Month: April 2016

Earth Day: Cherish Our Home

Earth Day: Cherish Our Home

earth-day Today is April 22, also known as Earth Day! It is the day each year when special emphasis is placed on how we can take better care of our planet. Many of us will remember public service announcements about planting trees and the catchy phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Throughout my middle and high school years, I looked forward to Earth Day presentations and activities because I have always been fascinated with this beautiful place we have the privilege of calling “home” and how we can do a better job taking care of it.

That said, though Earth Day is the day to recognize the need for taking care of our environment, we should not be thinking about this important topic only once a year. There are many simple ways we can cherish this Earth on which we live. Here are just a few:

  1. Cut down on your electricity usage by turning off lights when not in use. Consider replacing bathroom, closet and switches in other areas that are often forgotten with motion-sensor switches.
  2. When possible, decorate your yard with plants/trees native to your area. These plants are accustom to the seasons, climate, weather, etc. where you live and may also require less water or less chemicals to flourish.
  3. Consider planting a bee and butterfly garden. Studies show that the populations of these very important pollinators are declining, and we need them to pollinate plants, including the foods we need to survive.
  4. Recycle, recycle, recycle! Many cities and towns are now offering recycling pick-up along with the weekly trash pick up or have recycling centers where you can drop your recycling off. Many apartment complexes now offer recycling bins as well. Not sure what you can recycle? Check out this list of items to get you started!
  5. When possible, use alternate transportation such as carpool, bike, walk, or public transit.
  6. Evaluate how much food waste you and/or your family generate and consider methods you can implement to decrease the amount of food you throw away. For food waste, consider giving still viable foods to animals/pets (only those that are not harmful to the animals) or start a compost pile to help nourish your yard and garden.

There are many more ways, often very simple things that will make our lives easier, to do our part in cherishing our home. We all must share this small planet called Earth, not only with one another but with all of God’s creatures. Contrary to many greedy opinions, we are not the owners of this earth. We cannot just do whatever we want with the land, animals, and natural resources. We are merely stewards, caretakers if you will, and we can either be bad, greedy stewards that destroy or we can be good, caring stewards that nurture and protect.

Here are some more resources:
40 Tips to Go Green at Home
Let’s Celebrate the Environment

Think on these

Think on these

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
-Philippians 4:8, KJV

Raising Successfully Selfish Kids

Raising Successfully Selfish Kids

While driving home from work Friday, October 23, 2015, I tuned in to a radio talk show hoping to catch a local weather update. Instead, I had the opportunity to listen to two rather annoying gentlemen talk about a new study that shows that children who talk back to their parents tend to be more successful as adults. After ten minutes of listening to them go back and forth and the examples that callers shared of their own children, I had an epiphany.

The world’s definition of successful means an individual who is self-centered and manipulative, always looking out for what is in their best interest at the expense of others.

It is true that an individual who pushes back against authority, manipulates others, and always seeks out that which would benefit him or herself will most likely find success in their professional careers.

However, is this the type of person we want to raise our children to become? Someone who has no compassion or empathy for others? Someone who is always looking out for Number 1? Is this selfishness and lack of cooperative spirit truly a characteristic of a good leader? And even if these traits might bring more success in a professional capacity, how much harm are they doing to the individual’s personal relationships and emotional health?

The Bible warns:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5, English Standard Version

This list of negative characteristics includes many attributes that the modern world would deem as essential for a successful person, but those who desire something better are encouraged to “avoid such people”.

Philippians 2:3-4 tells us: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Notice that the Bible is not saying that we need to be doormats, just that followers of Christ should be concerned with others. As parents, we should be striving to raise our children with godly characters, molded from the traits listed in the Fruit of the Spirit passage.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:22-26, NKJV

The world would be a better place if more children were being raised to be kind, gentle, patient, content, and with the ability to exercise self-control. Contrary to how society may think, I believe that true success is not measured in what an individual has material-wise but the relationships he or she has built along the journey of his or her life.