Our Choices Determine Who We Become

I have listened to graduation speeches and wondered, “What would I say if I had the opportunity and responsibility to speak?” In all seriousness, this is what came to mind.

I am neither Fork in the roada genetic nor an environmental determinist.  In plain terms, though I recognize that the way we are “wired” and what we have “experienced” impact us tremendously,  I ardently believe our choices determine who we are and who we will become during our lifetime.

It saddens me when I watch people run from the opportunity to take responsibility for their lives. Too often they seem to possess faulty perceptions, wallow in woundedness that circumstances and people have inflicted on them, or passively rely upon the well intended though misguided over-involvement and support of others. In essence, some surrender their lives to self hatred, pain, or dependency. Life for them becomes a crippling captivity rather than the adventurous journey it is meant to be.

Viktor Frankl decisively contends that the surrender to a living death is indexa matter of personal choice. As a holocaust survivor, he saw and learned much from personal experience about the nature of humanity.

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl states:

We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offered sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of Viktor-Frankl-quote-2circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

…in the final analysis it (became) clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him—mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp. Pg 75

Most people have heard of Stephen Covey’s life changing book,  Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Few, I think, are aware of its subtitle: Restoring the Character Ethic. In this work, Covey builds upon Frankl’s compelling argument for personal responsibility as an advocate of proactivity.

Just as the great philosopher Plato stated that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” Covey challenges each of us to scrutinize our lives, our motives, our principles, and our paradigms—all as a part of embracing responsibility, truth, choice, and character. In doing so, we intentionally make them a part of who we are.I want to challenge you to do the same.

Covey states: The more we are aware of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view. Pg 29

This is not a call to turn your back upon all that you have lived and believed to this point in your life. To the contrary, it is about seeking truth that liberates and eradicates the lies that enslave us. We must be vigilant in determining what principles we will live by and die for. Principles inform and guide our decisions; they impact our choices, and consequently determine Good enemy of bestwho and what we will become in this life.

As the famous author, Emerson, declared, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say.

None can pretend forever. What we truly choose to become will not be hidden forever. We can be sure the truth will find us out.

So my charges to you, the reader,  are these: Become a person of strong character. Live proactively, take responsibility for your life, your choices, and who you will become. Resist the temptation to live a mean, self centered life and passive existence. Pursue truth, truth that establishes the maps through life and teaches you how to live it effectively. Find the answers to the big questions about life’s meaning and why God has put you here.

I sincerely wish you the very best of God’s blessings.

We humans have an aversion to reading books others have decided are “good” for us. (Bet it goes back to an innate desire to make our own decisions—wiring (free will and fallen nature) — and post educational trauma =) Therefore, I will indulge myself only to inflict a suggested reading/viewing list. I could go on for pages, but will stop at these. I can only hope you will experience the life changing “lift” offered by the truths within these works if you choose to consider them and break free from the “drag” of experience and genetics.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Books:Atlas Shrugged                                                                                                                                                Boundaries by Cloud &Townsend                                                                                                                        Safe People by Cloud and Townsend
Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning
Covey’s 7 Habits of highly Effective People
C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity
McGee’s Search for Significance
Peacemaker, by Sande
Works by Os Guinness and David Noble

Every Loss is a Wake- Up Call

Every loss is a wake up call to the potential we possess to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

For those of you, who like me, lost precious friends this year, here is something to ponder. It was sobering for me 3adjto admit that even if I had the power to bring them back, I would not because of the joy and wonder of heaven they would be denied due to such selfishness.

Having admitted this, my focus shifted to speculations regarding the interaction between all those I love and value that have gone before me. It made me smile to think of them meeting and swapping notes and sharing stories in heaven much as those of us left behind do. A major difference, however, being their story is written and they have set a bar for us. We have a race to run ever mindful of their example.

I thought about the nature of their legacies. Some have left me cautionary tales, others models of inspiration, recollections of warmth, images of loving expressions, words of encouragement and insight, and most important– an abiding sense that we brought something meaningful and worthwhile into each others life.

Yes, every loss is a wake up call to the potential we all possess to make a difference in the lives of those around us. We can no longer impact those who have gone before us, but we can take what we learned in our times together and use that wisdom to produce high yield investments with eternal value.

Photo by Ken Hughes

Joe Axtell, an Example of a Life Well Spent With Ongoing Returns

A very good and decent man died recently. Just one look at the response to his unexpected death was a sermon in itself. A good friend had hit the floor running in the middle of the night to be at his side. The home was immediately overflowing with people who wanted to be there for the inconsolable wife and heartbroken sons and daughters. Calling hours saw long lines and broken schedules. There was no facility in the community large enough to hold all who wished to attend the funeral. Overflow rooms at the church had to be created because that was the best they could do. It was something to behold.

Even more interesting is that the man at the center of all this was not some powerful dignitary, influential business man, or famous entertainer as one might assume. The man at the center of all this was a small town pastor named Joe Axtell. Joe had been a farm boy who came to the Lord at 15, went to a Christian college, married, and supported his family as a stone cutter. Nothing terribly remarkable in all that. What was amazing was the consistency with which Joe invested his life and how God blessed it.

Joe was passionate about bringing his life changing faith in Jesus Christ together with the people in his world. It was obvious in how he chose to invest his life and the kind of return he pursued. Joe invested with his smile, his laughter, his work, his hunting and fishing, his preaching and teaching, his counseling, his sense of humor, and his friendship. Joe was not a perfect man, but one who estab11021412_10152329962322325_3930044982391770320_olished an enormous warehouse of good will with people. So much good will existed, in fact, that forgiveness was not so difficult when he did stumble.

Joe made a difference with the decisions he made and the way he chose to relate to people. There is now a congregation of men and women equipped to do God’s work where there had once been none. There is an intact family where each member knows what it is to be loved and valued. There is a wife who knows she is loved more now after 33 years than the day they met. These are precious and increasingly rare lifetime achievements. None of this happens by accident.

The kind of life Joe led was intentional, the result of choosing to put God and others first. In doing so, he cultivated a life time filled with a positive outlook and memorable encounters with others that reflected what truly mattered to him, being used by God to change lives and bring joy to others.

Joe’s example of a well spent life has stuck with me more than any sermon I heard from him. It has made me think long and hard about the return I may or may not be getting on how I am investing my life. Have I been a good steward of the opportunities God has put before me? Am I faithful, available, and teachable? What kind of choices am I making? These are sobering questions. A well spent life is no accident and Joe’s passing was no doubt part of a much bigger plan.

God is an agent of change. It is something Joe firmly believed. Furthermore, he sensed change was coming and regardless of what it was, he preached that he trusted the Lord was doing it for good.

God’s choice to take Joe home was a game changer. It will no doubt trigger a series of choices amidst everyone impacted by his death. Some will be called to step up to things they had hoped to avoid or never dreamed of doing. Others will have to do what they have long been called to do, but do it that much more diligently. For a few it will be about stepping aside to make room for other, possibly painful, changes God has in store. Pruning and refining is unavoidable. None of this is easy. None of it will go ignored by the enemy. All of this will be about more change and more choices as God finishes what he has started for the sake of accomplishing some well hidden good.

I have no doubt that recalling the image of Joe’s big smile and good natured ways will keep many motivated and encouraged during the hardest times. It is one way we know that God isn’t done using Joe even yet. Some might say Joe has residual returns coming on his life well spent.

What Love Is and Is Not

What Love Is and Is Not

People often confuse love with no limits,
so let me clarify.

Being patient does not mean I am inviting continued attack.
It means I am creating opportunity for improvement.

Being kind does not mean I am a fool.
It means I am trying to motivate someone to do a little better.

Going the second mile does not mean I have nothing else to do.
It means I care enough to come alongside
a bit longer to create time for healing.

Biting my tongue does not mean I have no cause to speak.
It means I am waiting for someone to be able to hear.

Putting someone else’s interests before my own
does not mean I believe I don’t matter.
It means I have chosen to invest the margin in my life
with someone with little or none.

Any behavior, however, ceases to be loving,
when it ceases to move us toward being more like Christ.

When mercy feeds the monster in another’s soul,
justice must be allowed to do its work.004

Proof texting 3: Touch Not the Anointed

This is an excellent article that addresses a commonly misunderstood Biblical passage whose misapplication can have disastrous implications.

The Question of Authority and Anointing by Lois E. Gibson


Linked with the author’s permission.


Rummaging Through the Trash — Finding One’s True Motives

Some of the best work in television is done during commercials. The extraneous is cut away and the essence remains as the sponsor strives to get the message across in a minute or less. Recently, just such an ad caught my attention. The  leader of an investigative team was surrounded by walls filled with evidence.  She spoke of  identifying patterns in order to get at the truth.


Not everyone appreciates the genius of this advice. Trash Can What we throw away or ignore can be very telling when it forces us to reconcile the patterns of our behavior with the principles we claim to embrace.


Decades ago, I learned that self-awareness comes from stepping outside the moment and looking for the “Ground Hog’s Day” experiences in life. Humans seem wired with repetition compulsions. What we find ourselves doing over and over again can be traced back to a belief that is at the root of a thought and the source of an action. There is truth in the saying:

Sow Treasurea thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap your character; sow your  character, reap your destiny.

Stephen Covey has stated:  We can only achieve quantum improvements in our lives as we quit hacking at the leaves of attitude & behavior and get to work on the root, the paradigms (beliefs,worldviews) from which our attitude and behaviors flow.

If we want to change the way we behave, it follows that we must take time to correct the way we think. More surprising, however, is the possibility that what we may really think may be hidden amidst the ideas and actions we cast off without a moment’s consideration.

There are powerful forces that oppose self awareness. Cultivating the habit of identifying patterns in one’s life is a tricky business given the human penchant for self deception. Truth can hurt. As with trash, we sometimes tell ourselves we simply want to put nasty stuff far away from us rather than admit we don’t want to deal with it.  We can be careless. It is precisely because we believe trash is worthless that we may get cavalier about where it goes or what it says. So too, we can be just as offhand in how we assess a situation and choose to respond to someone or a situation. We can believe lies–lies WE sometimes tell ourselves.

Faulty principles can foster hypocrisy as it discourages us from seeking and seeing uncomfortable truths. We can be lazy. The reality is that rummaging through our beliefs and behavior is hard work. It requires that we take time and step away from our endeavors and involvements with a measure of objectivity that either routine or relentless activity does not permit. (Workaholism serves a  dark purpose folks.) Considering all this, is it really any wonder people walk through life unaware of how their walk and talk do not line up?


Simply Complex

Do you see things in black and white? Do you see the parallel between the game of Othello and  life?


Life is simply complicated. Mercy and justice are flip sides of the same coin. Good and evil are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they confusingly coexist –often co-mingled. Formulas and check lists of right and wrong, alone, cannot help one navigate the ambivalence that arises in relationships. Boundaries, forgiveness, discernment, and grace, however, are tools in the tool box of those who are master craftsmen at life. Each is easy to misunderstand and misuse. But with commitment, all can produce life changing outcomes when wisely applied.

Sadly, our culture is so ignorant of these concepts and so lacking in healthy practitioners that division is the hallmark of our times. As the home goes, so goes the nation. As a generation shunned the black and white thinking of legalistic religion in pursuit of self actualization, passionate pursuit of sophisticated life skills and deep concepts modeled by a simply complex Lord were cast aside. We have become a spiritually bankrupt nation.

Fear of commitment abounds. Marriages happen later and less often than in past generations– and when it does it is often between battle scarred survivors of unhealthy relationships. Families are in decline. Fewer and fewer couples dare or care to risk their cash, comfort zones, or careers on children. In doing so, the safety net of family and all the skills that arise from navigating those challenging waters are lost. Again, people become what they despise as they lapse into an over simplified black and white world.


I recommend the following article. The political observation makes the case for what goes on in personal relationships as well. This is not a call to throw off convictions. Rather, this is a challenge to explore the shard in  your own eye while pointing your finger at the speck in someone else’s. We all do it. It is a basic premise of group therapy. Individuals can see in others what they are reluctant or unable  to see in themselves. It is powerful concept. Iron sharpens iron in much the same way that relationships refine us–if we will stay the course and learn how to use discernment in dealing with people, to forgive offenses while still setting appropriate boundaries, and to live a life of grace. Life concepts can…. take a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.


Proof Texting Part 2: Women May Not Teach Men

They Permitted  No Woman to Teach a Man

Years ago, I was encouraged to consider teaching at church. To be honest, the last thing I wanted to do or felt qualified to do was teach. I had so many gaps in my own knowledge and understanding. Nonetheless, the encouragement persisted and I relented. Initially, I gave too-long ice-breakers at the weekly women’s Bible study, but eventually worked myself into facilitating a women’s class on Sunday morning. It grew and then evolved into a gathering of young mothers during the week.


Controversy has never been far from me and this circumstance was no exception. It came time to select new teaching materials.  We wanted to use a book titled, And Then I Had Kids, that was written by a Christian woman from another denomination. My selection had raised a few eyebrows among leadership not so much for content as origin.

When I brought the issue to the group, I was dumbstruck when told the following: Michele, the leadership can’t be sure what you are teaching because they cannot sit in  your classes. The bewilderment had to have shown on my face because the woman continued. Men cannot be taught by women. This was based upon a scripture from 1 Timothy2.

1 Timothy2: 11Let a woman£ learn in silence with full submission.
12I permit no woman£ to teach or to have authority over a man;£ she is to keep silent.
13For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

The incomprehensibility of this statement caught me completely off guard. But you know what, this woman’s observation was not without merit. Leadership never did attend my class to learn firsthand what went on in our study. Instead, they abolished the Sunday morning women’s class without explanation and mandated that an Adult Sunday school class would take its place –taught by a man. We had no say, no voice, no choice in the matter.

I do not wish to refute these perspectives at this point, but I do want to show that SOME Christians do believe such things based upon a single passage of scripture. It is an excellent example of the dangers of “proof texting.”

Proof texting: A Dangerous Form of Myopia



To the detriment of the Christian faith, the Bible has long been used to keep battered wives in silent submission, abused children cowering in compliance, and even some pro-lifers off the sidewalks. Did you know, according to some, the Bible permits abortion, child abuse, and wife-beating ? Scripture is used to convince people to cooperate with evil– all in the name of obedience to God.


Many years ago, I helped to set up a church library. Lots of donations were made to the effort and while sorting the contributions, I came across a book about a wife’s responsibility to obey her husband. While I am a very ardent supporter of those things with which I agree,  I also am not wired for blind obedience to anyone or anything I believe is seriously misguided or worse– just plain wrong.

I possess a choleric–melancholy temperament — a complex combination defiance and compliance, task and relational orientation, introvert and extrovert–which made me very curious about the advice the author might give about navigating disagreements with an “authority.” (http://fourtemperaments.com/Description2.htm )

I could not have been more shocked or outraged. Complete obedience was expected, because, according to the author, the husband’s authority was God-given and complete. If he should ask his wife to have an abortion –even if it went against her conviction that it was murder—she should submit. God would absolve her of any guilt as the decision and responsibility fell to him! Her duty was to be a good soldier and do as she was told.The basis for such a claim was the following passage from the Book of Ephesians.

Eph5:22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

How could you possibly, as a good Christian, argue with this? It does say to be subject “in everything.” If you cannot argue with such a perspective, you are in danger.

More, much more to come…..


Every Loss is a Wake- Up Call

Every loss is a wake up call to the potential we possess to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

For those of you, who like me, lost precious friends this year, here is something to ponder. It was sobering for me 3adjto admit that even if I had the power to bring them back, I would not because of the joy and wonder of heaven they would be denied due to such selfishness.

Having admitted this, my focus shifted to speculations regarding the interaction between all those I love and value that have gone before me. It made me smile to think of them meeting and swapping notes and sharing stories in heaven much as those of us left behind do. A major difference, however, being their story is written and they have set a bar for us. We have a race to run ever mindful of their example.

I thought about the nature of their legacies. Some have left me cautionary tales, others models of inspiration, recollections of warmth, images of loving expressions, words of encouragement and insight, and most important– an abiding sense that we brought something meaningful and worthwhile into each others life.

Yes, every loss is a wake up call to the potential we all possess to make a difference in the lives of those around us. We can no longer impact those who have gone before us, but we can take what we learned in our times together and use that wisdom to produce high yield investments with eternal value.

Photo by Ken Hughes

Sexual Abuse & the Duggar Model

Those who outed the Duggar family sexual abuse history overplayed their hand. Far from disgracing the family, this crisis showcased both the understandable weaknesses and genuine wisdom of this very real family. More homes across this country are dealing with sexual abuse and incest than most want to admit. Refusal to openly address how to manage such a crisis perpetuates the pain, shame, and occurrence of this common crime against children.

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:
• 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
• Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
• During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
• Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
• Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.
According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well (page 5).

The Duggars experienced the shock, horror, and confusion of discovering that both predator and victims were people they loved. The torment of such a revelation is not something most can imagine if they have not been faced with such a situation. Rage at the offense resides beside the devastation of learning that another that Duggar parentsthey love deeply has committed an unspeakable act. Where does one begin to help all involved? Do you know of a well-recognized manual or handbook on walking your family such a crisis? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to think clearly when delivered such a shock?

I am grateful that the Duggars were honest about their journey through this nightmare. We can witness that the parents were obviously victims too as the discovery of this violation under their roof obvious caught them unaware and rocked their world. Rightfully so–I know of no classes that instruct prospective parents in how to manage incest.This brave disclosure by the Duggars will no doubt help others not to make the same understandable missteps and delays.

As for the two daughters that were publicly interviewed by Fox news, I was truly amazed. They are a testimony to what the parents have done right. Both daughters were articulate and honest. Neither condoned what their brother had done. They clearly made a case for forgiveness that did not require automatic trust. Boundaries were clearly established. Room was created for healing. Love thrived while justice was allowed to do its work. The offender owned his actions and got help. Relationships were saDuggar Daughtersved. This is a remarkable story of confronting and overcoming one of life’s most heartrending ordeals. There was no reason for the Duggars to hide in shame for the rest of their lives as some have suggested.

The unpardonable crime against these women, however, has been committed by the tabloid that exploited their police reports to attack the Duggars and sell a distorted and sensational version of reality. When a victim has the courage to tell their story, it is often a terribly frightening experience. The expectation is that the pain and shame attached to the information will be kept private and not paraded publicly by unsafe and vicious people who will mishandle it to inflict new injuries. What has happened here unfortunately will make it much more difficult for many to step forward and report because asking for help often pales in comparison to avoiding the immediate and cruel glare of public scrutiny of an intimate violation.

Character Matters

How I spend my money, where I go in my free time, and what I do at home is no one else’s  business, agreed?  If perfection was a job qualification then none of us would be employed, right?  Criminal records MIGHT have a place in assessing qualifications for public office, but bankruptcy, addictions,  and family problems are off limits, correct? What bearing do private affairs have on public matters?

These are the kinds of assertions that have been made by politicians whenever corruption has surfaced on their watch. The validity of such claims is what I wanted a group of homeschoolers to evaluate back in 1999 when I had the privilege to introduce them to the basics of debate.  As I recently reviewed the document, now so many years after the Clinton impeachment hearings, I was struck by how their  affirmative case has rung true.

Since then, many of our New York State politicians have been found guilty of crimes . Civility has declined. 911 rocked our nation bringing with it the emergence of  anarchists and terrorism. 911

National debt has skyrocketed out of control. Fraud was exposed and nearly destroyed our economy and financial institutions in 2008.

foreclosurestock_market_crash_2008The Obama administration has showcased a remarkable tolerance for corruption.10wq4B.AuSt.91Yet, despite all this, many will still ardently argue that private behavior has no bearing on public decision making. The ability of humans to compartmentalize is revered as our culture revels in denial.

no masters                                                       You, Dear Reader, may charge that without a moral consensus the students’ solution is impractical and undo-able. Perhaps.

Where there is no moral consensus there will be a civil war of values. The worse case scenarios may be either a lapse into anarchy or dependence on autocratic rule– much like the extremes found in the Middle East. What then does all this say about the merit of the case these high school students built?  Does character matter?


Observation 1: Resolutional Analysis
Resolved: Resolved that character is relevant in the decision making process of political  leaders.
Definitions: The New Book of Knowledge 1996 states that:
• Character is: moral or ethical strength; integrity, fortitude;
• Decision Making Process is: The act of reaching a conclusion, making up one’s mind.
• The Merriam/Webster dictionary 1989 defines “relevant” as bearing on the matter at hand, political as of or relating to politics, and leader as one who leads.

Observation 2: Significance
The character of a leader affects a whole community, state, or country because his/her decisions affect all aspects of life. Decisions and actions can affect the psychological and physical states of people as seen in Nazi Germany. In issues of war, a decision can be a matter of life or death. The economy and its impact on one’s financial well-being, is not the least of things these leaders can affect. Inherent in the role of a leader is the position of role model. Decisions made can affect the behavior of a country’s citizens.

We have seen as the amount of bad character increased in the White House and Congress, we saw the decline of morality in America. For example, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the last 30 years, we have seen babies born to teens increase 300%. Historically, mankind has witnessed that an immoral leader can lead an entire country into ruin, as the example of Rehoboam in Ancient Israel exemplified. Obviously, the consequences of bad decisions are great.

Observation 3: Harms
A great many harms result from a lack of character.

  • One harm arises from emotional decisions. When someone lacks a character base, they will make decisions based on their emotions, which are neither objective, nor necessarily rational.
  • Another harm is that those lacking a moral character base will make decisions in their self-interest instead of the good of those who elected him.
  • Likewise, excess tolerance will cloud one’s ability to identify wrong, and its alternative solutions, as it blurs the line of an absolute standard. This simply stated means right and wrong will be hard to discern if “anything goes”. As each person does what is right in their own eyes, it becomes “each man for himself.”
  • Justice is essential to our peace and security. When lack of character moves us away from absolute standards, our cohesion, unity, sense of morality, and rule of law is threatened.
  • Furthermore, previously mentioned harms lead to a rule of force, because when there is no moral standard, it becomes a rule of the strong over the weak.
  • A lack of character destroys civility, as has been seen over the past few years.
  • Consequently, it destroys an environment that fosters growth, research, and development in all areas.

The long range impacts of a lack of character are now being evidenced very clearly in society today. The following is from William Bennett, the Ex-Secretary of Education:
“Since 1960, the U.S. population has grown 41%, the gross domestic product nearly has tripled, and total levels of social spending by all levels of government (measured in constant 1990 dollars) have risen from $143,730,000,000 to $787,000,000,000–more than a fivefold increase. During the same 34-year period, there has been a more than 500% rise in violent crime; a greater than 400% hike in illegitimate births; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; a threefold increase in teenage suicides; a doubling in the divorce rate; and a drop of almost 75 points in SAT scores. During the last quarter-century, the American people increasingly have abandoned time-honored moral codes. The U.S. now is seeing the results being played out on urban streets and in hospital emergency rooms, the courts, and classrooms”

This clearly states that a national lack of moral character is extremely detrimental to all aspects of modern society. Society is now almost devoid of good role models, and people now look to whoever is popular, powerful, rich, or attractive. This a reflection of the materialistic view of people today.
Leo Collins, a social critic, says the increase in adolescent crime and immorality is linked with the lack of character education in our homes, schools, and churches. To alleviate this tragic situation [moral decay], our families, churches, schools, social organizations, and the business community must reemphasize the teaching, learning, and practice of good morals.

Observation 4: Advantages
Just as there are a great many disadvantages to a lack of moral character, there are many advantages to having moral character.

  • One of the first is the consistency in the results of decisions made by people who include moral character in the process. They will usually make decisions that reflect their beliefs, and make decisions that benefit more people than just themselves. Such a leader will appeal to the highest good.
  • When a leader holds himself accountable for the decisions he makes, it motivates him to research and consider each point of a decision more carefully and thoroughly.
  • Such a leader will produce rules that will allow people to live cooperatively, and not decline into barbarism, where the rule of the strong prevails.
  • When justice, upheld by a moral standard prevails, growth, safety, security, and creativity will increase since people are now safer and can work freely.
  • A moral leader’s private decisions will also equal his public ones; there won’t be a double standard. Likewise, a moral leader is also not open to blackmail, and can make decisions unencumbered by threats.

Observation 4: Plan
We suggest that the best course of action would be that which was suggested by Mr. Leo Collins. Character education should be taught in home, at school, and at work.
The agencies that would choose basic curricular standards are the CEE, Gateways to Better Education, 4th and 5th Rs, and others similar to them. The mandate that we would suggest is to pass a law requiring character education w/ agency oversight of implement, follow up, and distribution of a block grant to those states, schools, and churches that are successful in their programs.

How can we expect our leaders to make decisions of integrity for the nation, when they fail to do so in their own lives? One might argue that it doesn’t matter what activities our leaders engage in, so long as what they do benefits the country. This is terribly shortsighted. The same logic would eliminate the need for a police force. “What does it matter if I break a law? You can’t bind your standards to me.” Sometimes life asks us to make the tough choices, even if they are personally uncomfortable. We do it not because it feels right, but because it is the right thing to do. This nation needs leaders who know the difference.

Relationships– A Collection of Quotes

A surprising departure from routine compositions! This collection of quotes gathered by Ken Hughes evolves into an essay on relationships. Each statement can stand on its own, but together they make for a compelling and fascinating read.


After you Click on the  Link, click the first quote  to get a full sized image then IMG_0160press arrows to proceed through this work.