Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

sad childI was horrified to learn that 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz, who sang the national anthem  in his mariachi costume at the NBA finals, was bullied on Twitter. To the child’s credit, his response to all the bullying was incredible.

“I think the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing, and it’s not my fault. It’s what I love, and I’m just proud to be a mariachi singer. It’s their opinion, actually, and if they don’t like mariachi, that’s their problem. I love it.”

Way ta’ go Sebastien. Don’t let the bullies get to you. But do cyber bullies get to people?

Of course, but we only here about it when one of the victims commits suicide.

So what can you do to psychologically respond to this growing problem of web meanness? Part of the help is preventing a bully from ever developing.

One response it to not take it personally. This is incredibly hard to do unless you have help from your parents. The power of words are just that–powerful! And while you have to teach your kids not to take it personally and focus on the lack of empathy and kindness of the perpetrator, words hurt.

So parents, talk about what was said and let your kids know that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Perhaps this is where we help our kids apply the words of Jesus to bless those who curse us. Help your child understand that the person who creates such meanness and hides behind the web to not face his targets has heart problems that parents need to address. All we can do is control our response to the meanness of others, but we can put it in perspective–it’s a lack of parenting! The first time my child ever tried to disparage another child, I was on him. The lesson–put yourself in his place. How would it feel? Would you like this?

Empathy can be taught. Here is what you do:

1) Help your child distinguish his/her feelings from others.

2) Talk about another perspective–what does it feel like for the other person. You have to prompt this at an early age.

3) Help your child regulate his/her emotional responses. Because you feel something, doesn’t mean you act on it. Use your head, not your impulse.

4) Teach your child to bounce back from distress. This means getting inside the emotional responses of your children, letting them express them, but helping them regulate them so they learn how to manage emotions early on in life.

5) Meet your child’s emotional needs at home–research proves that kids whose needs are met and whose attachments are strong, do better at handling distress.

6) Repeatedly tell your child not to give power to others to define who he/she is–our identity comes from God and those who know us and can speak into our lives!

7) Model empathy daily. If children see parents being empathetic, they will develop the response.

8) Talk about how difficult it must be for others who get teased and bring it to the minds of your kids. Point out examples and the label the bully as mean.

9) Teach self-control. When you are upset or hurt, you don’t lash out at others. Stay silent and think before you speak.

10) Provide kids a moral perspective. Part of being one of Christ’s is to treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule which has been greatly tarnished. Do unto others and you would want them to do to you.

workCan’t get excited about going to work in the morning?

Don’t like the atmosphere at work?

Prefer not to be with your co-workers?

Do you even like your job?

If you answered, NO, you join more than half of all workers who say they just can’t get excited about their jobs!

So what is going here?

Employers have tried offering incentives to help people like their jobs more. While perks certainly don’t add to job dissatisfaction, the experts say getting people to like their jobs takes more than adding a few toys and privileges. Turns out that perks are not that associated with job satisfaction. People enjoy the perks, but don’t stay at a job long term just for the fun.

Instead, it’s the fundamentals of the work environment that matter:

Getting a pay raise.

Having works tasks that are stimulating.

Having a boss who isn’t a jerk!

Being able to voice your opinion.

Being rewarded for working together.

Having flexible work hours.

Rewarding productivity.

Basically, job satisfaction comes down to collaborative management styles, teamwork, and rewarding people who work well with a variety of people and perform well.

So if you are a company that thinks adding perks is a substitute for a healthy work environment, think again. Forget the toys and rethink your policies and and training. A healthy work culture is what people want to go to everyday!

 

 

HAPPY FOURTH of JULY!

4 of July

As we celebrate our country’s freedom today, here is an interesting take on the concept of independence as a Christian trait. My brother, the Reverend Dennis Marquardt, preached a sermon on the spiritual difference between independence versus interdependence. One of these concepts is more a mark of our spiritual walk. 

 

The 4th of July always reminds us of our freedom as a people. It is a great celebration of independence. Unfortunately, this word “independence” has come to mean something that our forefathers never meant it to mean. Today it means “no one tells me what to do, I can do whatever I want, and I’m INDEPENDENT.” To our forefathers however, the idea of INDEPENDENCE was more like INTERDEPENDENCE.

This is also true spiritually. One of the reasons American Christianity is in trouble today is because we have a false idea of what it means to be a Christian. We think being a Christian is like being an American … we are independent, we don’t answer to anyone but God (although actually if this were true we would not be independent, we would be interdependent), and no one can tell us what to do, and attending a church or being a member of one is optional.

The Bible NEVER supports the idea that we are supposed to be independent! Actually, this is the concept of EVIL! Satan got Eve to think and act INDEPENDENTLY from God and her husband — sin resulted! Satan himself acted INDEPENDENTLY from God and it was his downfall … the drive for independence is built on a foundation of sin and evil!

The Bible teaches INTERDEPENDENCE … we are not alone, and we don’t grow alone … we are built together as a Holy Temple, upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. Nothing good happens spiritually with independent Christians … it is a contradiction in terms! There is no power in being independent.

 

For the full sermon, go to SermonSearch online

 “I did not have sex with that woman.”

couple unhappy

These words from President Clinton concerning his relationship with  White House intern. Monica Lewinsky. raised questions about what does and does not constitute marital infidelity.

How does one define infidelity?

Is it an act of the heart, a break of trust and/or a physical breach of the martial vow? Can you be emotionally involved with someone outside of the marital covenant and still be faithful? If you are physical, but stop short of intercourse, are you OK?

Tom was a bright guy who found himself restless and bored at his job. He began flirting with a co-worker. The two started having lunch together and met after work for a drink. Eventually they became very physically involved but never had sexual intercourse. Fearing he might step over his self-imposed line, Tom came to therapy. His first question, “Have I really been unfaithful to my wife? I haven’t had intercourse and we haven’t been together fully undressed. We’ve done a lot of kissing and fondling, but does that really count?”

My response, “If you told your wife what you just told me, what would she say?”

Infidelity is a breach of trust, a breaking of the covenant, a betrayal of the relationship. It goes beyond sexual intercourse to include the physical, emotional and thought life of a person.

God wants you to be faithful to your spouse. Jesus takes a hard line on extramarital relationships, addressing both the heart and impure thoughts (Matt. 5:27, 28; 19:18,19). According to His words, emotional adultery is as serious as sexual immorality. I know this sounds incredible to many living in our society. Lust, the root of infidelity, is encouraged because it is economically profitable and satisfies basic urges. Self-restraint is not popular in many facets of American living.

Infidelity is almost always draped in secrecy and lies. So not only are you breaching a marital vow, but you must lie to cover up. Obviously this breeds appropriate guilt that must be pushed out of the mind in order to continue the infidelity. A vicious cycle ensues- extramarital involvement, cover-up, lying, guilt, pushing the guilt away, more extramarital behavior, and so on.

While adultery is a term used to describe sex outside of marriage, infidelity is about sexual dishonesty. If you hide any acts, thoughts and inappropriate emotional attachments from your partner, it may be because you are wandering into dangerous territory.

Ask yourself these questions:

How would my spouse feel if he/she knew?

Would it be a betrayal of the trust and covenant we have together?

Is my behavior and thought life pleasing to God?

Then, determine to make changes if you think they are needed. Staying faithful to marital vows requires a continuouswalk with God. It is very difficult to do on your own. Ask God to help you to be faithful to your marital covenant.

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