Normalization in Reverse

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When our daughters and I divided up the tasks for the last half of Our Star-Spangled Story, I chose to write several lessons about people and events during my own lifetime. For example, I got to write lessons with titles like “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” “I Like Ike,” and “A President Resigns.”

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television show had been on the air a little over a year when I was born. Dwight Eisenhower had been president less than a year. President Nixon resigned a few months before Ray and I got married. Speaking of marriage, that is something that the Nelsons, Eisenhowers, and Nixons had common. They were married.

I have often heard people ask questions like this one: “What are they teaching kids in schools these days?” Many people wonder about the overt messages and the hidden messages in education materials from textbooks to digital. It’s a legitimate concern. I started to add “particularly in science and history,” but the problems are bigger than that. Changes in accepted moral standards in our culture pervade every subject.

Many want moral standards to change in the opposite direction from God’s standards. Part of their strategy is to make sinful behavior seem “normal.” While I was writing this post for you today, I searched for what the world is saying about “normalizing” today. I didn’t read either of these articles so I am not recommending them, but I found the titles intriguing: “How We Normalize the Outrageous” in Psychology Today and “The powerful way that ‘normalisation’ shapes our world” with the subtitle, “Our perception of what is ‘normal’ can transform over time — and this can be a force of good and ill” by the BBC.

Concerning normalizing standards that are in the opposite direction from God’s standards, I am committed to doing the reverse. I like to showcase godly behavior as “normal.” For example, I put “normalizing” messages in the “I Like Ike” and “A President Resigns” lessons. While choosing photographs to illustrate the lessons, I had access to the pretty marriage certificates of Eisenhower’s parents and of Nixon’s parents. I included these pictures beside the portion of those lessons that told about the presidents’ childhoods.

Marriage certificate of Frank and Hannah Milhous Nixon

In some circles, asking the question,”How long have you been together?” outranks “How long have you been married?” Including those two pretty marriage certificates is one small way I can showcase the second question as the “normal” one.

Marriage certificate of David and Ida Stover Eisenhower

Marriage is God’s idea. It was one of the first ideas He shared with us.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother,
and be joined to his wife;
and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

Jesus explained God’s idea further:

Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning
made them male and female, 
and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh”?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
Matthew 19:4-6

The writer of Hebrews reminded us to honor marriage. Think of all the good that obeying that one command would do for children.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all . . .
Hebrews 13:4



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