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If not Lives 1st, What 1st?

Have you noticed that the world seems to have gone noticeably crazy? A couple of days ago I turned on a news channel and the first reports were these:

● Litchfield Park, AZ – 11 year-old boy murdered his grandmother by shooting her in the back of the head and then committed suicide. Why? She had been telling him to clean up his room.1

Daytona Beach, FL – 15 year-old boy strangles mother to death. Why? They had an argument over his grades.2

● Chippewa Falls, WI – 10 year-old girl charged with murder for stomping head of 6 month-old baby boy.3

● Rowan County, NC – 11 year-old boy charged with putting sewing needles in Halloween candy.4
The next day there was the shooting at the bar in California5the 307th mass shooting in America this year.6 Even though these things seem “crazy” to most of us, our work at the TOV Center suggests that there is a factor that we need to consider. A growing number of Americans value other things above human lives – attention, power, unexamined beliefs, predatory profits, entertainment, individual appetites, desires and longings, addictions, etc.

We discovered a standard for making decisions and examining human actions in the ancient Hebrew text of Bible. We call it the TOV Standard. It doesn’t involve or promote a theology. Almost everyone that hears about calls it “common sense.” It is a tool that helps us keep Lives 1st in our thoughts, decisions and actions. When you need to make a decision, write down the answers to the questions before you make the decision:

1. Whose lives will be protected or harmed?

2. Whose lives will be preserved or threatened?

3. Whose lives will become more or less functional?

4. Whose quality of life will be increased or decreased?

5. Who will receive or pay money?

This is a model you can also teach very young children. As a matter of fact, many times children have an easier time answering the questions because they haven’t learned how to rationalize and justify actions that fail to measure up to the TOV Standard – like adults often do so well.

When you are involved in a decision making discussion use your creativity to come up with TOV options!

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