Society and the Christian Influence.

What I am about to write, will probably ruffle some feathers and that’s okay, sometimes we need our feathers ruffled. It goes back to my Real or Not Real post in some ways because it is another mind set that has effected us as a nation. This post will not be completely about “Facing the Public” in the sense of public school, however that is part of the equation.

As we enter the voting season (just 7 days from now) we are faced with a very divided nation, both conservatives and liberals are divided about “their” presidential candidates. Christians are divided about who to vote for, many say you have to vote for Trump, others say vote for a relatively unknown person like McMullen because he is a more “moral” person. I have personally seen people attack one another in a rash series of posts on facebook about their said candidate that they prefer, and while this isn’t unusual during any election year, it has been far worse this year seeing conservatives fighting other conservatives and liberal fighting other liberals over the selections of candidates.

I will make no bones about it, I am both conservative and a Christian. I won’t post who I plan to vote for, because frankly it isn’t important to the article and it isn’t any of your business anyways. But as a conservative and a Christian seeing other conservatives and Christians complain about our presidential candidates, I have one thing to say, our nation is in the state it is politically and morally because of the failure of Christians to influence society as a whole. Don’t blame it on liberal agenda. Don’t blame it on President Obama. Don’t blame it on Hillary Clinton. Don’t blame it on Congress or the House. It is the fault of Christians who have chosen to remove themselves from the sphere of influence and have therefor failed to reach into society and make a difference.

As you know I am a big supporter of Christian students and teachers in the public school. I don’t believe it is for every family, but I think there needs to be far more than their currently are. You see when prayer (BTW it wasn’t a ban on all prayer) was removed from school, Christians left, and left all influence they had. How can you expect public schools to be any different than they are, if the influence of Christianity has been removed, not by laws, but by Christians themselves? This is an opportunity to reach society that we need to be a part of.

But it isn’t just the realm of Public Schools that Christians have removed themselves from. I can remember one time while in college we had several politicians visit the school. One of them was running for a local office, and was also a local Pastor. After their visit, I can remember several students talking in the dorm how impossible it could be for someone to be a good Pastor while being a politician as well. This shows that there is an underlying ideal that you can not be a good Christian while also being a good politician, so Christians remove themselves from the ideal of being in Politics, when what we need is to have more people like Andrew Hemingway who ran for governor of New Hampshire, in 2014. He is a strong Christian but is also very influential on the political front. These are people who influence society.

What about Lawyers? I hear people all the time “all lawyers are liars”, if it is said often enough, people begin to believe it. So why would a Christian want to be a lawyer, when everyone thinks that all lawyers are liars! Grant it some lawyers are liars, but you can’t judge all lawyers by a few bad lawyers, just as you can’t judge all Christians by a bad experience with other Christians! We need more Christian lawyers, and not just those who are going to work for a Christian Firm, we need Christians working in secular firms as well! These are people who influence society.

So when you look at the state of our nation and how far we have come, when Christians remove themselves from the positions to influence society, it isn’t right to blame society for going in the direction that the sinful nature of people is going to take them, it is the fault of the Christian for refusing to do his duty and reach the World.

So when a Christian family feels that Public School is God’s leading for their children, don’t criticize them, but encourage them and their children to go out and influence other students. When a Christian feels called to be a Public School teacher, let them know you will pray for them daily and for the students that they have an opportunity to influence for good. When a person who is a Christian feels called to run for a public office encourage them and let them know you will stand with them and behind them as they face an ever changing society. When a Christian feels called to be a lawyer or judge, hold them high, pray for them that God would help them discern what is right, true, and just. Don’t discourage these people from influencing society, encourage them to follow God’s calling no matter what it is!

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Current News: February 28, 2015

It seems like almost every week there are news stories that slam the public school. So when I can, I want to take a “Current News” story and give my little take on it. This week is a story about a boy who was given detention for being late to school.

This is the headline that was put out on Facebook by Fox News

6-Year-Old Forced to Eat Lunch Alone After He’s 1 Minute Late for School

Above the headlines was the following description:

Six-year-old Hunter Cmelo was one minute late to school because his mother’s car wouldn’t start. So as punishment, the principal forced him to eat lunch alone behind a cardboard divider.

First let me say this about the media, as much as I like Fox news, they are just as guilty of blowing stories out of proportion as the liberal media is. In fact I would say mainstream media as a whole loves to draw people using deceptive headlines and playing on emotions.
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End of Summer, Beginning of School

In just about a week, the school year will start back. I anticipate this to be a good, but busy year. Aric our oldest (6) will be going into first grade, Alex our middle (5) is starting Kindergarten, and I am serving as the Communications Chair for our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). When I started the blog last year I had planned on posting something every week, but there wasn’t much to post some weeks. I plan on continuing to post this school year on things that will encourage and challenge my fellow Christians to greater heights. Here are some tips for the start of the school year.

1) Go Back-to-School Shopping Early

I know there is the tax free weekend in many states, and I am all for saving a little money, but let’s face it unless you are planning on buying a TON of school supplies, you may only save a few dollars. You will already be stressed enough the week before school starts, why add more stress by going shopping the same time everyone else is doing their school shopping? Many stores start their back-to-school sales at the beginning of July. For our family we try to purchase most of what we need online and then purchase the remaining items toward the middle of July. (For back to school clothes go to the thrift shops, why spend 100’s of dollars on clothes when you can get all you need for 2 children for $50).

2) Let the school know they have your support

You don’t  have to be on a PTO board or school board to let the school know that you support them. Write and email to the principle, tell him/her that you support them as a parent and are available to help with anything that they might need you for. As I have said in past posts, schools really do want you as parents involved. Don’t overstep and over push, but find way to volunteer and help. (Even an hour helping put books on the shelf in the library once a week is a great help to the school)

3) Show up for meet the teacher, reassure the teacher that you support them

Meeting the teacher isn’t a requirement for a child to go to school but you should require yourself to be there. Going to this event gives you a chance to meet both your child’s teacher and some of their classmates. While there ask the teacher what ways you can help them through the school year. Let them know that you are glad they are your child’s teacher and that you support them.

4) Join your PTO

Why should you join your PTO? Because as a member you have the opportunity to show your support for the school and have a collective voice with your fellow members to voice support, concern, questions, and opinions to the leadership of the school. Take time to join them, you aren’t wasting a few dollars for a decal or magnet, you are showing your support for the school.

5) Pray

Certainly you should pray more than just at the start of the school year, but the closer it gets, the more you should pray for your children and the challenges they will face this year. It helps prepare your heart for the school year and helps your children prepare their hearts. Let them tell you things they would like you to pray for, no matter how “small” their request may be, pray for it, God cares about them enough to give an answer.

What type things do you do to get ready for the beginning of a school year?

Learning to adjust

Seven weeks ago my oldest child Aric started his first year of elementary school and I can say this has been a big time of adjustment for all of us. 4 weeks ago our third child, Alton, was born and added to the need to adjust. When change happens in life sometimes you can find it extremely hard to adjust and be just plain overwhelming. I know that eventually I will be adjusted to this new time of life, but here are a few things I have found a difficult time to adjust too.

1) Going to Bed Early

I consider myself to be more of a night owl than a morning person. Before Aric started school I normally was to bed between 12am-2am working on projects for my company, but since the start of the school year I have to adjust my schedule to getting up before 7am so going to bed so late isn’t a good ideal. I mentioned a little about this in the blog post from the first week of school.

2) Being Productive Between Drop-off and Pickup times

This has been the biggest adjustment for me. I already kept a busy schedule before Aric started school, but now that he has started school it seems like the 6 hours between dropping him off and picking him up is hardly every productive. I know that I really am being productive, but it is hard to grasp that it actually is. I work 2 (sometimes 3) jobs. I am an Assistant Pastor, a Freelance Graphic Designer, and a Substitute teacher.

Many times when I get home from dropping Aric off I get home and try to start working on graphics projects or getting things ready for church. Just about the time I finish with some of my projects it is lunch time.  Then by the time lunch is over, I only have an hour before I have to leave and pick Aric up from school (2:00pm). So even in just a little paragraph you can see it can be a heart thing to make sure I am productive. But over time I will figure it out I am sure.

3) Taking extra time to spend with my children

You might be thinking, “Well, Duh! It’s your responsibility to spend time with your children”. It isn’t that I didn’t spend time with my children before, but now that we aren’t all at home, all day together, it takes some adjustment. With a new-born baby in the house, it takes a time of adjustment to juggle things back around and make sure my children get the time with their father that they need. Sometimes this means taking my individual children out and just hanging out with them. But it still is a hard adjustment to make when so many new things are going on in my life.

What type of adjustments have you had to make in your life either when your children have first started school or when summer has ended and your children are headed back to school?

What Should I Do When My Child Get’s In Trouble?

As you can see from my first post of this week “Learning to be Patient”, that sometimes as much as I love my boys and think they are pretty good kids, they still can get in trouble. We are going on 4 weeks of school and Aric has already gotten in trouble a few times. I know it will take time for him to adjust to a classroom setting, so the question lingers then “What should I do when my child get’s in trouble?” So here are a few things that I am trying to do as a parent.

1) Trust the Teacher over your child

I was raised by parents who lived by the principle to “Always trust the word of the teacher over your child”. The truth is 99% of the time this principle is true and your child has done wrong. The teacher isn’t out to get him! In today’s society parents want to believe their children are perfect angels incapable of doing wrong in the classroom and unable to lie to their parents. This is a lie that parents want to believe about their child to make themselves feel good about themselves and their choice to not discipline their children. When Aric gets a note sent home for getting in trouble, I never doubt the note, even if he says that it isn’t true. Is there times that your child shouldn’t have gotten in trouble? Sure about 1 in a millions times. Trust the Teacher.

2) Talk to your child

The first thing I do every day when picking up Aric from school is ask how his day was. I ask him if he got in trouble or if he was well behaved all day. If he says he got in trouble, then most of the way home we talk about why he got in trouble. Most of the time when I ask him why he got in trouble he will say, “I don’t know”. Don’t settle for that answer, the child really does know why he got in trouble, it will just take some work to uncover the reason. Many times I have to go through verbally asking each point of the day why and when he got in trouble. I have to ask things like: Did you get in trouble before lunch or after? Were other children doing the same thing? Did your teacher ask you to stop? Did it happen when the teacher was asking a question?. There are a lot of other questions that could be asked, but the important thing is, is to get to the bottom reason of what he did and why he did it.

After the questioning process is done, I try to take time to explain to him that the teacher is just like “mommy and daddy” and “we expect you to obey her like you obey us”. Then if it is appropriate when he gets home he gets disciplined for the wrong doing. On the way to school the next morning, I review with him what happened the day before and what we need to do to avoid getting in trouble again. I also instruct him to apologize to his teacher the first thing in the morning.

3) Tell the Teacher “Thank You”

One day when Aric came home with a yellow face (that is a negative mark in Kindergarten) it had a note that he was yelling and making loud noises. This was the second time he had gotten in trouble for the loud noises and I was curious as to what the loud noises were and why he was making them. In a non-offensive way I wrote a note to the teacher including a couple of questions and a thank-you at the end. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Mrs. ______ what can we do at home to help Aric behave better in your classroom? What type of noises is he making and when is he making them? Thank-you so much for the good work you are doing!

It may seem like just a trivial thing, but I am telling you when a teacher is told they are doing a good job it makes their day! I want to make the job of my children’s teachers easier not harder, so when I show appreciation for the discipline they give to my child, it lets them know I am not a parent they have to worry about jumping down their throat for punishing my child’s wrong doings.

What are some other good things you have found to do when your child has gotten in trouble?