In this motivational video Paul discusses technology and politics, then family issues and solutions in the USA. He uses practical wisdom, formal training in philosophy, ethics and religious studies, and experience as a candidate for U.S. Congress, to cast a vision for lifelong learning in a world where social media and politics strains relationships with family and friends.
Audacious goals. Some call them North Stars. Regardless, for centuries, men and women have committed themselves to radical visions — reform and change and revolution that seemed impossible to the masses.
The greatest exemplar was Jesus.
As one studies any movement, the people behind the movement must be considered — the organizers and idealists and troublemakers who were crazy enough to lead and join and work and believe that transformation was possible and that their persistence could bring it about.
I think of our audacious goal at For The Children, our North Star: An end to family-induced childhood trauma and eradication of the cycle of neglect, abuse, and abandonment.
I mean like, who do we think we are?
Answer? — we are no different from those organizers and idealists and troublemakers. We really aren’t.
Saint Francis and Martin Luther and Florence Nightingale and William Wilberforce and Harriet Tubman and the thousands that worked alongside them, and now…
From Thursday’s article by NPR: “At the age of 89, Lee decided her new life mission was much like that of Granger: ‘I knew I just had to spread the word about Juneteenth to everybody.’ The best way to do that, she figured, was to help get Juneteenth accepted as a national holiday.”
Eighty-nine! And today the entire world is learning a new word, Juneteenth, and the meaning behind it. (And millions get a day off work.
As followers of Jesus, we follow the most extraordinary lineage in the history of mankind. He spawned a movement, an audacious one, turning “reality” on its head — a message of the last being the first, the poor being rich, the weak being strong, the losers being winners, the outcasts being those he chose first.
An end to family-induced childhood trauma — what could be more of an audacious, and possible, goal?
Last thing. The reason I chose Judith Herman: she was one of these pioneers, audacious, working for decades to advocate for the reality of trauma, PTSD, against the powers that held to the mind-over-matter canard. But Herman was unrelenting. Trauma and Recovery might be a bit dense. But it is the single greatest work that paved the way for doctors, academics, and organizations like ours to treat and heal victims. The New York Times called the book, “One of the most important psychiatric works to be published since Freud.”
I look forward to reading with you and understanding the core of what our children face.
Some things you can change. Some things you can’t.
You can pray.
You can act.
You can raise awareness.
But sometimes, surrender. Because you can only do so much.
The world is full of suffering. Insidious kinds of suffering. I wrote about suffering here.
Atheists use suffering as an argument against the existence of God.
Their logic goes like this:
If God exists, he must be good
If he is good, he would not allow needless suffering (like children being locked up in homes with their abusers)
The world is full of needless suffering
Therefore, God does not exist
Philosophers call this puzzle the Problem of Evil: Technically, The epistemic question posed by evil is whether the world contains undesirable states of affairs that provide the basis for an argument that makes it unreasonable to believe in the existence of God.
Some suffering is from natural evil — disease and disasters.
The other is due to human evil — things people do to others, bringing physical and emotional (or both) pain.
(As an aside, I’m reading The Book Thief for the first time.)
Humans can’t do anything to prevent natural evil; we can’t prevent earthquakes or tsunamis or tornadoes.
But human evil — physical abuse and rape and verbal abuse and greed — can be stopped.
People have choices. (Though I do hold to a libertarian view of free will, I still, often, find myself afraid that most of our actions are done without decision — we are in autopilot more than we want to believe.)
Even so, human evil is prevalent. (You and I have played our own parts in it.)
When my children were young, one of our prayers before bedtime was the Serenity Prayer. We’d pray it after the Our Father, Glory Be, then Anglican prayer of repentance. Anyway, it’s not really Christian, but it’s a good one: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Acceptance and surrender are the same thing.
The good news is that human evil can be curbed through education, intervention, legal sanction, attending 12-Step meetings.
But even then, you can only do so much. Evil still happens.
And I don’t want to be a downer to my friends on social media.
But I can’t not speak out.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: COVID-19 affects all of us. But, COVID-19 hurts children most. The fallout amongst the health experts I speak to weekly in Washington DC is unknown. I wake up daily to news articles on spikes in calls to rape hotlines, child deaths, you name it.
It will take years to recover.
Never in the history of U.S social services have children been kept from mandated reports. Never in the history of social services have children been locked-up with their abusers, with no end in sight.
According to Girls Not Brides: “We know that girls and women – particularly amongst the poorest and socially marginalised groups – will likely be most affected by the pandemic.”
It’s always the weakest and most vulnerable that get hit hardest. The people Jesus stood for, advocated for, died for.
COVID-19 hurts children most
Seeing countless people protest because they can’t go to the beach or party at their favorite bar or who believe guilds of tens of thousands of our finest medical doctors and researchers (in the (WHO, CDC, NIH) are conspiring…we live in a bizarre world and ignorance is our biggest killer.
There is an urgent, and when I say urgent, I truly mean urgent situation before us.
Have you ever wondered why social ills like homelessness or, say, sex trafficking garner so much national and international attention? — as they should, because these are insidious problems that need to be addressed.
But have you ever wondered why foster care, a term that you’ve heard before, doesn’t garner the same interest?
The fact is, there are half a million children in the foster care system and so many more right now that, because of COVID-19, and because many of these children are locked up with their abusers, with no mandates reporters to help get them into a safe place — this COVID-19 pandemic is directly affecting these children in ways our country has never seen before.
COVID-19 is having a dramatic effect on so many of us. But I can tell you a child is different. A child is different because a chlld is not developed, emotionally, not developed in terms of their brains, their neurology.
They are the most vulnerable of all people.
But children in foster care? They are different than the “normal” child. They have been neglected. They have been abused sexually, physically, and on top of that, they have been abandoned.
They have been taken away from their biological parents.
And, and guess what? Courts are closed; these kids cannot be reunified with their parents. The guidelines in place for these biological parents to get their children back are not in effect anymore.
Many of these children are hurting in ways they have never been hurt before.
I have a specific call to action. RFK works in 44 states. In hundreds of counties we have chapters, we work alongside government agencies with these children. We have close to 20,000 volunteers.
What we are doing right now is we are finding creative, innovative ways to mobilize our volunteers, to help social workers to meet these children in different ways.
Reports of child abuse have dropped dramatically. Reports have dropped, and that is because there are no mandated reporters today. The teachers, the coaches, the pediatricians — the eyes, the eagle eyes that have looked out for these children for decades — aren’t seeing them anymore.
So what we have is a true epidemic.
Just one quick statistic. Incidents of sexual abuse, visitors to the national sexual assault hotline, over half of them in the last 60 days, were minors. And of those who called, 79% of the minors who called said they were living with their perpetrator. And there are no mandated reporters to help them.
There is hope. We’re mobilized across the nation and in 12 countries to meet the needs of these vulnerable children who are experiencing neglect, abuse, and abandonment, in so many cases.
Do this. Go to RFK.org right now, if you would. Register for our email list. We are not going to spam you and we won’t sell your information. But we will give you information because you want to know about this — because I’m sure that you care.
The second thing is follow us on Instagram. Follow us on Facebook.