Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Raise a Callous Child, Guest Post

Photo from wikimedia commons

The following is a guest post by my friend Kathleen Caron. Kathleen blogs at Full of Life: Soul Food at Kathleen lives and works in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children. She writes about food for the body and soul and sometimes she rants.

How to raise a callous child, a Guest Post
Guest post by Kathleen Caron  

How furious would you be if you found out your teenager broke into somebody’s home, invited 300 of their closest friends to a huge party, vandalized the house, and live-Tweeted drunken photos and profanity-laced descriptions of their delinquency?

Really mad, right? No doubt your child would be grounded until they were old enough to qualify for the senior citizen discount. And of course, you would promise the homeowner that your child would pay back every penny of the damage.

You’re obviously not the parents of the 300 teenagers who broke into former NFL player Brian Holloway’s farm house in Stephentown, New York, some of whom are now threatening to sue Mr. Holloway for posting their children’s names on his website

Teenagers broke in while the Holloways were in Florida and held a drug- and booze-soaked party, inflicting an estimated $20,000 in damage on the beautiful farmhouse. They smashed windows and doors, urinated on the carpet, spray painted walls and stole family memorabilia from the home.

A three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XX veteran, Mr. Holloway told ABC News, “Parents have threatened me. Your kids are in my house breaking and stealing my stuff and you are mad at me because I posted pictures that they took and posted themselves of them partying and tearing things up?”

Why would a parent defend such defenseless behavior? And how did these parents so utterly fail to instill in their children any sense of decency or honor or kindness or empathy?

How to raise a nihilistic, callous child:

  1. Let your child do whatever they want, with no consequences whatsoever.  Be sure they hold you, their parent, in utter contempt.
  2. Give them the distinct impression that you don’t give a rat’s rear end what they do.*
  3. Do not deprive your child of anything their heart desires, whether it’s Beats by Dre, a new Jeep Wrangler or the latest iPhone, because if you do, they might not like you any more.  Worst of all, they might think you’re not cool.
  4. Never talk to your child about anything profound or meaningful, so that they will grow up believing life is all about the party.
  5. Do not allow your children to inconvenience you beyond taking them to the mall and handing them 20 bucks when they ask for it.  Don’t feel that you need to trouble yourself with such boring drudgery as spending time with your kids, disciplining them or providing structure in their lives.
  6. And, of course, sue anyone who threatens to hold your delinquent child accountable for their reprehensible actions.


On the other hand, Mr. Holloway’s response to this teenage terrorism has been nothing less than remarkable. He set up the website in part to find out who was involved, but his bigger concern is for the future of the wayward teens.

“Hopefully we could get some help in restoring the damage,” he wrote on his site. “But first, I’d like to have a family village conversation…I want to [set] aside the very strong emotions I’m feeling and focus on the one thing that is extremely clear: the lives of these 300 students. I want them to live. I’ve seen too many young people die because of [excessive] partying, drugs and alcohol.”

Mr. Holloway held his own party, inviting all Stephentown military personnel and their families to a “Family Reunion of Champions.” He also invited the 300 miscreants who trashed his house.

“Please help! Come out and help set up, fix up, bring food, and picnic stuff, so we can honor these real HEROES. I’m here. Come now. Take a stand for your future. This is called redemption,” he posted on his site.

If my child was one of the infamous “300,” that’s one party they would definitely be attending.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

What would you do if you found out your child had broken into someone’s home and held a wild party? Please share in the comments.

Friday, September 20, 2013


You Can Do It, photo by stevendepolo from Flickr

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” –Hebrews 10:23-25

When was the last time you stopped and considered how to move someone towards love and good deeds? When was the last time you encouraged someone? What was this experience like? Was it easy to encourage? Did it come natural or was it complicated? How did it make you feel to see the other person succeed or move forward?

Often times we shy away from encouragement, because it may seem pushy or it may seem “salesperson” like. Encouragement can feel like provocation, and maybe it is. We tend to view the word provocation as a negative term. But if the subject of the provocation is toward love and good deeds, then the provocation is actually positive and is an act of love and encouragement.

The author of Hebrews uses the word spur when asking the Hebrews to consider how they may “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” This word can come across as negative as well. Like provocation, spur is aggressive and it indicates an element of force or heavy persuasion.

The New King James version of scripture says, “Stir up love and good works.”

The Message translation of scripture says, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out.” It then goes on to say, “spurring each other on.”

The point is this: we should be creative in encouraging one another, provocative even. We should be persistent and we should not give up on one another. We should try and bring out the best in others through meeting with them and encouraging them, whatever the cost.

Let us “spur one another on toward love and good deeds!”

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Set Apart

Outlier, photo by Robert S. Donovan from Flickr

The word sanctification means to be set apart or to be made holy. Sanctification is a process that will take our entire lifetime on this side of heaven. We are all works in progress, being conformed, or transformed, more and more into the image of Jesus.

As Jesus said to His followers, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

We are not yet as we should be. Our sinfulness and selfishness has put us in the position of needing of a savior. We need God’s Power and His Spirit to make right all that is wrong within us in our selfishness.

From Sanctification in the Everyday, by John Piper:

Diagnosing My Own Soul

Selfishness is virtually the same as pride and is the deep, broad corruption that is at the bottom of it all. I would give it six traits:

·      My selfishness is a reflex to expect to be served.
·      My selfishness is a reflex to feel that I am owed.
·      My selfishness is a reflex to want praise.
·      My selfishness is a reflex to expect that things will go my way.
·      My selfishness is a reflex to feel that I have the right to react negatively to being crossed.

When these responses happen, they are coming from nature, not reflection. They are the marks of original sin.

Scripture is clear—we are works in progress. Our sinfulness and selfishness has separated us from our God. We need a savior. We need Jesus.

The more we come to Jesus, the more we become who we are supposed to be—a Holy and set apart people.

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Download a copy of Sanctification in the Everyday, by John Piper here:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflecting on September 11th

Today in chapel we reflected on 9/11 and all those who suffer loss, tragedy, heartache and grief on this side of eternity in this fallen world . . .

Today you can freely download Philip Yancey's "The Question That Never Goes Away" to your Kindle. This is an excellent resource to help us wrestle with this question: "What was God doing in the moment when that tragedy could have been prevented?"

Download Philip Yancey's "The Question That Never Goes Away" to your Kindle for free, today only, here:  

A Prayer for a Nation

“Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 258)

A Prayer for Peace

“Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquility your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 258)