Archive for January, 2013

TOMORROW is NATIONAL FREEDOM DAY – What are we doing to ensure freedom?

Hitting the Steps of Capital Hill:

At the end of last year(due to our learning about Civil War Abolitionists, Missionaries like Amy Carmichael, and Modern Day Slavery) my kids wanted to do something about slavery.  Though of course I didn’t reveal to them the horrors of sex trafficking, which is one of the sickest forms of slavery, other slavery is enough to sadden and anger my kids.

Was that bad?  We don’t normally, as parents, think it is great to intentionally throw our kids into situations that make them sad and mad.  However, sadness and anger about things that we should indeed be sad and mad about is holy…we should hate slavery, poverty, cancer, sin.  I welcome this kind of sadness and anger in my home (unlike sadness over not having candy or anger if a child doesn’t get to play video games as long as they want – which also happens, much to my frustration).

Are they scared knowing these things…things like slavery?  If I am honest – the answer is yes – a little.  However:

  • Unfortunately children need to know to not trust strangers, so I am glad they are a little scared.  My daughter in the past could have too easily trusted strangers, putting herself in danger.  My son doesn’t pay attention to if he is close to me in public places.  A little healthy fear is okay with me.
  • Kids usually only remain in fear when 1 – they don’t understand that God is bigger and stronger than it all this evil…that in the end God wins….and 2 – when they are left with no power to change it.  Relying on God’s protection and empowering my kids to be the change of the evil in this world are 2 things that I want to do now – while they are young.

So – what did we do in light of this knowledge of slavery.  Lukas wanted to “Do a Boston Tea Party”  What the heck was that?  Well, he wanted to take all the chocolate, coffee, tomatoes and so on that were made by slaves in our house and throw them in the river – to let our leaders know that we didn’t like that they let slavery happen.  However, due not wanting a huge fine for pollution, we decided to write letters instead (perhaps not as exciting…but it goes along with my government homeschool project too).

So, they did.  They wrote letters to President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and their Senators and Representative.  Adelaine’s letter was sweet – dictated to me by her and then she copied the words I wrote down, due to her 5 year old writing skill progression.  Lukas just wrote what he thought – which meant bluntness and a Sonic the Hedgehog drawing on each letter.

The Response:

I did call and write to my own representatives as well.  Since the TVPRA didn’t pass at the end of 2012 like it should have, I was completely convicted on the lack of my own voice.  This bill protects victims of trafficking.  It is absolutely ridiculous that it didn’t pass as 25 million around the world are in slavery.  So, if my kids could use their voice, so could I.

Well – We did hear from Obama – granted it was just a form type letter and 2 large pictures (1 of him and 1 of his dog…neither of which do I think will find themselves on our walls), but my kids feel like they got a letter from the White House – which they did.

We have gotten postcards from IJM (that some of you may receive from us to send to your representatives) to urge senators to put the TVPRA at the top of the list of things to do http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/action-alert/100-postcard-challenge

Tomorrow on Freedom Day, we will be reflecting on the different forms of slavery, putting our fingers on those places on the globe and praying.  (We may even throw a piece of chocolate in a stream if we are crazy enough to do a mini-Boston tea party).

We are also going to DC at the end March.  We’ll have short meetings with our senators as the kids are slowly gathering packets of info to give to them about modern day slavery, their thoughts about it, inspiring quotes, etc.   I’m not expecting anything incredible, but I’m expecting to feel like I’m not (and my kids aren’t) bystanders.  We will visit the Holocaust Museum where in the front of it is the quote “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”   Yehuda Bauer

Call yourself:

http://strongwomenstrongworld.org/2013/01/11/today-be-a-voice-for-the-voiceless-call-congress/

Email:

http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/action-alert/ask-president-help-make-freedom-real

http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/action-alert/ask-your-senators-support-tvpra

Have your kids write to your senators!

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THE RACE CARD – Still pondering Martin Luther King Jr.

As we have approached the topic of race in our family because of our upcoming adoption and because of its nature of justice/mercy, I’ve become more aware of voices in this world of Race.

Obviously leaving Martin Luther King Jr Day, it is hard not to be amazed by that man…for some reason this year more than ever for me.  The thing that strikes me most, and that I want to impress on my children, is that he didn’t just fight for equality for African Americans, but equality for all people.  It was his faith in Christ and his understanding about who God was that led his movement and was his Rock. This topic of oppression that we still must face, as today it is particularly our geographic coordinates (where we live on the globe) that determines our future (as the distribution of wealth, resources and justice is so vastly uneven).  A child born in central Asia to a poor mother will likely have an extremely oppressed  life – merely because of where she was born.  My daughter being born to me in America is different.  This is a justice issue.

The other thing that strikes me, as I live in a house that was built during the civil war in 1863, is that Martin Luther King’s Dream speech was in 1963.  That was 100 years after the civil war – 100 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation – naming slaves as free, yet Martin Luther King, Jr. is proclaiming that one day they will be Free At Last.  Watching a documentary titled “Slavery by another Name” revealed the horrific treatment of African Americans after the civil war – way beyond just the racism that makes our stomach turn in movies like “The Help”.  100 years! We couldn’t get it together in 100 years and while “free” through amazing efforts of people like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Douglass, they still weren’t given fair treatment – for 100 years (and beyond).

There are so many areas that we must rise up and teach our children about the freedom of others – other races, other countries, etc.  The most effective way to teach our children is through the connection.

  1. They need to connect through the stories of heroes; Abolitionists, Civil Rights Heroes, Missionaries, Those fighting poverty and oppression.  Freedom Day is February 1st: printables found at www.doonething.org/calendar/freedomday.htm   My favorite MLK you tubes are :his prophetic voice of his own life: http://youtu.be/p96wKQk2-Io and America: http://youtu.be/nMmXw17SgHo.  A kids’ MLK youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Au81aHuSg&feature=youtu.be
  2.  They need to connect to other races: Everyday interactions with people who look, sound, act different – intentional (if your everyday life isn’t very multi-cultural) relationships.  This is an interesting article on how young children make judgment on “other” www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/09/04/see-baby-discriminate.html  There are great resources at: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/01/resources-for-talking-to-kids-about.html   (And a cheesy, but great Christian movie for adults is Grace Card)

We can do better than 100 years of partial change – only to say that the oppressed in our world haven’t been yet freed.  We owe it to our children to give them that chance to be a part of it Freedom too.  God is taking note of how we are responding to these issues of the oppressed.  As my son said when he was watching an animated video about a church not helping the poor and doing wrong, “I bet God isn’t going to bless that church”

Indeed.  So, what are we going to do?

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