Raising children is different than it used to be. Somehow or other the lines between parents and children have become blurred. Somehow or other the very idea of firm discipline has become associated with beatings and abuse. Somehow or other our children’s feelings have become the foundation for our parental actions and responses. What happened to parents unequivocally “ruling the roost?” Is that now wrong? What happened to parents being authoritative and firm? Is that now wrong? What happened to the clear lines of right and wrong being the solid foundation for parental decision making? Is that now wrong? Have we begun to approach the point where we assign so many rights to children that we as parents are inherently wrong? What do children need and how are we supposed to know what they need and how to give it to them?
“The best things in life are free.” That certainly can be true, but as always there is more to the story. Take love - the love that is between a husband and a wife as a for instance. While this love certainly should be free – freely given and freely received, it does have a maintenance schedule attached to it. Funny thing is, we never hear much about love’s maintenance schedule as it can be difficult, demanding and even daunting. The good news is that if we stick with the schedule, the results will literally last a lifetime and the love that we were freely given will have become a most valuable admired and cherished part of our lives! So, how do we get there? How do we learn what to do and how to do it so our love will last a lifetime?
Here’s a question...what do the 4th of July and Thanksgiving have in common? The most obvious answer is these two celebrations are uniquely American in that their very founding was undeniably linked to the founding of the United States. The less obvious answer is that these two holidays were also founded in humble recognition of God Almighty. Just read the first and last parts of the Declaration of Independence and the first declarations for Thanksgiving and you will see that God was first and foremost. Here we are about 240 years later and God is no longer first and he certainly is no longer "for most." So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday what can we do to relight our own fire of gratitude towards God and towards one another? Let’s start by talking about it!
Sometimes we forget that life is precious and it is worth fighting for. When someone dies as a result of suicide, that fight has been lost. When we lose a loved one to suicide we might ask ourselves; have we become so entangled in the web of social standing and status that we somehow stepped over and ignore our loved one who was struggling with being able to hold onto the sacredness of life? Were we so absorbed in our own stress and schedule that we were blind to our loved one’s battle or did they do such a convincing job of hiding their pain that the whole thing was just a shocking tragedy? What happened to our loved one that they found themselves drawn downward into a vortex of torment and suffering so dark that they despaired of life itself? How do we better understand and cope with suicide? How does God treat those who take their own lives?
We are blessed. We live in a country where freedom of speech and assembly are a given – a country where we can choose who to worship and how we accomplish that worship. We live in a country where we can apply ourselves, work hard and attain levels of success that are not only rare, they are unheard of in many other places. We live in America and we have the freedoms we currently enjoy because of the wisdom and sacrifice of the countless patriots who founded our country long ago. As we pause over the 4th of July weekend to celebrate their efforts and succes, we also want to pause to look long and hard at our present interpretation of freedom. Have we lost our way when it comes to the privilege of living in freedom and assuming the necessary responsibilities that are inherent to it? Is our freedom here in America on borrowed time?