Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

Every Christmas season these words can be heard echoing through church halls and over the radio waves as festive songs relive the proclamation of that very first Christmas night.  We have probably all said them at least once on our lives, but have we really thought about the true meaning of this declaration?

Tonight I find myself pondering it as the children are now asleep and "Santa" is placing his final touches on the presentation of his midnight delivery.  Peace on Earth......Goodwill toward men.  The biggest reason Jesus came.  His highest priority wasn't to convert others, pronounce judgement, or to convince people to think  alike.  His highest priority was simply to love God and thy neighbor, an action that by itself would bring this declaration to fruition.

So.....I guess I know what this year's New Year's resolution will contain......a new commitment to be a better husband, father, and friend.  To be kinder to strangers and yes even enemies.  I need to do my part to bring peace to this world.  There are seven billion of us on this giant ball now and I certainly can't affect all of them, but, I can do my best to ensure we are one seven billionth closer toward Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God Bless the Children

I've tried to sit down and write several times, but I've been so angry that it keeps turning into a raging rant against a monster who armed himself like a soldier to wage war on the most innocent among us.  Right now, I only feel hate for this man, so I will speak no more about him.

Unfortunately, these events are becoming all too common in our society, almost monthly now, someone, somewhere unleashes unprovoked hatred on innocent people.  The ultimate temper tantrum in which their only cause is to lash out and inflict as much suffering as possible in the name of themselves.  As despicable as the actions of terrorists are, at least they have a cause of some sort that is bigger than themselves.  They conduct their treachery in the name of a nation or a belief, but to the American lone shooter, there is nothing bigger than themselves.  It is the ultimate act of narcissism.

Every time this happens, the questions always begin asking how can we prevent this stuff.  The fact is we can't.  These people are out there and when they decide to begin their rampage, we can only react as swiftly as possible to try to stop them.  The question I would like to pose is not how to prevent this but how to react to it.  The source of this type of demented thinking is the highest level of selfishness.  So to combat that, I want to strive to live with the highest level of selflessness that I can.  I want to battle this hate with love.  I want to try to inflict as much love on this world as I can.  I want to love as much as these guys hate.

I'm not so naive to think that love will prevent this stuff, or that rainbows and flying unicorns will appear.  But I refuse to set another foot down the road of selfishness these guys have walked.  I want to become as opposite from them as I possibly can.  Out of love, I will strive to reach out to those that I can with kindness, family, friend, neighbor, and even enemy.  We can't respond with apathy and continue about our day, we must love harder to all with whom we come in contact.

But, I also believe that we need to be ready at all times to do what we can to stop such an event should it start in our presence.  "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  We owe it to the innocent around us to always be ready to do our absolute best to stop a rampage should we be in the presence of one.  Those who would harm children must know that should they do so in our presence, they will have the fight of their lives on their hands as out of love for the innocent we must respond with absolute tenacity until the threat is gone.  Once that happens, we must return as quickly as possible back to love.

Most of us are good at either loving or fighting, unfortunately we still live in a world where we need to be able to do both.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mixed Messages about Bullying

This past week in Arizona, a local High School Principal got into trouble because he gave two students the option to hold hands in the middle of the campus or take a suspension after they got into a fight. The students chose to hold hands, and after some humiliation were done with their punishment.

The school district then came in and disciplined the principal for how he handled the situation.  The big question I would like to ask is "WHY?!"  What was the school district's motivation for punishing this principal?  If it was strictly because he blatantly violated policy then I can at least stomach it.  But my concern is that there is more to it.  My concern is that the School District acted out of fear.  

In my opinion one of the biggest reason's the education system in America has deteriorated is not because of the teaching, or the number of hours of classroom work, or less recess.  The reason we are struggling is because teachers are being asked more and more not to be teachers but to be parents.  And out of fear of law suit, school districts around the country have allowed it to happen.  It frequently seems that those on the front line of education are not supported by the higher ups because the higher ups are more concerned about being sued than they are about their teachers and administrators.  There is currently a huge nation wide push against bullying which should involve a two part message:

1.  Don't do it.
2.  Stand up to those who do.

For the past several years school districts have cowardly allowed themselves to be backed into corners and pushed around by the parents of the most disruptive kids and their attorneys.  One of the results is that our education system has become less and less effective is simply because we are terrified to kick out those that disrupt the class and hold the kids and parents accountable.  Then, when the attorneys come knocking, failing to stand their ground.  Instead, they cower and hang out to dry the people on the front lines trying to do their job.  Fifty years ago, if a principal would have made two kids hold hands for fighting, the next day both kids parents would have had them in his office with a letter apologizing for the fight and thanking him for giving them the option not to be suspended.  In this case, I don't even know if the parents really cared that much, but I'm afraid there is a decent chance that the district took a pre-emptive move to "CYA" by punishing the principal.  

In my heart of hearts, I hope I'm wrong, and if I am, I will apologize right this second to the district for jumping the gun.  But if I'm right then my question to our entire education system is: "When are we going to stop sending mixed messages and actually begin to demonstrate how to deal with bullies?"  At some point, we need to stand up to them and support the people on the front lines.  And in turn, we as a society need to provide support to the districts when and if they begin to take these stands.