The Year Ahead….Never Measure It By The Year Gone By
January 1, 2016

Exactly 365 days ago I made several decisions, which are also known as resolutions. that to a large degree have been adhered to as I approach 2016.  Most people who are successful in making improvements throughout the year have the following mindset:

  1.  A clear understanding about why they should change
  2. A plan that at least is a blueprint mapping the path to change
  3. A support system that holds one accountable
  4. An attitude that being knocked down isn’t to be seen as defeat
  5. A belief system which allows for incorrect decisions

When 2016 opens its door in just a few hours, walk through them with an optimism that a setback is never to be accepted as failure but an opportunity for reflection, restructuring, and returning to the task that you are resolved to master.

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It’s The Law…..But Whose Law?
June 26, 2015

Earlier today in a 6 to 4 decision The United States Supreme Court has ruled that according to the “Law of The United States Constitution” Marriage is now legal according to the government.

The Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, striking down bans in 14 states and handing a historic victory to the gay rights movement that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago.

According to Supreme Just Kennedy,  “The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia,” he said then, referencing the amount of time societies had considered marriage to be only between a man and a woman.

But Kennedy was swayed by the fact that hundreds of thousands of married same-sex couples already exist and that they — and their children — are being treated differently by the law when they move to a state that doesn’t recognize their union. The states in the case also had trouble articulating why they had a compelling reason to deny that recognition, saying only that it was in the interest of children to only allow couples of the opposite sex to marry.

The responsibility of each person in the world not just the United States of America is to respect each individual as a person who is created by God for his glory and honor.  Each individual in the entire world has a responsibility to acknowledge that we are created in the image of God and honor our creator for investing inside every person the ability to show joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, patience, love and an ability to forgive one another.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling in a strange way has somehow concluded that being created in the imagine of God somehow allows the entire world population who is created in God’s image to “legally” engage in transactions as decided by local jurisdictions instead of our creator.

What must also be considered is globally what is seen as the expectation of all people in matters.  For instance, the ruling today by our Supreme Court represents only a small sampling of how this same topic is viewed worldwide by over 195 Countries instead of a sampling of a few:

U.S. Department of State

The United States’ State Department recognizes 195 independent countries around the world. Their list of 195 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies. Missing from the State Department’s list is one entity that may or may not be considered a country, depending on who you talk to.

The One Outsider

Taiwan meets the requirements of independent country or state status. However, due to political reasons, it fails to be recognized by the international community as independent.

As it stands, the following 18 countries have legalized same-sex marriage and two allow the union to take place in some jurisdictions.

COUNTRIES WHERE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL

2000 The Netherlands

2003 Belgium

2005 Canada

2005 Spain

2006 South Africa

2009 Sweden

2009 Norway

2010 Portugal

2010 Iceland

2010 Argentina

2012 Denmark

2013 Uruguay

2013 New Zealand

2013 France

2013 England / Wales

2013 Brazil

2014 Luxembourg

2014 Scotland

COUNTRIES WHERE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN SOME JURISDICTIONS

2003 United States

2009 Mexico

Source: Pew Research Center, January, 2015

Here’s my summary, statistics was a class that I didn’t like in my Masters or PhD studies but it has proven to be helpful in so many ways.  But for this analysis statistical analysis isn’t necessary only simple division of 18/195 = .0923076923.  This means that today’s Supreme Court ruling is in the eyes of the world a minority ruling instead of a majority ruling.  The Supreme Court ruling today represents more like a 10% in favor verses 90% opposed world ruling.

In God’s sight it would look more like 0% in favor vs. 100% opposed to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Acts 5:29-32  Peter and other apostles replied:  “We must obey God rather than human beings!  The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.  God exalted him to his own right had as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.  When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

In the process of obeying God, we always respect the humanity of everyone.  In the process of obeying God, we never speak in an unkind manner against our government but rather always pray for those that are leading our country.

 

Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles
September 8, 2014

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

How Intimate Is Your Intimacy?
March 12, 2013

Have you filled out a document and responded to the inquiry about your sex as “yes” or “no”?  Of course not.  Sex isn’t the same as intimacy.  Sex has more to do with gender than it does about intercourse.  In fact in the underground world of prostitution and call girls and pornography intimacy is the key missing ingredient that allows the females and males who have chosen such a lifestyle to engage in it without any sense of attachment or bonding to the people they engage.  

According to Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development, Intimacy vs. Isolation is the sixth stage of the eight stages of healthy psychosocial development.  Intimacy which is stage six typically occurs between the ages of 18 to about age 30.  Intimacy is the ability to allow oneself to become completely close to others with one’s spirit, soul, and body.  Intimacy at such a level involves risk taking, trust, and being vulnerable.  By age’s 18 to 30 one should be more secure in who they are and less concerned about being accepted or of value.  Intimacy requires one to posses an inner clarity of self that empowers one with a high capacity of assurance of being entrusted into the hearts of those they are in relationships with.  Erikson on the other hand cautioned about isolation in stage six.  Erikson believes that isolation is actually a manifestation of loneliness and stages one through 5 exclusion from love, friendship, community and long term relationships.  Erikson argues in the absence of intimacy an inner hateful spirit develops which in reality is an overcompensation for being lonely inside one’s spirit.  

Intimacy Must Be Preceded By:

1.  Hope – Trust

2.  Will – Autonomy

3.  Purpose – Initiative 

4.  Competence – Industry 

5.  Fidelity – Identity

6.  Love – Which is Intimacy

Now let us take a closer look at intimacy through the lens of love.  In order for healthy love to be present in one’s intimacy none of the previous steps can be skipped.  Intimacy requires the ability to trust self in the emotions of others.  Intimacy requires the ability to be determined to reach forward not because of others but rather because of the value of who one is in the eyes of their creator.  Intimacy requires the ability to have a clarity of purpose for living each in the richness of one’s calling.  Intimacy requires the ability to development a spirit of competence based socially, spiritually, and family healthy morals.  Intimacy requires the ability to possess within one’s self a spirit of loyalty to healthy others which becomes the permanent identification of character.  All of the foregoing requirements will more naturally result in long lasting and comfortable closeness in genuine love which is intimacy.

Have stages leading to true intimacy been disrupted in your life?  What do you think can be done to repair any phase or phases that are incomplete?

Change Happens….For Good or Bad
March 6, 2013

About 23 years ago I heard for the first time in my life the phrase, “planned obsolescence”.  The term was used within the framework of a community in Washington, D.C. called Barry Farms as public transportation and the incoming metro train system were being built as the infrastructure of change in Southeast Washington, DC.   I remember driving down Southern Avenue off Branch in route to visits what was once Greater Southeast Hospital and seeing police cars detailed at construction sites where the underground tunneling of the train tracks were being drilled.  Above ground at night in these same communities, the murder rate would reach such levels that D.C. became known as the murder capital instead of the nations capital reaching as high as 482 murders in 1991.  The population of Washington, D.C. from 1989 to 2010 ranged from 604,000 to 599,657.  Property damage, rapes, assaults, robbery, burglary, and vehicle thief all remained fairly constant during the 1989 to 2010 time frame.  The one statistic that stood out to this writer was the huge spike in murders.  In 1989 there were 434 murders followed in 1990 with 472, followed in 1991 with 482, followed in 1992 with 443, followed in 1993 with 454, and dropping in 1994 below the 400 rate to 399 and in 1995 to a rate of 360.  A challenging question, “what did planned obsolescence have to do with the escalating murder rate in Washington, D.C.?  The murder rate possibly wasn’t the primary focus of the “powers that be”, but rather the outcome of the 10 – 15 year goal of remaking the city.

Planned Obsolescence is a predetermined production by a manufacturer to insure that a product would be rendered useless and needing replacement within a predictable timeframe.  This forward thinking is only to the advantage of the originator of the concept and rarely designed to be of any measurable benefit to the consumer who purchases whatever the product or idea put forth.  The most current type of planned obsolescence might be found today in electronics.  A  flat screen television that is state of the art today selling for $1,000.00 might be available at the neighborhood flea market only 3 years later for $100.00 or less.  How do you create a design that comes with a warranty insuring the almost complete devastation of people, dreams, academic pursuit for the future?  First their must be a product that at one level is familiar and at another level is so unique that it attracts the attention of marketer’s and consumers.  Marketer’s want to know will this product sell and how much profit can be made over a predetermined shelf life.  Consumers primarily want to know, will this product meet their needs and can they afford it?

Change appears to be a natural event in every arena of life.  Change is embraced by communities, planned by cities, projected by governments but often resisted by individuals personally.  As a mental health professional I observe current generation people holding on to unhealthy, non productive and sometimes destructive behaviors that former family members and old communities of their childhood modeled.  Behavioral patterns are understood better when the history of a person is revealed.  Every morning at 5:00 a.m. everyone got up and ate breakfast at the kitchen table before going to work or school, therefore 30 or 40 years later if your current family doesn’t take time to sit down together each day it could be misunderstood as someone is upset, not connected or too busy for family time.

Change does not imply a total makeover in every case.  In husband and wife relationships change is sometimes resisted as if it is a surrender following a civil war.  Imagine both husband and wife resolving to bring everything learned from childhood good or bad into the marriage about shopping, cleaning, money, sex, children, work, family, etc.  What would you predict the outcome of such a marriage?  A power struggle indeed will erupt.  The struggle is actually a fight to maintain the status quo of one’s home of origin more than it is a resistance to one’s spouse.  Most relationship wars are more about resisting “healthy” change mostly because in doing so, it first requires an admission that in all honesty it wasn’t very healthy even in the family of origin.  Change requires humility of spirit, a surrender of will, and an assurance of self as a person.

What do you fight to hold on to in your current relationships that probably should be changed?

5 Things Students Want Parents To Know
September 23, 2012

Parents did you know that your children are the first generation in the history of the world that has access to the entire world without leaving your home?  Children face challenges in their neighborhood but the neighborhood of today is also online as well as the house next door.  Children want parents to become more aware of how important it is for parents to be aware of their definition of neighbors and not just neighbors as defined by mom and dad.  Regardless of how large a child’s neighborhood may grow, children still want parents to know that it is important for family to be involved in their daily lives.

Family and Environment
A large number of different family patterns and environments play an important role in
children’s developmental patterns. Early in life, for example, chaotic or depriving caregiving
can severely disrupt many areas of mental functioning, including language, social and emotional
capacities, and the ability to process information and learn. Mounting evidence suggests that
these environmental patterns affect not only the child’s mind, but the structure of his or her
central nervous system. By the same token, favorable and enriched experiences tailored to the
individual needs of the child and his or her family can exert very positive developmental
influences (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
Therefore, family and environmental patterns are important components of early
identification and preventive intervention efforts. Understanding these patterns is essential for
appreciating the nature of the developmental risk, the mechanism through which it is occurring,
and the type of program that will be required to work with it.
Clinical experience and research also suggests that attempts at early identification of
challenges with at-risk families requires ongoing trusting relationships and an understanding of
the beliefs, values, and coping strategies of caregivers (e.g., for obtaining reliable information
about a child’s development). Asking a parent about an area of the child’s functioning that is
very important to the parent will often lead to a rich description, in comparison to a question
about whether the child has this or that problem.
Yet, creating relationships that will facilitate communication and understanding and lead
to the reliable identification of challenges in at-risk groups is very difficult to do with large
numbers of children and families, especially with multi-problem families. Furthermore, multiproblem families often evidence multi-generational patterns of marginal functioning
characterized by learning problems, delinquency, criminal activity, and mental health disorders
(Buell, 1952; Greenspan, et al., 1987). A number of mental health disorders that can interfere
with caregiving, such as maternal depression, can be present in any family.

For additional information go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dd/

Question For Parents:  What does your child talk with you about that surprises you and how do you talk with your children?