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Parent Holds The Hand Of A Small Child
Jan 29, 2015

Am I Teaching My Child Independence or Showing Neglect?

At times, I’m certain, I over parent. Maybe it’s from what I see in the news or from working with teenage boys, but it is easy to become worried, jaded, and consumed with all the possibilities of what could happen. Like others, I just want my children to be safe, independent, and responsible, take calculated risks, experience failure, treat others with kindness, and be grateful. Did I say independent and safe? Am I asking too much?
There is no “one size fits all in the discussion of when you should teach your child independence and when is too soon. The question is one we all should consider; how much space do I give my child and when?
I am pro child independence. My goal is simply that when they are old enough and move out, they don’t come back to take up residence. I am not hoping that my children boomerang back home as adults. After all, we know that our children need to step out into the world at some point.
At times, my goals for teaching our children independence clashes with the angst that I create imagining “what if scenarios. Those scenarios gain credibility if I watch the endless news cycles and then compare that with the memories of my 3 channel TV existence and how I perceive it used to be. Like most adults, I look back at things and reflect on how the world has seemingly changed. As we age, something in us doesn’t trust what we see in the current culture as we compare it against our own experience.
The reality is the human condition has always been the same. Through the generations, parents have largely loved and worried about their children. There has also always been fear of the evil in the world. The tension that exists between our love and worry for our children is where “the disconnect begins and with it comes helicoptering. Hovering and creating boundaries for our children, whatever our reason, are a matter of trust.
So what is the best way to balance “free range parenting vs. “helicopter parenting?
Just a few decades ago, during my childhood, a parent who hovered over their child would have been seen as someone who was invasive and overly suspicious. These days, the parent that provides too much freedom, is seen as someone who ignores the reality of world and simply isn’t a responsible parent. Children are getting a lot of conflicted messaging as we try to teach them independence while at the same time tell them never to talk to strangers. The issues at stake seem to ebb and flow between teaching independence and personal responsibility to protecting and keeping them safe.
I want to do both! I imagine most parents do.
Independence is seen as giving them the space to learn from their failures. Boundaries are seen as creating points of protection and safety. The issue for us as parents is we often either give them too much independence too soon or we are so concerned about what could happen that we make their boundaries so small that it’s seen as stifling. We each have our own reasons, we call it our “parenting style, but like all things, there should be a balance between the two perspectives. This applies in all areas really, from using technology to dating to riding a bike in the neighborhood or crossing the street.
No other person knows my children better than I do (except my wife, of course). After all, we’ve been watching them since the day they were born. I am sure Danielle and Alexander Meitiv would agree with that. Parents are the most equipped to make the decision of when their child is ready to have a little bit more freedom. Parents are also the ones who should be able to recognize, when it is safe to do so. The illustration of crossing the street works; a 12 year old should not require as much help as a 2 year old.
Why do we as parents teach them safety, helicopter, hover, and at times over parent; because we love them. It is not some sinister plot to keep them at home for the rest of their lives. But as Thomas Aquinas said; “Love is not synonymous with undifferentiated approval of everything the person thinks and does in real life, nor is it the wish for them to feel good always and in every situation for him to be spared experiencing pain or grief in all circumstances.
Imagine this. Your son or daughter has a phone that you gave them, for any number of reasons, when they were thirteen. It becomes a normal part of how they communicate, either via talking, texting, social media, or whatever. A few years later, at the age of 16, they now have the opportunity to drive independently. If their habit is to text as a form of communication, and they have seen you texting while you drive, what makes you think that the new freedom of driving will take away the habit they have? Do we think that suddenly a habit of texting will change overnight because they now have the freedom to drive?
The point of this is not to come up with every scenario of what could go wrong. Nor is it to think giving them free range to figure it out will suddenly provide them with new traits and responsibilities. We don’t stop driving just because it’s possible to have an accident, nor should we give the keys of the car to our children before they are ready. The principle is to know your child and establishing safe boundaries while allowing them room to roam. As they grow, so should your boundaries. When they make a mistake, be there to guide them back on their feet.
Giving them a safe space to be independent is a matter of trusting what you know about your child and knowing when they are ready. Each child is different so don’t force it too soon or wait too long. Be the parental teacher, providing them advice while at times giving them a safe space to fail. You, better than anyone else, know them.
More on the issue
Free Range Parenting vs Helicoptering
Free-range parenting case unleashes national debate
Investigation into Md. free-range parenting case unresolved after meeting


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Jan 29, 2015

Hey, Go with the Flow!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the road which leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14


This is exactly how so many people live and how the world encourages you to live. “Go with the flow is the acquiescent response to whatever the world has apparently dealt into your hand. There is little if any thought that this “flow has an evil and tragic end. There is minimal concern that this is a precipitous path, especially, when you are not alone in it; your age group, your peers, your friends around you on the same path are seemingly as unconcerned as you are. There are blips, bumps and turns, where one here and there meet with a disaster of some kind; but they are but one or two at a time, and never so many at once to cause you to consider or radically change course. The majority continues with you, and there is comfort in their numbers; the few who have fallen by the wayside are just an aberration, you think. So you continue to play out the hand you have been dealt.  The current of life is going your direction or you are going with it, and you are fine with this. It is easier “to go with the flow, is it not, than try to swim up-stream.
The Bible has always expressed the existence of two paths of life; one is attuned to your birth nature and comes to you naturally; it is always your first instinct. The other is a radical departure; a whole new instinct in making choices; a transformed nature which introduces a new soul-grid of feeling, seeing, and processing your world. Still the former instinct even after a transformation in you will still present itself in your decision making. In a transformed state you really have a choice between these two instincts, a place of freedom. In the first state you are truly bound by your nature to continue with “go with the flow in the moments of decision; the statement made long, long ago to our first parents has never stopped speaking incessantly into our ears, “Surely, you will not die if you “go with the flow. Satan’s words embolden you to act as your own god; a promise from the father of lies, an impressive deceiver, who will easily fool you without your trusting in the One who has already defeated him.
The text today verifies the existence of only two paths of life. Notice that one is broad and inviting with many like companions, indeed a large crowd of them, on this chosen life journey with you. All your human instincts say this is what you want. The one massive problem is it is a path that leads to one and only one end: destruction. But who believes that? Sometimes, God places a personal IED along the broad road to get your attention and cause you to reconsider your choice. You view these “IEDs as accidents, a tragedy, a fall or failure in your life, a sickness, a divorce, a stint in jail; but if it doesn’t cause you to seriously reconsider your chosen path, and make a sea change in your way of life, then God says to you, “I will not strive with you forever (Genesis 6:3, Romans 1:28),  and eventually your choice will be to cling to your road without further spiritual obstacle to its sad end. The further and longer you go the more obstinate you become in staying this course you have chosen, more oblivious than ever to where it’s going.  What a miserable state in which to live.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:15-23 chillingly get my attention when professing Christians or those who know something of Christianity live a “go with the flow type of life; a type of living which does not seriously take into account Jesus’ command of listening to Him and doing what He says, affirming that you did indeed hear Him; that is, living your life and making your choices as though His words are important enough to conform your life to being a genuine follower. Jesus says to this group, which by Jesus’ account exists, “You call me Lord, you claim to do many things in my name, you speak and preach in my name, you cast out demons, and even perform miracles in my name; an apparently devout crowd, don’t you think? He says to them, because you have not really obeyed my words in your personal life choices, “Depart from me, I do not know you. This statement of Jesus needs to be a part of any thoughts you may have concerning your personal assurance of faith and salvation, or in harboring mistaken ideas about God’s all-encompassing grace and mercy which you assume in the end will cover an unrepentant sinner who chooses to  lip-serve rather than be genuine..
A go-with-the-flow life conforms to the broad path in our text, a super highway, if you will, headed right off a cliff. It is truly tragic to say to this crowd, “Enjoy the sights before you plunge over. It is the sign of love for them and faith in the God Who Is, to warn your “go with the flow acquaintances, without weariness, up to the last moment before Jesus does as He promised: returns! And, His warning still holds, “I am coming soon. Whatever you think of the meaning of “soon it will be very relevant to your situation when it occurs. Trust Him, it’s soon!


“Many mighty men are lost, daring not to stand, who for God had been a host by joining Daniel’s band. Dare to be a Daniel! Dare to stand alone! Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known!
(2nd verse of Philip Bliss’ hymn, “Dare to Be a Daniel, 1873)


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Jan 25, 2015

What is a dad and why does it matter?

What is a dad?
As the father of two growing children, I often feel like I am stumbling through parenting, not sure on how to handle the situations that come up or even respond in the right way. Certainly I am not alone.
Dads struggle to parent in this current culture and typically we are an example of our own father. In turn, they are examples of their own dads and so on. To truly understand what it means to be a father, we need to establish a proper perspective on what it means to be a man.
So, what does it mean to be a man?
Is it our academic performance, athletic ability, financial success, or sexual prowess? If our self-worth as a man is tied to any of those things, than we will find that we can never have enough knowledge, or we can never accumulate enough trophies, money has no real value as it is spent and lost over time, or we are merely users of women who are simply trying to gratify our needs. Not the best description. Certainly not an identity I would want as a man.
Yet somehow, we as men have taken academics, athletics, finances, and sex as the cloak for how we measure ourselves. Without a doubt, that is what is reflected in our current culture.
It has been said that the loneliest moment in life is when you achieve that which you think will bring you happiness and find that it ultimately does not satisfy. If we are not satisfied as men, when we become fathers we will not be particularly great dads. The consequence is the next generation.
For the first time in our nation’s history, the majority of children born to women under 30 will be born outside of marriage. Fathers are quickly disappearing from the home as the U.S. Census Bureau states that 30% of all children live in a home without a father. That number will grow in time. So if children are growing up without a father or their dad’s identity is wrapped up in his performance at work or in the bed, why are we surprised that youth today don’t really know whose they are?
Christian Smith, the noted sociologist who wrote, among many books: Soul Searching, Souls in Transition and Lost in Transition, followed the beliefs and behavior of American Youth. He described their commonly held religious beliefs as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Essentially, this means God lives far away, wants us to do good things and be good people, and that the goal of this life is to soak up whatever we can so that one might live a satisfying and happy life.
Let me paraphrase Mark Driscoll: For youth being raised without a dad at home, that description of God sounds a lot like a father who wants them to behave and do well but is not around or interested in a relationship with them. How we as men interact in our relationship with our children shapes their view of God the Father.
If our identity as men is wrapped up solely in performance, and youth today are looking for relationship, there is going to be a disconnect. In the absence of relationship, youth will fill that gap with something; be it their peer groups, gangs, or entertainment. If our impression of God is that of a father who is away and just wants us to be happy and might send us something, well, then we have created an image of some mythical sugar daddy in the sky. No wonder youth today become so distraught and confused when they suffer because we as men and fathers have not given them a true picture of a dad that adores his children.
Boys and girls who have a father that absolutely treasures them want to be like their dad or marry someone who is like their father. They shape their vision of hope and life through the prism of what they see in their dad. They listen to their dad because they know they can trust him and that he wants to protect them, so when dad tells me no, it must be a good thing because I know he loves me and I want to be like him. My dad is a good thing and so what he tells me are good things. It no longer becomes what my dad might get for me, but instead my identity is secure in my father’s love for me.
If God is the Father, then God is providing us a picture of how we as men must act with our children, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5:1) The issue with youth and this current culture is an identity issue. It’s a father issue.
A change in our activity and behavior starts with our identity. We love our children not only because they are a gift to us and that they are a part of us, but also because we are a part of them. We love them because we were made to be in relationship with them and each other. We love them because they are our family and family is a picture of our community. Ultimately, we love them because we understand that our identity is found in God the Father and we are His beloved children. Whose you are shapes how you act.
 


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Jan 22, 2015

Playfield or Battleground?

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For your struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12


A mountain lion is a deadly predator that can take down and kill a human in seconds, given the right circumstances. David Jeremiah recently told the story of Robert Giles, a wild life researcher, who survived an encounter with a mountain lion. From downwind Giles approached a wilderness watering hole when he spied a mountain lion drinking at the edge. After the mountain lion quenched his thirst he wandered off into a thatch of trees nearby, whereupon Giles, after waiting for a time, approached to study its tracks at the water’s edge. Soon Giles looked up into the trees and saw two penetrating eyes fixed on him. He stood up and stared back as the ferocious animal came toward him out of the woods. The experienced researcher knew what many do not; you never turn and run when faced with a mountain lion. He stared back into its eyes as he drew his knife and stood stock still. The lion walked slowly to his left and Giles turned that way keeping his eyes on the eyes of the menacing animal; the mountain lion went right in stalking steps, and Giles turned to face him. This went on for a while until the mountain lion finally gave up and went off into the woods. Giles knew had he turned and run the lion would be on his back in seconds with his jaws around his neck snapping it in a flash as his teeth sunk into his jugular. If he had ever allowed the animal to see his back the lion would be on him in a flash. This is how they attack and kill animals five to ten times their size; it is how they have killed many humans in the wild.
The Bible declares that your arch enemy, Satan, is like a stalking lion waiting for the right moment to rush in for a kill. Just as Giles took his stand against the mountain lion, Ephesians 6 mentions “stand six times in the context of taking the correct position in defending against a cunning enemy. In my life time I have seen the Christian community change its perspective, at least in their actions, from the world as a battlefield to the world as a playfield. The world is no longer seen as a constant and deadly place of war upon which a lethal battle is unceasingly being fought. Lack of faith in the truth and authority of God’s Word has defanged the world and removed a practical belief in Satan. He may get lip service from some, but no commensurate steps to defend against him, which shows the lack of believing the Bible is completely true, unlike God’s Son.
Instead the world is more regarded as a place to play to your heart’s delight with little or no fear of harm. Even in the face of physical terrorism currently, the society, Christians included, focus more upon play than upon a stalking spiritual enemy far more dangerous than Islamic terrorists seeking to kill as many infidels as possible (anyone who does not adhere or convert to Islam according to the Qur’an). Gun wielding criminals bent on your immediate hurt or death are not more to be feared than the enemy described in Ephesians 6:12; except these spiritual enemies are ignored, their existence denied, which is to turn your back to the stalking lion. The Bible does not direct you to live in slavish fear to Satan and his minions, but it warns against denying his existence and not taking any defensive measures against his schemes (See C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters).
The young men who are at the PAYH see the world much more as a field for play than as a battleground requiring putting-on “the full armor of God to survive. Most all teenagers are no different; they are but following in the footsteps of their parents. The world appears, at least in its prospering areas, which are ever increasing, to be a vast “Vanity Fair (Pilgrim’s Progress), meant for play and indulgence, and certainly not for taking a stand in defense of righteousness.  There has been a subtle, but dominant transformation in our society as it has become increasingly and now predominantly secular, while stamping out the values and influence of the Judeo-Christian worldview which once held the culture somewhat in check to the redeeming values of righteousness.
“Taking a stand is too often substituted with doing anything which will not invite the scorn of the world. Many Christians do not take a stand while seeking to become friends with adherents of a secular, anti-Christian world under the pretext of “winning a hearing sometime in the future; a hearing which in so many cases never takes place. Jude (22-23) points out the very real danger of being yourself corrupted as you seek to win such a “hearing. Too often the witness to truth will compromise under the pressure of vitriolic scorn; unlike Christ who scorns the “shame of the cross and the Gospel for your salvation (Hebrews 12:1-3).
If you see the world correctly, and arm yourself for the continuous battle with the full armor of God, and are willing to stand in the day of evil (today), scorning the shame of taking a stand, God, your God, promises triumph. What if today were the world’s last night? Never think it is too soon to take a stand. He will come when you never expect.


“Stand then in his great might, with all his strength endued; but take to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God. Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
(2nd verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Soldiers of Christ Arise, 1749)


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Jan 20, 2015

What's New For Us In 2015?


Paul Anderson is our founder and our hero. Not because of his Olympic Gold medal, World Records or awe-inspiring stature—it’s his strength of heart that draws us in and his legacy of love through the Paul Anderson Youth Home, which he founded in 1961.
Over the last 53 years our organization has gained experience, strength, and knowledge. We have consistently seen a 90% success rate for our graduates.
As mentioned in the 2015 Overview video, our operational vision is to be a world-class non-profit and a model for how a ministry should conduct its affairs. This makes us a leader and allows us to bring glory to God.This year we are excited to seek CARF accreditation for our program.
Keeping our focus on the Paul Anderson Youth Home mission, which is to offer the grace of Jesus Christ to hurting young men and their families, we feel our ministry has so much more potential.
After decades of working with youth and families, we feel it is time to have an even broader reach. This year, we are excited to announce that we will be opening a local counseling center to help make families strong through individual ministry, training and resources for parents, teachers, businesses, and the judicial system.
Thank you for being part of the Paul Anderson Youth Home family. Together we are building generations of stronger families. Change Starts with One.


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Jan 15, 2015

Up a Creek without a Paddle

“Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. Psalm 91:14-15


One of the constants in every life is trouble. You just can’t avoid it! Most likely even today you will face one type of trouble or another, indeed you may be right in the midst of it now. Never be surprised when you encounter trouble; Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). The mission of the Paul Anderson Youth Home is to facilitate the positive transformation of “troubled boys or young men; and in the process engage in the healing of troubled families. A regular statement of Drew Read, our Chief of Operations, is: “One of the only differences between these young men here at the PAYH and most other young men of their age group is our young men got caught. And that is a good thing. Those who do not will regret it.
All of us suffer trouble and get into it; teenagers constantly face trouble, even when they do not know it. This is an inescapable fact of life. Even if you are chiefly employed in “doing good for yourself and others, you will face trouble; it persistently pursues you or you pursue it, either purposefully or unintentionally. There is little need to define what “trouble means. Everyone knows what it is from the youngest to the oldest. Little children know what it is before they can pronounce the word. It is not something for which you wish. You may find perverse delight in causing trouble, and be quite thrilled bringing it on others, but it is unequivocally true that when you bring trouble you get it back. No one commits the perfect crime for which they are never punished, and no one stirs up trouble and remains untroubled themselves.
You cannot read the Psalms, which address the valleys and mountains of life experience, without acknowledging ever-present trouble in both of those places; in the pit or valleys of despair, you find trouble; on the mountaintop, all too soon you look for the other shoe to drop. In fact, the Psalms are an intimate, personal guide through the tears, pain and joy of life. Read them or sing them, they will direct you to the Balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22), the right medicine for the wounds trouble brings; and, to the Great Physician who applies this medicine fit for what ails troubled souls. Psalm 91 is all about the “deadly pestilence and “the unsleeping hunter’s trap which constitutes the gauntlet trouble brings; read Psalm 91 and see that the troubles laid out here will drown you when you are without a “paddle. We are all “up a creek, immersed in or surrounded by trouble, as the Psalm clearly teaches, but some have a paddle to navigate the rapids and lethal waterfalls and some do not. Psalm 91 is all about the seriousness of the trouble you face; and it also is about refuge, a fortress, where no harm or disaster can destroy you; trouble will not triumph in the one who makes God his refuge.
Many a believing soldier, in the thick of the battlefield, a place I have known all too well, where bullets, mortars, and rockets kill and maim, has been emboldened and refreshed by the promises of Psalm 91. Even some of those who trust in Him and in His promises of eternal safety, may have their life’s blood poured out on the same battlefield, yet immediately awake in the magnificent courts of heaven in His presence, unafraid, and truly AT HOME; returning never enters their mind or desire. God’s promises to those who trust Him for refuge, because they love Him (91:14), are never ineffective; these promises must be understood and appreciated as spanning the whole continuum of life! Myopically, we are prone to relegate the fulfillment of God’s promises solely to life in our fallen world; the life which the Author of Life describes as only a fleeting breath of air in any comparison with eternity. We are truly deficient in our mortal experience of even fathoming the whole span of life in its totality; a view in which lack of faith precludes complete understanding. Faith is the evidence of things NOT seen.
You are truly “up a creek without a paddle if you are disinterested, unable, or simply smug within yourself to combat the trouble of this life with only me, myself, and I. The fog created by pride gives a false perception of life, leading to your downfall; it is a rock-solid fact not even impacted a smidgeon by your vehement denial this will happen. “I don’t need a paddle, you say! “I need only me! I don’t need this God-stuff! Then, ask yourself, why do I keep falling into the snare of trouble and being bamboozled by it again and again, while always thinking it will be better the next time? They say the sign of mental illness is to do something which utterly fails and the next time around do the very same thing all over again with the same result. When you honestly analyze the condition of your life, why do you keep lying to yourself that things are just fine, when it is anything but? You cannot escape your pride; you are a prisoner to it as long as you remain estranged from the freedom maker, God and His Son. Only one will work; either keep your poisonous Pride and drown, or take the Paddle God gives: as Paul Anderson said, “Grasp it and growl! In other words, get busy living with Christ, or be content to die with the “stalking lion always on your tail. Pride or paddle? You need to make a conscious choice if you are up a creek without a paddle.


“Though troubles assail us and dangers affright, though friends should all fail us and foes all unite, yet one thing secures us, whatever betide, the promise assures us, The Lord will provide.
(1st verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Though Troubles Assail Us, 1779).


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Jan 12, 2015

A Family Changed

The parents of a young man, who graduated recently, sent us a note. Their words are evidence of the hope and life your giving brings.
“It is very difficult to adequately describe the trauma – the utter despair and helplessness – we felt watching our smart, funny and loving son seemingly plummet into a dark abyss. It happened right before our eyes as we tried, unsuccessfully, to stop his self-destructive behavior.
With Jesse sitting in a youth detention center for the second time, facing a string of what might be termed petty charges, and the possibility of a lengthy incarceration, we were frightened and frustrated. Convinced that the positive change we desired for our son was not possible in a state run detention center, we searched continuously for an alternative. A chance conversation with a friend led us to the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Donald Connor answered the phone on the day we called and talked with us for several hours, answering our questions and addressing our concerns. On June 10, 2013, backed by a court order, we transported Jesse from the Augusta Youth Detention Center to the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Driving away from our seventeen year old boy, that very first day, was as hard a thing as we have ever done. It was, also, the smartest and bravest thing we have ever done.
The Paul Anderson Youth Home offered a nurturing, caring and disciplined environment for our son. It also offered tremendous support to our family as we worked to rebuild our relationship with him. To be sure, Jesse did not immediately respond to the PAYH teaching of God, others and self. He also failed, initially, to appreciate the philosophy of hard work, education and physical health as a means to overall wellbeing. There were many ups and downs throughout his time, and there were days when he pushed the limits and faced expulsion from the program. Thankfully, the counselors and staff continued to believe in Jesse, even when Jesse did not believe in himself.
A heart to heart conversation with a staff member, about nine months into the program, was a turning point for Jesse as he finally started to understand his role in the world – that respect for others was vital to developing respect for oneself. Following this breakthrough, we began to see a bright-eyed, smart and engaging boy we recognized. His self-confidence grew and he started making plans for his future.
Jesse’s transformation has been nothing short of a life that’s been saved. The troubled boy we delivered to the PAYH eighteen months ago is maturing into the young man we had long ago envisioned. He is poised to live the purposeful, fulfilling life we had dreamed for him. Yes, change starts with one. And, when that one is your own precious child, your own fractured family, your own hopes and dreams; it is simply not possible to express with words the breadth of our gratitude.”


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Jan 08, 2015

Hampton man credits youth home for turning his life around

Alex Winstead is a thankful man.
Until a few years ago, years of drug abuse and bad choices had led him down a dangerous road.
The Henry County TIMESCouncilman donates to help the needy
 


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Jan 08, 2015

Give Me Structure or I Die

“For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace…Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way…I the Lord do not change…Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path…I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free…Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. I Corinthians 14:33, 40, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 27:11, 119:32, 35


There is many a young person and even those rarer souls among the older generations we call adults (at least chronologically) who consider real freedom as living life “foot-loose and fancy-free. These are those whose minds naturally define “their freedom as a life free from restrictions, rules, commands, order or any structure which conform them to behaviors beholden to relationships with other people on the planet; much less the One who made them and all things. Even the “restriction of gravity is tested to less than optimum results.
Yet it appears, not only because God said so, but because true unfettered observation has proved it over the centuries, freedom exists only in running in the path of God’s commands. This is especially true with the fact that every person is born a prisoner of their own inherited and practiced sin, fencing them into its poisonous effects, producing a life which does not even approach freedom; a permanently caged life until the experience of Malachi 4:2 becomes your personal reality. “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Until this personally becomes true in your experience, you will remain under the false illusion you know what it is to be free, and your servitude to sin eventually engulfs you.
It is very telling that parents, or a parent, who is struggling with unruly children, or rebellious teens, will google “military schools as a potential place to send them for help; an observed proclivity by Google statistics.. Why is this? Because these parent(s) have a strong sense their child or teen lacks structure and order in their life which a military approach may, they think, cure. For a number of reasons such was not infused in these young people’s lives from an early age, and now the lack of structure and order is producing uncontrollable results. The optimum place for the help which is sought is a place like the PAYH where the structure and order integrates the spiritual, which is vital to the power of transformation.
Lack of structure and order in any life produces problematic results. Why? Because the universe we live in has structure and order, and this because the designer and creator of it is a God of structure and order. Edmund Burke said, “Good order is the foundation of all good things. One of the greatest scientists in earth’s history, Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered in his scientific studies and observations the immense, precise order of the universe, became convinced of the Divine architecture of it; seeing that the idea of random spontaneity was not only foolhardy, but denied the very truth of scientific observation. It was the orderliness of the earth’s Creator that was such a powerful factor in convincing Sir Isaac of God; a God of order who created a universe that runs with incredible precision. “Order is heaven’s first law (Alexander Pope). “Order is the shape upon which beauty depends (Pearl S. Buck). Even Gandhi could not escape the accurate observation, “There is an orderliness in the universe, there is an unalterable law governing everything and every being that exists or lives. This order extends to all things; the physical universe, the makeup of human beings, the interaction of physical, psychological and spiritual in each life, society, government, etc. Order produces good results; disorder produces ruin.
Because of the very nature of our Maker, those who desire to imitate God must be people who live and choose to live with order and structure, not only physically but spiritually. This is running in the path of His commands; which is consistent with the world where you live. God promises as the gift of his path, delight. Frustration, weariness, and despair is the infectious disease acquired and affecting others around you when repeatedly ignoring and resisting the One who made you to run in the path which actually works. Order and structure, spiritually and physically, is the path to freedom; foot-loose and fancy-free never results in experiencing the joy of being free.


“Whate’er my God ordains is right: He never will deceive me; He leads me by the proper path; I know He will not leave me. I take, content, what He hath sent; His hand can turn my griefs away, and patiently I wait His day.
(2nd verse of Samuel Rodigast’s hymn, “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right, 1675)


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Jan 07, 2015

Real Self-Esteem

The wonder and innocence of childhood is a fragile and fleeting thing. The turns and tangles of the world beyond their parent’s arms can be harsh and complex. The cultural pressure on children to abandon their innocence, grow up fast is enormous–and wrought with countless trials and tears. Self-esteem is the consequence of how we cope, what we believe, how we were raised and, most importantly, how we live.
Children who have healthy self-esteem generally lead happier, more hopeful, and more productive and more fulfilled lives than those who do not. Those with a healthy sense of who they are look to the future with greater confidence and enjoy more satisfying relationships in the present.
The challenge for parents can seem insurmountable because no one can give self-esteem to another. But parents have the opportunity, like no one else, to create an environment where love is unconditional, responsibility is shared, virtues are rewarded and mistakes are forgiven. These are the foundations of a family built for nurturing self-esteem in children.

What is self-esteem?

It’s hard to define. At its core, self-esteem is the way we view and value ourselves. It’s the inner confidence and trust that says we’re important, that others accept and even love us, that we’re capable of making a significant contribution to the world, and that we have a purpose in life. All children possess a powerful, innate need to feel connected to others in a significant way. It gives us a reason to get up in the morning and supplies the courage to take risks, persevere when we fail, and to pursue meaningful friendships and healthy intimacy with loved ones. Healthy self-esteem comes from knowing that you are loved, have value to others and a purpose in this world. Self-esteem gives a child the confidence and the strength to deal with life’s ups and downs. Kids who have healthy self esteem shine like a bright light.

The foundation of self-esteem: unconditional love

The essential ingredient of healthy self-esteem is unconditional love. All children need to know that someone loves and accepts them just as they are–the bad as well as the good, the weaknesses as well as the strengths, the failures as well as the successes. Children need to know that no matter what they do, no matter how smart they are or are not, and no matter what they look like, at least one person in this world will always stand by them, believe in them and love them unconditionally.
In early life, children who feel safe and warm in the warmth of their parents’ arms, develop the belief that they are worthy of love and attention. They learn to love themselves because their parents loved them first.
This sense of security translates into the courage and confidence they need to try new things, overcome frustration, master challenges, and develop satisfying friendships. When they accomplish these things they simply “feel good” and act happy.

God’s gift

All children wonder about things like “Where did I come from?” and “Why am I here?” You can boost a child’s self-esteem by explaining that God has made them to be one of a kind and has a special plan for their life. If your family attends church or synagogue, tell your child what you believe and why. Knowing that they are connected to others with the same beliefs and values will instill an appreciation of traditions and the importance being part of something eternal. Pray for, and with your children. A study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that children from families who place a high importance on personal prayer and religion are less likely to use drugs, become sexually active or suffer from low self esteem.
Children draw tremendous strength and comfort from their family’s faith and in knowing that God loves them and has a plan and purpose for their life.
Copyright Dr.Drew Edwards.


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