corporal punishment of children continues in Louisiana schools

Representative Stephanie Hilferty’s House Bill 324 which would have prohibited corporal punishment in Louisiana’s public elementary and secondary schools failed to pass today with 50 nays and 47 yeas. Today, more than half of Louisiana’s Representatives who voted were in favor of corporal punishment. Louisiana’s definition of “battery” is remarkably like our state’s definition of “corporal punishment”, making it difficult not to see today’s vote as blatant approval of battery against children. Oddly, the logical argument …

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your ache is your prayer

“Your ache is also your prayer.” This was on my mind when I woke today. Jesus taught that prayer is a personal experience each of us has with the One who made us. Anyone can pray because prayer is literally your experience with God. There are no standards and no quality improvement measures for our prayers. God does not evaluate your prayers, he simply listens. And God is on our side in our prayers! Even when …

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louisiana: 30 years of kids count headlines

I have gathered a list – a collection of headlines – and I will update it because it provides a decades-long mirror into which we in Louisiana can gaze and see how our children have fared. The headlines are from news articles about Louisiana’s Kids Count ranking for child well-being. This may be obvious, but it is important to note: Nothing about this collection is new news. This is a 30-year news story that grows older, …

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louisiana’s children and families require robust nonprofits

I have a few thoughts to share today as I muse on some work I am doing on an historical report of annual newspaper headlines which describe the poor conditions of Louisiana’s children. I may ramble as I go, but here goes. The well-being of Louisiana’s children has lagged the nation for 30 years. Well, “lagged” is not quite accurate. The situation for children in Louisiana is much worse than that. Since 1989, Louisiana has averaged …

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care for a Child and you care for Jesus

Spend time with an infant and you cannot help but wonder, “why did God become a baby?” I enjoyed spending Thanksgiving week with my 11 month old grand daughter. She is such a delightful baby! Caring for her on my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding anniversary, I was overwhelmed by how absolutely vulnerable a baby is. Babies cannot protect themselves. They cannot obtain their own food. They cannot change their own diapers. They cannot bathe themselves. How …

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the good ol’ boys

I love this photograph. The lady on the left, Mrs. Prescilla Dean Fordham, was my great great great grandmother. Seated beside her is her son Dennis, my great great grandfather. Of course, his three brothers seated to the right of him were my great great uncles. What I enjoy about this picture is that it tells such a rich story of my own roots. The most fascinating tidbit I know about my great great grandfather Dennis …

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the role of the church in child welfare and child well-being

A brief discourse presented to the Louisiana Interchurch Conference’s Fall Board of Directors Meeting, by Rick Wheat, President and Chief Executive Officer, Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, on September 25, 2017, at St. Xavier Cathedral Catholic Church Complex, Alexandria, Louisiana. Good afternoon! You cannot imagine how excited I am to share a few words with all of you about my appreciation for the role of the Church in child welfare and child well-being. You …

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lions are not personal

For 22 years I searched for something that does not exist. I quit looking last week while standing in front of an angry, hungry lion. I watched his angry behavior and I learned an important truth: Lions are not personal. Brody is a male lion who lives at Turpentine Creek, just outside of Eureka Springs. I was standing a few feet from Brody when one of his caretakers began shoving ten pounds of raw meat through …

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tears behind my eyes

I wrote an article recently for my Multiple Sclerosis Caregiver blog. It’s titled “Tears of Hope and Passionate Hate”. In it, I used words I find myself using more frequently as I grow older. The phrase is, “tears behind my eyes”. I’ve used the phrase recently to describe a day to my Mom, “It has been one of those ‘tears behind my eyes’ days.” I used it at work in a conversation with a colleague. “You’re …

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hold hands when you pray

It’s the sure repetition of small, beneficial acts in a marriage that creates value for the relationship. Significance is often discovered in the small things. Fortunately, because taking care of the small stuff in a marriage often requires the least effort while offering the greatest return, it makes sense to do the easy stuff. Remember the part about “sure repetition”, though. To do a small thing once may be incredibly significant … especially if you’ve never …

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