Trauma response can possibly be passed to the next generation

These two articles talk about scientific investigations that have started to show that what happens in one generation can affect the genetic makeup of the next.   Specifically, the first article showed that a specific gene was altered in the children of Jewish Holocaust victims compared to children of Jews who did not experience the Holocaust.   If this kind of linkage proves out, it will be one huge reason why the Bible teaches that God is very interested that the home be preserved intact.   Breaking up a home is traumatic for children.    Our society does not think about how its actions and lifestyles affect its children.  Then we expect the children to do better and better on tests regardless of what is happening at home.   It doesn’t work that way.   A stable, loving and supportive home environment is the beginning and continuing foundation of a good education.   It may prove to also be related genetically to the mental health of the next generation.


College should build character

Houghton Logo I have been reflecting today on two completely independent items that I read.  The first was an article about the problem of officers being ejected from the Army in alarming numbers for character issues of various kinds. Here is the quote. 

“The number of U.S. soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years as the military emerges from a decade of war that put a greater focus on battle competence than on character.  Data obtained by The Associated Press shows that the number of officers who left the Army due to misconduct more than tripled in the past three years.”

Having been in the military myself for a few years, I am aware that young officers are college graduates.  I reflected that this is not the only place where college educated people seem to be showing disappointing levels of moral character.   The halls of Congress and the governors’ offices of several eastern states in recent years have provided too many high profile examples of moral failures.  One would hope that higher levels of education would lead to higher maturity of character too. 

The other item that I read was in a letter from Dr. Shirley Mullen of Houghton College.   It alluded to one of the fundamental causes of this observed counterintuitive and disturbing decline in character.

“Earlier this month, New York Times Columnist David Brooks addressed more than 300 presidents of America’s private universities and colleges at the Presidents’ Institute of the Council of Independent Colleges.   At a time when much of the dialogue about higher education in America is about cost, graduation rates, job training, and student loans, Brooks pleaded with the presidents not to forget what society needs most from college graduates: character and wisdom. He then proceeded to assert that the only sector of American higher education that has an explicit strategy for the development of character and wisdom is the Christian college. It is not often that Christian colleges are called out for praise within the larger world of American higher education!”  

It does not take a genius to see the relationship between these two quotes. Christian colleges represent only a very small slice of American higher education. That means most of American college graduates spend their college years in institutions where character and wisdom are not part of the agenda.  When these are not part of the agenda, students often use their formative years as something of an unholy “moral holiday,” a time when they throw off restraint.   With no one even attempting to guide this time of experimentation, the results are frequently predictably disastrous.

As a longtime advocate of Christian colleges in general and of Houghton College in particular, I have said for years that parents need to invest their college dollars in colleges were character matters and where good character is formed, not destroyed; colleges like Houghton.   For this reason, when our daughter was choosing a college my wife and I said to her, “We are going to be investing a lot of money in this; you pick the college, but it has to be a Christian college.”   We knew she liked new places, so it was a surprise when she picked her mother’s alma mater, Houghton College.  Houghton did not disappoint!     

All private schooling endangered by the Justice Department’s arguments

I never thought I would see the sad day when the US government argued against both educational and religious freedom.  But it has just happened.  It sounds more and more like they are borrowing pages from totalitarian rulers of the 20th century.  The article below details a frightening argument advanced by the Justice dept. against the German homeschoolers who were seeking asylum.   The hidden agenda is obvious.  Use a low profile case to set a precedent against homeschoolers and religious schools in general.  If the arguments against the rights of parents to choose the education of their children that are advanced here were to become case law, it would soon endanger Catholic schools, Jewish schools, Amish schools, etc, as well as homeschooling.  This is unconscionable, un-American and even devilish as it represses religion too.   

I do not overstate the case as there are several fundamental freedoms disregarded and violated by the Justice department’s arguments.   First, the government serves and acts as an agent for the parents when it creates schools, not vice-versa.   The fundamental rights belong to the parents, not the government.   Second, if the schools created in a local area violate the religious or educational values of a family, it is the parent’s duty to seek or provide proper schooling for their children apart from the inadequate school.  If the reasons for change are religious, to force the family to attend the public school in violation of their religious principles is to violate their religious freedom.   If the reasons are educational, to force the children to attend the inadequate school is likely to suppress their achievement—their right to seek their own best welfare or happiness as the Declaration of Independence put it.   Either way, to deny the validity of such choices in America is unheard of until now.

Noah’s Ark Christian Preschool Graduation

It was my privilege to attend the graduation ceremonies for Noah’s Ark Christian Preschool this past week.   The three year old ceremony was held downstairs and marked their passage to the next grade.   The four-year-old graduation was held upstairs in the sanctuary.  They dressed in costume to sing songs that go with the Noah’s Ark theme; then they went back to the library  and came out with graduation caps to complete their program.   Mrs. Maum emceed the whole and I closed in a prayer of blessing upon the graduates and their families.  Refreshments capped the evening celebration.   I presented flowers to Mrs. Maum to honor her for her leadership for another year and to Mrs. Kraus and Mrs. LaForte for their faithful work as helpers.   Mrs. Magda Paashaus also taught  in the three year old class for part of this past year until she needed to stop for the birth of her son Andrew.  Noah’s Ark Preschool is a great opportunity to help children prepare for school and for life in a loving  atmosphere where they also learn basic truths of Christian faith.   

Religious faith and a stable family are the real sources of help for poorly performing students

City schools are a perennial topic of conversation.   What can be done to help poor districts?   What helps students who are struggling?  So much talk and money is spent on things which don’t really make a difference because political correctness keeps us from endorsing what really does make a difference – religious faith and stable family structure.  This study should be labeled as a landmark study.   It should be required reading for politicians overseeing schools and for school officials.


Teacher’s persecution is so wrong

Teacher unjustly persecuted

What is happening to this teacher is so wrong.  First of all it is a gross violation of his right to free speech.  More fundamentally, he is being persecuted for speaking up for that which is biblically and traditionally the right just because it happens to be politically incorrect in our society.  This shows how much our culture is drifting towards defending that which is wrong.   It also shows how militant the gay lobby is in forcing everyone else to agree with them.   And the key battlefield is the school.  This kind of pro-homosexual thinking is going to make the public schools unfit for traditional Christian, Jewish or Muslim children.   Do educators really want to create enemies out of that many people?


Faith Heritage Pastors’ Day

Yesterday I ate lunch with Ben Loveland and his friends, all first grade boys, at Faith Heritage school on Midland Ave.   Ben and his brother, Connor and his sister, Hannah, invited me to come to Pastors’ day for a visit.    I ate excellent pizza supreme and listened to the boys trying to guess each other’s middle names.    I haven’t been in the middle of such happy overlapping boys’ talk in a while.   Ben, you and your friends put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  Continue reading “Faith Heritage Pastors’ Day”