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Mon, Sept. 23

Column: Granddaddyisms for a teenager

Here is another set of Granddaddyisms I shared with our eldest grandson when he was a teenager.

• When I was younger than you I spent some precious Saturday mornings at the William Nelson Gallery in Kansas City. My mother thought I should gain an appreciation of art. I was, to say the least, a reluctant participant. I would have strongly preferred to have been out playing with my friends. I was also exposed to the KC Symphony concerts to gain an appreciation of symphonic music and to museums to see antiquities and "old stuff." I'm sure I feigned disinterest and was likely vocal on expressing my antipathy toward these intrusions on my weekend play-time. But, as my mother clearly intended, over time I developed an appreciation of good art, good music and our culture. For most of my adult years, I have attended symphonic concerts and been a frequent visitor to art galleries and museums. We have, as you know, a sizable collection of art in our home.

The point of this, Dylan, is to urge you to develop an interest in the arts and in studying the culture of which you are a part. Seek out galleries and museums when you travel. Attend a symphonic concert and see how you like it. Whatever effort you make will make your old Granddad very, very happy.

• A cynical professor friend of mine once described college faculty as people who can easily dismantle temples but are incapable of building outhouses. Being a former academic, I must, in good faith, challenge my old friend's characterization. But his point is worth noting. It is easy to criticize and tear things down; tougher to create and build. Be a creator, Dylan.

• LIve as if the world is watching you and you may become the unhappiest person on the funny farm.

• When someone disagrees with you, don't feel that you must immediately revise what you said. To do so may be a sign of insecurity. You may be agreeing because you want the person to like you. And if the other person wants you to agree with him, it may be a sign of his insecurity. Speak your piece, let the chips fall, then later assess your feelings about the communication.

• Sometime in the future I hope you will take the time to study the work of a few of the better theologians. Next time we are together, ask me for some recommendations. I'll be happy to provide you a few names and share with you several of their publications. But, until then, here is a statement from one of my favorites (Reinhold Niebuhr).

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.

Hold onto this one, Dylan. It's a keeper!

Dr. Ron Barnes is a retired educator and businessman.

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