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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of 230 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Professor Soyinka made the call on a day a coalition of women's rights in Borno expressed their readiness to mobilise thousands of women to embark on a voluntary search and rescue mission into the notorious Sambisa forest, to ensure the release of the abducted students.
Senate President, David Mark, on his part described the abduction of the girls as sacrilegious.
Meanwhile, members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, have threatened to kill the abducted students, should the search to recover them continue.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Teens / Youth Violence Women * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria
(The title of the video by ABC is "Miracle in Hell"--KSH).
A New Zealand pastor and his wife have made it their mission to take on India’s billion-dollar sex industry by rescuing young prostitutes from one of the largest "red light" districts on Earth.
The streets of Sonagacchi in Kolkata, India, are home to more than 10,000 prostitutes, many of whom are teenage girls. Most are sold into the sex trade by their families.
Pastor Kerry Hilton and his wife, Annie, who have lived in Sonagacchi for about 15 years, said they were shocked when they first moved to India and stumbled upon them. They had no idea their apartment overlooked the largest sex bazaar in India -- until the sun went down.
"We felt that these women straight away were our neighbors," Kerry Hilton said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture Sexuality Teens / Youth Urban/City Life and Issues Young Adults * International News & Commentary Asia India Australia / NZ
The final evening of Jack Chen’s life was indistinguishable from many others. The sophomore returned home from school, ate dinner with his mother and retired to his room. His mother asked him to turn out his light at midnight.
Inside his bedroom, anguish gnawed at him, a darkness invisible to friends and family: He maintained a 4.3 grade-point average at one of the area’s top high schools, was a captain of the junior varsity football team and had never tried drugs or alcohol.
But that hidden pain drove Jack from his Fairfax Station home early the next morning — Wednesday, Feb. 26. The 15-year-old, who pestered his father to quit smoking and wear his safety belt, walked to nearby tracks and stepped between the rails as a commuter train approached.
His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?
Read it all from the Washington Post.
Twenty-four people were injured — at least one of them critically — when a teenager wielding two 8-inch kitchen knives this morning attacked students at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville.
Emergency medical officials said 21 students and one security guard were stabbed and two students were injured in the aftermath.
The suspect, Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old sophomore, was taken into custody after being wrestled to the floor of a school hallway and disarmed by a security guard and a school administrator. The youth was taken to the Murrysville police station, where he was questioned by officers and Westmoreland County detectives before being taken to Westmoreland Hospital for minor injuries to his hands.
Read it all.
Barbara Ehrenreich is known for her books and essays about politics, social welfare, class, women's health and other women's issues. Her best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, explored the difficulties faced by low-wage workers. So fans of Ehrenreich's writing may be surprised at the subject of her new memoir — the mystical visions she had as a teenager.
To make her new book an even more unlikely subject, Ehrenreich describes herself as a rationalist, a scientist by training, and an atheist who is the daughter of atheists. Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything draws on her journals from 1956-'66, and on the extensive reading she's done in the past decade about the history of religion. She never discussed these mystical experiences before writing the book — and she suspects she's not the only one keeping such things to herself.
"People have these unaccountable mystic experiences," Ehrenreich tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Generally they say nothing or they label it as 'God' and get on with their lives. I'm saying, 'Hey, no, let's figure out what's going on here.' "
Read or listen to it all.
Jilly Dos Santos really did try to get to school on time. She set three successive alarms on her phone. Skipped breakfast. Hastily applied makeup while her fuming father drove. But last year she rarely made it into the frantic scrum at the doors of Rock Bridge High School here by the first bell, at 7:50 a.m.
Then she heard that the school board was about to make the day start even earlier, at 7:20 a.m.
“I thought, if that happens, I will die,” recalled Jilly, 17. “I will drop out of school!”
That was when the sleep-deprived teenager turned into a sleep activist....
Read it all.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests student knowledge in various subjects every few years. In 2010, only 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors were considered grade-level proficient in American history.--Andrea Neal (for more read the whole thing).
[A recent study]...has found one in three girls and a quarter of boys are depressed, with many turning to violence, alcohol and unwanted sex to cope with problems.
The study of almost 4500 year 7 to 12 students, also revealed that 34 per cent of girls and 30 per cent of boys felt constantly under strain and unable to overcome difficulties.
More than half had low levels of resilience and of those, 43 per cent felt violence was an appropriate way to solve relationship issues.
A third were drinking at dangerous levels, and one in four lacked the confidence to say no to unwanted sexual experiences, while 16 per cent feel it necessary to carry a weapon.
Read it all.
Welcome Richard Giersch! As our new Director of Student Ministries, Rich will focus on transforming the hearts of our 6th-12 graders. Rich joins us with a wealth of experience and spiritual depth. Since 1988, Rich has been ministering to teenagers working with such organizations as Young Life and St. Andrews Church, Mount Pleasant. Rich was also ordained as an Anglican Priest and served as the interim Rector of Resurrection Fellowship Anglican Church in Greenville, SC.
Rich is married to Holly and they have two sons, Griffin and Oliver. Rich graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has produced two Christian C-D’s of original songs.
Read it all.
Ryan Orbuch, 16 years old, rolled a suitcase to the front door of his family’s house in Boulder, Colo., on a Friday morning a year ago. He was headed for the bus stop, then the airport, then Texas.
“I’m going,” he told his mother. “You can’t stop me.”
Stacey Stern, his mother, wondered if he was right. “I briefly thought: Do I have him arrested at the gate?”
But the truth was, she felt conflicted. Should she stop her son from going on his first business trip?
Read it all.
In many ways, [Kayla] Montgomery’s life resembles that of an ordinary high school track athlete. Before every race, she puts on the same lucky green sports bra and size 5 ½ racing flats that carry her 5-foot-1 frame. She is deeply involved with her Methodist church, along with her younger sister and her parents, a nursing student and a pesticide salesman. She carries a 4.70 grade-point average and logs 50 miles a week.
Though examples of elite athletes with M.S. are scarce, some have speculated that Montgomery’s racing-induced numbness lends a competitive edge, especially given the improvement in her times since the diagnosis.
“The disease has no potential to make her physically more competitive,” said her neurologist, Lucie Lauve, who also said she did not know precisely why Montgomery collapsed after races. “If M.S. has made her a better athlete, I believe it is a mental edge.”
Read it all.
The prominent SAT college entrance exam will return to its previous 1,600-point scoring system and the essay portion will be optional starting in 2016, the group that creates the test said Wednesday, the biggest makeover in almost a decade for an exam familiar to any high school student with an eye on college.
The group that makes the test, the College Board, also announced a unprecedented test-preparation partnership with the online Kahn Academy that could cut deep into the lucrative business of the existing test-prep industry. Under the new test format, which last underwent an overhaul in 2005, no points will be deducted for wrong answers, encouraging students to take a chance if they’re unsure of the answer. Students will be able to choose whether or not they complete the essay portion of the test, and for those who don’t, the top score will go from 2,400 back to the older 1,600. And vocabulary words will be more practical words like “synthesis,” instead of the archaic SAT vocabulary words that have long pained cramming high school students, but rarely occur in normal conversation. Students will also be able to take the test on a computer.
Read it all.
"Who do you like?" asked recent ads on Facebook...featuring young women in alluring poses.
Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.
That's how 14-year-old Erica Lowder's picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook's fastest-growing "lifestyle" apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl's Facebook page.
"How can Facebook say here's how we're going to protect your kids, then sell all these ads to weird apps and sites that open kids up to terrible things?" asked Erica's mother, Dawn Lowder.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Psychology Science & Technology Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
After herding the female students into a classroom, Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram fatally burned or shot dozens of male students in an attack late Monday on a state college in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Tuesday. It was the fourth school assault attributed to the group in less than a year.
The assailants, who have vilified public education as blasphemous, then burned down dormitories and other buildings and shot at anyone trying to escape. None of the women were reported to have been harmed.
Abdulla Bego, a spokesman for the governor of Yobe State, where the attacks took place, said the killers had traveled in nine pickup trucks to the attack site, the Federal Government College Buni Yadi, about 45 miles from the state capital, Damaturu. They staged the ambush when soldiers in a military garrison assigned to protect the school were absent.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In the cafeteria, through the door on the left, a 17-year-old boy who went by the inititals “TJ” was shooting to kill. He’d put 10 rounds in his gun and six letters across his shirt. “Killer,” it said.
Frank Hall: I saw a young man firing into a crowd. I just stood up, shoved my table out of the way and started after him.
It’s tough even now for Frank Hall to speak of it. But with the support of his wife, he told us what happened when he charged at the boy with the gun.
Frank Hall: He raises his weapon at me, I jumped behind a Pepsi machine, I hear another fire.
That bullet missed Hall, so he kept chasing the student down the corridor.
Yes, I know, you are busy--but this is a must not miss. Really. Read (or better watch) it all--KSH.
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said the event was a different way of engaging young people.
Read and watch it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary England / UK
"I think there is a perception that human trafficking is something that happens in large, urban centers or on the coast," said Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
But she often sees girls and women with mental health issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder, along with those who need treatment for physical issues like sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition and other health consequences of trafficking. "This is really uncomfortable stuff, to think that there are young people in our community where adults who should be taking care of them are exploiting them -- using them sexually."
Dr. Miller and other local experts will be discussing the issue in depth tomorrow at an open house, sponsored by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Trafficking Coalition at the Andy Warhol Museum. The event comes just weeks after a federal grand jury indicted a man and a woman for sex trafficking of a 16-year-old, and a month after Moon police plucked the 17-year-old girl from the multistate group of four adults who now face charges of promoting prostitution.
Read it all.
It is with a great sense of sadness that the Anglican Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia ask for prayer after the death of a Fijian teenager on holiday in New Zealand.
Deepika Kumar had been in Wellington since December and she was due to return to Fiji this week. The 18 year old was attending the Parachute Festival. She was in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital after being found in the pool of a motel in Hamilton on Saturday.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Teens / Youth
Tallulah, an aspiring dancer from West Hampstead in London, threw herself under a train at St Pancras Station on October 14, 2012. Her mother said she had been unable to prevent the troubled teenager from becoming increasingly withdrawn at home and at school, as she developed a fantasy cocaine-taking persona online.
Ms Wilson said: “Like any parent I sought to protect my daughter, seeking help from professionals at her school, the NHS and the Tavistock Clinic. Her sisters and I did everything we could to keep her safe, but she had fallen into a world of nightmares. She was in the c lutches of a toxic digital world where in the final few weeks we could no longer reach her.
“I was shocked by the ease with which Tallulah and other children can access online self-harm and suicide blogs. Tallulah entered a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became blurred. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Education Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide Science & Technology Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Church of England must stop losing teenagers and those in their early twenties, if it is to reverse the decline that threatens its existence.
This warning was delivered by one of the authors of a new report on church growth, based on research commissioned by the Archbishops and published yesterday. The three teams behind the research, based at the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, Durham; and Ripon College, Cuddesdon, were asked to investigate the factors that might deliver church growth, in the light of a nine-per-cent decline in church attendance over the past decade.
On Wednesday, Dr David Voas, Professor of Population Studies at the University of Essex, who carried out some of the research, said: "A lot of people think of decline in terms of people stopping attending. The major factor underlying numerical change is that people never start attending in the first place.Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK
Restaurateur Michael De Beyer wants to sell his fine-dining German restaurant, but at the right price, and all for a good cause.
A 19-year-old employee of De Beyer’s has been diagnosed with a ping-pong size tumor in her brain, he said. And in December, when doctors first made their diagnosis, De Beyer’s jack-of-all-trades hostess, waitress, bus-girl and kitchen aide didn’t have health insurance, he said.
De Beyer said he is willing to help any way he can, even if that includes selling the only German restaurant owned by an actual German in the Houston region, as he describes his Montgomery restaurant of 15 years, the Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunderbar.
“I’m not able to just sit by and let it happen,” De Beyer said. “I couldn’t live with myself; I would never be happy just earning money from my restaurant knowing that she needs help.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Answers from Justin Welby, Joan Bakewell, Giles Coren, Jonathan Sumption, James Rhodes and many more...
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Media Psychology Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary England / UK
@pastorbrady: God's peace and healing to the family of Claire Davis. #arapahoehigh Our hearts are broken at news of her death.” Lord, help.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Teens / Youth Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.
The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana.
Read it all.
The demonstration necropsy at the Charleston Animal Society was one element of a comprehensive program that is attracting attention nationally. The society’s education team developed the Veterinary Science Initiative, which is offered throughout Lowcountry classrooms in an effort to expose students to veterinary science and the shelter’s work.
“There aren’t a lot of resources in shelters, so if you’re going to invest time and money, you better make sure it’s effective and it hits multiple goals,” Tisa said. “The primary focus is getting kids interested in science.”
Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.
U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America's ability to compete in a global economy.
The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which are being released on Tuesday, show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which gathers and analyzes the data in the U.S.
The PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A representative sample of about 510,000 students took the exam in 65 countries and locales, representing 80% of the world economy.
Read it all.
Designed to inspire a passion for academic theology and encourage students towards studying theology at university, the event was attended by 150 A-level students from Church of England secondary schools and was opened by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.
The Bishop of London kicked off the event by speaking of his personal journey into theology and towards God as a result of his own family's experience.
Read it all.
Do you know what it is? Read it all.
In less than three years, 13-year-old Quin Etnyre learned to programme electronics, created his own company, and began teaching MIT graduates in his spare time.
Read it all and watch the video report.
The Empowered21 Next Gen Youth Leaders Network (NGYN21) hosted a summit comprised of youth leaders from around the globe. The youth leaders discussed topics such as Spirit-empowered living in the 21st century, the impact of the Holy Spirit on discipleship and developing young Spirit-empowered disciples in the ministry.
“We seem to think there is a different method used in other countries,” said Christ for All Nations President Daniel Kolenda. “The gospel works with humanity and all cultures. We were created to receive it. Just preach its simplicity and let the Holy Spirit do the drawing. God is going to give our generation a message that is so old, they think it is new. The hub is the gospel of salvation; the other spokes will align.”
Read it all.
Q: When did the concept of sexy Halloween costumes for teen and tween girls become cool?
[Annalisa] Castaldo [of Widener University]: Sexy adult costumes have been around for years, but costumes designed for teens and tweens have more recently begun displaying a sexualized edge....
Q: Isn't this simply about playing pretend and seeking attention?
Castaldo: What's most disturbing is that girls have much less choice when they go to the costume store to be seen as anything other than a physical object. The only way they can dress up for Halloween is as something that reveals their body. A boy can be a pirate with baggy pants, an eye patch, a sword and a parrot on his shoulder, The costume matches the character. With the girl, the pirate is wearing a short skirt. As a superhero, she's wearing a short skirt. And my favorite is Cookie Monster with a short skirt. Every costume becomes about the physicality of the body it reveals, not about the characteristics of the character being impersonated.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Sexuality Teens / Youth Women * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For years, a school principal’s job was to make sure students were not creating a ruckus in the hallways or smoking in the bathroom. Vigilance ended at the schoolhouse gates.
Now, as students complain, taunt and sometimes cry out for help on social media, educators have more opportunities to monitor students around the clock. And some schools are turning to technology to help them. Several companies offer services to filter and glean what students do on school networks; a few now offer automated tools to comb through off-campus postings for signs of danger. For school officials, this raises new questions about whether they should — or legally can — discipline children for their online outbursts.
The problem has taken on new urgency with the case of a 12-year-old Florida girl who committed suicide after classmates relentlessly bullied her online and offline.
Read it all.
Early Thursday morning at a Jewish high school here, Elan Kainen donned the prayer shawl that had been a gift from his maternal grandfather and recited the prayers of the Shacharit service. Nine hours later, he went through another ritual, one involving pads, cleats and a helmet, as he suited up for what might be the final game of his high school football career.
The Hurricanes of Scheck Hillel Community School were going up against a conference rival, the Berean Christian School Bulldogs, with a spot in the postseason playoffs hanging in the balance. For Elan and his teammates, who attend one of the only Jewish religious schools in the nation to play varsity football, Friday evening is for Shabbat dinner. Their gridiron action takes place under Thursday night lights.
For Scheck Hillel’s team, the fall football schedule bends in deference to the string of holidays that run from Rosh Hashana to Simchat Torah. Before getting the usual locker-room exhortation from their coach, players hear a d’var Torah, a sermon about the week’s Torah portion, from a rabbi. At home games, the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah,” is played over the stadium loudspeaker.
Read it all.
A group of firefighters is making sure the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy are never forgotten by building playgrounds – 26 of them – each honoring a student or teacher who lost their life.
As they help Newtown families heal, they’re also helping communities rebuild -- because each will be in an area ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The idea of a playground "was more than just a structure or a place for kids to play on,” said New Jersey firefighter Capt. Bill Lavin and founder of The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play. “It was a symbol of hope.”
Watch the whole video report.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Teens / Youth Violence Young Adults * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.
The drama program — at Harry S. Truman High School — opened this year with one more deficit: its galvanizing teacher, Lou Volpe, retired in June after more than 40 years showing students in an economically slumped, culturally narrow community how to strive for excellence, grapple with challenging ideas, empathize with people different from themselves and enlarge their notions of who they might become. And he brought their theatrical achievements glowing national attention. Under Volpe’s direction, Truman students presented pilot high school versions of “Les Misérables,” “Rent” and “Spring Awakening” — premieres that would determine whether these shows would become available to high schools generally. (All three triumphed.)
Being available, however, hasn’t made all the plays Volpe directed popular choices at other schools. Part of his success — pedagogical and theatrical — Sokolove suggests, comes from his “edgy” repertory. Not for the sake of sensation, but to engage kids in urgent contemporary social debate, he often selects works that raise the eyebrows, and even occasional ire, of local conservatives who object to frank representations of adolescent sexuality (hetero and homo), addiction, rebellion — the usual flash points in the old culture wars. Of the 25,000-plus high school theater programs in the country, fewer than 150 have produced “Rent.” At Truman, 300 kids — about one in five students there — auditioned for it. As one student tells Sokolove, confronting issues that make people uncomfortable is “one of the big reasons to do theater, right?...”
Sokolove, [once a Harry S. Truman High School student himself] landed in a literature class Volpe taught at the time. “Everyone in life needs to have had at least one brilliant, inspiring teacher,” he states. In Volpe, he found one. Read it all (emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education History Marriage & Family Teens / Youth Theatre/Drama/Plays * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Having young Anglicans arrange and run their own camps could be the answer to an ageing Church population, according to a Japanese bishop.
Bishop of Kobe The Rt Revd Andrew Yatuka Nakamura, told ACNS that his diocese is seeing more young people going on to ordained ministry, which goes against the general trend in Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Communion in Japan).
“We’re likely facing the same problem as other provinces of the Anglican Communion; an age problem,” he said, “and a lack of young people and children in the church. The congregation is generally 60 to 70 years of age.”
Read it all.
Watch it all, and note the participation of Cameron Cole, director of student ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama.
France has now joined a global struggle against the sexualization of women, especially girls, in public. On Wednesday [last week], the French upper house of Parliament voted to end beauty pageants for girls younger than 16.
The bill, which must still be approved by the lower house, was introduced to fend off a growing popularity of such pageants but also in response to public outrage over a French Vogue photo spread showing child models in tight dresses, lipstick, and high heels. Many in France were also upset that the company Jours Après Lunes came out with a line of “loungerie” – a mix of loungewear and lingerie – for girls as young as 4.
“Let us not allow our girls to think from a young age that their worth is judged only by their appearance,” said Sen. Chantal Jouanno, a champion of the pageant ban.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Media Teens / Youth Women * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary Europe France * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
At some point in their lives, one of every three Americans will leave Christianity, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Religion and Society. Called "leavers," "deconverts," or "ex-Christians," they are targets of fresh concern among church denominations watching their numbers shrink. Pollsters and bloggers tick off reasons why so many are leaving, such as intellectual hurdles to belief, immoral or intolerant church leaders, and profound suffering. But the leavers phenomenon is nothing new. It goes back at least to the parable of the Prodigal Son, told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 15:11–32.
What about the people whom the prodigals leave behind? The ones who love the leavers? The ones left to hold down the forts of remaining families and faith communities? Few theological and practical resources exist for the two out of every three Christians who remain with the Father while they watch their "younger brother" leave.
The biblical parable centers on the relationship between a father and his two sons. But the essence of the story remains the same, whether the prodigal is a child, sibling, spouse, parent, or friend. This is why P. C. Ennis Jr. argues in the Journal for Preachers that "it is crucial that periodically we preach on the Prodigal Son. . . . Like the Easter story and the Christmas story, it bears repeating, for the story of the Prodigal Son is the gospel in capsule."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
"The Church has been too slow in terms of putting structures in place," said Youth Co-ordinator for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Fr Robert Sihubwa. "While we acknowledge the verbal commitment, the lack of funding commitments indicates slow movement."
Tony Lawrence is the Provincial Youth Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He told ACNS, "Changing our approaches and actively focusing on the ministry to children and young people is critical for the growth and survival of the Church."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa
In jumping, Rebecca [Ann Sedwick] became one of the youngest members of a growing list of children and teenagers apparently driven to suicide, at least in part, after being maligned, threatened and taunted online, mostly through a new collection of texting and photo-sharing cellphone applications. Her suicide raises new questions about the proliferation and popularity of these applications and Web sites among children and the ability of parents to keep up with their children’s online relationships.
For more than a year, Rebecca, pretty and smart, was cyberbullied by a coterie of 15 middle-school children who urged her to kill herself, her mother said. The Polk County sheriff’s office is investigating the role of cyberbullying in the suicide and considering filing charges against the middle-school students who apparently barraged Rebecca with hostile text messages. Florida passed a law this year making it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases.
Rebecca was “absolutely terrorized on social media,” Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said at a news conference this week.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology Suicide Science & Technology Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las Vegas style excess, is about to get a full makeover, but for an entirely different reason.
Families have been treating this rite of passage not as an entry to Jewish life, but as a graduation ceremony: turn 13, read from the Torah, have a party and it’s over. Many leave synagogue until they have children of their own, and many never return at all — a cycle that Jewish leaders say has been undermining organized Judaism for generations.
As Jews celebrate the new year Wednesday night, leaders in the largest branch of Judaism, the Reform movement, are starting an initiative to stop the attrition by reinventing the entire bar and bat mitzvah process.
Read it all.
I began my sabbatical by taking three online courses through a Johns Hopkins University distance-learning program for high school students: honors pre-calculus, honors chemistry and a writing class. It was amazing to learn on my laptop at my own pace. For example, in the math class, I would watch a seven-minute video on how to solve equations using logarithms, then tackle a few problems. After typing in each answer, I immediately found out whether it was correct. If it was wrong, I could try again or read how to solve the problem. If I was totally stumped, I could call or e-mail the instructor to get a more thorough explanation.
Instead of sitting in a specific seat at a specific time, listening to the same long lecture as everyone else, I could tailor the classes to my strengths and weaknesses. I could move through some material quickly but take as much time as I needed to absorb the difficult stuff. Not only did these courses free up time to shoot a movie, but their structure helped me learn the material as well as I would have in a classroom. In four months, I covered a year of math.
Read it all.
Southern church culture, including Birmingham, celebrates nearly anyone who claims to reach teenagers. We often assume the inherent goodness of any ministry that draws large numbers. And we idolize reaching the next generation to the point that we largely ignore what we are winning them with and what we are winning them to. Despite warning signs, youth pastors continued to take busloads of teenagers to The Basement and Christian radio relentlessly promoted Pitt's meetings.
All the while The Basement's theology was largely ignored. Viewing the videos on The Basement's website reveals an exciting atmosphere that lacks substantial understanding of God as revealed in his Word. Pitt's sermons might have been "in your face," but they did not point teens to the Bible and the gospel message revealed in it. Much of the public also ignored the Bible's teaching about character in leaders because Pitt claimed to have a "calling" from God to lead this ministry. And who could question his results?
But internal calling is only part of what it means to be a gospel minister.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Millions of students heading back to school are finding significant changes in the curriculum and battles over how teachers are evaluated, as the biggest revamps of U.S. public education in a decade work their way into classrooms.
Most states are implementing tougher math and reading standards known as Common Core, while teacher evaluations increasingly are linked to student test scores or other measures of achievement. Meantime, traditional public schools face unprecedented competition from charter and private schools.
Supporters say the overhauls will help make U.S. students more competitive with pupils abroad. But others worry that the sheer volume and far-reaching nature of the new policies is too much, too fast. Already, the changes have sparked pushback.
Read it all.
All of our students are at-risk. For what, you might ask? Because of illiteracy or low literacy, many are at risk for dropping out of school, getting involved in gang life, substance abuse and addiction, jail, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, pregnancy, STDs, and death.
But our staff—missionaries, really—love the students with the love Jesus has poured into them. We feed the students breakfast and lunch, or some would have nothing. We teach them to read and do math. We study the Bible and sing worship songs. We play games with these children who haven't really ever had a childhood....
We are St. Aidan's Christian School. Our city? Not Khartoum, Sudan. Not El Salvador. No, it's Winnipeg. In Canada.
Read it all.
Even if we get to see more, why is the post to be regretted if it is only a record of fun at a party or a cuddle in a bedroom or an enticement? It could be healthy fun.
Society cannot tolerate youth having fun on their own terms and with their own ways of broadcasting their adventures. The purpose of the didactic videos is to kill junior sexual feelings with shame. How deplorable that sexually adventurous young women are being punished by society, and constantly being told that they are ''degrading themselves'' and have no ''self-respect'' by seeking out various sexual expressions.
At a point when girls need autonomy and self-respect, the Commonwealth government promotes shame. Instead of immunising girls against the consequences of viral posts, our educators promulgate fear, disgust and disgrace. We need a program to inoculate us against shame, not cripple us with fear.
Read it all from the SMH.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Science & Technology Sexuality Teens / Youth Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Since the days of Facebook’s Honesty Box, social-media websites have been the safe havens where teenagers go to gripe and gossip away from all the nosy adults in their lives. But times are changing: kids are spending more time carefully pruning their Facebook profiles in preparation for the college-admissions game, and they’re adopting a wider variety of social-media platforms to serve more specific functions. So maybe it’s not so far-fetched that LinkedIn, the stodgy social network for professionals, is suddenly making a very deliberate play to woo teenagers.
On Monday the social-networking site announced that it is lowering its minimum registration age from 18 to 14 in the U.S. and several other countries, opening the door for high schoolers to add LinkedIn to their already robust social-media diet of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Teens / Youth Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
[The new theme title is in honor of this post this post and in reference to cultural degradation in the "new" world of the West in the 21st century--KSH].
Please not that this article will not be suitable for all blog readers
Would you rather teach your kids that sex is dangerous and forbidden or that it is permissible and... well, awesome? Are you a "responsible-sex-is-good" parent, or more in the "scare-them-silly" camp? It seems logical to me that the same way I try to teach my kids to exercise, sleep well and be good people, I would teach them to have healthy sex and sleep with other good people.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
[MOHAMMED] TUNKARA: Two, three years ago, I was lost. I was lost in my own life. I mean I had family problems at home. So when I first started to like join buildOn and actually be a part of it, it was a life-changing event for me. It was the, like it was the biggest turning point in my whole life. Now I want, I want to change the world now.
[BOB] FAW: That audacious goal of “changing the world” is the mantra of buildOn’s founder, 47 year old Jim Ziolkowski, who stepped out of the fast lane in corporate finance to achieve something more than making money.
JIM ZIOLKOWSKI (Founder, buildOn): I believe strongly in the social justice aspect of my Catholic tradition. But I wasn’t living it, and I wanted to reconcile my faith with the way I was living, so I started up buildOn. Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. And the way we approach it is by organizing afterschool programs in very challenged communities, urban environments and urban high schools across the United States.
Read or watch it all.
On Friday, the faithful throngs crowded along Copacabana beach to walk the Stations of the Cross, life-sized constructions along Avenida Atlantica, at which the cross of World Youth Day and the Icon of Our Lady paused and the dramatization of each station was televised on the multiple big screens along the beach. At the end of the procession, the cross was raised on the stage from which the Pope delivered a sermon in a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese. For Oliver Petter from the Diocese of London, currently in his second year of seminary in Oxford, Friday evening’s events were particularly impressive. The difference in the symbolism in Brazil was of note for him – he commented that many countries perform the stations of the cross with a ‘body’ present, but: “…to process with an empty cross here with a crown of thorns… it symbolizes absence, loss… and yet 1 million people there on the beach, such a manifestation of resurrection, in stillness and reverence… that was very moving…”'
Read it all.
A15-year-old boy confided in me after I addressed his class at a Sydney school last year. He cried as he told me that he had been using porn since the age of nine. He didn't have a social life, had few friends, had never had a girlfriend. His life revolved around online porn. He wanted to stop, he said, but didn't know how.
I have had similar conversations with other boys since then.
Girls also share their experiences. Of boys pressuring them to provide porn-inspired acts. Of being expected to put up with things they don't enjoy. Of seeing sex in terms of performance. Girls as young as 12 show me the text messages they routinely receive requesting naked images.
Pornography is invading the lives of young people. Seventy per cent of boys and 53.5 per cent of girls have seen porn by age 12, 100 per cent of boys and 97 per cent of girls by age 16.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Pornography Science & Technology Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
But what do you remember?
Throngs of flag-waving, chanting, cheering, singing, praying, young people extending for as far as the eye can see? A motorcade moving slowly through a vibrating, pulsating mass of humanity while a smiling Pope gestures, waves, and dispenses blessings to left and right? All this against one of the most breathtakingly beautiful natural backdrops in the world: the beach of Copacabana and the mountain of Corcovado. And of course you remember the babies – babies and more babies, being kissed and cuddled and caressed by the Pope. But maybe you were paying particular attention and you also recall a visit to a slum and a hospital and a meeting with young prisoners and a prayer vigil and a papal pilgrimage to a Marian shrine…
But do you remember what he said?
“Promote justice and dialogue to hear the cry of the poor”, “Serve the community and a culture of encounter”, “Christ shares the crosses we carry in our lives”, “Is ours a Church that can still warm hearts?”, “Grandparents are important: the aged and the young build the future together”, “Faith isn’t a fruit-salad: don’t water it down”, “The Church is close to those suffering from addictions”, “Christian hope means being surprised by God”, “We cannot be part of a throwaway culture”, “Ours is a revolutionary Faith”, “Those who don’t go to Church are the VIP’s invited to the Lord’s table”, “We must learn how to embrace those in need”, “Jesus asks us to play on his team”…
Read and listen to it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary South America Brazil * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis
By all accounts, Pope Francis has already won over many hearts in Brazil with his simplicity and message of caring for the poor. But as he travels the country on his first overseas trip as pontiff, he will be speaking to a group of young Catholics who hold far more liberal views than the church hierarchy on a number of issues, including female priests, homosexuality and abortion.
After arriving in Rio to enormous crowds on Monday, the pope spent Tuesday resting and having private meetings at the Sumare residence where Pope John Paul stayed in 1980 and 1997. Thousands of young pilgrims filled a rainy Copacabana beach to attend a series of religious-themed concerts that were part of World Youth Day, which, despite the name, is a five-day event that began Tuesday and is ostensibly the reason for the pope's visit to Brazil.
But the young people Francis encounters are not necessarily representative of young Catholics worldwide, and they hold some views that run sharply counter to those espoused by Francis and the Roman Catholic Church.
Read it all.
"We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter...."
You can find the link to part one here and part two is there. I finally got to this during some recent driving--very hard to listen to, very important to try to ponder--KSH.
For Catholics, he wrote, the key isn’t to be pulled into speculation, but to seek a logical and compassionate application of all church teachings linked to homosexuality.
The line between orientation and behavior is crucial, due to a clarification issued by the Boy Scouts: “Any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”
This firm statement, Peters argued online, “seems wholly in line with sound Catholic teaching against sexual activity outside of marriage and stands in welcome contrast to the indifference toward premarital sex shown by some other youth organizations. Aside from youth programs expressly oriented toward chastity, I know of no other secular organization that so clearly declares all sexual conduct by its youth members to be contrary to its values as does the Boy Scouts.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Men Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships Teens / Youth * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Last month, Canada was lauded by the OECD for how its college system connects graduates with the labour market and leads to lower youth unemployment. In its annual global education survey, the OECD found that youth employment in countries where vocational training was strong fared better in the last recession and recovered faster.
Yet a bit of rifling through the report suggests that Canada is quite unusual among countries with vocational education: We wait a very long time to offer it. As a result, we are one of the few countries where more people graduate from postsecondary than high school. We think that having lots of graduates from higher ed is good. But what if it means that we waste an awful lot of time in high school?
Compare Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovenia. There, partnerships between business and schools start in high school and training continues throughout one’s career, leading to promotions and advancement in spite of the “lack” of postsecondary credentials.
Read it all.
Nine of Britain’s brightest state school pupils have turned down places at Oxford and Cambridge, mostly to attend Ivy League universities in America, put off by the stuffy elitism and high fees.
It is the first time that a group of state-educated pupils has spurned Britain’s top two universities and follows a warning from the government’s social mobility watchdog that Oxford and Cambridge are failing to meet targets for widening their social mix. Experts predicted that it could be the start of a brain drain of children abroad.
Last week David Laws, the education minister, told The Sunday Times that he was deeply concerned by the situation and planned to intervene.
Read it all (subscription required).
The only thing that stands between the individual and a power-hungry government are what is known as "intermediate institutions." Churches, civic associations, clubs, business groups, and especially families, are all institutions that claim a certain level of allegiance from individuals, and help us govern ourselves. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted in his masterful Democracy in America, they provide the best protection from an over-reaching government.
But when those institutions-especially the family--abandon their responsibility, the government is only too happy to step in. Too many parents have ceded their responsibility to disciple, educate, feed, train and care for their children to others, especially the government. The government has been talking to our kids about sex for years. So it's not that difficult to see why they would think they have the prerogative to "fix" the consequences of that behavior also.
I'm not saying government is bad: it's not, it's biblically ordained for a specific purpose. And Chuck [Colson] described that purpose a few years ago: "I've said it until I'm blue in the face," he said, "and I'll say it until I'm purple: The biblical view of the role of government is to preserve order, restrain evil, and promote justice. Government has no legitimate interest in running car companies, the healthcare industry, or taking over student loans."
Read it all.
Remember a few years back, when teenagers left MySpace in droves for this new thing called Facebook? Grown-ups soon followed suit (not that they were ever much on MySpace), and joined Facebook by the hundreds of millions – which made it far less cool for their kids. So where on the Web are teens going now, and what can you learn from them?
A recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 94% of American teens still have a Facebook account, but they’re using it less, and using it more carefully. More than half have tightened down their privacy settings and regularly delete or edit previous posts.
But even with tightened privacy settings, teens have realized that Facebook is more like a family picnic than the private party they want it to be. They still share photos and use Facebook messaging, but they are increasingly turning to newer social networks to fill the function of traditional status updates. So which sites are they using – and why?
Read it all.
New studies on peer pressure suggest that teens—who often seem to follow each other like lemmings—may do so because their brains derive more pleasure from social acceptance than adult brains, and not because teens are less capable of making rational decisions.
And scientists say facing the influence of friends represents an important developmental step for teens on their way to becoming independent-thinking adults.
Peer pressure is often seen as a negative, and indeed it can coax kids into unhealthy behavior like smoking or speeding. But it can also lead to engagement in more useful social behaviors. If peers value doing well in school or excelling at sports, for instance, it might encourage kids to study or train harder. And both peer pressure and learning to resist it are important developmental steps to self-reliance, experts say.
Read it all.
Walk into any American high school and nearly one in five boys in the hallways will have a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 11% of all American children ages 4 to 17—over six million—have ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007. When you consider that in Britain roughly 3% of children have been similarly diagnosed, the figure is even more startling. Now comes worse news: In the U.S., being told that you have ADHD—and thus receiving some variety of amphetamine to treat it—has become more likely.
Last month, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—the bible of mental health—and this latest version, known as DSM-5, outlines a new diagnostic paradigm for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Symptoms of ADHD remain the same in the new edition: "overlooks details," "has difficulty remaining focused during lengthy reading," "often fidgets with or taps hands" and so on. The difference is that in the previous version of the manual, the first symptoms of ADHD needed to be evident by age 7 for a diagnosis to be made. In DSM-5, if the symptoms turn up anytime before age 12, the ADHD diagnosis can be made.
Read it all.
Oh boy, he’s having a baby.
It’s hard to ignore these images of teenage boys sporting “pregnant” bellies and that’s exactly the intent of Chicago’s new eye-catching teen pregnancy prevention campaign.
Launched last month, it aims to “spark conversations among adolescents and adults on the issue of teen pregnancy and to make the case that teen parenthood is more than just a girl’s responsibility,” according to the Chicago Department of Public Health....
Read it all.
When I first started in youth ministry, I did everything I could think of to attract and engage high school youth. I held monthly social events and service projects. My Sunday school classes and weekly youth group meetings included crazy games, youth-only worship with contemporary Christian music, and discussions of relevant topics.
I chose topics based on what I thought youth cared about, so we talked a lot about friendships, sex and alcohol. While I tied these topics to scripture, I rarely focused on Jesus. I assumed that the youth, who had grown up in the church, already knew the Jesus story well and were likely to be bored by it. Rather than help students cultivate a lifelong relationship with Christ, I focused on getting them to live a Christian lifestyle. I had zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior.
Only a handful of the youth I worked with in that year are attending church today. My extensive efforts at reaching them seem to have made little difference.
Research suggests that my approach to ministry was not unusual—nor was the outcome. According to research by the Fuller Youth Institute, 40 to 50 percent of kids who are part of a youth group in high school fail to stick with their faith in college. To find out why, researchers at FYI conducted a six-year, comprehensive and longitudinal study from 2004 to 2010 called the College Transition Project. The study’s findings are found in Sticky Faith: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers, a 2011 book by Kara E. Powell, Brad M. Griffin and Cheryl A. Crawford.
Read it all.
....my personal appreciation for the pedagogy the Common Core outlines and the texts it strongly recommends is that it can bring us back to the vision of Horace Mann, the pioneer of our Common School movement. Mann's major goal was training disciplined citizens. One of his key principles was that classrooms should pull together children from varied backgrounds, yet provide them with common understandings.
Mann aimed to establish schools with a common vision. The Common Core State Standards aim to help existing schools provide essential preparation for a diverse population. It is hoped that through a common experience with both literary and informational texts, students will gain insights and skills needed in order to rebuild the common foundations of our diverse society. Thus the recommended texts include key passages from Patrick Henry, George Washington, the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Learned Hand, Margaret Chase Smith, and Ronald Reagan. All of these help us think beyond ourselves to engage a grand social experiment.
In his Experiment in Criticism, C. S. Lewis argued that "the necessary condition of all good reading is 'to get ourselves out of the way.' " We get out of the way of the text when we read it closely for what it has to offer. The Common Core Standards encourage such close reading. We get out of the way when we check our own interpretations in constructive dialogue with others. The Common Core Standards call for publishers to produce materials that "provide opportunities for students to participate in real, substantive discussions that require them to respond directly to the ideas of their peers."
Read it all.
...today's prom is serious business. And I do mean business: The credit-card company Visa reports that prom spending will reach an average of $1,139 per family this year, up 5 percent since 2012. Most of that spending is still done by girls, who post their dresses on Facebook in the hopes that no one else will purchase the same one.
Meanwhile, boys now compete to devise the most elaborate ways to ask girls to prom. Two years ago, a student who serenaded his intended date in class -- backed up by a cappella singers -- ended up on "Good Morning America." So-called "promposals" have since become ubiquitous on the Internet, generating millions of Youtube hits.
What's going on here?
Read it all.
There is a great graphic here and some comment there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Middle Age Teens / Youth Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Personal Finance Taxes The U.S. Government Budget Medicare Social Security The National Deficit Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Among the statistics cited are theses:
One in every four young people will experience a mental disorder in any 12 month period (most commonly substance abuse or dependency, depression or anxiety, or a combination of these).Read it all.
Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health issues experienced by young people, with around 30% of
adolescents experiencing a diagnosable depressive episode by the age of 18 years.
Mental disorders were the leading contributor to the burden of disease and injury (49%) among young Australians aged
15–24 years in 2003, with anxiety and depression being the leading specific cause for both males and females
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Gary Player writes:
I’ve seen a lot of great shots and great rounds at Augusta. In 1978, I closed in 30 and shot 64 to win the Masters by one. But that doesn’t compare to what Tianlang Guan is doing at the age of 14. Mark my words: We are witnessing the most historic moment golf has experienced in my lifetime. And giving him the slow-play penalty on Friday is one of the saddest things I’ve seen in golf. When I heard, I prayed that he would make the cut. I am thrilled he did, because having him play the weekend will do miracles for the game. Golf’s popularity is as low as it’s ever been. Fewer and fewer people are playing the game. This will encourage young boys and girls around the world to play the game. Imagine it! Everyone will benefit -- courses, manufacturers, some day even fans.I agree. Say it again with me, the rules were made for Golf, not Golf for the rules--KSH. Read it all.
Now, you cannot criticize the rule. It’s in the book for a reason. I believe the officials when they say Guan broke it. But you’ve got to be consistent. If you had a stopwatch, you could time many players in the last 20 years who have been well over their time but have not been penalized. Slow-playing tournament leaders have not been penalized. If the rule is applied arbitrarily, it is meaningless. The tragedy is that this could cause a stir. Imagine what the Chinese are going to think?
The President of AYF, Wuse Archdeaconry Council, Barrister Isaac Harrison stated this during a workshop organised for youth, with the theme; “Empowered To Impact The World”, in Abuja.
According to him, “We cannot grant amnesty to people we do not know, we cannot also grant amnesty to people who had already made up their minds that whether there is dialogue or not, they will go on with whatever they are doing, If Boko Haram actually need peace, they will not be killing those that are moving towards that peace.
Read it all.
[SCOTT] SIMON: Did you grow up thinking you'd be a writer?. Read or, better, listen to the whole piece.
[RON] RASH: I didn't, but I think I showed all the symptoms. I was very comfortable being by myself. I spent a lot of time alone and particularly out in the natural world. I think I had a particular moment when I was 15 years old. I read "Crime and Punishment," and that book just, I think, more than any other book made me want to be a writer, 'cause it was the first time that I hadn't just entered a book, but a book had entered me. I can remember exactly where I was. I was in a biology class. I was supposed to be listening to the teacher but I was on the back row. And I can just remember so vividly just never having that kind of feeling, that kind of intensity from a book. And, obviously, at 15 I didn't understand exactly what was going on with Raskolnikov. But there was a particular scene early in that book where the pawnbroker was murdered that I will never forget. It's one of the most vivid memories in my life - not just my reading life (my emphasis)
(Note that last season Dickey played with the New York Mets and he will be with Toronto this season--KSH).
This is Kamathipura, the red light district of Mumbai, among the most notorious sex-trafficking locations in the world. I am here as a guest of Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC), a charity that has been fighting human trafficking for more than 20 years, one I joined forces with last year, when two friends and I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and raised $130,000 , much of it from generous and kind-hearted Mets fans. I have come with my two daughters, Gabriel, 11, and Lila, 9, to witness the fruits of our climb – the conversion of a former brothel to a health clinic. I want my daughters to share the experience not so much as a gratitude check, but to learn that each of us has a capacity to make a difference in this world, and to see that God’s grace makes that possible.
Read it all, noting please that its content may not be appropriate for some blog readers.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Globalization Law & Legal Issues Poverty Religion & Culture Sexuality Sports Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia India * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
We're about to comment on yet another interminable sex-related piece from The Atlantic, so let's start with some comic relief. The article's co-authors, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, run a website called Onely.com. Its slogan is "Single and Happy...."
[The authors]...[are] aggrieved enough to resort to neology, denouncing what they term "institutionalized singlism, the discrimination of [sic] individuals based on marital status." What they mean is discrimination against individuals based on lack of marital status.
"More than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples," they complain. "Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. . . . Marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives." Income-tax liability is generally (though not always) higher for unmarried earners; married workers more or less automatically have access to spouses' health insurance; couples can share individual retirement accounts, and so forth.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Marriage & Family Psychology Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Most adolescents who plan or attempt suicide have already received at least some mental health treatment, raising questions about the effectiveness of current approaches to helping troubled youths, according to the largest in-depth analysis to date of suicidal behaviors in American teenagers.
The study, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 55 percent of suicidal teenagers had received some therapy before they thought about suicide, planned it or tried to kill themselves, contradicting the widely held belief that suicide is due in part to a lack of access to treatment.
The findings, based on interviews with a nationwide sample of more than 6,000 teenagers and at least one parent of each, linked suicidal behavior to complex combinations of mood disorders like depression and behavior problems like attention-deficit and eating disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine History Psychology Suicide Science & Technology Teens / Youth * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Catholic parochial education is in crisis. More than a third of parochial schools in the United States closed between 1965 and 1990, and enrollment fell by more than half. After stabilizing in the 1990s, enrollment has plunged despite strong demand from students and families.
Closings of elementary and middle schools have become a yearly ritual in the Northeast and Midwest, home to two-thirds of the nation’s Catholic schools. Last year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed one-fifth of its elementary schools. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, is expected to decide soon whether to shut 26 elementary schools and one high school, less than three years after the latest closings. Catholic high schools have held on, but their long-term future is in question.
This isn’t for want of students....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Watch it all.
Caught this over the weekend, really worth the time. If you do not know the story, you need to--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Drugs/Drug Addiction Education History Marriage & Family Men Teens / Youth Urban/City Life and Issues Violence
We need to recognise the personal cost of crime. We need to recognise the damage, hurt and pain crime causes to victims and their families. And we need to recognise the cost to the wider society. But the harsh reality is that 75% of young offenders re-offend within 12 months - 3 out of 4 - this has to stop!...”
“Reflex prison Outreach workers and volunteer mentors provide positive role models and ‘father figures’. Their accredited education programmes provide creative opportunities for reflection and achievement, and their life skills help build ‘character’, encouraging young people to take responsibility for their actions as part of the community. With God's help, Reflex can place a worker in every Young Offenders Institution in the nation. We can turn the tide.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Men Prison/Prison Ministry Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
John McKissick began at Summerville High School as football coach in 1952--what was his salary that year. No fair peaking or googling, etc.
Find the answer and all the other articles after you have made your guess there.
“It feels good,” McKissick said. “It’s another win, and if it totals up to 600, that’s great. I feel good for the kids. I feel good for the boys. They can tell everyone they were part of the 600th. I think they will be proud of that.”
McKissick’s success is unmatched at any level. The all-time winningest college football coach is 86-year-old John Gagliardi of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., who enters this weekend with 487 wins in 64 years.
Don Shula is the winningest coach in NFL history with 347.
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“It is your Church, your home, ask for the best of your best of your pastors and teachers” with those words the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams concluded an extraordinary morning of welcome at the TelstraClear Pacific events Centre in Manukau, New Zealand. The response was to a question posed by a young person who was participating in a youth forum where questions were addressed to the Archbishop, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Dr Williams along with the Anglican Consultative Council delegation who are meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, had arrived at the centre for a powhiri - a Maori welcoming ceremony. A significant part of the morning event was a youth forum where questions ranged from Dr Williams' favorite biblical passage to church attitudes towards women, same sex marriage, what shoes God would wear, and whether it was fun to be Archbishop.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Primates * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
The first thing the Archbishop of Canterbury will face at ...[today's] Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) opening ceremony will be a guttural challenge from the young people of this country.
On entering the Telstra Events Centre in Manukau, Dr Rowan Williams and ACC members will be greeted with a wero (challenge) from a young Maori Anglican brandishing a taiaha (spear).
Welcome to Aotearoa, Archbishop; we do things differently here.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
The idea that fathers play a significant role in the development of their kids' approach to sex has received some support in a new evidence review. Studies in the review suggest that adolescents have less sex if their fathers talk to them more about sexual matters.
There are caveats. The review only looked at a few studies because there's little research into the role of fathers -- as compared to mothers -- when it comes to the decisions that teens make about sex. And it's possible that some other factor could explain the apparent link between more fatherly communication and less sexual activity.
Still, the review suggests that "fathers do make a difference. It's not just about mothers," said lead author Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor and co-director of New York University's Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health.
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He schooled himself to change—a long, slow transformation. Once, leading a [Youth for Christ] YFC camp in a remote Sri Lankan village, he decided that years of study had finally made him ready to lead music in the Sinhala language. Afterwards, he stumbled into an informal gathering of young YFC volunteers. As he entered, he overheard them laughing at his Sinhala singing and mimicking him.
He lived simply. YFC salaries were based on family size and experience, not on position. Fernando made no more than others, and he made sure his home and lifestyle were in no way intimidating to the most simple village people who might visit.
Not only did he change, his teaching changed. Considering the prevailing liberalism, he began to teach about the supremacy of Christ, a difficult and controversial message in a country where most religions are pluralistic. He was convinced that without belief in hell and the unique power of Jesus to save, Christians lost the urgency of witness. "I still preach about [those topics] in the West," he says, although the rise of Pentecostalism means that they are no longer pressing issues for the Asian church.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary Asia Sri Lanka * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Detective Doug Galluccio hadn’t finished unpacking his new desk when he got his first call from a school resource officer about a sexting incident.
A seventh-grader at C.E. Williams Middle School had taken nude photos of herself and sent them by cellphone to five male classmates. Those ended up posted online.
That was in 2010 when Galluccio became Charleston’s first full-time police officer dedicated to the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. It was his job to help investigate the incident....
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Education Marriage & Family Sexuality Teens / Youth * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
n a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday (Oct. 6) announced that it is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21).
“The Lord is hastening this work,” LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said at a news conference, “and he needs more and more willing missionaries.”
The church is counting on this change to dramatically increase the ranks of its full-time missionaries, currently more than 58,000 worldwide.
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...[this past Wednesday] evening saw the launch of an exhibition in Bradford Cathedral of fantastic photographs. The gallery includes black and white as well as colour pictures of scenes from the street in Durban, South Africa, and Burundi. They illustrate the reality of young lives blighted by homelessness, hopelessness and hunger – hunger for love, security and friendship. The are also examples of simple joy, playfulness and humour. So far, so good.
Then, as you hear the stories of those portrayed, you realise some of them are already dead.
Streetaction is a small charity working with slim resources to work with partners to offer some street children hope of a future.
Read it all and make sure to check out the Streetaction website. The Bradford Cathedral website includes this description:
Street Action Exhibition--An exhibition by professional photographers of children on the street of Burundi, South Africa and Kenya. Street Action works in partnership with local organisations to tackle the complex needs of children living on the streets with no parental or adult care.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Poverty Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Africa Burundi Kenya South Africa
Katie [Stagliano] said the most important things she learned at the CGI meeting were about other causes she did not know about and “how good we have it here in the U.S.”
To Katie, age is not something that should hinder youths from doing extraordinary things. “Follow your heart. If there are causes you believe in, you should work towards it no matter how old you are. You can make an impact,” she recommends to other youths interested in making a difference.
Katie’s mother agreed and said that parents cannot push their children to do these types of things — they should only provide support.
“I never would have imagined that this is where we’d be today. God led her down this path, and she has walked through with open arms,” Stagliano said. “Sometimes people underestimate the power of youth. When given the opportunity, they can do amazing things.”
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The teenager was walking down the Wando High School hallway when someone grabbed his booksack strap and shoved him into the boys’ bathroom.
He tried to get away, but his classmate used both hands to force his head and neck down into a urinal. Desperate to break loose, he swung his leg backward into his aggressor’s crotch and fled the bathroom.
He’s the kind of kid who is picked on a lot, and it’s the kind of incident that schools and police take seriously.
Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.
...while many Americans might think of sex trafficking as an international problem, it often starts in the United States. Prosecutor Lindsey Roberson has seen it happen.
One of her first cases involved a 17-year-old girl who met a guy at a downtown club. He wooed her, and then “took her out of town on a trip, and let her know what she would have to do to pay her way,” Roberson said.
“She had no ID, no cell phone; no way to contact her mother. And the guy ended up advertising her for sex on Backpage.com and trafficking her all the way out to California and back to Virginia.”
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Several hundred retired military leaders are raising red flags about childhood obesity in the USA and its impact on finding qualified recruits. They want junk food to be booted out of schools.
Mission: Readiness, a group of more than 300 retired generals and admirals, says in a report out today that the 40% of students who buy high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food from school vending machines and cafeteria a la carte lines consume an average of 130 calories a day from those types of foods (candy, chips, cookies, pastries). That's roughly 5% to 10% of the calories kids and teens should eat in a day.
Three-quarters of those ages 17 to 24, or about 26 million young people, cannot serve in the military, a quarter of them because they are overweight or obese, says retired Air Force lieutenant general Norman Seip, a spokesman for Mission: Readiness.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Dieting/Food/Nutrition Health & Medicine Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life
Today...the church may look healthy on the outside, but it has swallowed the fatal pills. The evidence is stacking up: the church is dying and, for the most part, we are refusing the diagnosis.
What evidence? Take a gander at these two shocking items:
1. 20-30 year olds attend church at 1/2 the rate of their parents and ¼ the rate of their grandparents. Think about the implication for those of us in youth ministry: Thousands of us have invested our lives in reproducing faith in the next generation and the group we were tasked with reaching left the church when they left us.
2. 61% of churched high school students graduate and never go back! (Time Magazine, 2009) Even worse: 78% to 88% of those in youth programs today will leave church, most to never return. (Lifeway, 2010) Please read those last two statistics again. Ask yourself why attending a church with nothing seems to be more effective at retaining youth than our youth programs.
We look at our youth group now and we feel good. But the youth group of today is the church of tomorrow, and study after study after study suggests that what we are building for the future is…
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ecclesiology Pastoral Theology
Average national reading scores on the SAT college entrance exam fell to the lowest level in four decades and only 43 percent of 2012 high school seniors who took the test showed they were fully prepared for college, according to new data released on Monday.
College-bound seniors scored an average of 496 points in reading, down one point from 2011 and a 34-point drop since 1972, the College Board, which administers the SAT test, said in a report.
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Every motivated, high-potential young American deserves a similar opportunity. But the majority of very smart kids lack the wherewithal to enroll in rigorous private schools. They depend on public education to prepare them for life. Yet that system is failing to create enough opportunities for hundreds of thousands of these high-potential girls and boys.
Mostly, the system ignores them, with policies and budget priorities that concentrate on raising the floor under low-achieving students. A good and necessary thing to do, yes, but we’ve failed to raise the ceiling for those already well above the floor.
Public education’s neglect of high-ability students doesn’t just deny individuals opportunities they deserve. It also imperils the country’s future supply of scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs.
Read it all and you can learn more about the author there.
Youth ministry researcher Chap Clark says, “I’m convinced that the single most important area where we’ve lost ground with kids is in our commitment and ability to ground them in God’s Word.”
As a result, Barry Shafer says, “The church today, including both the adult and teenage generations, is in an era of rampant biblical illiteracy.” Duffy Robbins takes this one step further when he says: “Our young people have become incapable of theological thinking because they don’t have any theology to think about. … And, as Paul warns us, this … leaves us as ‘infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching’ (Ephesians 4:14).”
At the conclusion of the National Study of Youth and Religion, lead researcher Christian Smith reported: “Even though most teens are very positive about religion and say it’s a good thing, the vast majority are incredibly inarticulate about religion. … It doesn’t seem to us that many teens are being very well-educated in their faith traditions.”
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations * Theology Theology: Scripture
A black helicopter hovering overhead can lead those below to become worried, scared or suspicious. But when a large aircraft positioned itself over a Prince William County high school’s football field last Wednesday afternoon, students who had just been released for the day excitedly watched as a stuffed bulldog with a red-bandanna parachute emerged.
The big-eyed pup drifted to the turf, delivering a message from a junior boy to a senior girl: “Fall Fest?”
As students look to one-up their classmates for the most outrageous way to ask a girl on a date — in this case Patriot High School’s version of a homecoming dance — this boy’s approach might have set a new standard. The helicopter flew in low over the school’s grounds, stunning students and setting off a flurry of Twitter messages and photographs before its covert mission was complete....
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It was a beautiful day, that’s what everyone remembers. So clear, so crisp, so bright. It sparkled as I walked my 14-year-old son out to go to the subway that would take him to his new high school, in Brooklyn. He was now a commuter: a walk to the 86th Street subway station and then the 4 or 5 train downtown near the towers and over the river. That was about 7:30 in the morning. It was beautiful at noon when I went to mass at St. Thomas More church on 89th Street. And between those two events, his departure and the mass, the world had changed, changed utterly. After mass, at the rise of 86th Street, the day was so clear you could see all the way downtown to the towering debris cloud.
But it was beautiful. That was one of the heartbreaking elements....
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When Stakwell Yurenimo, a Samburu in northern Kenya, did well on his eighthgrade exams, the Kenyan government informed him that he had qualified to go to a high school that they would choose. They also chose his roommate, a young man named Paul, who was a member of the enemy tribe, the Turkana. Stakwell determined in his mind that there was no way he would room with a Turkana. In fact, part of his culture demanded that in order to be respected as a man, he needed to kill a Turkana....
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Men Religion & Culture Sports Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
It’s the year 2020 and newlyweds Tom and Sara are expecting their first child. Along with selecting the latest high-tech stroller, picking out a crib, and decorating the nursery, they download the “NewBorn” application suite to their universal communicator; they’re using what we’ll call a SmartPhone 20.0. Before the due date, they take the phone on a tour of the house, letting the phone’s sensors and machine-learning algorithms create light and sound “fingerprints” for each room.
When they settle Tom Jr. down for his first nap at home, they place the SmartPhone 20.0 in his crib. Understanding that the crib is where the baby sleeps, the SmartPhone activates its sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) application and uses its built-in microphone, accelerometers, and other sensors to monitor little Tommy’s heartbeat and respiration. The “Baby Position” app analyzes the live video stream to ensure that Tommy does not flip over onto his stomach—a position that the medical journals still report contributes to SIDS. Of course, best practices in child rearing seem to change quickly, but Tom and Sara aren’t too worried about that because the NewBorn application suite updates itself with the latest medical findings. To lull Tommy to sleep, the SmartPhone 20.0 plays music, testing out a variety of selections and learning by observation which music is most soothing for this particular infant....
While this scenario is, of course, science fiction, many of the technologies I’m describing are here today in research labs or even in app stores. So the reality of a SmartPhone 20.0, along with its envisioned NewBorn suite, are not far off.
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In... [British Columbia], if you blow .08 or beyond, you can avoid the justice system – and a criminal record – if you fit certain criteria. Conditions include not having killed or injured anyone or caused property damage as a result of your actions. If you qualify, you can opt for administrative sanctions over the courts.
If you choose this path, you have to go through a rehabilitation program, which could lead to treatment for alcohol abuse. When the person is given the right to drive again, it can only be in a car outfitted with an ignition interlock system, for a minimum of one year. The device prevents the car from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level is above a certain limit.
“The focus is very much on rehabilitating the driver and not simply punishing him,” says Mr. Murie. “I don’t think just punishing drivers works.”
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