"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Family Stone (re-post 4.27.10)

Yesterday I wrote a piece on the importance of motherhood entitled "The Heart That Rocks the Cradle". The words I wrote were based on a sermon series at my home church entitled "At the Movies... Where TRUTH hits the silver screen". 


The movie that our pastor based his sermon on was the 2009 blockbuster hit "The Blind Side", starring Sandra Bullock. Yesterday I wrote theses words about the movie:

The Blind Side is more about personal struggle and challenge and less about touchdowns and tackles. It is also a story about one that has nothing and those who seemingly have everything. Finally, it is about the power to overcome and the courage of one to care for another beyond mere words. In the end it was mother of two who decided to become the mother of three

The Blind Side trailer...

As I reviewed those words yesterday I realized I was introduced to the Columbus version of this story when I heard of the Ciminello family last year. Like the Tuhoy family in the movie The Blind Side the Ciminello family decided many years ago to reach out and help a young child in need. Below is the piece I wrote last April about this story that touched me deeply.

A little side note... the young man in the story, Kym Littlefield, is a freshman at Denison University along with my 19 year old son Austin... funny how things work out.   sbb.242

Kym Littlefield
Columbus Academy 2010 Valedictorian

Family Stone

Family: a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group,  whether dwelling together or not: (the traditional family); a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: (a single-parent family). 

During the 1993 awards show (the ESPYs) legendary basketball coach, Jim Valvano, was given the Arthur Ashe award for courage. He was stricken with cancer, and the toll on his appearance was evident as he addressed the Madison Square Garden crowd. He was helped to and from the stage by Dick Vitale and Duke mens basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski. In his speech, which was both emotional and humorous, he offered these words to live by: 

"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two, is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears- it could be happiness or joy. Think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry- that's a full day. That's a heck of a day."

Laugh. Think. Cry.

 Jim Valvano

With "5" boys (two younger than 5) and a five month old girl, I can honestly say I cry and laugh every day. Obviously I don't think very much because any person in their right mind would never consider having "6" children. Usually this is where the crying starts; that and when I see college tuition rising like the national debt. Thankfully my oldest son, Logan (19), who is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, is extremely insightful; he often tells me, "it's just money Dad". Thank you Logan, I feel so much better.

Pause. Reflect. Question

What is he learning in college and why are we sending him there?

Last Saturday, after my daily dose of laughing and thinking, I came across an article in "The Columbus Academy Magazine". The title of the piece was "Redefining Family" by Bob Lee and the main focus was a young man named Kym Littlefield.
Front cover: Academy/spring 2010
(clockwise from bottom)
Kym Littlefield '10, Anthony Ciminello '10, & Natalia Ciminello '06 

This is where the real crying begins.

While reading the article I learned Littlefield, now a senior at Columbus Academy, lost his mother when she passed away less than a month before his 13th birthday. Rosalind Cooley, who supported her family by getting up at 5 a.m. every day and worked two jobs, died the day after her 44th birthday, she died of heart failure. To make things worse Kym's older brother, Orlando, died of a heart attack the day after Kym's 13th birthday.  

Already without a father (Kym had never met his father), Kym lost his mother and brother in less than thirty days. He was only 13.

Mom (Rosalind Cooley) & her youngest son, Kym 

After the news, Anthony Ciminello, one of Kym's closest friends since elementary school called day after day to see how he was doing. Anthony and his sister, Natalia, ask their parents if there was any thing they could do to help? The Ciminello family dove in, and what began as rides to school eventually lead to Kym living with the Ciminello's. 

Anthony Ciminello

At thirteen the Ciminello house became Kym Littlefield's home. 

I've only met Kym once in passing at Academy and I'm sure he has no idea who I am.  I've never had the good fortune of meeting the Ciminello family, but after reading the article I feel as if I've known them for a lifetime. Lee's article convinced me that I will never be able to look at Kym the same way or watch one of my favorite movies, "Finding Forrester", without thinking of Kym. There is such a strong physical resemblance between Kym and the main character Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown, and undeniable similarities concerning their life stories.

         Kym Littlefield delivers a speech & Rob Brown as Jamal Wallace in Finding Forrester.

I would encourage everyone to watch the movie with their family regardless of how your define your family.

Good acting; great message. 

The one thing that can be said about the Ciminello family and their generosity is that they were not acting, but that it was an incredible story and an inspirational message. The gift that the Ciminello's gave Kym was greater than anything money could buy. They gave of themselves, their time, and most importantly they gave Kym a tremendous example of what true unconditional commitment and what a selfless spirit looks like. Michele and Joe Ciminello also gave a wonderful gift to their children: others always come before self.

Proverbs 11:25 states; "The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." 

CA Basketball Senior Night
(L-R) Michele, Anthony, Arthur Cooley (Kym's grandfather),
Natalia & Joe Ciminello 

Thank you, Ciminello family: for refreshing my hope and my spirit with your generous display of love and kindness. I can only hope and pray that the rest of your days you will find encouragement and refreshment.

Thank you Kym: for making the most of a very difficult situation and for not taking advantage of the kindness displayed in your life. Many times people's faith and trust in others can be marginalized or even eliminated when one is burned by an ungrateful recipient of another person's generosity. Kym, you have encouraged me and my faith in the next generation of men and leaders. 

Kym you are a leader. Don't ever forget it.

My son, Bryce, doesn't graduate from Columbus Academy until the year 2014 (my fingers are crossed...toes too), but I'm going to make every effort to be at this year's commencement to watch Kym and Anthony graduate. I want to congratulate them on a job well done and share with them what Coach Valvano said at the end of his speech in 1993; "Don't give up, don't ever give up", but I really don't need to tell them this. 

Kym's mother showed him commitment and determination every day. Anthony's parents showed him you never give up on people and that you can do anything if you're determined to make a difference.

Again, thank you Ciminello family and Kym: for showing me that ordinary people can really do extraordinary things and that they can truly make a discernible difference...thank you very much for being a wonderful example and showing me the true definition of a  family.

sbb 27.4.10

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