Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 29: FATHER'S DAY

Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is EDUCATION. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

 O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

 Opening Thoughts
Father’s day is a day set aside by people from different cultures and nationalities to celebrate the contributions of fathers to the world. The day is usually celebrated with food, gifts, prayers and cards. The first Father’s Day card in clay was carved by Elmesu in Babylon over 4000 years ago. On the card Elmesu wished his father good health and a long life.

 Father’s Day as we know it today in the United States could be traced to many people but the story of Sonora Smart was one of the notable ones that made it to the history books. Sonora Smart conceived the idea of a Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in Spokane Washington, in 1909. After his wife died, William Jackson Smart took over the role of mother and father to raise his six children for 21 years. Sonora Smart saw the selfless and loving contributions of her father toward their well being and wanted to honor him by establishing a Father’s Day on his birthday, June 19th of every year. Thus the first Father’s day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June 1910.

 Meanwhile the message for a yearly Father’s Day celebration grew and spread to many towns and cities. In response to the increasing demand for a Father’s Day celebration a national Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York in 1926. This led to many congressional proclamations of an official Father’s Day Holiday. In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a presidential resolution that declared Father’s Day as the third Sunday in June of each year.

 Fatherhood stands for leadership, love and commitment. The father who wears the banner of leadership, love and commitment is called a Dad. The Dad is committed to love his wife without conditions. The Dad is committed to love his children all the days of his life. The Dad is committed to love his family for as long as he lives. The Dad is committed to provide for his family. The Dad is committed to support his family. The Dad is committed to protect his family. The Dad is the pillar of the family!

 Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. Clarence Budington Kelland.
2 It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. Johann Schiller
3 My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. Jim Valvano
4 Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development. David Gottesman
5 When I was a kid, my father told me every day, 'You're the most wonderful boy in the world, and you can do anything you want to.' Jan Hutchins
6 Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." Anne Geddes
7 Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. Author Unknown
8 Dad, you’re someone to look up to no matter how tall I’ve grown. Author Unknown
9 A father carries pictures where his money used to be. Author Unknown
10 I've had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started. Bartrand Hubbard 

 Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

 1 Train a child according to his way; even when he grows old, he will not turn away from it. Judaism: Tanakh,  Proverbs 22:6
2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Christianity: New Testament, Ephesians 6:1-4
3 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Christianity: New Testament, Colossians 3:21
4 "Let your mother be a god to you; let your father be a god to you; let your teacher be a god to you; let your guest also be a god to you! " Hinduism. Taittiriyaka Upanishad
5 Those who wish to be born in [the Pure Land] of Buddha... should act filially towards their parents and support them, and should serve and respect their teachers and elders. Buddhism: Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 27
6 Supporting one's father and mother, cherishing wife and children and a peaceful occupation; this is the greatest blessing. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 262
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Christianity: New Testament, Hebrews 12:7
8 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Christianity: New Testament, Luke 12:53
8 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Judaism: Tanakh Genesis 2:24
10 My son, despise not the discipline of the Lord, and do not abhor His chastening, for the Lord chastens the one He loves, as a father placates a son. Judaism: Tanakh Proverbs 3:11-12

 Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

The Prodigal Son (New Testament, Luke 15:11-32)
There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." So they began to celebrate. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. "Your brother has come," he replied, "and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound."  The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, "Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!" "My son," the father said, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."

 Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

 Fatherhood is compassionate leadership. My father is the leader of my life. His life is pure and true. He lived the way he wanted me to live. For that reason he avoided alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and fast food. He advised me to take good care of my body because it is the only one I have and that it has a finite life. He saw my talents and shared them with me daily. He called me a leader, an actor, a physician, an attorney and a public speaker. He believed in me with all his heart.  He never gave up hope even when I showed no promise in my teenage years. He stood by me and encouraged me to persevere. Seemingly looking into the future he assured me that I would realize all my dreams because the Universe loves me without conditions! (Dr. Sonari in honor of his father).

You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.

 Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer. You may use the sample prayer if needed.

 Father’s Day Prayer by Dr. Sonari
O Love who pervades the Universe. May our fathers be blessed all the days of their lives!
For leadership and commitment; may our fathers be blessed! For love and compassion; may our fathers be blessed! For provisions and support; may our fathers be blessed! For being there for us; may our fathers be blessed! For modeling the way of life; may our fathers be blessed! For guidance and protection; may our fathers be blessed! May our fathers be blessed for all their sacrifices! And may we make choices that honor those sacrifices. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.

 Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened living tips for the benefit of the group. 

Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods and doing drugs?

1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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