Gospel Music: The Happy Song That Grew From Suffering

We’ve all heard of the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. From the 1500-1800’s, more than 12 million souls were captured, torn from their families and homes, and sold across the sea – with almost 2 million dying before they even landed. Those that made it were treated as sub-human property by their new masters, to be used and tossed aside at will.

Of all the people in the world, these are the last you’d expect to hear singing. Yet sing they did, with such passion and rhythm and hope that they eventually created a whole new kind of music: Gospel, a genre still popular enough today that I recently attended a concert at the Cork City Hall along with hundreds of other people who all paid €40 for the privilege of hearing the Blind Boys Of Alabama sing about Jesus in their toe tapping style. Continue reading Gospel Music: The Happy Song That Grew From Suffering

Happy Chores

It’s no secret that two of the most dreaded words in the usually carefree world of childhood are Homework and Chores. In the long run, we know that homework actually helps our children become successful adults. We also know that we’ll get in trouble with the school if we don’t enforce it. So homework is a given.

But chores are different: As parents, chores are our decision. On the surface, the choice seems obvious: if we want a conflict free home full of happy people, we’ll forget about the idea as quickly as possible. The children don’t like it, and it’s not always helpful for parents who have to remind, supervise, and sometimes redo the whole job anyway. Continue reading Happy Chores

The Song Of Streams

Now everybody’s looking up, the sky is in their dreams,
All climbing ladders, stairs and walls – a little more, it seems,
And we will satisfy our thirst among the mountain streams

But mountain streams flow opposite to all we think we know
Their joy is not to climb the heights – they hurry to be low
Through rocks and mud and tangled roots, and laughing as they go

Their Maker, pleased to do the same, came down from dizzy height
To deepest valley far below to save us in our plight
To lift us up, the King went down, and it was His delight!

Oh, let me learn the song of streams, that joyful, laughing sound,
The pathway of my Maker on a ladder upside-down,
And so to lift up others – wherever they are found