Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Talking to Your Kids About Racism

Article from Orange Parent Cue

If you’ve been paying attention these last few years, you know this: Racism is real. But when it comes to talking to kids about racism, many parents are uncertain about how to talk about it with their kids. And while we want to address it, we wish we could shelter them from ever witnessing anything so reminiscent of our dark and painful history.
 

But somehow, we know that part of the solution for change starts with us. We also know that as parents, we have an opportunity to make a difference in this world through the incredible influence we have on our kids—who are watching, listening, and taking it all in—regardless of whether we intend for them to or not.

We also want to bring hope and comfort to our kids through our words and actions in troubling times, so as you think about how to talk to your kids about the realities and uncertainties of our world, we encourage you to ask yourself a few questions.

  1. How are YOU processing your feelings?

In order to have honest conversations with our kids, we need to be honest with ourselves. Check your heart and your thoughts. Be sure to take a step back and identify how you might need to change in your prejudices and in your interactions with others. Reflect on what it really means to love those whom God loves, and unrelentingly pursue forgiveness and reconciliation. Your kids will get many of their cues from observing your response. Yes, they’re really watching and listening. Are your reactions and frustrations to what is happening betraying any subtle biases?

  1. Do you celebrate diversity?

Some parents may be tempted to try to teach their kids to be blind to color, to shy away from acknowledging differences or just ignore them altogether. But the truth is that we are all very different in the way God made us—in our skin color, in our genetic makeup, and in our culture. And that’s something to be celebrated, not ignored. Do you model the belief with your words and actions that God made each of us unique and beautiful even in our differences? Do you demonstrate respect and honor towards those you disagree with? How diverse is your circle of friends and the people you associate with? How can you widen that circle for your family?

  1. Are you talking about racism?

Racism is a difficult and sensitive topic, but it does exist, often in the form of subtle comments and prejudice, but sometimes it’s outright hatred and violence. Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. So talk about the issues with others outside your circle and with people of different backgrounds. Discover the truth from various outlets and seek to understand other perspectives. When you find the right words that honestly and respectfully express how you think and feel, choose which words you might share with your kids.

Then talk to your kids about prejudice and racism so you can equip them with the values and the words they will need to respect, celebrate, and stand up for those who are being discriminated against.

  1. Are you focused on love?

As parents, our hearts break in the shadow of these tragic events, and our anxiety, anger, and fear unfortunately leak out onto our kids. It’s okay to be honest with your kids, but it’s important to talk to them about how your family can respond to what’s happening in our world in a positive way.

As you navigate these important conversations, focus on what matters most: LOVE. Put love into action, and rest in the hope that is found there. And dole out love in especially large doses on your kids so they feel safe and secure. Hug them tightly and let them know that God is with them and they don’t have to be afraid.

For help with age appropriate conversations addressing recent events, check out this article: How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide

 


Read more

What Remains

written by Pastor Tony Alstott

Everything is changing. Our rhythms of daily life include social distancing.  Our patterns of normal routines have shifted to on-line, drive-through and delivery services.  Our wardrobe includes facial coverings.  Our personal space has expanded to six feet of social distancing.  Our time together has included FaceTime and Zoom.  Everything is changing.  When everything is changing, what remains?

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he addresses the things that will fade away and what remains.  Prophesies will cease.  Tongues will be stilled.  Knowledge will pass away.  These three remain: faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13.)

When everything is changing, what remains?  We are invited to follow Jesus.  We are called to love God and love people.  We are still comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are still holding to God’s promises.  We are still called to make disciples of Jesus to transform the world.  When everything is changing, God’s love is what remains, God’s presence is what remains, God’s promise is what remains, God’s mission is what remains.

Let us work together to accomplish what will last beyond COVID19. 


Read more

How Do We Make It Through When Things Get Tough

by Mike Tiemann

One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen and it’s
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why

We Take It One Step at a Time

Remember “One Step at a Time” by Jordin Sparks? It was the third single from her debut album, which came out after she won American Idol in 2007. Looking back, it’s a perfect pop song, with a solid message about facing your challenges with determination. And if you ask me, it’s perfect for your quarantine playlist. After all, isn’t that what we’re all doing here in 2020—living one step at a time?

I remember hearing that song on the radio in 2007 . . . which is funny because right around that time, MY world was about to change. I was about to enter the wonderful and (at times) seemingly impossible world of parenthood. My two daughters were born in close succession, in 2008 and 2009.

Parenthood Requires Determination

Those years were definitely a time for determination. Life as we knew it would never be the same. There was the joy and excitement of caring for two brand-new little humans. We cheered them on, through every new milestone and every discovery along the way.

There was also the harsh reality that we no longer had any time or energy left for ourselves. It was a time to celebrate, and also a time to mourn. We look back in wonder: How did we do it? How did we make it through?

The answer, of course, is very simple. We took life one step at a time. We put one foot in front of the other. We did what we had to do for our girls.

I don’t remember much from those years. It’s all kind of a blur. But somehow, we made it through. We found new routines. Before we knew it, we were dropping our girls off at kindergarten—just like everyone had promised we would.

Every Season Has Victories and Challenges

Every season has its victories and its challenges—and life in 2020 is certainly no exception. You probably have plenty of new routines just like we do (none of which were happening in 2019).

Online classes.
Zoom meetings.
Evening family walks.

More than anything, quarantine has taught me just how resilient people can be. When life seems chaotic, we create structure . . . and the very act of creating structure gives us a sense of purpose.

This is what we do in any significant season of life. Think back to your own experience after 9/11, or during the financial crisis of 2008. We all experienced those events differently, but they affected all of us profoundly. We had to celebrate what was unique in those seasons while also taking time to mourn what we had lost.

That’s true for any big events we might experience. Our personal highs and lows will always rise and fall, regardless of the events of the world around us. Our families grow. Our careers change. We lose people we love. We balance our hopes and dreams against fear, disappointment, and pain.

In the end, we look back—much like I look back at our “newborn years” in the late 2000s. Nothing was easy about that time. But now, I see how God helped us grow and change in the process. I can see how He opened doors for the future when we couldn’t see 10 feet ahead. I can see how adversity shaped us, and taught us how to persevere.

The Story We Will Tell About 2020

In the same way, I think we’ll look back on this time in 2020 with mixed emotions. We’ll mourn what we’ve lost: graduations, group activities, the comfort of in-person human connection. And, of course, some have lost so much more.

We’ll remember how overwhelmed we felt when there was no end in sight . . . nothing was certain . . . and we had no idea what the future would hold.

So what did we DO about it? How did we make it through?

How Did We Make it Through?

We took a deep breath.
We put one foot in front of another.
We took life one day at a time.

We learned to appreciate the little things.
We slowed down.
We spent quality time with the people we love.

We leaned into community—even when it was virtual.
We discovered how capable we really were.
We trusted God, because we had to.

We were determined.

We persevered . . . step by step, day by day.

That’s a story I want my girls to be able to tell. And we have a chance to live it right now.

 


Read more

Memorial Day

Written by Pastor Tony Alstott

Memorial Day is when we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Since 2013, Wesley Chapel has used the occasion to remember veterans and civilians of the Wesley Chapel family.

 

Roy Wolfe:

          Roy proposed to his wife, Patty, with a ring inside of a Cracker Jack Box. He served during the Korean War and on the New Albany Police Department for 30 years. Roy held every rank during his time at the police department. Along with his career at the department he worked the night shift as security for what is now known as Baptist Floyd. On behalf of the people of Wesley Chapel, the city of New Albany, and this great country, we remember this great servant who lived his life to protect and serve others.

 

Christine Adams:

          Christine had a love for traveling, photography, and going to yard sales. She was married to Don for 25 years and had two children, Michelle and Anthony. It was a joy to baptize her grandson, Jacob, here at our 150 campus. Christine is known by her family as a mother and grandmother that showed the love of Jesus, God’s unconditional love.

 

Elizabeth Sammy Slider:

            Sammy was married to Warren and they had a daughter, Beth. She was a member of Tri Kappa and Pi Beta Phi at Indiana University. Warren and Sammy were faithful in their worship until her health prevented them from attending.  When she needed nursing home care her husband joined her there at Wedgewood.  When I would visit her she would always end our conversation with “Thank you for taking the time to come see me.”  

 

Jason Roehm:

          Jason met his wife, Janice, while cruising on January 1, 1969. They married and had three children: Julie, Jennifer, and Justin. He was a tool and dye maker for General Electric Company for 37 years. Jason loved serving Jesus and went to Guatemala twice to serve at La Senda. He delivered worship DVDs to shut-ins. He made it clear to me that if I said anything about him to say this: All Glory to God.

 

Jim Rutherford:

            Jim grew up on Blackiston Mill Road, the same road his mother grew up on. He married Neva in 1973, and they had two children: Eric and Travis. Jim’s love language was gift giving and he showered Neva with gifts. He always had a Band-Aid with him in case anyone would need it. He said, “When I look back on life I realize how blessed I’ve been.  I didn’t always realize it at the time.  And I can say that even today, four months past a cancer diagnosis, I’m blessed.  I have family and friends who love me and show it.  I have people praying for me that don’t even know me.  Each day I pray for a good day.  Each night I thank God for giving me a good day.  If it has been a bad day, I try to find the good in it and thank God for the good in the day that I have had.  When I go to bed at night I thank God for a blessed life and for his protection tomorrow.”

 

Helen Collins:

          Helen loved to eat cheeseburgers at Duffy’s on Main Street. She spent hours playing marbles, jacks, and hopscotch. She and her sister were known for their whistling. She had one son, Larry, and two daughters, Lynn and Diane. She was a lifelong member of Wesley Chapel and participated in the Mary Martha circle. I will remember her hearty laugh.

 

Hazel White:

          Hazel was the oldest member of Wesley Chapel when she passed away earlier this year. Her special relationship with her grandfather became the model of what kind of mother and grandmother she wanted to be to her son, David, and her grandsons, David and Andy.  Hazel was a faithful member of Wesley Chapel.  She attended Tuesday Bible Study and the Mary Martha Circle. She also put together bus trips for the people of Wesley Chapel with the greatest trip being a trip to the Holy Land where she got to walk where Jesus walked.  Today she is walking the streets of heaven with Jesus. 

 

Earl Balmer:

          Earl was a young 80 year old when he repented of his sins, professed his faith in Jesus, and was baptized before the congregation of Wesley Chapel. He was married to Mary and they had a daughter, Bonita. During a Wesley Wednesday dinner, Earl’s daughter Bonita told me it was her son, Chase, who suggested that the family start attending church.  Their plan was to look around for the right church.  The first church they came to was Wesley Chapel and they never “looked” anywhere else.  When he died, he was welcomed by Jesus to eternal life.

 

Dick Webster:

Richard “Dick” Webster was the oldest of three children. He spent summers on the farm of his aunt and uncle in Iowa. Dick was grateful for godly parents who took him to church and introduced him to Jesus Christ. In 1997, Dick went on an Emmaus Walk that deepened his faith. Later that year, he married Beth. They moved to New Albany to be closer to his daughter, Betsy, when his health started to decline. Dick and Beth joined Wesley Chapel the year we celebrated our 200th birthday. As Dick’s health continued to decline he expressed one regret, that he did not say, “I love you” more often.  Ironically, Dick’s last words were, “I love you, too.”  Today we remember Dick Webster.

 

Rosemary Denison:

            Rosemary grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school as her husband Russ. They were high school sweethearts and married in the parsonage of Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church on Spring Street. Russ and Rosemary had two sons, Rusty, Scott, and a daughter, Connie. They joined Wesley Chapel in 1950 and were faithful members.

Juli Hardy:

            When Juli was born she was diagnosed with a soft bone condition. She avoided high contact sports and games, but that didn’t stop her from being involved in school. She had many friends and loved to be with them. Juli met her husband Clete in a Target parking lot. He proposed on the top of a mountain. They had four sons: Christopher, Cameron, Jack, and Grayson. Jack inherited the soft bone disorder and together they were advocates for the organization known as the Soft Bones Community.  Upon Julie’s death, they put out the following statement: “Juli Kimbrough-Hardy was a long-standing and treasured member of our Soft Bones Community.  Juli was a real Champion of Soft Bones and one of the first people to support our efforts when we were a fledgling advocacy organization. We will miss her kindness and willingness to help others.” She was faithful in her attendance and a loving supporter from the background, writing notes of encouragement to so many people. Because of the loss of her child, Christopher, she was special to those in our congregation and in our community because she reached out to the loss momma’s to give them comfort and hope.

 

Each of these loved ones put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believed that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and believed in the resurrection.  Jesus promises us that he is preparing a place for each of us and that when it is time, he will come and get us and take us to the place he has prepared for us.  Today, we celebrate God’s promise in Jesus Christ that our loved ones continue to live in God’s presence and in our memory.


Read more

Graduation Gifts for Seniors That are Actually Meaningful (and Don’t Break the Bank!)

Written by

Every year, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and faith leaders face the same question:

How do I celebrate my seniors (and stay on budget)?

I mean, sure a coffee mug or a bulk crate of Ramen Noodles is a great gift and much appreciated, but is there something we can do that carries a little more hope or encouragement or celebration?

Never has this question felt more pressing than this year. There’s no question, the class of 2020 has gotten a raw deal.

Prom? Cancelled.
Senior Night? Gone.
Graduation? On . . . Zoom.

In light of everything that has been lost, it’s never felt more important to celebrate seniors (yes, with gifts!) in a way that is personal and meaningful. I feel that, too. That’s why I’ve put together a list[1] of senior gifts that can make a student feel celebrated and encourage them all year long.

1. Starting Now: A 30 Day Devotional for becoming who you want to be in College

Of course this is my first pick. I wrote this 30 day devotional (along with my friend, Gerald Fadayomi) because we believe, at a time when students may feel most lost, we want them to have something tangible to point them the right direction. Starting Now is an interactive journal that helps graduates figure out who they want to be in six few key areas: Community, Identity, Faith, Integrity, Freedom and Service. You can find Starting Now on our Parent Cue Store.

2. Before You Go by Gerald Fadayomi

A perfect read for the summer after senior year when a student is not quite gone, but thinking about what the next phase of life could look like. Find Before You Go, here.

3. A gift made BY seniors and FOR seniors

Carry117 is changing Ethiopia by providing women with a sustainable job and skill which allows them to provide for themselves and their family. These earrings, specifically are made by high school seniors who have aged out of the orphanage system but haven’t finished high school yet. Proceeds provide for the girls so that they can finish high school and get on with changing the world.

4. Words to take with them

Words always matter, but they matter more when we are in uncertain situations. Ask family members, coaches, teachers and mentors to write a short note of encouragement to your seniors and put them in a beautiful box to take with them into the next phase of life.

And since sometimes the budget is a big flat zero, here are a few COMPLETELY FREE ideas for great senior gifts.

5. A team to cheer them on!

Research shows a key indicator of success for young people is the number of mentors and trusted adults in their lives. Why not give your graduate the gift of a team? Ask them to choose five adults who they trust to encourage them, cheer for them and advise them for the first semester after high school. Those adults can sign up at OnMyTeam.org. You can even print out these FREE POSTCARDS to make the ask! FREE Devotionals for College Orientation:

6. FREE devotionals for college orientation:

College orientation is supposed to be exciting, hopeful and fun, but for many graduates it can be an apprehensive time with too many unknowns. As seniors go off for their first college experience, it can be helpful to give them words to anchor them. That’s why we wrote devos just for college orientation. If you want to be fancy, have them printed and put them in a nice envelope along with a Starbucks gift card or their favorite snack.

[1] This list is completely and totally biased and represents what I want for the small group of seniors I’m currently leading. It is not an exhaustive list (but who wants to read that much anyway?)


Read more

Not in My Backyard

Written by Jim Moon, pastor of Park Memorial in Jeffersonville.

 

I would like to address the spiritual implications of this conversation. I’d like to say that I have no right, nor am I attempting to force my religious convictions on people who do not follow Jesus Christ. I am speaking strictly to those who would call themselves a follower of Christ and who have a church that they call home. Jesus’s existence as the Messiah was intended to “bring good news to the poor” (Is. 61:1). Jesus would never utter the mantra “Not in My Backyard” out of his mouth. The idea that any group of Christians would say, “We don’t want them here,” in reference to any group of vulnerable people indicates the group might not know what it means to be a follower of Christ. 

 

Matthew 25:31-46 should be one of the most informative parables to our Christian conscience. This passage speaks to the way the King will recognize his followers when he returns to take them to be with him where he is. The King will recognize his followers by the way they feed the hungry, the way they give water to the thirsty, the way they invite strangers into their homes, the way they clothe the naked, the way they look after the sick, and the way they visit those who are in prison. The bottom line is that the way the King will recognize his followers is by the way they treat the “least of these.”

 

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Ever since God gave us the context of the whole world in which to work, Christians have been trying to limit its scope. They think to themselves, “God cannot mean that he wants me to reach the person I don’t like. God cannot mean that he wants me to broker forgiveness for the murderer, for the drug addicts, or even for people that don’t look like me, smell like me, and act like me.” Exclusion of people is not a Christian concept.

 

If you have made it your mission to exclude others, then the question that Jesus asked Peter applies to you, “Do you love me?” If you know of Jesus’ love for you, then you know Jesus’ love has no bounds (John 21:15-17). Jesus is always invitational. Jesus would be inviting people into his neighborhood because he values people more than property. Jesus would minister to the needs of the vulnerable and do everything in his power to protect public safety at the same time. Jesus always invites the stranger into his presence. If our faith isn’t in alignment with Christ’s teachings in this matter, then we need to question whether we are really the disciples we think we are. 

#graceprevails #homelesspeoplematter #followJesusexample #pleaseshare


Read more