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HELP YOUR KIDS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

 

By Marsha West

September 29, 2006

NewsWithViews.com

My parents never discussed current events, political or otherwise, with their kids. They never gave us the incentive to become involved in anything meaningful. When our mom became a Christian we heard plenty about the Bible. And we are eternally grateful for that! But no one in our family ever told us we could make a difference in this world.

Then one day a woman asked me if I would wear a prisoner of war (POW) bracelet. Sonny and Cher wore one so naturally I said yes. I later learned that the bracelets were made by Voices in Vital America (VIVA). Two young women came up with the bracelet idea hoping to bring attention to the prisoners and missing in Vietnam. It was more successful than they imagined it would be.

Working on behalf of the POW’s and the soldiers missing in action (MIA) was the first time in my life I took up a “good cause.” I’m not tooting my own horn; I’m hoping to make an important point, so bear with me.

Learning that American soldiers were stuck away in prisons in Southeast Asia, with little more to eat than pumpkin soup and virtually no human contact made my blood boil. I desperately wanted to help them so I decided to take up the POW/MIA cause. I started selling bracelets with imprisoned and missing soldier’s names engraved on them. I asked pretty much everyone I came in contact with (I was a regular pain in the neck) to wear a bracelet and to sign a petition to members of Congress to alert them to the POW’s plight.

The day the first POW’s touched down on American soil I sat in front of my TV set, crying tears of joy. A group of concerned citizens had done it! Our efforts brought forgotten soldiers home! (The name on my bracelet was Captain Michael Brazelton. He was one of the soldiers who made it out alive.)

Being involved with VIVA gave me a sense of accomplishment. Admittedly, it felt good to do good. But that’s not the point. Doing good deeds is God’s way. It shows love for our fellowman. “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

If given the chance, all kids want to help people, or animals, or the environment. There are a whole host of causes children of all ages can involve themselves in. But in order for Christian children to pick the right cause they must possess a biblical worldview. Noted author, Israel Wayne, says a worldview is like a set of lenses, “which taint our vision or alter the way we perceive the world around us. Our worldview is formed by our education, our upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, etc. For many people their worldview is simply something they have absorbed by osmosis from their surrounding cultural influences. They have never thought strategically about what they believe and wouldn't be able to give a rational defense of their beliefs to others.”

Parents have a responsibility to teach their kids to think strategically about their world and their faith.

A Christian’s worldview is supposed to be based on biblical principles, not on our culture’s if-it-feels-good-do-it, anything goes, live-and-let-live, post-modern worldview. Sadly, the “have it your way” philosophy influences a Christian’s worldview far more than the Bible does. Which begs the question; if someone refuses to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, is that person a serious Christian?

Please don’t send me an e-mail saying, “Judge not lest you be judged.” When Jesus condemned judging He didn’t mean that we should never make judgments about anyone. Paul Copan reminds us that just a few verses later, “Jesus himself calls certain people "pigs" and "dogs" (Matt 7:6) and "wolves in sheep's clothing" (7:15). "What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another's eye — which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted."[1]

Here’s the thing. Christianity is not a club people can belong to. It’s a belief system. It has doctrines and dogma. There are essentials of Christianity. “When we talk about the essentials of Christianity we're referring to the basic elements that make up and characterize our faith, and which, of course, separate it from other beliefs. — We recognize the church as God's ordained institution headed by Christ. The church is composed of all believers, and is organized for worship, for fellowship, for the administration of the sacraments, for spiritual growth and support, and for evangelizing the world.”[2]

Christianity is separate from other beliefs. Christianity has at its core our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are to imitate Christ. To put it another way, we are to strive to be like Him. With all this in mind, Christian parents should school their children in a biblical worldview or they won’t have the tools to choose wisely. Moms and Dads are at the helm of the ship and are to keep their youngsters on a steady course. I like the illustration Pastor Tom Sabens used in a recent sermon. He said, “The Holy Spirit gives us sea legs as we navigate through the storms of life.”

Christian children will not grow up with a Christian perspective on world events if parents don’t take the time to talk to them about what’s going on. In an age of moral relativism, where there are no absolutes and truth is a matter of individual preference, Moms and Dads must discuss the essential themes of Christianity, such as ethics, virtue, character, abortion, euthanasia and so on. The Bible says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”(Deuteronomy 11:18-19).

It’s also necessary for parents to discuss America’s heritage, economics and political philosophy to counter the Leftist propaganda that’s being taught in government run schools. Because students are not being taught America’s heritage our country is facing a crisis in citizenship. According to the Family Research Council:

The prestigious Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) announced the results of a nationwide survey of civic learning at 50 of America's top colleges. ISI's President, T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., pointed to one key variable in the study: family structure. Students whose parents discussed current events in the home did better. (Emphasis added) The ISI administered a 60-question multiple choice test to 14,000 students. The questions covered U.S. history, economics, foreign affairs, and political science. — "Dismal," "disappointing," "worrisome" were some of the words used by the ISI panel to describe the students' scores. Overall, college seniors scored 53.2%--a failing grade. ISI survey administrators warned of a crisis in citizenship unless these results change. They noted that political and civic participation is directly linked to student knowledge of the American system of government and politics. Some of the most prestigious colleges and universities ranked at the bottom of the list (see www.americancivicliteracy.org).

Citizens need to hold the colleges and universities of “higher education” accountable for these dismal results. As well, parents should consider this report’s findings when selecting a college. But I digress.

Parents have got a tough job to do. Many Moms and Dads are trying to balance ten things at once. But you still need to parent your kids. TV sets, computers, PlayStation, video games, text messaging friends, etc., consume most kid’s free time. Instead of allowing them to be influenced by the god of electronics, get them involved in a worthwhile adventure. Press them to help people in need. Kids in a California school had a friend who needed an organ transplant, and guess what? They stepped up to the plate!

“My older daughter's school organized a "March for Mia" in which the student collected pledges or flat donations, then they "marched" around the playground for an hour to fun, upbeat music. They had a local ice cream parlor donate ice cream for the students to enjoy after they had completed their march. They were able to get local news coverage--both TV and newspaper. I don't remember the exact amount, but the students were able to raise $2,000-$3,000! … Then we were able to get a local screen printer to donate T-shirts that said, "I Marched For Mia." Every time the kids wore them, they raised more money by answering the questions of people who asked about their shirts.”[3]

It’s not unusual for children to ask what they can do to help children they've seen on TV who have lost family members, homes, belongings and pets to natural disasters. Here are some tips from Victora Fleming, Executive Director of North Shore Wellness Services:

General Tips for Parents:

  • Provide thoughtful supervision
  • Let kids make the decisions
  • Be the connection between the effort and outcome
  • Help your child do some research in advance
  • Make sure the recipient details are clear

    Ways your kids can get involved:
  • Lemonade stand or bake sale
  • Craft sale
  • Blood donations at age 16 with consent
  • Neighborhood door-to-door efforts

Encourage children to get involved in mission work in local churches. The following is from the United Methodist Women’s website:

"In my childhood church, we had a group called the Girls in Action." Ms. Honeycutt said. "We would go every week to Miss Thelma's, who would say would say: "Girls, we are not going to visit a nursing home, we are doing mission" — In addition to outreach to residents of the nursing home, the group cleaned a house for a woman paraplegic and baked cookies to deliver to new families in the community. Through the group, Ms. Honeycutt learned the names of missionaries, one of whom she named her cat for.”

There are soldiers who never receive mail. Kids can become a soldier’s angel! The following is from Soldier’s Angel website:

To adopt a soldier you must commit to sending a card or letter a week and AT LEAST 1 or 2 care packages a month, This is important to help bring home a healthy hero, (care packages do not have to be expensive and you can put together your own), duration of adoption is usually 6 to 8 mo.

As I said above, there are any number of things Christian young people can do to help others. Simply wearing a bracelet and asking people to sign a petition got me started on the road to social activism.

Disclaimer: The above mentioned websites are not endorsed by the author.

Footnotes:

1, How 'Judge not' is destroying America by Brannon Howse
2, The Essentials of Christianity by Hank Hanegraaff
3, Children's Organ Transplant Association

Christian organizations that offer help to families who are looking to establish a biblical worldview:

Worldview Weekend
Probe Ministries offers the Mind Games Conference

© 2006 Marsha West - All Rights Reserved

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Marsha West is the Founder and Editor of the E-Mail Brigade News Report, an online news report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a freelance writer specializing in Christian worldview. She is a regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, Alainsnewsletter.com, CapitolHillCoffeeHouse.com, plus her commentaries appear in MichNews.com and bibleteacher.org.

Marsha is also designer and webmaster of a Christian apologetics website, On Solid Rock Resources. She is currently writing a series of children's books for homeschoolers. Marsha and her husband reside in historic Jacksonville Oregon.

E-mail: EMbrigade@aol.com

 


 

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If given the chance, all kids want to help people, or animals, or the environment. There are a whole host of causes children of all ages can involve themselves in. But in order for Christian children to pick the right cause they must possess a biblical worldview.