June 29, ‘17
To All My Friends and Students,
For those of you who want to view the film course, Session 3 is now ready. Just click on the following link and enjoy! The link for Episode 3: https://archive.org/details/TheReelBible-Episode3
And for those of you who are
getting a late start, here's the link for Episode 2: https://archive.org/details/TheReelBible-Episode2
and the link for Episode 1: https://archive.org/details/TheReelBible-Episode1
Would love to hear from you too about your own insights into the film scenes used, as well as comments on the course so far.
Doug Michaud +
Dear Parents, Students, and Friends,
Of all the commendations and letters of recommendation I have received over the last few months, the endorsement by former Catholic Memorial Principal, Richard Chisholm, is one that I value most highly, and one that I am most honored to receive. I received it during Christmas season and will always regard it as a most treasured Christmas gift. His affirmation of my teaching skill and his commendation for my MES courses represents a most positive review from one of the esteemed educators in the greater Boston area. It is with his permission that I publish his letter on our Blog Page as well as the Commendations Page of our website.
Douglas P. Michaud
Douglas P. Michaud, Ph.D.C. Director of Modern Educational Systems,
Letter from Richard Chisholm:
I have known Doug Michaud for more than 25 years, first as a parent and more recently as an educator. When thinking about Mr. Michaud, the initial thing that stands out is his commitment to education and his students. He is a very gifted, innovative, competent and practical classroom teacher whose top priority is the success of his students.
Most often the difference between good students and poor or average ones rests on the difference in their reading and study skills. A deficiency in reading and study skills will detract from the overall benefits of a child’s education. These abilities can significantly influence both the quantity and quality of a student’s work in high school, as well as college. Mr. Michaud’s Modern Educational System program is specifically designed to improve critical reading, writing, verbal test-taking, and study skills. Over the years students who completed Mr. Michaud’s courses at Catholic Memorial School have consistently demonstrated dramatic increases in their ability to read, write, and study effectively. Improvement in these areas is critically important as students move through school coping with numerous standardized tests.
Mr. Michaud enthusiastically presents his program every day he walks into the classroom. Each student gets his complete attention and he treats each individual with dignity and respect which he in turn expects and receives from his students. He is a creative and confident man who possesses a tireless work ethic coupled with the skills, insight and “common sense” required of a clever educator. He communicates clearly and effectively and is at ease dealing with parents or students. Mr. Michaud will go out of his way to work with families to make certain that the student fulfills all required course work in order to receive the entire rewards from his program.
I highly recommend Mr. Michaud and enthusiastically endorse the Modern Educational System program.
Richard F. Chisholm
Principal Catholic Memorial School
December 10th, ‘15
To all my students, their parents, and to all my friends,
Throughout my forty years plus of teaching I always began every class with prayer to Jesus, followed by a story that would speak to the theme of that day’s lesson. Especially at Christmas time all my lessons plans in Theology class were oriented toward themes that related to Christ’s first coming on Christmas night. Truly “the world could not contain the books that would have to be written” (Jn. 21:25) to record the lessons streaming forth from the heavenly light that dawned on Christmas night.
In all those beautiful years of teaching I for one was never at a loss to find yet another lesson that called out to me from the Christmas story - and not only from the Christmas story but as well from the “miracle stories” of Christmas that all of us experience during the Christmas season each year. “The Christmas Train” which follows is one such story, one such “miracle story”.
“Mr. Michaud, are you going to tell us a story?” At the start of class my students never asked any other question of me more than that one. And though it happened long ago, I can still see the faces of an Emily, a Mike, a Molly, an Eric, a Kelly, a Peter, or Gen asking that question always with enthusiasm, and always with a twinkle in their eye. It was a question repeated thousands of times throughout the years. And it was question never asked more of me than at Christmas time. Truly one of my most cherished memories of my students, whether at Guertin, Feehan, or CM, is how in the glow of candlelight they would all settle in at the start of class for the daily Christmas story, and never with more eager anticipation than for the story that follows, “The Christmas Train”.
Enjoy! Merry Christmas!
THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN
It was 1954. I was seven years old. My family lived in the poorest section of our town, the Spruce Street section of Lawrence, Mass. My father hadn’t started his business yet. So there were times when he struggled to find work and would often be gone out of state (Connecticut at Pratt-Whitney aircraft) during the week to find employment and bring home an income. He always did. As a child then I always remember awesome food on the table, and I always felt the security and warmth of our Spruce street home.
What I didn’t know then, and only learned as an adult, was how my grandmother – my “Bacchie” – helped us during those days of hardship. She lived with us when I was small, and with her savings and social security she helped with the mortgage, the necessities of food and clothing, the utility bills, and even with money for the movies.
I’ll always remember her in her rocking chair, saying her daily rosaries and watching my brother Paul and I play our games – Monopoly mainly, and my brother Paul always won. I remember too that so many days ended with me being rocked to sleep in grandmother’s arms, all the while as she continued to pray her rosary ever in her hands.
One day as she watched and rocked and prayed, I was on the parlor rug, looking through the pictures in the newspaper. It was a month before Christmas and the paper had all kinds of toys pictured in the store adds. I remember like it was yesterday the first moment that I saw it: the picture of the Lionel train set. My excitement at the sight of it was palpable and Bacchie noticed right away.
The price of the train was $4.95 – can you believe it?! Yes, in 1954 it was $4.95 for a train set of six cars made out of real metal, not plastic. There was a figure eight track set, a mountain tunnel, a railroad crossing signal with barrier bar gates that dropped down and came up again after the train passed. On one of the railroad cars – a log car – there was a crane to lift the logs off the train. The logs were part of the train set too.
The steam engine was solid black metal with chrome silver plating. It blew smoke as it traveled the track, and pellets were provided to make the smoke. You only had to put them into the smoke stack, and the electric train heated the pellets and made them smoke.
The caboose was awesome too. It was flame red and had a rear door that opened to a back platform with a railing. There was a little railroad conductor figure that could attach to the platform and ride there at the rear of the train.
My heart was so set on the thought of having that train, and Santa was most assuredly going to get it for me that Christmas. With my mom and dad I was insistent that this was exactly what was going to happen. They weren’t so sure though. They told not to get my hopes too high. The price of that train was expensive (Remember five dollars then would be a thousand dollars today!), and Santa had to buy toys for other children as well. I remember that even days before Christmas I was praying for the miracle of having a train that was too expensive to get just for me.
But then Bacchie was watching and listening to all this pleading. She had seen my excitement, and she knew how much that train would mean to me. On Christmas morning the train was there, all laid out on the parlor floor right in front of the Christmas tree!!!
What a glorious Christmas morning that was. How ecstatically happy I was. My Christmas train! I played with it day after day, week after week. I never grew tired of playing with it. And all the while my Bacchie would watch me while she rocked in her chair and prayed the rosary.
What I never knew as a child was that Bacchie paid for the Christmas train. Times were hard for my parents, and the money for a Christmas train was not to be had. I remember hearing from my mom only as an adult how Bacchie had gone out and purchased that train for me. I remember how moved and inspired I was to learn that.
What a lesson in true Love it was for me – in unconditional Love. For Bacchie all that mattered was my happiness. She didn’t need to have me know that she paid for the Christmas train. It was enough for her to rock and pray and watch me play with my “miracle gift” on Christmas morning.
And so the beauty of this person who showed me from my earliest years a Love like only God can love… I felt that love in her arms, in her embrace – the love I still feel now in the arms of Mary our Blessed Mother.
It was in fact one of two of Bacchie’s dying wishes the following year to have my brother and I brought from school to her hospital bed. It was so she could embrace us one more time before passing on to Christ. For as long as I live I will never forget the Love that I felt in that final embrace. It was Divine Love. It was the Love of Jesus reaching out to me from within her.
Her other wish? It was the wish to be buried by her husband, a man that abandoned her and their farm after conceiving twelve children together. He had left her, but she had never left him. Again her unconditional Love for a man who broke her heart, mirrored the Love of Christ, mirrored the Love shown forth from the Cross, a Divine Love, a Love like only God can love. It was that Love in Bacchie that brought her home to the Lord and to the Heart of the Father. And it will be a Love like that burning in our hearts which will bring us home to God as well.
To all my Facebook friends and to all my LinkedIn colleagues, a most beautiful and blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones, and may your New Year be filled with happiness, filled with a Love like only God can love.
In the Love of Jesus and Mary,
To Our Readers and Supporters:
To Our Readers and Supporters:
I have received so many inquiries with respect to the Motivation Skills component of our course that I’m printing below an overview of the empowering concepts that are part of all courses taught by MES. Lesson Plans on both the Basic and Advanced Level are available for all the concepts listed below. See our website “Store” for further info, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Motivation Skills Concepts-
1.) Attitude is everything!!! Mr. Miagi’s first lesson.
2.) Focus Powah!!! The “Focus”, Goal, Dream, or “Reason Why” gives us Power.
3.) “Power” to do what? Power to reach for and to achieve the “Extraordinary”! (Dead Poets Society)
4.) Why believe this? The concept of “Human Dignity”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- Marianne Williamson
5.) Implications of the “Dignity Concept”:
a.) Soul made in the image of God knows no limit.
b.) “Powerful beyond measure” See the “Fingers versus Focus” metaphor below.
c.) We are treasure, not trash; jewel, not junk; diamond, not a piece of cheap glass.
d.) We have unique worth, value – like the sun in the sky, we too have a calling to serve some vital role in creation, to impact this world in a unique way, in a way that only we can touch it and transform it.
e.) We are called to be an “original, not a copy, a copy, a copy…
“One thing I don’t understand. Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you born to stand out?”
- Ian to Daphne in “What a Girl Wants”
“I have it in me that I can be someone in this world”
- Homer to his father in “October Sky”
f.) We are powerful to become “outstanding” (born to “stand out”), to reach for and to achieve the
“extraordinary”, to reach for and to achieve the summits of excellence. It is the call of our human spirit to
“courage” as innate or intrinsic to the character of God’s Spirit.
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Modern Educational Systems
Motivation Skills Concepts-
An Overview (cont.)
5.) f.) (cont.) Definition of “Courage”: never to run in fear from, but always to proceed boldly forward through
cost, cross, crisis, and challenge toward our most cherished goals and dreams.
“Courage is the angel that makes the difference between a good life and a great one.”
“Great men and women are not great because they do not fail or fear, but because failure and fear do not
stop them.” - (Thought attributed to Confucius)
6.) Faith Factor! Believe the implications of the “Dignity” concept!
Believe in the implications of human dignity, and craft a path into your future building on the foundation of
your dignity and its ramifications.
a.) Five “Faith” statements:
1. A hundred times more powerful than what anyone believes about you is what you believe about yourself.
2. Definition of “Faith”: to believe not what you see, but see always what you believe – especially what you believe with respect to your dreams, your life’s value, and your future.
3. People who believe in their potential for excellence dare to be different.
4. Believing is 90% of succeeding.
5. “Faith” is in the reaching! (The Jogger story)
7.) The True Test of Faith: “Tenacity!” = a heart that won’t quit!!!
The “Yoda Principle!”: “There is no try! There is only do, or do not!” – From “Empire Strikes Back”: Luke Skywalker says, “I don’t believe it!”, and Yoda answers, “That is why you fail!”
Mr. Miagi’s second lesson: ‘You karate do, OK! You karate no do, OK! You karate “guess so”, get squished
Remember the “Yoda Principle” lessons learned from “Elle” in “Legally Blonde”, and “Anne Marie” in “Blue Crush”.
Reaching for Dreams of Excellence even in the face of cost, cross, crisis, and challenge is the ultimate indicator of the “Faith Factor” present in the human spirit. “Faith” always says “I can!” and never, never quits. The words “I quit” are always preceded by the words “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” and the Fear which inspires them.
a.) “I can’t!” inspired by “Fear” leads to “I quit!”
b.) “I can!” leads to rising each time you fall, and is inspired by the “Faith Factor” mind set.
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Modern Educational Systems
Motivation Skills Concepts-
An Overview (cont.)
8.) The “Love Factor” – also known as the “Friendship Factor” or the “Team Concept
Defined: You will go one hundred times farther in life for a friend, with a friend, for love than you will ever go alone.
Implications of the “Love Factor”:
a.) No one climbs Mt. Everest alone. Unless we go “hand-in-hand” to dreams of excellence, we will not get there.
b.) The “Master-Mind” Principle: “Synergy” – there is a level of performance power, and a level of performance insight we can only have together. Source for teaching on the “Master-Mind” Principle is Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich”, second best-selling book of the twentieth century. (Second after the Bible!)
Good films to study in this regard: “October Sky”, “Rudy”, “Legally Blonde”, “Blue Crush”, “The Knight’s Tale”, “Cool Runnings”, “Miracle”, “Wizard of Oz”.
c.) Harnessing the Power of Love, the greatest power in the universe to fuel our pursuit of dreams and goals. Examples of Sarah Hughes (2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics) and Kerri Strug (1996 Atlantic Summer Olympics) used in class. Also, the Father digging his son out of the earthquake, and the mother lifting the car off her child.
9.) The Three Levels of Motivation:
a.) “Factory of Fear” Level – Fear of punishment motivates performance. Motivation does not come from within. Lowest level of motivation. It is beneath our human dignity to encourage it.
b.) “Profit Sharing” Level – Level of Incentives used to motivate behavior. This level of motivation was used in our class.
c.) Highest Level of Motivation: “Romance” – Motivation rooted and reinforced by the Love Factor:
Romance: a type of story narrating the wonderful lives and extraordinary tales of knights and chivalric heroes, tales filled with excitement, love, and adventure. To quote John Elredge in “Wild at Heart”, such lives are characterized by a “battle to fight”, an “adventure to live”, and a “beauty to fight for”.
The Three “R’s” which give us “Motivation” with a capital “M”: “Reaching for Reason “Why” rooted and reinforced by the Romance. This brings us to the “Bloody Sock” level of motivation where the pain of losing the dream is greater than the physical pain in the leg. Films which have such scenes are “The Karate Kid”, Blue Crush”, “The Knight’s Tale”.
“Reaching” = Faith. The “Reason Why” is the “Focus Factor” which releases “Powah!” into our performance. “Romance” harnesses the “Power of Love” which elevates performance to the summits of excellence. Whether teacher, doctor, or fireman, there is a level of performance excellence we can only achieve when we care for the people we serve.
10.) Remember: Remember always the Power of the Human Soul made in God’s Image: With God’s help there is no limit to how high that soul can reach, or how far that soul can go on a journey to dreams of excellence come true. Remember too to reach for that excellence with faith- faith to the point of unshakable conviction. Lastly, remember that this world only recognizes and rewards excellence!!!