Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Logically Faithful

Because there are some people who profess to be Christians running for President, it has thrown creationism into the spotlight again. I understand that there is a whole segment of the population who thinks that no intelligent person could believe the Earth is less than a few billion years old, but I think they are missing the bigger point. Trust and faith are two very important characteristics in politicians. Not just if they can be trusted, but do they themselves trust in the ideals of our country. Do they have faith in the system? If a man professes to be a Christian and then turns to say that he does not have faith in the basics of that, then why should we trust that man to uphold the Constitution? Maybe he will decide parts of it were only metaphors, too. Aside from that, there are a lot of very smart people who are perfectly willing to accept the Bible as written.
Let me take you on my thought train of creationism
1. I'm a Christians and as such believe in God as described in the Christian Bible
2. Based on that, I believe that God is limitless
3. Who am I to tell God what he did or didn't do?
4. God decided to make a man. One day- no man, the next day- full grown dude. He is God, He can do stuff like that
5. If God can poof a man into being, then why would we ever expect the Earth to measure 1 day old the day after He made it? Doesn't it make more sense that God would make the Earth fully grown, too?
6. From the Bible I know that God wants people to believe in Him of their own free will
7. You have to have a minimum of 2 options for something to be classified a choice
8. Would you like a cookie or to be slapped is not a choice
9. Would you like a white chocolate chip cookie or a milk chocolate chip cookie is a real choice
10. Would you like to trust God at his word or find a man made explanation so that you don't need God?
I have heard every explanation under the sun as to why the Earth is old, and honestly I don't care. It isn't important. You will not reason away God for me. You will also not find me standing up to say the Earth doesn't measure 4.5 billion years old, in fact, I am impressed by the science that got us there, but it also makes me more impressed by God's creation. The thought and detail that went into every rock and tree is amazing. I can not help but conclude that God must really enjoy the science of creation. All He needs to do is speak things into being, and yet when He does, He gives us so much to discover and wonder over.
Since I have broken the rules about not talking religion or politics I have to expect a few people to disagree, which is fine. I would ask that you be polite in your argument and realize that if you don't agree with the first statement in my thought train then we aren't even on the same tracks and so any argument you toss my way will serve only to make yourself feel better.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Positive Deviant

Last year Nix was blessed with a very unusual science teacher. Mr. Piper was a college professor doing a study on how children transition between grades. In essence, teaching middle school is field work for him. He is a fantastic teacher. He lets the kids do cool science experiments, encourages independent studies on the topics they enjoy, and has an obvious love of the subject, which is infectious. This week, as we are getting ready to start 7th grade, I got an unexpected email from him. He has spent the summer studying the standardized test results of his classes and comparing them to their 5th grade scores. Generally, student's scores decline between 5th and 6th, however my daughter, as well as several others, saw an increase. He could find no obvious pattern to the students who did well, so he emailed the parents and asked for our insight. In the email he referred to this group as "positive deviants". I adore that phrasing!
Never have I heard such a great term to describe my parenting style. Last year, before school started, I broke the news to my daughter that I was raising her to be different in good ways. I told her that because of our lifestyle she would probably never be one of the popular girls in school. Then I proceeded to tell her why this was good news. It isn't that don't want her to be popular, it is that I don't want her to do the things that make most kids her age popular.
I'm never going to buy her jeans at the cool stores because they cost too much for what they are, some of the companies send out very bad messages for teens, and I honestly can not walk into some of those places because of the smell (I'm talking to you, Abercrombie). I asked her, which would you rather have, cool jeans or a college fund? If she makes it all the way through to high school without begging for status symbol clothing, I'm giving serious thought to buying her stock in a company like Gap as a reward. Then when anyone asks her why she doesn't buy from them she can smile and say, "I don't have to. I owe part of the company instead. Thanks for making me money!"
This might seem like an extreme thing to do, but I told her she couldn't wear a peace symbol until she could tell me where it originated and that she agreed with the philosophy behind it. I want her to understand that we don't blindly follow the crowd. "Everybody is doing it" will not be an excuse in my house. If you present a well reasoned argument, then we will talk about it.
Safety is a big concern for me. I am that overprotective paranoid mom and I'm unapologetic for it. You will not see my kids hanging out unsupervised at the mall. Some of that has to do with the number of kids I see there smoking, cussing, and dressing like...well, you know, but part of it is that we have had 3 serial killers roll through our town in the 10 years we have been here. Not to mention the number of people who are registered sex offenders. Our 12 and 13 year old girls are walking around in the shortest possible shorts and low cut shirts because it is cool and they "look cute". They look real cute to the creepy guy sitting in the bookstore pretending to read. In my book it isn't any better than the mothers who doll up their babies and stick them in beauty pagents. It is harsh, but you have got to consider it.
I remember 7th grade as being when we all expanded our vocabularies to include swearing and being vulgar. I like to think I skipped most of that phase. Not that I didn't ever cuss, it was just rare and not without meaning. Most of the time the level of swearing you hear from young teenagers is an indication of a limited vocabulary and a desire to prove one's maturity, though I think it has the opposite effect. I don't want my children ever using words without a true knowledge of the sentiment they are expressing.
I think a lot of this boils down to raising a Christian family in a secular world. Our faith makes us, not so much stand out, as stand apart.  What makes "mean girls" so popular? They gossip, lie, cheat, back stab, etc. to get where they are and to stay on top of the game. All of these are frowned upon in the Bible. Trying to live a godly life most often prevents popularity in the rest of the world. (I say trying, because, let's face it, we all fail daily, and it is important to remember that).
I'm not trying to say I know best, or that my way is the only way. I'm just happy to have a new term for my parenting style. I am endeavoring to raise positive deviants.

*There is an actual group called the Positive Deviance Initiative, which is some what different from what I am talking about here, but a very interesting study, with some interesting results. If you are wanting to know more about the academic aspects of the concept, you might want to google them.