Understanding the Value of Education – From “Stones Into Schools” to the States

Education is an issue that always weighs heavily on my mind and the current time is no different. The reason I am writing this post is to compare two issues that are only casually related, but that both truly matter on the world stage. These two issues are the education of women in Afghanistan and Pakistan and STEM education in the United States. While they may seem like they are a world apart, there is an interesting parallel that I cannot get out of my mind. I hope you too will see this parallel.

In June of this year I had the honor to attend the Rotary International Convention in Montreal and during this convention I had the greater honor to hear Greg Mortensen speak about his work educating young girls and now women in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Seeing this presentation has inspired me to read both Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools. If you have not read these books, please do so as soon as possible. It is simply amazing to see what can happen when one person, one man, chooses to make a difference. I will not bore you with all of the numbers, but be aware that the number of girls being educated in these two countries has increased by over a factor of 10 as a result of Mr. Mortensen’s vision and the hard work of many within the countries. The Taliban had worked to minimize, if not eliminate, the education of women because they understand the value and power that women have in the household. Even the United States military has gotten involved because they too see how the true long term power we can bring to that part of the world is education, especially the education of women and girls.

The parallel I see is that while one easily recognizable force, the Taliban, has impacted the education of women and girls, there are many factors that have had similar impacts on the education of young people in America. The biggest obstacle I have seen to STEM education, especially Engineering education, is the deterioration of interest and proficiency in mathematics and the physical sciences in our country. There are many reasons that young people lose interest in the sciences, but one of the most basic is that Engineering and Science is not viewed as “sexy” and “cool.” There are some exceptions to this, such as the CSI series, but when was the last time you saw someone in the engineering field depicted as cool rather than as a “geek?” Even the IT arm of Best Buy is know as the “Geek Squad,” hardly a flattering name for a valuable group.

Statistics from the National Science Foundation show that while STEM graduates in America dropped during the 1990′s and 2000′s, there has been some improvement in the later 2000′s, a small glimmer of hope in my eyes.

Why is this an important issue? Think about this; the professions that truly create value are usually the sciences, whether through new technology or drug discovery or a whole host of innovative ideas that are firmly rooted in the sciences and in engineering. While meaning to offense to the legal profession, attorneys do not create wealth, they only redistribute it. Accountants add no value, they only add up the results.

What can you do? If you are a parent you can encourage your children to consider STEM careers when they think about career choices. If you are an educator, you can make your offerings interesting and contextually relevant for your students. If you are a business leader, you can get involved in STEM initiatives in your region such as the ACE Mentor program, an initiative that promotes careers in Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

Each of us can play a part. You don’t have to go to a third-world country to make a difference. You can do great things in your own back yard.

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What Is Business? Pt 2

It takes “Organized, intelligent and productive work” to rule. One interesting designation is the creation mandate is to “fill the earth.” It takes efficient and effective visionary leadership to “rule,” “lead,” “manage,” and fill up God’s structure – earth. All of the foregoing is the elements that make up a healthy business system. At the conclusion of work after creation episode, God enacted a “work” or “business” code called creation mandate for man to engage in filling up the “structure” that He created,

“Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate (work) the ground
Genesis 2:5

When a high-rise apartment building project is under construction, the structural engineers first put in place the structure or skeleton of the entire building, which defines how the building would look like eventually. Thereafter, building engineers would come and fill up the structure with blocks before you can fully appreciate the aesthetic appeal or value of the apartment building. After God, Adam was the first worker or business man on earth; he was mandated to fill up or work up God’s structure of creation i.e. administer and market productively God’s vision on earth

It becomes clear that business is divine in nature; business is a veritable vehicle to do the will of God; it isn’t created to support sin – self enrichment and nepotism. While I would concede that money or profit is a corollary of obedience to ruler-ship; it isn’t the primary objective of business. The beauty of the business system is appreciated best when it is organized under a harmonious and congenial atmosphere.

So, what is business from God’s perspective?

Business is the efficient and effective organization of your skill, talent or gift under a healthy and compatible business system. Business is the organized supply of human needs and the promotion of human well-being under God’s program. Every kingdom business should have healthy and compatible system in place that encourages efficiency and effectiveness. So then, what is a business system from biblical perspective? That will be the theme of our discourse in our next article!

Many years before Jesus launched His earthly ministry – at the tender age of twelve – He announced publicly to His earthly parents and those within hearing distance His principal purpose on earth,

“… Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke 2:29

By this announcement, Jesus enshrouded the make-up of His ministry in mystery; even His earthly parent couldn’t understand what He meant,

Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them.”

I want to juxtapose the world’s definition of business and God’s purpose for business from the foregoing text. If business is all about making money through the provision of products and services (according to the world’s definition), question is, what was the product or service that Jesus rendered to the “doctors” He listened to and how much money was involved? Your answer is as good as mine – none.

Christ business wasn’t predicated on physical reality but on spiritual reality, he sought to pursue the will of God – creation mandate – by bringing His creation into alignment with God. Therefore from the outset of His business on earth, Jesus sought to bring people in alignment with the ways of God, through His ministry.

Jesus said to them, “My food (purpose) is to do the will (creation mandate) of the one who sent me and to complete his work (ruler-ship)”

John 4:34

If given that Christ perspective of business wasn’t predicated on provision of physical goods, products or services for the purpose of making money! So then, what was the father’s business that He alluded to in the text above? His father’s business is the work given Him to do on earth which is the will of the father – creation mandate.

Christ business on earth was is rulership. From the foregoing, one can understand the fundamental elements of God’s business which are:

  1. His will – VISION
  2. Rulers-hip – ADMINISTRATION
  3. Working – PRODUCTION
  4. Dominion – MARKETING

This is the core of what is known as “business system” that Christ explained in the parable of the householder in the twenty-first chapter and verses thirty-three and thirty-four of the books of Matthew. In my follow-up article, I’ll explore “The anatomy of a business system.”

Professional Carpet Cleaning Education Tip

Understanding how using a pre-spray during carpet steam cleaning and the follow up steps will help you to choose a qualified company to clean your carpets. To do the best possible job you need to get the dirt and soil to release from the carpet fibers. When using a proper pre-spray it will need some dwell time, usually 5 – 10 minutes for it to release the dirt and soil that is attached/bonded with the carpet fibers. It will emulsify the dirt and cause it to rise to the top of the carpet surface and actually make the carpet look even dirtier temporarily. This is the dirt and soil that cannot be removed with vacuuming the carpet. Vacuuming will only pick up loose granular dirt. Vacuuming is very important to remove the loose dirt so as to minimize the wear and tear of the carpet fibers and add years of life to your carpet.

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Once your per-spray has had proper dwell time you proceed with the actual steam cleaning. The heat helps to remove dirt and soil and the water pressure causes agitation to help release the dirt as well combined with the water pressure setting, usually between 300 – 500 psi. When you are steam cleaning you are actually cleaning and rinsing the carpet at the same time. You can use several different types of water to do this part as well as using a fiber rinsing agent to assist in rinsing out any and all pre-sprays and cleaners to make sure there is no residue left in the carpet. This is very important so as not to attract more dirt that will cause your carpet to get dirty faster. Residue left in your carpet will increase the positive charge already in the fibers by anywhere from five to ten times. With dirt and soil being negatively charged they will bond together, so you can see how important this step is. Otherwise your carpet will get dirtier faster and hold more dirt in it than before they cleaned. There are a lot of carpet cleaners that don’t understand the science involved with cleaning carpets and just go through the motions due to lack of training.

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The next time you want to hire a professional carpet cleaner you can now ask them if they use a pre-spray and watch them to make sure they do, so that you get the best possible cleaning experience for your carpets.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.