Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

By Dave Brewer

Why do so many people get it wrong, and fail to connect the dots when it comes to diagnosing and solving the problems of society like addictions, violence in our schools, cyber bullying, school drop outs, human trafficking, and mental illness?

When wolves in the Yellowstone Park area of Wyoming began to kill livestock, the farmers and ranchers were outraged and they declared war on the wolves. Reacting out of their emotions, and lacking critical analysis, by 1970 they totally eradicated wolves through poison, shooting, and trapping. Unfortunately, they did not connect the dots, they did not see the big picture, and they did not see the consequences of their decision. Wolves were a top predator in the ecosystem, and they controlled the elk and deer population. This prevented the over grazing of the aspen and berry–producing shrubs in the park that bears and other species depended upon for food. In addition, coyotes, eagles, fox, and bears fed off of wolf kills, especially during harsh winters. Without the wolves the coyotes greatly increased, which had an impact on small mammals which other species needed for food. The lynx and snowshoe hares were also impacted.

Wildlife biologists through their research realized the damage to the whole ecosystem. And finally, after extensive debate, wolves were introduced back into Yellowstone Park with the idea that their numbers would be controlled. This decision remarkably restored the health of the ecosystem. This policy was based upon facts and evidence, not upon the emotion-based decisions of the ranchers with their narrow perspective, limited knowledge, and preoccupation with self-interest.

In the same way many intellectuals looked at the American family and set out to redefine it. They rejected the stable model of the traditional family which was labelled as archaic and oppressive, and reshaped its appearance, its roles, and its definition both relationally and legally. William Bennett, former U. S. Secretary of Education wrote in his book Broken Hearth:

“Compared to a generation ago, American families today are much less stable;

marriage is far less central; divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and cohabitation

are vastly more common; and children are more vulnerable and neglected,

less well-off, and less valued. Public attitudes towards marriage, sexual ethics,

and child-rearing have radically altered for the worse. In sum, the family has

suffered a blow that has no historical precedent—and one that has enormous

ramifications for American society.”

Our liberal courts, especially the Supreme Court, have made decisions that have taken God and the Ten Commandments out of our schools, leaving many kids with no moral compass and a conscience like a Swiss cheese. The Court has legalized abortion and devalued life, redefined marriage, and created sexual identity confusion for many young people. All of these decisions have blurred moral boundaries and created broken relationships in our society. The Court, by protecting pornography under the First Amendment, has allowed our cinema, television, and video games to be flooded with unending sensuality and violence, and desensitized our kids to distortion, evil, and cruelty. And then the intellectuals wonder why teens end up with severe emotional problems, or act out violence that is so horrific. Isaiah 5:20 gives us God’s perspective: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

David Blankenhorn wrote about the foremost problem in our country in his book Fatherless America:

“Tonight, about 40% of American children will go to sleep in homes in which

their fathers do not live. Fatherlessness is the leading cause of declining

child well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent

social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse

to domestic violence against women. Yet despite its scale and social

consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored or denied.”

Our journalists, politicians, professors, judges, and community leaders champion all kinds of remedies to these problems, but they frequently lack wisdom because most of them have a secular world view. I Corinthians 2:14 says: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” They usually are ignorant of the lessons of history, and unaware that Satan is constantly at work to seduce and corrupt the hearts of the young, and dupe the minds of leaders. Our leaders seldom recognize the vital importance of building stable families led by strong fathers.

I was fortunate to grow up in a loving Christian home. When I was eight or nine years old, I was playing army men with a friend with our toy soldiers. After he left my keen-eyed mother realized that I had stolen one of his soldiers. She scolded me and promptly made me return it to him. Worst of all, I was afraid that she would tell my father, and then I would really be in trouble. From this experience I learned:

  • My parents would hold me accountable for my behavior, 2. Confession and restitution were

terribly embarrassing, and prevented further stealing, 3. You reap what you sow, (there are consequences to bad behavior), and 4. The fear of God.

When kids are not held accountable for their behavior at a young age, they do not learn lessons that might prevent them from doing unthinkable things when they are older. We have removed God from the public arena, and a God consciousness-- a fear and reverence of God, is no longer a deterrent to bad behavior for a great number of people. In fact, with young people today, the whole concept of what is good and what is “bad” is fuzzy, because our culture has drifted away from what was formerly the Christian consensus of right and wrong. Many kids today grow up with a distorted sense of entitlement, or see themselves as victims, which allows them to blame other people for their problems.

There is one indisputable truth that we know as Christians, that God has established the family to provide the nurture and protection for children as they are growing up. It is within the family that a child receives the unconditional love that provides the security and emotional support that is so essential to their well- being. Parents provide encouragement, set boundaries, teach manners and morals, model loving relationships, give praise, and discipline their kids. Mature parents help their kids manage their emotions, and to learn to think critically so they make wise decisions not based solely on their feelings. A solid family is a base of operations that allows a child or teen to venture out into the world as they are growing and maturing, and a refuge, a safe place to come home to each night.

Loving parents teach their kids resilience, and tuck their little ones safely into bed at night with prayers and kisses. Christian families make it a priority to take their kids to church and youth group. They help them to see their world from God’s perspective, and to apply biblical principles to their lives. Their kids are taught the moral compass of the Ten Commandments, and they help them understand God’s design for marriage and the gift of sex within marriage. Whenever there is a teachable moment, it is an opportunity to instill wisdom and discretion. They give their children roots and wings, and support with prayer every day, covering them with God’s providential care when they are outside of their sight. It is comforting for kids to know that their parents pray for them every day.

The Christian family is also part of a larger church family which provides a supportive community, marriage and parenting classes, youth groups, family activities, and counseling when needed. This helps the church to fulfill its redemptive mission in the world which includes building Christ-centered families, and kids who have Jesus as their cornerstone who will make a difference in this world. Psalm 112 says:

 “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands,

 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

2 comments (Add your own)

1 Mary Kay Radnich - Wed, February 28, 2018 @ 8:21 AM

I think this article is well-written, with the exception of one point - the issue surrounding abortion. Now, as a senior citizen, who was a high school student during the early 70s, I no longer believe that legislation is the "fix" for abortion. The cure is EDUCATION. When I was in school, my Christian AP Biology teacher took great pains to teach us a unit on Human Fetal Development during the Roe v. Wade controversy. I learned how a baby formed in the womb, in great detail. (And I went on to be a biology major, and I eventually worked at St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley, with John Guest). But I think that if students were taught human fetal development starting in middle school, both in youth group and in health class, and then this was repeated in more detail in high school biology and youth group, this would do far more to reduce the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies than legislation. Again, as a senior citizen, legislation just does not seem to be effective. I think having a science background will serve young men and women longer than just being told "No" and passing some laws. Thank You.
2 Dan Thompson - Sat, March 3, 2018 @ 6:47 AM

The world often doesn’t “connect the dots”. We as Christians need reminders to keep our eyes, hearts and minds on Him. Thanks Dave for your reminders of our role and influence as parents, grandparents, coworkers and church members.

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