George Cadbury the Chocolate Philanthropist

This is the day that … George Cadbury was born in 1839, in Birmingham, England.

George’s father, John Cadbury, was a tea and coffee dealer. George’s mother, Candia, died when he was in his mid-teens and John’s health was poor. So George’s education was cut short by his need to work in the business.

At the age of 22, he, along with his older brother Richard, took over his father’s business. Five years later Cadburys became the first company in Britain to sell cocoa. The beans were roasted and ground to form a powder which customers made into chocolate drinks.

In this Quaker family, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs had been standard ‘Sabbath reading’, along with the Bible.

Thus it was that working conditions were improved, even a half-holiday was granted on Saturdays … in an age when such things were unheard of.

Eventually, as their cocoa refining experiments revolutionised the business, George even began a daily worship service in the factory. Attended by a few at first, there came the day when “visiting ministers spoke of the impressive sight of a great crowd of worshippers led in praise by 3000 women’s voices, the girls dressed in pure white overalls ready for the day’s work” (Yarns on Christian Torchbearers, page 45).

To improve living conditions for his workers George Cadbury built three villages on the outskirts of Birmingham. From an initial cluster of 24 houses for key workers, a total of 300 houses formed the Bournville Village. His factory, on the River Bourn, was called the “Bournville Works”.

A pension scheme was introduced for his employees long before parliament thought of such an idea.

Here was a Christian businessman and philanthropist who loved people … for, as his biographer says: “He had caught the secret of love from Christ, his Lord and Saviour” (Life of George Cadbury, page 277).

George taught school every Sunday morning for fifty years, instructing some 4,000 students over that time. He also ran evangelistic meetings for the derelict of the city. It was at one of those meetings that his daughter, Helen, made her commitment to Christ at the age of 12. She was so excited about sharing her faith that she organized a group of girls who sewed pockets onto their dresses to carry the small New Testaments her father provided. The girls called their group “The Pocket Testament League“. Using small membership cards, they pledged to read a portion of the Bible every day, pray, and to share their faith as God provided opportunity. Helen later married RA Torrey’s popular gospel singer Charles Alexander.

George Cadbury believed that society would be better if people owned and worked their own land, so he opposed the land monopoly. He was also a pacifist who objected to the Boer War in South Africa.

He is remembered as a philanthropist. “I have for many years given practically the whole of my income for charitable purposes, except what is spent upon my family. Nearly all my money is invested in businesses in which I believe I can truly say the first thought of the welfare of the work people employed.”

George Cadbury died at Northfield Manor on 24th October, 1922.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

Disappointed Children

What do you do when children are disappointed? How do you solve their upset if you have let them down in some way? Should parents placate an upset child? Or is this a place for tough discipline? What is your solution?

Children Face Disappointments

Every child faces disappointments along the way. They may want you to be excited about something and you are unimpressed. Maybe you’ve seen or head it before. Maybe it just doesn’t seem important to you. Maybe you think it’s a bad thing altogether.

At other times your child may have special expectations of you which you fail to meet. You might forget a promise you made them or forget their birthday or something special to them. They might catch you out showing favouritism to someone else or being more interested in something else than them.

You may not buy them the present they have asked you for or you just may not have the finances, talent or skill to meet the needs they believe you should meet.

After all, parents are only human, aren’t they? So parents are going to disappoint people, including their spouse and children. So parents bring disappointments into the life of their children through the years.

What Disappointment Does

The Bible teaches us that disappointment has emotional impact. When an expectation exists and it is not met the experience is called “hope deferred”. That is to say that the thing being hoped for has to be put on hold, either temporarily or permanently. The Bible tells us that facing that kind of disappointment makes our heart sick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Being ‘sick’ in heart involves the emotions being pained. And since all the issues of a person’s life come out of their heart, having a sick heart can be quite serious. Let me show you how central the heart is in life’s journey.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

So, to make the point clear, disappointment challenges our emotions and that is dangerous, because if we respond wrongly our whole life can be affected. That’s why it is important for parents to take the issue of disappointment very seriously.

Mind you, husbands and wives, friends and associates all need to be attentive to the issue of disappointment. What I am applying here to children works the same in us all, young and old, in and out of the family.

Wise Responses

The first wise response from parents is to see the disappointment. The worse thing you can do in a case of disappointment is to ignore it or fail to see that it is there. If you allow disappointment to go unchecked and unaddressed then you leave the child with a ‘sick heart’ and vulnerable to unwise responses which create ‘issues’ in their life.

Most people are carrying ‘issues’ around with them that have come out of wrong heart reactions to things they experienced in the past. If you help your child deal with disappointment you will not only save them from developing a life issue from the case in point, but you will help them learn skills for resolving other issues that come up along the way.

The next wise response is to nurture the child’s heart. Remember that it is ‘sick’. The child who is feeling ‘hope deferred’ is not trying to be difficult, but is struggling to deal with internal responses that they may not want. They will be contending with hurt feelings, frustration, anger, resentment or other dangerous reactions which spring up within them due to what they have been through.

If you act in anger, using your authority to punish them for struggling with pain, you will only compound the problem.

Nurturing the Child’s Heart

If a person is feeling hurt, rejected, unloved or disappointed they will most likely be helped by a healthy dose of loving care and affection. They will benefit from any reassurance that they are loved and valued.

An apology is a good start. This shows the child that the parent did not intend to hurt their feelings. It teaches the child that we can all take responsibility for our actions, which is something you will want your child to do too.

As mentioned earlier, nurture is not achieved by being angry or reacting negatively to the child’s hurt feelings. You are going to be their parent for the rest of your life, so why in the world would you want to make a difficult situation worse? Surely you will want to build quality bridges into your child’s heart, forging a strong, life-long bond of affection and care.

So go ahead and nurture that relationship. Take care to build those bridges. While your child is feeling a little raw and sore their feelings are more easily able to be spoken into. Cold, unfeeling children are harder to build close relationship with than those who allow you to see their emotions. So capitalise on the soreness that they are feeling to touch their emotions and link their heart with yours.

Hold Your Ground

Another important thing for you to do, that will greatly benefit your child in the long run, is to hold your ground. Some parents feel they have failed if they upset their child. Those parents may go out of their way to placate the child by giving in to the child’s demands. This is not healthy for the child.

If you give in to your child’s upset feelings you teach your child that they can get their way by expressing emotion. You are training them to sulk, cry, complain, exploit and give in to hurt, and so on. Such processes do not work in the real world. So don’t lead your child into lifestyle habits which set them up for failure and further pain.

Responding properly to life’s disappointments is a skill we all need, for we will continue to face our share of unhappy moments. Anything can turn out to be worse or less than we wanted, from the weather to our health, or the performance level of others, or ourself. A mature person handles those disappointments with purpose and wisdom. You want your child to be a mature person, so help them face the disappointment and come to terms with it.

Don’t crumple in the face of your child’s disappointment, but show them how to embrace their situation, even though it is less than they want.

Coming to Terms With Disappointment

In order to resolve disappointment a person needs to work through the various feelings which erupt from their chest. So coming to terms with disappointment is a tailor-made process, customised for the child’s individual emotional responses.

Some children readily become resentful. Others embrace despair. Some feel worthless and rejected, while others retreat into their own world of self-reliance. There are many possibilities.

A wise parent will seek to understand the issues emerging within the child and then escort the child through the appropriate steps to resolve whatever that is. I suggest that my Steps to Release, which I discuss in other posts, will help.

Certainly forgiveness toward those who let the child down will be important. Accepting their lot, even though it is less than they wanted is also important. Repenting of wrong reactions is also very valuable. So too is expressing faith in God, recognising that God knows the end from the beginning and can be trusted to sort things out, even if they are disappointing.

Deal with Disappointment

The bottom line is that parents must be ready and willing to deal with the disappointment which they create in their children. But remember not to respond with intolerance, anger or frustration at your child’s hurt feelings. Instead, help the child deal with their personal struggles so they grow strong in facing this reality of life effectively. God bless you as you do.

The Economic Man

A man recently told me how he struggles to take the lead in his home because his wife out-earns him. His situation brought to focus the cherished idea that men have authority only because they are the bread-winner. This is a false notion and needs to be dealt with in order to find blessing in the home.

The problem we have in our society is that there are two prevailing mindsets we can draw from. Well, actually there is only one made accessible to most people, and that’s the wrong one. However, for Bible believing Christians there are certainly two mindsets which pull at our consciousness.

One mindset is the prevailing naturalistic view of the world. People who deny God’s place in the universe see everything as a product of naturalistic processes. They believe the world evolved by natural processes. They believe that societies evolved and that marriage is a product of people’s attempts to survive their circumstances.

From a naturalistic point of view it could be suggested that male leadership in the home evolved due to man’s greater capacity to guarantee the safety of the family, through brute strength and his greater capacity to bring provision to the home. That idea has been sown around western society to the point that many people simply assume it is gospel truth.

The other mindset is given to us in the Bible. It is a mindset based on God as our creator and the architect of our whole life experience.

Naturalistic thinking is mono-dimensional. It can only understand things from the human perspective. It is also without moral protection. Since we live in a moral universe influenced by godly and ungodly forces, those who choose not to seek godly influence will unwittingly come under ungodly influence. Ungodly forces are intent on deception and slavery for mankind, keeping people away from truth that sets them free. The Apostle James identified the way these two forces impact the mind of man when he discussed ‘wisdom’.

“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish.” James 3:15

James exposes here that what stacks up as pretty good human, materialistic wisdom will actually have an ungodly source. It will be a limited perspective, from man’s point of view, but with a barb in the tail.

The naturalistic point of view lacks the profound depth and breadth available to us as we listen to what God is saying. The godly, Biblical mindset is rich with grace and positive potential.

Now, back to the Economic Man. The naturalistic, ungodly perspective suggests that a man’s only real value in a home is his economic contribution. His right to lead the home and his value to the other family members is directly linked to his economic worth.

If the wife and children out-earn him, and out-perform him in many ways, then this naturalistic man has to accept his loss of worth. He is demeaned by their success and relegated to some lesser place, unless he can stand tall in their presence and command respect because of his performance.

True manhood has nothing to do with economic contribution. It has nothing to do with physical strength, force of will, ability to protect and defend, or any other masculine quality. True manhood is simply being the man that God created the bloke to be. And the authority which a true man holds comes from God, not from the man himself.

The man is the head of the home, not because of his economic power, but because that is God’s design. God chose the man to carry the responsibility. That is why the universal expression of marriage has the man carrying the responsibility. God created it so and made it natural and logical to be so. Men did not gain headship by a process of evolution, or by swinging a big club. They were given it by God.

A man could be quadriplegic, old, weak, bald, humourless, or any of a myriad un-masculine qualities, and still be the head of his home and the leader of his family.

When men walk away from God they end up reduced to the level of their economic performance. A form of economic rationalism is exerted over their existence. They must perform or be displaced.

When men walk with God they are elevated to the place of leadership and responsibility which God gives them. They don’t have to prove a thing. They can happily have their wife and children out-perform them. They can celebrate the success of their descendents. They can rejoice in their wife’s achievements. They are not threatened by those things nor displaced by them.

It is time to dispense with the economic man. That is an unworthy model of manhood. It is time to embrace true manhood, found in God’s calling, not in human definition.

If you would like to dig into the subject of manhood take a look at my book, Manhood Horizons. Go to: http://familyhorizons.net/html/manhood.html

Designer Parenting

Before you buy your child designer shoes, brand-name outfits and custom built toys, be sure to get them plenty of Designer Parenting. Your child deserves the best, and you are the most ideal person to give them the personalised, customised, purpose-built parenting that money can’t buy.

How do you do it? I’m glad you asked.

First step is to make it your aim to be a “professional parent”. Top designers are experts in their field and they study their craft. You too can become a professional in the arena of parenting by studying what God has to say about parenting. Dare I suggest that you read my book, “Parenting Horizons” as a worthy start?

This first step will build into your thinking the principles that apply to all effective parenting. You will discover the appropriate wisdom for guiding your child toward the outcome that a professional parent expects.

The next step is to realise the uniqueness of your child. Every family with multiple children demonstrates the uniqueness of each child. Despite the similarities in their upbringing children in the same family express diversity of personality, interests, talents and problems.

Now, how do you know what your child is like? The Bible has an answer to that.

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work is pure, and whether it is right.” Proverbs 20:11

As you observe your child and what he or she does you will be given insights into their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Designer Parenting involves you being attentive to the design requirements your child’s particular personality suggests.

For example, a child who tends to be bossy will have special design requirements in the parenting program you apply to their life. A child who is insecure will have other unique needs. A child who tends toward being angry and unforgiving needs special input to ensure they become free from those particular qualities.

Designer Parenting is like a customised fitness program designed for your particular needs. Such a fitness program takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of your physical frame as well as your general level of fitness and health. You cannot provide your child with Designer Parenting if you do not properly assess what their special design requirements are.

One of the issues I cover in “Parenting Horizons” is that the ‘Punishment Must Fit the Crime’. What that refers to is that your response to wrong behaviour from your child must be designed to make a change in their behaviour. If it makes a change then it ‘fits’ the crime. If it doesn’t make a change then it is the wrong fit.

If, for example, you have a standard response to your child’s wrong behaviour and that response does not make any difference, then the punishment does not fit the crime. Punishment fits the crime when it effectively changes the behaviour of the child.

Designer Parenting is attentive to how the child responds to the discipline regime which is applied to their life. The parent’s response needs to be measured to the appropriate level for the child and the child’s response to that input.

Let me summarise what I have said. You owe it to your child to be a professional parent who creates a designer parenting program for them specifically. Designer Parenting for each of your children will take into account who they are and what special needs they have in their personality. It will also be attentive to how the child responds to the training and discipline you provide.

A professional parent is ever ready to modify their responses to each child, so the appropriate ministry, discipline, encouragement, relationship time, and so on, are poured into the life of each one. Designer Parenting is an exciting interaction between parents and children that keeps the relationship and the process fresh and dynamic. It brings wonderful rewards and produces godly children.

I wish for your children that they have professional parents who provide them with the wonderful Designer Parenting that God plans for them, through you.

Marriage Defined

Your working definition for marriage will impact what you are building and how you deal with it. The way you see something impacts how you understand it, value it and treat it. Consequently definitions are very important.

In my book, Mending Marriages, I take a good look at people’s working definitions for marriage. The reason some people need their marriage mended is because they have built the wrong thing on the wrong definition in the first place.

Casual observers see marriage as a ‘relationship’. That’s probably the universal starting point. However the nature of that relationship is where marriages come unglued.

To some people the marriage relationship is a special and life-long bond. Others have a much more casual definition of that relationship, seeing it as a temporary linking which will be broken when better or different alternatives come along.

A good working definition of marriage must bring clarity about the nature of the ‘relationship’.

The next key consideration is the functional aspect of the relationship. How are the couple to maintain their life together? What is the nature of their cooperation? While this is an aspect of the definition of the relationship it bears specific attention as it gives the practical expression of that relationship.

As an initial definition we can thus say that marriage is “a special relationship that fits special structural requirements”.

And that’s where the fun begins. What is the ‘special relationship’ and what are the ‘special structural requirements’? Around the world and through history many variations of both those aspects have been explored. Currently there is a push to move away from the history-long model of a man and a woman in a unique relationship. While alternative relationships have existed they have not been recognised as ‘marriage’, which status is seen as Holy Grail by some people.

Throughout history the ubiquitous model of marriage has placed the main responsibility for the relationship and its maintenance with the man. While modern sensibilities try to demean this reality it remains the most enshrined working model for marriage. Historically, all around the world, the vast majority of marriages have been established on the responsibility of the male, who creates a place of nurture for his wife and children. The wife is thus able to concentrate on her nurture of the children and her husband, while the man deals with the outside world and brings provision for his family.

In view of that long tested model it could be argued that the best way to destroy marriage is to demean men, taking their leadership from them. This will break up the family unit, bring uncertainty and insecurity and rob the home of the stabilising nurture of the mother.

Sadly we see much of that outcome already at work in many western families. While the western family home was a model of mutual benefit for the majority just a century ago, it is now an empty place, devoid of much that is needed to grace the human soul.

The most eminently qualified person to provide a powerful working definition for marriage is God. God created marriage and gave it as a gift to mankind. So God knows how it was designed to work. God knows what both husband and wife must do in order to fulfil the marriage relationship and build an effective family unit.

The Bible gives the most valuable and comprehensive insights into how marriage was designed and what we must to do enjoy its fullest benefits. The marriage relationship is best defined as that bond between a man and a woman which unites them in the relationship which God created for them.

Through the pages of the Bible we discover many things which impact the definition of marriage. We discover that it is God’s creation, not man’s creation. It is a holy union, not a relationship of convenience. Its purposes are divine, not human. Its roles are prescribed by God, not dictated by the power players in any given culture.

The bond is created by God, not the couple. A couple cannot pronounce themselves to be ‘married’. God joins the couple together. It is therefore a ‘holy estate’, not a social construct. And since God joins them together man and woman do not have the power to revoke it. God makes it and man cannot ‘un-make’ it.

God has prescribed specific and unique responsibilities to the man and the woman in marriage. These are not a matter of negotiation by the couple. They are prescribed by God and we will each be judged by God on how well we fulfil His demands, despite what we or our spouse think of the arrangements we have come to between each other.

The ‘relationship’ that is created, therefore, is a moral bond, established by God. It is not principally a social union, but a moral one. Each marriage union is a unique bond, excluding all others. It has the quality of a legal bond, since all who violate it are breaking God’s law.

The marriage union allows the couple to enter a unique moral connection where intimacy between them is made perfectly legitimate and holy. It confers on the couple exclusive sexual privileges.

Altogether, then, marriage is an amazing and awesome divine gift to humanity. Sadly many people do not understand what it is and so they enter into it lightly and without respect for their responsibilities or the accountability they have before God for their handling of His created union.

That’s why I bring the subject up along the way, in various forms. People need their eyes opened to this amazing moral union and its implications. That’s not just for their own sake, but for the sake of their spouse, their descendents and the culture in which they live. When God’s Kingdom comes it must impact the domestic home as much as the global environment or governmental circles.

Now, having given you this lengthy explanation, have a look at the definition of marriage which I present in Mending Marriages.

“Marriage is a unique, irrevocable, legal and moral bond created by God between a man and a woman who commit themselves to each other for life-long union, conferring on them exclusive sexual privileges and offering them loving relationship, mutual co-operation and personal investment in each other, in a divinely ordained structure and process in which both fulfil their unique, divinely created responsibilities, which they are to follow in the fear of God, with God’s gracious endowment and for God’s glory, conferring on them God’s personal blessings through each other as they create an effective and meaningful social unit with unique, multi-generational significance.”

May this very relationship be yours.