Parents as Educators

Parents as Educators – First published in the Church of God Evangel Magazine August 2006

There has been much controversy regarding the type and quality of education our children receive. The public schools complain that the parents take no interest in their children’s education and blame low grades, truancy, and delinquency on that belief. The parents, in turn, blame the schools, citing lack of discipline, lack of dedicated teachers, and poor teaching methods as the reason for low grades, truancy, delinquency, and adult illiteracy.

Some parents have chosen either to homeschool or to enroll their children in private schools as their solutions. Most parents, due to finances, job demands or larger families, have had no choice but to keep their children in public schools. The parents demand a better education for their children. The schools cry out for more money, even though many question the allocation of current funding. This has become a vicious cycle with parents and schools on opposing sides, and the children are stuck in the middle, without voice or empowerment regarding their own education.

I am a single parent of two grown children and have dealt directly with public schools and private schools on these issues. I decided upon a different course of action with each of my children when the situation became intolerable in our public school system. This was done after much prayer and research based on their individual personalities, gifts, talents, and future plans.

I pulled my son out of public school in his junior year due to an assault and battery in the classroom between classes. I homeschooled him for the remainder of the school year, and he earned his GED at age 17. He went to work full-time and soon found a job with a small computer manufacturer, where he learned how to build computers. He later moved to a larger computer company, where he studied and became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) at age 21.

The counselors at our public school had wanted to push him toward a college-prep program, but I knew my son has always been a hands-on learner with no desire to attend a four-year college. What this large, inner city school was not able to do was give students individual attention for their specific learning styles and talents or to consider their future goals and plans.

When my daughter was in middle school and planning for high school, this same school district took a very different approach. She was put into the traditional, general program, even though her grades were high, her work was always done early, and she had declared her major and college choice at ten years old. When she asked for more challenging work, they told her to “read a book.” My daughter actually lost interest in reading because of this forced, dry, continual excuse for not challenging her academically.

When I tried to withdraw her on open enrollment, the school refused to release her, based on some measurement of racial balance. Since I knew the violence there was not a temporary problem but a long-term one, I decided to homeschool her for one year and then I enrolled her in a Christian high school in a neighboring city. This school is a long-established, college prep, fine arts school that made it possible for my daughter to attend with the help of financial aid. My daughter went on to earn her education at her college of choice and is now a music teacher at a music studio.

She would never have been properly prepared for this by our local public school because they had pigeonholed her in the wrong category in middle school. Throughout this decision-making process, I researched at great lengths the pros and cons of home education and private schools versus public schools, based on the options available to me. I believe I made the best, most informed decision for my family.

For those who are still facing these decisions, there are many things to consider. Some strong proponents of public school argue that only public schools offer the best opportunities for extracurricular activities. I found that this Christian school offered the same extracurricular opportunities. Also, some homeschool groups join together to offer their children these same opportunities.

Some say public schools do offer their high academic standards, and I agree. I have found, both in my personal experience and in my research that academic standards vary with each individual school, whether it’s public, private, or homeschool. I also found that fine arts opportunities are rare in anything but a private school.

Finally, some argue that parents who choose private schools or home education are overprotecting their children by sheltering them from unsavory conditions that they likely will eventually have to face in the world. To this argument, I answer an adamant, yes! Our children are precious gifts from God. He has given us our children as a heritage and a reward (Psalm 127:3-5). They come to us as tender, innocent lambs, and it is the parents’ responsibility to protect them and shield them from as much danger and evil as possible. Parents are their children’s first and most lasting teachers (Proverbs 1:8, 9).

God has commanded us as parents to train, teach, and protect our children (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:1-9). In all things, we are to demonstrate our love for them. This is a mirror of God’s love for us. God created each human being in His image, and our children are the most precious fruit of the Kingdom. They are the only things of this life that we can take to Heaven with us. We must pass down a Godly heritage to them if they are to continue to carry God’s Word to the world and enjoy His blessings. We must teach them that no matter what wind of doctrine is presented, the final authority is God, and this authority is found in God’s Word.

Each family must choose the best education for their individual children based on their needs and their situation. This must be done prayerfully. Some families may find they are blessed with good, quality, public schools with many opportunities. Others may be stuck in an inner-city school with no other options. Still others may be able to utilize home-schooling or private schools.

Whatever decision is made, we must actively teach basic Biblical foundation at home. God never intended the church or school to be parents. We need to instill in our children their rightful identity and heritage. They are created by God, in His image. We and our children are not simply higher forms of animals that are bound by uncontrollable physical desires. Neither are we our own gods or creators, able to improve ourselves by our own power or override God’s laws.

Let us pray constantly for our children’s protection and for God’s wisdom and guidance for the wondrous task of training them to reflect the image of Christ in their lives. Then, when our children are properly equipped, they will be able to go out into the world and carry out the Great Commission, which was given to us by Christ just before His ascension into Heaven.

Public Speaking

Public speaking is said to be one of the greatest fears of the average person, more so than even fear of heights. But, part of the fear of public speaking comes from not knowing how to put words together in a manner that will get and keep the audience’s attention. Some speakers are talented writers and prefer to write their own speeches. Some are talented writers but may not have the time required to write their speeches amid their other responsibilities. Others may be charismatic speakers but they are not experienced writers.

Regardless of where you fit in this description, you can rest in knowing there are talented speech writers who can provide you with the words you need, in the manner you need them, in a timely manner, at a reasonable cost. Giving a speech is telling a story. There are several ways you can tell the same story. A speech writer’s job is to take the facts you provide and create a story that will evoke a desired response in the audience.

I have been a freelance writer for more than twenty years and specifically a freelance speech writer for more than four years. I have written speeches for weddings, memorials, retirement, graduation, birthdays, business presentations, and keynote speeches. I have written speeches for clients in the United States and around the world.

Contact me at my email address m_raulston@hotmail.com or call me at 614-507-7893 to request more information about hiring me to write your upcoming speech.

Why I Continue to Tell My Story

Ever since God healed and delivered me many years ago I have made a point to tell my story, to give my personal testimony. Despite the fact that it occurred many years ago, my story is ongoing. My life is nothing today like it would have been had I remained broken and under the control of my abuser.

But God! Although I was saved at 13, at 19 I was completely untrained in how to choose a husband, completely naïve in male/female interactions, and totally inexperienced in using my gift of discernment. Add to that abusers are known to be charming beyond belief during the dating phase and only gradually build their control, manipulation, and abuse over time. I was married for several months before I saw any inkling of his manipulation, control or abuse. Being a Christian I was not one to simply give up and run home to mommy, not that I’d have been received by mommy.

After spending 14 years doing everything humanly and Biblically possible to save my marriage, I was finally forced to divorce my husband for the safety of me and my children. I spent the next 4 years suffering from PTSD even though it was diagnosed as such back then. In interviewing counselors for my ministry and my book I’ve been assured that the symptoms I experienced were indeed PTSD. I was a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual basket case. And, then God reached down and healed and delivered me.

For those of you who still want to show me pity, take a fresh look at me. I’m no longer broken. God has recreated me and given me a new life filled with his presence, one of joy, peace, and freedom of fear.

For those of you who only want to hear the happy ending, I have some questions for you.

How can you appreciate the Victory over Japan without knowing about Pearl Harbor?

How can you appreciate the Victory in Europe without knowing about D-Day, Normandy, or the Jewish Holocaust?

How can you appreciate the Resurrection of Christ without knowing about the Crucifixion?

And how can you possibly appreciate the work God did in my life until you know something of the hell I lived?

So, I will continue to share my story, as God leads me, to those who will listen. And, after I share my history I will tell them the miracle of healing and deliverance God did in my life and the joy, peace, and freedom from fear I now experience with God.

 

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. As a former victim, I make a point to speak out not just for myself, but for all the women who are still trapped in abusive relationships. I also make it a point to speak out about God’s healing and deliverance from the post-traumatic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of abuse.

There are many stereotypes attached to the subject of domestic violence, which is a very neutral sounding term for a very intimate attack against a person. This is not a violent act done to a person by a stranger. This is an ongoing assault done by one family member against another family member. That is what makes it so devastating to the victim. It’s one thing to react and deal with an assault done by a stranger. It’s quite another to react and deal with an assault done by someone you love and who professes his love to you. Add to that the fact that the assault is ongoing over the length of the relationship.

There are several different types of domestic violence and each has its own dynamics. There is verbal, which includes mental and emotional abuse. There is physical which includes hitting, slapping, shoving, or use of any weapons against the body of the victim. Another type of abuse is social, which includes manipulation and control, and isolation from family and friends. Yet another form of abuse is financial which includes controlling when and where a victim can accept employment, whether or not a victim advances their education and/or employment training, and controlling how much of the victim’s income she actually gets to keep. Of all of these, the one given the most attention is physical. The reason for that is because physical abuse is the only kind that is prosecutable.

Over the month of October, I will be writing about domestic violence: the facts, the history, the causes, the effects and the needs of the victim so she can get free and find healing and wholeness.

My first book, Home Should be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, is available for sale on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Home-Should-Be-Safe-Domestic/dp/1467542075/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475457915&sr=8-1&keywords=Home+Should+Be+Safe%3A+Hope+and+Help+for+Domestic+Violence+Victims

I am currently working on my second book, a companion to this one. The title is Roadmap to Healing and Wholeness which should be complete by the end of 2016. Keep watching my blog for updates on its progress.

 

Post Traumatic Mess No More

It’s only been in recent years that post-traumatic stress has been diagnosed for anyone other than those in the military who served in a war zone. But, doctors have realized that any life altering experience can cause the same effects, whether it be an accident or abuse. My divorce papers in 1989 stated the cause of the divorce as extreme cruelty. As I interviewed multiple counselors over the years as I researched my articles and my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, they told me that the symptoms I experienced would be diagnosed as PTSD today.

A lot of people I knew gave up on me because they didn’t know what to do with me. But, thankfully, my true friends stuck by me and God never gave up on me. In my last post, I shared how God healed me from all of that post-traumatic mess. That healing was the first step on my journey to wholeness. In my book, I share my full testimony and the visions of my healing that God gave me.

It has been 27 years since my divorce and God has blessed my journey in so many ways. We use to sing a song in church choir about God putting the pieces of our puzzle back together. I remember asking God how he could do that if all the pieces weren’t there anymore. God’s response was truly priceless. He said, “Child, I will simply build you a new puzzle.” And that is what he has done. God has built me a brand new life, one that is totally different.

Before I was insecure and had negative self-esteem. I couldn’t seem to move beyond mere survival. But as God’s healing progressed I grew spiritually and gained confidence. Over the years, by the grace and strength of God, I raised my two children and cared for my mother until she passed away. I have completed two college degrees and God is redesigning my career.

My brokenness was from spousal abuse, but God heals from all types of brokenness. It is God’s will for each of us to be whole. God took my brokenness, healed me, delivered me and built me a brand new life. Instead of walking through the rest of my life with a mental, emotional and spiritual limp, I now walk in God’s love and joy, filled with hope for my future in Christ.

If you are still suffering, if you are still broken, I encourage you to reach out to Jesus, right where you are, and ask him to “make the hurting go away”, as I did. Jesus is still the answer, the only answer. God created medicine and one of his disciples was a doctor. But, He wants us to know that you don’t have to settle.

If you need healing, if you need prayer, please respond to this post. If you have questions please ask them and I’ll do my best to answer.

Finding Wholeness

 

Many years ago I made the most difficult decision of my life and divorced my abusive husband of 14 years. For nearly four years after I was a post-traumatic mess. Then, I had an encounter with God that changed my life completely.

I didn’t get better with medicine and counseling, I got better when God healed and delivered me. I did utilize counseling and medicine for the short term while I tried to figure out how to build a new life. Then I attended a ladies retreat with the ladies from my church. It was our annual ladies’ retreat on Mother’s Day weekend and we stayed at a quaint, country inn.

By this time I had prayed every prayer I knew how to pray and claimed every scripture I could find that remotely related to my circumstances. I had come to the end of myself and all I knew. I prayed the only prayer I had left. “Father, please make the hurting go away.”

When I finished praying I felt an anvil lift from my chest, and my spirit felt free for the first time in years. Over the next few months God’s healing process continued and I began the journey to find my wholeness.

My Mission Statement and Declaration of Faith

I am a Christian. Because I am a Christian I seek to honor and glorify God in all that I do, whether it is volunteer work or a paying job, and whether it is my regular day job or my freelance work. God gifted me with my writing talent. For that reason, my mission with my writing is to use what I speak and what I write to point people to Christ. I will do that first, by being the best writer I can be and constantly striving to improve my craft. Talent is what God gave me; craft is how I use it.

I do two types of writing. The first is writing for hire, meaning I write articles and speeches assigned to me by clients. As a freelancer, I have the freedom to accept or decline these jobs. For these, I stay on task and write what my clients’ request, but I also am careful to only accept jobs that do not contradict God’s word or my conscience. I make this choice on a case by case basis.

The second type of writing I do is creative writing of my choosing, mostly non-fiction and soon some fiction. This writing is done on subjects of my choosing, from a point of view of my choosing, and submitted to publishers I have researched carefully before submission. My goal is to build up this type of writing so that it eventually it becomes the greater portion. But, as a freelance writer, I know I have to balance my work so that I can earn a living. This is obviously a work in progress of its own.

Everyone has a conscience and that conscience must come from a foundation of belief. My foundation, as a Christian, is the Word of God. I am a member of The Summit Church in Springfield, OH, which is part of the Church of God International, headquartered in Cleveland, TN.

Here is my declaration of faith:

  • I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
  • I believe in a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
  • I believe Jesus came to ministry at age 30, was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead at age 33. (Wow! Look what one man accomplished in only three years)
  • I believe that Jesus ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of God as our Intercessor. (That means when the devil tries to tell God about our sins, if we have repented and accepted him as our savior, Jesus says, “Their sins are under my blood and forgiven.”)
  • I believe that according to the Word of God, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means each and every one of us needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness.
  • I believe that according to the Word of God, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That means each and every one of us needs to repent and ask God’s forgiveness of our sins.
  • I believe that we are justified and sanctified, and we become born again by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, through the Word of God and the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that we are to strive to live a Holy life as directed in the Word of God.
  • I believe in the Baptism by the Holy Ghost, subsequent to a clean heart, and in speaking with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives utterance, which is the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe that all who repent should receive water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
  • I believe in Divine healing, provided for all of us through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • I believe in the Lord’s Supper and the washing of Saint’s feet.
  • I believe in the Premillennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ. First to the resurrection of the righteous dead and the catching away of the living Saints to meet Jesus in the air. Second for us to reign with Jesus on Earth for a thousand years.
  • I believe in bodily resurrection with eternal life for the righteous, and eternal punishment for the wicked.
  • I also believe we are in the last days, based upon all the wickedness that is increasing in our world every day.
  • God has been my rock, my fortress, my provider and my protector since I was a seven-year-old child. He raised me from childhood to adulthood. He has cared for me, comforted me, and loved me every day through all the good and the bad.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please seek him out. Read his Word, seek out a good church, ask Christians around you to tell you their testimony. And please feel free to ask me questions. I do my best to live by these principles and I freely tell anyone who will listen about my Savior, my Best Friend, and my Big Brother.