Claire Speaks: Hometown Celebrities

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I am always grateful when our 14-year old agrees to be the guest writer for our blog. Here is what’s on her heart this week:

Who are your favorite celebrities? I know I can think of Tom Hiddleston, Fred Astaire, Bill Gaither, Rod Stewart, Chris Evans, Barry Manilow, Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson – just to name a few. But did you ever think of celebrities as being the people you speak to every single day?

Yes! I know it sounds crazy, but you go to school with celebrities. You might even live with some right in your very own home! No, no, no, I don’t mean that Channing Tatum is your brother or something – but think about this, who are those people in your life that have a positive influence on you and just make you smile by the seemingly simple things they do all the time.

These are your Hometown Celebrities and mine just so happen to be two of my very greatest friends on earth.

My first example is my astonishing Allison. Although she will often shy away from telling you this, she is the most amazing vocalist and actress I have ever witnessed on stage. She is very humble but is quick to compliment you and tell you how amazing you are anytime you need it. She is truly a celebrity in my eyes because of these traits.

Another great example is my spectacular Sean. He is a celebrity to me for a number of reasons. Not only is he just a wonderful person, Sean has some pretty amazing talents that are different from anyone else I’ve ever met. He is on his way to getting his pilot’s license, is an excellent Irish dancer, and is the most outstanding writer in our school. He is also always very gentlemanly and never leaves a moment without filling it with laughter or a smile first.

I could really go on forever, listing out my real celebrities. The countless pastors, family members, teachers, and friends who have filled my life with happiness and song. But now I must let you go and discover your own heroes, so I will leave you with this thought: Do not be swayed by what the world tells you about celebrities and fame. It often says ‘You must live in this certain place’, ‘You must look like this’, and ‘You must do these things’ to acquire those titles. But I have a secret for you: that’s just not true!

You can be a celebrity just by being kind and a good example right in your town, school, and home. You don’t even need a special talent! You will always be admired by someone in the world if you are yourself and not afraid to be it. So look around! Find your celebrities and tell them that they’ve made a difference in your life. You’ll soon find that sometimes, Hollywood can be just around the corner.

451 degrees of Reading

 Claire 451

Fahrenheit 451 – do you remember it?  When Ray Bradbury wrote this stark view of a world in which books are illegal and firemen are sent to burn them and the homes they are found in, I wonder if he could realize the impact his book would have upon teenagers in 2013.

Both of my older daughters (whose English teachers have been the cream of the crop) read it as part of their 8th grade reading lists. It was an interesting book and its subject was immediately interesting to them because they are avid readers and lovers of books, but both of them began to realize with this famous work that reading some of these classics are a bit like riding a roller coaster. There are interesting parts and great paragraphs and eerie scenes, but also slow parts and confusing moments and difficult passages.

Because of the ups and downs in this particular book and sometimes feeling like they were having to force themselves to keep reading, I often found myself trying to encourage them to keep reading until the story could capture their attention again.

And then something great happened last evening! We were at a school event and our middle daughter’s wonderful 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Adam, stopped to say hello. We were talking about the common struggle of reading these classic works of literature and our daughter told her about the difficult and sometime-drudgery of reading Fahrenheit 451.

Mrs. Adam said, “The reason to keep reading such things is so you can be ready for literary allusions in the future. The cultural impact of these books will always find some place in an interesting conversation. By reading them now, you will be ready for such things and you can think right along with the best of them.”

No wonder this is a person we define as a great teacher.  She could see beyond the day-to-day (or page-to-page) and into the bigger picture.  She was reminding us that there are important aspects of being a reader that only time will tell.  She was teaching.