Fred Rogers, the legendary public television host, was especially known for his ability to deftly talk with children about difficult things.
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for our children (and for each other) is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
We begin with a practical word about helping today’s younger population process the war in eastern Europe:
- How to Talk with Children About the War in Ukraine
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly writes:
Russia’s reckless and bloody invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine has captured the world’s attention, and for good reason. Not since World War II has one European nation attacked another. Vladimir Putin’s violent campaign has put the globe on edge, and now there are fears he may even use nuclear weapons.
Given the depth and breadth of these historic events, parents are inevitably facing questions from children. How should moms and dads respond?
First, it’s important for parents to limit children’s exposure to the round-the-clock coverage of the escalating crisis. While adults might be able to compartmentalize circumstances, kids don’t have that same capacity. The dramatic news can easily overwhelm them. Images of explosions, rocket fire and blown-up tanks are often too much for youngsters to process without growing fearful and anxious. Turn the television news off when children are around.
Second, providing perspective can be critical. Younger minds have a difficult time distinguishing immediate threats from distant ones. If you have a globe, take the time to show your son or daughter where Ukraine and Russia are in relation to where they are here in the United States. At the very least, pull a map up online and let them see how much water and land separates eastern Europe from America. Reassure them that it’s many miles between us and them.
Third, use simple language and terms they can understand to describe the situation. You might refer to Putin as a “bully” and tell them how he wants to own and control the country of Ukraine.
Also, let’s use the opportunity to remind our children of God’s love and care for us when difficult or scary situations arise. We need to encourage them to place their trust in Him.
For older children, it would be a good idea to share some history of the Soviet Union and how communism is a failed ideology. Nevertheless, Putin – a former KGB agent – seems to want to reconstitute the old guard. Afterall, he’s previously said the collapse of his former communist regime was the single greatest tragedy of the 20th century.
Moms and dad should use this as an opportunity to talk about the fragility of freedom and how our own forefathers sacrificed mightily on their behalf. History is full of tyrants and dictators who unsuccessfully waged similar wars in a desperate ploy for power and control.
Finally, parents should lead their children in praying for a de-escalation of violence and a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.
- ‘Yes, He Would’: Fiona Hill on Putin and Nukes
Do you really think he’ll use a nuclear weapon?
The thing about Putin is, if he has an instrument, he wants to use it. Why have it if you can’t? He’s already used a nuclear weapon in some respects. Russian operatives poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with radioactive polonium and turned him into a human dirty bomb and polonium was spread all around London at every spot that poor man visited. He died a horrible death as a result.
The Russians have already used a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok. They’ve used it possibly several times, but for certain twice. Once in Salisbury, England, where it was rubbed all over the doorknob of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who actually didn’t die; but the nerve agent contaminated the city of Salisbury, and anybody else who came into contact with it got sickened. Novichok killed a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess, because the assassins stored it in a perfume bottle which was discarded into a charity donation box where it was found by Dawn Sturgis and her partner. There was enough nerve agent in that bottle to kill several thousand people. The second time was in Alexander Navalny’s underpants.
So if anybody thinks that Putin wouldn’t use something that he’s got that is unusual and cruel, think again. Every time you think, “No, he wouldn’t, would he?” Well, yes, he would. And he wants us to know that, of course.
It’s not that we should be intimidated and scared. That’s exactly what he wants us to be. We have to prepare for those contingencies and figure out what is it that we’re going to do to head them off.
3. Senate Defeats Democrat Bill to Legalize Abortions Up to Birth Nationwide
From Life News:
Senate Republicans, with the help of Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, voted to defeat a Democrat bill that would overturn every pro-life law in America and legalize abortions up to birth.
Lawmakers voted 48-46 against cloture — against ending debate and allowing a vote on the misnamed Women’s Health Protection Act. As a result the filibuster against the radical pro-abortion legislation was sustained and the bill is defeated, as 60 votes were necessary to move ahead to a vote on the bill.
All Republicans voted pro-life against cloture on the radical pro-abortion bill and all Democrats voted pro-abortion for cloture, except for Manchin. Democrats Feinstein, Lujan and Warnock missed the vote but would have voted pro-abortion while Republicans Inhofe, Kennedy and Paul also missed vote but would have voted pro-life.
In short, the legislation would overturn all federal and state pro-life laws and make it illegal for elected officials to even introduce pro-life legislation.
Abortion Bill Leaves “Woman” Out of Text
From the Washington Examiner:
Authors of a bill that seeks to eliminate almost all barriers to abortion quietly swapped the word ” woman ” for “person” in the latest version of the text.
A 2017 version of the Women’s Health Protection Act reads: “to protect a woman’s right and ability to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.” However, the version that was brought to the Senate floor Monday says: “to protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.”
“Woman” remained in the bill’s name, however.
4. California’s loud pro-life minority
From World Magazine:
Pro-abortion lawmakers have an overwhelming majority in both chambers of the California Legislature. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has clearly stated his intentions to make California an “abortion sanctuary” if the Supreme Court rules to give states more freedom to protect the unborn. State lawmakers have echoed that goal. Even though there’s little they can do to stop those bills, Keller and other California pro-life activists are focusing on encouraging local and community-level advocacy and educating voters about the radical pro-abortion agenda.
In early December, Newsom’s California Future of Abortion Council released a 14-page report outlining 45 policy recommendations for making the state an abortion sanctuary. They include investing in abortion funds, enacting legal protections for abortion businesses, and combating the work of pro-life pregnancy centers. Many of the policy recommendations appeared in the text of pro-abortion bills. The report estimated that, should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the number of out-of-state women coming to California for the procedure would increase from 46,000 to 1.4 million.
Though Keller has noticed some pro-life voters are leaving California for more conservative states, he said the number of churches speaking out against the pro-abortion agenda has grown in recent years. Pro-lifers remain in the minority, but, he said, they’re increasingly loud. More pastors are speaking out on abortion from the pulpit, and Christians have launched Bible studies and small groups for people who have had abortions and regret it.
- What to Know About President Biden’s State of the Union Speech Tonight
From the Wall Street Journal:
In a typical year, the president gives his address at the end of January or at the beginning of February. The State of the Union is usually one of the highest-rated speeches that a president will deliver before a televised audience.
This year, March 1 was chosen, in part, to avoid conflicts with the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which were held Feb. 4-20.
In addition to talking about the White House response to the war in Ukraine and to Covid-19, Mr. Biden is also expected to provide a road map to revive parts of his struggling Build Back Better agenda, which has faltered in the midst of opposition from some Senate Democrats, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
White House officials said Monday that Mr. Biden would press Congress to pass legislation to lower health care and prescription drug costs, help families pay for child care and pre-kindergarten and reduce family energy bills.
“It’s not about the name of the bill. It’s about the ideas. It’s about lowering costs for families, and I think you can expect to hear the president talk about those ideas,” said a White House official, who described the address on condition of anonymity ahead of Tuesday’s speech.
Mr. Biden will also seek to build support for his Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Judge Jackson has spent nine years as a federal judge in Washington, most recently on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
- Pfizer vaccine may offer little protection against infection in kids 5-11
From NBC News:
Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine offer almost no protection against coronavirus infection in kids ages 5 to 11, according to new data posted online — a finding that may have consequences for parents and their vaccinated children.
Researchers from the New York State Department of Health found that the vaccine’s effectiveness dropped to 12 percent from 68 percent in the age group in December and January, when the omicron variant of the coronavirus began circulating widely in the United States.
The Pfizer shots still offered protection against serious illness from Covid, the researchers found, with protection against hospitalization declining to 48 percent from 100 percent over the same time period.
The findings, which were posted to a preprint server Monday and have not yet been peer-reviewed, looked at the health records for Covid cases in children and teens in New York between Dec. 13 and Jan. 30.
- New York To End Statewide Mask Mandate For Schools, NYC Expected To Follow
From the Daily Wire:
The state of New York will drop its mask mandate for schools, and New York City is expected to follow close behind.
New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul first announced on Sunday that she would be lifting the statewide school mask mandate beginning on Wednesday, March 2nd.
“With more New Yorkers getting vaccinated, and the steady decline over the past several weeks in cases and hospitalizations from Omicron, we are now entering a new phase of the pandemic,” Hochul said in a statement. “Because New Yorkers have stepped up, we can confidently remove the statewide mask requirement in our schools. This is a huge step forward for our kids and communities and I am grateful to the students, educators and parents for their dedication to keeping us all safe—we’ve reached this milestone because of your hard work.”
In a press release announcing the move, the governor’s office said that it made the decision to lift requirements because of continuing positive trends in COVID-19, and “after consulting with health and education experts, as well as parents, teachers and school administrators.” The press release said that New York has the highest full vaccination rate for adults and teenagers among large states and the second-highest for children aged 5-11. The state has also seen a 98 percent drop in new COVID-19 cases, with a 51-day downward trend, and a substantial drop in both cases and hospitalizations among children.
- Supreme Court Turns Away Religious Hiring Case from Christian College – for Now
From The Daily Citizen:
Gordon College, a Christian educational institution in Wenham, Massachusetts, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an employment dispute with one of its professors that has turned into a religious freedom battle over whether the government can force it to hire people who oppose the institution’s mission and values.
The high court refused to take the case – for now. But a strong statement from four of the court’s conservative justices warned the Supreme Court of Massachusetts – which ruled against the college – that its cramped interpretation of religious freedom in its handling of the case thus far was “troubling.”
Professor Margaret DeWeese-Boyd was employed by Gordon College in its Department of Sociology and Social Work. When her application for a promotion to a tenured position was turned down in 2016, she filed suit against the school, alleging the college discriminated against her based on her LGBT advocacy on campus in violation of Massachusetts’ state nondiscrimination laws.
The school responded with two defenses. First, it argued the refusal of tenure for DeWeese-Boyd was due to her “lack of scholarly productivity, professionalism, responsiveness and engagement,” and not for anything else. Second, it argued that under the First Amendment and two U.S. Supreme Court rulings in recent years, a religious employer’s hiring decisions regarding its “ministers” cannot be second-guessed by government officials or preempted by nondiscrimination laws. That First Amendment right is referred to by the Supreme Court and others as the “ministerial exception.”
- School newspaper article gives pre-teen students advice for BLM protests, offers different rules for white students — like don’t speak
According to a report from Fox News, the Feb. 15 issue of Justice Page Middle School’s Rhino Report featured an article titled “Protest Tips and Etiquette.”
The Rhino Report, according to the district, is a “publication of Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education” and which “represents the viewpoints of students.”
The guide began, “After the murder of Amir Locke at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday February 2nd, many of us are — and have been — taking to the streets to protest this injustice.”
The tips include wearing nondescript clothing, bringing first aid kits and pain relief pills such as ibuprofen, and —but only if you’re white — avoiding addressing people during the protest.
10. Don’t Be the Co-Worker With the Terrible Farewell Email
From the Wall Street Journal:
Nearly 9 million Americans left their jobs in the final two months of 2021, according to federal data. That means millions of goodbye emails—some inspired, some classy, some cringeworthy—zinging through corporate servers. With big retirement parties canceled and in-person happy hours converted to Zoom, a lot is now riding on that one note.
Work exits used to come with congratulations by the coffee machine and hearty back pats at farewell lunches. Informal gossip networks carried the news organically. We’d then move to a new place, donning new clothes, commuting to a new office.
Such rituals help us move from one identity to the next, Dr. Klotz says. Now, changing a job often means closing a laptop in our bedroom on a Friday and opening it again on Monday, armed with only a fresh company login.
“It can leave you in a new job still having nostalgia, regret and longing,” he says.
“Let it rip. Let everything out,” advises Elena Deutsch, the CEO of Women Interested in Leaving (big) Law, a coaching firm focused on helping lawyers pivot. Just don’t hit send. Leave the diatribe in the draft folder of your personal email, or better yet, put it on paper, she says.
For the real deal, be gracious and express gratitude. Include up to three career highlights. (Any more and you risk being seen as a braggart.) And skip the passive-aggressive jabs.
By giving your notice, “the power dynamic has been leveled,” Ms. Deutsch says. Use that new sense of control and confidence to share more authentically about yourself, not torpedo your relationships on the way out the door.