Friday, January 30, 2009

Postmodern Tantrum

I was in class and we were talking about different factors that help or hurt a child in his/her development and put a family at risk for problems. One of my friends looked quite frustrated and kept on looking at our professor & the rest of us with a confused / upset look. He finally burst out saying, "What do you mean problems? What do you mean by ideal? Like really [don't repeat this in class] wealthy or - how do you win this [I also said don't repeat this in class] race?" Everyone paused and the professor said, "Hm. Interesting. How do you know?" My friend got very angry and said that was the point. We don't know and so it is presumptuous to say what is good and not good for a child or family. He also had problems with predicting a child's developmental trajectory from different factors in his/her life.

I knew God was wanting me to speak. I took a deep breath and thought, "Ok, here goes..." I raised my hand. My professor let my friend rant more. Then he let me speak. I said, "First of all, remember when you guys were not HDFS and you looked at your family or friends? Maybe they worked in a business or at a store, so they were from various economic backgrounds. But couldn't you tell whether they were doing satisfactory or not?" I got a lot of uproar with that statement saying, "You can't really tell." Ok... so my professor attempted to cut me off by saying, "I know where you are going with this, but we have no accurate way of measuring how families and children are really doing." I said, "Yes, but, I think we have an inate sense of what families should be like and how children should be like to be adaptive." Common sense, yeah? Oh man... My friend practically blew up and said that he had a problem with the word 'should' and everyone pretty much agreed.

I tried to resolve his post-modern tantrum, but I think it made it worse. After class, I spoke with another Christian and she knew what I meant and agreed with what I said. It was my first foray into bringing Truth into this class and ouch. However, I am consoled not by my classmates' or professor's reactions, but by the fact that I do know how God designed the family and how He ordained it to be. This is nice because it allows me to work toward a goal when helping children and families.

Monday, January 19, 2009

When a Celebration Misses its Maker

Ok, here goes. Today is Martin Luther King day. We had a celebration at the university commemorating Dr. King's work. The first part was great. The main speech was very well done and had some nice poetic elements. However, I was saddened by it.

Dr. King had a dream that all persons would be treated equally because the God he served does not show favoritism (Romans 2:8-9) and there is no strata of status in His kingdom as far as being along racial or gender lines (Galatians 3:28). However, God does have set roles for men and women due to the way He designed them (Titus 2). In Him, we are all separate but equal.

In the speech, God was removed as deity. Instead, the creation was set as deity. This shouldn't be because the Creation displays the glory of its Creator (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19, Genesis 1 and many other verses). In this speech, 'mother earth' was prayed for and the speaker acknowledged this prayer was a substitute to the Lord's Prayer. That made me almost cry.

Throughout the speech, humanity was labeled as holy, pure. Our inner selves was where we would get strength. How can this be if we are all fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23)? Our inner selves as a reservoir of love was where true community would be found. Mmmm... maybe not really? 'Mother Earth' was groaning for all of us to love her more, to love each other more. That's somewhat Romans 8:20-22, but actually, the Creation groans for the redemption of God's children, so that God can redeem and make Creation new.

What answer, then, is true community? It is Christ. In Acts, the church stayed together because of the Holy Spirit enabling them to love each other. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) is what allows us to have true community with our neighbor. Our fallen selves hinder it.

That difference, that removal of our Creator from the celebration of King's work made me sad. Made me angry that so many people - men, women, and children of Fort Collins were not told this truth of Salvation, but deceived by this post-modernism. The community here, while it is important, and especially Believers should show it, will not last here. We long for a true eternal community with God as its head, where He rules with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-8).

Dr. King wanted his society to reflect a
God that is righteous, loving, and just. His hope was ultimately in God, and ours should be to.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

There will be a day

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears / There will be a day when the burdens of this place, / will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face / But until that day, we'll hold on to you always Jeremy Camp "There will be a Day" (from

While I was going through articles that I have amassed during my 3 semesters :O of graduate school this song was playing on my Imeem playlist. I stopped and listened. I really like this song a lot.

One thing I realized was that there will be a day when I won't need at least 2 binders about HDFS stuff. A lot of my articles are just basic information and research findings, but a lot are about interventions for troubled families and how God's design of human development can be broken by biological and/or environmental agents.

One day I will not need this. One day, everyone who has accepted Christ as Savior will know what true love is. One day, any pains we have encountered in this life, any shame or hurt will be washed away. One day, I will be able to look and watch families that I've seen broken made whole in Christ. In that day, I will probably cry a lot, but I will be crying tears of happiness, for our Father in Heaven in whom we will be securely rooted.

In the mean time, I need to trust Him to help these families and be diligent in my studies and work so that He will be glorified. Any sadness I encounter when working in the HDFS field, I need to bring to Him.

Through this, I will always have the hope of His returning to make His children whole.

I can’t wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery this is why this is why I sing - Jeremy Camp

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Glory of it All - Even a Family's Pain

I spent more time working on my thesis, mainly the lit review. Some of this literature, I had not really looked at since the beginning of the year. It was nice to revisit more background on my thesis topic, which is emotional availability (parent responsiveness and quality of parent-child interactions) within divorcing and married families.

I was listening to the song, "Glory of it All" by David Crowder and I stopped and thought for a moment. All things God works to His glory - for the good of those who love Him, and for all to seek Him (Romans 8:28, Acts 17). So, does God use divorce to glorify Himself? Note, divorce is not His plan for a family. It is the product of a fallen world. Yet, I know He can use it to His glory. It is a step of faith for me to say this, when I have a one inch binder full of articles that discuss the negative outcomes of divorce which some children experience.

Yet I have articles about resilience. I know people who have come out of divorce and other maladaptive home-life situations. I've seen their struggle. I have struggled myself. And those of us that are Believers know that we feel our Father more acutely when we realize that we have lacked the love of a parent at different parts of our lives. We cry at His feet to mourn this, but we hold up our arms as He embraces us. We have hope that all will be restored, and that He will show us how He had worked, even in our darkest moments.

How does this affect my thesis? I have prayed more for divorcing families, for those that I observed, though the parent-child interactions were coded several years ago, I know it is not to late for God to really show Himself in these families. I talk about hope, or try to, in my thesis. Not just hope that this will help counselors and other people assist couples in working out their problems, so they will be less likely to divorce. I want to convey that families that are going through or have divorced still have hope. God's hand is mighty to save. No family is beyond His help. They just need to turn to Him. He has supplied the Son for their transgressions, and He will give them grace and love to go on.

So, when I sing, "Oh the glory of it all / is You are here / for the rescue of us all / that we may live." I know that a broken family can show as much of God's glory as an intact family. An intact family shows His plan. A broken family shows His redemption, healing, and comfort through the tears.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This post-college preparation will be different because...

Yup. I have already started the process of job searching (or at least calling people to begin networking, meaning calling agencies to try an set up informational interviews). I have a tendency to get nervous during this & think, "Crap. What if they don't like me, what if they won't call me back, what if what if..." This is, in HDFS language, thoughts & musings that have been modeled and I have internalized them. Meaning, I have watched someone go through this high-worry thought process over and over and, unfortunately, it is my default thought process for high-stakes things such as jobs and stuff.

This year I tell myself, quite frankly, "shut up and calm down." No really. Why? Because God is in control. Right now, I'm listening to Chris Tomlin's 'Enough.' all of You / is more than enough for / all of me / for every thirst and every need. / You satisfy me / with Your love / and all I have in You is more than enough.

Psalm 116 is also speaking to me right now. Be at rest once more O my soul. For the Lord has been good to you

Stop. Breathe. No really. Stop. Log off RamCT, put down the phone, pick up His word, put on some Chris Tomlin or other awesome worship. Let your Father speak to you right now.

Whew. Yaaaaaay! I feel God's peace when I do this. Already, God has prompted me to start praying - earnestly praying about housing / job situations for me when I leave grad school. When I pray, I pray, 'Lord, thy will be done. Lord, I am networking, looking around at possible apartments, guide my feet, let Your will be done as I put in my work. Give me a heart for clients / students I may work with, co-workers / faculty I may collaborate with, neighbors my roommate(s) and I may reach. I still have to start talking to people and praying about roommate situations.

This year will be different than the last year when I started my post-college transition. First of all, I will be focused on staying in Fort Collins, which is still quite a big faith step. Second of all, I will be graduating from Grad School! :) However, most importantly, it will, with God's grace & growing in my faith & my obedience to walk in faith, be a transition where I will have more peace because I will have laid it all at His feet (Philippians 4:6-7).

Friday, January 09, 2009

An HDFS Foundation that cannot be shaken

At the PDI, one thing that was brought up was constructivism and teaching. Constructivism basically means that students construct their own learning and teach themselves with the instructor's help. What would basically happen is an instructor gives students readings, but the assignments are really vague and classes are centered around discussion. The idea is that students grasp the concepts themselves while trying to figure out the assignment or discussions. The students are 'in charge' of the content and they analyze it the way they see fit, and it's more relevant to them. The instructor, of course, helps them if they get too off track.

I thought about this and thought, "Ok... interesting. But how do I as a GTA or possible future instructor know whether students are learning the right stuff?" I know pure constructivists would say, "They will find what is relevant to them, and most helpful, and that's how you know they've learned what they need to learn." However, there are just some foundational things to every field that need to be known in order to succeed. I think these need to be taught the usual way: instructor tells student, "This is how it is." Then, students can discover things with less of an instructor imput, if that's what the instructor wants.

For example: if I were to teach students how to bake cookies (mmm... chocolate chip cookies - nice & warm out of the oven :) <-- what I am eating), I could do it their way & another way. Here goes: I'd put out flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, salt, flour, nuts, and chocolate chips on the table. The students would have ovens and measuring cups & bowls etc. They would see instructions like: Make chocolate chip cookies. Students would just start experimenting. I'd intervene if a student was way off like adding six eggs. I'd say, "You might want to decrease your eggs." but not go into specifics. The students could discuss among themselves what they are doing. In the mean time, there would be a lot of burnt gunk, undercooked stuff, runny batter, batter that is way too sweet, etc. Along the way, someone might get things basically right and he/she would teach everyone else how to make chocolate chip cookies. The process of learning is what matters in this case. However, I see a few drawbacks. One, students might not know where to begin. Two, they learned what works for chocolate chip cookies, but they might have to do the same trial and error for making meatloaf or something. And the most important thing , I believe, is that there are foundational things about cooking such as salt & baking soda make flour rise, eggs hold a mixture together, etc. that you should know to be a good cook. If I had to teach it from a 'learn the foundation first and then explore' method, I would teach the students those foundations and then let them experiment. I'm guessing the mess & trial-error wouldn't be so great, and the students would have more direction.

Bringing it back to HDFS: There are certain things such as attachment, cognitive stages, developmental milestones, and family theories that every single HDFS major needs to know. They are the foundation of the field. They reveal how God designed humans and the families we are raised in. An instructor can somehow teach this by a constructivist method, but I think it's easier if students are given this information. It is important information that should not be overlooked. A student that doesn't know some of these concepts would be considered incompotent in the field.

So basically: There needs to be a foundation. Every field has one. God is the source of all knowledge. Therefore, He has rules in which the world works. We just need to find out what these rules and principles are. That is our foundation, and that is what we need to teach students before they can go on to learn other things in the field.

Back 2 Ye Olde Blog

Yup. It's me. Ye Olde Blogger. Dang that sounds old. We-ell, I am in graduate school... and I started this.... oh man... when I was a junior. 4 years ago, basically. oh man.four years ago.Woo, man.

So, why am I bringing Bloggy back? First of all, I find typing much better than writing since I can't read my writing. I might keep up my journals because it's just easier on the bus, between classes, etc, when I don't have my computer. Also, I can get a lot more in depth in my journals. However, some things I will transfer to my blog.

Other reasons include the fact that electronic sharing of information is the way to go. That got rammed into my brain in the Professional Development Institute (PDI) Most importantly, I decided that another voice out there demonstrating what God can do for the world to see Him & His glory is not a bad thing :)

Here's to blogging!