Monday, December 24, 2007

Child Abuse.....

I’m sure you’re all aware of what child abuse is and will agree that there is way too much of it going on. In fact, just one child being abused is way too many. But I’d like to address other forms of child abuse that may go unnoticed by most people and not just the obvious.

What else constitutes child abuse?

How about never saying “No” to your child? Some parents don’t want their children to feel bad so they give them whatever they want. Or the parent would rather be their child’s friend so they allow things they probably shouldn’t. If your child makes a mistake, they should be allowed to own it. Coddling the child or “taking away the hurt” prevents the child from learning how to deal with life’s problems. I think it is important to not rob the child of the opportunity to learn some of life’s lessons. If a child isn’t allowed to deal with the consequences of their behavior, how are they to learn what is appropriate and what isn’t?

Think of some adults you may know that often seem to feel that they are treated unfairly, when they may be the only ones who see it that way. Ask them about their childhood and you may find that their parents, or maybe someone else, was always there to bail them out of trouble. They weren’t held accountable for their actions growing up, and resent being held accountable as an adult. Child abuse.

Comforting and coddling are two totally different things. If you don’t know the difference, let me know and I’ll explain to you in more detail.

The Bible teaches us to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The bible also talks about what it means to “Train a child”, and it involves discipline and instruction. Teaching a child how to make good decisions is a good thing, allowing the child to call the shots is not. Proverbs Chapter 22 tells us to “…not withhold discipline from a child”, and Chapter 29 says that “a child left to himself disgraces his mother”. Kids need boundaries, rules and limits and they need to know what they are.

There are too many “do nothing” parents out there and they are guilty of child abuse, whether they realize it or not.

In a marriage, there is the example of the “Love Tanks”. In order to have a happy and fulfilling marriage, it is necessary to keep each other’s “Love Tanks” full. If one spouse isn’t filling the other’s tank, the “neglected” spouse may turn to the children for the love they need to keep their love tank filled. This is unhealthy for both the child and the parent. Filling your love tank is the responsibility of your spouse and not your children, and places an unnecessary burden on the child that the child may not even be aware of. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but these things can have long term effects on the child that can carry into their adult life. More child abuse.

What about speaking negatively to your child? I see this happen quite a lot. I recently heard about one little girl who was at the mall with her mother. She saw a pretty shirt and asked her mother if she could have it. Her mother sternly told her “No!”. When the little girl asked her mother why not, her mother angrily replied, “Because it says ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ on it!”. This particular little girl loves her daddy but is told mean, hateful and hurtful things about her father (which are untrue) repeatedly by her mother. This girl’s mother was abused as a child and you can read about that here.

That woman is, in my opinion, guilty of child abuse!

Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them leaves an impression.

How about another form of child abuse you may not have considered?

What about God’s Son? When we disobey the teachings of Jesus Christ, we dishonor the Son of God. When people reject Christ, or refuse to believe on Him, they are abusing God’s one and only Son. Could that too, be child abuse?

(This next idea I got from our pastor's opening statements in church this morning).
A very popular saying around this time of year is “Jesus is the reason for the season”. But what if I told you that the real reason for the season was me, Alpha Dude? Or, what if I told you that the reason for the season was YOU?

Yes, we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. After all, Jesus’ birthday is what Christmas is really all about, right? But have you ever taken the time to ask yourself why God sent His Son here in the first place?

Jesus came into this world as a little baby, born of a virgin, in a little town called Bethlehem and….well……you know the story. But consider this……

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)

Guess what? YOU are a whosoever! God sent His Son here to walk this earth, to live a perfect, sinless life, to minister, to teach and to die a cruel death and rise again on the third day and give us a direct line to God Himself……for YOU.

The reason for the season, my friends….is YOU. It’s us. We are why He did it.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was nailed to a cross to pay for the sins of you and for me. So every time we sin, it is like striking one of the nails that held Him to the cross. It is for us and because of us that He came and died. And when we sin? Child abuse.

So anytime we reject the Son of God, anytime we treat Jesus in a negative way, we are abusing His child. The Bible also teaches us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become children of the Most High God (I John, Chapter 3). So what happens when we abuse each other? Child abuse.

So how are we going to treat Jesus this Christmas season? (Not just at Christmas, but all the time). Love your neighbor as yourself, and remember who your neighbor is.

“…..I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”. Matthew 25:40

Have a most wonderful Christmas, and please, don’t be a Herod.

Peace, Joy and Blessings to you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

That’s What Neighbors Do….

“That’s just what neighbors do”.
This is what my next door neighbor said to me last Sunday morning. It occurred to me later that morning, while clearing my driveway, that I had said the very same thing to him last summer.

Confused? Well, hang on, we’ll get there….

Earlier this year, during the summer, my next door neighbor, Mark, came over to ask if I knew where he could find new wheels for his lawnmower. He explained that the wheels had actually broken into pieces and fell off of his mower and he needed to get them fixed so he could finish his lawn.
I had just finished mowing mine, so I asked him,
“Hey Mark! How would you like to use my lawnmower?”
“Really? Thanks!”
“No problem. That’s just what neighbors do”.

And Mark was able to finish mowing his lawn. I hadn’t really thought about since then.

This last weekend, we got a lot of snow. There was about 8 to 10 inches of snow in the driveway. Mark came over and rang my doorbell.
“Hey Scott. I just got a brand new snow blower and I thought you might like to use it this morning”
“Really? Wow, thanks Mark!”
“Hey, that’s just what neighbors do!”

I had a lot of fun and cleared my driveway and sidewalk in record time.
I filled the tank with gas and took it back to him. I told him thanks again, and again, Mark told me that this is just what neighbors do for each other.

Pretty cool lesson. Especially this Christmas season. The Bible teaches us to treat our neighbors well. “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
A man once asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus’ response to him tells us that basically, it is everyone you meet.

We are to show Christ’s love to everyone, not just the nice people next door to us. I’m trying hard to remember that, but it isn’t always easy.

Enjoy the following cartoon and please remember the real reason for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by, neighbor!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blowing Off Steam….

The last couple of weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for me. There have been highs and lows, joy and sorrow, hope and then the rug pulled out from under me. So, rather than air all that crap and give you something to be depressed about, I thought I’d address some observations that have made me question the intelligence (or lack thereof) of some certain people.

Have you seen that commercial for the new weight loss product? They made the name sound similar to liposuction, most likely to make you think it may work quickly. It is called Lipozene, or something like that. The commercial shows a computer graphic of some fat guy and then they added some spongy looking fat cells for effect. Their sales pitch makes you think that taking these pills will make you skinny, rich and good-looking in no time at all. But, as with products such as these, there is a lot of fine print at the bottom of the TV screen. I have a habit of reading the fine print (I’m somewhat nerdy like that). The fine print says that the expected weight loss is about 3.65 pounds over an 8 (eight) week period. Eight weeks to lose 3.65 pounds? Good Grief!

I can practically do that after eating Mexican food!
They also recommend a proper diet and getting plenty of exercise. It seems to me that if you eat right and get some exercise, you’ll lose a lot more than just 3.65 pounds in eight weeks and you don’t need to waste money on some stupid pills that probably don’t do anything anyway.
And while the fine print talks about results in eight weeks, they only offer you a thirty day supply!

There’s a new country song out there called “International Harvester”. It sounds good and tells a good story, but there is something about the opening lines that are quite disturbing. The first couple of lines go something like this….
“I’m the son of a third generation farmer,
I’ve been married ten years to the farmer’s daughter…..”
Well, I don’t know about you, but it sure sounds to me like this guy is married to his sister.
(Things that make you go “Ewwww…”)

And what is up with those darned hand dryers in the restroom at work? And what happened to having paper towels in there? There's no towels, but there is a trash can. Why? There's nothing to put in it.

There is a label on the dryer that tells you to first, after washing your hands, to shake off the water from your hands, then hold your hands under the dryer and rub them together until dry. The dryer shuts off automatically. It seems to me that shaking the water off your hands onto the tile floor creates a slipping hazard. Those dryers also seem to use a lot of electricity. Wouldn’t having paper towels been a more efficient way to go? I don’t know what the cost would be for paper towels in the washroom, but it would be most certainly offset by the time saved by not having to stand there until your hands are dry (lost work productivity) and the rising cost of electricity. I’m just saying….

I took my wife out for Mexican food the other night. (Yeah, just had to test my theory).
The food was okay but the service was slow to non-existent. The waitress also didn’t have a real good grasp on the English language.
“Would you like separate checks?” huh?
“Would you like that on a plate?” how else are you going to bring it?
“Would you like me to bring it to you now or after you leave?” uh…now would be good.

Okay, I'll admit, with her broken english, it sure sounded like that is what she said. (She really did ask about seperate checks though.)
Anytime we needed something, I had to get up and go ask the manager. They weren’t THAT busy!
I’m guessing we won’t be going back there for quite a while.

This clown's smile is painted on right now. Hopefully, by the time the paint wears off, there will be a real one underneath. We'll see.

And we got snow. Lots of it. Good story to go with that, though. I’ll write about it later.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas With a Capital "C"

'Tis the Season, y'all.


The tree is up.
The lights are on the house.
The lighted deer is in the yard (the head moves).

And Jesus Christ is Lord!