Character – Our Nation Needs it More Than Ever

Let me start out by saying that ‘character’ is the foundation for which if absent, the world falls into utter chaos! Wow, how’s that for an opener! At the surface you may think this is overly dramatizing the importance of ‘character’, but I assure you I am not.

To better convey this point, let me first make a few important points. Lately, we have seen a barrage of images  in the news about the shooting of Michael Brown, of Ferguson MO.

Unless you live in a complete vacuum, you are familiar with this tragedy. Also, we now know the police office, Darryl Wilson (and his wife) are leaving the police department and most likely the general area for their safety.

We also have seen weeks of rioting occurring all over the United States as a result of the reaction of the grand jury to move to not indict offer Wilson. And so the result of all this has led to an increase in tension and chaos!

At the center of this issue is character!

Why?

Because it was character or the lack of good character that allowed a young man to think he could strong-arm rob a store for cigars, and later disregard the attempt of a police officer to stop and question him for a robbery (that he had just committed). It was also an issue of character that allowed this same young man to resist arrest and make a grab for his gun…

If all these events are true (and the robbery has been confirmed on video); then Michael Brown’s actions stemmed from a lack of good character! Lets not make excuses, it was bad character…

And what about the officer’s judgement and character?

Why did he try to stop and physically detain a young man who the officer described was clearly stronger, defiant and apparently not inclined to be physically detained? If he  had backed off and waited for back up to arrive, Michael Brown might have been arrested without injury.

Did the officer use good judgement? Or should he have waited for his back up to arrive before trying to arrest Brown? Was the officer’s attempt to grab Brown from his car door an example of trying to be ‘Macho Man’.

What was present in the officer’s judgement and character that allowed him to think that he should attempt to wrestle with someone who was un-cooperative, obviously stronger and indifferent to his initial attempt to be questioned?

Was the officer emboldened because he had a badge and a gun?

Was it a matter of duty or ego?

Who really knows?

To be honest, I am not sure what I would have done if I were in officer Wilson’s situation…

Now lets switch gears for a minute.

What about the rioters who decided that they were going to riot as a means to express their anger?

What made them think it was okay to rob and burn down local businesses?

How does hurting one’s own local business community help the matter?

Does the ‘ends justify the means’? Meaning: Is it okay to engage in utter chaos – burn and loot – just to make a point?

So now everyone that disagrees with a judicial outcome can just destroy their community?

Or were other more serious character issues present…that allowed so many to engage in criminal activities?

And what about the news reporter who published officer Wilson’s home address?

She thought she was on the right side of the issue…because from her perspective the officer showed no regard for Brown’s safety…

Do you see how this cycle of un-ending, self feeding  rationalizations  can be used to justify wrongful conduct?

It’s essentially the same state of mind that drives much of the violence in the world. And it is this mindset (to rationalize one’s wrongful behavior) that is such a pervasive character issue today. By now you see the point I made at the beginning of this post was not and is not ‘over dramatizing’ the importance of ‘character’ because the absence of good character is central to all these events.

Any time people act in ways that intentionally cause harm, hurt, and create mayhem; these are all problems that have character deficiency as a root cause. And if we don’t get a handle on ‘replenishing’ our nation’s character deficiency we are sure to see more civil unrest, fear, litigious action and soon more racially charged accusations.

Our nation watches the events of Ferguson, and yes – people do have a right to express their dissatisfaction with our judicial system but they have an obligation to do so within the confines of the law. Otherwise we have no order, we have a disorganized society of mayhem and chaos.

And keep in mind our kids are watching Ferguson and they are receiving messages from the events they see on TV and on the Internet. We have a responsibility to lead them in the paths they should go. Good character is vital to a nation, to a city and to individuals. In my next post I will speak to the issue of character as it relates to kids and what they learn from each other!

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

Character – The Missing Ingredient!

Character matters and everyone has no doubt heard this before. But why does it matter? What is so important about character and what exactly is character?

Did you know that Webster’s Dictionary defines character as: ‘the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality or:  a set of qualities that are shared by many people in a group, country, etc. and lastly: a set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things’

Interesting isn’t it?

That no where in the definition is there reference to the ethical or moral conduct of an individual… Could it be that we as a society have gotten so far away from placing importance or even recognizing conduct; that it is out of sight and out of mind?

I’m not suggesting that Webster’s Dictionary is the source for all where we derive meaning or how we define our actions as a society…but it is interesting how that as a society we have drifted so far from the founding values of that this country was built upon.

When I was a kid, there were some things that just were not going be shown on TV. Couples in their bedrooms slept in separate beds and work pajamas… We had some sense of protection from being exposed with too much in appropriate  information about sexuality and sensuous matters.

Now children have every imageable act place at their finger tips as they access the Internet. Some parents have placed little or no restrictions on their kids access and actually feed into their sense of entitlement for knowledge by taking them to see R rated movies just because the parents want to see the movie…

I’m not a prude and I understand this is 2014 and not 1914 however it makes me worry for the future of our children as they are forced to grow up too soon. What happens to the mind and psyche of a child who is forced fed millions of media messages in commercials…messages that shape their self perception.

All in the direction that marketing and advertising moguls want to feed…to your children…for a purpose that does not have their best interest in mind. So it is up to the parents to guide their children through the waters of media exposure. Do you know your values? It would be wise to be able to answer this question because if you don’t your kids will learn someone else’s.

In my next post I will talk more about character. What it is and why it’s important!

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

The Way to Cope Is by Grace.

How do we cope with those who would rob us of our joy?..

Here’s a situation that may help:

The other day I was upset..And the thing that upset me had to do with family relationships and a person who’s ‘humanity’ doesn’t allow them to understand what is the right thing to do in what is a very difficult situation..

Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee a person will do the right thing. We know that from Peter’s account (“Lord I will never deny you”)…Okay so much for good intentions! So we know  that Christians are still subject to temptation as we are all. When we know the right thing to do and we willing do the wrong thing…well to him who knows better…its sin!

I was upset because this ‘person’ selfishly decided to allow their ‘issues’ to supersede the needs above the well being of other family members…So you see those that are closest to you can do the most  harm…

And yet through it all God is in control! He holds the hearts of men and women and the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict,  not ours! So we pray for that ‘person’ to have their eyes opened. We pray for righteous conviction and for a changed heart. We  pray the Lord will be the one who reveals their wrong doing…

And we extend grace, mercy and over look their trespasses. Because just like Jesus said to those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”…

We must  have that same heart towards even those who are close to us and who offend us. And  this is the extension of Grace. It is what they do not deserve (none of us do). And God gives us the ability to do this if we are willing to ‘do the right thing’…

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

Take Time to Motivate & Inspire a Child — Today!

I recently had an opportunity to share information with a class of 4th grade students regarding what they may want to do to prepare themselves for a future career. It was very rewarding for me personally because I have had a successful career in corporate America and now I have a publishing business (and I am an author and illustrator).

Its funny how earlier in my corporate career, I was all about being highly productive, working towards business objectives and solving problems. I still enjoy that but in the arena of my publishing business model. But my point is I spent 30 years + working in business and industry yet never can I recall getting involved in working with children beyond teaching vacation bible school.

Now, I find it very interesting because I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn) that while some children may seem to be disconnected in terms of whether they are paying attention, some times you can see and make a connection. Sometimes what you say can resonate even if it isn’t necessarily apparent at the time you are speaking with them. Their minds are always evaluating what they hear from adults, as if to decide whether its authentic or not.

And if what you have to say is authentic, if its helpful and they can relate to it…you have an interested audience! Now the only question is what are you going to say that can motivate, inspire and direct them towards becoming excellent? We need more people, specifically more adults to step up to become role models and mentors for children.

I thought my generation was at a disadvantage…but the generation today, at the primary grade levels, have so much more to distract them. They are bombarded with so many conflicting messages from media, games, entertainment, peers, all of which through mediums such as every imaginable technological device…that they are on information overload before they reach middle school!

We need to understand that many parents are also overwhelmed too…So if you can make a difference, if you can carve out the time…do what you can to inspire and motivate a child today. They are after all, our country’s future!

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

Children and Why we Need to be More like Them.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the differences between adults and children, the way we process things and relate to one another. I’ve noticed that while we both want to be recognized, children really want to be affirmed.

They want to be acknowledge and remembered. I have 6 grandchildren and I instruct the primary grades as a sub teacher when I am not writing, illustrating or publishing. So, I know a little about children…

And I’ve noticed that children really like the adults in their world to acknowledge them. Its a cool thing to notice because even though you may have had to send a child to the office for some behavioral issue, the next day you see them they are often eager to greet you!

They are resilient and they love to be acknowledged even if your last encounter with them resulted in their receiving some type of discipline for unacceptable behavior. I think that’s cool. They know how to forgive and move on with the thing much better than adults.

Adults are so burdened with the weight of trying to reconcile our emotions and thoughts about one another. We attribute intent to other’s actions and we spend a lot of time analyzing our actions. So if we are offended by another adult, it takes more time to process whether we want to be on friendly terms with them again. That is the problem with growing up.

We lose our childlike instincts to just say ‘Ok, I’m sorry’. Being an adult means many things, most of which are great in terms of privileges however when it comes to relationships we are so much at a disadvantage as compared to children.

I think Christ loved the simplicity at which children process things. He loved their hearts. Their ability to accept without judging and scrutinizing, doubting and being sarcastic. Their ability to have faith in something without having to know how it works…

Adults are so skeptical. We need to have empirical proof of everything because the world has taught us to not trust others. We have learned to not accept but rather challenge all suppositions. These are things the world teaches you after you have lived enough minutes on this planet…We can learn a lot from children.

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

Made in His Image

The other day I was thinking about how incredible it is that we have the ability to travel so freely about this world. In the last two months, I’ve been on a few airplanes and landed in a different state (and a different continent).

I know it’s common, to see planes and or even just get in a car and drive several miles to a location that one would not consider walking to. You might say ‘well that’s nothing to get excited about’ because driving and flying are every day occurrences.

I think about how we have used our brains and hands to make mechanical devices that we then get aboard and fly through the air! Or we ride in contraptions that go far faster than we could ever hope to run! And we do this every day without a second thought.

It’s a trip! Literally and figuratively, to think that a human should be able to defy the laws of gravity and transport themselves over thousands of miles and to do so with little or no real concern (other than the cost to do so).

Our not to distant ancestors could not even think about such a thing. To have lived in the early 1800s meant if you wanted to go somewhere of significant distance, you were riding on an animal. It wasn’t until the steam engine and steam trains that mass transportation became a reality in Western society.

And through advances in technology, we now get into space ships and fly out of the atmosphere to other planets! Just think about all the moving parts in a car or better yet, a passenger jet that must move and spin, turn and twist so that propulsion and speed are possible.

How did this happen? After all, are we not just mere human beings? We don’t have wings on our backs or the ability to run like a cheetah! What or rather Who gives us the right to fly through the air? And what will we be able to do tomorrow?

In Genesis, Chapter 1 Verse 26 it says:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – NIV

We know that God is a creator because He made the Earth and everything in it. He placed all the natural resources that He knew would be needed to refine the materials necessary to build our cars, planes, cell phones, boats, etc. He also made us to be inventors and use our creative minds to dream, conceive, design and construct these things.

We are creators of these incredible inventions and devices because He made us in His image. He is the ultimate Creator of all Heaven and Earth, and we inherited our God given creative abilities to have dominion over the Earth. It is for this same reason that animals such as lions and tigers, bears and sharks, no matter their physical size or power, will ever stand a chance against the devices of man.

We were made to be rulers over this planet and we do so by our abilities to create and invent. So the next time you get in your car, or aboard a plane, take a moment to realize we are able to do such things only because we are made in His image.

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing

The Answer

I was watching the news today and saw a shocking story about 3 teens who shot to death, a young man who was visiting the US from Australia. The story said the young man was out jogging and the teens drove up from behind and shot him for the ‘fun’ of it and they just wanted to see someone die…

This story is just about as senseless an event as there could ever be. Senseless in terms of the reason these teens committed this act. And it occurred to me that our country and its youth have reached a new low. We have degraded to the point where innocent people cannot walk out the door with out concern for some unstable idiot with a vendetta against society who has access to a gun.

This brings up the whole issue of guns and their proliferation in America. I have no problem with guns because in the right hands, a gun is a tool for keeping the peace and for providing protection. Its when they fall into the wrong hands that we see the countless number of tragedies.

I’m sure there will be arguments about what the right measures need to be to ensure guns do not fall into the wrong hands…but I am concerned about another precipitating factor: the psyche of those who feel they must use a gun against society or the public for personal or private reasons.

Regardless of how a gun gets into the wrong hands…there seems to be an emergence of crazies who feel no sense of moral regard for innocent people or lives. Doesn’t matter if the victims are senior citizens or elementary grade school children. The crazies seem to feel that everyone is fair game and the only thing that seems to matter is they have unleashed their vengeance on the public.

I don’t ever recall a time in my life time where there was so much blatant disregard for human life or such callous attitudes for those who commit such actions. Its like we are living in ‘Thunderdome’ and I fully expect ‘Mad Max’ to appear out on the streets.

I am reminded of a scripture in the book of Matthew (24:12) that says “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” And I think about this generation. I think about how cold  some have become and how devoid of love their hearts have to be take out their rage on innocent lives.

More stringent gun control legislation may help but it is not the real answer. Love is the answer. Love your neighbor as your self is part of the real answer. Embracing the love of Christ with the understanding He gave His life to be a ransom for you and I, to redeem us; that is the real answer.

We will see real change when hearts and minds are won over to Christ. The forgiveness and grace of God, that says He knows how depraved we are… yet He still loves, forgives and accepts us as His own, that is what changes lives.

So when we see another story on TV that horrifies us…just know that there are many people who need to know that God cares about them…that we have a responsibility to communicate this to our world and that if they only realized this before they became so desperate…perhaps we could have saved some lives.

If you wish to learn more about us please stop by our site: http://www.wagpub.com

Be blessed and have a great day!

WAG Publishing