Kellenberg Memorial & Chaminade Life Teen Leadership Conference participants pose with Mark Hart and Ike Ndolo
Everyday people venture into our lives leaving footsteps as they come and go, some treading deeply and others lightly. Some stay long, while others may continue on their journey. However, these are the people that help to shape who we are, or who we will eventually become later on in our life. We become like clay, bending and twisting as the outside world around us changes and people influence us. Our values, our thoughts, our perspectives can all be altered by the people with whom we surround ourselves. I find this statement to be true in my life as well. A mirror wouldn’t reveal the same person if it weren’t for the people that I’ve come in contact with over the course of my life. As a teenager, a time where emotional and physical development is at its peak, it is essential that an outside voice lend us a helping hand on the journey.
I have had a variety of people in my life that I could deem fit as this “helping hand.” My parents, family, grade school teachers, high school teachers, friends, and peers are all eligible for such a title. Yet, they have known me for an extensive period of time, and rightfully so have had plenty of time to “leave their mark in my clay personality”. However, no one has ever had such an impact on me, in such a short period of time, like Mark Hart and Ike Ndolo when they spoke on Friday, November 19, 2010, at Kellenberg Memorial High School. In simply an hour, these two men were capable of extending a captivating and religious message. Their message was so powerful that it was able to change how this 16 year-old views his religion. Ike, as a religious musical artist, had opened the assembly with the song “Here I am to Worship” which had called us all to a prayerful and solemn mood. He taught us how to pray through the use of music which in itself was a true emotional experience. He was able to use his musical talents to encourage prayer and reflection for over 2,500 students. This is a pretty good task considering St. Augustine’s adage that one who sings is as good as “Praying twice.”
Mark Hart addressed both Marianist schools.
Immediately following, author and speaker, Mark Hart, took over the crowd recounting stories and scripture. Mark Hart spoke most importantly to me on the importance of prayer. He recounted innocence children’s prayers nowadays. In particular, his explained his daughter’s simple and comical prayers. In great sincerity she prays: “My Kingdom Come, My Will Be Done”. We often give God a stipulation in our prayers regardless of our age. “Hey, can You do this for me? After all, I am a loyal and devout Christian, and You DO say that you have a power to provide for all.” Yet, when things don’t work out as we planned, we have a tendency to shake an angry fist at our God: “Hey! I prayed to you and everything, just like You told me to do, why didn’t I get what I wanted?!” What’s the point of this all if, “it doesn’t work” or simply because “I didn’t get what I asked for?” Understandably, our prayer isn’t a letter to Santa, or maybe God didn’t grant what you wanted because it’s not what HE had in mind for you. HE may not want it to be that way. God is the One who has already laid out your entire life for you and He alone knows what is right and wrong for you.
Finally, Mark Hart developed some ideas on the difficulty of the art of relationship. In this day and age we play “word games” with one another. We know the best type of communication is honest communication, but so often we use word games. We can also play games in our own prayer as well. A genuine conversation with God, one without any masks, one that is honest and sincere is essential for true holiness.
The whole Kellenberg Memorial family expresses our gratitude for the witness of Mark Hart and Ike Ndolo. They arrived with a very simple message, yet they have given me a footprint on my personality that will not fade away.
Contributed by a student from our Marianist high school.