Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids Need Lesson in Morality not Technology

Today on the CBS Evening news with Katie Couric, there was a feature about students posting cheating tips on YouTube -

Is this crazy or what? Crazy in that students are taking so much time to think about and plan ways to cheat in school instead of just studying for the test. Kids are making new labels for coke bottles with answers to test questions. They are downloading term papers online instead of writing them.

But, their attitudes during the interview is what concerned me the most - when the interviewer asked about the morality of this, or whether they were worried about this for their future, the kids responded- no, only if I get caught. When asked it it is wrong they said-No, I was bored one day.

Parents- Give your kids some chores to do. Or have them get a job. And teachers, beware-

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trick or treating for Canned Food. . .

One came as a hippie, another as a pirate, still another as Willy Wonka. Then there were the three cowboys. Make that, cowgirls. There was the man with the cape – let’s call him the caped crusader. Still another came in a mask that has been in his family all his life.

About 15 in all for a fun filled Halloween night of trick-or-treating.
But these high school students and leaders were not in it for the candy.
Instead when they approached doors in the Tualatin neighborhood near church, they asked for mac and cheese. Or tuna fish. Or canned beans or corn or fruit cocktail or Campbells soup.

High School Ministry Youth Pastor Branden Campbell dubbed the evening Trick- or-Treat-for-Canned Food.

Last year, he’d done something similar with students from the Spokane church where he was youth pastor, and decided he wanted to get kids here reaching out as well. On a night traditionally all about what you can get, not what you can give.

“It was hilarious. You say ‘Trick or canned food’ – or Mac and Cheese and Tuna Fish,’ and you’d get a funny look at first,” Branden says. “Most did not listen and they’d put candy in our bags and we would stop them and we’d say ‘No we are collecting food for the Tualatin Food bank.”

They were collecting items for the Tualatin School House Pantry. With the economy in the shape it is in, Branden found out that the local food collection agency was in need. Rolling Hills partners with this local food bank, whose mission is to provide emergency food to those in need, to help eliminate hunger.
After an hour and a half of trick-or-treating for food staples, students and leaders collected 650 pounds of food.

Branden’s passion is outreach.

“That is the mission of Jesus. Look at who He came to reach out to. The prostitutes, the sinners, the broken hearted.”

Plus, Branden notes, “Outreach gets the focus of kids off of Planet Me. I think that the message of Jesus is selflessonly something we should do but who we are.”
For more information and photos and other service projects at Rolling Hills, visit :

Friday, November 14, 2008

Musing on Gratitude and True Faith. . .

I had lunch with my good friend Kristi from Rolling Hills today at Manzana's (to celebrate her 21st - ha ha - birthday) - we spoke of gratitude and how you can build thankfulness into our kids' lives - too many of our children have this attitude of I deserve it all and why can I not have that new I-Pod and well they have it all.How do we teach kids to live selfless lives that are not about them all the time? How do we teach values?

One thought is that parents need to live values that they talk about. Delayed gratification when it comes to things we want/need. Do we buy things as parents whenever we want. . .

As for kids, they get new cars and do not pay for gas or insurance at age 16. She mentioned how some kids then say their parents are stingy and I think - Oh, my. Here, parents are trying to teach their kids values and not giving them everything and they miss the point. My parents did not give me everything and taught me the value of work by making me work. I wanted to live on campus when I was working on my undergrad degree at The University of Portland - but my parents lived 7 miles away and said no - and I did not have the money. So, I worked the next summer and saved up enough to live on the dorms. Did I learn the value of work!

We also talked about building true faith into our children's lives and mused on the fact that so much in today's church / youth ministry is watered down. She mentioned a guy named Paul Washer who is very strong in his belief about the church and how watered down the sermons have become. To tickle ears. . . I need to check it out and evaluate and discern. . . Are we as a church just trying to be liked and loved and are we just trying to sell books and get people inside our church building.

Food for thought. . . always asking questions and wondering...

Friday, November 7, 2008

You know the election has gotten to your family when...

So, I was listening to my 5-year-old recite his AWANAs verses from the Bible that he is memorizing and he says something like this: "These things are written that those who believe in the Son of God may have life in his name. . . "

Then I ask him where it is found and he says, "Jeff Merkley 3:21" and I laugh [Jeff Merkley just won a tight race to be an Oregon senator against incumbent Gordan Smith].

When I laugh my son then says,
"No, it is found in John McCain 3:21"- and then I know he is joking around. . .

Kids have been hearing all too many ads on TV as the rest of us...

Now if only the lawn signs would come down. I think we all just need to move on. . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There's No Place like Well-Being

The man’s words just would not leave Kari the nurse’s heart. He did not have a safe place to go for a meal on Sundays.

During the weekdays he had a place, but not on Sundays. No safe place to just be on this most sacred of days.
Kari and her husband Les kept hearing the words and the words turned into a calling.

Open up The Well on Sundays.

Offer a home cooked meal.

Serve the home cooked meal on real china -- not on paper plates. Serve the home cooked meal on a table with a table cloth and warm candles burning and serve up sweet conversation.
Make it safe. With no judgments. Make it like home.

Call it Well Being.

And they did. And people came.

On the other side of town, another call came. This one for Dan and Sally Waritz.

Well Being needed help. Last minute help.

Would Dan answer the call?

Yes, he would.
”But, I’ll be the first to admit, when they told me who we’d be serving, I was hesitant at first. I will not pretend,” says Dan. “But after the one time, I knew this was where I needed to be.”

Now his community group comes back every month.

Last Sunday, they brought shepherd’s pie. And salad and dessert to share.

Kari and Les love having Rolling Hills Community Church helping . It has eased the weekly burden, so they can focus on making those who need a safe place on Sundays to feel part of a community.
“For a lot of HIV positive people the church is pointing the finger. Here we do no preaching. We open up our church home to them. We serve them. It allows those living with HIV and AIDS to see that there are others in the church that care. Many of those who come have never stepped inside a church before. Some will then come to Sunday service. It is always in the background,” says Kari.

The people who come are etched into their hearts.
Dan says: “We notice that you see people each time you are here and all of a sudden you notice when they are not here anymore.”

And, you wonder if it is because of their health.

And, you are never ever the same again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes. . .Kids and Politics. . .

My son’s political t-shirt arrived in the mail last week, announcing who he wanted for president.

Never mind that he’s 11-years- old and cannot vote for seven years.

He’s worn it every day since its arrival. At least my son makes sure it gets into the washer every day (or two).

At Bingo night at my kids’ school, a few moms came up to me who had seen my son wearing his t-shirt and said, “Good for Micki. That is so bold.”

A recent YouTube entry from Ron Clark Academy illustrates how bold and fun kids can be about politics -

But, I am the chicken. . .

As an adult I have been tamed by the realization that you have to be careful of partisan politics as they have become so divisive. In some cases, friendships have been severed. But, refreshingly, for kids it’s just another day at school.

Like asking which baseball team you are cheering on. It’s a playful nod to your favorite team then you move on.

A friend of mine said she was listening to her 10-year-old son’s conversation with another 10-year-old while carpooling to sports practice.

The conversation went something like this: “So, who are you voting for?”

“McCain,” one says.

“Don’t you want change?” the other says, and this mom friend of mine is listening and just cracking up inside.

The next minute the kids are talking about the upcoming game they will have on the weekend and homework that is due the next day and setting up a time to play after school.

I recently chaperoned a field trip for my fifth grade son and the boys were playing on their Nintendo DS’s and somehow they were messaging each other on these DS’s as to which candidate they wanted.

It was “NoCain” then “NoBama” and my son was hiding from me what he was doing, and when I finally figured it out, I chuckled inside, and just laughed and said, “Make sure it is nice comments.” The kids were fine about it all.

A month ago, my grade school children put a presidential bumper sticker on my husband’s car. The bumper sticker was given to them by their cousins. Neither my husband nor I really wanted it there, but our kids were so excited about it we did not have the heart to take it off.

But, I confess, I park backwards in our driveway so no one can see the bumper sticker. Do I sound like a coward, or what? It goes back to having some negative experiences in my past, so I am avoiding them right now.

However, in high school, I was bold to stand up for a candidate who was not very popular in the polls – or in the school hallways -- but ended up winning the presidency, and years later he is a respected president. Though I got flack for it back then, I stood my ground, along with one other friend of mine.

That is why I find my son’s innocent campaigning for a candidate quite refreshing. Seeing a child stick up for something they believe in is fun, as long as they are aware they need to do it respectfully.

Maybe we could learn from our children’s simplicity, and be able to state our opinions about political topics, then have a play date the following day.


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

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