Posts tagged ‘children’
We often talk about health in terms of treating disease or not getting sick. But there are other factors that can negatively affect one’s health that aren’t so obvious, such as violence. This is a major public health issue that is monitored by the Center for Disease Control.
Take for instance young people. The CDC reports that:
“Youth violence results in considerable physical, emotional, social, and economic consequences. Although rates of youth homicide have declined substantially during recent years, much work remains in reducing this public health burden. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10–24 years in the United States. Violence is also a major cause of nonfatal injuries among youth. In 2009, a total of 650,843 young people aged 10–24 years were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries sustained from assaults.”
Children are not the only vulnerable group, however. Those in intimate relationships are another group that suffer at the hands of others in significant numbers. The CDC goes on:
“On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to new findings released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women are raped in a year, and over 6 million women and men are victims of stalking. These findings emphasize that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are major public health problems in the United States.”
At what point does a neighborhood begin to acquiesce to violence? When does apathy, fear, or futility cause us to accept crime as inevitable? On the other hand, what galvanizes individuals, neighbors, or community members to protest against rising violence and decay?
Well-intentioned efforts such as installing home security systems and taking personal safety training can make people feel safer. But what turns the tide for a whole community? It has to come from a mental protest against violence in our midst, followed by effective action. Even before my retirement from a law enforcement career, prayer has been the catalyst that strengthens my resolve to challenge a violent status quo. What could the heartfelt prayers of many accomplish? Prayer provides a resolve that can be a tipping point toward safety and well-being for every member of our community, especially the more vulnerable and least represented. This can bring measurable improvement to community health. It might include beefing up law enforcement and improving public policy, or providing youth centers and safe, affordable childcare.
As a Captain in the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, I often prayed about my work. One day a wanted suspect, who was known to be violent and have firearms, was located in a house where children were also living. All the ingredients for a bad situation were in place. I needed to be there when he was taken into custody. Complicating the situation, I also needed to be in church in two hours to conduct a church service. Because SWAT events are volatile and unpredictable, I had some heavy-duty praying to do.
While driving to the suspect’s location, I prayed that God’s wisdom and care were present with the Team AND with the suspect. I prayed to know that I was led by God to the position I was in with these tremendous responsibilities, both in law enforcement and church, because Spirit wanted me there, to serve my community in both capacities. I was put there to give. I prayed to be willing to receive divine direction and control, to listen and follow God’s direction guidance even if I was tempted to feel stressed or unable to fulfill my responsibilities.
I did not allow myself to take in anything but God’s calm and loving presence. As we approached the location, we rounded a curve in a rural road. Under standard procedures, we would quickly exit our vehicles, take cover, and assault the building with noise from explosive diversionary devices and shouting. But instead, sitting on the split rail fence enjoying the sunshine, was our suspect. With no resistance, he allowed himself to be taken into custody.
You can imagine my heartfelt gratitude for God’s grace and control. I couldn’t have planned this any better. I feel that God’s timing and wisdom guided us, allowing this to unfold the way it did. And, yes, I was at my post in church that night, continuing to give in God’s appointed way.
So, to renew my question, could many prayers specifically for safety make this kind of outcome more common and even prevent what causes violence? I believe it is time we address violence in a new, more universal and effective way. And prayer is my starting point.
This touching story is brought to us by Bill Scott, my friend and colleague, and the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Washington. This story clearly illustrates that the power of prayer is real. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
This article first appeared on Blogcritics.
Did you catch the news reports last week of the young boy who survived after being submerged 15-20 minutes underwater? For those readers who missed it, here’s a quick summary:
According to The Seattle Times, 12-year-old Charles “Dale” Ostrander was enjoying last Friday afternoon with his sisters and others from his Baptist church group at Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula.
Long Beach is known for its rip currents and Dale, who does not swim, was swept far out into the cold surf and began yelling for help. 12-year-old Nicole Kissel and her father quickly came to the rescue. Her father went to the aid of another distressed member of the group while Nicole swam to Dale and held him on her boogie board for an estimated 20 minutes!
As the two 12-year-olds worked to paddle to shore in the turbulent waters, many were said to be praying for them on the beach. A big wave eventually knocked Dale off the board and separated the two. Nicole’s father was able to reach her and helped her to the beach, but Dale was nowhere to be seen. After 15-20 minutes, rescuers eventually found his limp body and brought it ashore. Despite having no vital signs, Dale recovered.
On her way home to California last Wednesday, Nicole stopped to visit him in the hospital, where he is now considered in fair condition. As she left, Dale is said to have focused his eyes on her and said, “Thank you.”
I love this story: Dale’s gratitude and determination to survive, Nicole’s selfless courage, the keen sight of rescue team member Eddie Mendez (who spotted Dale floating beneath the seaweed) and the diligence of all the other rescuers who refused to give up on him.
Damian Mulinix was on the scene and noted, “Literally, he was dead for 20 minutes, half an hour probably.” Yet, everyone persisted in doing what they could. I think it speaks to the value of a hopeful mindset in the face of apparent tragedy.
I am especially drawn to the courage of Nicole Kissel. She says that at the moment of decision, she didn’t hesitate. And although while hanging on to her boogie board she felt she and Dale were unlikely to survive, afterwards she said, “No matter who it is and if they need help, I will risk my life, I will do it.”
Many online writers have been questioning the reason Dale survived this experience. Some suggest the frigid water, his young age and the heroics of local rescuers are alone due the credit. Many others believe prayer was instrumental in his rescue and recovery, but of course prayer does not lend itself to be easily measured. Despite the lack of scientific data, according to a 2007 study by the National Institutes of Health, nearly half of all American adults pray for their health.
I believe the best evidence is usually one’s own experience. To those on the beach that Friday afternoon, I’m sure they consider their prayers were answered.
by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
Health anxiety. Boy, that’s a big issue. It’s a condition I’ve seen in many people over the years. Parents worrying about each symptom experienced by their child. Adults obsessed with every the latest malady reported in the news.
Have you ever paid attention to the conversations around you at work? A day doesn’t go by without someone talking about his latest health issue, what his doctor says about it, her concerns about it spreading or getting worse, and so on. They talk about what pills they’re taking, how many, what color, how expensive.
The technology explosion, though presumed to be a benefit to mankind, may actually be a curse for the common citizen fearful about her health. On the internet you can find every conceivable disease or body malfunction known to man. You can find all the symptoms that go along with these conditions, and possible remedies. You can find out what medication you should be taking or what surgeries can solve the problem. This information only adds to the fear one may be harboring about their health. It’s conveniently called cyberchondria.
Wendy Glauser brings out an important point in her article “Health Anxiety” in the spring edition of Canadian Health. “At least 5% of the Canadian population is estimated to suffer from severe health anxiety, with a greater percentage of milder cases. Health anxiety can be triggered when …Internet websites match perceived symptoms to scary disorders or when physical symptoms persist that doctors can’t explain.”
And I’m certain that a much larger percentage of the population actually experiences sickness due to disease descriptions in the media and Internet. The idea is suggested to the mind and then the condition manifests itself in the body.
Dr. Herbert Benson, a renowned physician and researcher on the mind-body connection, has coined this phenomenon the “nocebo effect”. A more common term is psychosomatic disorder, i.e., symptoms of a disorder caused by one’s thought. His research for over 30 years has clinically proven that one’s thinking can have a healing or negative effect on one’s health.
Benson, Glauser, and those Glauser interviews for her article, report on a physiological basis for understanding and addressing these conditions. This approach will always have the limitation of the human body and brain. It relies on altering the neurological functions of the brain through thought, or through relaxation techniques, counseling, and in some cases, medications.
Interventions that heal the body through altering brain functions are limited by the body’s limitations. There’s no way around it.
As a practicing Christian Scientist I’ve found that healing goes beyond the brain and body, and comes through an understanding of spiritual nature. This understanding releases me from anxiety and any concern about my body. Rather than search the internet for a name or symptoms, I revel in the freedom that comes with focusing my thought on God as my creator, and the wholeness and harmony of His creation.
The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it. A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort. What a price for human knowledge! [pp. 196-7]
And she goes on to say:
The physical affirmation of disease should always be met with the mental negation…If you believe in inflamed and weak nerves, you are liable to an attack from that source… If you decide that climate or atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be so to you. Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take. [p. 392 ]
It’s liberating to know that we don’t have to be fearful about our health, and that peace of mind comes from a decision to recognize the natural healthiness of all that God made, including me and you. We can learn to meet health anxiety at the door of thought, before it gets its mental foot in the door, with a “no admittance”. God cares for His creation and keeps it well. That’s real freedom.
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
It was another night of disagreement between my parents, which led to my father’s inevitable drinking. He marched out to his truck with his rifles, saying he was going to kill himself. “You don’t love me. Just wait until I’m gone, then you’ll be sorry.” As the oldest of three sons I once again was put in the position of the “adult”, intervening, taking away his guns, and telling him to go back into the house. I had become “the man of the house” at the age of fifteen.
I don’t remember feeling close to my father, nor looking up to him as a role model or as my hero. As a very young child I know I did, but as I became more aware of him as a real person and not an ideal, I sensed the vacuum in my life– but I didn’t understand it. I knew I wanted to do better in my relationships with my spouse and children than my father did in his.
Soon, my parents separated and I felt lost in terms of what a “man” was supposed to be.
When I found Christian Science in college and began to study its principles, I got a better understanding of who I am as a man. I began to see that I am not the product of the gene pool I came from, nor is my identity rooted in patterns of behavior passed on from generation to generation. I could be something other than the byproduct of expectations placed upon me by society, culture, my parents, or even myself.
The Bible calls man, male and female, the reflection of God. I discovered that I could possess all the qualities that I associate with God and this is the true identity of all of God’s children. I could even see my dad in this light. Because my inherent nature is a reflection of God’s qualities, it is not my responsibility to try and be something other than what God made me to be. Since I consider God to be good, then I must be good as He made me. I strive to live up to His model, rather than follow my father’s patterns.
My true nature, my true manhood, also includes qualities that might commonly be thought of as feminine. By reflecting God, not only do I naturally possess the qualities of strength, courage, endurance, and responsibility, but I also cherish in myself the ability to be loving, kind, gentle, and appreciative of beauty and art. And I see these characteristics in others–both men and women. Since these qualities are expressions of God, they are available to each of us as His creation, not just a chosen few.
Tomorrow we celebrate fathers. To me, everyday is the time to acknowledge the essence of true fatherhood as I see it in God, and to practice this higher manhood as an expression of God’s goodness. God’s fatherhood continues to bless my happy relationship with my own sons.
John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
This post is by my friend and colleague, Keith Wommack, Committee on Publication for the great state of Texas. I love this post because it introduces us to a truly enlightened individual in the medical field. Thank you Keith for sharing your conversation with Dr. John K. Graham!
By Keith Wommack, Chrisitan Science Committee on Publication for Texas.
Last week, when our meeting first began, I had the feeling I was in the presence of a new friend. I was right.
Dr. Graham is both a physician and a priest. The Institute’s website states that he received his M.D. Degree from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans and is board-certified in two medical specialties – otolaryngology and plastic and reconstructive surgery.
The website also states that in 1990, Dr. Graham left the practice of medicine and responded to God’s call to the priesthood. He attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA and received his Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. In 2001 he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. For twelve years (1998-2010) he served as Sr. Associate Rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
As soon as we sat down in his office, Dr. Graham explained the mission of the Institute. He said, “Its purpose is to educate healthcare professionals about the role of spirituality in healthcare.”
He told me about the 3,000 and more Randomized Controlled Trial studies in the medical literature that show a 66% positive correlation between spirituality and health. One study showed that if a person attended religious services once a week or more, his or her longevity increased by 7 years. Dr. Graham explained that attendees of regular religious services had measurably lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improved immune response (IL-6 levels) as well as maintenance of the proper Serotonin levels in the brain.
Dr. Graham feels that spiritually sensitive care is ethical care; and that people want spiritually sensitive health care.
Knowing that I was in the healing practice of Christian Science, Dr. Graham stated that people were just beginning to discover what Christian Scientists have known for years.
So, what have Christian Scientists known for years? Well, they have been learning that not only is spirituality important to health and well-being, but health is really Spirit-based, God endowed and maintained.
That feeling I had about being in the presence of a new friend, a kindred spirit, was right. As I was getting ready to leave, Dr. Graham grabbed a copy of his book, Graham Crackers & Milk: Food for the Heart & Soul, and wrote in it, “To Keith, I thank God for you and your ministry to bring health and healing to God’s people”. Hopefully, we will be speaking often.
The importance of spirituality, as revealed in the phenomenon of Christian healing, is a fact of being rather than a philosophical postulate. I’ve found that Christian, prayer-based healing is natural and effective. Prayer, in Christian Science, is usually more than a petition for betterment. It is a powerful treatment that utilizes spiritual laws.
Yes, the name Christian Science can appear confusing, at first. However, it is Christian, Bible-based, redemptive, and a responsible system of healing and living. It is a Science, provable and reasonable. It is a patient centered care, — a complete, spiritual approach to healthcare.
Spirituality enables treatment and care to reach down from God’s sovereignty rather than up from humanity’s limitations. By it, practitioners and patients experience and witness the healing benefits of glimpsing the wholly spiritual nature of health and being.
I am grateful to have met Dr. Graham and to have learned of the Institute’s mission: To educate healthcare professionals about the role of spirituality in healthcare.
I’m confident that humanity is moving closer and closer to understanding that spirituality in healthcare is important. I’m also confident that humanity is moving closer to the paramount fact that spirituality and health are inseparable.