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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The History of Black History Month


Black History Month (BHM) is an observance of the history of the African diaspora in a number of countries outside of Africa. Since 1976, it is observed annually in the United States and Canada and the Caribbean in February, while in the United Kingdom it is observed in October. In the U.S., Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month.

Black History Month was begun as Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. His goal was to educate the American people about African-American history,focusing on African Americans’ cultural backgrounds and reputable achievements.
When Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week, his purpose was for the history of African Americans to be considered a more significant part of American history as a whole. According to historian John Hope Franklin, Woodson “continued to express hope that Negro History Week would outlive its usefulness.” The purpose of Black History Month is to promote awareness of African American history to the general public. It is argued, that despite the opinions of several critics, Black History Month has several advantages, and to this extent, Woodson’s hopes were realized. During Black History Month, African American history is taught to thousands of students at the elementary, high school and university levels respectively predominately in North America and Europe. African American history is an extremely important part of American history, and it is almost impossible to find an American History textbook that does not include passages about black history.
Black History Month sparks an annual debate about the continued usefulness of a month dedicated to the history of one race. Several journalists argue the advantages and disadvantages of emphasizing one month of the year to promote African American History.
It is seldom argued that America’s youth does not at least somewhat benefit from having an annual Black History month, however, several critics argue that the adult population now perceives the month of February from a different angle. One question that has been raised is in regard to why the month chosen to celebrate Black history is February, which is the shortest month of the year.

It is argued that Black History Month has become a “ready-made excuse to ignore African American history from the other 11 months of the year,” thus promoting racism. Journalists argue that by dedicating a single month of the year to black history, it provokes a tendency for people to assume that black history is separate from American history. Joseph Wayne states that “one month out of every year, Americans are given permission to commemorate the achievements of black people. This rather condescending view fails to acknowledge that a people and a country’s past should be nurtured and revered; instead, at this time, the past of black Americans is handled in an expedient and cavalier fashion denigrating the very people it seeks to honour.” Prominent African-American Morgan Freeman has publicly condemned BHM, asking "why would you relegate my history to a single month?" 

Other critics claim that Black History Month has become a marketing or commercialization month, providing the opportunity to advertise and sell more goods. Owen Alik Shahadah states that "Black History Month without a memory of Africa is moot" in reference to the commercialization of the month which he claims focuses more on Black celebrities rather than ancient African history. Society is missing the “essence of Carter G. Woodson’s dream” and in many cases companies are using the commemoration month to their advantage. Black History Month has somewhat lost its significance among American society as the month of February is also American Heart Month, International Boost Self-Esteem Month, International Embroidery Month, Library Lovers Month, National Cherry Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Snack Food Month, and Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month.

It can also be argued that Black History Month has now been diversified into the idea of promoting multiculturalism within communities, rather than promoting awareness of the history of African Americans. Whether or not this statement is true, Carter G. Woodson believed that black history was a missing segment in the minds of most American Historians of his day.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

10 Steps to Help You Manage Change Successfully


Jacqueline Champier

Here is an excerpt from a presentation she made to students at the Mandeville campus of Northern Caribbean University where she outlined several steps to help in managing change successfully. She made the delivery at the institution’s Professional Enhancement Training (PET) Seminar on January 17. The seminar, the first in the series for the semester, is an initiative of the institution’s Counselling & Psychological Services Centre (CPSC). 
 
It was William Pollard who said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” He said that “those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” 
According to the Arnold Bennett Calendar, any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. 
Let me share with you, ten practical steps for managing change successfully. 
Step 1 - Trust in the Divine 
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy waysacknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5). There are many spiritual activities on-campus so don’t be shy; get involved. The closer you get to Jesus, the easier it will be for you. Trust in God, He has begun a good work in you and He will see you through. 

Step 2 - Take it slow 
Not everyone adapts to change at the same level or at the same time. Identify other slow-to-change individuals and work towards nurturing change. Do not compare yourself to other people; you are not the same. Remember that the race is not for the swift but for those who will endure to the end. 
Step 3 - Understand why you need to change 
In managing change successfully, you must be determined to reach your goal. You must understand exactly why you need to change. Change is necessary if you are to earn your degree. You can’t afford to take your eyes off the prize. It has been said that the only way to get a degree is to want it bad enough to keep working for it.     

Step 4 - Understand Yourself 
 You need to understand yourself, for it you don’t, no one else will. You must have an understanding of your body and at what level you can operate at your maximum. In other words, can you study at nights, or do you study better in the morning. Do you do better in groups or do you study better by yourself? What about your Christian values, you must know the things that you can do and the things that you will not do. Put these things down in writing and read them over and over; you must know yourself.

Step 5 - Be optimistic 
Being an optimist is more than looking on the bright side (though that helps). It’s a way of viewing the world where you maximize your strengths and accomplishments, and minimize your weaknesses and setbacks. Developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient, it will help you to manage change successfully.

Step 6 - Develop the right attitude 
 Learn to view life’s difficulties as challenges and respond accordingly with action, rather than with fear, self-pity, blame or a "victim mentality." While life can be very challenging, an important step in becoming successful is to develop positive self-talk and to remind yourself that you are strong and can grow stronger and wiser as you handle life’s changes.

Step 7 - Develop a supportive Network 
You are going to need friends, never feel that you are the king of the jungle - no man is an island, no man stands. While we ultimately face our own challenges, a supportive friend or group of friends can help lighten the load. Those with strong networks of social support tend to stay healthier and happier throughout life, and tend to cope well under stress. Conversely, those with little support may find themselves more vulnerable, and those with conflicted and unsupportive relationships tend to fare even worse.

Step 8 - Maintain your sense of humour 
Learn to laugh. The Bible says a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Do not become stiff-necked because you are enrolled in a university. Also, do not be too hard on yourself; embrace change and revel in those moments that bring laughter and joy.

Step 9 – Exercise 
While you go through changes, you will experience some amount of stress, the best medicine to relieve stress, is exercise. Visit the Fitness Centre at Northern Caribbean University or your local gym to sign-up for a fitness programme.

Step 10 – Persistence
Be persistent, there will be naysayers, those telling you that you cannot make it, and others may even tell you to throw in the towel, but do not give up. “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wing like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.     
Twelve years ago when Counselling Psychologist, Mrs. Jacqueline Champier arrived at Robinson Hall on Northern Caribbean University’s Mandeville Campus, she was a “nervous wreck”. BUT TODAY, SHE IS NOT THE SAME, WITH THE HELP OF GOD SHE HAS MANAGED THE CHANGE SUCCESSFULLY. GO YE THEREFORE AND DO LIKEWISE.
Mrs. Jacqueline Champier is a graduate of Northern Caribbean University and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University. Currently, she serves her alma mater as an instructor in the Department of Behavioural Sciences.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I Almost Witnessed a Killing


“…He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isa. 53: 7      
We were in the middle of our morning devotions, and were reading Isaiah 53, when suddenly we heard, “Si di bwoy deh (there he is)!” 
“Him ave a gun (he has a gun)!”
“Tim, si di bwoy deh (Tim there he his)!”
We hurried to our kitchen window and discreetly peeked through to see what was happening.  We saw two or three young men on our apartment compound, and they were throwing stones at another man, walking across an open lot of land, gun in hand, and heading to the relative cover of some nearby bushes.
“Hey bwoy a mauk you face, (Hey you, I know what you look like),” shouted one of the pursuers, keeping a safe distance from the gunman.
It wasn’t long before the gunman was apparently cornered, and they started closing in on him.  Then we heard two rounds of shots fired from a gun.  We couldn’t tell whether it was the gunman that fired, or someone else.  It seemed to have come from an automatic weapon, but the gunman was carrying what looked like a 38mm pistol.
My heart sunk as I thought that they may have killed him.  Or worse, that possibly he may have killed someone.  I’d never witnessed, or heard someone being killed before, and I was in no hurry to change that reality.  I silently prayed that it wasn’t so, either way.  And yet, I wish the world would be rid of all gunmen, especially those that use their weapon to commit crimes of theft and murder. My wife suggested that I call the Police and so I did.  But they had already gotten a call and were on their way to the scene.  We heard someone exclaimed, as if she saw a horrible sight.  She then bellowed above the din, “Somebody call the Police! Call the Police.”
Later I heard that the mob did deliver some injuries to the gunman, who had apparently robbed a lady in the community.
Amidst all the distraction of the morning we tried to complete our devotions, but we couldn’t help reflecting what it must have been like for Jesus, who was the victim of a mob that was hungry for blood.  The gunman may have in some way merited the treatment he got, but Jesus was innocent.  He suffered it all for us; for our sins. “…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Vs. 5.
I love Jesus.  I’m awed by the fact that he was willing to endure such an extreme horror for me.  He did it, even though He was scared and wished there was some other way to save me.  But when he realized that there was no other way, He said, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Mark 14:36
It is this Jesus that we worship and preach at Northern Caribbean University.  If you would like to make a career of preaching about this Jesus, then call the School of Religion and Theology at 1-876-963-7407/7415.  Or may you just want to understand how to integrate Jesus in your personal and professional life then call our Office of Admissions & Enrolment Management Tel. 1-876-963-7250/7400, Fax: 1-876-962-7500.  Or visit our website at  http://www.ncu.edu.jm/  .

Do I have to Stay with Him?


“Didn’t I tell not to wear those slippers again?” With knitted forehead, and reddened cheeks and ears, Paul was desperately trying to hide the fact that they were facing hard times.

“Well, it’s all that I have… dear” retorted Michelle, with a taint of sarcasm and being tired of the pretences and the having to keep up with the Jones.

Paul and Michelle have been married for 11 years now, and they had certainly seen better financial days.  Michelle was from a well to do (very well to do) family.  Michelle loved Paul and was willing to work with him.  She was prepared to deny herself the life she was accustomed to if only she could be with him.  Paul, on the other hand, came up on the rough side, and he wanted more.  He was driven and hardworking, and had carved out a decent standard of living without Michelle’s family’s help.  He insisted on them accepting nothing from her family – barely even a gift.  But as happened to a good many persons all his financial accumulations were swallowed by a financial institution that had run a wreck.  Lured by the magnetism of a super high interest rate, he aborted conventional knowledge and placed all his eggs into one basket.  Well, the basket toppled and he lost all his funds and was now barely meeting his monthly mortgage payments.  He was running out of friends to borrow from, because by now he had owed virtually all of them and couldn’t go back for more.

The usually kind and affectionate Paul had changed.  He had become impatient, and snapped at anything…everything.  A few times before, in fact, he had raised his hand at Michelle, but had managed to pull back before he went too far.  But this time it he lost all restraint….


Two months later Michelle decided to allow Paul to visit her at her parents’ house.  He came, flowers in hand, teary eyed and remorseful.  He desperately begged her forgiveness, and told her that he was really looking forward to her coming home.
“I’m not coming home.  I’m staying with my parents,” Michelle informed Paul. 
“But I thought you had forgiven me,” Paul pleaded, puzzled at the twist things were taking.
“Oh I have,” Michelle responded.  “But I’m not convinced that you have changed sufficiently.  I know you miss me, and I miss you too.  But you hurt me Paul; in so many ways.  I can’t risk opening up myself to you like this again – not while I’m not convinced that you have changed.

Forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation – what have they in common?

Forgiveness is an action taken by the offended to let go of the hurt, the hate and resentment that may be experienced by one who has been done an evil deed.  This action is mutually exclusive to the act of repentance on the part of the offender.

Repentance is an action taken by the offender, who in a spirit of true remorse turns away from a behavioural trait that would produce division, hurt, hate, and resentment in an offended person.  Repentance is not just being sorry; it is being changed as well.  This too is a mutually exclusive to the act of forgiveness on the part of the offended.

In context, reconciliation is the act of restoring relations between two or more persons who have been party (whether as the offender or the offended) to the committing of an offence that has produced division, hurt, hate, and resentment.  If reconciliation is to work however it requires all parties to be involved: the offended will have to forgive while the offender will have to repent.  So then reconciliation is a product of forgiveness and repentance. 

It is not surprising that while Jesus was on the cross and while Stephen was being stoned they both pleaded for the forgiveness of the offenders, even as they executed their diabolical intentions.  Forgiveness does not require repentance to be authentic; it only makes reconciliation possible once the offender repents.
If you have been offended, learn to forgive; if you have offended, then repent
Thereby is reconciliation made possible, because each of these is a requirement

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Success is a Process

We do not get to the top with one leap, to the finish line with one stride, to the end of the story with one word – all of life’s episodes and life itself is a journey.
To create a successful life we must design and enact successful episodes.  These episodes are intertwined; for, living is a complex and often complicated thing.  However, we need to identify each thread in the warp and woof of the fabric of our lives and ensure the finest quality thread is used. Additionally, we must weave it into the fabric by design. Life is not best lived by accident.
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"You cannot change the world, but you can present the world with one improved person – yourself"
Designing life is the effort to design success.  Designing life is designing the journey.  Success is the journey and its destination.  Life then is a series of successes, episodes, threads.
Elucidating the elements in the success process and setting them forth in the sequence that leads to the desired destination is the most important activity in life.
The success process consistently applied in shaping each exposure or thread in one’s life is the art and science of living successfully.  If this process is consistently applied, the book will be written, the race will be won, the fine dish created, the software designed, the target set reached, the medal won, the friendship enjoyed, the job well done, the marriage a blast, the parenting a dream, the hobby a thrill, the conversation convivial, the prayer a pact between heaven and earth with nothing held back, each painting a masterpiece, every score a slam – all successes are similar, the process is one.
So, what are the elements of this process?  Well, let me delay you momentarily by reminding you why learning and applying the elements of this process is so important. As Jim Rohn puts it: Where will your goals take you?
“One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life, and the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams.” 
Furthermore, we should write down our plans.  As Mark Victor Hanson puts it “By recording your goals and dreams on paper – you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be.” 
Remember, as one writer puts it “You cannot change the world, but you can present the world with one improved person – yourself. You can work on yourself to make yourself into the kind of person you admire or respect.  You can become a role model and set a standard for others.  You can control and discipline yourself to resist acting or speaking in a negative way toward anyone for any reason.  You can insist upon always doing things the loving way rather than the hurtful way.  By doing these things each day, you can continue on your journey toward becoming an exceptional human being.”
So, to reach your goals, to achieve your dreams, do follow these steps on the road to success.
The Success Process
1. Have clear vision of your goal(s) (what do you want to achieve?).
2. Learn what has been attempted and achieved before.
3. Study the nature of the outcomes, vis-à-vis the means
4. Determine innovations needed to reach the goals.
5. Come to know the ‘thoughts’ and mindset that shaped past performances.
6. Identify the means used to get to those thoughts and their results.
7. Manage time and action in pursuit of your dreams.
8. Detail the steps/items to be done (and ramp up quality).
9. Store solutions prior to time of application.
10. Outline the future (graph it) to be achieved based on the prepared stock of solutions.
11. Stay committed to the above process.

Do enjoy the process: make the most of each moment.

Create SMART Goals


Repetition deepens impression - it is often said - ‘but too much causes confusion.’ Within the world of sports, fanatics and pundits alike will stress that goals win matches. You may too have heard the clich√© – ‘if you fail to plan than you plan to fail.’ But I'm sure you have heard the word "goal" more often than you can remember. You have heard this term used in hockey, soccer, and football. You've heard it used in national programs and policies, fund raising, politics, and even in peace keeping missions. This concept though may not just remain in the realms of sports and culture, but find usefulness in the lifespan of an individual.
Most dictionaries define the term ‘goal’ as: a point marking an end; the object of effort; or ambition; a destination. One author, however, defines it in this fashion: "A specific measureable occurrence, object or accomplishment that he would like to achieve, or obtain in the future. One where he develops concrete action plans to take him to a particular point and what he wants in the future." Amidst all of that, what does a ‘goal’ really mean in your own life?
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Well, for the typical adolescent, their goals are to complete high school, get a university degree, land a good job or start their own business, have a wonderful family with 2.3 children, a dream house, prestige vehicle, and enjoy regular holidays and vacation. And then the alarm goes off and it’s time to get out of bed and start another day.
A typical day for a student at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) often flows with rich blessing, starting off with prayer – with a goal. When a student allows the Master of the World to be the Master of the mind, then the first goal of accomplishing mission impossible will be unlocked. Each student is charged to be prepared not just for this world, but for the world to come. NCU prepares the whole man. A ‘perfect’ social being without intellect is flawed, or a ‘perfect’ intellectual person spiritual adhesive is just as flawed. And yes a spiritual being without a social or mental connection is equally flawed.   
Each student is prepared with a mindset that life at NCU ought to remain in the hands of the Creator. Each is a uniquely, magnificently created being with a mind that can only be understood by He in whose image each is made. The paradigms within the realm of tertiary education are constantly evolving. Acquisition of a liberal arts education remains the most desired goal to be achieved, with its holistic transformational approach to equipping graduates for service within this very dynamic world.
Look at large corporations, for example, they do not let their business just unfold as it may. Corporations set strategic goals. They identify where they want to be. They develop detailed action plans that identify the steps that each department needs to implement and accomplished to help get them there. They set time frames to accomplish each component of their action plan, usually on a yearly basis.
On the contrary though, if you were to investigate unsuccessful corporations, you would find, in many cases, that their planning process was incomplete. When corporations become complacent, when they continue to conduct business without planning for the future, you can be assured that their longevity and survival is threatened. Why? Because their competitors, who plan for the future, will soon overtake and surpass them thus contributing to their eventual failure.
You can set a direct course for your future by defining your goals, or you can take the opposite position and just let the future haphazardly unfold by itself. It is my prediction, however, that those who set goals, along with a clear and precise action plan, will accomplish more in their lifetime than those who are willing to let life progress with little focus, and misdirected action.  
Create SMART goals – make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Dream big, reach for the skies, but in all of this goal rush, reach for the Keeper of the goals. According to a former warrior, turned crusader in talking about the art of goal oriented mission, ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 1-2).’ 

The Art of Success

The Art of Succeeding is a beautiful thing.  It is as elegant as an equation in mathematics like Euler's identity; that is, e^(i*pi) +1 = 0. The way it is proven is also something to marvel at too, since it comes directly out of complex analysis. The ‘Art’ is as admirable as the fine literary piece ‘A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever’ by John Keats,
  
A thing of beauty is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
(An Extract)
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A proud Aubyn Green (right), is conferred with the Bachelor of Science degree during the institution's August 2011 Commencement Exercises from Interim President of Northern Caribbean University, Dr. Daniel Fider (left). Green studied at the university’s Montego Bay Campus and earned a 3.99 GPA to graduate as the university’s top scholar
So too is it comparable to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, for the art of success lays itself bare to the persistent and perceptive mind. To taste the honey of success you must have a clear vision of your goal: know exactly what it is that you hope to achieve. Next, learn fully what has been attempted and achieved before. Study the anatomy of your outcomes or results in relation to the actions used to produce them. Once you know exactly which actions cause specific effects, then you can now determine what needs to be done to arrive at the results you want.
The ‘Art’ now requires more precision or as Keats may put it,
Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
(Second extract from Keats’ poem)

Now discover the elements and structure of the ‘mind’ that shaped your results.   Inspect the strategies or the absence of them that moulded the outcomes. Then calculate what needs to be done per minute, per hour, per day, per week, per month, per year.  Script the things by name that you will do along the way during the minutes, hours, days, and weeks to come. Squirrel away ‘packets of nuts’ long before they are needed. It is this staying ahead of the curve, creating products and services for the future that guarantees success. Avoid playing catch up; it’s a recipe for undue stress, last minute actions, and inevitable blunders and mistakes. Nonetheless, be alive to tactical shifts, moments of insight, and innovations.     
Plot the bar graphs of the success results you expect long before they are achieved. Do this for years to come (at least five years).
The ultimate element in the ‘Art of Success’ is a joyful commitment to the plans. Hard work, creativity, and high levels of motivation must be saturated with pure pleasure. Yes, a thing of beauty is a joy forever, for Keats’ writes:
Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

Let Northern Caribbean University help you master the art of success!
Contact the Office of Admissions & Enrolment Management Tel. 1-876-963-7250/7400, Fax: 1-876-962-7500, email: admissions@ncu.edu.jm.  Click here to Apply online!

Make a NEWSTART at NCU

A prescription for a balanced education includes opportunities for achieving excellent health. Make a NEWSTART in your lifestyle and discover the difference a balanced education makes in your life at NCU.






Here are eight ingredients you will need for a healthier you: 
Proper Nutrition - POWER UP WITH HEALTY FOOD:   Base your diet on nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and beans. The essential nutrients are Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins & Minerals, Electrolytes and Water. Some organic elements have health effects- e.g. dietary fiber has beneficial effects. Eat mindfully, stop when you’re full.  The wiser you eat the better you’ll feel and look.
Regular Exercise - REAP THE REWARDS OF EXERCISE!  Optimal fitness in body and mind calls for at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.  If you can’t go out, exercise inside.  Walk in place, move rhythmically to music, or put on an exercise DVD.  Maintain motivation by exercising with friends, varying your routine, and rewarding yourself in healthy ways when you reach mini fitness goals.
Adequate Water- Drinking a healthy amount of water is vital to your wellness.
Benefits of drinking water:  weight loss, natural remedy for headache, younger look with healthier skin, better exercise, helps in digestion and constipation, less cramps and sprains, less likely to get sick, relieves fatigue, good mood, reduces the risk of cancer. After all, you’re 55%-78% water.
Sufficient Sunlight - The sun provides the energy for all living forms to exist.
Benefits of sunlight: gives you a healthy looking complexion, makes your skin smooth with an irresistible healthy glow, ultraviolet rays in sunshine act as a natural antiseptic, helps clear up different skin diseases such as acne, athletes foot, and eczema; stimulates your appetite and improves your digestion, elimination, and metabolism; enhances the immune system.
Steadfast Temperance - Temperance is self-control or moderate use of things good for our health, and abstinence from things that are harmful. We need temperance in nutrition, exercise, water use, sunlight, and sleep. We may use good things in excess: too much carrot juice may cause skin jaundice; also, too much water may cause water intoxication. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and addictive drugs.
Fresh Air - Fresh air out of doors improves one’s health and sense of well-being.  Fresh air cleans our lungs, provides oxygen for our cells and increased energy for action, greater clarity to the brain,  which needs twenty percent of our body’s oxygen to function. A clear brain facilitates clear thinking. Fresh air produces a healthy mind, clean lungs, and a calmer constitution.
Restorative Rest - WAKE UP REFRESHED!  Getting enough sleep helps you stay alert and energized, and lowers your risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression, as well as accidents.  Some non-medical paths to sweet dreams include having a set bedtime, limiting liquids after 6 p.m., keeping your bedroom cool, and taking a warm shower or relaxing in some other way before going to bed.
Trust in Divine Providence - TRUST IN GOD IS THE PLATFORM OF WELLNESS. Benefits of trust in God: Peace of mind (Isaiah 26:3), peace with God (Romans 5:1), forgiveness (Ephesians 2:8-9), God lives in you (Galatians 2:20), heir to His kingdom (Luke 12:32), born again into God’s own family (2 Corinthians 5:17), nothing can separate you from the love of Christ! (Romans 8:38-39) and you receive eternal life (1 John 5:11).

12 Resolutions for 2012



January is significant because it is the time when many people
 plan to turn to a new leaf in their lives. Although it is not
mandatory in this particular month, it represents the
‘official’ start point (a new year) to create a new and
improved you. You may think that you are at your ‘best’ now,
 but there is always room for improvement. Here
are twelve goals that you can pursue to upgrade yourself.

1. Talk to God more frequently
Psalm 145 verses 18-19 says “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” There are many obstacles that litter the road called life; some seem unbearable. We should not forget that our burdens will be lifted once we talk to God; after all, He is our Father, Friend and Confidante rolled into one. Talk to Him anytime, whether you want to praise Him or lament your troubles. He is the greatest listener!
2. Advance yourself academically, periodically!
No matter how old or educated we are, we should never forget that learning is a lifelong process. Become a more rounded individual by learning skills such as cooking, computer science, and customer relations, or even learn a new language or how to play the piano. If you have CXC subjects already, then get an Associate degree; if you have that, you may need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree or higher still. You can take advantage of a number of short courses, workshops, seminars, certificates, diplomas and degrees offered at Northern Caribbean University.
3. Monitor your health
Now is the time for you to get in shape, not tomorrow, next week or somewhere in the future. Join a gym or find someone who exercises regularly and ask him or her to motivate you. Also, refrain from eating fast foods on a regular basis, instead include more fruits, vegetables and water in your diet. Sleep for 6-8 hours every night and avoid stressful situations as much as possible.
4. Become an ardent reader
According to lifedev.net there are many benefits to be gained from reading such as improved vocabulary, enhanced writing skills and improved memory. Practise to read some form of literature every day, whether it is the Bible, a blog, a magazine, a web article or a novel to improve the many aspects of your life.
5. Go on more outings
There are so many places to visit in your country such as nature parks, rivers, beaches, and historical sites. Go watch a movie or join in the fun at your church’s socials. Attend the football matches in your community. Unless you are under house arrest, you have no excuse.
6. Reach out to those you have not seen in awhile
Remember that nice woman with squinted eyes who supplied you with sweets when you were little? Or that teacher who showed interest in your performance at school and encouraged you even when you did poorly? What about that burly old man who, every now and then, would drop you off at school at no charge? Go visit them, they will be happy to see you.
7. More family time
Make time for your family members because you do not know how long you or they may live. Hug them more, give them a listening ear when they want to vent, enjoy meals together and affirm them when they have done well.
8. Outline new goals in your field of work
If you perform the same tasks every day for every year you will become bored. Take the initiative to outline the objectives that improve your organization. Gently nudge your boss and share your ideas with him or her.
9. Monitor your finances and save
The economic recession has hit us hard to say the least, but there is no excuse for us not to save a portion of our earnings. It does not matter if you have a low paying, temporary or holiday job. Also, be sure to make a budget every month. Organizing your expenditure will grant you peace of mind.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
10.Become more cognizant of world affairs
How many of us knew about Muammar Gaddafi before the Libyan Civil War? How many of us know that China is poised to become the next world power? Or, that the language with the most speakers in the world is Mandarin Chinese? There is so much catching up to do.
11.Pamper yourself
There is no one who has more inside knowledge about the stresses that you endure than you. No one feels your pain more than you do which is why you need to give yourself a treat more often. Get that pair of shoes or cologne you have always wanted. Eat out sometimes if you can. ‘Spoil’ yourself whenever possible.
12.Forgive and forget
Life is too short for you to hold grudges. It takes up too much energy to remind yourself not to speak to that person because he or she had hurt you in the past. Do yourself a favour –pray about it and ask God to help you to let go. The sooner you let go, the less chances you will have to develop hypertension, and if you already have it and you refuse to let go, you condition may worsen. Let go.
Life gets better and richer through kept resolutions. Have a great New Year and a wonderful life.

Resolve to Keep Your Resolutions

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?”  This is the pointed rhetorical question asked by the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 13: 23.  He poses this question to make the point that no more can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots than can people who are accustomed to doing evil change themselves and start doing good instead.  This was primarily applied to Judah, but is instructive to unravelling the plight of human beings in general. 
The seeming desperation and hopelessness of the condition of Judah was aptly captured in Jeremiah 14 where the ravages of a drought made the varied attempts of farmers to cultivate crops frustrating efforts of futility.  This narrative provided an ideal object lesson of the bent to failure of one trying to change one’s self. 
These frustrating efforts of futility that are bent to failure could explain the cynicism with which many persons today view making resolutions at the onset of a new year.   But the good news is that much like the hope of Judah was in God, so in God today there is hope in making good on our new year’s resolutions; resolutions do make sense.  
Furthermore, notwithstanding the seemingly unchanging nature of the Ethiopian’s and leopard’s skins, skin cells change – although in a fundamentally different sense than how it is addressed in scripture, and is especially obvious in snakes that are famous for leaving their remains behind after shedding the old for the new.  It is interesting to note also that it is at this time of shedding that healing to the skin usually occurs.  This phenomenon reveals that it is a natural thing to experience renewal in life.  This renewal is usually present at the making of resolutions.  



Here, however, are a few things to bear in mind when making resolutions: 
Do not limit resolutions to a set time.  Resolutions are not a response to a point in time; it is a response to an undesirable state of affairs at a point in time.  This means that you don’t just make a resolution because a new year is about to begin.  Resolutions are made either because things around you have changed or you have changed.  For example, the expectations of the job may be changed, or your expectations of your job or your life in general have changed.  These changes, like the generation of new cells stimulate the change of a snake’s skin, should inform our perceived need to change how things are done by us.  These changes should determine the resolutions we make. 
Understand why you need to make a resolution.  A resolution is not to be made in response to peer pressure.  Neither should it be done to make a good impression on people.  Reasons like these are superficial and generally not sustainable.  A resolution should be aligned to life goals which will fit it with the general trajectory of your life. 
Resolutions should build you up, not burn you out.  Therefore, make them practical and manageable. 
Resolutions should be measurable.  Here’s a weird truth, if you’re standing in a queue in bank and you see people moving up to the tellers but somehow the line is not moving, though you know it to be otherwise you can’t help feeling like you’re not getting any closer to the time you will actually get through – you want the line to move.  The measured sense of getting closer to the target physically does make you feel a whole lot better, and it makes it less likely that you will feel like you need to come back at a later time.  When you are able to measure your progress it encourages you to persist and not to quit.
Find an accountability partner.  This person should not be a nice, pushover.  It should be someone you respect (maybe a mentor), who is knowledgeable and objective.  You should be satisfied that the individual has your best interest at heart. 
Resolutions should fit.  Resolutions should fit with your time and resource budgets.  They should also fit within you value system.  Without the support of time, resource and values resolutions will atrophy.  Sometimes creating the fit may require you to cut off the cable, change the plan on the phone, change your address, make a standing order arrangement at the bank – or better yet do salary deductions, change the supermarket where you should, break up and replace an existing relationship. 
Make God your primary partner.  Through prayer and diligent study of God’s word, through meditation and loving obedience to God’s will we are assured that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. Phil. 4: 13.  We are here reminded of the rich young ruler who went away sorrowful because he was not willing to do as Jesus commanded.  Though Jesus made the point that it was as easy for a rich man to make it into his Kingdom as it would be for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, He ended the statement with the assurance that though with man this is impossible, with God all things are possible.   Mark 10: 27.  He who had the solution to Judah’s severe drought, who has the solution to the rich man’s plight, has the solution to the drought-like frustrations we often face when, on our own, we try to change our lives and make our resolutions work.  Let God lead you to make new resolutions and let him give you the resolve to keep them.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing



Keep the main thing the main thing. Focusing on the gold medal at the beginning of an event is the ultimate purpose, of your entering and preparing to become the best at all you can be. No athlete strives for the bronze or better yet silver; each desires the gold, to be first, to be the champion. Though ‘there is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, keeping the main thing the main thing is pivotal to success. In this a year of the World Olympics, to be held in London, Jamaica is considered the sprint capital of the world and having many world leading sprinters at the top of their games in the track and field arena.



"RISE EACH TIME YOU FALL"

They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win the race 
Or tie for first or if not that at least take a second place. 
And parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their child 
Each one hoped to show his folks that he would be the one. 
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire 
To win and be the hero there was each runner's desire. 
And one runner in particular whose dad was in the crowd 
Was running near the lead and thought, "my dad will be so proud!" 
But as they speeded down the field across the shallow dip 
The runner who thought to win lost his step and slipped 
Trying hard to catch himself his hands flew out to brace 
And mid the laughter of the crowd he fell fiat on his face. 
So down he fell and with him hope - he could not win it now. 
Embarrassed, sad he only wished to disappear somehow; 
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face 
Which to the boy so clearly said "Get up and win the race." 
He quickly rose no damage done - to catch up and to win - 
His mind went faster than his legs; he slipped and fell again 
I'm hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn't try to race." 
But in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father's face 
That steady look which said again. "Get up and win the race." 
So up he jumped to try again - ten yards behind the last. 
"If I'm trying to gain those yards", he thought, "I've got to move real fast!" 
Exerting everything he had he regained eight of ten, 
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 
Pause.“ You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.:” (Isaiah 26: 3-4). Entering a new semester, students are encouraged to remain focused, keep the main thing the main thing, during school, work, and play as each person has his or her own mandate. Remember of failure is not an option. The author continues:   
Defeat! He laid there silently - a tear dropped from his eye 
There's no sense running anymore, three strikes I'm out. Why Try? 
The will to rise had disappeared; all hope had fled away. 
So far behind, so error prone, a loser all the way. 
"I've lost so what's the use?" he thought, "I'll have to live with my disgrace" 
But then he thought above his dad, who soon he'd have to face. 
"Get up!" an echo sounded low. "Get up and take your place." 
"With borrowed will get up" he said. "You haven't lost at all. 
For winning is no more than this: to rise each time you fall." 
So up he rose to run once more and now with new commit 
He resolved that win or lose, at least he would not quit. 
So far behind the others now, the most he'd ever been 
Still he gave it all he had and ran as through to win. 
Three times he'd fallen, stumbling; three times he rose again 
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end. 
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line first place 
Head high and proud and happy - no falling, no disgrace, 
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line last place, 
The crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race. 
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low - unproud 
You would have thought he'd won the race, to listen to the crowd. 
And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do so well." 
"To me, you won," his father said, "you rose each time you fell." 
So when your life seems dark and hard, things difficult to face 
Nay the memory of that little boy help you in your race. 
For all of life is like a race, with ups and downs and all, 
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
(Extracted)


‘Refuse to fall down. If you do fall, refuse to stay down. Keep getting up. Lift your heart toward heaven like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled and it will be filled. You may be pushed down, many forces may be against you. But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven – only you. It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear. The one, who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening.