Rashional Thoughts 2018

Rashional Thoughts — New level of middle school drama

The depth of her pain broke my heart. There wasn’t anything I could do but listen so that’s what I did — then I prayed.

I continue to pray because her wounds are deep. I’m talking affect-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life deep.

Her parents and grandparents are doing everything they know to do to help her. She is loved. She is talented. She is beautiful inside and out, and she has a sweet, compassionate heart but every day of her middle school life is a struggle.

And she isn’t alone.

Four other friends of mine are parents of middle schoolers who are fighting similar battles.

“Middle school is like the wild, wild west,” one friend said as she described the pressure kids experience from other kids as well as what they are being exposed to at such a young age. And suicide is discussed routinely and without reservation, she added.

Another friend was concerned about her daughter recently when she was being shunned by a particular group of girls.

Winning the affection of this group was so important to my friend’s daughter that she started acting out trying to impress them.

My friend responded by taking her daughter’s phone away for a significant period of time. The daughter protested angrily at first but by the time the punishment was over she had calmed down and returned to her true nature. She even started hanging out with the family again — and actually enjoyed it.

Other friends have noted similar situations and how limiting their kids’ time on phones and social media has made a difference in various areas of concern.

After all, they are connected to their friends 24/7, one friend commented. Not only do they never get a break from each other — and thus a break from the drama — but they also form a dependent community in which they seek guidance, solace and approval, she said.

As she talked, I wondered if the consistent late night texting and chatting could impair the kids’ ability to think clearly. Could it weaken their emotional state? Is it possible a little more sleep and a few hours away from the screens here and there could make those difficult middle school years a bit more bearable?

Whatever you do, don’t tell my nephews and nieces that I’m advocating limiting anyone’s phone time. I might lose my cool aunt status.

But I am concerned about the emotional state of so many in this age group.

Will the intensity of the pain these middle schoolers are carrying lessen as they make their way to high school? Or will it finally become unbearable?

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Rashional Extras – Do we give God our first fruits or leftovers?

By Corrie Clay
Filling the Gap Ministries

First fruits are about obedience, faith and keeping God as our first priority … but instead we are disobedient in our hearts, thoughts and actions. We have replaced Him with idols of our self, our family and things and then wonder why we feel as though God isn’t moving in our life.

God’s Word is very clear about how putting Him first in every aspect will bring us into a closer relationship with Him, which in turn, blesses us abundantly. What about you and me? With our time, does God get the very first words that come from our mouths each morning in prayer with Him?

Do we fit Him into our schedule or do we schedule everything around Him? Of course, He created time but does that really matter to us?

With our finances, do we give God what He requires (10 percent) off the top or do we buy what we need and if there is any left to drop in, then we give it? Then we wonder why our finances seem hopeless.

In other parts of life do we wait when He says wait and go when He says go? We often think He isn’t answering the way we want Him to so we take it upon ourselves to “fix” our families.

A Scripture passage that can be the wind behind our backs to make Him a first priority, to walk by faith and to be obedient is James 1:17–18. It says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change, like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruit of all He created.”

There is our motivation. We can know God is devoted to those who belong to Him. This ensures His provision for our lives, fostering trust in Him, moving our feet in obedience and placing Him at the center of our life. That is the purpose of first fruits.

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More than ever, society needs people who write clearly, precisely, concisely and logically. Writing is more than a knowledge of the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage, and it is more than the consistent application of these rules. Writing well demonstrates the ability to think clearly. Good writing is more than a skill; it is an art.

James Stovall
Retired journalism professor
University of Alabama

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What does it mean to choose life? It means you choose to love the Lord and obey His voice. It means you say no to self and yes to Jesus in every situation, every circumstance and every temptation. God’s love and grace constantly attend those who choose life. These individuals understand the way of the Lord is always right, and they desperately strive to walk in it regardless of what their eyes see and their flesh desires. The most joyous people on earth are those who walk in the light with Jesus. They enjoy His love and love Him in return.

Pastor Jeff Schreve, FBC Texarkana,
Texas, “The Choice Is Yours” devotion- al entry in “Living in the Light”

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Excerpts from Doing Ethics in Media
(www.doingmediaethics.com)

The first three rules in The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics call for journalists to “take responsibility for the accuracy of their work,” “verify information before releasing it” and “remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy. Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify.”

The average person expects journalists to tell the truth in an unbiased way. The only thing wrong with that is the incredible pressure it puts on journalists to be perfect (and never make a mistake). … The interesting … realization is how often the average person (and sometimes source being interviewed) lies. While some accuse journalists of fraudulent work, experts have found people lie each day for various reasons.