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Posts Tagged ‘environment’


I recently picked up a book in an attempt to understand one of my children better so I can parent better. It is a book on the concept of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I heard about the book from a congregant who thought I was a HSP. As I read some of the book this morning, thinking both of my child and my self, I found both confusion and clarity.

My Presuppositions: We are all broken, though in different places and to different degrees. As a result of Adam’s sin, we are not only sinners but we are also affected physically and emotionally. We are a mess, and while Jesus doesn’t keep us as messy we don’t always understand the mess. Is that messy? Some aspects of our brokenness are there from the beginning of our lives. They are genetic. The author mentions this with regard to HSPs. She sees them as “naturally occurring” on the spectrum of sensitivity. There are some, I gather she’d say, who look like HSPs but aren’t: they’ve been traumatized by something. Their increased sensitivity would not be innate, but picked up from their environment or circumstances. Some of our brokenness comes at the hands of others after birth: parents, friends, strangers. It is hard for us, much of the time, to tell which it is.

The Problem of Pop Psychology: Often times symptoms overlap. A condition is describe in such terms that too many people see themselves there. If you read too many books, you can think you’ve got everything. Or just the wrong thing.

Years ago I read Driven to Distraction on the recommendation of a friend who struggled with ADD and saw a similar struggle in me. Don’t confuse ADD with ADHD. I never saw myself as hyperactive, but I struggle to remain focused. I am easily distracted and have a hard time in environments like airplanes for anything much longer than an hour. I get restless leg syndrome, I can’t read anything more engaging than a novel and end up fairly miserable.

But do I have ADD? I can check enough boxes in the self-test to say ‘yes.’ But not only are we a mess, but a mysterious mess. Our symptoms could be explained by other things. For instance, the author of the book on HSPs distinguishes it from ADD (this was helpful!). They differ, apparently on where the blood flows more in their brains.

“Children with ADD probably have very active go-for-it systems and relatively inactive pause-to-check systems. … But ADD is a disorder because it indicates a general lack of adequate ‘executive functions,’ such as decision making, focusing, and reflecting on outcomes. HSCs are usually good at all of this, at least when they are in a calm, familiar environment. For whatever reason (the cause is not known), children with ADD find it difficult to learn to prioritize, to return their attention to what they are doing once they have glanced outside or know the teacher is not talking to them personally. … another reason HSCs can be misdiagnosed as having ADD is because, if the distractions are numerous or prolonged, or they are emotionally upset and thus overstimulated already from within, they may very well become overwhelmed by outer distractions and behave as if agitated or ‘spacey.'” Elaine Aron (The Highly Sensitive Child)

I can prioritize, reflect on outcomes and have a pause-to-check system. I am not a big risk taker. I am thoughtful. But I may be easily overwhelmed by data or sensory input. I can study to music and TV, but not to talking. Or apparently with an internet connection at hand. I may be distracted, but for different reasons.

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This is a very interesting election season, to say the least.  I’ve been reading people’s blog posts, looking at internet boards my wife and I are involved in, etc. and seeing some interesting shifts among people of faith.

Words are interesting things- they have both the power to reveal AND conceal.  I am not a one issue voter.  Seems that people think Christians are supposed to be, or have been, one issue voters.  As a result, they hear another candidate talk about some issues close to their heart and they begin to align with that candidate.

As a Christian, I am concerned about the poor, the environment, abortion, justice and more things than you can shake a stick at.  Some candidates, and parties, are better than others about mentioning some of those issues.  Both Presidential candidates, if you have been listening, say they want to reduce abortions, address climate change issues, eliminate torture, pursue economic advancement to reduce poverty, etc.  So they seem equal.

But we must be careful- raising an issue is not to be confused with having a good solution for that issue.  All proposals are not created equally, so we must examine how the various candidates want to address those issues.

Poverty seems to be one of the issues that touches base with a number of other issues.  You can’t talk about abortion without talking about poverty.  You can’t talk about the environment without talking about poverty.  You can’t talk about taxes without talking about poverty.  That is because some of the solutions to those issues will greatly impact poverty here in America, and therefore around the world.  Solutions that actually reduce jobs (for instance, taxes on small businesses making over $250k- which is NOT much if you own a small business- will put people out of work increasing poverty, or climate change initiatives that strangle an economy increase poverty) will increase poverty here and abroad.  Issues do not exist in a vacuum.  There are unintended consequences that idealists tend not to recognize. 

I find it hard to believe that a candidate cares for America when he does not care for its most vulnerable members.  I find it hard to believe that a candidate cares for America when his economic policies will put people out of work and on the government dole.  Don’t vote on the basis of emotion (he talks about the issues I care about), but take some time to learn how he approaches those issues and if that makes sound sense (not just a great emotional appeal).  Discover HOW the economy works so you can choose a candidate who will make choices that facilitate its growth so people have opportunities to advance and voluntarily spread their wealth (called charitable giving).  Vote with your head AND your heart.

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