Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spiritual Healing and Growth: Jesus, The Mathematician

Spiritual Healing and Growth: Jesus, The Mathematician:   The Rule of 72 is one of the most important Math rules we can learn, yet few of my friends have heard of it. It is the foundation for ...

Jesus, The Mathematician


The Rule of 72 is one of the most important Math rules we can learn, yet few of my friends have heard of it. It is the foundation for all investments and borrowing as well as church growth. It shows that Jesus was a Math Genius! The interest rate we gain from an investment when divided in 72 tells us how may years it will take at that rate to double our savings. See the table below:

2% Rate of Return = 36 years to double my money
4% Rate of Return = 18 years
8% Rate of Return = 9 Years
16% Rate of Return = 4.5 Years
20% Rate of Return = 3.4 Years

This is the good news and it is why the rich get richer. But why do the poor get poorer? Because the Rule of 72 punishes all who borrow and pay interest. Using the table above to show how many years our debt will double! This is why poor people rarely get ahead. Those who save get rich if they get a good interest. Those who borrow pay interest and lose everything because the prices of whatever they buy keeps rising.

I wish poor people could break out of poverty.rty by making a bit more per hour, but unfortunately it will not work if they do not save and get a good interest rate. If they make $15.00 or $20.00 an hour but spend more than that, poverty will be the result.

It is also why many churches fail. They borrow "easy money" at high rates and can never pay it off before it doubles. Credit cards often charge over 20% so the debt owed grows faster than my payments grow. Churches Aldo fail if they simply try to add numbers but not multiply by equip get people to double the number of ministers.

Want to change your finances? Save and multiply.

Want to change the world? Save and equip them to multiply themselves.,

Why did Jesus tell us to find good soil? 

What Is The Church Growth Model in the Parable of Sowing?

Many of us are a lot like the closest followers of Jesus. We have no idea what He was talking about in this and other parables.

In the simplest terms it is: 

When we plant seeds, find the best soil. Avoid as much as possible any soil that is under attack by Satan, hardened against faith or filled with mentally distressed people.

The people most responsive to faith in Christ are those already responsible, committed to a false religion, educated, tough minded and open to grow.

Does this shock us? It seems to shock many who constantly attempt to motivate the unmotivated to choose God and His people. It is a question I get a lot: "Dr. Gary, how do I motivate the people who argue and fight with me?"

In war, Medics do this in war. It is called "TRIAGE". When on a battle scene with hundreds of casualties, they treat the lightly wounded first! Why? So the people treated can assist the Medics with the most seriously wounded soldiers. Church planting and growth is largely triage because we need to look at recruiting the healthier people first so they can minister to others.

The Early Church grew from a few stragglers who followed Jesus to dominate the known western world. How did they do that?  Largely by seeking good soil and planting there. (Many were wives and concubines of wealthy pagans,) As the churches grew in strength new Christians reached out to others with healing and support.

There were no buildings dedicated to church meetings. They met in homes in small family settings. The believers expanded from household to household,often led by deeply committed women and their children. (See Rodney Stark's books on the growth of Christianity.)

See our web for more.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Model Jesus Used to Change the World

In Mark 4 Jesus was teaching his followers. He said

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 

Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Afterward, He confronted the Disciples. 

13 “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 

14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 

18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Can you understand the model of Jesus to transform the world? It is right here. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Psychological and Spiritual Delusions

Are those who believe in mediums deluded? Maybe!

Delusional disorder refers to a condition associated with one or more non-bizarre delusions of thinking—such as expressing beliefs that occur in real life such as being poisoned, being stalked, being loved or deceived, or having an illness, provided no other symptoms of schizophrenia are exhibited.

Delusions may seem believable at face value, and patients may appear normal as long as an outsider does not touch upon their delusional themes. Mood episodes are relatively brief compared with the total duration of the delusional periods. Also, these delusions are not due to a medical condition or substance abuse.

As you read these types, think about the various people and groups in the USA that are clamoring for special attention. Think of those that continually accuse others of victimizing them despite the fact that they are pampered or cared for. 

Themes of delusions may fall into the following types:

1. Erotomanic type (patient believes that a person, usually of higher social standing, is in love with the individual); 

2. Grandiose type (patient believes that he has some great but unrecognized talent or insight, a special identity, knowledge, power, self-worth, or special relationship with someone famous or with God); 

3. Jealous type (patient believes his partner has been unfaithful);

4. Mixed type (characteristics of more than one of the above types, but no one theme dominates); or unspecified type (patient's delusions do not fall in described categories

4. Persecutory type (patient believes he is being cheated, spied on, drugged, slandered, or somehow mistreated);

5. Somatic type (patient believes he is experiencing physical sensations or bodily dysfunctions—such as foul odors or insects crawling on or under the skin—or is suffering from a general medical condition or defect or has been trapped in a body not of their choosing. 

Just because a person reports sincerely that he or she BELIEVES they are being persecuted by police, army, UFO Aliens or an abusive spouse does not mean the society must react and try to change its laws and activities. 

If you carefully and closely investigate a claim and find it has no factual merit, the accuser may actually believe it is true but he or she could be deluded. 

Several years ago I had a radio program on WAKW 93.3 in Cincinnati. I did a series about the deluded people who thought the brand image P&G used was actually a Satanic symbol. They insisted that the president of P&G went on national TV and admitted it. 

I clearly then and now say that was totally wrong and delusional or an intentional lie. The radio station received mail accusing me of giving drugs to the kids at our church and demanding that my program be dropped. That adds paranoia and lies to delusions. 

Far too often we get caught up in the delusional tales of people and believe their fantasies. This rewards their sickness and make us look very foolish. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Can Helping Actually Be Harmful?

Friendship, Loving Care, Fellowship are Healthy and Healing

One of the newest fads among secular humanist educators, counselors and drug therapists is called Mindfulness. It is a process that attempts to combine Eastern Meditation with Cognitive Therapy. It has been touted by dozens of articles and famous people. However, new research indicates its use has been harmful in many cases. 

I am not too surprised by this since I know that many people had terrible experiences with the secular humanist fad of T Groups and Encounter Groups that took many companies by storm in the Sixties and Seventies.

This has also been true of several Christian groups that rushed into Inner Healing and Spiritual Warfare with fragile people. In almost every case the practitioners went through a short period of training or even saw a video, read a book or heard about these techniques and immediately began to try it out on hurting, desperate people before they were strong enough to deal with the heretofore unconscious materials that arose because of the technique.

When the repressed materials became conscious for the first time the Seeker was unable to integrate it successfully. Depression, anxiety, shame, guilt and even psychosis could be the unfortunate result. In some cases, Counselors were sued because they went too far too fast and damaged emotional states were the result.

I think Inner Healing Prayers can b very therapeutic when and if they are carefully and conservatively applied. Turning immature and anxious people loose with the most powerful tools in Christianity can be disastrous. Be wise and balanced and do not rush in where angels fear to tread!

We start all of our trainees with Listening with the Fruit of the Spirit and understanding how the Truth is applied before we get to the Gifts and Power of the Spirit. See my books, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty and Power Christian Thinking.

The Holy Spirit Power of God is Dunamis or Dynamite and not to be lightly considered. Many Secular Humanist Counselors covet the power of Christianity but can only try counterfeit ways of intervening.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sick Kids Need our Support

This photo is powerful, don't you agree.

As you look at it, imagine this child is in your family. How would you cope? What would you do to relieve your stress and make sure you had enough energy, time and money for her brothers and sisters?

It is hard to raise a child with a serious disease, even if she gets the best medical care available. Getting professional help from a Doctor, Surgeon or Hospital is wonderful, but how do you deal with the worry, stress and responsibilities the rest of the time?

At Sweeten Life Systems we equip extended families, friends and churches how to support the entire family when an illness, accident or crisis occurs. New miracle drugs are badly needed but they come along rarely just as miracle healing does.

About 95% of the medical, Psychological an d Religious professionals in the world are located in Europe and America. We equip Family, friends and Christian fellowships to provider love, prayer, food and practical support all over the world. Will you help us?

Donate here.

Vote for us here.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Special Needs Kids Need Our Help

About Six years ago we did some research on the needs of kids with a serious disability or delay. Most agencies do a good job on treating the physical and medical issues of these kids but the relational, emotional and spiritual needs are not on their radar. As a result we set up an entirely new organization to train professional case workers how to help the families grow and prosper as whole persons. The video by Bob Brubaker shows how we do it.

The results from our research validated our hunch when parents filled out our Family Resource Builder Self-Assessment. The summary indicated that physical needs were in third place behind the desire for more support of family life and community support.

You can vote for our entry into the Cincinnati Innovates contest on that same page. If we get your vote we win $2,000.00! What a nice gift.

You can also go to the Patient Home Advantage home page for more information.

What Were the Conditions when Jesus Lived?

It is hard to imagine how people lived during the times and life of Jesus. As one historian said, "Life was brutal and short." The life expectancy was probably in the thirties. Just imagine how many women and children died in childbirth. People did not need an explanation why Genesis said "Childbirth was going to be painful."

There were few medicines and no understanding of germs and viruses. God told Moses about the need for cleanliness and discarding things contaminated by communicable diseases but they did not understand why. (See Exodus 15)

Governments were often callous, evil and vindictive with little if any justice. The current murderous acts of ISIS was probably a regular occurrence in biblical times. No wonder God's people sometimes wiped out entire warring tribes.

The needs were overwhelming so we may be able to learn from Him what model is most effective for overcoming such terrible conditions. Nothing is more effective than a good model.

See our web for ways to find ways to positively impact the people in your community.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Can We Best Overcome Overwhelming issues of Addictions, Abuse and Pain?

I saw in Post Communist Russia a flood of pain, sickness, addictions and domestic abuse. The USSR had been the second world power to the USA but it was falling apart socially, culturally and spiritually.

For 70 years Communists thugs had attacked the churches, killed the best leaders and wiped out families who had talents and skills because they were able to achieve more than others!

For the first time in history, a western nation saw a decrease in the life expectancy and population growth. It was a terrible crisis, at least ten times worse than anything I had seen even in our inner cities.

Why had God shown several people that He was calling us to go there and minister? What could I do to help the 200 million people, most of whom were suffering from massive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I was a pretty good Counselor and there were millions of damaged people. Should I open an office and help as many as possible?

I had an in-patient clinic for addiction and psychotherapy, and there were millions of addicts, should I open a hospital in Moscow or St. Petersburg?

I had written several books and developed videos to teach people about healthy Christian living and millions needed my teaching, should I write and develop videos?

I was a Minister. Should I plant a church? The Communists had killed over 100,000 Pastors and Priests and the need for churches was terrific.

I had a Doctorate and taught graduate school Counselors. Should I start a graduate school?

I have a gift for preaching, teaching and healing and millions needed all of that and more. Millions needed to hear the gospel. Should I travel from town to town preaching, healing and giving Bibles away?

Where should I start? Jesus faced a similar situation when He came to earth 2,000 year ago. It was a brutal, illness filled, area of hostility, war, persecution, rape, domestic abuse and addictions. What was His model for changing the world? Did it work?

Want to read ahead? Get my books that are on sale now so you can see how to change the world. See The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit as a starter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Heroin Crisis

Anyone not living under a rock knows that heroin is destroying many people and their families. News media are filled with the tragic stories of death, destruction, prison terms and overall evil. Where can we start as Christians and citizens to make a positive contribution to help stem this horrible tide?

When I first traveled to Russia in 1992 the drug problems were ten times worse than they are here in America today. Over 50% of the adult males were addicted. Day and night we had to step over the passed out bodies of Men lying on the streets and lawns. Tens of thousands of men and women were sent to prison labor camps in Siberia where many died.

Many parents were addicts and were unable to care for their children. They were incapacitated or dead so Russia had millions of orphans.

I had opened up an in-patient program for addicts in 1989 so some people begged me to build a residential treatment program in Moscow. It would be, so they said, similar to that Teen Challenge has in America. Others wanted us to build an orphanage to take all those poor kids in.

What is the best strategy for responding to such an overwhelming onslaught of serious problems? In the USA we are moving slowly toward the same situation that had come upon the USSR with its persecutions, atheism, and official attacks on Christianity. Even though things are bad here we are a long way from the depths of sickness and trauma that faces Russia.

What did God tell us to do? Tomorrow I will explain our approach there and how it can work here as well. See our approach here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Biblical Styles of Leadership 5. Shekinah Glory

God to Jethro:

From Jethro to Moses: 

From Moses to the Team!

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.

15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!”Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.
24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.

Want to multiply ministers like God told Moses?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How Can Churches Minister to Mentally, Emotionally and Physically Distressed People?

Many people are writing about the need of churches to open their doors to people with severe medical, emotional, relational and mental issues.

I recently posted a paper I have used in many places to train and unleash Christian Lay Persons to carry out the call of Jesus as reported in Luke 4: to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free." (See Isaiah 61 as well.)It has five levels of need that we see among our families, friends and church members.

Level 1 and 2 indicate folks with few if any life interrupting problems. These people are the ones we seek to equip in Lifeskills so they can care for others. Our training processes are designed to accomplish that goal. It contains theory and skills on listening, renewing the mind, and prayer.

Level 3 are those persons with issues grief, sadness, conflict, anxiety, drinking, marital stress, etc., The problems are so severe they need care and counsel from the Trained Peers coming out of the Lifeskills' program.

Levels 4 and 5 need Clinical and Medical Treatment plus prayer, encouragement and support of Peer Helpers.

The Bible says a lot about growth and healing. It does not focus on Professional Clergy and/or Doctors to do this kind of work. However, the Bible encourages us to more get more knowledge about science, medication and learning so we can deal more effectively with human difficulties, but frankly, medical knowledge was extremely limited in biblical times.

Even today, over 90% of all educated Clergy, Doctors and Counselors are found in the Western Europe and America.  I am very encouraged to see so many people standing up for hurting children adults and families. I am also encouraged to read that researchers are discovering that Peer Helpers can do an awful lot of good by being available. The Ministry of Presence can bring substantial healing and growth.  (You can get our very inexpensive materials here!)

Here is a summary of one study with the organization Compeer which matches Companion Peers with people who have a serious mental/emotional illness.

Received: 24 January 2007 / Accepted: 8 April 2008  

Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Abstract We conducted a quasi-experimental study of Compeer, which matches community volunteers and people with SMI to increase social support. Seventy-five adults with SMI received community psychiatric treatments-usual (TAU) while 79 adults received Compeer services plus TAU. Compeer clients reported significant improvements in social support and a trend towards improved subjective well-being. After 6 months, social support increased [1 SD for 13%, increasing to 23% at 12 months, supporting qualitative research suggesting the ‘‘active ingredient’’ in intentional friendships often takes more than 1 year to develop. This subgroup of responders showed significant gains in subjective well-being and reductions in psychiatric symptoms.

Did Maslow Ever Change?

Many famous people have held strong opinions about spiritual matters early in life only to discover they were wrong or at least had such an experiences. Maslow was one who changed his position dramatically. Not long before his death, Maslow altered his pyramid radically.

He developed his ideas about how to motivate people by using a pyramid with safety, and security at the bottom and other items such as love, self esteem and self actualization at the top. He originally had no place for spiritual or mystical experiences and that is how many of his followers remember him.

But Maslow changed. He changed so much he was a founder of the Trans-personal Journal that attempted to combine humanistic psychology with spirituality. However, most of his followers continued to reject spiritual realities. It does, however, open the door for us Christians to discuss spiritual issues academically.

If you are interested in a full integration of faith, spirituality and science, see my books. They are all on sale!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why Do Some Educators and Leaders Fight Christians?

Maslow often wrote that he was an  atheist. Or, maybe it is better to say that he had no place for God or spirituality in his life. Unfortunately his ideas still permeate our world.

As a young man studying Education and Counseling I was expected to follow famous writers like Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and BF Skinner. However, none of them believed in God as a supernatural reality.

I did and I do! So, how did I deal with professors that rejected my faith and my view of God? For example, I had a Sociology Professor at UC that refused to allow me to do research on the impact of Alcoholics Anonymous. He said as a government agency, UC had to have a "Wall of separation between the church and the state".

Yes, I know it was a bogus claim. AA is not a church and it simply suggests that addicts turn their lives over to God. However, Dr. Clovis Shepherd was a narrow minded and closed minded teacher who held my academic fate in his hands. I complied with his ridiculous claims.

Many of the most famous people in Counseling and Psychology were not only agnostics or atheists they were anti-Christian and angry at Christian students like me. Some of them persecuted us then and we had to be wise in our resistance. Some are still doing it. And, it will get worse as these folks gain more power in the government.

If you want to know how a Christ centered Educator integrates his faith and the supernatural into care and counsel, click here! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Equipping Christians to Care and Coach Family and Friends

Our ministries have been involved in setting up Equipping Centers in over 100 nations. I developed the chart below to train Lay People to know when to refer a person to a Professional. ©Dr. Gary R Sweeten

Levels of Problems and Pain
Type A Persons: No life-interrupting problems

Level I Very mature and healthy individuals

  • Able to lead if equipped
  • Strong in relationships and self control
  • Stable and deal with life’s problems
  • Full range of emotional life
  • Not blown about by every new thing

Need: Leadership training

Level II Can vary in healthy lifestyles from weak to developing

  • Some are fragile but dealing with life
  • Need to be discipled and equipped for service

Need: Challenge to grow and be trained

Type B Persons: Differing types and intensity of problems

Level III Ongoing issues and problems that cause disruptions

  • Worried or anxious, sad, angry, conflicts and dissatisfied with life
  • Miss appointments, sleepless, low performance, relational problems
  • Can work and learn from counsel
  • No harmful thoughts about self or others

Need: Lay care and counsel, support of friends and family

Level IV Ongoing problems and pain

  • Issues getting worse
  • Cannot meet personal, work, family or school responsibilities and cannot change
  • Misses appointments due to depression, anxiety, stress, drinking, etc
  • Cannot concentrate, does very poor work, scattered thoughts
  • Compulsive behaviors with food, gambling, anger, drugs
  • Unresolved conflicts

Need: Refer to Professional Counseling

Level V Acute Pain

  • Lay and Professional counseling have failed to help so pain increases
  • Cannot manage school or work
  • Ideas are distorted, cannot manage life or relationships
  • Dangerous use of alcohol, food, drugs
  • Thoughts of harming self or others

Need: Intensive care in a safe place

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maslow and Health

When I studied Education, Leadership, Management and Counseling one name was constantly used as a reference. It was Abraham Maslow. He came up with a way to think about how we can motivate people to grow and change.

According to Maslow, there are several levels of human needs as shown in the above diagram. The most basic needs are safety, clothing and physical needs. After those needs are met we can assist people with care, education and personal growth.

Do you agree with Maslow?

How would you differ?

See our web page to get educated on these things. 

Good Leadership

Being Responsible sometimes means upsetting some people

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.” General Colin Powell, Chairman (Ret), Joint Chiefs of Staff 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Honor you father and mother!

My older brother and I grew up in poverty during the depression in a tiny village for the first years of life. Dad and mom lost their first son to a hasty attempt to force his birth. Then brother Maurice came along and the family was doing all right even in the midst of the terrible economic times.

I was born just after dad had a burst appendix and we were wiped out. Our mother worked and held things together with a lot of assistance form our neighbors and mom's parents.

It was especially the women in our lives that worked hard, loved us a lot and taught us many good lessons. I find the current teachings about women being restricted to the home laughable because in an agrarian society like the Bible and my childhood everybody worked, especially women.

Mother worked at home and at the shoe factory. Her mother worked at home and at the small retail store in town. Both of these women were solid examples of both the love of God and family.

One of the most powerful images I ever saw expressing the sacrificial love of mothers was in the Oslo Museum. It is a long marble statue of a naked mother, lying on her side with her hands tied behind her back with a baby nursing at her breast.

For generations nature and society have made mothering painful and difficult. Despite these challenges most mothers doe their best to rear children with character and success.

My mother and grand mother were heroines that did wonderful things for their families. I honor them!

                    My Grand Mother, Nannie Dempsey Taylor

                               My Mother, Leota Taylor Sweeten

Root Causes of Chronic Poverty

With Baltimore and Ferguson in the news daily, we have heard many comments about the causes and cures of poverty and violence.

Research on these things have been clear for well over 50 years but their implications do not fit well with the current PC approaches. The cycle below illustrates a typical cycle of chronic generational poverty.

These cycles must be broken and a virtuous cycle developed if individuals and families are to prosper. Any program or charity that does not focus on breaking the vicious death cycle of poverty will hurt the poor not help them.

See our materials for insight into ways to break the poverty cycles.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Poor Families Improve the Grades of their Children

The Family Independence Initiative actually does things when politicians fail

Improving Kids' Grades and Attendance

Consistently over the last 14 years, FII has seen 70% to 80% of kid’s grades and/or attendance improve within FII enrolled families. These improvements do not seem to correlate to any particular school or education program. One recent example had us wanting to delve deeper.
In 2013, FII's data division, Analytics4, noticed that the grades of Sonia's children improved dramatically. When we looked into it, we found that with the support of a loan, Sonia was able to buy a car. Previously, she had to take several bus trips to get her kids to school and herself to work. Because of unreliable buses and the realities of getting three kids to school, she was often stressed, late for work, and the kids often late for school.
Now that she has a car, her kids are not late or missing classes and their grades have gone up. And the whole family benefits from Sonia's decreased anxiety. Researchers are now looking at the impact that family stress has on kids and FII will be delving deeper into the issue of stress as well as the nonlinear self-determined solutions families are chronicling in their FII journals. 
If you are interested, as FII is, in the well-being of children and their educational outcomes, then we have to expand our view of what can support a family in becoming more stable and reducing the stress they experience from being poor. 

See our materials for hints for change.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Long Term Answer to Poverty

The Family Independence Initiative grew out of deep frustration with the government programs designed to help poor people. Located in San Francisco, Maurice Lim Miller, the head of an anti-poverty program, was upset when he discovered that the millions of dollars he spent to help the poor actually hurt them. As a result he resigned and started a new approach that put the families in charge.

It is radically successful.
Black Lives Matter via Creative Commons
Look to Residents For Solutions in Baltimore
The frustration and destruction we've seen in Baltimore is not just about the injustice felt about law enforcement. These are long-standing frustrations about inequality in the country. It is likely that the city of Baltimore and philanthropy will respond with new programs and services to quell the frustration. But quelling frustration or making life in poverty more tolerable will not overcome the roots of our growing inequality and outbursts we have seen in so many cities. We have tried programs, new parks, and outside volunteers. What we haven’t truly tried is turning to the residents themselves and supporting their solutions.

There are solutions, ideas, and talents embedded in the residents in these communities and we can find those willing to tackle and build their own communities from the inside out. For 14 years, FII has collected the data and stories from these embedded resident social innovators. We know that if instead of trying to placate them with services, we give them control over the resources we spend trying to help them, that the residents themselves can and will build their own solutions, build their own neighborhoods, and close the inequality gap that is really at the root of the frustration we are seeing in Baltimore.