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Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Christian Life / Personal Growth
  • Language:English
  • Pages:276
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667839363

What Matters Most

A Journey through Cancer, Faith, and Lessons of Gratitude and Wisdom for Today

by Ryan Hagen

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Overview
I have taught and coached young adults now for over 17 years in the public-school system. During my career, I've come to realize that kids today are growing up in uncertain and confusing times, and I for one wouldn't want to trade places with them. In today's world, there is a great need of positive influences and role-models in the lives of children, especially in the lives of young adults who are searching for answers to life's biggest questions. In search of those answers, far too many kids today are looking in the wrong places. They are looking to numerous social media outlets, to celebrities, to athletes, and to pop culture. Often kids today aren't even asking themselves the right questions, the questions that lead to truth, real love, real meaning, and peace and fulfillment in life.
Description
I have taught and coached young adults now for over 17 years in the public-school system. During my career, I've come to realize that kids today are growing up in uncertain and confusing times, and I for one wouldn't want to trade places with them. In today's world, there is a great need of positive influences and role-models in the lives of children, especially in the lives of young adults who are searching for answers to life's biggest questions. In search of those answers, far too many kids today are looking in the wrong places. They are looking to numerous social media outlets, to celebrities, to athletes, and to pop culture. Often kids today aren't even asking themselves the right questions, the questions that lead to truth, real love, real meaning, and peace and fulfillment in life. In our ever-increasing secular world, many young adults are not looking to God and Faith for life's meaning and purpose. Many do not grow up in any kind of religious household and sadly are never really exposed to the truth, love, and meaning that only a relationship with God so generously provides. Polls among teens today show that they are increasingly unhappy, and this is occurring today while kids are growing up with more wealth and amenities than generations before. Most children today are educated in public schools where any mention of God, specifically Christ, is outlawed. For the students that do attend weekly religious education classes during the school year, the vast majority are hardly interested, and see it only as something they must put up with until they are freed from their parents' reigns. Although that is true, in essence, young adults today are not any different from young adults during any other time. They still want to love and be loved. They still want to find their place in the world. They still look to their surroundings for affirmation and for meaning in life. Too often, they end up uncertain about their future and purpose while a relationship with God is frequently absent. I wrote this book in an attempt to share my story of going through cancer and re-evaluating my life and relationship with God. Through this process, I decided to become a teacher in part to share my faith and on pass on lessons of gratitude and wisdom. I hope that the book can help young adults and anyone of any age to find in their lives a greater meaning and purpose, which of course cannot be thoroughly found without God. Going through cancer at a young age has made me realize how fragile life can be. I've realized how dependent upon God we are for everything, whether we realize it or not. As a cancer survivor I've realized the importance of gratitude. I learned to love and cherish my Catholic faith and my experience surviving illness has strengthened my faith and trust in the mercy and love of God. After going through cancer, I began to realize more fully God's presence in my life and began to live my life in a more deliberate way. In doing so, I have gained gratitude and wisdom that I feel would help today's generation. In more fully embracing my Catholic faith, a love for our Blessed Mother has granted me a peace like no other especially in my visit to Lourdes and Fatima, but also in my encounter with Saint Bernadette. I've always felt that in reading a book, if I could take one insight from reading it, that it would be well worth my time. In that respect, I hope that readers will find a few lessons of gratitude, wisdom, or even a story that may stay with them long after they have put the book down.
About the author
Ryan Hagen is a middle school math teacher who currently teaches in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Having taught for 17 years in the public school system, he has also coached several youth sports and activities including softball, track, baseball, basketball, chess, and Special Olympic sports. A devoted Catholic, Ryan also serves as an 8th grade catechist at his local parish. Ryan was the recipient of the 2012 Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel - Teacher of Merit Award and the 2018 Illinois Coaches Association Softball IESA (Class 2A) Coach of the Year.
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