Tag Archives: parents

The Meaning of Christmas

By Daniel Downs

Christmas is a celebration of the fulfilled promise of a new life, a baby. Honoring this new born destiny presents to the world a universal hope. It is about God being with us now and we being with God in the future.

Christmas is about parents, parenting, naming, and the common work of fulfilling God’s revealed purpose for the world; their world of family, our world of common good relationships, and God’s purposed world.

Christmas is thus a celebration of life-giving. Life is God’s gift to the world–to each individual, to each family, and to society. Every morally and materially good relationship contributes to the creation of abundant life for all. This too reflects God’s good will for all people. Its revelation began with the divine promise to Abraham. It was institutionalized through Israel. Its realization was pronounced by angels and manifested in the new born babe of Bethlehem—the one the angels said they would see lying in a lowly manger (Luke 2:1-20). The irony of life is that it always begins in utter helpless poverty, but God gives everyone the natural riches of loving parents, caring society, and nature’s bounty.

Material and monetary gifts as well as profits are meant to serve the prophetic purpose of life-destiny. Even the three wise men brought gifts to the new born babe that not only made him and his family very rich but also provided the means to fulfill his purpose in life (Matthew 2:1-12).

The significance of Christmas is how God reveals and fulfills His part in the destiny of human life. Human destiny is not a search to find oneself. It is not a hunt for life purpose or meaningful work. Human destiny is a divine revelation that is manifest, reinforced, prepared for, and fulfilled. It is the life-work, a multifaceted employment, of living well. Living well is not best defined by financial worth but by the quality of life made and given. A good life is not made alone. The author of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, wrote: “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” If God made us within a community of others, it stands to reason that we must do the same. Good persons are reproduced in a redemptive society of families committed to forming each newly born child into a good citizen of our heavenly Father’s world. In God’s world, the divinely ordained work of living means being and making to be good children, good parents, good spouses, good neighbors, good laborers or entrepreneurs, good citizens. As God provided for Jesus through the magi, God wants to provide everything needed to fulfill our own destiny whether it be with spouse, home, material goods, and understanding of the divine purpose for life. This God did for humanity’s first parent. God gave him a wife, Eve. God gave them a home in the garden. He gave them all of nature’s produce for sustenance. God also gave them trusteeship over all the riches of nature including all living creatures (Genesis 1:26-31 &2:7-24). Then, God gave a world full of families to help each other fulfill life’s destiny.

The apostle Paul referred to Jesus as the new Adam (1 Cor 15:45-49). His birth was the beginning of a new humanity. The accomplishment of his life work ushered in the realization of God’s redemptive plan for all people. The revelation of Jesus his life-purpose was first given to his parents, Mary and Joseph. God’s prepared them to prepare Jesus for its fulfillment. Therefore, the life of Jesus Christ is the model of God’s plan for every parent and child.

Jesus’ life is a revelation and history, albeit a sketchy one, of how God fulfills His plan for the world through one family of chosen parents and chosen child (to be). The life-work of Jesus—the chosen child—could not have happened without chosen parents and the entire lineage of other chosen ones. Both gospels of Matthew and Luke clearly shows the ancestry of Jesus going back through King David, to Judah, Abraham, Noah, and finally to Adam (Matthew 1:1-17 & Luke 3:23-38).

The same is true for all of us. Whether seemingly big or miniscule, our individual purpose in God’s plan for the world is connected to a host of ancestors going back to Adam and Eve. Every one of them was chosen by God for our life-work to be fulfilled.

Like Jesus, every one of us was born to fulfill a specific part in the plan of God for the world.

As the new Adam, Jesus birth represents the rebirth of humanity. Every human being born since Jesus has been represented by Him to God. Everyone has had or will have the opportunity to experience the redemption, reconciliation, renewing, and parenthood of God, who never intended to father only Jesus. God wants all people to become His children, living in His household, under His authority and care. In one sense, all humans are children of God because all exist as God created them to exist. Yet, some children live without parents. Some people who have parents live as though they do not. Others exist without any sense of history, tradition, value, future hope, purpose or legacy, all of which begins in a family household connected to extended family within a society and world of families. Even though some discover it in social institutions like school, workplace, military, social mission, mosque, synagogue, temple or church, membership in them does not equate to being part of God’s household. Without a life forming relationship with God, hearing His defining words, and obeying His law or rules meant to direct behavior and work, no one can claim to be in the household of God. For life in God’s household is eternal and not limited to temporary materiality of the present.

Jesus represents life in the household of God. His birth was the beginning not the end. His untimely death was the means to a redemptive end, the fulfillment of God’s redemption of all people. His resurrection represents the future for a new humanity. As his apostle Paul taught, Jesus was the first born from the dead not the last (Colossians 1:18; Romans8:29). Every one of us will be reborn but only those who have been faithful to God will continue to live in His household.

Wayward people often behave in ways that land them in jail or prison. The faithless and unfaithful also will live eternal life behind bars in the prison called hell.

Jesus is the way of escape in the present.

Christmas is a mass celebration of eternal life. The end of life is to live eternally in and to the glory of God the Father. This is accomplished by living the good life in God’s household, doing what is right, and fulfilling one’s divinely purposed life-work.

What God revealed to Mary and Joseph, to Elizabeth and Zachariah, to Sarah and Abraham was the life work and purpose of their first born child. Each has to live so as to fulfill it. For Jesus to fulfill his life work and its purpose, he has to live without sin to the very end. We too have to learn to do the same. For without holiness (likeness of God) no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14 ). That is, knowone will see Him after this life in heavenly city.

Poverty the Cause of Serious Emotional and Behavioral Problems Among Children?

During 2004-2009, approximately 5.1% of all U.S. children aged 4-17 years were reported by parents as having serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Across all age groups, poor children (i.e., those living in families with incomes <100% of the poverty level) more often were reported to have serious emotional or behavioral difficulties compared with the most affluent children (i.e., those living in families with incomes ?400% of the poverty level). For example, among children aged 11–14 years, approximately 9.3% of poor children were reported by parents to have serious difficulties, compared with 3.5% of the most affluent children. (CDC, May 6, 2011)

Supporting the statistics above is research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. The multi-author report titled “Effectiveness of Universal School-Based Programs to Prevent Violent and Aggressive Behavior” stated the following:

“Over the last 25 years, youths aged 10 to 17 years, who constitute less than 12% of the population, have been involved as offenders in approximately 25% of serious violent victimizations.[3] Homicide and suicide, respectively, are the fourth and fifth leading causes of death among children aged 5 to 14 years, and the second and third leading causes of death among people aged 15 to 24 years.[4]

“Risk factors for youth violence include low socioeconomic status (SES), poor parental supervision, harsh and erratic discipline, and delinquent peers.[5] Delinquent youths commonly have other problems as well,[6] including drug abuse, difficulties at school, and mental health problems (as indicated by being in the top 10% of the distribution of externalizing and internalizing symptoms in the Child Behavior Checklist[7]). These youths are threats not only for the direct harm they may cause, but also because they may play roles in the socialization of other potential delinquents.[8]”

Yet, the Columbine High School massacre was perpetrated by youth from upper-middle class backgrounds. So were many other youth who killed their peers. The same was true of those Arab-Muslims who perpetrated the 9-11 attack. Growing up in a violent drug culture will obviously influence a child’s emotions and behavior and school programs may help prevent some children from succumbing to it. However, it is parents, relatives and close family friends who have the strongest influence.

If society would reform the political economy for the common good, most poor families would no longer be poor. Emotional and/or behavioral problems resulting from financially induced stress of many parents would wane. The emotional and behavioral problems of many children would subside as well. Even though economic status is not really the answer to those problems, alleviating stress related issues is at least part of the solution.

Liberals seem to see welfare socialism as the needed reform, and conservatives see less government bureaucracy that comes with welfare and more free market initiatives as the appropriate reform. It is doubtful that either have the right solution.

American College of Pediatricians’ Letter To School Officials About Same-Sex Attraction

In a letter to public school officials, President of the American College of Pediatricians had this say about same-sex attraction and gender confusion:

Adolescence is a time of upheaval and impermanence. Adolescents experience confusion about many things, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and they are particularly vulnerable to environmental influences.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual. Therefore, the majority of sexually questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Even children with Gender Identity Disorder (when a child desires to be the opposite sex) will typically lose this desire by puberty, if the behavior is not reinforced. Researchers, Zucker and Bradley, also maintain that when parents or others allow or encourage a child to behave and be treated as the opposite sex, the confusion is reinforced and the child is conditioned for a life of unnecessary pain and suffering. Even when motivated by noble intentions, schools can ironically play a detrimental role if they reinforce this disorder.

In dealing with adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction, it is essential to understand there is no scientific evidence that an individual is born “gay” or “transgender.” Instead, the best available research points to multiple factors – primarily social and familial – that predispose children and adolescents to homosexual attraction and/or gender confusion. It is also critical to understand that these conditions can respond well to therapy.

Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically
influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not
predeterminations.” He also states [that] “…the prominent role[s] of individual free will choices [has] a profound effect on us.”

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently released a landmark survey and analysis of 125 years of scientific studies and clinical experience dealing with homosexuality. This report, What Research Shows, draws three major conclusions: (1) individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated; (2) there is no undue risk to patients from embarking on such therapy and (3), as a group, homosexuals experience significantly higher levels of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexuals. Among adolescents who claim a “gay” identity, the health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide. Encouragingly, the longer students delay self-labeling as “gay,” the less likely they are to experience these health risks. In fact, for each year an adolescent delays, the risk of suicide alone decreases by 20%.

In light of these facts, it is clear that when well-intentioned but misinformed school personnel encourage students to “come out as gay” and be “affirmed,” there is a serious risk of erroneously labeling students (who may merely be experiencing transient sexual confusion and/or engaging in sexual experimentation). Premature labeling may then lead some adolescents into harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.

Optimal health and respect for all students will only be achieved by first respecting the rights of students and parents to accurate information and to self-determination. It is the school’s legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school’s role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student’s medical condition, and certainly not a school’s role to “affirm” a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.

But, why is letter being published here? Gay organizations and their politicians have created a school-based event called “Day of Silence.” While it is billed an an effort to promote tolerance to gay youth with the goal of preventing bullying, this event also has been used as a backboard to launch education and social policies in other states like Massachussetts. Those policies in effect engender hostility toward families who are morally or religiously opposed to gay behavior and legalizing efforts to indoctirnate children into accepting gay behavior as normative. Therefore, parents, grandparents, and others should be aware of such events and what medicial professionals other than APA have to say about the related issues of same-sex attraction and gender confusion.

To read the entire letter or for more information, please visit www.FactsAboutYouth.com

Man slaps baby at Wal-Mart?

The slap happy graphic commentary was captured by Drewski at “That’s What You Think” blog.

I can vaguely remember being slapped once or twice for not obeying my parents. My candy grabbing hands and sometimes gluteus maximus was stung by my very annoyed momma or pappa bee.

I must admit that I’m glad the government inspired hate crime goons did’t exist during my child arrearing.

Of course, this is not to deny real abuse exists. But, as the good book says, “spare the rod (or hand or paddle) spoils the child.” If you hope your child will one day grow to live the way he or she should, training is of a necessity. Pain teaches about consequences for doing what should not be done and praise teaches reinforces good behavior.

It looks like the kid must have given Dad his lesson. Poor Dad.

Messaging Technology & Human Error: Perfect Terror

Early in May, I reported on Ohio School Board Association endorse an automated emergency messaging system. The technology is probably great; it is human error that can cause the real problems–problems like inducing mass panic. That is what happened in Mason, Ohio.

Local 12-WKRC-TV made the following report on May 27:

Last week parents were notified by mail, e-mail and notices sent home with students that there would be a mock disaster drill at a Mason City School this week. But they did not know in advance the exact location or time of the drill, which is standard procedure.

The mock disaster drill was at Mason Heights Elementary School. The situation was a boiler had exploded, and everyone needed to evacuate the building. The drill is a test to make sure in a real emergency, everything goes smoothly but that didn’t happen.

It may have only been a drill but…

almost 100 parents rushed to a local school after they were notified there was an explosion.

If the school officials had forewarned all parents, why did the drill cause such mass confusion and panic?

The Public Information Officer used the emergency call system to send a message about the explosion to all Mason Heights parents. However, she forgot to mention it was a drill. Hundreds of frantic parents rushed to the school to check on their students, only to find there was no emergency.

Human error sank the Titanic and human error momentarily sank the heart of many of Mason Heights Elementary School parents.