Unarmed and Dangerous

Since 2018 there have been too many reports of school shooting in this country. The exact number of school shootings is debatable based on the nature of how a school shooting is defined. Check out this link on Snopes. Regardless, one school shooting is one too many. No matter who you are and what you believe, this has to be heartbreaking.

Seems the most widely suggested solution is gun control. The collective voice of the media champions a loud cry for the government to establish laws on gun ownership in America. Whether or not gun control would be a good idea, I see problems in the  petition for gun control. The focus on government intervention.

It’s similar to the area of social services. These services can range from public welfare to Special Education in schools. The support from the government is a good thing, when appropriate. Unfortunately, there is little done about accountability for those who receive these services and people begin relying on the “system” and that is a problem.

Let’s consider special education. In 1993 a lawsuit was filed against the state of Hawaii for inadequate services for kids in special education. Through that the Felix Consent Decree was established and major reforms in special education came about. Today, the Department of Education is overwhelmed by lawsuits, fear based policy and reactionary operations because of the large number of families with children classified under special education. There are many who need the help and support, yet there are just as many, or more, taking advantage of the system.

As a Behavioral Health Specialist in the school system, I estimate 95% of the issues I deal with are family related. Of those, more than half rely on the system to “fix” their child. More than ever families are relying on the government to ensure their child’s success. That is just not realistic. The family is the most important factor in a child’s growth and development.

This is the need I see beyond gun control. Families working hard to raise their children. A society and culture that promotes strong parenting and family living. I have heard many arguments on gun control to Japan. They have strict gun laws and also close to zero gun violence. Sounds convincing. Then you consider, they send their elementary-aged children to commute to school alone, sometimes over several miles and over an hour commute. When I was growing up that may not have been so significant, but in today’s American society, that is appalling. So perhaps there is something deeper in Japanese culture that we need to explore.

Again, I am not making a suggestion for or against gun control. I am making a suggestion for us to make a culture change. Focus on family. Not your child’s vocational success or athletic aptitude, but their character. Let’s not focus on showering them with gifts or the latest trends, but with love. Do not forsake discipline, but do it compassionately. There is no perfect parent out there, but it’s hard to go wrong when you give it your best effort. We must not rely on the government to create a better world for us, we have to take action and do it ourselves. If we fall into a mindset of government to run our world, they WILL run our world. When we as families, come together, focus on a communal society and raise our children the best we can, the government will be what it’s supposed to be, a support for our society.

The way I see it, the problem is not that people are armed, but that our children are unarmed. They are unarmed with the love and protection, they are unarmed with life skills, they are unarmed with solid character, they are unarmed with compassion and empathy, they are unarmed to cope with the challenges of life because we have failed to arm them with these things. We have failed to offer the support within our families and within our community of human connection. Family, that’s where it starts, that’s where they get the training and equipment for life. We are failing them.

Our children are unarmed…and dangerous.  -jason

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One Love

You may have heard how different cultures have different words for a particular object.

For example, the Hawaiian language has many different words to describe a wave, or the Aleutian/Inuit language has many different words to describe snow. Usually, these words, or groups of words, describe an action or form of a wave or snow. I am by no means a linguist, but to me this is very similar to English use of words for water. We use terms like stream, lake, river, pond, ocean, etc, all to describe a body of water.

There is another example you may have heard in churches, LOVE. Preachers and teachers have explained to you how there are many words for love in the Bible that describe a different kind of love. I’m beginning to wrestle with this concept. What I have been thinking is that there is just one love. Different forms of it, but ONE LOVE.

In the English language we use the word love to describe so many things. It’s a feeling, it’s a verb, it’s a noun or just a great lyric to include in a song. Love is a warped concept that has confused many, including myself, and even more so in the younger generations.

In my recent observation of love, it has become selfish and self-centered. As I consider what the Bible says about love, I have some clarity.

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

God IS love.

I’m drawn to this understanding because what I believe love to be is an enormous, self-less and sacrificial thing. I cannot do that on my own. Probably the most widely used Bible scripture at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and we see that love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

WHOA. I cannot see how anyone can consider fulfilling that description of love on their own. To accept this understanding of love, I would have to accept that there is a divine being that embodies all of this. Then I pray that by His grace just an ounce of it can flow through me to others.

There may be many languages that have a word for love, there may be many terms in one particular language that describes love a certain way, but there is only one love. One Love, One God who is love and has poured it out to us through Jesus Christ.

I pray on this Valentine’s Day that you will discover that love of God, the one and only true love and that it will flow out through you to those around you. This is a forever kind of love that will change marriages, families and the world around you. Discover the love of God for yourself and for others.

As it is said in that deeply theological movie, The Princess Bride, “wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” Treasure the love of God for it is truly eternal. -jason

 

 

 

Major Pile-Up

Not a car wreck, but a wreck all the same. We have a major pile-up of laundry in our home on a regular basis.

With a family of five and everyone on the go, laundry piles up quick. We have laundry on the chore chart, so laundry is done daily. Done, meaning it’s washed and dried, but not folded. Our kids have yet to develop that skill. A skill that needs to be taught soon!

With the chaos of life and new transitions, things are piling up. The weeds in the backyard have been enjoying the rainy season a little too much, we have some furniture needs and discards, there’s the never-ending, always growing list of home repairs calling my name. Then there is all the daily tasks that need attention like cooking and cleaning and….laundry. How do we get to it all?

It comes down to making the time to do it. Watch television or do the laundry? Browse social media or do laundry? I’m not saying watching television or browsing social media is a bad choice, but we must understand that when we choose one thing, we take time away from another.

Sometimes the pile-up in our lives are not material things. Sometimes we put off emotional things. A strained relationship that needs resolution. Deep hurts from our past that we push down and don’t want to deal with. Marital issues that we think will take care of itself over time. Substance abuse problems. Heath issues. Ignored grief from a loss. Physical or psychological abuse that we hope will just go away. Financial crisis that we cover-up because “if we get that raise” things will all be better.

When we put things off they pile up. When they pile up, they become unmanageable and overwhelming. Things might seem challenging now, but if we don’t deal with them early on, the challenges become greater.

Take care of the things you need to take care of today, for no one knows what tomorrow brings. This is most certainly true with your eternity. What happens after this life? Your answer to this question will determine how you should live today.

I believe in the significance and the miracle of life. People are marvelous creations. Life is an amazing and profound occurrence. It is because of the significance of our existence that I believe there is something more after it. I believe that we have the opportunity to continue on in life eternal after death because Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins. There was a plan in the works from the beginning of creation. I have met many who know this. Many acknowledge they believe in a God, yet few care to learn more about God. It’s something they will deal with later. Later may never come. As significant as this life may be, it’s a flash in the scheme of eternity. James 4:14 says, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

Consider the things that are piling up in your life. All those things that you will get to tomorrow. Consider where you are spending your time and what your priorities are. Are you putting things off only to discover a major pile-up down the road? -jason