 40, Charles Mully was a millionaire.

He began living in luxury, enjoying the company of the rich and powerful and forgot his past.

“I associated with big people, rich people,” he said. His home life was also a happy, he and wife; Esther lived with their eight children in a beautiful, large home on a big spread of land near the Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Wake up call

One day, while parking his car, a group of street children approached and asked him for money. Suspecting that they probably would use the money for drugs, he ignored them. When he returned, his car was gone.

Shocked and dismayed, not for his lost car, but because for the first time, he remembered himself as a little abandoned boy fending for himself, with no one to help.

He saw himself in those street children. He realized that they must despise him as strongly as he had despised the rich and powerful who wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. Now he was rich and powerful, and he wasn’t lifting a finger to help.

The excuses the rich gave for not helping him were the same excuses he was not giving for not helping. He was no different. His was selfish, a coward and a lover of comfort. He wept for hours, wrestling with a hard decision that was pressing urgently upon him.

“I saw myself in their eyes,” he said of those desperate children. For the next three years, I saw the children everywhere.”

Finally, he decided. He would sell his businesses and take into his own home the children from the slums.

When he told his family of his decision, they were horrified. They had a comfortable life and didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

His wife was heartbroken by his decision. “People told my wife to take me to the hospital,” he said with a chuckle. “They thought I had lost my mind.”

Yet, she supported his plan to sell off his business and take in street children.  His biological children were alarmed when their father started bringing home children from the streets, their alarm turned to anger when they realized they had to share their rooms.

“Daddy will come home later from walking the streets, smells of streets children filling the house, and some skin disease,” his daughter said.

Soon, their large home had nearly 100 orphans from various tribes, sleeping in every corner of a house. The house was soon too small to carry on and they rented a much bigger house. After taking in hundreds of children the Mully’s needed even bigger house, and so they moved to a dry and deserted land with nothing on it, not even water.

The going was rough at first until, through a miracle, they discovered water, which transformed the land into a fertile land so that they could cultivate their own food and as time went on, they had a sizable farm from which food came to feed the growing number of children.

With God’s grace and hard work, they have transformed this dry patch land into a home where abandoned children can find a true home. Charles called it the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), and he is so happy to give these children, who call him and wife, dad and mom, a true home and loving family.

Today, the MCF has taken more than 23000 abandoned children off the streets and given them education and a future.

In Africa rife with startling inequalities, where a few have so much when millions have nothing, Charles Mully has shown that sharing with the poor is a way to make personal wealth more effective. Just as he built a great business starting with one taxi, he has built a great family starting with one child at a time, a family of every race and color. His efforts have spawned MCF vocational schools and colleges right within the community.  While the boys learn technical skills, like carpentry, electronics and mechanic, the girls are equipped with catering, fashion and dress making. The brighter children go on to college and higher education and many have become medical doctors, engineers and lawyers.

He could have used his hard earned money to build fantastic houses. He could have deposited his money in the bank, earning generous interests. Rather, he chose to lead the way by his example so that others can follow his footsteps helping and stop attributing their misfortune to laziness.

Though Mully isn’t Catholic, he would understand well the teaching of the Church on the universal destination of good, that every person should regard the external things that they legitimately possesses not only as their own destined to benefit not only themselves and their family but also all others.

Feed the people dying of hunger, because if you do not feed them you are killing them,” above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves. (Gaudium et Spes 68)

It is true that not everyone can be as courageous and generous as Charles Mully, but like Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed one.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Davido’s Mom

18 02 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Davido gets it right with his mom, but wrong with women.

Davido at 02 Arena London

When Davido’s January 27, London concert sold out at the 02 Arena, with a crowd of more than 20000 people, the music maestro was so overjoyed that he credited the triumph to the help of his late mother.

Celebrating with guests, the next day, the 26 yrs old broke down in tears, and continued thanking his late mom comparing her to an angel, posting on instagram:

“Only angels can make such Dreams come true … Thank you mom for watching over your baby.”

His mom, Veronica Adeleke, died when he was 10. A woman of rare beauty and a music lover, she had owned a record label in the 90’s which she named after Davido, who must have inherited her love for music, and a sign of strong bond between mother and son that even death is unable to break.

Veronica Adeleke, Davido’s Mom

Much like Catholics understanding of devotion to Mother Mary, he believes that she is very much alive in heaven, helping him each step of the way.

In his mind, love for his mom pushes him to give his best.

Interestingly, this devotion to his mom, rather than offend anyone is in fact making him appear more humane, warm and attractive to his fans especially women, yet his relationship with other women leave much to be desired having fathered two daughters from two different women while in a public relationship with a third.

Considering that he has over 2 million followers on face-book and many more on Instagram, many of them young people, one can see that his loose lifestyle is having bad influence on public morals.

As a role model, he is teaching his young fans to behave like cows, next he will teach them to be content to go the way of goats. He is sending the wrong message to young people to act like miserably beasts who dont know how to control their passions.

Davido whose music career took off with his 2011 hit single “Dami Duro” and gained him a huge student fan base should remember that his mom, apart from her love for music, was a teacher, a university lecturer, who loved academics and taught her students well, and desired that her students do well in their studies.

Davido’s Fans

Without a doubt, she would desired that his music and songs helped his young fans achieve academic excellence, by being a little less salacious, and more focused on themes that encourages learning, extolling the virtues of hard work and family.

Thus it is meet and proper for him to recognize his moms help, but it’s even better for him emulate her love for family, marriage and try to emulate it.

Davido’s Father (Middle) with daughters by his side and his son Davido standing behind with his elder brother.

Moreover, he enjoyed and continues to enjoy the dignity and prestige of being born in a family. His mom met his father Adedeji Adeleke in the 80’s; they fell in love, got married and had four children. Where his parents not properly married, perhaps he would not be who he is today.

Why then would he deny his own children that same dignity? It is unfortunate, unfair and rather irresponsible.

Davido with one of his daughters fathered out of wedlock

One could argue that wealth and popularity has gotten into his head, but his father was a very rich man, and popular, yet there aren’t evidence that his money or fame influenced him to lead a reprobate life, having, and children with other women apart from his mother.

Without a doubt, his parents good example of lifelong love, marriage and great family atmosphere has contributed in no small measures to his own success; his children has a right to expect same from him and would be a dereliction of duty if he fails to do so. In fact one could even say that he is setting his daughters up for failure since studies show that children from stable homes do way better than one from broken homes.

His mother, like all mothers know a great deal about love. Through marriage, God opened a fruitful channel for her love to share in the power God on free and responsible transmitting of life, rather than the wickedly undermining God’s plan because selfish human pleasures.

I am sure, Davido’s mom watching over him so motherly, wanting the best for him, would wish him to stop sowing his wild oats around, settle down, get married and treat his wife and children with more respect. She would wish to tell him that running around and fathering children shamelessly with different women isn’t a very good way to pay her back for all the toil and hard work in bringing him and his 3 siblings up and that he must stop taking advantage of women if he truly loves her.





Why we hurt our kids when we don’t want them to struggle like we did 

19 09 2017

A man, an avid Gardener saw a small Butterfly laying few eggs in one of the pots in his garden.
Since that day he looked at the egg with ever growing curiosity and eagerness.

The egg started to move and shake a little.

He was excited to see a new life coming up right in front of his eyes.

He spent hours watching the egg now. 

The egg started to expand and develop cracks.

A tiny head and antennae started to come out ever so slowly. 

The man’s excitement knew no bounds.

He got his magnifying glasses and sat to watch the life and body of a pupa coming out.

He saw the struggle of the tender pupa and couldn’t resist his urge to “HELP”.

He went and got a tender forceps to help the egg break, a nip here, a nip there to help the struggling life and the pupa was out. 

The man was ecstatic!

He waited now each day for the pupa to grow and fly like a beautiful butterfly, but alas that never happened.

The larvae pupa had a oversized head and kept crawling along in the pot for the full 4 weeks and died!

Depressed the man went to his botanist friend and asked the reason. 

His friend told him the struggle to break out of the egg helps the larvae to send blood to its wings and the head push helps the head to remain small so that the tender wings can support it thru its 4 week life cycle. 

In his eagerness to help, the man destroyed a beautiful life!

Struggles help all of us, that’s why a bit of effort goes a long way to develop our strength to face life’s difficulties!

As parents, we sometimes go too far trying to help and protect our kids from life’s harsh realities and disappointments.

We don’t want our kids to struggle like we did.

Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kindlon says that over-protected children are more likely to struggle in relationships and 

with challenges.
We’re sending our kids the message that they’re not capable of helping themselves.
To quote clinical psychologist,

Dr. Wendy ‘s Moral:

“It  is  Our Job  to  prepare  Our  Children  for  the  Road & Not  prepare  the  Road for  Our Children”





Acid attack victim woman to kill herself but meets Pope Francis 

12 09 2017

​​

For Consuela Cordoba, life had no meaning anymore. Hit by the depth of human wickedness, she had lost faith in humanity and wanted out. She was going to kill herself and had set a date with death and an appointment with a doctor who will kill her (Euthanasia is legal in Columbia)

Once a pretty woman, with chocolate colored skin and gleaming white teeth accentuated her dimpled smile. All that changed in 2000 when her ex-boyfriend poured acid all over her. He was arrested and spent just one month in jail, but for Consuela, nothing would ever be the same again.

She will spend not one month, but the rest of her life breathing through straws tubes sticking out from what was once her pretty nose. Her face or what remains of it must be covered at all time with skin mask or it would desiccate on contact with sunlight. Her life was over. 

After countless surgeries, she finally succumbed to despair. Wickedness has triumphed and evil has had his way with her. There was nothing. She would help her ex-boyfriend finish what he started so that his complete and utter triumph over her would be final. She will end her life and that was that. She paid the required fees to the death doctor and a date was fixed. 

But just before the date arrived, Pope Francis visited Columbia and met with her. 

She was one of the crowds but Pope Francis spotted her and asked them to bring her to speak with him. 

When she stood before him,  she made a simple request, ‘Papa, give me permission to end my life for I am tired of this world”

Pope Francis crushed her into his arms and looked deep into her eyes and said, ‘No”

“Why,” she asked him, weeping and shaking from the magnitude of love she be-held in his eyes

“Because you are very beautiful and I love you”.
That was it.

That moment was all it took.  She changed her mind. 

“I will never kill myself,” she swore to herself.

 Rather, she will live on, determined to be a witness and an inspiration for millions of other people, victims of wickedness. She will give hope to the raped, to those suffering violations of any kind. She will turn the great evil done to her into something good. In her suffering she will share in the sufferings of abandoned children, of mutilated girls and of starving the world over. She will offer her pain in expiation for the crimes of war and injustice throughout the world. In-short her agony will pay the ransom for girls kidnapped and sold into prostitution and slavery in Europe and all over the globe. Her beauty so cruelly and brutally erased she will accept, in exchange and in atonement for those beautiful women who misuse their beauty in pornographic ways to ravage the hearts of men lead and lead them into sin and addiction ruining their families. For every ounce of diabolical hatred with which her ex-boyfriend poured acid on her, she would pour out all her love for every creature for the rest of her life.





​The world is lying to us and to our children,  says Dr. Hahn

3 09 2017

“Just recently I was listening to this expert therapist on radio,  Dr. Ruth telling a 15yrs old boy who had called in to tell her that he was having sex with his 14 yrs old girlfriend and all she could ask him was, ‘is it safe sex? ‘” 
” I felt like shouting,’ Woman,  tell him to save sex for marriage!!'”

“When he told her that he was using some kind of contraception and she crackled , ” Oh that is so good ‘” 

 “I was like, ‘Woman,  he is a 15yrs old fornicating with a 14 yrs old.” 

“When I was 15,” continued Dr Hahn, “Canbery soup was  good,  not fornication!”   

“When he told her, he was using contraception,  she said that was great!”

” No it’s not, “said Dr. Hahn,  “When I was 14, flakes were great,  not contracepted fornication.” 

“Our kids are being lied to.  Sex isn’t good,  it’s not even great.  IT IS SACRED.” 

With these and many more stories,  Dr. Scott Hahn inspires  us  on how to  build  successful families. 


 “World Congress of Families, 2015”





10 Lessons on How  to Save  Your Family 

1 09 2017


Opening our eyes, we can see that the family in serious crisis. This being the case, as followers of Christ and defenders of the Domestic Church—the family—let us launch a concerted effort to save our children, save our young, by the means of saving our families. Pessimism, cynicism, and skepticism must not reign in our hearts, but rather confidence and hope that we can help construct a better world by striving for better, more holy families.

Therefore, we would like to offer Ten Vitamins to Vitalize Families. By this we mean to offer ten concrete suggestions to help all of us purify, improve, and perfect our families. Saint Pope John Paul II expressed this truth so clearly: The family is the basic building block of society… and… As the family goes, so goes the society. Hopefully these suggestions will truly make a difference in your struggle to form a good family. Never forget the consoling words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary that we read in the Annunciation: Nothing is impossible with God.

1. Family Prayer

One of the primary reasons for fights, quarrels, bitterness, coldness, and eventually separations is the lack of prayer in the family. What oxygen is to the lungs, so prayer is to the soul. Prayer should be at the very center and heart of family life. Remember the words of the famous Rosary-priest, Father Patrick Peyton: The family that prays together, stays together.

2. The Father as Head of the Family

When possible, the Father must be the head of the family; the Mother should be the very heart of the family. A family without a head is a Frankenstein; a family without a heart is dead. May the Father assume the role of Spiritual Leader of the family! If you like, the Father should be the priest of the family. This means, the Father should say Yes to life. The Father should love his wife and children. The Father should be the spiritual leader of the family and this means the leader in the prayer life of his family. The most splendid example for the Father should be the best of Fathers, good Saint Joseph!

3. Forgiveness and Mercy

In many families coldness, indifference, and even bitterness permeate the entire family fabric. Why? One of the reasons is due to a lack of forgiveness. Family members must be merciful and forgive, and not just seven times, but seventy times seven times—meaning always! If we want to be forgiven, then we must forgive from our hearts. The Our Father commands this: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

4. Winning and Victorious Words
The British poet, Alexander Pope penned these words: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Family members, cultivating true humility of heart, must learn to say these words: “I am sorry…” and equally important: “I forgive you!” These words said often and with humility of heart can save families!

5. Servant Attitude

Jesus, Son of the living God, washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper. He Himself stated: “The Son of man has not come to be served, but to serve and give His life in ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28) Each and every individual family member must not look to be served, but to be always ready to serve the other members in the family. Love and service are really synonymous.

6. Express Graditude

Even though it is small, and at times, seems to be almost insignificant, these two words can add a condiment to the family recipe, and these two words are Thank you! Saint Ignatius of Loyola asserted: “ The essence of sin is ingratitude.” Cultivate in your families an attitude of gratitude! In sum, what do we have that we have not received from God? Only one thing: our sins—these we chose for ourselves. God loves a humble and grateful heart!
7. Take a Break From Gadgets

A key time in family life must be the meal time. Normally it is when the family connects, comes together to share experiences, to spend time with each other, to bond with each other, in a word, to grow in love with each other. Our Lord’s Last Commandment was: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:34)
There is a comic strip with a family all sitting together on the same big couch. The Father is watching TV, the mother is on her tablet, the son is playing a computer game on his laptop, the teenage daughter is sending a text from her phone, and the family dog has earphones on. We laugh at this, but we also weep, because we can see our own family in this comic strip. Therefore remember, at meal times—even though it might be a mere 20-25 minutes—no phones, tablet, computer, radio nor TV. Each person has infinite value, and their soul being immortal will live forever; the computer screen and all other electronic gadgets will come and go and be disposed of!
8. Learn to Listen

How hard the art of listening really is, especially with family members. We all tend to be in the fast-lane, frenetically rushing from one activity to the next like a chicken with it’s head cut off. As such we fail to listen attentively when a family member wants to talk to us. I invite all to seek out Harry Chapin’s song Cats in the Cradle. In short, this song woefully mourns the sad fact that Fathers never really connect with their children because they are simply too busy! Son, I will listen to you, but later… Later never becomes a reality; then it is beyond his grasp!

9. Celebration

The famous Catholic author Jean Vanier, who founded a group working most especially with the handicapped, and with forming families with handicapped members, made this discovery: families are called to celebrate!

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and many more—all are festive and exuberant moments of celebration in the context of the family. We should celebrate the other in the family —especially their birthday, Baptism, and saint day! Therefore, if you want to inject a good dose of joy in your family, get in the habit of celebrating! Saint Paul exhorts us in these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again: Rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4)
10. Marian Consecration

In my retreats, I have often presented an efficacious means to arrive at the very Heart of Jesus. This is done by spending about a month meditating upon the 20 mysteries of the Rosary, with a helpful commentary for each, followed by a meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, each with a commentary. At the end of these days of preparation for consecration, all the members of the family will formally consecrate themselves, individually and as a family, to Jesus through Mary. Our Lady will then be at the very heart of their family. Our Lady will produce abundant fruits in their family: peace, joy, love, happiness, sharing, understanding, patience, purity, meekness, kindness. In a word, by consecration to Jesus through Mary, families will become sanctuaries of true holiness as Jesus commanded: Be holy, as your heavenly Father is holy. (Mt 5:48)

You can lead your family in such a retreat with my guide, Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary.

I am convinced that if families truly allow Mary to take root in the center of their lives, she will help their lives be turned from water into wine, and will truly be able to live out the greatest commandment of Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you! (Jn 13:34) I hope and pray that all will take these Ten Vitamins to Vitalize and form vibrant and holy families!

by Fr. Ed Broom, catholicexchange.com August 29, 2017








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