Frank Maguire
A grandfather's letter to a beloved grandson: the revitalizing of a young life
By Frank Maguire
April 6, 2011

Proverbs 1:5 "Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance."

"There is a very big difference between portraying oneself as a victim...and actually being a victim. To the extent that we are actually being victimized, we bear no responsibility for the bad things that are happening to us, such as being mugged on the street or falling ill or being discriminated against because of gender, ('racialism'), or religion.

"But we are responsible when we present ourselves as victims in order to excuse or justify ourselves. There are indeed real victims, but acting and feeling victimized does not make a person a real victim
." Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves, by Dr. C. Terry Warner, The Arbinger Institute, Inc.,

This letter is not simply generic advice, though I hope that it can serve that need. I wrote this to a grandson who has been conflicted by his immersion in an irrational, post-Christian culture, and his intelligent awareness of the moral confusion that is produced by one's attempt to find reason in equate reason with emotion that is allowed to run rampant.

For the purpose of this submission I refer to this grandson as "Abel," Mankind's first true victim of emotional-seduction's rebellious assault upon Reason.

"Abel" currently attends what I call an "Academy of Revitalization." The excellent materials with which "Abel" came into this world were turned into a virtual shambles by the post-modern culture of irrationality and incoherence.



You know I have college degrees in music and writing/journalism. You also know that I spent about 45 years as a night-club musician: solo; combo; big-band. And, that I have had my writing published for about 45 years. What did my occupation, music, and my avocation, writing, have in common? This! They are disciplines that are always telling me to "Pay Attention." To know what is going-on inside me, and to know what is going-on around me.

The Boy Scouts' slogan is "Be prepared." The Coast Guard's is "Always Prepared" (i.e., Semper Paratus). My motto is "Never Unprepared" (Nunquam non Paratus).

The two essential reasons that one should be prepared are:

  1. That it will help prevent bad things from happening to you. Take a minute or two, "Abel," and think about putting yourself into situations, by action or neglect, where bad things might happen to you. I mean really bad things, the worst that you can imagine.

  2. That you create opportunities, by your wise listening and learning, for good things to happen to you. Again, take some time to think about good opportunities that will enable you toward productive growth..

So, "Abel," don't allow careless irrationality, indifference, stubbornness, and unrealistic, magical-thinking to find you unprepared. Don't be like the silly fool who enjoys beating his head against a brick wall because it feels good when he stops.

A person who is complacently dumb or lazy to be prepared, is, in a sense, beating his head against a stone wall. But! It is even worse, because when such an unprepared person stops the head-beating, there is still nothing conducive to progress to feel good about. One can, symbolically, beat one's head against thin air.

To persons like I just described, there is only one way out of their self-produced misery. What does such a person end-up doing? He or she takes-on the victim attitude: "I am a victim." Their favorite complaint is "I'm not to blame!" It's "everybody's else's fault." Such is the attitude of every failure.

"Abel," I told you in this letter that I am a person who always pays attention. And, above all things, I pay attention to my family, whom I love dearly and who are a from our Creator God Who expects me to remain answerable to Him.

What are my responsibilities? I'm not responsible for, for example, your thoughts, words, and behavior. You are always responsible for these. But, I do have a continuous responsibility to pay attention, and to be prepared to wisely counsel, guide, and even to lovingly direct you — to guide you to discernment.

Scripture: Read ALL the Proverbs, over and over, just as I have done and still do in order to remind myself as to what wisdom is and what Foolishness and Rebellion are. What are we told about the responsibilities of parents and children? A great deal. But two of the most important are:

  1. The commandment to honor one's father and mother, because of the simple fact that they ARE our father and mother and God commands us to "honor" them as such, even if we don't always respect their behavior, and even if we find them doing things we don't like. God is saying to us all that we will develop the healthy attitudes if we do as He tells us. One of the most important improvements in attitude will be that we will not maintain anger, and we won't always be looking for someone to blame for that which we choose to do that makes us "unhappy."

  2. What does God command of parents? "Do not provoke your children to anger." This is...well, I'll call it the flip-side of the parent-child coin. The parent who is uncontrolled by his/her own behavior can actually misdirect his/her children and produce in them the "victim," "not my fault," attitude. This makes recovering from such an attitude difficult for the young person. To see a good example of how this works, read 2 Samuel, Chapters 11 through 19. You can see, now, what David did and what he neglected to do that resulted in the death of his son Absalom. A very, very sad story, that is historically true.

"Abel," your grandpa and grandma have paid much attention to you. What have we come to know about you? You are intelligent. You are talented. You have been blessed. You can be a leader. And you are too intelligent to be an angry, rebellious leader like Absalom.

We have read the reports provided by your school. What do we see? We see you making progress toward being the right kind of leader. You are progressing.

So dear grandson, if you respect grandpa's and grandma's counsel, and know how much we love you, you will become a good leader. You will be successful. You will also prove to others that you respect them and that you respect yourself.

Empowering yourself by positive behavior will enable you to accomplish that which you have told us you want to accomplish. You will lead others by your example. You will be a good and faithful leader.

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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