Did you know that Halloween is the biggest adult holiday of the year? For kids, it’s the second biggest holiday. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend more than 8.8 billion dollars* on Halloween related activities and merchandise, with $3.2 billion spent on costumes, $2.7 on decorations, $2.6 billion on candy, and $390 million on greeting cards.
The year was 1966. I was nine years old and in the fourth grade at St. Mark’s in Peoria, Illinois. One day in class the teacher asked if anyone could recite all the mysteries of the Rosary. Two students raised their hands — one of the girls in class… and me. The teacher asked me to stand up and recite, out loud, half of the mysteries, and then asked the girl to recite the other half.
During the 1980s, I purchased several sets of cassette tapes of talks that had been given by the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. At the time, I had a small battery-operated cassette tape player that I used to listen to tapes while I was shaving and getting ready for work, while I was driving, and while I was getting ready for bed.
My wife and I were married in June 1980, which was a month after I finished my first year in law school. One of the weekly television shows that we watched together during the first year of our marriage was the prime-time soap opera, Dallas. We’ve come a long way since then. Today, there’s no way we would waste our time on that type of show.
During the mid-1980s, I had a good friend — I’ll call him “James” — who I periodically had conversations with about life, politics, family, and religion. I was five years younger than James, and he was a lot smarter than I was. He breezed through elementary school, high school, and college, without any problems. He was quick to grasp new concepts and was a great problem solver.
Last week, I wrote about how the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that the only way an individual can properly function is to learn about and put into practice certain virtues. It was Aristotle’s belief that when people practice virtuous behavior, over time, they develop integrity and good character. These traits help them to behave honorably, exercise good judgment, get along well with others, and easily determine right from wrong.