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Fox News Op-Ed: What the First Thanksgiving Can Teach a Divided America

Fox News Op-Ed: What the First Thanksgiving Can Teach a Divided America

AS PUBLISHED IN FOX NEWS, NOVEMBER 18, 2017: In November 1621, the American holiday we now know as Thanksgiving began with an unprecedented cornucopia of food and fellowship marked by genuine . . . thanksgiving. And for good reason.

About 102 Pilgrims had endured a 66-day voyage from England across the Atlantic to Massachusetts aboard the Mayflower the year before. They were guided by a God-given appetite for unhindered religious freedom.

Roughly half the Pilgrims had died of disease and malnutrition by the time the survivors sat down for the meal to give thanksgiving with Native Americans. The gathering was more than unlikely. It was a genuine miracle – a miracle that Americans would benefit to remember on Thanksgiving this year and beyond.

America’s current course – marked by division, hatred and selfishness – is completely out of alignment with the brick and mortar set by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Today we need a modern miracle – a miracle that requires the seemingly contradictory component of human intentionality.

CLICK HERE TO READ IT ON FOX NEWS

The Native Americans and Pilgrims had their share of huge challenges to overcome. But overcome them they did – setting an example for Americans today.

If these two groups were able to sit down together at a table – despite differences in language, culture, beliefs, appearance and even basic tastes in food – then we can certainly do the same today with friends and family, and with those who may have different beliefs than we do.

The unlikely unity between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims seems sadly bizarre to so many of us today. But if we are willing, there are lessons here for us.

The quest for freedom and fellowship is part of human DNA. A re-embracing of this truth with a commitment to celebrating it could be the very thing that truly makes America stronger together and great.

This Thanksgiving, we have a chance to resurrect the spirit of the first celebration, not just during the meal, but far beyond. The meal can be the symbolic launching pad for a perpetual repeat of the miracle that took place almost 400 years ago.

What if we did more on this Thanksgiving than merely thank God for the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries? What if we made this Thanksgiving a national reset and returned to the spirit of the first feast?

What if we each looked for ways to get America back on track, to restore her to her long-lost luster that emulated thankfulness, generosity and diversity? Why, we’d have the kind of America that each of us, deep down, truly longs for. In the end, it’s also the only America that really works.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. Regardless of your belief in the Bible, a soul would be hard-pressed to prove that our nation is whole and healthy. The hope for American unity, which is deferred at this juncture, has indeed weakened our national heart.

Each of us longs for the miraculous in the everyday grind of life. It’s time to bring the miraculous back as America’s new normal. If that seems puzzling, think more deeply and the fog will lift.

This Thanksgiving is our chance. It’s America’s chance to rediscover that strength is possible through diversity – if we each come to the table with a trait that seems so foreign to America these days, but is far from impossible to muster.

This was the trait that brought people of different ethnicities and backgrounds together for an unforgettable meal that did far more than fill bellies. It forged the fabric that became America.

The trait is humility, and it’s what brings people together. It’s the essential ingredient that makes unity possible. If you don’t believe this, you just may be among the many who think Thanksgiving is simply about eating until we have to unbuckle our belts. 

What can you do to make the spirit of Thanksgiving a growing trait of your life every day of the year? You can start by considering this coming Thanksgiving as the re-launch of you. You can begin to look for common ground between you and others, rather than the differences

Look for things you can compliment rather than criticize. Recognize that there is a God-given reason why each of us has two ears and one mouth – to listen, at a heart level, twice as much as we speak.

Will listening make our differences go away? Of course not – but you just may find that all of life will begin to be more harmonious and enjoyable.

An attitude of gratitude, and some humility, goes a long, long way to making all of life much, much better. If you begin to incorporate these simple things into your life, this Thanksgiving will be the start of the miracle you’ve been searching for.

Red, yellow, black, brown and white, we are all precious in God’s sight. This Thanksgiving is a chance for each of us to be part of a fresh miracle – one that our nation needs, big time, and which each of us can fire up the spark. We really can sit down at a table, together – this Thanksgiving and beyond – if only we are humble enough to do so.

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

Life Outside of Eden: Making Sense of Sutherland Springs Texas

Life Outside of Eden: Making Sense of Sutherland Springs Texas

Yesterday’s mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas serves as a reminder that evil, not God, is our enemy. In the aftermath of the shooting, we shouldn’t be fighting with each other. We should double down on our efforts to fight evil every chance we get because evil is what caused so many people to lose their lives and loved ones in the most unlikely of all places – a church.

What happened in a garden long ago was more like a violent crash than a mere fall. I first heard the fall likened that way by my younger brother. Imagine how we’d all view life is we understood the fall as the crash it really was.

LIFE OUTSIDE OF EDEN
Life outside of Eden is hard and painful. Pain and suffering are the result of evil, not God. If you want to know why God allows evil, that’s a great question. In fact, it’s the question of the ages. If I could answer that question, I’d be more than a mere mortal. I can, however, provide the biblical perspective this side of glory, which dates back to the Book of Genesis. But if you want the existential answer that goes beyond the involvement of Adam and Eve, I think we have to be honest with each other and admit that we don’t ultimately know.

Sin, by definition, is to seek happiness, fulfillment and wisdom apart from God. It can’t be done. Both Adam and Eve tried it, and look where that got us. So much of our time is spent trying to recreate paradise here in a broken world. It’s an impossible endeavor. Paradise apart from God is a mirage.

If we are concerned with evil, a great place to start is deep within our thinking and hearts. I’ve found that there is plenty within to keep me vigilant 24/7.

Pray for the people most deeply impacted by the Sutherland Springs shooting, and ask God to do a deeper work within you, too. 

HAVE YOU LET YOU GUARD DOWN AGAINST EVIL, AND BLAMED GOD WHEN HE ISN’T THE ONE TO BLAME AFTER ALL?

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

Good Without God? New Majority Think It’s Possible

Good Without God? New Majority Think It’s Possible

“For the first time, a majority of Americans — 56 percent — say it is possible to be a good person without a religious belief.” The finding comes from two new polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, involving nearly 5,000 Americans.*

“’God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality,’ Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, said in a post about the findings. Even white evangelicals, who traditionally believe a relationship with God is crucial to morality, have budged. In 2011, one quarter of them (26 percent) said it was possible to be good without God, while now almost a third (32 percent) say so. To be sure, most white evangelicals still say belief in God is necessary for morality,’ Smith writes. ‘But the share who say belief in God is a necessary underpinning of being moral has declined from 72 percent to 65 percent in just six years.’”*

 

Is it possible to be good without God? It’s a question worth contemplating — because one’s conclusion to this question has eternal consequences . . .


Post this on Facebook and Twitter —
Forward it by email or text.
Someone you know needs to read this.

 

WHAT DO THE POLLS REALLY TELL US?
I think the polls remind us that it’s far too easy to confuse the word “good” with the word “polite.” If these words meant the same thing, there would be no problem with the results of the polls — because it’s entirely possible to be polite toward people without God. Saying otherwise would be untrue. Many non-religious people are more polite than many religious people, because being merely religious can lead anyone to become nothing more than rigid, cold and legalistic.

Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO EMBRACE GOD’S DEFINITION OF “GOOD”?

If I’m honest, some of the most uptight, self-righteous, insensitive people I’ve met came from within the four walls of a church. Haven’t you met your fair share of folks who looked more like they were sucking on lemons than sitting at the feet of Jesus? (Keep in mind that their conduct is no excuse for any of us to turn from Christ. Someone else’s lifestyle is not a safety net for our own spiritual responsibility to follow God.) And, to be fair, some of the nicest, warmest, most wonderful people I’ve met became so because of God’s transforming work courtesy of Jesus.

It’s vital to recognize that “good” and “polite” are not the same thing — and herein lies the underlying problem with the attitudes expressed in the polls. The poll-takers essentiallly mistake manners for morality. Though related, they are vastly different. The polls demonstrate that we are now confusing, en masse, being polite with being holy. If manners were all God wanted, we have a huge problem with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Let’s think about this for a moment, because there’s a great deal hanging in the balance of our beliefs.

 

WHY THE CROSS?

Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive. And by “alive” I mean righteous, or holy. Righteousness and holiness are not the same as being polite, or having manners. They are not the same as our human understanding of “good.” Jesus died to make unholy people holy — to make unrighteous people righteous in the sight of God. Jesus gave his sinless life in exchange for our sin-filled lives. He came to bridge the gap between human beings and the eternal Being, God.
 
Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

BEING “GOOD” IS A RELATIVE THING. GOD DOES NOT COMPARE US TO ONE ANOTHER, BUT TO HIMSELF.

Romans 3:20 (NIV) says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Bold italics mine, for emphasis). The real issue is whether or not we can become righteous before God, because righteousness is God’s definition of “good.” In the eternal scheme of things, God’s opinion is the only one that truly matters. If following the Old Testament law cannot make anyone “good” in the eyes of God, then what makes us think we can create our own standard of “good” that God will embrace? (See Galatians 2:16, too).

 

To be righteous is to be holy, and holiness, not mere manners, is what God requires. With this in mind, how are you doing? Can you be righteous and holy apart from God? If we could be holy and righteous in our own strength, through our own effort, then the cross is the most confusing event in all of history — courtesy of God himself. God would have sent his Son for a need that doesn’t, after all, exist. But the need does exist because the Bible says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

PROOF: WE CANNOT BE “GOOD” WITHOUT GOD
The fly in the ointment of people thinking we can be “good” without God is the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the definitive statement of good and evil, and that God requires perfection, not manners. If we believe we can be good without God, then the cross means nothing. The cross is nonsense if we believe we can be good without God. Why the passion of the Christ if it’s possible for each of us to be good apart from him?
 
Jesus said, “No one is good — except God alone'” (Mark 10:18, NIV). I don’t think there’s a mortal in position to correct Jesus’ take on the matter.
 
Your greatest need is not to be polite, but to be holy. It’s my need and the need of everyone on earth.
 
Michael Anthony - Good Without God? - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

TO ACCEPT CHRIST’S SACRIFICE IS TO EMBARK ON AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY OF LIFE. THE REST OF LIFE IS LIVED TO ENJOY AND HONOR GOD IN EVERYTHING.

The Bible says, “without holiness, no one will see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14). It does not say “without manners, no one will see the LORD.” A person can be “good,” as far as comparing one person to another — but God does not compare us or judge us in comparison to each other. He judges us in comparison to his standard of perfection, righteousness and holiness. God compares us to his one of a kind, unique Son, Jesus. Holiness is only made possible through the substitute sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross — for you.

 
What have you done with Christ? Have you accepted what he did for you, and adjusted all of your life as a consequence?
 

The evidence of personally accepting the sacrifice of Christ is a life that no longer goes on, business as usual. Do you forgive people? Do you reconcile with people or hold grudges? Are you bitter or are you becoming more like Christ in character? These are the questions that reveal whether or not you really accepted Christ and are continuing in him.

 

THE DEEP QUESTION
The polls reflect a deeper belief system becoming more and more popular in the twenty-first century. It is that people think it’s possible to live life without belief in a God who defines good and evil on his terms, not ours. The real question is whether or not people believe life can be lived without absolute truth that comes from someone other than mere mortals.

The real question is “What does the cross of Christ mean?” If we can be good without God, then the cross was not merely unecessary. It was the most painful, pitiful act of nonsense ever undertaken  — and that presents a fundamental problem with the historic reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the gospel accounts, and the whole record of scripture and history.
 
Good and evil are ultimately determined not by people but by God  — and the cross of Christ is the definitive statement that mere mortals cannot be good — let alone define good — without God.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE TO BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD?

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

Suicide By Smartphone: Is Using Your Smartphone Making Your Child Stupid?

Suicide By Smartphone: Is Using Your Smartphone Making Your Child Stupid?

Now that I have your attention . . .

If you’ve given your child — or teenager — a smartphone or tablet without constant, close supervision, you could be asking for trouble. Big trouble. Yet another study was just released, disclosing the harmful effects of giving regular smart device access to a child or teen. In some ways, you might as well give them a loaded gun, without teaching them how to handle it. Is using your smartphone making your child — or teenager — stupid?

I’m not using the word “stupid” in a derogatory way. I mean it in the classic sense that you could be diminishing your child’s ability to reach his or her greatest social, emotional and spiritual potential — or worse — without realizing it. It’s time to really, really think about this before it’s too late, and make adjustments so you are using your smart devices wisely.

BLESS YOUR FRIENDS BY THEM SHARING THIS
ON FACEBOOK, BY EMAIL OR TEXT.

Research is emerging, again, to suggest that children who use a smart device often, without constant, direct adult supervision, will suffer in many, many ways. Is your lax attitude toward a smart device hurting your child? It could be — and you are responsible to stop the nonsense — now.

 

“Between 2010 and 2016, the number of adolescents who experienced at least one major depressive episode leapt by 60%, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 2016 survey of 17,000 kids found that about 13% of them had a major depressive episode, compared to 8% of the kids surveyed in 2010. Suicide deaths among people age 10 to 19 have also risen sharply, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young women are suffering most; a CDC report released earlier this year showed suicide among teen girls has reached 40-year highs. All this followed a period during the late-1990s and early 2000s when rates of adolescent depression and suicide mostly held steady or declined.”

‘These increases are huge—possibly unprecedented,’ says Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of iGen, which examines how today’s super-connected teens may be less happy and less prepared for adulthood than past generations. In a peer-reviewed study that will appear later this year in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, Twenge shows that, after 2010, teens who spent more time on new media were more likely to report mental health issues than those who spent time on non-screen activities.” — TIME HEALTH

UNINTENTIONAL DESTRUCTION:
DON’T DUMB DOWN YOUR CHILD

Your smart phone is not a baby sitting device or a good role model. As a pastor, I see so many parents who hand their child a smart phone when interacting with others, as a means of enabling the parent to interact with another person. STOP IT! My pastor friends and I counsel parents and guardians all the time, and have to comfort them and their children for the consequences of using smart technology foolishly.

Suicide by Smartphone - Michael Anthony's Courage Matters Blog

HOW YOU USE A SMART PHONE OR TABLET WITH YOUR CHILD, TODAY, COULD SET THEM UP FOR A LIFETIME OF FAILURE. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE SMART ABOUT SMART TECHNOLOGY.

Your child or teenager should not have unmonitored used of a smart phone or tablet, especially if it has internet access. If you allow this, you are . . .  stupid. There, I said it. To be clear, I mean “stupid” with all due respect, in the sense that the way you are dispensing a smart device to your child could very well be hindering his or her best chances of being emotionally, spiritually and socially healthy.

I’d rather be the brunt of your angst for a moment, by speaking frankly, than say nothing and have you learn the hard way and suffer long-term consequences. I can tell you from the people we pastors are counseling: there will be hell to pay if you are unwise in how you use smart devices with your child or teen. It’s time to wise up — starting right now. Don’t let another day pass without making changes!

 

A smart device is no substitute for real human interaction, a book, or a game played without an electronic device. In fact, it may be far worse. You may be using your smartphone or tablet in ways that will negatively, permanently, damage the most precious gift ever given you: your child.

If you’ve given your teenager a smart phone, and think they know how to handle it and don’t closely monitor their use — daily — you’re out of your mind.

Keep in mind that many teens can start off with a good moral compass, but can easily be led astray with the passage of time. That time may pass more quickly than you realize. A teenager can be led astray in a very short time. Shame on the parent or guardian who is the source of the wandering. If that’s you, it’s time to ask God for forgiveness and change your ways.

WHAT ABOUT PUSHBACK?

Never mind the pushback you may get from your teen by imposing new, appropriate oversight. They may think you’re being too strict — but research is on your side. It proves that oversight is not just important; it’s imperative.

Your teen may grumble now, but they’ll thank you later. Moreover, God sees what you’re doing to your teen for better or worse, and will hold each of us accountable for how we parent. (Consider 2 Corinthians 10:5).

“Smart technology” can be used foolishly. It is no substitute for real human interaction, a book, or a game played without an electronic device. And, do you realize that internet access gives your child or teen UNHINDERED access to a universe of smut that could lead them into a cesspool, creating deep addictions that will haunt them for the rest of their lives? Is it time for you to wake up?

There, I said it, and it needed to be said. You probably know someone who needs to think long and hard about this, and make changes in their parenting. Janet and I encourage you to share this, so you can spare a parent or child a life of remorse they could easily, and totally avoid — if only you took heed.

HAVE YOU BEEN USING SMART TECHNOLOGY IN DUMB WAYS? IS YOUR USE OF YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET HINDERING YOUR CHILD? THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR WAYS AND SPARE YOUR CHILD OR TEEN A LIFETIME OF UNNECESSARY HARDSHIP. IT REALLY IS UP TO YOU . . .

 

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

 

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE! Las Vegas Shooting Conspiracy? Was the Plan Known About In Advance?

BREAKING EXCLUSIVE! Las Vegas Shooting Conspiracy? Was the Plan Known About In Advance?

Was the Las Vegas shooting coordinated, involving more than one person, and known about in advance? Listen to this exclusive interview on this hot topic.

The internet is now abuzz with a theory that the plans for the Las Vegas shooting were known — in advance — by people other than Stephen Paddock, the man identified as the shooter. The theory is, in part, fueled by a now viral video of Briana Hendricks’ talking with SkyNews.

In the interview (included here) Briana says she and her mother, Shawn Hendricks, met a person who eerily exclaimed, about 45 minutes before the Las Vegas shooting, “They’re all around! You’re all going to f—ing die today!” The statement caused a firestorm, fueling a conspiracy theory that the shooting was coordinated, involved more than one person, and was known about in advance.

In this exclusive interview, I talk with Shawn Hendricks, getting her thoughts about whether or not she thinks the conspiracy theory is credible . . .

LISTEN AND SHARE YOUR COMMENTS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN . . . 

 

Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

What Happened In Vegas Won’t Stay In Vegas: How To Talk With Your Child When Tragedy Strikes

What Happened In Vegas Won’t Stay In Vegas: How To Talk With Your Child When Tragedy Strikes

What happened in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. As details emerge from the Las Vegas shooting, your child will have questions and fears. He or she will want to know why this sort of thing happens — and, he or she will need to know how to mature into a healthy, engaged adult in a world where darkness is on the rise. The Las Vegas tragedy presents significant opportunities for you, a parent or guardian, to help your child process the emotional, spiritual and practical aspects of what went down in Las Vegas. You need to know how to talk with your child when tragedy strikes. Here are some suggestions on how you can — and should — help your children process the worst shooting in United States history.

You probably know someone who needs to read this.
Why not share it on Facebook, or by email or text?

1. REMEMBER THAT IF YOU DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILD, SOMEONE ELSE WILL. If you aren’t the go-to source of information for your children, someone else will be. Are you okay with that? No, you can’t be an expert on everything you child needs

PAY ATTENTION: THIS IS A CHANCE TO COMMUNICATE AND BOND. IT’S ALSO A CHANCE TO HELP YOUR CHILD MATURE IN HEALTHY WAYS.

to learn — but you can, and should, be the first source they consult before going elsewhere. It’s a blessing, not a burden, to be the person your child looks up to for credible, timely information on anything they need to know in life. It’s no less true when it comes to processing tragedy.

 

 

2. PRAY FOR WISDOM; YOU CAN DO IT. Helping your child process tragedy is not as difficult as it may, at first, seem. Don’t let yourself be intimidated unnecessarily. If you follow the next few steps — and stick to them — you’ll find that you really can help your child process, and this will actually strengthen the bond between you. James 1:5 (NIV) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Don’t forget to share your comments, below!

ASSERT YOURSELF. BE THE PARENT/GUARDIAN YOU’RE MEANT TO BE.

3. ASSERT YOURSELF — BE THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN YOU ARE MEANT TO BE. A good parent doesn’t wait for his or her child to always bring up issues. Of course, there are times when a child has an issue you can’t anticipate — but when you know an issue is real, and your child will be thinking about it, you need to be proactive, assert yourself, and bring the topic up so they know it’s important to process things, not sweep them under the carpet.

 

Sit down with your child and tell them, “I want to talk with you about something bad that has happened.” Then, ask them if they are familiar with whatever tragedy it is that needs to be addressed. (In this case, it’s the Las Vegas shooting). If they say they know about it, ask them what they know — and listen. Don’t assume they have accurate or complete information. And, don’t assume they need to have complete information, which brings us to the next point . . .

LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. BY LISTENING, YOU WILL KNOW THE CONCERNS YOUR CHILD HAS — AND BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THEM. YOUR CHILD’S BIGGEST NEED IS TO KNOW YOU HEAR THEM AND UNDERSTAND.

4. SHARE WHAT THEY NEED TO KNOW, NOT NECESSARILY ALL THE DETAILS. I can’t stress it enough that too much information can be harmful information. In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, your children simply need to be told something like this: “A man with mental problems and a very bad temper used rifles to harm people in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, he took the lives of many people, and wounded many others.” That’s your foray into the subject. Ask your child if they understand what you said, and if they have any questions. Patiently wait for them to respond.

Remember to “K.I.S.S.” your child when answering a question: KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE for starters. A good thing to practice is to answer the question as briefly as possible; stick to the realm of what your child asks. Short answers that stick to the question are the most helpful, and will prevent you from making your answer(s) too complex.

Remember that the purpose of answering their questions is to help them process what they need to know. Too much information can provide information they don’t really need, or what will plague them thereafter if they know. They don’t need to seek photos or video of the event, nor do they need to know, as children, the destructive power of high-powered rifles and ballistic bullets. They simply need to know the facts: people were killed and wounded and that a sick individual committed the crimes.

DON’T LEAVE PRAYER UP TO YOUR CHILD TO DO ALONE. PRAY WITH YOUR CHILD.

5. ASK YOUR CHILD IF YOUR ANSWERS SATISFIES THEIR CURIOSITY. HELP THEM STAY AWAY FROM SEEKING UNHEALTHY, DAMAGING INFORMATION . This approach helps children process what they know, and will help you know whether they are having a hard time digesting what has transpired. If your child demonstrates a curiosity toward the gruesome details, help them be compassionate, instead, and focus on how the victims and survivors need compassion and love.

6. HELP YOUR CHILD UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE LIVING OUTSIDE OF EDEN, IN A FALLEN WORLD. We’re not in Kansas anymore (i.e. The Garden of Eden). Bad things happen to good people. Sin is the reason for all hardship, pain, suffering and, ultimately, death. We are spiritually separated from God because of sin, and physical death is a consequence of sin, evidence that it is the real, fundamental problem for humanity. Help your child understand these truths as you put the tragedy into the bigger picture of the fallen world in which we live.

7. PRAY WITH YOUR CHILD, SO HE OR SHE LEARNS HOW TO PRAY FOR THE SURVIVORS AND FAMILIES AFFECTED. Children need to learn how to pray, how to develop empathy, and how to process tragedy in ways that are healthy. Your prayer does not need to be lengthy, but it does need to be sincere, engaged and heartfelt. Be real with your child

BE YOUR CHILD’S SHIELD. TV AND RADIO SHOULD NOT BE THEIR UNSUPERVISED SOURCE OF INFORMATION. THAT SOURCE SHOULD BE YOU.

and real in your praying, and you’ll teach your child that being real with God, and people, is normal, healthy and helpful.

8. DO SOMETHING POSITIVE AND UNIFYING. In the aftermath of tragedy, children need comfort and reassurance. Spend time with your child doing something that will bring you

closer together and help him or her know they are safe at a time when their world (which is much smaller than an adult’s world) is a place where they are cherished and sheltered, thanks to your engagement with them.

9. BE THEIR SHIELD — MONITOR WHAT THEY WATCH OR HEAR FROM THE MEDIA. Radio and television can be graphic, blunt and disturbing — especially in times of tragedy. Your child does not need to watch videos of the tragedy, or have a television or radio personality describe the situation. That’s where you need to be their shield, protecting them from the blunt force trauma of hearing or seeing things from unfiltered sources.

BE AVAILABLE AND APPROACHABLE. BE THE SHELTER YOUR CHILD NEEDS, AND CAN TRUST.

10. BE AVAILABLE AND APPROACHABLE. Your child will potentially have additional questions. Repeat the above steps and you’ll be well on your way toward helping your child process tragedy — and grow into being a positive factor of influence in a day and age when it’s needed most.

 

 

 

ARE YOU HELPING YOUR CHILD PROCESS THE LAS VEGAS TRAGEDY? BY DOING SO, YOU WILL HELP HIM OR HER GROW UP TO BECOME A LOVING, ENGAGED ADULT IN AN AGE OF APATHY AND FEAR.

 

ABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, to be published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.

If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.

 

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