If you make your self-esteem or feelings of self-worth dependent on the approval of others, you have done yourself a bad turn.  Ultimately, each individual person is responsible for looking after his/her own best interests even when that does not please the crowd.  A sense of community is important in human interactions, of course, but, a person needs to be aware of the risks in mindlessly going along (with the crowd) just to get along.  There is a certain tyranny in the herd, and we must be careful of the herd “instinct”.  Character strength in the individual is needed.  A healthy and moral balance between individualism and community or group consciousness is to be worked for.

The young today are quite vulnerable to so-called peer pressure thanks to the required public schooling from age 6 to 18 years old.  These children spend much of their waking time around others of their own age.  Anyone who has raised – or attempted to raise – a teenager knows how strong this desire for acceptance by their peers is in adolescent children.  Teenagers seek approval and acceptance from their peers and often will ignore or resist what their parents tell them.  The challenge for well-meaning parents is to help build character strength in their children when they are young.  As well, if the parents can cultivate or nurture trust in their young children, this will be of help when their children pass through the trying teenage years.  We recommend to parents that they play an active role in raising their children by spending some time each and every day with them.  Unfortunately, today, many 2 wage earner families have the parents adopting roles much like an absentee landlord when it comes to parenting their children.  The primacy of family cannot be replaced by the school or the daycare center.  As well, single parent households have not proven as successful in raising children and in helping them to avoid the many serious pitfalls and self-destructive behaviors that threaten our young today in a morally relativistic culture.

One item of note here as to character strength and resisting the peer pressure to go against one’s personal values is the curious fact that many home-schooled Christian young adults, once they go off to public college, often abandon their moral convictions on the contentious issues of today.  Apparently, years of homeschooling, where these young people are effectively insulated or shielded from the leftist indoctrination of the public school system in the US, does not sufficiently prepare them to resist the pressure they receive from the professors and their classmates in college or university.  Building character strength in the individual child, beginning at an early age, is thus important but difficult to do.

the fate of the rhinos of Africa

Sadly, what drives this terrible business of killing the rhinos for their horns is the superstitious belief in east Asia (principally Vietnam and China) that rhino horn has valuable and efficacious medicinal properties.  It does not.  Basically, the rhino horn is much like human finger nails in composition.  The clippings of human finger nails (a renewable, inexpensive resource) could be ground up in East Asian apothecaries for the same non-existent, placebo effect without driving the rhinos of Africa to extinction.  Another factor in the demand for rhino horn in Asia is the ostentatious display of wealth, and that relates to human egotism.  Jewelry, as in bracelets, made of rhino horn are shown off in the homes of the wealthy of today’s Vietnam.  Despite the continuing efforts of African governments to protect these endangered animals, the demand for rhino horn remains strong and this demand keeps the ugly business going.

Superstition and egotism and cruelty (see link below).  Animals do not possess these vices.  We could learn from the example of animals.

See this linked post from another blog for more on rhinos

As to cruelty, see this recent post from Europe on the Halal slaughter of animals in people’s backyards.  A while back we reblogged a post about the cruelty of Halal and Kosher slaughter of animals.  We believe this to be another example of superstitious practices from the past that need to be rejected.

feature image

Our feature image is of a residential area along a highway a little to the north of Stephenville, Texas.  The residents have auto and truck traffic moving at or near 60 miles per hour just beyond their front yards.  With brick construction, I guess the inside of their homes are protected from the traffic noise.

 

 

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