Friday, September 16, 2011

Alphabet Soup

Concerned's recent comment reminded me that I often take for granted that readers will know the alphabet soup of acronyms that we all often use on this site to refer to various things within Laestadianism.

I know I hate it when people use jargon or acronyms that I don't understand, so I thought I'd post a few here for everyone's benefit.

If I have missed any, please post in the comments. :-)

LLL = Lars Levi Laestadius, founder of Laestadianism

ALC or ALCA = Apostolic Lutheran Church of America (Federation)
FALC = First Apostolic Lutheran Church
LLC = Laestadian Lutheran Church
OALC = Old Apostolic Lutheran Church

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's Happening to Apostolic Kids?

LLLReader, who has contributed her insights for many years to this blog, asked me to post this:
Having recently moved back to Battle Ground, I recognize that I have certainly been out of the loop. Yesterday I was at a meeting with a real cross-section of community members. The subject of the OALC boys who killed all those cats came up. I was familiar with that event, since it has been covered by newspapers and letters to the editor. What I wasn't aware of is how Apostolic children in this community are behaving.

A principal stated that his main problems are with the Apostolic kids. One women said her daughter drives her children to school because they were being bullied by the Apostolic kids on the bus. It's not all the kids, of course, but enough are showing bad behavior that the reputation of all of the students is being effected. There was a general consensus that the Apostolic children, especially the boys, are a little out of control.

What is going on? Back in the day, when I was in school here, the Apostolics were model students. I didn't say anything, just listened with sadness. I have some fine relatives, with fine children, who I know are doing well. I don't know of specific families whose kids are misbehaving, and I don't know if it's mainly the Hockinson or Brush Prairie Churches.

I thought carefully about what the causes for this problem might be. Possibly families that don't value education would have children that don't see the point of it either. Some of the men are pretty macho types, and their boys might have trouble taking orders from female teachers. Since many of the students aren't allowed to participate in school activities like sports, band, clubs, etc. they just don't build any bond with the school. It's interesting that my generation, and my Dad's generation, WERE allowed to be in sports. There were some good athletes from the church back in my day.

I have talked here before about the old preachers being kinder. I felt that the current crop has a more harsh attitude, could that be effecting the families? I don't really know the reasons, probably only the families who are raising these kids would have the answers.

What to do about it? My feeling is that the preachers need to address it. They probably won't. I hope that these children can become better citizens. Maybe the Moms are going to have to step up. I'll just pray for all of them, it's all that I can think to do.

LLLreader
What do you think, readers? If you are in the OALC, are you seeing these issues addressed from the pulpit, or at gatherings?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Helping the Sexually-Abused Child

The recent avalanche of comments on the previous post has prompted a sign-in and moderation process, as this blog needs to balance the need for a full and free discussion with that for respectful discourse. Perhaps I will tell my own story soon, but suffice to say this is very personal for me, and I believe all churches—and our society at large—have a huge responsibility to reform in order to protect children.

Each of us should ask: how can we as individuals bring about that reform?

How can we bring to light something so shame-inducing?

How can we identify abusers, and hold them accountable?

How can we "immunize" children against abuse?

As the mother of two beautiful, happy children, I want to believe that because they are well-loved, taught proper boundaries, and allowed autonomy over their bodies, they are unlikely to be preyed upon, and likely to report abuse.

But what can I do to help children who may be dearly loved but are taught, like I was, to submit to elders, to trust and obey, to see themselves as sinful, to forgive all sins and transgressions, to never bring shame on their family?

We have a responsibility to talk about this.

As I tuck in my kids tonight, somewhere a child is crying him or herself to sleep.

The information below is from the Child Molestation Prevention website:


Act to Heal the Sexually Abused Child

Sexual abuse is happening to three million children in the U.S. - that means in an average eighth grade classroom of 30 children, six children are currently being sexually abused.

Act:

View child sexual abuse as a health problem.

Be the capable adult who will help a child with this problem.

Protect the child physically. Separate the child from his or her abuser.

Protect the child emotionally:

It is NEVER the child's fault, repeat this fact often to the child.

As a parent, say you will always love the child. Show the child that this is true with words and behavior.

Tell the child that very likely, other children in the classroom have this problem.

Tell the child that very likely the abuser has a health problem, and may need medicine and other treatments.

Let the child know that he or she never has to be in the same room with the abuser - even a father, brother, uncle - if the child doesn't wish it.

Take the child to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexually abused children.

Protect the child victim, especially boy victims, from developing a sexual interest in younger children with a second-step to good health. Be sure, with the help of a sex-specific therapist, that a boy victim (especially a boy who has been repeatedly sexually abused) does NOT develop a sexual interest in younger children. Be aware that this sexual interest in younger children might lie dormant until the onset of puberty and then become a health problem for the child.