I just finished reading the newest book by Dinesh D'Souza which is titled: "The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left." First, let me warn you that this is not one of those books that you can sit down and read in the space of an evening. Oh, I suppose you could, but you would miss much of what the author intended you to receive. I found that I could only read a few pages before I would ask myself the following: "Wow! How did that happen?" or "That can't be true, can it?" or "Now it makes sense."
The premise of Dr. D'Souza's book is that there is a strong relationship between the policies and foundations that caused the rise of Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany in the 1920's and 1930's and the American Left today. In fact, D'Souza makes a strong case that Mussolini fashioned his Black Shirt Fascism in Italy around the teachings of Woodrow Wilson and then Franklin Roosevelt. His conclusion is that the real Fascists in America today is not Donald Trump and ultra right, but the Left. The problem is that the real Fascists, namely the American Left, has attached that title to the American Right. And this "big lie" has been promoted by both the mainstream media and the Hollywood entertainment industry, both of which are dominated by those on the Left.
This is an important book that I believe every American should read. It is not an easy book to read. It is a book that requires its reader to stop and do some critical thinking. At times I know you will strongly object, but just read the footnotes and pay attention to the sources that are cited. There is nothing secret about what D'Souza writes. It is all very public.
I have shared with several that this book and a book written by Jonah Goldberg titled "Liberal Fascism" has really influenced my understanding of the current political and cultural climate in America today.
Speaking of America's cultural climate, I received an article yesterday from one of our church leaders. It is an article written by Jeannie Cunnion and found at the Fox News.com website. (www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/16/Americas-teen-anxiety-epidemic-is-heartbreaking-parents-heres-incredible-thing-must-do-now.)
"I sat on a parenting panel last month with a well-known and widely respected counselor by the name of Sissy Goff, M.Ed, LPC-MHSP. She is the Director of Child & Adolescent counseling at Daystar in Nashville and when asked about the biggest issue facing kids today, she confirmed what you've probably read about recently on your news feed or even your Facebook feed - the increasing anxiety epidemic in our country. But it's not just an epidemic among our kids. It's an epidemic among us - their parents.
"According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults. In a recent article entitled, 'Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering from Severe Anxiety' we glean significant insight into the anxiety epidemic:
a. Privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America. These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic.
b. For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they never get to the point where they can say, 'I've done enough, and now I can stop.' Kids have a sense that they're not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.
"We have to be willing to take an honest (maybe painfully honest) look at how we may have contributed to the anxiety our kids feel with the pressure we just might be passing down. With our unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of ourselves, and of them. See, we parents aren't the only ones linking accomplishment to acceptance and success to significance. Our kids are attempting to answer the question, 'Is who I am enough?' by how well they perform on the field, how much they excel in school, and how many likes they get on their Instagram feed. They are attempting to answer that question, 'Is who I am enough?' by proving they can do enough and be enough. Whatever 'enough' is. Because you and I both know enough is never enough when the goal is perpetual perfection. The primary message our kids receive is that they'd better be the best at everything, and this leaves them afraid to reveal their inadequacies and insecurities - and hiding behind the best version of themselves.
"A key ingredient in helping our kids overcome their anxiety is facing and working through our own anxiety. It starts with us. It doesn't end with us. But we are part of the solution. We have to be willing to take an honest (maybe painfully honest) look at how we may have contributed to the anxiety our kids feel with the pressure we just might be passing down. With our unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of ourselves, and of them.
"And ultimately, it is our responsibility to help our kids push back the pressure they face with the truth of God's Word. I am not at all suggesting that therapy and medication aren't part of the solution. They often times are. But please let us not forget the alive and powerful Word of God that has the absolute power to show us where our significance comes from and ultimately set us free from proving our worth and our value in our performance.
"We need to know that failing doesn't make us failures and succeeding doesn't make us significant. At least not in the eyes of our Creator - the only One whose opinion of us really matters in the end. In God's eyes we are of great worth, not because of anything we have or haven't done, but because of what has been done for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The cross has the final word on our value. Believing that truth and embracing that truth isn't the only thing we need to do. But it is a firm foundation on which to build a life of freedom from anxiety and the exhausting endless quest to prove our value through our performance."
What an amazing article! Perhaps as parents, and even as grandparents, we are not fully aware of the pressures we place upon our children and grandchildren. Our goal is not to have them conform to our image, but to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. They are not to be "mini-me's" but to be reflections, in their own way, of Christ. Challenge them - absolutely! Admonish them - absolutely! Drive them - absolutely not! Paul said it best, "We are to bring our children up in the admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).