Last April, we invited our Clubhouse Jr. readers to help us collect tank tops for African orphans. The response was inspiring. From yard sales to bake sales, pizza parties to birthday celebrations, an army of little hands eagerly accepted the challenge. Pooling their creativity and resources, they engaged their families, neighborhoods, churches and schools. When the deadline arrived last July, children as young as 2-years-old from around the country flooded us with tank tops in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
Take the case of a West Virginia mother who was ordered by a local circuit judge and a family court judge to share custody of her four-year-old girl—not with her ex-husband or other relative, but with two babysitters! It gets worse. These justices, who viewed the babysitters as “psychological co-parents”, also granted them full custody. The mother, in turn, was told she could only visit her daughter four times a week at McDonalds.
There’s an Associated Press story last week that caught my eye. Here’s the headline: US Births Break Record; 40% are out-of-wedlock. The article reported that “More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than any other year in the nation’s history, topping the peak during the baby boom 50 years earlier.”
Nothing wrong with an up tick in births, that is, until you consider the fact that 40% of the 4.3 million babies were born to unwed mothers.
It was supposed to be a routine checkup for an ear infection of their first child. But last month, when Joel and Jess McClenahan took their precious 11-month-old baby girl, Cora Paige, to the pediatrician, they discovered Cora had stage-four cancer. Two weeks after the diagnosis, Cora died, leaving the McClenahan’s with a mind-numbing grief and a host of unanswered questions.
And yet, Joel and Jess clung to their faith in Jesus to sustain them. On their blog, which they created the day Cora was born for the benefit of friends and family, Jess wrote: “Joel and I can’t make it through this on our own, but we know we can with the Lord walking with us each step of the way, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’ Psalm 46:1.”
When they began to blog about Cora’s diagnosis and treatment, Cora’s story went “viral” on the web and, almost overnight, the events surrounding little Cora’s life and death was followed by concerned visitors from around the world.
Much has been said about Nadya Suleman, the unmarried California mother-of-six who, at age 33, through a process known as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), gave birth to octuplets. Now, with fourteen children and no visible means of support, some have compared her predicament to the popular nursery poem, “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.”
According to the rhyme, “She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth, without any bread, she whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.” These critics say Nadya, being a single parent, has been irresponsible, unwise, selfish to expand her already large family, and condemn her as being just another of those “unfit welfare recipients” who take advantage of the system–although Nadya denies ever receiving welfare benefits.
I arrived over the weekend in Sydney, Australia for a series of meetings. Moments after landing, I learned about a tragic, mind-numbing event during rush hour in Melbourne yesterday. According to eye-witnesses, Arthur Phillip Freeman, 35, was driving his vehicle over the West Gate Bridge when he stopped in the middle of traffic, carried his four-year-old daughter, Darcey, in his arms and then dropped this defenseless child 190 feet into the river water below.
Freeman’s actions took place in plain view of a host of stunned motorists who jammed emergency hotlines with frantic calls for help.
In Dr. Dobson’s original film series Where’s Dad? he made a point that struck a chord with me all of these years, probably because I’m a father of two young boys. Specifically, Dr. Dobson described the difference between spending quantity time and quality time with our children. More often than not, Dr. Dobson heard parents make the comment that they just want to give their son or daughter quality time–when in reality our kids want quantity time.
As the clock runs out on 2008, just about everyone is assembling a Top Ten list featuring the most popular movies, CDs, books, restaurants, and news stories of the year. You name it, there seems to be a list for it. I figured it might be fun to put together a list of my Top Ten blog posts of the year, based upon the number of comments they generated. Here’s what I found, with No. 1 being the most popular post of 2008:
I love hearing from constituents like you. Today, I thought I’d invite you to read three playful letters that brightened my day. This first gem is from a mother whose son was in kindergarten where he was just learning to read. Here’s what happened:
“I remember picking-up my son from school one day. I had been reading one of Dr. Dobson’s books at the time and had it on the car seat next to me. My precocious youngster carefully sounded out the title.
Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall.