Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...a day of public thanksgiving and prayer

Happy Thanksgiving a few days early! To get you started on the right foot, here's some information to make Thanksgiving both a day of joy and a day of learning.

Did you know?

George Washington issued a decree proclaiming a national day of thanksgiving in 1789. It was to be "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Abraham Lincoln set the national day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November in 1863, "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." Read the texts of these decrees here

Thanksgiving was made a national holiday in 1941, when Congress passed a decree and Franklin D. Roosevelet signed it, establishing Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November. Read more here (it's interesting to note the economic considerations in the decision - a great segway from conversations about the economy today!) 

Other fun Thanksgiving sites
  • Here's a fun quiz about the history of Thanksgiving you can take with your children (sponsored by FamilyEducation - some advertisements).
  • The First Thanksgiving - for kids who've ever wondered what the pilgrims ate at the first Thanksgiving (from The History Channel).
  • Mayflower Myths (The History Channel).
  • Thanksgiving Fun Facts (The History Channel).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Style and Content

If you have read Mark Twain's novels and Shakespeare's plays, you can easily tell them apart. How? Because each author's writing style is fitted to his purpose and content. 

The same thing is true about the Bible. Every book offers a different lesson, through both content and style. 

For example, the book of Deuteronomy is an incredible example of good teaching techniques. It takes a set of rules (grammar), and repeats them over and over with just a slight difference every time they are retold. Memorizing Deuteronomy forces the mind to say the same thing over and over again. The style of Deuteronomy helps us input information into our brains.

Then, the content of Deuteronomy teaches us to see the bigger story the rules highlight. Once the feasts, sacrifices, and rules are memorized, all the events and festivities of the Israelites take on a deeper meaning, as does the law itself. We begin to understand that there is a lot of depth to those laws our fathers impressed upon our hearts. We study how the Israelites lived them out. Failure, and then success. Failure, and then success.

Then Jesus comes to earth and important things happen at each feast that show how He alone can fulfill the law and provide the sacrifice. Of course! We begin to understand that the Israelites couldn’t obey with their own strength. Then we read Paul and realize neither can we obey. 

We deserve to be sacrificed at each feast. But Jesus paid the price for us, so with a wiser and happier heart, we can take the knowledge of God’s word and His world, understand our place and His purpose for us, and wisely build a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell that bears much fruit. 

Today, Thanksgiving is one week away. As we enter the holiday season, it's easy to fall into a pattern of feasting and fellowship that lacks purpose and understanding. 

Take a minute and think about what we are called to write on our hearts and minds as Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas; and Christmas, to Easter. And then ask yourself, how can we shape the style of our holiday season to reflect the content of the truth we know it represents?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Expectations for 09

Change is the buzzword this November.

Yesterday, LifeSiteNews posted a commentary by Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, called "What Homeschoolers Can Expect Under an Obama Administration."

I'm glad Smith opens with the reminder that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). 

Throughout American history, Christians have engaged in the battle to keep God's word central to education and to the home. Hosea 14:9 reminds us that "the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." 

God trusts us to raise small beings into eternal heirs reigning with His Son. It is hard work that can only be accomplished through the strength of the Holy Spirit, and He will not abandon us to complete the task alone. Whatever our expectations for our new president may be, our expectations for God can be sure and full of hope. What a comfort!

Take a look at the article: do you agree with Smith's expectations? Disagree? Have more information to include in the discussion? Share your thoughts! Let's keep the tone positive...

(If you're curious about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, check out ParentalRights.org or this post on the related blog.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Next Step for Parental Rights

Thanks to all of you who worked hard during this recent election.  It's probably no surprise to you that I usually vote Republican and am disappointed in the outcome.  But nothing is too hard for God, and He always has a purpose.  Meanwhile, I feel led to head off any upcoming issues that will take away your right to home school.

Parents who've been their children's primary educators for a long time may remember how much harder homeschooling used to be from a legal standpoint. Remember: as recently as 1982, homeschooling was against the law in most states. 

Parents' right and responsibility to act in their children's best interest is a core value for families who center their children's education at home. We take seriously the Bible verse that says, "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Mathew 18:6).

For decades, the courts have implicitly upheld parents' right to make decisions about the upbringing and education of their children. However, because there is no explicit language in the Constitution affirming parental rights as an inalienable right, those rights have recently come under threat in local court systems and in international law.

Instead of requiring the state to prove that parents are unfit to care for and educate their children, now parents must prove that they are fit.

In response, Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, has launched an initiative (ParentalRights.org) to amend the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing "the liberty of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children" unless intervention for the child’s welfare is "of the highest order and not otherwise served."

Courts have consistently acknowledged this principle but have been unable to rule on it because it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.  

If you want the government to recognize your inalienable right and responsibility to decide what is best for your child, contact your senators and representatives and urge them to support H.J. Res. 97, the Parental Rights Constitutional Amendment. You can also go online and sign a petition expressing your support or contribute financially to the initiative.

For more information about the need for a constitutional amendment or to get involved, visit ParentalRights.org

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote!

Election Day is tomorrow today, Tues. Nov. 4, 2008. 

Don't forget to vote!

Then, tell us about your experience at the polls! Did you take your children along? Vote early? Stand in line for four hours? Do you think the voting experience is different for families with young children?

Share your 1 Smart Mama story or tip for surviving Election Day! (that way, at the next election, we can all be prepared...)