I have had a fulfilling career as a pediatric neurosurgeon, which unfortunately included numerous instances where worst-case scenarios played out in the operating room. Good surgeons plan ahead for these possible events so that bad outcomes are minimized. But of course, few treatment plans will succeed if the doctor continually fails to make a proper diagnosis before surgery begins. When I look at our nation’s massive federal debt, it is clear that Washington has chronically misdiagnosed the situation, which has resulted in a seemingly never-ending cycle of borrowing and spending. Much like a life-threatening disease, if the underlying cause is left unaddressed, patient recovery seldom occurs. Bold leaders in both parties have warned for years that entitlement spending is the major driver of unsustainable deficits, and they have further advised that Washington implement policies to address this problem. While it is distressing to see continued inaction, what troubles me more is that virtually no one has addressed the underlying cause. In other words, why were programs created in a manner that they would eventually become so financially upside-down that our entire economy would be in jeopardy? Furthermore, can and should we do something to ensure that future entitlement programs are created carefully and responsibly? Let’s look at recent history. In the past 10 years, projected deficits for entitlements created long ago, such as Social Security and Medicare, have grown dramatically. In fact, existing entitlement programs consume about 60 percent of all federal spending. During this time, much political effort has been expended — unsuccessfully — trying to reform these programs. I’m not saying this wasn’t an important effort. But, if these programs are not reformed soon, they will consume 100 percent of projected federal revenue within the next three decades. Imagine that: Our children and grandchildren either will be faced with a federal government that has no money for defense, roads and education, or the tax burden will double on citizens. Sadly, while Congress was busy failing to fix these existing problems, it passed two new entitlement programs, both of which will only worsen our budgetary shortfalls. These programs create permanent commitments by the federal government to provide expensive services to people indefinitely, regardless of whether the nation can afford to do so. So, not only have we failed to stop the bleeding, but we also have managed to cause significantly more. Setting aside the political debate about these two programs — one passed by Democrats, the other by Republicans — are any of us comfortable with the notion that permanent spending programs that grow on autopilot forever can be created as easily as Congress names a post office — by a simple one-vote majority? I understand allowing Congress to pass bills with simple majorities that benefit current constituents, but shouldn’t a bill that is going to affect generations to come require a greater threshold than a short-term partisan majority of as small as one single vote? Shouldn’t such grant programs require greater debate, more bipartisanship, some level of consensus and, of course, fiscal responsibility? Absolutely. As a physician, I believe in prevention — namely, taking those prudent steps now that can dramatically improve health down the road. The Super Program Amendment would ensure that short-term partisan majorities cannot do more harm to the fiscal health of our nation, giving us the time we need to find consensus on fixing the nation’s other serious problems. Those problems affect everyone regardless of political affiliation, and we must all act as patriotic Americans to resolve them. Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel). To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 THE WASHINGTON TIMES DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
To understand the lack of enthusiasm most Americans feel about the midterm elections, it’s important to recognize a vital distinction between government and community. Community evokes positive feelings for most of us, whereas politics and government are nastier and generate a desire to stay away. We choose to be involved in community while we have despicable campaign ads thrust upon us. Unfortunately, people caught up in the political process fail to recognize this distinction. Many years ago, a woman in North Carolina lost a city council election by a single vote. Shortly afterward, she wrote an impassioned letter to the editor saying that her loss showed how much difference a single vote could make. It’s true that a switch of just one vote would have had a big impact on her life. She would have had lots of meetings to attend, press releases to issue and influential people to meet at cocktail parties. But the truth is it would not have had much of an impact on the rest of the city’s residents. After all, she would have been one of only nine votes on the council. That same perspective helps explain the lack of voter enthusiasm for candidates in the 2014 elections (or any recent elections). Despite all the promises made by politicians, few voters really expect a meaningful change in their own life based upon whether one politician beats another in a particular election. People are generally happier when their team wins and sadder when it loses, but most then go on with life as they did before the votes were counted. More than anything else, the lack of connection between election results and reality explains the low turnout in American elections. The experience that most people have in the political arena stands in stark contrast to the experience they have in their community with family, friends and neighbors. In communities, including the online variety, people see things getting done. Sometimes it’s little things, such as a church’s bringing meals to someone who is sick or grieving. Other times it’s a whole lot bigger. As I’m writing this, an online community on Kickstarter is providing funding for a couple intent on building a real-life hover board (yes, like the one Marty used in “Back to the Future”). Ultimately, they think the hover technology will have a huge impact on many technologies. Community is more than a place where people get together and solve problems. Most of the time, it’s a pleasant experience. The everyday interactions are pleasant, and there’s almost always somebody who will put a smile on your face. When you come together to build a Habitat house, there’s a pleasant spirit that fills the entire team. This, then, is the challenge for politicians who want voters to show up at the polls. Americans view political campaigns in a negative light, don’t trust anything the candidates say and don’t see a connection between voting and results. At the same time, community is a pleasant place where things actually get done. It’s a tough sale for the politicos. To find out more about Scott Rasmussen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 SCOTT RASMUSSEN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
You probably haven’t read much commentary about this year’s elections to the House of Representatives. There’s a good reason for that: The majority in the Senate is up for grabs, but it’s clear to everyone who follows these things that Republicans will continue to control the House. But there are lessons to be learned from this year’s House races, some of them relevant beyond this election cycle. The House math is fairly simple. Republicans won 234 House seats in 2012 and Democrats 201. There are three vacant seats now, but neither party has gained a seat in a special election or by a party switch. Put that together with the fact that we’ve become a straight-ticket voting nation now, no matter how many voters swear they’re Independents. In 2012, 409 of the 435 congressional districts voted for the presidential candidate and House candidate of the same party. Only 26 voted split tickets. That’s the lowest number since the election of 1920. Also in 2012, 226 House districts voted for Mitt Romney and only 209 for President Obama. That’s when Obama’s national job approval was 50 percent. Now it’s 41 percent. House Democrats have a competent campaign committee and chairman, but they have been facing an uphill slog. As I’ve noted before, Republicans have an edge in House districts partly due to partisan redistricting but mostly because of demographic clustering. Heavily Democratic groups — blacks, Hispanics, gentry liberals — are heavily clustered in relatively few heavily Democratic districts. Republican voters are more evenly spread around the rest of the country. The result is that Republicans are likely to gain House seats. A net gain of eight puts them at 242, the number they won in 2010 and their highest number since the election of 1946. A net gain of nine or more would give them their largest House majority in two-thirds of a century. That wouldn’t mean that support for the Republican Party is at a 70-year high. By other measures, it’s weaker. Republicans won five of six presidential elections between 1968 and 1988, with an average popular vote margin of 10 percent. They’ve lost four of the six between 1992 and 2012, by an average vote margin of 4 percent. But Americans split their tickets a lot in the past. In the 1968-88 period, white Southerners usually voted Republican for president and Democratic for Congress. And starting with a few Republican suburban House members in the 1950s, and continuing with many more Democrats in the next three decades, members used the advantages of incumbency — free mail to constituents, constituent services, lobbying for local businesses and nonprofits — to make enough friends to survive elections when their party was getting whomped at the top of the ticket. So between 1958 and 1992 in every election, Democrats won at least 243 House seats — more than Republicans have since 1946 — and as many as 295. Their low points came in 1972 and 1984, when Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan carried 49 states and more than 300 congressional districts. Seemingly eternal Democratic control was the collective result of the efforts of individual Democratic political entrepreneurs, who voted with party leadership on procedure but not on locally sensitive roll calls. They used the advantages of incumbency to maximum advantage and worked their districts hard every weekend. Republicans, in contrast, had relatively few such political entrepreneurs, in part because they couldn’t count on party fundraisers, who reminded contributors that Democrats controlled — and would seemingly always control — every committee and subcommittee chairmanship. All that’s changed. Neither party seems to be producing new political entrepreneurs capable of winning repeatedly on unfriendly partisan territory. Old-timers who did that successfully for years have been picked off in bad years for their party, like Republican 30-year incumbent Jim Leach in 2006 and Democratic 28-year incumbent Rick Boucher in 2010. Half a century ago, many political scientists wanted America to have one clearly liberal and one clearly conservative party. Most probably thought the liberal side would usually win. Well, their prayers have been answered. We now have two ideologically distinct political parties. The liberal party seems to have an edge, though not an overwhelming one, in presidential elections. But the conservative party, to the dismay of many political scientists, has an edge, though again not overwhelmingly, in elections to the House of Representatives. That advantage may not prevail through the whole 10-year redistricting cycle. But it will this year. Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, (www.washingtonexaminer.com), where this article first appeared, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
“We can make Jesus more important in our lives by putting Christ in the center of all we do,” says Nathaniel, 8. “We do this by finding pleasure in studying God’s Word, learning about him and hiding God’s Word in our heart that we might not sin against him.” The issue in all of life always comes down to this question, “Who is the center of the universe?” If I’m the center, then everything must revolve around me. Living the self-centered life is difficult because I can’t always get everyone to conform to my plan for their lives. It’s hard taking the place of God, but many try it. With Jesus Christ as the center, my world takes on a decidedly different orbit. I’m now seeking to discover God’s game plan for my life and others. I don’t have the pressure of pushing my way to the top of a fantasy world where I’m the center. As the good shepherd, Jesus will lead me in life paths that are good for me and others. People may misunderstand me or even ridicule me because I’m not following the crowd, but it’s OK because I’m living before an audience of One. I’m not living for people’s approval. I’m living in light of eternity. I’m not a soloist. I’m a team player, and God is calling the plays. When the disciples of John the Baptist told him that the ministry of Jesus was increasing, he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). How does Jesus increase? Use your memory, says Chandler, 8: “Remember all the times that Jesus saved you from something so that it will get you to believe in him.” Short memories cause us to block God’s plan for causing Jesus to increase. We so easily forget where we were when God found us. The Bible paints a picture of God ever pursuing us when we were “lost.” Yes, lost. Without God, you are as lost as a goose flying north in the middle of winter. To be found by God means you come face-to-face with the reality that the universe revolves around Jesus Christ, not you. You realize that when Jesus died on the cross, he died for your sins. You accept God’s free gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus as your savior. Now that your eternal destiny is sealed, you can reorient your world as Grace, 9, suggests: “We need to be more like a servant and become less important because Jesus is the one who should be the most important.” When Jesus’ disciples got in an argument over who was the greatest disciple, Jesus said, “He who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves” (Luke 22:26). I can guarantee this is not what the disciples had in mind when they argued over who was top dog. The disciples were shocked when Jesus washed their feet at the Passover meal on the night before his crucifixion. Slaves or household servants usually washed the feet of guests. Think about this: As Jesus becomes more important in your life, you’ll think in ways you can’t even imagine now. Like the disciples, you’ll be shocked at what Jesus wants to do through you. Memorize this truth: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Ask this question: Is Jesus increasing or decreasing in your life? Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CAREY KINSOLVING DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
So as to give some perspective, I’m going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists. Suppose the prices of ladies jewelry rose by 100 percent. What would you predict would happen to sales? What about a 25 or 50 percent price increase? I’m going to guess that the average person would predict that sales would fall. Would you make the same prediction about auto sales if cars’ prices rose by 100 percent or 25 or 50 percent? Suppose that you’re the CEO of General Motors and your sales manager tells you the company could increase auto sales by advertising a 100 percent or 50 percent price increase. I’m guessing that you’d fire the sales manager for both lunacy and incompetency. Let’s try one more. What would you predict would happen to housing sales if prices rose by 50 percent? I’m guessing you’d predict a decline in sales. You say, “OK, Williams, you’re really trying our patience with these obvious questions. What’s your point?” It turns out that there’s a law in economics known as the first fundamental law of demand, to which there are no known real-world exceptions. The law states that the higher the price of something the less people will take of it and vice versa. Another way of stating this very simple law is: There exists a price whereby people can be induced to take more of something, and there exists a price whereby people will take less of something. Some people suggest that if the price of something is raised, buyers will take more or the same amount. That’s silly because there’d be no limit to the price that sellers would charge. For example, if a grocer knew he would sell more — or the same amount of — milk at $8 a gallon than at $4 a gallon, why in the world would he sell it at $4? Then the question becomes: Why would he sell it at $8 if people would buy the same amount at a higher price? There are economists, most notably Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers. Krugman says that paying fast-food workers $15 an hour wouldn’t cause big companies such as McDonald’s to cut jobs. In other words, Krugman argues that raising the minimum wage doesn’t change employer behavior. Before we address Krugman’s fallacious argument, think about this: One of Galileo’s laws says the influence of gravity on a falling body in a vacuum is to cause it to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. That applies to a falling rock, steel ball or feather. What would you think of the reasoning capacity of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who’d argue that because human beings are not rocks, steel balls or feathers, Galileo’s law of falling bodies doesn’t apply to them? Krugman says that most minimum-wage workers are employed in what he calls non-tradable industries — industries that can’t move to China. He says that there are few mechanization opportunities where minimum-wage workers are employed — for example, fast-food restaurants, hotels, etc. That being the case, he contends, seeing as there aren’t good substitutes for minimum-wage workers, they won’t suffer unemployment from increases in the minimum wage. In other words, the law of demand doesn’t apply to them. Let’s look at some of the history of some of Krugman’s non-tradable industries. During the 1940s and ’50s, there were very few self-serve gasoline stations. There were also theater ushers to show patrons to their seats. In 1900, 41 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in agriculture. Now most gas stations are self-serve. Theater ushers disappeared. And only 2 percent of today’s labor force works in agricultural jobs. There are many other examples of buyers of labor services seeking and ultimately finding substitutes when labor prices rise. It’s economic malpractice for economists to suggest that they don’t. Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
It’s a little thing, but it bugs me a lot. Whenever I see an ad touting how much money someone could win in the Mega-Millions lottery or some state lottery, I want to see an appropriate disclosure statement. Something along the lines of the fast-paced recital of risks we hear after seeing ads for prescription drugs. Or perhaps like the ads for investment advisors who are required to note that past performance is no guarantee of future success. In the case of lotteries, the warning would include language like: The average buyer of a lottery ticket will lose $50 for every $100 they spend. Last year, New York Lottery players lost a total of $3 Billion — yes $3 Billion with a B. More than 9 out of 10 ticket buyers will lose all of their money. For those who are fortunate enough to win, a third or more of their winnings will be withheld for tax payments. I realize that probably isn’t a compelling sales pitch. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t discourage many people from playing. Most gamblers recognize they’re likely to lose and most are able to keep the risk at manageable levels. Still, the lack of disclosure bugs me and it’s because of the double standard involved. If the lottery were a private company, regulators would demand the inclusion of a disclaimer. We know this is true because commercials for private sector gambling never talk about how much you can win. Casinos and racetracks highlight the alleged fun and glamour of the casino experience rather than the prospect of big winnings. Private sector gambling is presented as something to do rather than as a misleading promise about making money. While some of that may be a pragmatic desire to sell the experience, it’s undoubtedly true that any suggestion that casino guests might win would bring the regulatory authorities down on the commercial campaign. With a struggling economy, the rise of new terror groups, and a battered health care system, the need for equal treatment of private and public sector gambling regulations may seem to be a minor concern. But it symbolizes a much bigger problem. The government, politicians and the politically well-connected write one set of rules for themselves and another for the rest of us. This unequal treatment breeds mistrust, and that lack of trust undermines confidence in just about every public policy setting. If people in Ferguson, Missouri, had believed that the government and people who run it were trustworthy, there would not have been such unrest following the shooting of Michael Brown. If people throughout the nation had trust and confidence in the Center for Disease Control, fears of Ebola getting out of hand would be greatly reduced. Talking about ways that the government can re-earn the trust and confidence of the American people should be a major issue in this year’s mid-term elections. However, it’s not even on the agenda. Perhaps that’s because those in power don’t recognize that there’s a problem. Making the lotteries provide appropriate disclaimers won’t change the world, but it would be one small step toward restoring the integrity of our governing institutions. Many more are needed. To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 SCOTT RASMUSSEN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
One question I’m asked in every electoral cycle is, “What are the surprise races in this election?” My answer in recent years has been, “There are no surprises, because any unexpected development becomes universally known in seconds.” There have been two such developments in this cycle. One in Kansas: the emergence about five weeks ago of independent Greg Orman (and the withdrawal from the ballot of the Democratic nominee) as a strong competitor against 34-year Capitol Hill veteran Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. The other was in South Dakota: a poll showing Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator running as an independent, within the statistical margin of error of Republican nominee Mike Rounds and ahead of Democrat Rick Weiland. Before these developments, everyone figured these were safe Republican seats. Now they look to be in jeopardy. Republicans’ chances for the net gain of six seats they need for a Senate majority seem reduced. Unless these polls are dreadfully wrong, there’s no question that many Kansas and South Dakota voters have been changing their minds. That’s in contrast to the relatively static preferences of voters in other states with serious Senate contests, where only a few percent seem to have been moving around. Both these states’ contests feature purportedly independent candidates. In September, Gallup reported, 58 percent of Americans said that a third political party was needed. So maybe it’s not surprising that, when presented with a well-known independent candidate, many voters consider voting for him. But will they still feel that way on Election Day? Recent elections in Brazil on Oct. 5 and in Britain in 2010 suggest that they may not. In Brazil, Eduardo Campos, who had been running third with between 7 and 13 percent in the polls, died in a plane crash August 13. His vice presidential candidate Marina Silva, who had run for president herself in 2010, took his place and within days zoomed up to parity, at 34 percent, with incumbent Dilma Rousseff. Languishing in third place in every September poll was PSDB nominee Aecio Neves. But on Election Day, Rousseff led with 42 percent. Neves was second with 34 percent and Silva a distant third with 21 percent. Those numbers were very similar to the first round results in 2010, when Rousseff had 47 percent, the PSDB nominee 33 percent and Silva 19 percent. So election returns from four years before seemed a better predictor than the late August and September polls. And now Neves, who was running third just weeks ago, is leading Rousseff in polls for the Oct. 26 runoff. Something similar happened in the 2010 British election. After the initial debate between prime ministerial candidates — the first in British history — support for Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democratic party ballooned. Incumbent Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative challenger David Cameron trailed behind. But on Election Day most Britons voted either Conservative or Labour, as they have since 1922, with Conservatives gaining seats, as widely expected. Clegg’s Lib Dems actually won fewer parliamentary seats than in 2005. What this suggests is that voters may flirt with third-party candidates during a campaign but, when it comes down to voting, tend to choose between two major parties in pretty much the same proportions as they have before. The American political system, more than Brazil’s or Britain’s, tends to strengthen this tendency. The Electoral College at the presidential level and single-member seats in Senate and House elections are formidable barriers to third parties and independent candidacies. An independent presidential candidate who achieves critical mass can be competitive, as Ross Perot seemed to be until he withdrew suddenly in July 1992 or as polls in 1995 suggested Colin Powell would have been as an independent candidate. But usually support for third candidates dissipates by Election Day. Will it this year? Perhaps Pressler, who voted twice for Obama, will displace Weiland as the chief alternative to Rounds in South Dakota. But he faces an uphill climb in a state that voted 58 percent for Mitt Romney. In Kansas (60 percent Romney), Roberts has banked on that with a simple message — I’m the real Republican; he’s a Democrat. He’s running even if you average the three polls conducted this month. My guess is that oscillating polls will give way to familiar results in South Dakota and Kansas, as they did in Brazil and Britain. But maybe not. We’ll see. Michael Barone, senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, (www.washingtonexaminer.com), where this article first appeared, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
“I won’t call names or hit people,” says Heather, 8. That’s a start. Being the light of the world doesn’t call for knocking everyone else’s lights out. Jesus had something different in mind when he told his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13a & 14a). “I could give kitties and other things,” says Brian, 10. “After that, I could tell people to believe in Jesus to have eternal life.” This sounds like a great strategy to influence cat lovers. “To set a good example, you could be a good sport,” says Faith, 11. Keep the big picture in view. If we win or lose with equal grace, we’ll be able to do other things Faith suggests: “I could talk to people about God, invite them to church and pray when bad things happen.” If we exhibit bad sportsmanship, we’ll forfeit opportunities to speak words of life into people’s souls. How can winning a game compare with influencing one person for eternity? “I could be a good example of salt and light by being a good neighbor,” says Janet, 11. “We can volunteer to help other people when they need help.” In today’s mobile society, a neighbor may be a co-worker who lives across town. Pollster George Gallup Jr. reported that Americans are lonely. Modern life offers many advantages, but a sense of community isn’t one of them. Just imagine the shock of your family and neighbors when you pull away from television long enough to acknowledge their presence. Jesus designed Christians to be the light of the world, not the afterglow of a television screen. “You could stand up to bullies and tell them God doesn’t like it when they hurt other people,” says Chloe, 11. Jesus confronted the worst kind of bullies — religious tyrants. He reserved the toughest language of his ministry for them. Of the scribes and Pharisees, he said: “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works, they do to be seen by men” (Matthew 23:4-5). The bullies eventually plotted to get rid of Jesus because the light of his life and teaching kept shining into their darkness. Oh, how they must have congratulated themselves when the Nazarene died on a cross between two criminals. Their plot appeared to succeed until an angel announced at an empty tomb, “He is not here; for he is risen” (Matthew 28:6). Because Jesus rose from the dead, Jake, 7, would be salt and light by being a “missionary to people around the world and helping people up when they fall.” Did you know that everyone has fallen in the sense that all have sinned? Let your salt season and your light shine by telling someone that Jesus came to rescue us from the “fall.” If Jesus is the source of your life, all the world’s temptations to find life apart from him seem bland. Think about this: When the light of Jesus shines clearly though a life, some will run to the light in wonder and others will flee or oppose it because they love darkness. Memorize these truths: Matthew 5:13a & 14a previously quoted. Ask these questions: Is your life transparent so that the light of Jesus can shine through you? Does your life have the flavor that only God’s grace can impart? Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CAREY KINSOLVING DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Chances are excellent that when you read the heading on this column, you thought to yourself, “Man, what’s he talking about? I live in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles! That’s not a small town!” You’re right. However, in every big city there are lots of “small towns.” The place you work, the neighborhood in which you live, the local church, etc., are small towns in many ways.
I was literally raised in a small town, and in a recent issue of The Executive Speechwriter Newsletter, I read an excellent definition of a small town — obviously, with tongue-in-cheek: You know you’re in a small town when:
Third Street is on the edge of town.
The editor and publisher of the local newspaper carries a camera at all times.
You don’t use your turn signals because everyone knows where you are going.
You were born on June 14 and your family received gifts from the local merchants because you were the first baby of the year.
You know every dog in town by name and they know you.
You dial a wrong number and talk for 15 minutes anyway.
You drive into the ditch five miles out of town and the word gets back before you do.
You write a check on the wrong bank and it covers you.
You miss a Sunday at church and receive a get-well card.
Someone asks you how you feel and then actually listens to what you have to say.
I will confess that the town I was raised in, Yazoo City, Mississippi, was bigger than this one, but many of these little things would still apply to the folks at home, where I got a good, solid foundation for life. Yes, a small town really does give you something to smile about!
To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Subscribe to Zig Ziglar’s free email newsletter through firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
“A teacher can make a difference by giving less homework, 10 extra minutes for recess, extra field trips and five popcorn parties a day,” says Sara, 10.
If kids could vote for and serve as school board members, Sara would win easily.
“Teachers help us learn skills for later on in life,” says Rachel, 11. “I want to be a paleontologist.”
Without teachers, you might not even know how to spell “paleontologist.”
“When Joash had a good teacher, he became a good king for a 7-year-old. If he didn’t have that teacher, he wouldn’t be a good king,” says Jennifer, 10.
Yes, even a 7-year-old boy can rule as a king with the right teacher. The Bible records, “Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (II Kings 12:2).
In the biblical book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified as crying out on a high hill to all who will listen. Wisdom is more valuable than gold and rubies, declares the book of Proverbs. Whatever you have to do to get it, do it.
In the Bible, wisdom is more than making good grades in school. It’s making the right choices. It’s avoiding traps that ensnare fools. It’s choosing the right teachers and friends.
“A teacher can help you with special problems when you’re stuck on something you don’t understand,” says Taylor, 9.
“Teachers can also help you reach goals,” says Marshall, 10. “Your parents are teachers. They teach you what is right. God is also a teacher. He guides you to a right path. I think I would be miserable without teachers.”
Jesus was the master teacher. He told stories, spoke in parables and intentionally offended religious leaders by violating their taboos, all in the course of teaching.
When Jesus left Earth, he promised to send another teacher. He said the Holy Spirit would guide his people from within. Many centuries before, the prophet Jeremiah foretold a time when God would give his people a new heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Although the Holy Spirit teaches Christians from within, he also instructs us through human teachers.
“My Sunday School teacher teaches us almost everything in the Bible,” says Drew, 8. “I changed to much nicer. He taught us to share with others.”
I’m amazed at how much three teachers have changed my life. The first one shared with me the message of life when I was 17. He told me that Jesus had paid the price for my sins and wanted me to receive his life by trusting in him as the only way to heaven.
The second one taught me how to look at a biblical text. I had different eyes after sitting in his seminary courses. The third one taught me how to write feature stories at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
“When I was a child, I didn’t know that much at all,” says Salar, 10. “But after a while, you get used to learning, and you’re smart. The most important thing to learn is Christ is our Savior.”
Think about this: When teachers (professional or relatives) work together with God to impart wisdom to children, they can take great comfort in God’s promise that their efforts will be productive.
Memorize this truth: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Ask this question: Are you making an investment to train and influence the children in your life?
Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and travel around the world by viewing the “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. To find out more about Carey Kinsolving and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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