How Faith Based Organizations are Helping in the War Against Drug Addiction

man rejoicing after finding universal church of god usa

The ever-increasing drug epidemic is taking the world by storm. Drug overdose has become one of the leading causes of death in America. Unfortunately, it has become a sad reality that has a significant impact on not only the addict but on friends and family members as well.

In many areas, local officials have begun to reach out to various religious organizations for help. It is their hope that these organizations can reach out to those most in need and help to turn their lives around. Involving churches takes a cultural approach that just may be able to appeal to and reach some that may not otherwise have a breakthrough.

Churches have the ability to pool their resources with their congregations, other churches, and the community to help reach out to those locally who may be struggling with drug addiction. It is highly possible that many addicts would respond to the outreach for help if it comes from people locally that they feel they can trust and rely on.

Religious organizations can also put together local community events to bring parents and children together in a positive atmosphere to provide them with meals and other essential items they may need. Consistency is indeed vital when reaching out to those in need. It will help to build a trusting relationship.

A church is not only an organization doing good to spread their beliefs or religion, but they are also a vast network of people. This can prove to be successful in helping people find jobs, homes, transportation, education, and so much more.

A big part of addressing the problem needs to start with youth. Many of these young people come from broken or troubled homes. They have a hard time believing in hope and that there really are good people out there. Making an effort to show them that there indeed are kind and genuine people is what needs to be done.

Many churches put together programs for the youth to get them involved in their organization. This is a great way to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. It gives them something to look forward to, something to believe in while spreading God’s word.  One such organization making a huge impact is the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God USA with a growing presence around the country and an intensive outreach program that should be a model for others to follow.

It is important for the churches to remain vigilant. There are times when they will be faced with opposition in many situations when reaching out.

The war on drugs is far from over and something that is continuously growing. Each small step is a step in the right direction to take back our society and do good for all people. It may seem that the fight is hopeless at times, but in reality, it has the potential to be very successful.

Perhaps you are reading this and are in need of help with addiction yourself. If this is the case, I encourage you to reach out to your local church. They have the means and the resources to get you the help that you need to take control of your life and your future.

The Ideal Legacy for your Grandchildren

grandparents holding infant and toddler

How do you want your grandchildren to remember you? Do you want them to remember their grandparents as loving guardians, protectors and mentors? Do you want to leave a purely monetary legacy so your grandchildren do not have to worry about financial instability or insecurity? There is no perfect legacy that will work for everyone. Grandparents have their priorities and preferences. Grandchildren will also have their likes and dislikes. The legacy effectively boils down to the emotional satisfaction of grandparents and what would be truly treasured by the grandchildren. Here are some ideal legacies you may consider leaving behind for your grandchildren.

 

The legacy of love is perhaps the most clichéd but also the most lingering. Grandchildren who are actually loved grow up to be compassionate adults. It is no secret that grandkids love to spend with their grandparents. It could be something as simple as watching television together or playing in the backyard, the joyful summer vacations or the nostalgic winter holidays. Nothing is a substitute for time. In this day and age when kids spend a lot of time alone, either because their parents are busy working or due to excessive use of technology that keeps them away from physically interacting with friends, it would be a precious treasure to spend time with grandparents. This also helps ageing grandparents as they often have to live a very lonely life.

 

The legacy of mentorship is always priceless. Grandparents have lived their lives and they have learned thousands of lessons. They are walking and talking encyclopedias, regardless of their academic qualification and professional expertise. Grandparents can teach useful life lessons to their grandkids, something the parents may not have time for. Kids are more receptive and cooperative with their grandparents. They are more likely to learn a thing or two if a grandparent calmly and patiently imparts the lesson. Mentorship could be all about encouragement if nothing too technical or specific. Kids need to feel they can accomplish great things and that they should work towards that. Most adults are compelled to make certain decisions in life that they wouldn’t out of sheer choice. Grandparents can groom their grandkids in a realistic but encouraging way.

 

Bequeathing something to your grandkids is always a great idea. It doesn’t have to be money, albeit college fund or startup money can be a great legacy. You can bequeath property. It doesn’t have to be a house or car. It can be any type of asset or an object that would prove to be useful for the kids growing up. There are innumerable things, from books to collectibles, all of which can have a profound impact on the lives of your grandkids. One must resist the temptation of bequeathing too much property or financial assets as that can instill a sense of entitlement. It is not wise to facilitate a feeling of entitlement among kids in this day and age.

 

Finally, grandparents must decide a way to keep their legacy alive. This could be facilitated through legacy letters or videos. There can be a trust or attorney who could ensure the legacy is truly realized. The parents can be involved to effectively convey the essence of the legacy. Leaving behind a legacy is not a unidirectional exercise. The grandkids should remember their grandparents, their contributions and support. The grandkids should cherish the legacy. Only then would the whole effort be fruitful. In an era of forgetfulness and shrinking attention, at a time when people are readily forgetting their roots and don’t wish to have anything to do with their past, creating a long lasting legacy needs serious pondering.

 

Social Importance of Life Rites and Initiations

We as a modern culture, but men in particular, are suffering a real crisis of conscience these days – not really sure of where we belong, not really sure of what our role is in our daily lives as well as how we fit in the overall “plan” of society, and never really able to take the leap from childhood to adulthood quite as seamlessly or as effectively as past generations seemingly had the ability to do.

homer simpson initiation

And while there are a number of different factors that play a role in this specific challenge society is dealing with today, one of the biggest factors that researchers believe is having a transformative impact on our lives – and not in a great way – is the lack of rites of passage and initiations that “triggered” new steps in our lives on the path from childhood to adulthood.

 

If we look around the world we live in today, rites of passage and initiations have all but disappeared completely. Sure, professional sports teams, colleges and universities, and a handful of small fraternal organizations continue these kinds of practices.

 

The overwhelming majority of modern people would tell you that the rites of passages that they are parents and especially their grandparents would have gone through our antiquated, outdated, and “no longer necessary”.

 

It turns out nothing could be further from the truth.

 

The disappearance of rites of passage and initiations is eroding away culture

 

Without sounding too doom and gloom and without making this situation out to be some kind of Chicken Little situation, most would agree that our culture – our distinctly American culture – has eroded away and been replaced over the last few generations by a new, more globalist approach to how we see ourselves as citizens of the world but also how we see ourselves as individuals fitting in the machine that is our society.

greek initiation rite

As highlighted above, men in particular are having a much more challenging time understanding where they fit in the whole grand scheme of things in a way that they didn’t struggle with before. There used to be obvious steppingstones from boyhood to manhood, obvious rites of passage that were passed down from one generation to another, rites of passage that have slipped away into the mist and have left this generation of men (and generations of men to follow) feeling more than a little bit listless.

 

Men now have a much more challenging time stepping fully into manhood, adulthood, and assuming the responsibilities of those positions. The research demonstrates that men in general are getting married later in life, having children much later in life, and even leaving their parents homes much later in life – holding onto every square inch of their adolescence for as long as humanly possible, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that the traditional rites of passage just no longer exist.

 

EVERY culture – around the world has these critical rites of passage and initiations

 

While most people are familiar with the “day you get your first real job” initiation, the “day you get your first car” initiation, the “day you become a husband or become a father” rite of passage, or a more culturally specific rite of passage like a bar mitzvah (for example), it’s important not to think that these types of cultural touchstones are specific to the American culture or the Western world culture.

 

Cultures all over the world, from the Vanuatu Dive in the middle of the South Pacific that takes part in a Land Diving ritual, to even the unthinkable Mardudjara aboriginal subincision process (definitely not recommended), or the Hamar cow jumping ritual, all place an incredible amount of importance on the doorway and the threshold between childhood and adulthood – and all have clearly defined steps that have to be taken in a codified process for children to move through this doorway and emerge on the other side completely changed and transformed.

 

Because of the way that our modern world works, and because of the fast and almost electric change that we deal with on a day to day basis, our more traditional rites of passage have begun to slip and disappear. It’s important that we do everything we can to bring back the ones that especially work to create a bond between the young adult and the community.  And of course we should be looking at traditional – but safe (read: bloodless) – rites of passage to achieve this.

 

Breathing new life into rites of passage and the process of initiation

 

At the end of the day, it falls on us to bring back these rites of passage (or to establish new ones) that allow us to symbolically – and sometimes physically – step through the door that stands between childhood and adulthood and begin to fully embody everything that we want to be.

 

The time for remaining confused, listless, and nervous has to come to an end. The damage is crippling (as the research bears out) and the impact is far-reaching. Now is the time to embrace rites of passage, create our own rituals, and to become the kind of powerful, focused, and intentional people we are meant to be.

Ancient Greek Burial Customs

The ancient Greeks held firm beliefs of the afterlife and the ceremonies that would help guide those recently departed toward it. In fact, by the 6th century BC, their conceptions and ideas were already well established and this is evident throughout their writings, works of art, statuary and other archaeological materials. While the images and quirks of the Greek gods may seem fanciful to many nowadays, they have far outlived the people of the time and are still very much a part of popular culture today.

greek burial

According to the belief system of the ancient Greeks, they held it as true that from the moment death occurred, the spirit would vacate the mortal body via a small action, such as a puff of air or as a sigh. Once this had occurred, the body would then be prepared for burial, which would be performed according to the traditions and customs passed down through generations. To deprive a man of proper burial rights was seen as an insult to dignity and respect.

 

Typically, all burial rituals were conducted by the female relatives of the departed. This would consist of 3 parts, all of which completed the ritual.  The first step, called Prothesis, would involve the body of the dead being washed thoroughly, and then covered with oil. The body would then be dressed and taken to the highest bed in the house where they were laid. Family and friends could then visit and pay their respects.

 

The next step is called Ekphora.  Ekphora is the moment when the body of the deceased was taken to the cemetery as part of a dawn procession. Inside the grave, it would be rare to place any objects other than the body itself. Once the grave had been filled and the earth replaced, elaborate markers were placed on top of the site. Statues were often a marker of choice to help ensure that the dead were not easily forgotten. In a way, these were the predecessors to headstones that many people have today.

 

Their belief was that to be remembered by the living was tantamount to immortality. From engravings of the time, it is known that female family members would visit the burial sites of the dead with small offerings, such as cakes and flowers.

 

The 3rd part of the ritual was Stelai, which were small inscriptions covering memorandums to help honor the dead. An image of the deceased would also often be inscribed onto the marker, and if the person was of importance, their servant, pet dogs, belongings, etc would be added to it. This used to make identifying the dead easy, but as time progressed, more and more family members would be added to images and writings and soon it would become almost impossible to know who the grave belonged to.

 

As the end of the 5th century BC approached, many ancient Greek families started to bury the deceased inside a basic stone sarcophagus, which would be put into the ground located inside of specially created grave precincts. These grave precincts were placed inside terraces and were buttressed by a tall wall which would face the main cemetery street. It was also around this time that any large monuments and statues were placed to the side of the terrace instead of directly above the graves. As time moved forward, so did the customs and cultures of the ancient Greeks.

 

If you see modern day cemeteries in Greece, you will quickly notice that many of the traditions and practices from this period of time are still very much used to some degree or another, and the dead are immortalized through the memories of the era they were once a part of.

 

Some Things They Never Tell You About Becoming a Parent

Becoming a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling rites-of-passage in your life. To pass on your DNA to the next generation, who will hopefully improve the world for the better leaves you feeling proud and that you’ve truly accomplished something great with your life. Of course, not everyone wants to be a parent and some might say kudos to you for helping keep the population down. All too often many parents forget that to have children is a choice and one that needs to be made with care.

parenting

So, you have heard about how fulfilling it is to become a parent, how wonderful it feels to see your baby, to experience that love, all of those positives keep blowing up your Facebook feed… but what about the secret dark side to it all? What don’t they tell parents before baby arrives?

Financial Bliss

Well, they don’t tell you that every cent you earn will be swallowed by a non-stop eating, pooping, and crying machine. Sure, you love the little tyke regardless, but it would have been nice to have known just how expensive kids really are.

Better sell those grown-up toys you keep in your garage! A boat, fishing tackle, motorcycle, mountain bike – those are the possessions of non-parents (at least when the kids are babies).  You’ll need the money you get from selling your playthings to put into baby’s playthings – and budget some for a 529 or other college savings plan.

Meltdowns

Another thing they don’t tell you is how the wrong color drinking straw can be the end of the world and completely ruin your day. Or that a face-down screaming protest in the canned goods aisle at the supermarket is something you’ll likely experience. These moments will test your will.  All the baby advice books tell you to stand firm and not give in to your child’s tantrums, but when you’re in the trenches and your eardrums are waiving the white flag, you’re going to have yours periods of weakness and surrender for the sake of a “quiet-fix”.

A New Appreciation for Earplugs

While we are talking about quiet, it will soon become a word that seems to exist only in print. Where did quiet go? They don’t tell you how much you will miss relative silence and that you will savor every last second of it when it comes along. And make sure you do savor it because you can guarantee that in 3, 2, 1, someone is either screaming or crying again. As a heads-up, you’ll also find that the noisiest toys are the most popular in your house.  And your child won’t get bored pushing the button to repeat whatever ear-piercing sounds she currently finds herself enamored with.  So picture alternating screams with singing dolls and that is the horror movie soundtrack your life has now become.

The Fibbing

Talking about your dishonesty here, not the child’s!  They fail to tell you that you will never be able to eat chocolate again in plain sight, and must resort to stealth tactics and trickery in order to do so.  Someone else needs it more, after all, and so you will have to retreat to a closet, bathroom or garage when you indulge, while claiming to be “looking for something”.  Other fabrications you’ll employ: the ice-cream truck is coming, and you tell your kids that the music means it’s sold out. You see them eyeing up your dessert, so you tell them that they won’t like it because it’s too spicy. You tell them to be good, or Santa won’t come, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter bunny! Lies become commonplace and easy all of a sudden.

But the thing is, none of this matters when you and your kid are laughing and playing together. When you sit and clean up their cuts and scrapes, your protective nature kicks in. When they make you that first breakfast in bed, or simply hug you and say they love you.  They tell you that everything is worth it, and they are right. They tell you that it’s rewarding, and it is, even if we do miss that chocolate, money, Foosball table, and quiet moments. Would you change anything? Absolutely not!