Archive for February, 2016

February 28, 2016

Emotionally well humans

by Rod Smith

The emotionally healthy human

Makes decisions about his or her behavior based on internal principals that are established long before a decision has to be made. When faced with a moral dilemma the decision is already made.

Is deeply connected to family and to friends but is also able to function independently of family and friends when necessary. When necessary he or she can make very unpopular but necessary decisions.

Secures routine time alone: time to think, plan, read, and time to pray. He or she is comfortable with being alone and with necessary silence. Quietness and aloneness is a necessary ally and not an enemy to be warded off at all costs.

Is quick to forgive most things but is willing to trust differently in the future. He or she understands that forgiving doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting although there are times when it will.

Is as comfortable around wealth and status as he or she is around want and poverty – he or she adores or abhors neither. He or she is comfortable with his or he status in life.

Appears to be internally driven rather than externally steered. This can appear as arrogance to those who are tossed and turned by trends and fashions.

February 28, 2016

Bibles for Swaziland – OR – Facing a Missions Committee

by Rod Smith

Bibles for Swaziland* (no tax advantage or publicity available)

Saturday offering….. (if you want to skip church tomorrow!)

I am seldom afraid to ASK if it’s not for me or for my children – so, here goes:

About two years ago Thulani and Nate and I visited Swaziland to speak to a very large community of children in a community center.

We were in Pigg’s Peak. (Nothing to do with pigs).

The public meeting (of hundreds of children) was organized and hosted by the head (Bernadette Fourie) of a small private school called Hlanganani Primary School.

Bernadette hosted my family and my sister Jennifer Arthur in her home with her family for the few days we were there.

Hlanganani Primary School needs 150 (NEW) Bibles.

This week I asked Bernadette how much 150 Bibles would cost in USD for her to make the purchase in Swaziland and she came back with the grand total of $544.87.

I know I could write a check (and I will). I know I could write a grant request to area churches (and wait for 11 or 13 months or longer while they debate the pros and cons of sending money for Bibles to “Africa”).

I am not going to do that.

These students will graduate from university before most churches can make such decisions. But, as I have thought about it, here are some of the questions that are likely to be asked if I make a church request – and ALL of them I have heard in some form or another over the years (of course not only about Bibles) while visiting and working with churches who “do” “overseas” missions:

1. Couldn’t we collect some old Bibles and send them – I have a few in my house we never even use? Wouldn’t that make it more personal?

2. Would they appreciate them if they haven’t worked for them – you know how they are?

3. Where is Swaziland anyway? Is that a REAL place? Isn’t that just a fictional place from a Disney movie? (“No, mam, that’s Madagascar you’re thinking of, and that’s a real place too – believe it or not”).

4. Why would you send MONEY – how will you know it GETS THERE and how will you know it isn’t used for OTHER purposes? You do know how they are in Africa don’t you?

5. Don’t they need water and food more than Bibles? You know people can’t hear the Word if they are hungry and hungry – doesn’t they Bible say something about that? (I hear they need bicycles anyway.)

6. Have you researched ways to get cheaper Bibles – you do know that the Gideons put them in hotel for FREE? Couldn’t you get some of those?

7. $3.62 USD PER BIBLE sounds like a lot for a Bible – are you sure you can’t get cheaper? Are these soft or hard covered?

8. One hundred and fifty? Why can’t they share? I thought Africans were really good at sharing? Have you seen that picture on Facebook where all the little African children are sitting around with their feet touching while they share candy? Why can’t they do that with Bibles?

9. How will giving OUR money for Bibles to Swaziland bring in new members to OUR church?

10. We have people RIGHT HERE in our neighborhoods who need Bibles – are you giving to them?

11. Are these children (insert denomination) children?

12. What language will the Bibles be in and what translation – we don’t want to mislead people by using one of those new inaccurate translations do we?

13. You do know we are installing new carpets (insert your particular new installation: a new spa, coffee shop, fitness center, tech-center, roller-coaster, parking-lot monorail) at this time and all our resources are budgeted – will you be okay if we put it on the docket for next year?

14. Is the school (insert denomination) and has it been cleared by the (insert domination) national office as an official (insert denomination) mission site?

15. What kind of precedent will this set? Who else will want similar help? Have you thought about where this will end? Giving is a slippery slope I hope you know. Bibles today, what will it be tomorrow?

16. Can we pray about it and get back to you?

17. Do these children tithe? Do you know God will bless them if they tithe and then they wan’t have to go around asking for things and you know how much better they will feel about themselves.

Forgive my cynicism.

if you’d like to help let me know. I will send EVERY PENNY to Hlanganani Primary School and if we get more than $544.87 I will send that too. Send me a note if you’d like to help. I will send the total through Moneygram.


* I am making this request in my private capacity as a human being – you will not get a tax receipt or any publicity and it has nothing to do with where I work or where I attend church

February 14, 2016

Family Systems and Schools

by Rod Smith
Fundamental of Family Systems and schools…
All relationships impact all relationships and the impact further impacts all relationships. The classroom is a living system (a bicycle is not; a frog is) and is constantly changing. The WHOLE is more than the PARTS. Systems resist change. Healthier people negotiate systems from strength not weakness or whining.
Your students come to school with an (usually invisible) entourage:
The helpful entourage:
• Empowers the best in the student without enabling undesirable behavior
• Offers authentic affirmation
• Supports personal responsibility
• Listens to teachers and the student without running interference
• Allows for both success and failure
• Gets out of the way as much as possible
• Allows school and peers and life to teach their inevitable lessons
The unhelpful entourage:
• Personalizes failure and resists its possibility
• Sees pressure as synonymous with love
• Runs interference for the child and shifts responsibility off the child
• Listens to teachers like a hungry lawyer or a suspicious police officer
• Seeks own salvation or deliverance through the child
• Confuses anxiety, attention, and reactivity with love
• Is a firewall so school, peers, and life cannot unfold and teach inevitable lessons
Tomorrow – leveraging the entourage for the common good
February 2, 2016

How he treats his mother….

by Rod Smith

My mother would say you could tell everything about a man from the condition of his shoes.

I admit this did not make too much difference to me when I was a boy and I pay little attention to my shoes even now – although I do have polish and brush on hand and do the necessary almost daily.

I am sure that she’d agree there were a few other indications of impeccable integrity and fine character apart from a good spit and polish.

Want to know about a man?

Watch how he treats people who serve him – like waiters in a restaurant or the porter in a hotel. Watch his behavior when he’s trying to impress others – when he’s showing off a little; watch what he chooses to show off about. Watch how he responds when things don’t go his way – when he doesn’t get that airline upgrade or his meal isn’t exactly as he ordered it. Listen to what he finds funny, to the jokes he tells, to the gossip he spreads.

Get a little closer and watch how he treats his mother.

You can tell everything about a man (and a boy) if you watch and listen to how he treats and speaks to his mother.

February 1, 2016

Ex-husband comes in the house

by Rod Smith

“My ex-husband insists on coming into my house when he drops off the children because he ‘pay for all this’ and he insists on seeing the children’s rooms to ‘check they are safe’ and he walks around the house as if he still lives in it – in a kind of bullying way. He does this most if he has been drinking. He never stays too long but I want to him to respect my home as my home and to respect that I am a good mother. How do I do this?”

This is troubling on a few levels: the father of your children is checking up on if the children are safe in your house BUT he is driving them after he has been drinking. This is the first issue to face.

Children deserve drivers who are 100% sober. This is a matter for you to address with your lawyer and your ex.

Bullies seldom learn from reason – you have a legitimate desire to protect your boundaries but enforcing them with a man who sounds disrespectful and entitled my be difficult for your to do on your own.

It’s time to gather your community and seek the wisdom of those who know you the best and have loved you the longest.