In Our Schools, Who Will Win – Our Culture or Our God?

pexels-photo-373488I work in the schools.  I have been a speech and language pathologist for twenty-one years and nineteen of those twenty-one years I have served inside a school.

What I have noticed over the course of time is the decline of so much we used to take for granted-respect of self and others, kindness, and discipline to make the right choices and work within the rules.

When I was growing up, there used to be just a few “bad” kids who stirred up the pot of emotions at school, and we all knew who they were by name.  Looking back as an educator, I can see how some of those kid may have had a learning disability they were trying to cover up or a home life that made them feel insecure or unloved.  I can now understand why some of the “bad” kids were bad.

Today, the decline is not just for a few case scenarios, but actually it’s the good kids we are trying to search for in the crowd.  There are more of these kids who want to learn and work within the rules, be respectful, and learn, but the ones that don’t care are now drowning out the rest.  And there are a lot of them.  More and more each year.  Our quiet kids become quieter, and our loud kids become louder. 

Swearing down the hallways is the second language of choice and teachers being looked at like a fly ready to be squished by a student who didn’t want to be bothered by a directive.  

These are the children who are bolder, broader, and catapulted into the mainstream because they feel it is their right.  I wonder where they got that from?

I don’t blame the kids.  There is a much deeper issue, and I am tired of the deafening noise of the culture we have created allowing our schools to no longer  be a place of peace and learning, but a battleground for unrest and worry.  It’s hard to learn when you don’t feel safe.

What I have observed is a systematic erasing of the verses in our Bible – one by one:

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

Our culture serves a god that serves us, not the other way around.  We are told to pursue whatever make us happy, whatever gives us fulfillment, and makes us feel good.  The god we serve doesn’t ask us to love each other like ourselves.  We are asked to love ourselves above all else.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (Proverbs 22:66)

Our culture has the tail wagging the dog.  It asks of itself, “What would make the children happy?” “What would entertain them?” Cue in social media, advertising, parents giving-in, and kids feeling entitled.  What way are we training our kids to go?

Thou shalt not kill.

Our culture doesn’t value life.  It has created death as entertainment in the video games and movies even the youngest of our youngest are allowed to watch and unwanted life a hindrance that needs to be destroyed before it is born.  Why is the shooting up of a school become the battle cry choice of those who are hurting or in need of mental care?  We have become our own gods choosing who will live and who will die.

From what I observe, what my children come home and tell me, and other friends in different districts have shared, we have a new normal coming our way, and it is anything but normal.  With each verse of the Bible we red-line, our culture wins while we lose and our children lose.

The Bible can not be totally erased, no matter how much our culture tries.  It and we will one day have to account for our actions.  Many things need to change, and it needs to begin with the first verse our society decided to cross out:

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”

My hope lies in this:

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have over come the world.

Dealing with Grief: My Mom is Just Around the Corner

How do you handle grief after losing your mom? Shield of Faith

My Wedding Day with My Beautiful Mom.  I Look Like a Giant Compared to Her!

John 11:25-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

The one year anniversary of my mom’s death came and went a week ago.  I anticipated that moment and wondered how I would feel.  A week later, and I am still wondering how I feel.  

I know that she is not far away.  If she was, I would feel the distance—but I don’t.  I continue to say “My parents” as if she is still here.  When I am at my dad’s house, my mind tells me my mom just ran to the store, and I just missed her.  When I am at the store, my heart tells me she is at home preparing dinner and gearing up to watch the shows she just taped.  When my dad calls and I am only talking to him, I envision my mom at the doctor’s office and not available to pick up the phone.

This last year has been a lot of, “Oh darn.  I just missed her by a second” thoughts, so when the year anniversary came and went, I still just feel it’s a matter of time before I bump into her again.  Our timing has just been off.

Have you ever experienced this?

In a lot of ways, I feel like my mom moved closer towards me.  Closer than has she ever been before.  A year ago she shed the worldly worries and jagged edges that sometimes define our outlook and is sheathed in the love and light of Jesus.  She can see, hear, smell, feel, and delight in the Lord in ways I could only dream about. Depression can’t touch her.  Migraines can’t trap her.  And a lung disease can no longer claim her.

I may not be bumping into my mom at the grocery store or seeing her physically on the couch playing her games on her tablet or deciphering puzzles in her books, but if given a choice, I doubt she would trade her now for our here.  Our here and now will one day by united with hers, but until then, I choose to say, “I’ll see you soon,” rather than, “Where did you go?”  I know where she is, so she never really left.

My mom is simply around a corner I can’t see, and she will step into view when God says it’s time.  She put in her time in a world that harbors sin, disease, and death and transitioned into her eternity.  Our grief of losing them has a way of making us reflect on our own mortality and wonder about life vs. death, but really there is no death.  We have a temporary life and an eternal life.  It’s life and life.

I prayed for my mom’s salvation for years, prayed over her and with her in her sickness, and asked her if she knew where she was going when her corner was swiftly approaching.  She said she knew and felt very peaceful.  I knew in that moment I would be okay because she would be okay.

My peace in my grief comes from the corner I know where my mom turned.  My bumping into her will be a true celebration.  On this side of the corner, I pray God can use me to point as many people as possible to Him.  My purpose and mission help my grief.

What we do with our time on this side of the corner can affect not only the here and now of those we love, but the future forever of the death corner they will turn.  Where do we want to bump into our loved ones when God says it’s time? 

In honor of those we lost and love, let’s begin a mission of seed planting and use our grief for a purpose greater than ourselves.  Let the line turning the corner to an eternity with Christ be so long, the ticket holder ran out of numbers. 

The day we turn the corner and see our loved ones standing behind Jesus, may there be a truck-load of people behind them holding a seed we helped to plant.  That will be a day we will count our grief as joy.