Links & Quotes

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Some good reading and watching from today…

[VIDEO] John Maxwell has a great word for leaders: Don’t.

God is very careful to whom He speaks. It is only to those who value His voice so much that they shut out the whole world to get alone and wait for Him.” Read more from David Wilkerson on prayer in his post It’s Time To Close The Door.

This girl responded to bullying in a unique way.

If someone asks Planned Parenthood for help, they respond, “Sure, we’ll help you have an abortion.”

Eric Metaxas has a great post on the situation in Houston: Hand Over Your Sermon, Or Else.

“We who follow Christ are men and women of eternity. We must put no confidence in the passing scenes of the disappearing world. We must resist every attempt of satan to palm off upon us the values that belong to mortality. Nothing less than forever is long enough for us.” —A.W. Tozer

Because divorce runs so rampant even in the church, it makes sense that we tend to overcompensate by emphasizing marriage more than Scripture does. But by doing so, we may be hurting marriages rather than mending them.” See what Francis Chan has to say about Marriage On The Edge Of Eternity.

“He will be the best Christian who has Christ for his Master, and truly follows Him. Some are disciples of the church, others are disciples of the minister, and a third sort are disciples of their own thoughts; he is the wise man who sits at Jesus’ feet and learns of Him, with the resolve to follow His teaching and imitate His example. He who tries to learn of Jesus Himself, taking the very words from the Lord’s own lips, binding himself to believe whatsoever the Lord hath taught and to do whatsoever He hath commanded—he I say, is the stable Christian.” —Charles Spurgeon

[INFOGRAPHIC] Ebola facts.

5 Noteworthy Quotes In “Stand Strong”

Stand StrongNick Vujicic does an excellent job in his book Stand Strong in helping students, parents, and teachers learn how to overcome bullies. You can read my full review of Stand Strong by clicking here.

I have already shared some of Nick’s quotes from this book, and some quotes specifically relating to the emotional toll bullying can have on those being picked on. Nick also makes the point that there are some invaluable lessons to be learned by overcoming adversity in our lives. Here are some of the quotes that Nick shared in his excellent book.

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” —Epicurus

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. … You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” —Walt Disney

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” —Billy Graham

“Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were voiced by people who were faced with crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other difficult situations.” —Joni Eareckson Tada

“Friendships provide a context in which children develop, but of course so do negative peer relations. … We should expect that both types of relationships, as different as they are, present opportunities for growth.” — psychologist Maurissa Abecassis

4 Quotes About Emotional Health In “Stand Strong”

Stand StrongIn Stand Strong, Nick Vujicic shares the hard-won strategies he learned to overcome bullies. You can read my full review of Stand Strong by clicking here.

I already shared some of Nick’s quotes from this book, but I wanted a separate post to highlighted a key issue in bullying. One of the biggest tolls on a person being bullied is in their emotional health. One of the chapters I highlighted the most had to do with this important area, so below are a few good reminders.

“I encourage you to keep this phrase in your mind when faced with bullying: You can say terrible things to me, but you can’t touch who I am inside. You can’t make me feel badly about myself. I know who I am, and I stand on my own.”

“We have emotions for a reason. They don’t just come over us by chance, even though it sometimes may seem that way. Asking where your emotions come from and assessing why you feel the way you feel are critical parts of creating self-awareness and asserting self-control over your actions. It’s important to know what triggers your emotions so you can better control your responses in ways that benefit you over the long term. Managing negative emotions is an important part of your bully defense system, and it is also a key to living a more successful life. People who let their negative emotions control their actions tend to feel out of control, insecure, and unhappy. Those who act based on a thoughtful process for monitoring and managing such emotions tend to be more successful, more confident, and happier.”

“Emotions are natural and you feel what you feel. But the quality of your life is greatly affected by the choices you make in responding to your feelings. You see, a space, a time interval, and an opportunity between the point at which you feel something and the point at which you act on that feeling. This space is a gift. … Psychologists say people who learn to use this space wisely are generally much more successful in life than those who either ignore it or don’t use it well. This is the space where you can take control, make smart decisions, and put yourself in a position to determine your own destiny. … When you use the space to think about your response and to decide what is best for you over the long term, you are practicing self-awareness and self-control. This is called ‘response flexibility,’ and it is a sign of emotional intelligence.”

“Here’s something to consider: your negative emotions can be like bullies inside you. They try to provoke a response from you that may not be in your best interest. So if you simply do what those bad feelings stir you to do, you are just giving in to another bully in your life.”

11 Quotes From Nick Vujicic In “Stand Strong”

Stand StrongStand Strong is an invaluable resource for school-age students, their parents, and teachers and principals in our schools. Nick Vujicic uses his own life as an example of how to overcome bullies. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes from the author I highlighted in this book.

“If someone hurt you, then become the person who reaches out to others who are hurting. If you were not treated with compassion, then change that pattern by offering compassion to others. If no one stood up for you, then stand up for someone else.” 

“What happens in our lives isn’t about chance. It’s about choice. You and I may not be able to stop bullies and thoughtless people from saying and doing hurtful things, but we do have the ultimate power—the power to choose how we respond and how we live.”

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to fit in and be accepted, but there is something wrong with abandoning your values and beliefs to do it. … Try this instead: Be so comfortable with yourself that other people feel comfortable with you too. Create a life that makes you so joyful that they will want to share in your happiness.” 

“Being secure and comfortable in your identity, trusting that you have value, and having a strong sense of your purpose are important in every aspect of life. Those qualities also help make you less vulnerable to bullying. … If we let bullies drag us down with their cruelty and meanness, why can’t we pull ourselves back up by being friends to ourselves and building up our confidence and spirits when we need a boost? … So here’s my suggestion for a simple, easy-to-apply, no muss, no fuss first step to building your antibully 1.0 operating system. Be a friend to yourself. Forgive your mistakes, your flaws, and your failures. Be kind to yourself instead. Focus on the good.”

“What’s easier to hit, a sitting duck or a rabbit on the run? If bullies are looking for someone to hit, their last choice will be a moving target, someone who has it in gear with the pedal to the metal on the road to a better life.” 

“If you are generous to others, you will feel better about yourself, and that makes it more difficult for bullies or anyone else to get to you.”

“Being gentle isn’t about being weak. … Being gentle is more about practicing humility, giving up the need to be right, putting other people first, being a good listener and a good friend, protecting those who are being abused, and comforting those in need. … Many of the strongest and most admirable people I know are gentle spirits who don’t have to prove how tough they are on the outside because they are so strong on the inside.” 

“Psychologists say the more social interactions we have—the closer we are to family members, and the more friends and acquaintances we have—the less likely it is that a bully can isolate us as targets.”

“One of the key facts about relationships: people respond to you and treat you according to the way you act, not the way you think or feel.” 

“The people I want to keep close and trust the most are those who make me want to be better, smarter, more loving, more open minded, more collaborative, more trustworthy, more empathetic, more faith filled, more God loving, more grateful, more forgiving, and more open to opportunities to serve God and those around me. These are the type of friends that will make you and me bully proof.”

“I encourage you to develop empathy for others, like the Good Samaritan showed. Please do everything you can to protect others from emotional and physical harm caused by bullies. … Stand together so no one will stand alone!” 

 

Stand Strong (book review)

Stand StrongNick Vujicic was born without arms or legs, as a result, he said he grew up being a “bully’s dream.” But Nick is an overcomer! He conquered his bullies, and in his book Stand Strong he wants to help students learn to conquer their bullies too.

Nick explains, “Your bully’s motives don’t matter. You do. Your safety and your happiness are more important to me and everyone else who loves and cares about you; so instead of focusing on why a bully is picking on you, let’s focus on helping you feel secure and happy again. … I will help you build your antibully antibodies.”

Using his own life as an example, Nick shares the raw emotions he felt when he was picked on by bullies. He is also transparent enough to share all the wrong ways he tried to avoid being bullied, and ultimately how he discovered the pattern for successfully navigating the bullies that come along all our paths. As Nick wraps up the book he observes, “Seriously, here is the idea I’m asking you to consider: what if you could find ways to learn and grow from being bullied? What if you took a bully’s hurtful actions and turn them into lessons learned so that you became stronger, wiser, and more confident?”

I found the steps in Nick’s Antibullying system to be steps that can be immediately applied. They are very do-able! And they will indeed make students stronger, wiser, and more confident.

This is a book I would recommend to not only school-aged students, but also parents, teachers, and school principals. If everyone could get together on the same program, the results would lead to a completely new environment in our schools.

I am a Waterbook book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.” See what else Eric Metaxas shares in Men Who Serve And Protect.

“A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.” —C.S. Lewis

“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

The state of California is going to pay abortion providers more money to kill babies. Guess where the funds are coming from? Yep, those doctors who are trying to save lives will be paid less! Bishop Jaime Soto speaks out.

Planned Parenthood wrote an open letter saying the word abortion is not mentioned in Scripture, so that somehow makes it okay to kill innocent lives. Pastor Garrett Kell has a wonderful, biblical response.

In a Family Talk interview with Ryan Dobson, here are some great quotes from Nick Vujicic: “Fear will disable you more than your physical limitations. … When we give God our broken pieces, he can turn our broken pieces into something beautiful. … You’re not important because of how many people know you; you’re important because you’re a child of God. … Don’t be a bystander, be on stand by. I will not allow a bully to bully others. I will not laugh at his jokes, I will not remain silent. I will stand up and say ‘Enough is enough.’”

“Our resources are the Christlikeness we win while immersed in battle. They are the lessons, the faith, the character we gain from warfare with the enemy.” —David Wilkerson

Understanding Sexting

uKnowkids logoSexting is something parents MUST be aware of. It is beyond unhealthy and unsafe, it is an outright danger to your son or daughter!

In case you haven’t heard the term before, sexting is the sending of suggestive sexual messages, or suggestive, nude or semi-nude pictures via text. It galls me to think that we’ve given our kids cell phone so we can keep them safe, and that same cell phone is being used to rob their innocence, put them in embarrassing situations, and placing them in very dangerous places.

In Understanding Sexting I read some alarming statistics:

  • 28% of teens admitted to having sent a sext
  • Three-quarters of teens that sext also admitted to having sexual intercourse
  • Kids involved in sexting are twice as likely to experience psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide
  • Sexts are quickly becoming the preferred way of cyber-bullying

uknowkids.com has made available a very easy-to-read guide on the topic of sexting. Understanding Sexting can be read very quickly, and it will help you as a parent to be aware of the dangers your kids face, give you some discussion-starter ideas with your kids, as well as sharing some technology tools we can use to keep our kids safe.

“The single biggest deterrent to this risky behavior is parental involvement.” Understanding Sexting

Understanding Sexting is a FREE e-book from uknowkids.com. Click here to be taken directly to the download page.

Don’t turn a blind eye to this dangerous use of technology that your kids are probably holding in their hand right now. Read this book and talk to your kids. Let’s keep them safe!

Bullying

UnstoppableI wish this were not so: Bullying is real.

This is a hot-button issue for me, because there is something in my personality that gets fired up by a bully, more than almost any other issue. Bullies are truly cowards, but to the one being bullied at school or at work, that doesn’t seem true. Many times someone getting bullied feels they are all alone, which is why others need to be aware and step in to help.

In his book Unstoppable, Nick Vujicic talks about when he was bullied at school (you can read my book review of Unstoppable by clicking here). He then offers a list of symptoms to be aware of in someone close to you.

Common signs that someone is the victim of bullying include:

  • Increased reluctance to go to school or work events that peers attend
  • Refusing to discuss the day’s events upon coming home
  • Torn clothing, unexplained injuries, and stolen items
  • Asking for extra money to take to school
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Reporting headaches, stomach problems, and nervousness before leaving and upon returning home
  • Reporting an inability to sleep or having bad dreams
  • Increased problems concentrating
  • Major changes in eating habits, either more or less
  • Little or no social interaction with peers
  • Self-harming through cutting, scratching, hair pulling, and other means
  • Appearing fearful to leave the house
  • Running away from home
  • Sudden drop in school or work performance
  • Dramatic darkening of mood before leaving and upon returning home
  • Negative and self-critical expressions

From his personal experience, Nick also offers this wise advice—

If you are a victim of bullying, remember that the most important battle you must win is the one within. What someone else says or does to you should never define who you are. God created you for a purpose. You have value in His eyes. Put your faith in that, and then put that faith into action by rising above any criticism, gossip, or abuse that happened in the past. You were perfectly made by God. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. A bully wants you to believe that you are less than you are, because putting you down makes the bully feel superior. You don’t have to play that game. Focus instead on building upon your gifts. God will take care of the rest. Joy and fulfillment will come as you walk the path created for you and only you.

If someone is bullying you at school or at work, please tell someone close to you. Trust me: they want to help you!

Let’s be aware of these telltale signs in those we love, and then step in to help where needed. A great resource to help you navigate the nasty world of bullying is The Jeremiah Project 51. Please click on the link and check out their resources.

Unstoppable (book review)

UnstoppableNick Vujicic didn’t just write a book called Unstoppable, he embodies unstoppable!

If you are not familiar with Nick’s amazingly encouraging story, check out his first book called Life Without Limbs. In Unstoppable, Nick presents an uplifting follow-up for those facing some of the darkest situations of life: sickness, bullying, suicidal thoughts, purposelessness, lost love, and dead-ends.

Nick weaves together his own life story with those he has interacted with, and ties them all together with a solid strand of scriptural truth. This is not some pie-in-the-sky, three-steps-to-happiness, sappy self-help book. It rings with genuineness because Nick lives out the message of hope. Make no mistake about it, he is realistic about how dark these situations can seem, but instead of offering any get-better-quick schemes, Nick shares the hope that can only come from trusting in a loving Creator.

In the first chapter Nick writes—

I wish I could tell people that if they love God, everything will be okay. The truth is that people still stuffer. They endure sickness, financial problems, broken relationships, and the loss of loved ones. Tragedies occur in every life, and I believe we are meant to learn from them. My hope is that when people who are in pain see that I have a joyful life, they will think, If Nick—without arms and legs—is thankful, then I will be thankful for today, and I will do my best.

From start to finish, this book oozes with unstoppable hope and encouragement!

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

Quotes From “From Santa To Sexting”

If you are parent of children middle school age or younger, or if you are a teacher or youth pastor that works with this age group, I cannot urge you strongly enough to read From Santa To Sexting (you can read my review here).

These are some quotes from this book that really got me thinking…

Sexual Activity & Sexual Roles

“What helps young adolescents accept a heterosexual sex role identity? Psychiatrist David P. Ausubel, the author of Theory And Problems of Adolescent Development, writes that accepting a heterosexual sex role is aided by the following: 1) witnessing a happy marriage between parents; 2) having positive experiences with the opposite sex; and 3) possessing a strong, positive identification with the parent of the same sex. …In addition, Ausubel believes that parents exert a strong influence on their adolescent’s adoption of a particular biological sex role. For example, if the parent of the opposite sex is negative about the sex role of his child, the child will find it difficult to identify with that role. Suppose a father, for example, put his wife down and is negative about women. Then his impressionable young daughter will find it hard to embrace her femininity and identify with her own sex. The converse is true for boys. According to Ausubel, the preadolescent, depending on the ‘psychological climate’ of his home, may adopt one of three attitudes toward gender: 1) acceptance, leading to heterosexuality; 2) rejection, leading to homosexuality or asexuality (the renunciation of all sexual expression); and 3) ambivalence, resulting in bisexuality, perversion, or sexual delinquency.”

“The evidence is that early sexual experience has consequences for both boys and girls. Joe McIlhaney, MD, an obstetrician and coauthor of the book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, told us that ‘sex is a primary stimulator and molder of the brain. When we have sex, the body secrets the hormone dopamine, and that makes us want to do it again and again. That’s one of the primary reasons to abstain from sex when you’re young, because it becomes addictive.’ He adds, ‘The body also secrets the hormone oxytocin, that some label the love hormone—a hormone that seems to contribute to a girl’s trusting a man she is intimate with and also bonding to him emotionally.’ Then comes the breakup. McIlhaney continues, ‘When young people break up, MRIs show that the pain center of the brain lights up. Emotional and physical pain are felt in the same brain center.’ McIlhaney believes that when kids have multiple breakups, they seem to contribute to their losing their ability to forge lasting connections or attachments with the opposite sex. In addition, they sometimes become depressed and some become suicidal.”

Empathy 

“Sensing what others feel without their saying so captures the essence of empathy. Others rarely tell us in words what they feel; instead, they tell us in their tone of voice, facial expressions, or other nonverbal ways. The ability to sense these subtle communications builds on more basic competencies, particularly self-awareness and self-control. Without the ability to sense our own feelings—to keep them from swamping us—we would be hopelessly out of touch with the moods of others.” —Daniel Goleman 

“Empathy has twin components—one in the affective or emotional area and the other in the cognitive. On other words, we feel the distress of others from birth, but as we grow and our brain develops, we begin to think about what they are feeling and can decide how to help the poor, the distressed, and the handicapped.” 

“If you’re in a relationship, the relationship is a part of you, there’s no way around it. You get an empathetic child not by trying to teach the child and admonish the child to be empathetic; you get an empathetic child by being empathetic with the child. The child’s understanding of relationship can only be from the relationships he has experienced.” —Alan Sroufe 

“If empathy is caught, not taught, then the effect of training students to be empathetic is only skin-deep. The training is focused on a cognitive-behavioral approach; it does not take into account the emotional aspect of empathy and the fact that empathy emerges from an intimate relationship or emotional bond.”

School

“Dr. Robert Balfanz, a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University who studies risk factors for dropping out of school, has found that future dropouts can be identified as early as sixth grade. …Dr. Balfanz’s study of fourteen thousand students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that sixth grader with just one of the following distress signals had ‘at least a three in four chance’ of dropping out when they reached high school. Here are the four areas he says parents and teachers should monitor:

  • A final grade of F in mathematics;
  • A final grade of F in English;
  • Attendance below 80 percent for the year;
  • A final ‘unsatisfactory’ behavior mark in at least one class.”

“Parents are the first and best anti-bullying program around.”

Video Games & Media

“Scientifically speaking, the notion that media violence harms kids is an open-and-shut case; research has found that violent video games increase levels of aggression hormones in teen players. While their onscreen personas kicked, punched, cut, and shot their way through enemies, testosterone and adrenaline levels rose significantly in the bodies of the players behind the controls…. The strength of the evidence linking media violence to youth aggression is stronger than the evidence linking lead poisoning with mental retardation and more definitive than the case linking secondhand smoke with cancer.” —Dr. David Walsh, Why Do They Act That Way? 

Home Life

“We found that we could actually measure how parents were getting along in two ways. We could either ask them how happy they were—how much conflict they were having—or we could take a 24-hour urine sample from their kids and measure how many stress hormones, particularly adrenaline, were getting secreted in the children’s bodies. So if you’re fighting, your kids are secreting adrenaline. And if they’re secreting adrenaline because they’re stressed out, one of the things that happens to them is that the first and most sensitive system to reflect this stress is the attentional system—the kid’s ability to focus attention, the kid’s ability to shift attention when they want to, and the kid’s ability to sustain attention. And part of what we’re seeing in all of this diagnosis of hyperactivity is, in part, a reflection of increased family stress, increased stress between parents. So the attentional system is really a very sensitive indicator of whether kids are stressed out.” —Dr. John Gottman

“People who become Christians before their teen years are more likely than those who are converted when older to remain ‘absolutely committed’ to Christianity.” —Barna Group

“Revolutionary parenting, which is based on one’s faith in God, makes parenting a priority. Those who engage in revolutionary parenting define success as intentionally facilitating faith-based transformation in the lives of their children, rather than simply accepting the aging and survival of the child as a satisfactory result.” —George Barna

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