Family valued 8.18.04 

'The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement'

I do have a shred of masculinity left, and had to be dragged to The Princess Diaries. But it turned out to be very likeable, Anne Hathaway coming off every bit the cartoon princess, and Julie Andrews and Hector Elizondo raising its level a bit above the ordinary. And it was that contemporary rarity of rarities: an honest-to-goodness, G-rated, family film. Lila and her little sister, Iris, liked it for its silliness and its surprises. And of course, like most little girls, they eat up anything with a princess theme.

I didn't have to be dragged to the sequel, but wasn't looking forward to it. Sequels, with the exception of Toy Story 2, are never very good, and nothing about the original made it seem a good candidate to buck that trend.

But Lila is standing here telling me to tell you this one is better than the first. She says it's funnier, largely due to some great small parts for funny people. Elizondo's young assistant spook adds a layer to that satire, and Lady's Maids Brigitte and Brigitta steal every scene they're in. Julie Andrews is Julie Andrews, which will either be a positive for you as it is for us, or not (she sings this time).

It's a bit long but the pace never lags, and we all left with goofy grins on our faces. It's a safe bet for a family with young children, and a little, if not a lot, better than that.

--- Lila and Adam Wilcox

This week for families:

Brighton Memorial Library Drop-in storytimes: Mondays, toddlers, 10:30 a.m.; Mondays, preschoolers, 11:30 a.m., Thursdays, families, 7 p.m. | 2300 Elmwood Ave. 784-5300

City Summer Kids Club Mon-Fri through Sept 3. For ages 6-10, various recreation centers, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $50 per week. 428-6767,

Hochstein Open House Thurs, Aug 19. Intro to classes for preschool and elementary school students, 50 N Plymouth Ave, 6-8 p.m. 454-4596,

Kids Club Mon-Fri, Aug 16-20. St. Mark's and St. John's, 1245 Culver Rd, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $25. 654-9229

Kids Safety Day Wed, Aug 18. ID cards, Eckerd Drug, 550 Stone Rd, Greece, 2-7 p.m. 242-0900

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. A Trip to Saturn and Pluto: 1 p.m. Mon-Sat; Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey: 2, 3, 4 p.m. Mon-Sat; 11 a.m. Tues-Fri; 8 and 9 p.m. Sat; I See the Sky: 9:30 a.m. Sat; The Sky Tonight: 10:30 a.m. Sat; The Beatles in Laser Light: 10 p.m. Sat. Tix: $4-$7. 271-1880

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005. | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006. | Live Science! demos and theater, 11 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m. Mon-Fri. Wed 2 p.m. show sign-interpreted. | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door. | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880,

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Rochester Children's Theatre, Sat, Aug 21, 2 p.m. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453,

Springdale Farm Camps Advanced farm camp and Springdale camp for kids, various dates in August. 352-5320,

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700

Summer Food Service Program Free lunch and breakfast for kids under 18, Mon-Fri, various sites. Call for registration and info. 428-7872, 325-1440

Volunteers of America Universal Pre-K Programs Openings available, for 4- and 5-yr-olds, free to city residents, 100 State St or 214 Lake Ave, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 647-1344, 263-3103

Youth Alive Citywide Fri-Sat, Aug 20-21. Original performances, Dazzle Theatre, 112 Webster Ave, Fri 7:30 p.m., Sat 1:30 p.m. Free. 325-8123

Cultivating wisdom

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. --- Proverbs 8:10-11

As our public schools and universities rush to become vocational training centers, it seems our culture has lost patience with wisdom. Life absorbed in acquisition is hopeless, as novelty, by definition, cannot last. Abandon mind-expansion for career placement and we teach our children to lean forward into the world in pursuit of meager economic footholds; always reaching, always hungry, desperately gulping down the empty promises of that next greatest thing. Human being becomes human doing.

Wisdom requires time and experience toward deeper knowledge of self and world. We aren't yet ready for every lesson we'll need to learn. We build a foundation of wisdom through patience and faith that all that is needed will come in due course. Let the child-spirit dawdle creatively over a task, conversation, or quandary and the child-mind will be lifted to the things that need to be known, when they need to be known. More importantly, the child-mind becomes willing host to wisdom --- the soul food that feeds a starving world.

As the school year begins, remember that the ABCs and algebra are necessary tools purchased in the public marketplace, but the sacred craft of living is apprenticed at home. Take time with your child to cultivate wisdom in the back yard. Share the experience of its nourishment at the kitchen table.

--- Rev. Corey Keyes

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