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failure success streetsigns meZaC80By Lisa Cherry             

My daughter Hannah was at a crossroads.  As high school junior taking her first college course, she wanted to succeed. She had only hours before the final draft of her essay was due.

But no matter how many changes and upgrades she had made, it was not looking good for Hannah's grade.

The teacher did not like her argument that the children’s book King and King depicting homosexual marriage and homosexual kissing should be banned from public school classrooms.

I had emailed the teacher asking for some clarification of her expectations. I did not hear back from her that day.

That is when the most important thing happened in this long drama. Sure, it had been good for Hannah to have to learn to argue and defend her faith views in a hostile environment. It had been good that Hannah had learned to approach her college professor humbly asking for more help to complete the project satisfactorily. But now it was time for the big question.

"Hannah," I began my response to the now crying teen, "What is the worst thing that could happen to you with this assignment?"

"Mom, I could fail it and ruin my first semester in college!" was her impassioned response.

"No Hannah. That is not the worst thing. The worst thing is that you could fail to honor the Lord, cave in under the pressure, and change your views!" I responded.

"Yeah, you are right, I guess," she quietly agreed.

Then I helped her to play out the worst case scenario in her mind. Did you know one of the best ways to defeat fear and walk in courage is to imagine your worst fears and see what the Lord can do even with them?

Here is what we determined was worst case:

Hannah fails the class. Gets a bad grade. Has to take the class over. Pays extra money. Works extra hard. And has to explain to people why she failed freshman English.

OK. None of that would be fun. But if people can die for their faith, couldn’t we endure all those pesky hardships?  They sound like “light and  momentary troubles” by comparison. 

Suddenly, I became keenly aware of the benefits of a little persecution!! We were truly learning to stand on what we had always said we believed to be true!

How about you and your kids? How will you handle the pressures in schools, workplaces, and the community? Do you have the courage to suffer....even just a little for the cause of Christ??

Are you sharing this series with your kids? It is a great training ground. Next time, we will conclude with the teacher's final comments on the paper and....the grade!

Image Source:  Sigurd Decroos

Gratefully linked to  Modest Mondays

You can find the other parts of this series here:

What to Do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted Part 1
What Would You Have Done? Part 2: What to do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted

How Much Should we Intervene? Part 3: What to Do If Your Christian Child is Persecuted

Would My Response Backfire? Part 4: What to Do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted

Studying 2302027163_675bfed1a6By Lisa Cherry

How much should we as parents intervene if our children are suffering persecution for their faith? When our daughter Hannah faced pressure in school from a teacher who disapproved of Hannah's Biblical views on homosexuality and gay marriage, that question came to center stage in our home.

Click here to catch up on the story line.... 

Well, here is what I chose to do for Hannah initially....

I encouraged her to stay in the battle, honor her teacher, and work even harder to fulfill the teacher's requirements. As I listened to the wisdom of the Lord, I sensed this would be a significant faith event that would test our daughter's ability to stand.

In fact, of all my children, Hannah is one of the most impassioned to stand for Biblical values in the midst of a hostile culture. This was, in essence, a test of the multi-year training she had received from the dynamic programs called Lightbearers and Understanding the Times from Summit Ministries.  I posted on these here, and  now count them  as essential for kids of today.

Now as sure as I share with you what I did when Hannah faced this kind of teacher challenge, I must caution you that my answer may not be the right answer for every teen and every family.

The stakes are high when our kids are exposed to teachers and authorities who seem intent on winning a convert to their political/moral/ethical/faith point of view. That is why over 80% of our young people walk away from their faith as they leave our homes!

So, it is right that I was not happy that this teacher seemed more concerned with changing Hannah's views than lining up her grammar! And it could have been right for me to remove her from that pressure if I thought it could crush her or damage her.

But Hannah needed to fight this battle herself, I figured. However, I became keenly aware that without me standing behind her, she could have had a disaster. She was in such a vulnerable spot looking for affirmation from her first college experience. I was sobered.  

She had practiced the reasoning and worked with opposing worldviews and still this was very hard. So she added more and more and more research going way beyond the minimum requirements of the assignment and taking extra submissions to attempt to fix the "problems."

Here is a sample of the teacher's comments (some of which were genuinely helpful) that tipped me over to consider a new action. Hannah received this AFTER she had already made many changes to satisfy the paper requirements. Take a look.

What do you see here? And what would you do next?

Hannah,

You clearly introduce the topic, but the introduction lacks an attention getter.  Your thesis is clear and specific. You make clear points, but the paper lacks actual evidence to support some of those points. You provide one quote about the impact of gender confusion but do not provide any evidence from research to connect reading a book about homosexual characters to gender confusion.  You make some pretty inflammatory claims. For example, you equate a book about a homosexual couple to books about making bombs and taking drugs. A book about a homosexual couple is more like a book about a couple of different races.   Your paper ignores the evidence of the opposing viewpoint.  You cannot simply ignore the evidence and pretend it does not exist. For example, a preponderance of scientific research has found that homosexuality is an inherent trait, not a choice. How will you respond to that evidence.  Teachers introduce and assign books every day that contain ideas that conflict with the personal views or beliefs of parents. For example my son was forced to read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which justifies greed and selfishness. It didn't make him selfish or greedy. Exposure to ideas in a classroom do not generally undermine the values one is taught at home. Where is the evidence that it does?  Your paper suggests that teaching tolerance is a bad thing. Why would it be bad for a kindergarten or first grade teacher who has a student who has two dads or two moms in her room to bring this book in to teach tolerance? Tolerance is different from acceptance.  You also cite three different sources that are pretty old (2001, 2005, 2008).  Is the information still relevant and accurate?  These are just some things for you to think about as you make revisions. Essentially, you need to remember you are not preaching to the choir. You are trying to convince an audience that includes people who disagree with you and people who have yet to form an opinion of your viewpoint. Therefore, you must consider their views and beliefs in forming your argument. You have chosen a challenging topic and I commend you for taking on the challenge. I think you have made improvements to the paper, but at points your logic falls apart.

Photo courtesy of MC Quinn

Gratefully linked to Works for Me Wednesday   Encourage One Another   Titus 2sdays

You can find the first two posts in this series here:

What to Do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted Part 1

What Would You Have Done? Part 2: What to do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted

Kalyn Cherry Waller

By Lisa Cherry

Such was the expressed feeling of two different moms who contacted me in the last 24 hours. Christian moms who have worked very hard to instill a love for Jesus and a biblical worldview in the lives of their sons. Both went to the cost and sacrifice of providing a Christian based education for their children and yet both boys were in trouble and both moms were reaching out for help.

Mom #1

Her son recently shocked her by coming out of the closet with an openly gay lifestyle. As her world was shattered she was struggling to understand how her son, who still professed a love for God and even still acknowledged that his choices were sinful in the eyes of the Father, could continue along his destructive path.

Mom #2

Her son was exhibiting a much more "minor" problem. He was simply accusing his loving Christian parents of being judgmental when they said he could not attend the secular band with the objectionable lyrics concert. "Why, how can anyone know what is in a person's heart?" he queried. "And besides, who are we to know whether someone with some sexual issues would be kept out of heaven by God?"

Folks, these two cases are not at all unusual. I hear piles of similar stories week after week. But be honest. Were you not tempted to react to mom#1 story with a horrified gasp and mom#2 story with a bored yawn?

Today, I am challenging you to notice the connection between the two stories. Deception is working overtime on our kids' minds and souls. This week, I was studying a recent book by George Barna called Futurecast. His survey of our teens and young twenties was staggering. Only 1% of our kids' generation has a biblical worldview. That means they have adopted a basic Christian set of bible doctrines (not postmodern reasoning) as their foundation for decision making.

1%???

With statistics like that, I am certain many of us could find ourselves in the coming days shouting what mom #1 and mom#2 did! "I thought I knew them....but I didn't!"

Are you confident you know what your children are truly absorbing and believing in our postmodern generation gone haywire? Are you engaging them in meaningful and revealing dialogues that would give you a chance to assess their belief systems? Are you praying over their lives for everything that is in the darkness of their hearts, souls, and minds to be brought to the light so that you and The Lord may help them mature their faith choices?

Or are you simply hoping that what you see on the outside is a good enough show to be real?

I am so proud that mom #2 has correctly identified her conversation with her son as a crisis needing her immediate attention. Right now I guarantee that mom #1 would encourage her to seek The Lord for help NOW....not later!

Please, please take this warning seriously. This blog is filled with back issues that can help equip you in assessing your home. Remember when you are parenting your precious teens that they are the same ones you knew as toddlers waiting for you to make sense out of the world for them! Will you ask Him today for the tools that you will need.....and spend the effort and focus it takes to assist your children?

Lady Gaga The_Monster_Ball_-_Poker_Face_revamped2-tweak

"It is imperative in this confused, darkened world that we train and equip our kids to think like Christians. They must be able to defend their faith.....or they are likely to lose their faith," I stated boldly at a recent POTTS conference event.

As soon as I got home one of the participants messaged me on Facebook with a dandy follow up question to my impassioned plea.

"Lisa, how do we do that? Do you have any materials you recommend?" she asked.

I love it when I can confidently answer a question for resources! For the last several years we have used a worldview training program that I believe has effectively equipped our kids to stand strong in the face of the onslaught of postmodernism and other false beliefs.

Here are my favorite picks:

For younger teens.....Lightbearers

Lightbearers

 

For juniors and seniors in high school........Understanding the Times

understanding the times

Both of these resources have a complete study program with excellent video teachings. My life has been equipped in amazing ways as I have taught from these materials. In fact, I found them so helpful, the last couple years I have started my elementary age children on the corresponding program for them through a coop group I am a part of.

What We Believe

All these resources can be found at the Summit website http://www.summit.org/store/Homeschool-Curriculum/

Will this take effort, investment and time? Absolutely.

But without some extra effort and work, I have no clue how we will effectively pull our kids through the incredibly messy darkness we have plunged ourselves into as a culture.

For those of you who send your kids to public school, this learning could make the difference in your kids falling into massive deception with most of their peers or being the one who can stand firm in hostile times. For those of you who homeschool your kids, I highly recommend putting this material front and center on your lesson plans as your kids can be in for a rude awakening when they emerge from your private supervision. For those of you in Christian schools, perhaps this program needs added to your curriculum. But even if someone else is teaching it to your kids, I recommend the resource become a regular resource for family discussion and prayer.

Someone will teach your kids to reason according to some kind of a world view. Do you want it to be Lady Gaga and the folks at Planned Parenthood?

Enough said.

Image courtesy of John Robert Charlton via Wikipedia

1282764_jerusalem_the_wallBy Lisa Cherry
I know I need to understand the conflict in the Middle East. But I must make a terrible confession......I often get so confused as to the players in the conflicts and their history!

Surely I am not alone! However, even as we see Biblical prophecies fulfilled in our day, our ignorance can lull us into complacency and apathy.

Certainly the dramatic events in Israel headlining the news the last few weeks got my attention.  So when someone gave me this link to a Biblical teacher clearly explaining what I need to know to understand the news, I was thrilled.

Do you have a half hour to take a little tutorial tour of the Middle East? Maybe it is not today, but you could store this link and make a plan this week for your whole family to get up to speed.

When our children see God's activity among the powers of the nations, their faith will be built. He is all powerful and holy...living and active...righteous and eternal. He is working His plans in our world...and our families are operating at center stage on His current kingdom script.

Image courtesy of Paul Segal