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Judeo-Christian Culture: Christian Word on Parents, Marriage, and the Nuclear Family

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Dinner Topics Month-Defining Moment Defining Moment: Today there are many who are changing the definition of the traditional family. Here Christian leaders clearly define the real family, and warn of the consequences of abandoning Biblical values and moral absolutes. The … Continue reading

Biography: Booker T. Washington

Book Review

Booker T. Washington was a great educator.  I read his book, Up from Slavery, many years ago,  enjoyed it very much, and I recommend it. It is classic literature for teaching character education. Rising above victim status, he provided a way for many people to get a good education and have better lives.

Booker T. Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Booker_T_Washington_portrait_Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to Republican presidents. He was the dominant leader in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915.

Representative of the last generation of black American leaders born in slavery, he spoke on behalf of the large majority of blacks who lived in the South but had lost their ability to vote through disfranchisement by southern legislatures. Historians note that Washington, “advised, networked, cut deals, made threats, pressured, punished enemies, rewarded friends, greased palms, manipulated the media, signed autographs, read minds with the skill of a master psychologist, strategized, raised money, always knew where the camera was pointing, traveled with an entourage, waved the flag with patriotic speeches, and claimed to have no interest in partisan politics. In other words, he was an artful politician.”[1]

While his opponents called his powerful network of supporters the “Tuskegee Machine,” Washington maintained control because of his ability to gain support of numerous groups including influential whites and the black business, educational and religious communities nationwide. He advised on financial donations from philanthropists, and avoided antagonizing white Southerners with his accommodation to the political realities of the age of Jim Crow segregation.[2]

Overview

Washington was born into slavery to Jane, an enslaved woman, and a white father. His father was a nearby planter, in a rural area of the Piedmont region in southwestern Virginia. After emancipation, his mother moved the family to rejoin her husband in West Virginia; there Washington worked in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking an education. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University). In 1876, Washington returned to live in Malden, West Virginia, teaching Sunday School at African Zion Baptist Church; he married his first wife, Fannie Smith, at the church in 1881.[3] After returning to Hampton as a teacher, in 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American citizens. He built a nationwide network of supporters in many black communities, with black ministers, educators and businessmen composing his core supporters. Washington played a dominant role in black politics, winning wide support in the black community and among more liberal whites (especially rich Northern whites). He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education. Washington’s efforts included cooperating with white people and enlisting the support of wealthy philanthropists, helping to raise funds to establish and operate thousands of small community schools and institutions of higher education for the betterment of blacks throughout the South. This work continued for many years after his death. Washington argued that the surest way for blacks to gain equal social rights was to demonstrate “industry, thrift, intelligence and property.”

Northern critics called Washington’s followers the “Tuskegee Machine”. After 1909, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP, especially W. E. B. Du Bois, who demanded a stronger tone of protest for advancement of civil rights needs. Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run. At the same time, he secretly funded litigation for civil rights cases, such as challenges to southern constitutions and laws that disfranchised blacks.[4][page needed] Washington was on close terms with national republican leaders, and often was asked for political advice by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.[5]

In addition to his contributions in education, Washington wrote 14 books; his autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today. During a difficult period of transition, he did much to improve the working relationship between the races. His work greatly helped blacks to achieve higher education, financial power and understanding of the U.S. legal system. This contributed to blacks’ attaining the skills to create and support the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, leading to the passage of important federal civil rights laws.

Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

The organizers of the new all-black state school called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama found the energetic leader they sought in 25-year-old Washington. He believed that with self-help, people could go from poverty to success. The new school opened on July 4, 1881, initially using space in a local church. The next year, Washington purchased a former plantation, which became the permanent site of the campus. Under his direction, his students literally built their own school: making bricks, constructing classrooms, barns and outbuildings; and growing their own crops and raising livestock; both for learning and to provide for most of the basic necessities.[12] Both men and women had to learn trades as well as academics. Washington helped raise funds to establish and operate hundreds of small community schools and institutions of higher educations for blacks.[13][page needed] The Tuskegee faculty used all the activities to teach the students basic skills to take back to their mostly rural black communities throughout the South. The main goal was not to produce farmers and tradesmen, but teachers of farming and trades who taught in the new schools and colleges for blacks across the South. The school expanded over the decades, adding programs and departments, to become the present-day Tuskegee University.[14][page needed]

Washington expressed his aspirations for his race in his direction of the school. He believed that by providing needed skills to society, African Americans would play their part, leading to acceptance by white Americans. He believed that blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by acting as responsible, reliable American citizens. Shortly after the Spanish-American War, President William McKinley and most of his cabinet visited Washington. He led the school until his death in 1915. By then Tuskegee’s endowment had grown to over $1.5 million, compared to its initial $2,000 annual appropriation.[

Marriages and children

Washington was married three times. In his autobiography Up From Slavery, he gave all three of his wives credit for their contributions at Tuskegee. His first wife Fannie N. Smith was from Malden, West Virginia, the same Kanawha River Valley town where Washington had lived from age nine to sixteen. He maintained ties there all his life. Washington and Smith were married in the summer of 1882. They had one child, Portia M. Washington. Fannie died in May 1884.[14][page needed]

Washington next wed Olivia A. Davidson in 1885. Born in Virginia, she had studied at Hampton Institute and the Massachusetts State Normal School at Framingham. She taught in Mississippi and Tennessee before going to Tuskegee to work. Washington met Davidson as a teacher at Tuskegee, where she was promoted to assistant principal there. They had two sons, Booker T. Washington Jr. and Ernest Davidson Washington, before she died in 1889.

In 1893 Washington married Margaret James Murray. She was from Mississippi and had graduated from Fisk University, a historically black college. They had no children together, but she helped rear Washington’s children. Murray outlived Washington and died in 1925.

Wealthy friends and benefactors

Washington associated with the richest and most powerful businessmen and politicians of the era. He was seen as a spokesperson for African Americans and became a conduit for funding educational programs. His contacts included such diverse and well-known personages as Andrew Carnegie, William Howard Taft, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Huttleston Rogers, George Eastman, Julius Rosenwald, Robert Ogden, Collis Potter Huntington and William Henry Baldwin Jr., who donated large sums of money to agencies such as the Jeanes and Slater Funds. As a result, countless small schools were established through his efforts, in programs that continued many years after his death. Along with rich people, black communities also helped their communities by donating time, money and labor to schools. Churches such as the Baptist and Methodist also supported black elementary and secondary schools.

 

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Teaching Children about Easter

Teaching Children about Easter

Can kids comprehend the cross?

Teddy James

American Family Association Journal

Jesus and ChildrenExcept for a few details such as being “with child from the Holy Spirit,” children don’t seem to have much problem understanding the Christmas story. God came to earth as a baby. His mother was Mary; his earthy father, Joseph. They had traveled a long way and were sleeping in a barn the night He was born. The good guys, like the shepherds and the wise men, celebrated His birth, but others did not.

Compare that story with the 33-year-old Jesus voluntarily traveling to Jerusalem, celebrating Passover, staying silent before His accusers, being flogged, beaten, spat upon, having a crown of thorns forced onto His head, carrying the instrument of His homicide, nailed to a rough, wooden cross, and suffering for six hours until He died. Easter is difficult to explain and understand for adults, but much more so for children.

It is here that traditions can help families explain the tragedy and hope of Easter. Using tactile items to tell the story of Easter helps children understand the events on a level appropriate for their sensitivity and maturity. It also leaves room for their understanding to grow through the years. On top of that, new traditions help families mark, remember, and celebrate the most important of holy days in Christendom.

Resurrection Eggs
The ubiquitous plastic eggs have become synonymous with the Easter season. This has led some families to create a new tradition that embraces them but also points away from the commercialization of Easter and toward the reason we celebrate.

Parents get children to help them create or find items that go inside the eggs to symbolize the events of Easter. Most limit the items to 12 so the eggs can be kept in a common egg carton.

teaching-children-easterFamilies choose different symbols including: a cracker to symbolize the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26), silver coins (Matthew 26:14-16), a piece of leather or rope (John 19:1), a twig of thorns (Matthew 27:29), a cross (19:16-17), a large nail (John 19:18), a sign reading “King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), a sponge (Matthew 27:48), a spear (John 19:34), cloves or spices (Luke 24:1), a rock (Matthew 27:59-60), and a white piece of linen (John 20:7). The last egg is left empty to show that Jesus left the tomb on the third day.

No matter what items are chosen, it is important to include a Scripture reference inside each egg. This will also help children see Scripture as living, breathing, and applicable rather than dry and boring.

Resurrection Tree
Building on the idea of gathering items that symbolize Easter, many families build a Resurrection Tree. The tree is unique in that it takes families from Creation to Jesus’ resurrection. Some families take 30 days to decorate the tree and spend a few minutes each day leading up to Resurrection Sunday to read Scripture and create ornaments.  (See sidebar below.)

On the first day, parents read Genesis 1-2 and children place an ornament that resembles earth on the tree. That ornament can be papier-mâché or a colored balloon. On day seven, families can read Genesis 37, 40-46 (or excerpts from those chapters) and place an ornament symbolizing Joseph’s coat of many colors. On day eight, a lamb is placed on a branch while reading Exodus 12, the story of the Passover. This is a perfect time to discuss how the Passover is a foreshadowing of Easter. Families continue working their way through God’s story of redemption to its culmination in the resurrection.

But the Resurrection Tree doesn’t have to take 30 days. Some families make one ornament for every week of Lent. (See sidebar.) Others choose to make only four ornaments the first year, carefully explaining each symbol. They add a few more the next year and further explain the ramifications of Easter to their children.

Seder Meal
Messianic Jewish congregations possess a great way of teaching that the gospel did not begin in the New Testament but was in God’s plan from the very beginning. They celebrate Passover with a Seder meal, and some choose to end the dinner with Communion.

The Seder meal consists of many elements including the washing of hands, a time during which children ask four questions and are answered by the leader of the Seder meal, the hiding and finding of the Afkomen (unleavened bread), the four cups of wine that involve a reading and response filled with history and Scripture, the partaking of the Seder plate consisting of Karpas (greens), Beltzah (a boiled egg), Maror (a bitter herb), Charoset (a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, honey, and cinnamon), and the shank bone of a lamb.

Every aspect of the Seder meal has a powerful, symbolic meaning. That meaning is amplified when viewed through the lens of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. The Seder meal is a tradition thousands of years in the making and will bring extra meaning to your family’s Easter celebration.

Easter is certainly difficult to explain and hard to understand, especially for children. However, it can also be the most celebratory, meaningful, and maturing seasons in a Christian child’s life. These traditions, and many others like them, will ensure that your children remember that Easter isn’t about new clothes, candy, and an oversized bunny. It is about the Creator of the Universe clothing Himself in flesh and offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Whatever traditions you choose to establish, make sure they will be remembered, treasured, and repeated.

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Lent – This year, Lent began on February 18, Ash Wednesday. Although the Lenten season is almost complete, it isn’t too late to prepare your family for Easter through this traditional time marked by self-examination, prayer, fasting, self-denial, and repentance.

Here are some ideas for Lent to help you get started.

  • Practice self-denial. Give up something important to you. A few examples include withholding food for one meal a day, giving up coffee or tea, abstaining from television, or choosing to read only Scripture.
  • Serve those around you. Make a special effort to follow Jesus’s life of service by finding families in your community to bless, or by making a sacrificial gift to a gospel ministry.
  • Make pretzels. Pretzels are a traditional Lenten food symbolizing arms crossed in prayer. Making pretzels is a memorable way to include children in the Lenten season.
  • Prepare your heart. Like an annual physical exam, use this time to access your relationship with Christ. Pray through the verses of Psalm 51 and meditate on it daily.
  • Begin a focused family Bible time. If your family is not in the habit of studying Scripture together, Lent is a great time to begin. The Easter story found in Mark 14-16 is an appropriate passage.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/april/can-kids-comprehend-the-cross/

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New Easter traditions

Resurrection Eggs kit
1-800-358-6329

Resurrection Tree

Seder Meal Resources

Full copy of a Haggadah

How to make an Easter Garden

How and why to celebrate the 40 days Jesus stayed on earth after His resurrection

40-day journey to Easter

Parenting: Teaching Charity

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Parenting Value: Charity, Part 1

Richard and Linda Eyre

Methods for Teaching Charity

Love

momdaughterwillowIndividual and personal caring that goes both beneath and beyond loyalty and respect. Love for friends, neighbors, even adversaries. And a prioritized, lifelong commitment of love for family.

Sample Method for Preschoolers: “Secret Services”

This can help young children taste the delight of anonymous giving. With your little ones, decide on something you can do for someone anonymously. It may be baking cookies and leaving a little basket of them on Daddy’s pillow or on the bed of an older brother or sister. It may be leaving a bowl of fruit on the doorstep of an elderly neighbor or sending a grandparent a new pair of slippers with no return address on the package.

Sample Method for Elementary Age: “Show Physical Love”

Show your love openly and teach your children that overt affection and love is okay. Give hugs. Children need to feel their parents’ physical love as much during their elementary-school-age years as they do as preschoolers. Whether it is as your child goes off to school, just before he pops into bed, or, as we do at our house, just after family prayer, a sincere hug is appreciated by everyone, even teenagers, whether they will openly admit it or not. Be sure to tell children verbally that you love them as well as providing hugs. A quick “love you” as they dash off with their friends will give them added security.

Sample Method for Adolescents: “Look for Special Needs”

It’s important to teach adolescent-age children to look for those who need help.

One father taught awareness and love for others by asking his son every day, when he came home from school, “Son, did you help anyone today?” At first the son looked back at him blankly and said, “Well, no.” The father just smiled and changed the subject. After being asked the same question and giving the same answer about twenty days in a row, one day the son finally said, “Yes!” and told how he had noticed a handicapped boy and helped him get to class.

As parents we need to let our children know that it is important to us that they learn to love others by looking for opportunities to help. As always, example is the best teacher and we need to share our own personal efforts to give help or service.

Christian Parenting, Ten Commandments, and Les Miserables

Christian Parenting, Ten Commandments, and Les Miserables

Written, Not with Ink

*Teaching about the Atonement

keyHave courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
Victor Hugo

Moses and 10 cropJochebed, mother of Moses, gently laid her infant son in a carefully crafted little ark, then watched over the short river journey of her precious cargo until he was safely in the arms of Pharaoh’s daughter.  Even then, in the king’s court, she was there, nursing him and vigilant in his care.

Despite the opposition of those who would have killed him, Moses grew to manhood, delivered his people from bondage, and left to the world the priceless moral code known as the Ten Commandments.  Moses went on to his reward, but opposition to his work continues.

In the New World, about 148 B.C., the prophet Abinadi was put to death by a king, for defending the plan of salvation and the Ten Commandments.

This revered code has been preserved, found today inscribed in stone or metal.  The Ten Commandments have been ridiculed, forbidden, removed from public display.  Yet within the calm eye of stormy hostility, this code remains serene, steadfast, and immovable.

After the children of Israel broke the Ten Commandments and other higher laws, Moses was instructed to create a complex structure of rules and regulations.

Today, many try to replace the Ten Commandments with gargantuan legal documents of government regulation.

Laws of men come and go.  People have been killed or thrown in jail defending the Ten Commandments.  But this moral code persists as a foundation for all civilized societies.  Why?  Because its Author is absolute— the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  The Ten Commandments are moral absolutes.

Those whose behavior is consistent with moral absolutes are guided by what is called “internal government.”  These individuals can successfully govern themselves, but are accountable to a just God.

When internal government breaks down, external government takes over, with rules, regulation, and bureaucracy.  Persons under external government are accountable to men, who may not be just.

In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, a timeless novel about justice and mercy, hero Jean Valjean served in prison for decades because he stole one loaf of bread.  He learned about mercy when a compassionate priest bought his freedom with two valuable silver candle holders. Because of that gracious gift, Valjean lived out his life serving and bringing joy to others.  But Javert, his jailer, refusing to accept the price paid for Jean’s deliverance, became obsessed with re-capturing him.  Failing in his objective, Javert finally ended his own miserable life.  Such is the state of man at the hands of human justice.

In a civilized society, however, justice must be served, or there would be nothing to deter evil and protect the innocent. But much as we may desire to be morally perfect, we all fall short.  What is to be done?

Many today reject moral absolutes because, like Javert, they do not understand the plan of mercy.  A loving Father in heaven knew that his children would fail to keep all the commandments that justice required.  Only His perfect Son could meet the absolute demands of justice and pay the price for His children’s deliverance.

Parents need not be afraid of holding their children to high moral standards.  The atonement of Christ is a safety net in the times of falling short, but it is fastened to repentance.  Like Valjean, our children must forsake evil, or justice will have claims upon them.

If we as parents, like Jochebed, diligently train, nurture, and safeguard the internal government in our children, their souls will remain clean and whole when all around them are falling apart.  Despite the fading ink of human doctrine, our children can remain true to eternal principles, written, not with ink, but in the fleshy tables of their hearts. (2Cor.3:3)

But remember, “It is easier to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Children prepared with strong internal government will always make honor and virtue their choice; they will triumph over evil, and rejoice.

Dinner Talk

1.  How does the atonement of Christ satisfy both justice and mercy? (See Alma 40-42)

2.  Give examples in the world today of human injustice, in which the Ten Commandments have been perverted and the atonement of Christ is denied.

3. How is the sacrifice of Christ an act of love?

4.  If we do our very best to live high moral standards, but fall short, what must we do to receive the mercy of Christ?

Copyright © 2010 by C.A. Davidson

 

Victor Hugo

Victor_Hugo_by_Étienne_Carjat_1876Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
Victor Hugo

A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing.
Victor Hugo

All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo

From Wikipedia

Victor Marie Hugo  26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist. He is considered one of the most well-known French Romantic writers. In France, Hugo’s literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).

Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo’s views changed as the decades passed;[1] he became a passionate supporter of republicanism,[citation needed] and his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and artistic trends of his time. He was buried in the Panthéon.

Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction appeared in 1829, and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France, appeared in 1834, and was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables.

Hugo’s first full-length novel[citation needed] would be the enormously successful Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), which was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved.

Hugo began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but it would take a full 17 years for Les Misérables to be realized and finally published in 1862. Hugo was acutely aware of the quality of the novel and publication of the work went to the highest bidder. The Belgian publishing house Lacroix and Verboeckhoven undertook a marketing campaign unusual for the time, issuing press releases about the work a full six months before the launch. It also initially published only the first part of the novel (“Fantine”), which was launched simultaneously in major cities. Installments of the book sold out within hours, and had enormous impact on French society.

The critical establishment was generally hostile to the novel; Taine found it insincere, Barbey d’Aurevilly complained of its vulgarity, Gustave Flaubert found within it “neither truth nor greatness”, the Goncourts lambasted its artificiality, and Baudelaire – despite giving favorable reviews in newspapers – castigated it in private as “tasteless and inept”. Les Misérables proved popular enough with the masses that the issues it highlighted were soon on the agenda of the National Assembly of France. Today the novel remains his most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide, and has been adapted for cinema, television and stage shows.

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George Washington Facts, Character Education

Dinner Topics for Monday

Glenn Beck: Being George Washington, Part 2

George WashingtonkeyWithout the high regard that the French had for Washington, would they ever have agreed to fund the effort? And, if they hadn’t, what might have become of the revolution? It’s hard to say, but it goes to show you just how much character matters. In the end, it might not have been Washington’s leadership, intelligence, or military skills that actually won the war—it might have been his honor. It’s something so simple, yet so many people today dismiss it was outmoded or unnecessary. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.79

Character Education was important to George Washington; he worked hard on it himself.

Try this award-winning Epic Stories for Character Education in “Byte-size” Dinner Topics. Keep our precious Judeo-Christian traditions alive! It’s as easy as eating dinner.

Learn more here

 

Character Matters

Without the high regard that the French had for Washington, would they ever have agreed to fund the effort? And, if they hadn’t, what might have become of the revolution? It’s hard to say, but it goes to show you just how much character matters. In the end, it might not have been Washington’s leadership, intelligence, or military skills that actually won the war—it might have been his honor. It’s something so simple, yet so many people today dismiss it was outmoded or unnecessary. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.79

Everything that we do in life—every battle that we fight and every mountain that we climb, no matter how many times that we may fall—may be for no other purpose than to prepare us for that moment when we are called upon to make a difference in this world.

In fact, every decision that we make, even those that seem small and perhaps irrelevant—perhaps especially those that seem small and irrelevant—may be moving us toward that moment when we can change a life for the better.

We may only get one chance to make a difference. But there is no doubt that such a moment in each of our lives is going to come.

The only question that really matters is, Will we be ready for it? ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.177

Compromise … But Not Your Principles

My point is that you should never surrender your core principles. Never—ever—never. But don’t try to get 100 percent of what you want from an ally, while giving up zero percent.

And don’t expect to get everything you want this instant; this is going to be a long fight. It won’t be decided in the next election. It may not be decided ever. The key is to continually push the needle in your direction and lay the foundation for the next group of people to push it a bit further. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.212

Judeo-Christian Religion and the Founders

When the Continental Congress learned of the British surrender to Washington at Yorktown, representatives walked together to a Philadelphia church and prayed. Nearly a thousand other people joined America’s leaders in worship around the city. In fact, Congress recommended that the entire nation might want to observe a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” to celebrate the victory.

How times have changed. Can you imagine if Congress declared a national day of prayer after a military victory these days? The ACLU would file a lawsuit before you could say “God bless you.” On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg even banned all clergy from the Ground Zero ceremonies. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.152

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. ~Benjamin Franklin to Constitutional Convention (The motion did not pass, because the group did not have funds to pay the clergy.)

Leadership

The Rules of Civility let Washington display poise in the small moments and thus gravitas in the big ones. He applied these prescriptions to everyday life and they became second nature. The lesson for us is that leadership and vision don’t exist in a vacuum—or spring to life all at once. They must be practiced, and they can grow within you until they become a part of you. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.243

Morality

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, relation and morality are indispensable supports … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ~George Washington, farewell address

Slavery

No section on the Constitution is complete without revisiting the topic of slavery. It’s become accepted fact that the Founders believed that blacks were worth only “three-fifths” of a human. That, however, is simply wrong.

The “three-fifths” clause was really about the census and, consequently, state representation in Congress. Slave populations in the southern states were huge at that time. If slaves were counted on a one-for-one basis then southern states would have far larger populations, and therefore, far more federal representation than the northern ones. As a result, slavery would have been nearly impossible to abolish.

Some revisionists would have you believe that those slaves were not going to be counted at all and that the three-fifths clause actually gave the southern states more power than they otherwise would have. (This allegation is, I think, supposed to “prove” just how racist and hateful our Founders really were.) But think about that logically: would the South really have been that willing to give up so much federal representation right off the bat? Of course not—they would have fought to have slaves counted as full people along with everyone else. The three-fifths compromise was just that, a compromise. It appeased the South, got the Constitution ratified, and paved the way for slavery to eventually end. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.210

Dinner Talk

1. Why is it important, even vital, that a leader be accountable to a Being (Judeo-Christian) higher than himself?

2. Select a politician in today’s society who has made corrupt choices. Compare him or her to the standard of George Washington’s character, and discuss how the choices of the corrupt politician are affecting our nation.

3. Why is the study of history important?

Character Education was important to George Washington; he worked hard on it himself.


 

Parenting: Teaching Respect

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Teaching Respect

 

Richard and Linda Eyre

Part 1: By Objective (Be sure to check out the good ideas here)Parenting Value: Respect

Methods

family4keyRespect for life, for property, for parents, for elders, for nature, and for the beliefs and rights of others. Courtesy, politeness, and manners. Self-respect and the avoidance of self-criticism.

Sample Method for Preschoolers:

The Red and Black Marks Chart

This exercise can help preschool children “keep track” and count incidents of respect and disrespect. Prepare a simple chart with the child’s (or children’s) name(s) on it. Explain that whenever he does something that shows disrespect (yells at Mom, interrupts, demands something without saying please, etc.) he will get a black mark. Whenever he is polite or uses good manners, he gets a red mark. Divide the chart by days and tell the child to see if he can get more red marks than black each day.

Sample Method for Elementary Age:

“Who and How” Chart

This helps elementary age children plan to be respectful. Set up a chart, perhaps on a large poster board, looking something like this:

Respect Chart

WHO

HOW

Mother
TeachersNature
PropertySelf

Using the left-hand column, ask children to list the categories of people and things that deserve respect. As you list them one at a time, discuss how respect for that person or thing can be effectively given. (E.g., for “Mother”: by “answering respectfully,” “by obeying her,” “showing appreciation for what she does,” “opening door,” “holding her chair,” etc. For “Nature”: by “preserving and protecting,” “clearing and cultivating,” etc. For “Self”: by “avoiding self-criticism,” “thinking about positive attributes,” etc.) Keep the list building as long as you can keep children’s interest.

Sample Method for Adolescent Age:

The “What Does it Lead to” Game

This game can help adolescent and late-elementary-age children see the ramifications of respect and of its opposite. Do an arrow diagram on a chart or blackboard. Start with respect and rudeness and then let the children think of words that they lead to.

For example:
Rudeness –>selfishness –>enemies –>anger
Respect –>kindness –>friendliness –>understanding

Parenting: Teaching Loyalty

Parenting: Teaching Loyalty & Dependability

Dinner Topics for Thursday

By Richard and Linda Eyre

Loyalty to family, to employers, to country, church, schools, and other organizations and institutions to which commitments are made. Support, service, contribution. Reliability and consistency in doing what you say you will do.

Parenting Value for January: Loyalty and Dependability Part 1

family4General Methods for teaching Dependability and Loyalty

So . . . loyalty and dependability means doing what is right even when it is hard (and even if it means missing a party).

Children can learn what loyalty and dependability are through stories, games, role-playing, and discussion, but they can learn to have it only through your example and through your lavish praise of their example (or even of their attempts).

Highlight your own dependability. Make your children aware of your own example. Parents do things every day that illustrate their loyalty to their children and that exemplify dependability in the home setting. But so many of these things are so automatic that they are seldom noticed and seldom used as visible examples of this important moral value. Instead of saying, “I’ll pick you up after school,” say, “I’ll be there at three-thirty — you can count on it.” Instead of just going to a child’s soccer game or music recital, say, “I’ll be there no matter how busy I am because I want to be with you and support what you do!”

Tell children more often that you will always be there for them, that they can depend on you, that you’ll be behind them in hard times. Take credit for your dependability and loyalty, because it is the best way to instill the same qualities into your children.

Thank children and praise them for every evidence of their own dependability. Reinforce the value and show them how often it can be used. Thank your children when they are on time for dinner or when they support or help a smaller brother or sister. Praise them when they finish an assignment or task. Work hard this month at never taking for granted any act or evidence of dependability or loyalty.

Sample Method for Preschoolers:

Ask Small Children to Do Things Instead of Telling Them

You’ll obtain their answer, which you can use to teach dependability. When children are told to do something, they can learn and practice only the principle of obedience. But when small children are asked to do something in a firm but respectful way, they can learn both obedience and dependability.

Children actually say no, complain, and make excuses more when they are told than when they are asked. Use the word please, and let them know that you expect a yes. That yes then becomes a commitment to which you can tie the principle of dependability . . . of doing what you say you will do.

Sample Method for Elementary Age:

The Synonyms and Antonyms Game

This game will help late elementary school or early-adolescent children be clear in their understanding of both words. Simply ask, “What are some synonyms or close synonyms for dependability?” (Reliability, trustworthiness, consistency, predictability, etc.) “For loyalty?” (To stand up for, to be part of, to be true to.) “What are some antonyms or near antonyms for dependable?” (Can’t be counted on, unpredictable.) “For loyal?” (Uncommitted, traitor, spy, out for oneself.) Then discuss how dependability helps people and how its opposites hurt people.

Sample Method for Adolescent Age:

Lists

These help children pinpoint who and what they want to be loyal to and what things they want to be dependable on. Work together with the children on forming a loyalty list (family members, school, church, friends, etc.) and a dependability list (family job, school assignments, music practice, etc.)

Parents: Teaching Chastity and Fidelity

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Richard and Linda Eyre

Parenting Value for December: Chastity and Fidelity, Part 1

General Methods for teaching chastity and fidelity

momdaughterwillowMake your own example of fidelity as obvious and noticeable as possible. You can help your children see the importance that you place on this value as well as the happiness and security it gives you. Talk about commitment in personal terms. If you are a two-parent family, point out how the two of you belong to each other so that you don’t need any other man or woman. Try to let children see the basic physical signs of love and commitment, such as holding hands or a kiss as you leave for work.

Make sex and sexual maturity an open topic in your family. Maximize the number of opportunities you have to comment on the logic and benefits of chastity and fidelity and to permit concerns and problems to surface early rather than late. With children over eight (assuming that you have had your initial talk with them as suggested), do all you can to make sex an open and agreeable subject rather than something that is secret or off-limits or silly or embarrassing. It may seem difficult and unnatural at first, but these feelings are a sign that the subject needs opening up. Things you observe on television, movies, and music – or in article or books – or in styles of dress – all present potential opportunities to make comments about what you think is appropriate or not appropriate, what things are moral in the sense that they help and what things are immoral (or amoral) in the sense they may hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Look for chances to discuss the behavior of young adolescents (your children’s acquaintances) and bring up the possible connections of that behavior to hormones and the effects of puberty.

Strive to convey the following two impressions whenever possible: (a) sex, the feelings and changes of puberty, and the attractions and feelings they cause us to feel are natural and good, even wonderful and miraculous; and (b) because sex is natural and good, and because its urges are powerful and have to do with the creation of life, its use should be connected to love and commitment – it is too beautiful to be made common or to squander.

Sample Method for Elementary Age:

Focusing on Age Eight

When our children have their eighth birthday, they undergo something of a rite of passage, going from a kid to a semi-grown-up, from a tutee to a tutor, from someone who knew almost nothing about sex and reproduction to someone who could probably teach a course on the subject.

We begin several weeks before the child’s eighth birthday, “priming” him by indicating that when he turns eight, he will be given some new privileges, some new responsibilities, and will learn about “the most beautiful and wonderful thing on earth.”

When the big day arrives, we take the new eight-year-old on a private daddy-mommy date to a nice restaurant, making every effort to treat him with a new maturity and respect. As mentioned earlier, we give him some added responsibility in areas such as choosing his own clothes and earning more money by doing family chores. We express our pride in him and our appreciation of him.

Then we go home for the much-anticipated highlight of the evening: our private talk about the “most wonderful and beautiful thing on earth.” In upbeat, positive terms we explain the facts of life using diagrams and pictures to explain reproduction. (We particularly like using the child’s book Where Did I Come From?) We encourage questions; we ask him often if he understands; and we watch his expressions to be sure he’s not only comprehending but appreciating what we are telling him.

Then we make a very strong point of how smart and how right it is to be careful how we use something as important and as miraculous as sex. We point out that something that special should be saved for one person – for the commitment of marriage, where it can be a wedding gift that has never been given before.

Children accept this idea very easily. It seems natural to them that something so private and so beautiful (and something so magic and powerful that it starts new babies) should be saved and used carefully rather than spent indiscriminately.

It is also natural to them to understand that after two people are married, sex is a bond and a special, private way of expression love between them that should not be used outside of marriage.

We also talk about AIDS and of the dangers of misusing sex. And we use the standard “values formula” by discussing how and who is helped by being careful about sex and how and who is hurt when people are not careful about sex.

– Richard

Eight may seem like a young age for some of the discussion represented above, but it is the right age for two very important reasons: (a) to wait longer runs the risk (if not the likely possibility) that your child will learn of reproduction and sex in the negative and silly perspective of the other children who will tell them about things before you do; (b) eight years old is a natural and curious age when children can understand in a sweet, uncynical way.

One evening and one discussion, of course, is not enough. An evening such as we have suggested can establish the basics and open wide the door of trust that permits the subject to be one of ongoing openness and discussion.

Certainly the underlying philosophy involved in teaching children the value of fidelity and chastity is that sex is too beautiful and too good to be given or used or thought of loosely or without commitment. The opposite view of sex as a dirty or evil thing should be avoided and countered at every opportunity.

Sample Method for Adolescent Age:

The Mortar Metaphor

This comparison can help adolescents understand the importance of fidelity in marriage. Look for a quiet private time (perhaps while traveling in a car or during a peaceful moment at bedtime) and relate the following comparison:

It takes many elements to build a house – the bricks, the boards, the shingles, the windows, the doors, and so on. One key element is the mortar, which holds the walls together and keeps everything in place. Similarly it takes many qualities to build a happy, unified family. It takes caring and helping and patience along with financial and emotional support. In a way the thing that “sticks” a family together and gives security and confidence to the parents and the children is the sexual fidelity of the mother and father. If either parent “cheats” on the other, it causes tremendous emotional strain. One parents feels guilty and secretive. The other feels disgraced and discarded. Even if the parents don’t separate or divorce, much of the feeling and commitment is gone, and the family, like a house without mortar, can begin to break apart.

Socialism and the First Thanksgiving

 Dinner Topics for Monday

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

Rush Limbaugh

“Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism.” And they found that it didn’t work.

The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed.  With all the great expectations and high hopes, it failed.  And self-reliance, rugged individualism, free enterprise, whatever you call it, resulted in prosperity that they never dreamed of.

What is the story of Thanksgiving?  What I was taught, what most people my age were taught, maybe even many of you were taught, the Pilgrims got to the New World, they didn’t know what to do.  They didn’t know how to feed themselves. They were escaping tyranny, but they got here, and the Indians, who were eventually to be wiped out, taught them how to do everything, fed them and so forth.  They had this big feast where they sat down and thanked the Indians for saving their lives and apologized for taking their country and eventually stealing Manhattan from ’em.

But that’s not what really happened.

RushRevere9“The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century … The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority. Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs. A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community.  After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

“On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example.

“And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found — according to Bradford’s detailed journal — a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote.  There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats.

“Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives.”  That’s not what it was.

“Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share.” It was a commune.  It was socialism.  “All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well,” not to the individuals who built them.

Socialism Didn’t Work Then, Either

“Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage.”  They could do with it whatever they wanted. He essentially turned loose the free market on ’em.  “Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism.” And they found that it didn’t work.

“What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else,” because everybody ended up with the same thing at the end of the day.  “But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years — trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it — the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently.

What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. ‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition,’ Bradford wrote. ‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years… that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God. … For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.'”

What he was saying was, they found that people could not expect to do their best work without any incentive.  So what did they try next?  Free enterprise.  “Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'”
They had miraculous results.  In no time they found they had more food than they could eat themselves.  So they set up trading posts.  They exchanged goods with the Indians.  The profits allowed them to pay off the people that sponsored their trip in London.  The success and the prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans, began what became known as the great Puritan migration.

And they shared their bounty with the Indians.  Actually, they sold some of it to ’em.  The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed.  With all the great expectations and high hopes, it failed.  And self-reliance, rugged individualism, free enterprise, whatever you call it, resulted in prosperity that they never dreamed of. []

The Pilgrims left the Old World to find freedom of religion in the New World. Today, even in America, there is evidence of efforts to stifle the freedom of Christian worship. If we want to preserve our Judeo-Christian culture, we can only do so by teaching it in our homes. This collection of Christian Dinner Topics helps parents transmit Judeo-Christian traditions every day. Learn more