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Opinion Piece: Young Life Is a Clique Hiding Under the Blanket of Religion

5 Feb

Interesting opinion piece written a few years ago about Young Life.  I believe this is a high school on-line paper.  You can click here to read the whole article.

A couple of highlights and then I’ll go back to my cave….

If you ask any student of Northwest who has not yet been brainwashed by this organization, they will tell you Young Life is as close to a cult as you get at the high school level. It’s a place where only the “popular” kids are welcomed.

Young life is a social organization hiding under the blanket of religion. After Young Life meetings every Monday night, you don’t see pictures posted by attendees of that night’s meeting of the worshipping they did, but instead of the wacky costumes they dressed up in and of the contests they held.

 

And from a comletely different angle, this review of Young Life was written earlier today at greatnonprofits.org :

 

February 4, 2014
I DO NOT LIKE WYLDLIFE FOR MY CHILDREN. As a mother I tell you why I do not like Wyldlife or Young Life. First, the leaders are very MANIPULATIVE with teenagers. They act COOL and Young even though some of them are in their late forties. Second, parents are not encourage to attend any event or group. For example, my daughter attended some meetings about Wyldlife in my neighborhood but of course I was not invited to stay. My daughter at that time she did not say much about it, so I stay out of it since she appreciated the time she shared with her friends form her school. However, after some time my daughter mention me how cool it was to have a counselor and a mentor that she could trust and have fun with. As a mother I did not like that idea and I told my daughter that she could not have any counselor unless I give her permission to have one. Another aspect about WYLDLIFE I DO NOT LIKE is that they get them to excited about camp….once my daughter told me “that’s going to be the best time of my life!”(Camp). CRAZY!!!! The leaders are not honest with parents because they do not tell about their religious influence on children. I think we need MOTHERHOOD for our children not random counselors playing to be cool with our kids to get them to like Christianity using their own theology without parents consent. THINK ABOUT IT. I DID. THANK YOU.

 

 

 

 

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17 Mar

I was wondering how long it would be before former homeschoolers started speaking out about the restrictive and sometimes abusive control that many have experienced. I guess it has started….

Homeschoolers Anonymous

For the media: 

Former homeschoolers rally against abuse

March 16, 2013

A group of former homeschoolers are joining together to bring awareness to, and healing from, different forms of abuse in extreme homeschooling subcultures. The organization, Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA), is being coordinated by former homeschoolers across the United States, including California, Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington.

According to recent surveys, approximately 2 million children are taught at home in the United States. The total number of home-educated kids doubled between 1999 and 2007. While some are being homeschooled in non-Christian families, the National Home Education Research Institute claims almost three-quarters of those 2 million children have conservative Christian parents who aim to pass on their moral and religious values to their kids through home education. This makes religion the primary motivating factor behind this form of education.

HA’s creator is R.L. Stollar, who was homeschooled from K-12 and currently resides in…

View original post 748 more words

Learning to Stand Up for Myself

7 Jun

In my last post (which you can read here) I pondered the motives of my five-year old friend who lashed out violently.  The many comments, about childhood pain and pressures got me thinking, about the one time I did take up my fists and try to hurt someone.

New Kid on the Block

In between my 3rd and 4th grade school year, my family bought a new home and moved us about 2 miles away from my old house.  At the time I thought nothing of the move.  Little did I know how tough it would be, to be the new kid on the block.

Our new house was built in 1967 and was situated on an acre of woods and green grass.  It was one of 15 lots whose backyards were mostly open and backed up to each others’ yard on the block.  The block was teeming with kids and it seemed like nothing, to have 30 kids playing kick the can until ten at night on a summer evening.

I also discovered my two passions in life.  Playing baseball (something we did almost every day of the summer) and collecting baseball cards.  With any spare money we could find, about 5-10 of us would walk 2 miles to the local Wawa.  After arriving, we would divvy up our spending between buying candy, playing Asteroids, and buying as many packs of Topps baseball cards as we could afford.  Our greatest hope was to find cards from our hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies.  At that time, 20 cents could get you a pack of 15 cards and a stiff piece of gum.  Those were the days my friend, (cue Mary Hopkins)…..

But summer ended, school began, and a new trial arose.  My neighbor from across the street, was a year older and didn’t play with us during my first summer.  Everyday at the bus stop,  he would pick on me without mercy.  He would tease me, trip me, shove me, make fun of me.  And all my new friends went along with him.

Why did they do that?

How come I could go over to Dave’s house and play for hours, but the next morning he would join along or stay silent, as this ring leader taunted me?  My feelings were deeply hurt and I began to doubt my own self-worth.

A few months into it, and I broke down and begged my dad to move back to our old house.  I cried and pleaded for us to just move back…I just wanted the simple life that had been mine before moving across the street from a bully.  My Dad was shocked and concerned, but he made it clear that moving back was not an option.  I would have to learn to deal with my new arch nemesis.

I tried my best, by mostly pretending that his taunts did not hurt me.  But on the inside, I was crushed.  I was not (and in many ways am still not) a fighter.  I simply had no natural skills at standing up for myself and I was taking a verbal beating, everyday.

Learning to Cope

I wish I could report that these incidents of bullying stopped.  They continued for another couple of years and it took a toll on my self-image.  Just when I would start to feel comfortable, this guy would take me out, cut me down to size, and make me doubt my self-worth, for weeks on end.  It never crossed my mind to punch him, I just learned to cope.

For me, coping came in the form of wit.  I learned that most bullies are dim and easily disoriented by a little wit and misdirection.  Kind of like confuse a cat for bullies.  He’d say something typical, like I was an idiot.  I would thank him for the compliment and ask him if he wanted to know where I’d bought my sneakers.  He usually would repeat himself and then I’d comment on how nice the weather had been lately.  This would tire him out, because I had gone off script and I’d be off the hook for a little while.

The other way I would cope, was to pretend that it didn’t bother me.  As this is not the most emotionally helpful coping mechanism, it has taken me well into adulthood to realize that it’s ok to say when someone has hurt you, or admit that I have emotions about what has happened in life.  Or God forbid, actually get angry.  No, at that stage, anger and emotion was exactly what this bully wanted, so I refused to give it to him.

Relief, at Last

It finally happened….he moved away.  As in miles away.  His parents had gotten a divorce and the family soon moved.  All I understood, was that my hell was over.  The daily taunting was mostly over and I could actually enjoy my mornings waiting for the bus.

In hind sight, maybe the hell of his own family situation is what motivated him to pick on the new kid.  Maybe, he was just repeating phrases he heard his Dad hurl at his mom.  Maybe he felt let down by a Dad who couldn’t be bothered to take him to a Phillies game when my Dad offered them first-rate tickets.  I don’t know, but for my 11-year-old mind, all I knew was sweet relief.

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

Fast forward another year or so…I am walking home from school with my new best friend, James.  He’s a year or two younger, but we share a passion for all things Baseball and my new passion, The Beatles.  We are Beatle nerds, for lack of a better description.

Anyway, we are walking home-me lugging a very heavy trombone and James lugging a bag full of books, including a discography of the Beatles.  At some point, one of my neighbors joins us, but he starts in on James because he is younger and a little overweight.  I tell my neighbor to stop, but he doesn’t and then he starts to tease me.  He teases me just like the bully who’d moved away had teased me.  He called me the same names, because he’d seen me a thousand times before just suck it up and endure.

It’s fall, the sky is overcast, and we are actually standing in the middle of my old back yard from where I had moved, a few years before.  Back when I didn’t even know what a bully was.  But now, my neighbor starts pushing James to the ground, and I just snap….

There Will Be Blood

Just as I saw James hit the ground, it happened…I snapped.  All the years of teasing, all the years of never standing up for myself had caught up, and I erupted in anger.

I threw my bag and instrument to the ground and came at my neighbor with a fury of fists and screaming.  I told him I was going to kill him and I just kept punching and punching.  All the anger, all the pain, I was determined to punish this neighbor with my fists.

He looked like a scared dog and he just kept backing up and ducking as I screamed and punched.  Lucky for him, he was able to miss the full fury of most of my punches and he quickly retreated, as I yelled at him some more.  I was swinging so hard at him that I pulled the muscles in both arms.  I yelled so loud that my voice became hoarse.  But I didn’t care, no one was ever going to treat me like that again….never.   He eventually ran home and I settled down enough to finish walking home.

I’m sure the whole incident was less than 2 minutes, but in that 2 minutes, something changed.  I had stood up for myself and my friend.  But I also had become violent and out of control.  I had let things go for so long, and now I could barely contain my rage.

I never again threw a fist at someone, and learning to stand up for myself, even verbally, was a skill that I had to learn over and over.  Many times, I would let feelings build up to the point of eruption.  Eruptions that sometimes hurt relationships.  Learning to cut these off at the pass, meant learning the fine art of standing up for myself and believing in my own self worth.

Post Script

As an aside, nobody in my neighborhood ever picked on me again.  As for the neighbor I threatened with my fists, he sheepishly said hello the next morning and kept looking over his shoulder.  I think he was actually scared I’d attack him.

Lucky for him, I’m more of a lover than a fighter.

Sucker Punch to the Nose

4 Jun
The Six Million Dollar Man

The Six Million Dollar Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was only 5 years old and summer was quickly approaching.  I was finishing up my first year in school of afternoon Kindergarten.  Besides the new things I was learning academically (like how to walk quietly in a straight line), I was enjoying all the new and interesting people in my class.  There was Dan, who would become my best friend through high school.  There was Douglass, who even in Kindergarten, exuded cool and always was the leader of the pack.  And then there was my other new friend, Tommy.

Tommy lived 1 block away from my house, but he lived across a street that I was not allowed to cross by myself.  Getting to go over to Tommy’s was always a big deal, because I had to have special permission and mom’s help to go back and forth to Tommy’s house.  Besides being playmates, Tommy and I would also walk to school together.  At age 5, the quarter-mile walked seemed like a hike on the Appalachian trail.  But we always had fun, discussing the latest Saturday morning cartoons, or the newest Six Million Dollar Man episode.

I think Tommy was a little jealous, because my parents had bought me a Six Million Dollar Man action figure.  The only action figures he had were his older sister’s Ken and Barbie dolls.  No comparison, in my humble opinion.

Out of the Blue

It’s funny how certain moments seem to be etched forever in your memory.  I can still remember the warmth of the June sun.  The fact that I was wearing my favorite motorcycle t-shirt.  And that I had been waiting for Tommy at the outside exit, on the far end of the elementary school, right at the edge of our concrete playground.

Tommy was a little late today and as he exited the building he said something to me.  I don’t remember what he said.  But then, out of the blue, he clenched his fist and punched me square in the nose.  It knocked me to the ground.  I remember feeling light-headed as I struggled to get back to my feet.  As I stood, I realized that there was a warm liquid gushing down my face and onto my shorts.  I had a bloody nose.

I looked to my left as I clutched my nose to see Tommy sprinting towards home.  As I coughed on the blood, a classmate and her older sister exited and were shocked to see me bleeding all over the pavement.  They helped me to the nurse, where my bloody nose was attended to.  After the bleeding stopped,  I was escorted to the principal so that I could report what happened and who had done this.

The principal asked if we had been fighting.  No, we had never fought.  She then asked who hit me.  I told her it was Tommy.  She wrinkled her nose a bit, sighed, and then told me to walk home with the two good Samaritans that had peeled me off the pavement. They we’re more than happy to escort me home, where my nose got some motherly attention and some chocolate milk to help ease my injury.

Sometimes,You Never Know Why

After the incident, a few phone calls were made and Tommy came over to tearfully apologize.  He never did say why he punched me. We never really played again and he moved away after school finished that year, so I never saw him again.

Just like that, a sucker punch to the nose and the relationship was over.  No explanation, no reasons given. Done.

Now that I’m older, I realize that something must have been terribly upsetting in Tommy’s world for him to lash out violently.  Were his parents getting divorced?  Was he being abused? Was he a foster child?  I just don’t know.

But that’s how life is sometimes, you get sucker punched in the nose.  By the time you’ve regained your footing, life has changed and you’re not really sure why.