Parenting

It’s Not Okay

WARNING: The subject matter of this post may be considered offensive by any and all who read it.  I would be concerned if the subject didn’t bother you quite frankly.  You may not want to read this.  Proceed with full awareness that you have been warned.  Some of the links in the stories referenced and linked from this post may not be safe to click on if you are reading at work .  The subject at hand is porn.  By clicking on the more link to view this post, you are taking this on with full awareness. Continue reading

Categories: Christianity, Culture, Love, Marriage, Parenting, personal, Sex, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life Is Precious, Life Is Sweet

I have got to get a couple of stories off of my mind and a few thoughts off my chest.  In the last couple of weeks I ran across two separate stories that made my blood boil and made me want to vomit as well.  I posted the video above, because I do believe that life is precious.  All life is precious.  Life is a miracle given by God and yet there seem to be some who are hellbent (I think that word is extremely apropos here) on cheapening life and destroying the miracles of God all around us.  Not content to question God or to mock Him, they see fit to try and metaphorically spit in His face while they are at it.

First up, the Dutch, who have been mocking away for years now at the very notion that life is precious or meaningful.  Not content to merely approve of doctors killing their patients for various reasons, they have now gone a step further to create a mobile unit to assist those patients whose doctors refused to go along with the suicide/homicide for whatever reason.

Every year 2,300 to 3,100 mercy killings are carried out in the Netherlands, although opponents of the practice claim the figure is much higher because many cases are not registered. The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) supports euthanasia in principle if there is no alternative, but has distanced itself from the NVVE initiative, arguing that giving it the name Life End will foster the idea that it is for those who it said are simply “weary of life” rather than those who are sick.

This time they have taken it so far that even some of those who are all for these murderous suicides have balked.  It will not be long, some claim that it already happens there, before these are not completely voluntary after all.

In another case, which is perhaps more appalling and should be trumpeted even more loudly perhaps; Oxford medical “ethicists” have determined that abortion is really no different than killing a newborn baby.  This is a DUH! moment if there ever was one as most pro-life folks have been making this argument for as long as the debate over abortion has been going on.  The real stomach-turner here is that the “ethicists” (I put that in quotes for a reason) logic leads them not toward the eradication of abortion but rather to the condoning of infanticide.  Go and read the article if you think you can.  I figure it is just one more nail in the coffin for when God finally says He has given us long enough.  They have extended the argument that made them OK with murder as long as it was inside the womb to encompass murder outside the womb.  They even go so far as to call newborn infants “potential persons.”

Here is the only good takeaway from this article.  They have finally agreed with us that an unborn child is no different than a child that has been born.  The fact that they are still willing to dehumanize it, tells anyone with a brain just how coldblooded and cruel the heart of the pro-abortion position is.  This isn’t about a woman’s right to choose; it is about justifying homicide in a way that makes it theoretically easier to look at yourself in the mirror the next day.  Abortion is murder.  Oxford “ethicists” have confirmed as much.

Just in case you think we haven’t crossed over the brink in our society, I offer you this story that I saw just within the last week.  A couple sued a hospital in Oregon because they had a baby that was born with Down syndrome,  They openly claimed that if they had known before it was born, they would have aborted the baby.  I might be a bit touchier on this subject as I lost a dear friend last summer who had Down syndrome.  He was a blessing to everyone that knew him.  The idea that any parent would think this way appalls me more than I can say.  The article says that they have received death threats (which is also appalling).  My only hope is that they never have to explain to this dear sweet child why they filed suit over the very fact that she was given life.  Used to be that children were considered a blessing.  What a sad day we have reached when for so many life either neither precious or sweet.

Categories: Abortion, America, Culture, Parenting, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Isn’t the Money You Spend

As education scores have gone down in this country you hear more and more people decrying the need to spend more on school to help our youngsters.  The problem isn’t a money problem though.  Anyone who home schools and has heard the per pupil expenditures of a typical school district knows this to be the case.  While I am sure there are gaps in this study (I don’t know that they factored in the cost of feeding your students at home everyday for instance), I still am willing to be that the numbers show the truth about spending and education performance.

Our greatest expenditure in home schooling is usually the curriculum.  We use computer based software for our kids from grade 3 and beyond and other materials for the younger student.  It isn’t cheap at roughly $350 per student per year, but we can also reuse it as the next student comes to that grade if we wish which cuts down the cost over time.  Compare that to a per pupil spending that can be as high as $23,000 or so in a public school.

To put public school spending in perspective, we compare it to estimated total expenditures in local private schools. We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school.

And if you want to whine about underpaid school teachers go right ahead, but no one pays us to teach our kids.  No one cares as much about teaching them as we do either, so I know we wouldn’t find another teacher wiling to put in the kind of hours we do for the kind of pay we receive.  Our pay is seeing our kids learn and grow and “get it” as they study and learn, and that is enough for us.  You aren’t going to see us walking out of the house on strike or any of that either.  For us it really is all about the kids and their education.  That isn’t just some platitude or empty sentiment.

Education isn’t about the money you spend.  You can keep throwing money at the public schools until we are bankrupt, and it looks some days like we just might do it.  The truth is that more money will never overcome the one thing that a home school has that a public school can never replicate.  The caring, tenacious work of a parent teaching their own child.

Categories: Culture, family, Parenting, personal, School, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

Anyone remember that Toy-R-Us slogan from years ago?  They may still use it for all I know, but it talked about letting kids be kids.  There are some days a lot of adults would like to be kids again, and there are some adults who act like they still are; but kids, well, they should be given the chance to grow up in due time.  One of the things I have told my kids is that I want to do what I can to allow them to be a kid for as long as they should be.

What do I mean by that?  I don’t want to overload them with things that are too mature for them to know or worry about and I want to protect them from those who think otherwise.  Part of this involves teaching them wisdom and how to recognize quickly what is potentially hazardous from what is likely benign.  Before you ask, I have had many “talks” with my oldest and a few less “talks” with the younger ones.  We aren’t shying away from talking about sex or any other potential minefields that the world wishes to erect for my kids to walk through in their way.  We are teaching them how to walk around the minefields as best as we can.

But I am heartbroken for all of those in their generation who won’t get the same protection from being forced to “grow up” before their time.  The world has taken aim at these young ones and desires to force them from their childhood far too soon.  Cases in point:

Giving condoms away to 11 year old kids in Philadelphia.

“Playing it safe just got easier,” the website reads. “If you live in Philadelphia and are between the ages of 11 and 19, you can now have condoms mailed directly to you for FREE. Maybe it’s difficult for you to stop by one of our sites to pick up condoms. Or maybe you’re just shy or feeling weird about picking up condoms.”

There are no words to convey how I feel about this assault that is directed at 11 year olds.  These people have no clue what sex is about if they even think that it is a remotely good idea for 11 year-olds to be engaging in it.  Amazingly, they almost kinda realize it too as the director concedes that 11 might “seem a little young” to people.  This of course doesn’t stop them from dragging out that old canard that kids are doing it anyway and we need to find out why they are doing it.  I can tell you why they are doing it, because nitwits like them are suggesting that it is OK or inevitable that they will do it.

“Abstinence is one end of the continuum and we certainly want to encourage kids to be abstinent, but for the kids who are not, we want to educate them,” he said. “Abstinence is certainly one end of the continuum, but abstinence-only programs don’t work.”

To the contrary, abstinence-only programs are undoubtedly the most successful because they don’t send out mixed-signals.  We don’t send firemen out to tell kids not to stick their hands in a fire and then give them an asbestos glove in case they want to try it and a tube of burn cream for when they give in to the urge and get burned.  This is essentially what they are doing with sex education that goes beyond teaching the reasons to abstain.  Tell them no and then give them protection for when they will do it anyway and then give them medical attention for the diseases they will invariably contract.

Want to have truly safe sex?  Wait until you are married and have it only with your spouse who has done the same thing, no risk for STDs, no risk of out of wedlock pregnancy when you are 12.  Or to use the fireman analogy.  If you want to make sure you don’t get your hand burned or burn down anything else, keep the fire in the fireplace where it belongs.

Categories: Culture, False Teachers, Love, Marriage, Parenting, Sex, Signs of the Times, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Father’s Eyes

I got a new toy this week.  It is a standalone DVD recorder from Sony.  It was a refurbished unit on clearance from one of my favorite tech sites, so we decided to grab it in hopes of dubbing off a bunch of our old home movies.  So today, I pulled it out of the box and after struggling with some cabling problems (I keep tons of old cables but can’t find the one for our camcorder.  I dug an older camcorder out of the box and managed to get something going to try this thing out.

As I write this post, I am watching the video of my first son digging into his first birthday cake after earlier seeing the video of my other two children doing the same thing.  I have sort of seen these in reverse order, but it is precious to walk back down the memory lane of these events.

As an obsessive dad, I filmed non-stop action of each of my kids tearing their cakes apart and stuffing them in their mouths.  In the background you hear the voices of those at the party, but you never see most of them.  The focus is on the kid at the center of the spotlight and it stays there.  The reason I did this is because I didn’t want to risk missing a moment of the excitement for anything.  Of course the whole thing isn’t exciting for most who watch it, but I have the eyes of a father.

I admit that as an earthly father, I have  my moments of distraction.  It isn’t like I always stare at my kids nonstop, but there are times when I zero in a give them complete focus.  It lets them know that I love them.  Scripture talks about this aspect of God’s love for us.  Jesus says that if we as earthly fathers know how to give good things, how much more does our Heavenly Father give good things for us.  The Bible also talks about Him “singing over us.”  One of my favorite “modern hymns” is called How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, because it is so powerful in its expression of this love.  In the first verse it says this:

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

You may feel wretched or unloved, but let me assure you that nothing is further from the truth.  The Father is not without compassion.  John 3:16 isn’t just some sappy sentiment.  He loves you and gave His only Son for you.  See yourself through His eyes.

Categories: Christianity, devotional, family, Gospel, Grace, Love, Parenting, personal, Salvation, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

King for a Day, Thanks to My Little Princess!

Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church, I realized that I didn’t have the shirt or even the pants that I wanted upstairs; so I put on the bathrobe, that I rarely ever wear, and trudged down the stairs to collect the desired attire.  Upon seeing me, my daughter shrieked with glee and said “Daddy is wearing his royal robe.  He needs his crown!”

Suddenly, there was a paper crown, which she had made for me to wear a while back, waiting to be placed on my head.  It is one of those moments as a dad that is too precious to pass up.  Even though I was in a hurry, I bent down to accept my crown and tried not to knock it off my head as I gathered my things.  My daughter said, “You are the king and mommy is the queen and I am your princess!”

Just try and hear those words without smiling.  I wore my crown upstairs and Amelia got a good laugh out of the sight as well.  These are the moments that parents remember for a lifetime.  Today, my little princess is turning seven, and I know that the days of paper crowns and our “royal family” are growing shorter.

Hard to believe that seven years ago today we had our “Dakota baby” in the hospital just down the street from our home.  I won’t lie that I was relieved to be living so close to the hospital after some close calls with the boys deliveries back in the days we lived in Arkansas.  Of course, my daughter was the one child that didn’t come early.  Instead, she was fashionably late by a couple of days and came on the one day of the week that I had hoped she wouldn’t pick (because of my work schedule at the time); but that is the way it often seems to be in my experience.  Daughters have a way of wrapping themselves close to a dad’s heart, and she got an early start on the process.  I shared yesterday that I would be unapologetically overprotective of her and I mean to be.  She is our only girl and remains the only granddaughter on both sides of the family, so she may get spoiled just a little from time to time as well.

Even still, there are so many things that a dad cannot prevent.  I couldn’t keep her from banging her head against the door and needing stitches last summer and there have been other adventures that I would have rather avoided.  I know that I won’t be able to stop every bad thing from happening either.  In my heart, I know that such a thing wouldn’t even be healthy anyway.  She will grow and learn and take some bumps and bruises along the way, but daddy will always be there to pick her up and help her out.

Just as important, I am planning to make sure she knows how a true gentleman should treat a princess.  We are going out for lunch today, and Amelia told me last night that AllieRose asked to wear a dress for the occasion.  I suppose that I might have to dress up just a little bit (nothing real formal) to make sure that she knows how special it is to me as well.

Today, I just wanted to take a break from all of the other posts and wish my beautiful princess a very happy birthday.

Categories: family, friends, Fun, Humor, Love, Parenting, personal, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments

Unapologetic Overprotective Dad on the Loose

Maybe it is because my little girl turns 7 tomorrow, or maybe it is the fact that my oldest boy is less than a year shy of teenager status; either way, I am putting up fences in the best sense of the word with a lot more intentionality and speed than I ever did before.

There is nothing new underneath the sun indeed.  The Bible says this without any qualifiers and it was stated nearly 3000 years ago.  This isn’t to say that there isn’t new technology or discoveries or the like.  The thing that simply does not change is the nature of man and our behavior.

I have been stockpiling the links for just a day or so as they run across my path.  I could include a dozen more links than what I will bother to post here, because there is nothing new about this at all.  In fact, I just wrote something similar last week, based on another article.

The world has seemingly gone mad about sex.  Between the stories about a clothing company that sells “push up” tops to kids my daughter’s age(which I won’t even bother to link to), and the continuing stories about kids who are “sexting” at younger and younger ages, I am about ready to throw up.  There are “well-meaning” pastors who attempt to talk frankly about the subject but can’t avoid either sensationalism (a la marketing ploys) or outright vulgarity.  Yet the church needs to address the issue.  We need to invite parents back into the mix to take responsibility for bringing up their children in the knowledge of the Lord and His Ways.  God has plenty to say about sex and sexuality and how to get it right.  Let’s not punt the ball on this issue and leave it up to a world that should know better, just from sheer failure of bad experiences, yet will never learn from their mistakes.

My little girl knows what modesty is and she can recognize immodesty for that reason.  My boys are going to be brought up to “keep their hands to themselves” until the time that God provides the other half to complete them, flesh of their flesh and bone of their bones.  Which means they will still be keeping their hands to “themselves” when you think about it.

It may make them weird in this culture and it will certainly mean that they won’t be like everyone else, but that is the meaning of being “set apart.”  It is what we are called to be as believers and it is what we are taught to pass on to our kids as parents who love the Lord.  Plus it will save them from a lifetime of regret and unneeded hurt and trouble.  I will guarantee you that the folks in this article wish they had done the same.

Let us not be afraid to point to God’s ways and His design for sex, which is to be safely confined within a marriage relationship with a man and a wife.  Outside of that context, you are simply playing with fire (Proverbs 6:27) and you will get burned.

As a father, I take my job seriously.  Am I being overprotective?  Maybe.

But I will take that risk, and believe me, I am not sugarcoating or hiding the truth from my kids.  I am just trying to make sure that they learn the truth from me and from God’s Word before they hear the distortions that have been cooked up by society and pop culture.  Those are lies from the pit of hell itself and I want my kids to be able to recognize them for the forgeries they are, by showing them the genuine article.  Real love.  God’s Love – God’s Way.

Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, church, Commandments, Culture, Discipleship, family, Freedom, friends, Love, Parenting, personal, Prayer Needs, School, Signs of the Times, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

God Knows Best about Sex and Modesty Too

Every so often, I run into one of those stories where someone unexpectedly says something that simply confirms those things we learn so readily in God’s Word and yet says it as if it was amazing news.  I have done posts on this before, but let me say it one more time.  God knows what He is talking about!

As our Creator, He knows how we are made to be and how things work best within His design.  Yesterday, I ran into a post about girls and modesty where the author asks the question, “why do we let our girls dress like that?”  The blogger I saw mention this article said that the thing lacking was any evidence of a father.  While I agree with that, fathers have a huge impact in this area (of course, that is a piece of Godly wisdom as well).  There is a paragraph that jumped off the page as I read the commentary:

I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”

This woman learned in retrospect that God’s ideal of saving sex for marriage was really a good idea.  Every person I have spoken to who is honest about it says the same thing.  You can look at Hollywood and the trail of destruction left by the contemporary attitudes of casual sex, zero commitment and sexual “freedom” and see nothing but pain and despair.  Charlie Sheen may call it “winning” but he is losing everything that is worth anything at all.  When reality finally hits the depth of the loss is evident to all.

The Bible says many things similar to the same observation that this lady made.  Sex is a powerful thing.  No less that the Song of Solomon teaches this very concept:

6Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
7Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.

– Song of Solomon 8:6-7

There it is for you.  The wisdom of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.  Don’t trust the “experts” of our modern age.  The Word of God is still true and still holds wisdom that will get you through this life and beyond.  Don’t get sucked into the lies that say otherwise.

Categories: church, Culture, Discipleship, Parenting, personal, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back-to-School Season Insanity

It is the middle of August, but many of my friends are posting messages about their kids heading back to school now.  We are a couple of weeks away from starting school with our kids here at home (it is nice to have that luxury), but a recent back-to-school story caught my eye and I figured I would give it a little attention.

As a kid, I don’t really remember the back-to-school shopping lists very much.  I am sure we had some kind of list, but it wasn’t the cottage industry that it is these days with the stores having a display full of lists you can take and use as you run the isles of the special section devoted to helping you fill the list requirements.  But of course in those days, back-to-school supplies were things like pencils and erasers and protractors and maybe special calculators and things like that in upper grades.  Now, the back-to-school list includes things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies in some areas, according to this fascinating aforementioned article:

On the list for pre-kindergartners at McClendon Elementary in Nevada, Tex.: a package of cotton balls, two containers of facial tissue, rolls of paper towels, sheaves of manila and construction paper, and a package of paper sandwich bags.

This is possibly one of the more defensible lists mentioned in the article, outside of the TP requirement, the bulk of this could actually be used by students in the course of some pre-K curriculum I am sure.  But some of the reported lists include things like cleaning supplies of various sorts.  I know that we are a little less impacted here in North Dakota to this point, but are school districts really in such bad shape that they need to beg their students to bring cleaning supplies?  That can’t be planned for in the budget?

Maybe later in the year, they can ask the students to start buying fluorescent bulbs or else they will just have to make sure the classrooms get plenty of sunlight.  This kind of craziness makes me appreciate our decision to home school just a little bit more.  After all, it just isn’t as weird for us to buy cleaning supplies for our own school instead of supplying them for someone else.

What do you think?  Do these kinds of extra school supplies seem out of line to you?

Categories: Culture, Fun, Humor, Parenting, School, summer | 2 Comments

Memories, Recollections, and Days Gone By

We are back in the places of my childhood and years gone by in Arkansas.  It is the first time we have visited in the summer since following the call of God to the Dakotas and ministry there.  I was quickly reminded why I prefer the climate of the Dakotas to my native state.  We were greeted by triple digit heat indexes and temps above 90 for nearly every day of our visit to this point.

This afternoon we went to the wedding of one of my wife’s younger sisters.  I couldn’t help but think back to the days when I first started dating Amelia and this little girl would come running to greet me at the door with a bull rush intended to knock me backwards.  She doesn’t do that anymore of course, but we seldom continue to do the things we used to do.  Life is growth and change and rare is the time or place that we can “go back” to the way things were.

In a lot of cases, this is a good thing.  God has made us in such a way that growth is a sign of life.  Things that don’t grow; die, whether it is slow and hardly perceptible or quick and shocking, the result of both is identical.  As we grow and change, the memories of where we have been and how we have changed can prepare us for the days ahead.

Today, we passed over ground that my wife and I walked years ago as a young couple in love and eager to be married.  And we walked those grounds as a couple who is still young at heart, very much still in love, and now blessed with three children who witness that love and testify of it on a daily basis.  On this day to celebrate fathers, I am blessed indeed to walk the paths of days gone by with a mind that is able to look forward to the days yet to come that are sure to be filled with joy, growth, sorrow, and many other things that only the Lord knows for sure.

While it is good to come and remember the past, it will soon be time to go back to the fields of the present and the service that God has called us to yet again.  I am excited to go and keep making memories for future days gone by.

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Categories: family, friends, Fun, Love, Parenting, personal, summer, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

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