The Power and the Possible
Guided by practical insights, humour, "easy-going" parables and a wonderful narrative about a family of "ducks", Stephen leads the reader along a pathway that informs and inspires the reader to tackle the teenage years with spirited enthusiasm.
Alfred’s story in The Power and the Possible has been set to a feature-length film screen-play. So, watch out for its debut on the big screen.
The prequel to The Power and the Possible is the story of Alfred’s mother, Monique. This book, entitled Letters across Time: A Journey of Enlightenment, has also been created as a feature-length film screenplay, A Meaningful Life.
May the feathers of wisdom from the
Book of Mysteries continue to tickle your fancy, wherever your journey may take you.
Stephen Paul Chong
"In some small way, The Power and the Possible is my attempt to
help teenagers avoid the prevalent scourge of drugs, depression
and youth suicide in our society, by helping them discover their
Stephen Paul Chong, M.Ed.
"Chong's work might be compared with that of Dan Millman,
Neal Walsch, and Dave Pelzer, among others No other such
writer, to my knowledge, has his unique talent for blending
narration, commentary, parables and plain good advice into book
Glyn Davies, B.A., B.Ed (Q1d), MA. (Lond)
"The Power and the Possible showed me that no matter how old
you are, if you are blind or deaf, or if your skin is dark, you can do
anything if you want to, no matter who or how many people
discriminate against you?'
Harmonie L. (teenager)
"Every teenager should read this book?'
Mario Calanna, Calanna Pharmacy Group
By Stephen Chong, MEd
Pressure from peers – but where are they now?
When I was at secondary school back in the 1960s and 1970s, there were two particular groups of students that I used to hang out with. Both groups are hard to describe in much detail, but I guess one of the groups was significant because it had a mix of ethnicity – Italian, Greek and Turkish. The other was a bunch of Australian-born kids. Both of the groups made strong efforts to appear tough and cool, with a “Don’t mess with me” attitude. They used to do really rad-ical things like “wag” school and go to the local pool hall and play snooker. When they were really “on the edge” the guys would, again, wag school and throw big drunken parties at one of their parents’ houses while they were at work. Wow!
The members of the two groups really didn’t mix that well with each other and, on the odd occasion, engaged in arguments or fighting over some perceived slight or insult.
Me – I was the quiet one who used to hang out in both groups. I was a fairly innocuous young lad who tried to fit in with both – not often in trouble, but always wanting to be liked. Many times I was swayed by the need to please these (so-called) friends into doing things that, in hindsight, were pretty stupid. Many were the occasions when I would go binge drinking and make an idiot of myself, or I would be distracted by some vague amusement, like wagging it, that took my focus away from what was really important – my education.
Interestingly, when I recall those lads who were once my “friends”, without exception there is not one of them that I have maintained any contact with. I wouldn’t know what they are doing with their lives or even if they are still alive. Yet, at the time they played a significant role in my developmental experiences – some good, but many quite distressing. I guess it gives the thumbs down to the myth that “Friends are forever”. Maybe it’s truer to say that “Having friends is important, but it’s more important to choose the right friends”. Maybe a really interesting thing to do would be to have considered these people as “my peers”, and not as my friends!
A “peer”, according to the Encarta World Dictionary (2012) is “somebody who is equal to another person or to other people in some respect, such as age or social class”, or “a companion, fellow or buddy”. These definitions make the association between individuals somewhat tenuous and impermanent. In other words, if we have sufficient courage and nerve, it would be easier to say “No” to a peer than to a friend.
The definition of a “friend”, on the other hand, is some-thing that I would encourage you to create for yourself. In fact, I think it is imperative that you give thought to what being a “friend” means to you.
…A story: The master meddler
It was the first day of the school term at the monastery. As the bell chimed to signify the beginning of class, all the eag-er young novices were sitting upright at their desks, waiting uneasily for the master to come and give them their first lesson.
This was an exciting time, for while the students were quiet and attentive, it was not hard to sense the unspoken tension within the student group. What would the master be like? Would he be nice, or really strict? Would they be able to please him with the correct answers to questions? How would they perform? They all knew very well that there was no free ticket to success at this monastery. You had to perform or you were sent home to your parents. And God forbid the wrath of your parents if you were sent home for underperformance or misbehaviour – your life would not be worth living!
Finally, after what seemed an interminable time, the master walked through the door. He looked like a nice guy, but you could never tell with these monks; they were all dressed in the same saffron robes, with shaved heads and fixed smiles. However, the students knew from past exper-ience that behind those smiles could lie a whole winter of discontent.
As one, the students rose to greet the master.
“Good morning master,” came the chorus from the as-sembled students.
“Good morning, students,” came the reply. “My name is Kafka, and please, from now on use my name. Do not ad-dress me as ‘master’.”
At these words, a collective gasp sprang from the throats of the astonished students. Then, after a pause, one risk-taking youngster in the front row managed to find the courage to put up her hand.
“Yes, you may ask a question, young novice, but first you must tell me your name,” said Kafka.
In a quavering voice, the young novice stated that her name was Sophia, and she asked, “But master … err, umm, sorry, Kafka … you are our teacher and we must show you respect by addressing you as ‘master’. Is that not so?”
“Good question, Sophia. I am glad you asked that, for questions help to unlock the creative potential of the mind. Questions excite the mind to uncover what it does not know and seeks to learn.”
The quizzical look on the young novice’s face attested to her lack of complete understanding.
“But master … I mean, umm, Kafka … what do we call you that still denotes our respect for you and your know-ledge? Surely calling you by your first name does not bestow the correct level of respect. If the master monk of the monastery heard us addressing you as such, I’m sure we would be given many welts with the cane.”
“Students, I understand your dilemma,” said the master. “So, forthwith you may call me ‘Meddler’ … ‘Master Med-dler’.”
Once again the quizzical looks on the faces of the stud-ents were almost comical. So, to relieve their anxiety, the master explained.
“Students, you assume that I am an expert and not a mistake-maker. Did you know that in my life I have made many, many mistakes? So many, in fact, that I would need to count them by multiplication, rather than addition. But what this means is that I have been a part of the action of life, not a passive observer or a taker of notes drawn from the experience of others.
“My role as ‘meddler’ will be to explore with you the possibilities and implications of matters that are worthy of our engagement. It will be to creatively explore what in-forms your opinion – without that, your opinion doesn’t matter. It will be for us to be progressively knowledgeable, but usefully ignorant. You and I will explore the world, not through learning by rote what is already known, but by radiant thinking about what is entirely possible. Do you follow what I am saying, my young students?”
“Yes,” came the collective and excited reply.
“Good. Then let us begin. On page three of your text-book, you will see a copy of a binary table. Who can tell me what use such a table has in the world of science?”