Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts-Charlie Brown

charlie brownIn my final installment of Leadership Lessons I learned from Peanuts I thought it only fitting that I end with Charlie Brown since of all the Peanuts characters he is without a doubt the real leader in the Peanuts universe despite his plethora of self doubts and self deprecating remarks.

I like the way Wikipedia describes Charlie Brown as “the central protagonist of the long-running comic strip     Peanuts … who is a “lovable loser…one of the great American archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown).  The site’s writer further states that “Charlie Brown is characterized as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.”

The character’s creator, Charles M. Schulz, has said of the character that “[He] must be the one who suffers because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” Despite this, Charlie Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness. (Wikipedia 2017)

Yes, I did quote a lot from Wikipedia.  The reason being is that they did  such a great job describing Charlie Brown so, let’s keep it real, why rack my brain trying to figure out how to say it better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown)

I will only add that it is these very characteristics that actually make him a leader.  Perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time.

John Maxwell, an experts on leadership describes the roles of the positional leader and the permissional leader.  The positional leader is appointed and his or her power only lies within the appointment. People follow them because they have to not because they want to.  Whereas a permission leader is one others willingly follow because they trust that person. (https://powermindscommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-4-levels-of-leadership-john-c-maxwell/)

REAL LEADERS LEAD OTHER LEADERS

Virtually everyone on the Peanuts universe is a leader in their own right, and Charlie Brown leads all of them.

Think about it, despite how much the neighborhood kids might rag on Charlie Brown, every spring (dog included) they willingly follow him out to that baseball field.  They know they are going to lose, but they go anyway!  Go figure.  Charlie Brown may lose, but he is certainly not a loser.

Charlie Brown teaches us all the importance of seeking help when we need it and that he price of therapy is never too high-although I do question his choice of doctors.

charlie brown doctor

Nevertheless it cannot be argued that he is willing to see his faults and overcome them.  He looks out for his little sister, he protects those who are smaller, he fights for the underdog, and he is a hardworking, responsible kid.  He’s like the perfect boy you’d want your daughter to date.  If that little red haired girl knows what’s good for her she’d be getting her dibs in right now.

REAL LEADERS MODEL TENACITY. They KEEP ON TRYING Despite the setbacks

What I like about him is that he NEVER gives up right? Not on baseball, not on kicking that football, not on kite flying, and definitely not on winning the love of that little red haired girl. he openly acknowledges his low grade depression (and I use the word loosely because what Charlie Brown calls depression is really the stuff that gets all of us down from day to day isn’t it?) but he does not let it stop him from living.

He might go to sleep worried, but he wakes up ready to face another day! That’s what’s up Charlie Brown.  You taught me, and millions just like me the importance of tenacity. In the end he does kick the football (albeit only once), wins a baseball game, and actually gets the little red haired girl! You go Charlie Brown! You keep us all believing in ourselves.

Charlie-Brown with red haired girl

I Dreamed of Being White

by Lena Arnold

Last night I had a dream.

i have a dreamIt was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream.  Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality.  See because last night I dreamed I was white.  In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.

In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger.  My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.

We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.”  But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.

In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male.  In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:

  1. Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
  2. Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
  3. Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
  4. Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
  5. Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
  6. Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
  7. Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
  8. Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.

This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black.  My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”

In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!

This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me.  I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.

I had the luxury of saying things like,

“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”

“All lives matter!”

“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”

“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”

“I’m not racist.  I didn’t own a slave.  Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”

“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”

silentOh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)

In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free.  Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal.  I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!

Then I woke up!

Then I cried!

Then I rejoiced!

I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident.   My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think.  I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.

God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness.  In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts: Peppermint Patty

PEPPERMINT PATTY AND MARCIE-If there are two people in the world who have taught us the meaning of true sisterhood it is these two quirky girls.  I have heard many adulpeppermint patty and marciets today try to use their relationship to teach LGBTQ tolerance. While I don’t presume to speak for Charles Schultz, I am not sure that was his intent.  Rather I think in all his characters he was simply showing us a fundamental truth that the world is full of strange, quirky people-and these very quirks are things that makes life interesting.  I think his intent was to help us understand that we should not put people in boxes and decide for them who they are.  See, ‘cause on the surface Peppermint Patty was a tomboy, and Marcie was not “super feminine” in the classic sense but they both loved them some Charlie Brown didn’t they?

They weren’t ashamed of that and they often openly competed against each other for his unreturned affections that he appeared to be completely oblivious to. Despite this unrequited love, there was a confidence found in these two, that wasn’t found in any of the other girls in Peanuts.  I like the fact that Peppermint Patty was constantly worried about her looks (haven’t we all been there at one time or another?), while Marcie balanced Patty’s neurosis by never worrying about hers.  My favorite strip is when they were talking under a tree one day and Peppermint Patty asked Marcie if she thinks they will be pretty in the future.  (Forgive me if I am messing up the strip-it’s been a long time since I read it.) Marcie in a nutshell replies that in the future Patty is pretty and she is a supermodel.  That’s what I’m talking about Marcie! That is some straight up confidence right there.

My favorite thing about these two is that no matter what they stuck together.  They embodied the true spirit of the Best Friend FOREVER.  They said what was on their minds, they openly and honestly communicated with each other, they looked out for each other, and they accepted one another unconditionally-both leaders in their own right, yet faithfully following the other’s lead. Every Peppermint Patty needs a Marcie and every Marcie should have a Peppermint Patty-how much better life would be.

Lesson Number 7.1-LEADERS ARE FUTURE ORIENTED-ALWAYS LOOKING PAST THE TROUBLES OF TODAY TOWARDS A GLORIOUS TOMORROW

Lesson Number 7.2-LEADERS FIND A GOOD BFF AND STICK BY THEMfriends

If you have a good BFF I encourage you to share this post with them and thank them for being a friend and accepting you with all your faults, frailties, and quirks.

Photo Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/jenner44/peppermint-patty/

Read more Lessons on Leadership I learned from Peanuts.

Transgender Boys Wins Texas State Title: the Right and Wrong of It

“Mack Beggs identifies as a boy, but his birth certificate says he’s a girl. In Texas’ University Interscholastic League, that means that the high school wrestler can only compete against girls, even though he takes testosterone as part of his transition.”-Chuck Schilken, Contact Reporter, Los Angeles Times

The article further states that Mack won the state title with a 56-0 record for the year.  Some of the wins by forfeit because some competitors refused to wrestle against her; not because she identifies as a boy, but because she takes testosterone supplements which they feel give her an unfair advantage because as the physician quoted in the article stated the treatments “are in the same family and have the effect of increasing muscle mass and strength gains.” (Mines 2017)

In light of MMA fighter Fallon Fox routinely crushing her opponents before revealing a sex change operation, and giving one of her opponents a concussion and a broken eye socket; their fears may not be unfounded.

Here is where the league/district got it wrong.

In an effort to be fair to one student, they were unfair to the rest of the students. The article states that Mack’s use of testosterone were “well below the allowed level,” according to the Washington Post. Did the other students competing against Mack know there was an “allowable level” and were they given the opportunity to take that “allowable level” if they so desired?  Is the district opening themselves up to reverse discrimination lawsuits as a result?

According to the article the reason Mack did not compete against the boys was because the rules expressly state that one must compete according to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Here is where the district league got it right.

To eliminate all the confusion over gender issues they keep things simple.  If your birth certificate says boy.  Then you compete with the boys.  If it says girl, then you compete as a girl.  I don’t know much about how that all works once the change is complete, but I believe once a complete sex change has taken place, meaning all subsequent operations have been performed, then the person undergoing the procedure can legally have their name and gender changed.  If you want to certify this, I suggest you consult with an attorney or conduct further research on your own.

School officials have it tough today.  The rules were simple 50, 30, even 20 years ago. Not so today. Therefore we should have some compassion for the people who have to sort through all this stuff and make decisions on complex issues.  Sometimes the best way to do that is to keep it simple.

Here’s where the parents got it wrong

I wonder about the wisdom of allowing any young person under the age of 21 making  major, life altering decisions at critical junctures of human development such as adolescence. I don’t know the personal details of this family, but I hope that counseling and mental health services are being taken advantage of to ensure that this is the best option for this young person.  There is and will always be debate on whether or not LBGT’s are born that way or made as a result of some life altering occurrence, but no one can argue that the decision to become transgendered in preparation for a complete sex change is not something to be taken lightly, and I’m not comfortable with allowing a young person under the age of 18 to begin this process. We have laws designed to prevent young people from underage drinking that were set up to protect them from becoming alcoholics.  Why do we not do the same for life altering procedures?

Here is where the parents got it right

Parenting is a tough job.  Sure books on parenting abound, but there is no book to teach you how to raise YOUR child.  I may not agree with how these parents are handling this situation, but I applaud them for trying to be supportive of something they may find frightening and difficult to understand.  These are uncharted waters for them as well so it may be they have no clue what to do or how to handle it.  I know what I think I would do, but then, it’s not my child. Obviously these parents love their child unconditionally and in a world that won’t, isn’t that one of the most fundamental jobs of parents?

Here’s where the crowd got it wrong

You don’t boo young people. Unless the person is exhibiting crass behavior, acting a complete fool, or being totally disrespectful, adults should not be booing young people who have achieved a well earned victory.  We may not like how Mack won, but by all accounts this young person attempted to follow the rules set by the adults.  Now that the adults see the outcome, they should set about working together to make the future fair for everyone. Some are attempting to do that with a lawsuit that states she should either be able to compete against the boys or “prevent him from taking part the girls’ postseason competition…“I don’t know if that is the proper solution.  By forcing her to compete against the boys I wonder what Pandora’s box will be opened as a result.  We have already witnessed the potential for carnage of allowing a former male to compete against females in the MMA. Neither do I think a person who works hard should be denied their right to compete.  Might a better option be to prohibit the use of the testosterone during the sports season?

As a person of color, I have experienced first hand the inequities of sports.  Our sports teams were routinely cheated against by unfair, corrupt, and racist officials and we were hurt and angered by the injustice.  Our coaches taught us to work harder and pushed us further because they knew the only way we could beat that unjust system was to be better.  As a result, our teams won back to back state titles in basketball and football; and were consistently  ranked amongst the top in our league.

For those female competitors this unfair competition sucks!  I get that. I’ve lived it. I encourage you to work harder.  Find your advantage and overcome this obstacle.  To Mack, growing up is tough.  There isn’t  person on the planet who hasn’t struggled in some way with finding their personal identity.  I pray that God will guide you to His place of peace.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but here’s what I know.

God desires to walk with us during our struggles.  If we allow God to be the center of our universe, He will guide us through every problem we face. Whether it is gender identity, or unfair competition we should seek the face of the one who made us and ask Him to help us, to guide us and our decisions, and help us to make sense of a world that sometimes seems to make no sense.

Transgender Bathrooms and the Common Sense of Kids

It’s in the news again!

So I took a poll.

It’s not official or anything like that.

But I just wanted to know what kids thought about the whole transgendered bathroom thing.

It makes sense to ask them right? I mean they stand to be the most affected by these rules or wanna be rules so I thought it pertinent to ask them what they thought.

So I started by asking my own brood, then their friends, and then their friends friends.

I thought it would get real deep you know?

Surprisingly it didn’t.

In a nutshell, here are their responses in no particular order.

Who cares?

I don’t know why people are making such a big deal of this anyway. I don’t know any transgendered people. As far as I know there are none at my school.

Why do they need a special bathroom? If you have a penis go to the boys and if you have a vagina go to the girls.

Don’t they have unisex and family bathrooms? Go to those.

In science class they taught us that xx=girl and xy=boys.  Did that change?

One particularly brilliant girl asked me to define transgender because as she stated: “if they have transcended gender, then wouldn’t they have had the surgery and body parts altered, and therefore would actually be of the opposite sex, which means they wouldn’t need a special bathroom because they would be either a girl or a boy.  In which case they would go to the stall that is currently appropriate based on the current body parts they now possessed.

DANG! That was pretty deep.  But that’s as deep as it got.

I loved one young man’s response.

I think I’m pretty special; can I have my own bathroom?

I hear you dude. I want my own too.  And I want it to be decorated in a Star Wars theme with the Millennium Falcon as my own personal throne, and Lando Calrissian as my personal attendant.

millenium-falcon

Now that’s worth marching on Washington for!

Jesus May Be Lord of Your Life…But is the State Lord of Your Church?

Counterpoint to Ellen Rescinds Kim Burrell’s Invitation to Appear on Show

By Marion Witcher

Pastor Kim Burrell’s sermon left the church’s walls and spread like wildfire throughout the internet and into the ears of talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres.  Like dominoes falling—engagement after engagement tumbled away from her schedule.  Burrell was uninvited to the Ellen DeGeneres show and Houston-KTSU announced that it dropped her radio program.  Her television show was also cancelled and she was uninvited to BMI’s Trailblazer of Gospel Music annual celebration. Basically, these engagements were canceled because Burrell spoke against the homosexual lifestyle.

However, as stated in my last post, “Whether we approve of Ellen’s lifestyle or not, she is justified in exercising “her” conscience as it relates to Burrell’s controversial appearance on “her” show. In the same token, Burrell is justified in holding on to her beliefs whether someone agrees with her or not.

Reflecting upon the conflict of interest between Burrell and DeGeneres, I decided to focus on what I believe is a critically important topic.  That is, the freedom and right of clergy to speak.  Do pastors really have a right to preach, speak and teach about any topic?

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel, Christiana Holcomb, “Churches should be free to teach their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith.  That is a foundational First Amendment principle.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Holcomb. It only makes sense that pastors be given the right to provide moral leadership while helping lay persons develop their faith in God.  After all, this is what they are called by God to do. As they walk in their divine calling,  “all” people should take note and recognize that not only have clergy been issued authority by God to speak truth, but our government reinforces that right within the first Amendment. This right was passed by Congress on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on December 15,1791, which reads:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Under the First Amendment Rights, the pastor determines what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS. Free in spirit and walking in truth the Pastor can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit.  On the other hand, when a church chooses to become a 501 3 (c) incorporation the religious freedom clause of the first amendment ceases to apply. In other words, pastors and evangelists who sign their church on to become 501 3 (c) incorporated, lose their constitutional rights.

slide1

By law, the church is considered created by the State for the benefit of the public (not the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ).  If the IRS says you cannot say something from the pulpit, then you DO NOT have any constitutional rights to argue against them.  As far as the church becoming a 501 3 (c) in to order to become tax exempt for the purpose of receiving tithes and offering, a little research will reveal that the church just by nature of being a church is already tax exempt.   And just the fact that the church is a church, under the First Amendment Rights, the preacher has the right to preach the Gospel in power and in might.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17

However, the rules changes when a church becomes a 501 3 (c), The preacher may not be able to preach sound doctrine regarding some topics.  Doing so may mean breaking the church’s covenant with the government. One could easily say that the minister’s voice is silenced because he has remarried.  The new partner is not as attractive, but must be respected.  The new partner’s name is Uncle Sam.  Married to Uncle Sam, the preacher or evangelist must hush his voice.  He must walk in the integrity of his prenuptial agreement or lose his tax-exempt status.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  II Corinthians 6:14

Folks, it is a serious matter when the church voluntarily submits its freedom to the  government.  In fact, Dave Hodges host of the Common Sense show says “Any church that encourages complete obedience to a corrupt government has taken a big step towards accepting the Mark of the Beast. This is a very dangerous precedent, and this could potentially imperil the salvation of millions if Christians allow this false doctrine to expand across our nation’s churches. “

Whoa!  I am flabbergasted—but the truth is no man can serve two masters!

Resources:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7647840/kim-burrell-not-take-part-bmi-gospel-music-honors-anti-gay

http://davidfiorazo.com/2015/05/the-johnson-amendment-and-the-agenda-to-silence-christians/

http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/501c3.php

http://www.hushmoney.org

About Marion Ferguson Witcher

An eloquent and gifted speaker, Marion Ferguson Witcher has taken her past experiences and used them to help others through a non-profit she founded, New Hope for Special Needs.  With her husband, Veroman and others working alongside her, NHFSN is committed to encouraging families of children with special needs and the professionals that support them. They have also invested their own funds and with the help of other philanthropists created the philanthropic hand of New Hope for Special Needs.  This enabled NHFSN to provide numerous scholarships to college students majoring in special education.

Marion and her husband, Veroman  are the parents of two adult children, Ashley and Verano.  Their daughter is challenged with autism and epilepsy, and alternates between a wheelchair and walker.  As a result, the couple knows firsthand the joys, challenges, and struggles of raising a child with a disability within the context of the family, faith community, public school system, and society in general. 

Many people in and outside of the church’s walls have been touched by Marion’s faith-inspiring messages.  She also appropriately delivers thought-provoking messages to main stream audiences as a keynote speaker and workshop leader. 

Marion is an award-winning magazine writer, motivational speaker, and founder of New Hope for Special Needs.The mission provides faith-based support to  persons with intellectual challenges, their families and support systems. She has received numerous awards for her work related to advocating for children with special needs and their families including Community Advocate.   Inspired by her experience of being a mother of a child challenged with autism, in 2004, she wrote, Sowing My Tears, Reaping His Joy.  She is the founder of Autism: A Language Worth Knowing and the His Ability Over Disability Celebration.

Homeschooling and Socialization: Are the Myths True?

web%20photo-children%20around%20the%20world_2
mskinderwikispaces.com

 

By Lena Arnold

Many years ago, when we first contemplated homeschooling, our family and many friends were aghast!

“You have to be really disciplined!” My aunt said.  “I know I could never be that disciplined.”  What she really meant was, “I know YOU can never be that disciplined.”

To be fair, I can be a little on the disorganized side, however, despite this I still managed to graduate from high school at the top of my class, graduate from college (twice), and manage a successful professional career. I reminded her, that in order to accomplish these feats, I must be able to be ORGANIZED when it counts.

Okay, so I won that argument against homeschooling, but then she countered with, “What about SOCIALIZATION…?” She stated, drawing out the dreaded S word like it was a curse.  “Aren’t you worried your kids will be weird, or not have any friends.  They will never learn to socialize or make friends for life. There are no other black people homeschooling around her, so you are on your own.”

Well, I have to admit, on that count she’d tapped into my fears. Then I thought about it, “How many friends have I had for “life.” Hmm, out of all the “friends” I’d made over the years, with the exception of two, (one my childhood best friend, and the other from high school) all of my true friends had been made during adulthood. Plus, I knew if we were considering it, others were either homeschooling or considering it.

So how would we deal with this “socialization” thing?

Step One began with prayer.  I said to God, “Lord YOU made these children and YOU know what is best for them.  Steer us in the right direction and help them make friends.

Step Two began with creating opportunities for them to make friends based on similar interests. In some cases they joined group clubs such as Girl/Boy Scouts and 4-H, Church groups, etc. Where clubs didn’t exist we created them, or became leaders and coaches.

Step Three-We actively sought out other parents with similar goals and values.  This is how the local Black Homeschoolers movement began in our community. When on homeschool outings, if I met other blacks with their children I would ask them if they homeschooled as well.  If they did, they were invited to be part of the group.  If not, I’d still connected with a parent whose child had similar interest.  Oh, and we did not limit our connections to exclusively black groups, since learning how to connect with people of other cultures was and is just as important as connecting with your own.

Step Four consisted of volunteering in places where our kids would have an opportunity to connect with other kids.

Step Five-Participation in co-ops.  Many communities have homeschool groups and co-ops families can be a part of.  Some are based on religious values, some cultural.  But the vast majorities are open and available to participation without consideration of race, religion, etc.  The common denominator of most is simply homeschooling.

Here’s the beauty of all these connections, we are making friends too. And since the parents are connecting, that means these children are more likely to stay connected as well, unlike school where the connections often end at the end of a school day, year, or graduation.

So not only have were socialization fears been unfounded, they didn’t even exist.

But for those of you who are still not convinced and need empirical data, let me drop this on you.

hdsla
To Learn More About Homeschooling Visit Homeschool Legal Defense Association

http://www.hslda.org/

In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, the study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm what homeschoolers have thought for years: No problem…

Value of Higher Education

The report, which can be found in it’s entirety on their webstite clearly shows that Over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18 to 24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population. Note that nearly half (49%) of the respondents in this study were still full-time students at the time of the survey.

Involved in their communities

Homeschool graduates are more active and involved in their communities than traditionally school students. Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages. Eighty-eight percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed were members of an organization (e.g., such as a community group, church or synagogue, union, homeschool group, or professional organization), compared to 50% of U.S. adults.

Civic affairs: engaged citizens

Only 4.2% of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults. For example, 76% of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18 to 24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29% of the relevant U.S. population.

Appreciating their alma mater (and pater)

Ninety-Five percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed are glad that they were homeschooled and 82% would homeschool their own children. Of the 812 study participants who had children age 5 or older, 74% were already homeschooling..

Conclusion of Research

The results of Dr. Ray’s cutting-edge research defuses long-held false criticisms of homeschooling and seem to indicate that homeschooling produces successful adults who are actively involved in their communities and who continue to value education for themselves and their children.

On a side note, all our kids are now in school and socializing quite nicely!

For the sake of brevity, I will conclude this week’s article with the above data, but come back next week, when I will add part 2 of this blog with additional data from other sources. For more information on homeschooling visit Dayton Black Homeschool Network

Take Charge of Your Pain

by Lena Fields-Arnold

genie-in-bottle-aladdinGod is my genie in a bottle and he is supposed to do what I ask, when I ask!

Or so I believed when I first became a Christian. The moment I was plagued with any illness, instead of reaching for medicine, I reached for my Bible, believing that God was obligated to immediately heal any headache, cold, or ailment attacking my body! After all, didn’t God’s word say, “By His stripes we are healed?”

So after more than 12 years of infertility I had had enough! “God what is wrong! Why aren’t you listening to me? Why haven’t you healed me?” I shouted.

Not only did I not receive an answer, but I got more heartache and even more experience with illness and human suffering when my beloved mother was diagnosed with cancer. Toward the end of her three year ordeal, I knew God was not going to heal her. During that ordeal, and the trial of my own infertility I was left to ponder, “What does God’s word really say about healing?”

Phillip Yancey, in his book, Where is God When it Hurts, wonders the same thing. In his attempt to answer the questions he suggests that pain and suffering could be tools that God uses to draw us nearer to Him. Like me he knew that God is fully capable of healing whenever and wherever he wants and the Bible provides ample proof of that fact. So when God chooses not to heal, us mortal beings are left to wonder, why?

Pain is terrible, and Yancey describes the powerful destruction pain can have upon our lives.

Yet he also eloquently paints us a portrait of pains equally powerful purpose to inform. Pain tells our body that something is wrong. It motivates us to do something. Whether that something is reaching for a bottle of medicine or reaching out for God’s strength, we are compelled to do something, for doing nothing will most certainly bring us swift destruction.

Dr. Carolyn L. Gordon, suggests that pain become a catalyst to make us better people. Instead of asking, -why, Dr. Gordon suggests our response be to ask-what? What are you doing in my life Lord? What are you trying to teach me? In what way will my suffering benefit humanity and serve the greater good?

God promises us that all things work together for the good of them that love God-to those who are called according to his purpose. Not some things, but all things.

I do not pretend to know, nor understand how my mother’s cancer has worked together for good. But I can say this, I never saw my mother bemoan her plight. I never witnessed her wallowing in self pity. I witnessed her trusting God all the way the end. I witnessed a woman who never wavered in her faith and who served God with every breath she had in her body. I witnessed a woman who told God that she would gladly die if her family would develop a relationship with God.

During that three year ordeal I witnessed a miracle. Not the doe eyed, naïve, believe God is my fairy God mother miracle type of healing that I believed in when I first gave my life to the Lord. But the kind of miracle that lasts forever.

The miracle of a woman who stood firm in her faith, even though she may have felt like God had abandoned her. That’s the kind of faith God wants us to have. I held on to that faith after she died. I had to, because now I understood that God was not my genie in a bottle and that he was not obligated to heal me just because I asked him. But I kept right on asking anyway, because my mother taught me. She said, “Marie, I ask because what if God says yes?”

What if God says yes!

While I am waiting I will extol him. I will live life in the fullest way that I can. If all I can do is move my mouth to form a prayer I will pray. If he says no, I will still serve him and I will still praise him. Ah, but when he says yes, I will shout from the rooftops about this great God that I serve. I know it is hard and it is painful, but I am a witness that God will bring you through it.

No matter what illness, ordeal, or trial you are facing right now, remember to pray. Remember that God loves you. It’s difficult when we don’t know the purpose for the trial we are facing, but you can face this adversity when you change your focus. Stop asking why and start asking what! Take charge of it and do not give Satan credit by saying, “the devil has attacked me today.” Satan has no power over you except what God allows to make you better, faster and stronger than you were before!

Yes, I know it is a corny reference to the Six Million Dollar Man (one of my favorite shows WAY back in the day!) But you know whatever works to make the point right! Okay so look, Steve Austin had to endure this horrible accident, which by the way occurred while he was in the middle of doing his job.

six-million-dollar-manThe accident almost killed him and left him mangled and just about destroyed. During the surgery he was totally unaware that there were doctors working over him and who had the audacity to claim that they could re-build him and make him even better than he was before.

Can you believe that? They stole that premise right out of the Word of God!

God is the potter and we are the clay and when he is pressing us and squeezing us, He is shaping us into a vessel of honor fit to be used. In the process we are made better, faster, and stronger. You are so much better than a fictional character. You are part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation; so take charge today and ask God, what are you doing with me today?

When You EMBRACE Your Shame, You ERASE Your Shame: Using the discomforting moments in your life to give honor to God!

Excerpted from the book by Lena Arnold entitled “Scenes From the City: Poetic Pictures of Urban Life” available on Amazon.

Several years ago I found myself in a very uncomfortable situation that resulted in three of the most humiliating hours of my life!

For months, I wouldn’t talk to anyone about what happened, because I was afraid of what people would think when they found out.  Surprisingly what I discovered was an appreciation for my honesty and candor; as well as a God ordained moment to minster to someone with similar hurts and pains.  Our discussions initially brought on tears of release, followed by laughter and joy as we found new ways to giggle about what had previously injured us.

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“Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

How often have I repeated this scripture without a clear understanding of its meaning?

For me, the joy came from the confession.  The Bible also states that when we “confess our sins; God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   Please know, that the sin has already been forgiven, so the confession is not really to forgive the sin, but to provide us with absolution from the guilt we often feel within ourselves.  Confession further purifies the mind from the enemy’s thoughts of condemnation.

For example:  Let’s say, in your previous life you were a person who liked to drink.  As a result of too many drinks, you engaged in some very embarrassing, dangerous, and/or illicit acts.  You have since been sober for 5 years, but your friends constantly find new ways to report your past sins to people you didn’t really want to have that information.

What do you do?

I have found that when I talk about myself, I leave no room for people to talk about me.  People cannot whisper in the shadows what I have already shouted from the rooftops.

What were once embarrassing occasions now become opportunities for testimony!

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn away from them, they will receive mercy.”-Proverbs 28:13 (NLV)

When my husband and I were going through the trial of infertility, we spoke to no one about the secret shame we felt regarding our inability to conceive.  For years we walked behind a veil of sadness and shame.  We masked the shame well, but inside we were bound and broken.  But when we began to confess our feelings and share the struggle, we realized that there was a whole community of wounded people who felt the same way we did, and who also had no one to talk with about their feelings.

As we spoke to one another and opened up our hearts, we were all emotionally and mentally healed in the process, and many were physically healed as well.  The discussion prompted all of us to take stock of our physical conditions and seek the medical treatment we didn’t know was available to us.

“You cannot make me feel ashamed for what I have chosen to embrace.”

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BUT suppose it’s not a sin that bothers you, but rather something you consider being a frailty.  Before we had children we had one of the cleanest houses in North America!  Friends always commented on how neat and orderly our house was.  Three children within two years later, and it’s a whole different story.  While my house is not nasty, it is often cluttered and unkempt.

These same friends, who have been my rock, never fail to remind me of how clean our house was before we had children.  Initially their comments bothered me, and made me feel inadequate.  Then one day I realized that our house wasn’t messy because we were slobs, it was messy because our values had changed.  My husband and I value happy, healthy, mannerable, and well adjusted children, and our house reflects that.

It reflects that I, as a stay-at-home mother,  have chosen to embrace my messiness; because for me toys on the floor means my kids play happily, books strewn over the table means my kids are learning well, and dirty dishes in the sink means my kids have plenty of food and are eating properly prepared meals.  Today, thanks to another friend who understands, there is now a sign over my door that reads, “My house was clean last week.  Sorry you missed it!”

Now when people comment on the condition of my house I tell them thank you for the kindest compliment you could ever give.  No one can make me feel ashamed for what I have chosen to embrace.

 So today, as you go forth worried over your sins, concerned about your faults, or overly troubled regarding your frailties; I ask that you consider all of your challenges as an opportunity to bring glory to God, bring about your own healing, and provide therapy to others who are being tested by many of the same problems.

Now I understand that there are some things you absolutely cannot talk about with everyone. And there are things you can talk about with everyone, but just not right now.  For those issues, I urge you to find a support group and prayerfully consider seeking a compassionate and encouraging network of close friends who will partner with you in prayer and even fasting if that is what it takes to break the chains that are keeping you bound.

Once you have been healed, seek God regarding how, when, and in what manner your confessions to others outside of that network will take place.

It might be on the bus, the church pew, or a prison cell, but God is able to take what once was a source of shame and pain for you, and make it a starting place of witness.

I challenge you today to embrace your shame, for in doing so; you will erase your shame and cover a multitude of sins.

hug

 

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Princess Leia and Tanka Challenge

by Lena Fields-Arnold

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carriefisher.com

I was at work today when I heard the news of Carrie Fisher’s death.

I was sad.

I have officially reached the age when the icons of my childhood are dying.

Much too young.

Michael Jackson-my first love!

Prince-much respect for the sheer musical genius!

George Michaels-who could not love Careless Whisper. Seriously, there is something wrong with you if you don’t love this song.

But today it’s all about Carrie Fisher aka Princess Leia and the leadership lessons I learned from both Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia.

Princess Leia was my first official SHERO.  Sure before her there was Wonder Woman and Supergirl-but they were nothing compared to the bad-ass space princess that was Leia. See because Leia was real. She had a dysfunctional family, she started the movie with a really bad hair day, (what girl can’t relate to those two crazy buns on the side of her head,) she was emotionally insecure despite her bravery, bravado and beauty.  She was relatable. Plus she had blasters, droids, handsome dudes in love with her, and she traveled through space!

princess-leia-1Sure she may have come from family that had “The Force” but Leia was all grit! Her true power came from the courage she displayed in the face of cruelty. Leia came from a wealthy family and could have been content to live in comfort, but she chose to pursue the cause of justice and righteousness even to her own detriment.  She made you believe a girl could do anything and she made it look good.  I’m telling you George Lucas called it right when he created her character, but it took the acting prowess of a Carrie Fisher to pull it off.  Think about it-I defy you to name one actress-living or dead who could have pulled off the role of Princess Leia other than Carrie Fisher.  Maybe you can do it, but I can’t and frankly don’t wanna.

Real Leaders are willing to fight for truth, liberty, freedom, and justice!

With regard to the real life persona of Carrie Fisher, she was quirky, honest, transparent, and emotionally vulnerable, but like Leia-she also had grit.

I learned from her the importance of admitting and acknowledging your frailties.  It took a series of hard knocks for her to learn this lesson and her past mistakes are probably what led to her untimely demise-nevertheless when she shared her stories we embraced them.  We did so, not because we believe she made the best choices, but because she owned them. That is a lesson we can all take to heart.  When you mess up-own it!  Sure she could have blamed it all on the addictions she struggled with, but she didn’t. I like her for that.  I would not want to have lived her life.  There are times when she didn’t want to live her life.  But she did it-and in doing so, she taught us the importance of having the courage to wake up one more day and try one more time.  Just when she was finding herself again, and giving us a “New Hope” she is gone.  I will miss her.

Real Leaders Embrace their Shame and in doing so-ERASE IT!

So-here’s the challenge.

I have started a Tanka in honor of Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia and I challenge any willing Carrie Fisher fan to add to the tanka so that together we can create a tanka train. If you write poetry you already know that a tanka is a type of Japanese poetry similar to a haiku. It consists of 5 lines in the following pattern.

5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables

7 syllables

7 syllables

Tankas use simile, metaphor and personification and are typically written about nature, seasons, love, sadness or other strong emotions.

I invite you to add to the train by writing your tanka in the comments.  At the end of the week I will put them all together in one post as one poem.  All writers will be credited for the final piece and their sections within the piece.  I claim no ownership to those individual sections and the final piece will be available to anyone via the creative commons license-free to use and share.

All participants will be entered into a drawing to receive a free copy of Carrie Fishers book The Princess Diarist.  By drawing I mean I will put every name on an index card, throw them in the air and the first card my dog steps on will be the winner.  That’s about as fair as it gets around this house.

So I hope you will take the challenge, not just for the prize, but for the fun of remembering two cool characters-the fictional Princess Leia and the very real Carrie Fisher. Be sure to include a link to your blog.

The Princess Tanka-A Poem by Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia Fans

bulletins blaring

stinging news of bad tidings

Princess Leia lost

Carrie gone to walk with sky

star wars will not be the same

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