For the book club reading this month, I was reading, Sarah's Key. It is an absorbing novel about July 1942 when French citizens, who happened to be Jews, were rounded up and sent to their deaths. 13,000 French Jews, mostly women and children, were exterminated by order of Adolf Hitler.
The author alternates between the story of a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1942 and the story of a middle-aged woman in modern times who is assigned to write a story about this event in French history. An event the French prefer to forget.
While the story is well-written, I admit that I stopped reading it. I'm not a fan of profanity and when I began a passage with the F-word I stopped reading the book.
Up to that point, I was riveted by the story and thought about the cruelty extended to a group of people simply because they were Jews. Hitler decided that they did not deserve to live simply because he thought Jews were inferior. Who gave him that right? And why on earth did so many people follow him? Why were so many willing to kill people--children especially? How could anyone do something like this? Why did so many turn their backs on the Jews and refuse to stop the insanity surrounding the Holocaust?
Then I have to ask myself, how are we, in our society, any different than Hitler? We have laws that protect the practice of killing innocent children every day. Over 3000 babies are aborted in this country every day. Yes, every day. Why? The majority are aborted because they are an inconvenience, because their mothers have decided they don't have the right to live. And we have groups like Planned PArenthood that applaud this so-called right.
For anyone who's read my blog before, you know that I have a son with Down syndrome. 9 out of 10 women whose pregnancies are diagnosed with Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy. They choose to kill that growing baby simply because it has too many chromosomes. So I ask you, how is that any different than what Hitler did? We are outraged that he thought Jews were inferior. We say he was the devil himself to have killed so many innocent people, so many innocent children who didn't deserve to die. Yet, we consistently protect the right of women to do the same thing. Over and over and over again.
We like to see ourselves as advanced and pretend that our society is nothing like Hitler's. And yet, we are no different. Our politicians fight to protect a woman's right to kill her baby, as if that baby has no rights. Why? Because it is inside its mother's womb? Because it can't care for itself? If we were to apply that reasoning across the board then we'd have to say that all children fall into that category.
I cannot understand why any human being would do what Hitler did. I cannot see how he could justify any of his actions. I do not understand killing others because they seem to be inferior. I also do not understand how women's hearts can fail them and they can justify killing their own babies. In our country, women use abortion as birth control and our government wants to force businesses to allow women to do so through the healthcare they provide to employees, even if that business has strongly held religious beliefs (which is a violation of the business owner's rights). We are on the same road as Hitler once was. We are deciding who has the right to live and who does not. We pretend that we are better than Hitler, but we are not. Today we decide unborn babies can die at the whim of their mothers. What will tomorrow bring? When we disrespect the life of anyone, we disrespect the lives of everyone. How can we ever hope to teach people to stop killing innocent people in theaters and schools when we allow, and even advocate, the killing of our most innocent?
I think Mother Theresa said it best, "But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. "
And, "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
If we want society to respect life, if we want to stop the violence, we must first protect all human life.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Any of you who know me, know that my youngest son has Down syndrome. I have been homeschooling him this year in hopes of preparing him to enter school next year.
I have taught all of my children to read. I homeschool them for kindergarten so that I can make sure they learn to read. I believe that reading is the most important academic skill they can have because if they can read, then the whole world is open to them.
For most of my kids, I have used the Spalding method, which is a phonics-based program. I also used Hooked on Phonics for some of my kids. I believe phonics-based approaches give kids the tools to decipher words and think it is the best way to teach kids to read.
Then I started teaching my youngest son. Everything I knew, or thought I knew, went out the window. I had to start from scratch and figure out how to best teach him to read. I read a lot of articles and books that said I needed to use sight words with him. So I made up flashcards with familiar words. We did that for a while, but it seemed like he needed more.
So I went back to teaching him the sounds of each letter. We do sound cards each day and he has been sounding out words now when we read. He has also learned many sight words. He still struggles with how to say the words, but he knows them.
One day, I suddenly had the idea to take the Hooked on Phonics books that I've used and make a flashcard for each word in the book beginning with book #1. I say the word and have him pick out the flashcard. I also say a sentence from the book and then have him find the corresponding words on the flashcards and lay them out into a sentence. It's working really well. He is not only recognizing the sight words, but he's also sounding out words using his knowledge of the sounds of the letters, which means he's improving his verbal skills.
The other day, we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I was astonished, and excited, when he started reading the book. I read the first part and he read the second part on each page. And he actually read it verbally. Yay!!!
So I know that he's beginning to read and, even better, he is saying words and using his verbal skills. It's been a long time coming, but I am so thankful to see this progress.