I’m Starting At Home And Not Ending There
I can’t begin to pretend to know how the people in Connecticut feel after the devastation from Friday December 14, 2012. I have a young child of my own and I do not even want to imagine how they feel. I do know it breaks my heart. I hope the majority of people agree. This is such a terrible event that I hope never gets duplicated or done worse.
As Newtown, CT mourns, we try to put together reasons why this happens. What causes a person to take so many innocent lives? What is in a person’s head as they make this decision?
Some want to blame the gun laws. Some will blame violent video games. Others will blame movies, television, and the internet. I hear some saying the world is messed up and blame society. Is it guns, violent games, websites, movies, and television?
These things are prevalent in the world. I am 33 and these things were a controversy when I was a kid. They still are now. Violent acts by a single person went on then too. Was it all of these things causing the violence? Is it the negative images and access to guns that cause people to commit such disgusting acts?
While I agree guns do kill people, and video games and violent programs may warp a person’s mind, the answer is not that simple. It may not be what we have. The answer may be where we lack. There is a great lack of positive influence in young lives. Positive behaviors to model may not 100% prevent these heinous acts, but they will go a long way to helping.
Where does it start? Where will society be rebuilt? Where do we start?
We start in the home. We start with parents that are engaged in a child’s life. “But it is hard because we need to make money to keep our house and our cars and our stuff.” Yes I agree. I am a husband and a father. I know how hard it is. But I also know that if I work all of the time, and do not give time to my daughter, the work is for nothing. I also know that if times get tough with my wife I cannot run from them. I made a covenant before God to be with my wife. I believe some people forget that covenant and give up. I know it is not easy. Some married couples should not stay together if there is abuse of any nature going on but it just seems like so many give up so easily. “For better or worse, sickness and health” actually should mean what they mean.
Divorce is very harmful to a child. A child needs both parents in their lives. Not just to go to games and events, but to be fully committed to them. Parents need to be the example. Parents need to care. Parents may need help!
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Ghandi
Just staying together is half the solution. As a man I know I can’t just be present, I have to be engaged. I have to be supportive. I have to provide discipline. I have to love unconditionally. I have to protect her. I have to provide for her. I have to lead by example.
Too many men are casual parents. They either work, work, work, or play, play, play. Life as a husband and parent is all about themselves and not family. They are just boys and not men. A job, a car, a house, a wife, and kids do not make you a man. Families need husbands, fathers, MEN.
I know in some families a father has left. This is may not even have been a decision made by both husband and wife. The parents may have never been married. In these situations there still needs to be a man. There still needs to be a positive role model. This is for boys and girls.
I am reading a book called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker MD given to me by my friend Dan Huff. It has some startling facts but the biggest thing I am getting out of it is I have to be fully committed to my daughter. When you are committed, kids are less likely to try drugs, smoke, drink, engage in sexual activity, and are less rebellious among other things. Making yourself an example of how you want them to be is a must. You are a teacher. You are a trainer. You are a parent.
One other important thing that is lacking in families is God. Many families may go to church or temple, but still don’t know God. They don’t have an anchor in faith. They don’t live a life with moral values and they let society shape their thoughts and actions. Society is trying to take God out of everything. Even out of our homes. I do not think prayer needs to be in school but it needs to be done. We should not just pray when things go bad but also when they are good. Reading the word of God is a must, but following it is an absolute.
I do not know the home lives of these people who cause such destruction. I do know that these things do not happen that often, but they happen often enough. I do know that crime and drug use are still a problem. I do know that our jails a filled a lot more than our churches. I do know that there are bad people who need love. I do know that there are mentally ill children and adults that need help and love. Is it too late? No!
I have been reading reports and in many of these terrible killing sprees, the killer has a history of mental illness. In these cases some of the parents feel helpless before this occurs. Many do not have the money to get proper treatment. Some moms or dads run away from the problem or ignore them all together. I read one article saying that an official told a parent there was nothing they can do to help unless the child commits a crime. Is it too late by that point? These kids and adults have committed the worst crime then kill themselves. Too late for help. We need to help these parents with their kids that have mental illness. We can’t ignore them. We have to be Jesus to the least of these. These children may be disturbed mentally and some might say they are not under their own control. They need Jesus.
Matthew 5:1-13 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
If you think the world is broken then lets fix it. Let’s get in the trenches and change the world. If we are to make the world better for the next generation we need to start with the next generation. I challenge parents to step up. Myself included. I challenge people who see kids heading down the wrong path to do their best to intervene. Talk to them. Hang with them. Take them to church. Take them to a youth group. Read them scripture. Most of all, show compassion. Show compassion for the parents. Help them if you see they have a child that is having problems. We need communities to be a compassionate communities and not just when things go haywire. We need it before the killing spree starts. If you see a kid as weird and they look crazy there may be more to the situation. We are not supposed to be mental health care providers, but we need to take care of others in need.
Start in your own house.
I vow to be an example of what I want for my daughter. I vow to be faithful to God so she may see what that looks like and what it means. I vow to do for others what they can not do for themselves. I vow to do my best to do as Jesus does for the least of these. When I see a kid that needs help I will help them. Jesus says to take care of widows and orphans. Just because there is a mom and dad at home does not mean you are not an orphan.
If you are aware of the needs of kids in this situation and do nothing it is a shame. I encourage you to reach out to them. Make them aware of programs you know of like youth groups. Bring them to church. Get the parent help. Do something.
If you know and do nothing it is even worse than not knowing. It is like knowing you’ve sinned and have repented and know what you are supposed to do but still continue to do the same sin. 2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Again my heart breaks for these children and these families. I know Jesus welcomed them. As it says in Mark 10:16 And He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Jesus is our hope.
I encourage you to be engaged with your family. Help those who need help. Take responsibility for society. Instead of complaining about it begin to change the world. Get others to take up this cause. There is strength in numbers. Even Jesus sent his disciples out two at a time. And lastly, structure your family around a solid faith in the Lord. Live a life following Jesus and getting to know Him and not just know about Him.
May your faith grow stronger to live a stronger life.
Lord thank you for my life and every breath I take for your glory. I pray that every email, blog, video created through me is for Your glory and Your works to help change this world we live in so we may all one day be with You in the Kingdom of Heaven.