Signature Assignment

Students will write a double-spaced, 3- to 5-page (maximum) report in which they describe a specific research finding in the NOBA textbook that is relevant to at least two of the five themes of human nature outlined in the Moes and Tellinghuisen textbook (these themes are introduced in chapter 1, but discussed throughout). Using the provided template, students are to describe what the finding is (referencing the specific module and section the finding is discussed on in the NOBA text) and how it is related to the themes identified. The research finding may support or contradict any particular theme of human nature (or do both); it is the student’s job to clearly describe these points of dis/agreement, including the basis for how they agree or disagree. Students will conclude with a discussion on the practical implications for Christian living (e.g., how might/should this research finding influence how Christians live their lives if they want to more fully enact their beliefs; should this be avoided and if so, how, etc.). The application section should be specific (e.g., behavioral changes).

Read through this example, taken from a module that wasn’t assigned to you. The following is the start of the paper; more information, fine-tuning of language, and formatting, would be required. This is provided so that you can see the thinking behind the process that this paper is asking you to engage in. Some suggestions for amount of space to dedicate to each discussion is provided.
· Specific research finding: Consider this (starting) example, written in my own words: “Research suggests that parenting behaviors are influenced characteristics of the parents themselves. For example, parents who score higher on Big-5 measures of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and some measures of extraversion tend to provide better structure and warmth to their children (NOBA module The Developing Parent, Section “Parent Characteristics”.) Structure and warmth are central characteristics of Baumrind’s classification of authoritative parenting, which is associated with a host of lifelong positive developmental outcomes for children. Moreover, parents’ behaviors are heavily influenced by their own histories; it seems that parents learn their parenting strategies from their own parents whether negative or positive (“Parent Characteristics” section).”
o Explanation for students:
§ Students should spend about 1-page describing the research finding (what is it, how do we know it, is there other evidence for this, etc.). One finding or several related findings may be mentioned; justbe specific!
§ Note how this example specifically describes the findings by labeling independent variables (i.e., “Big-5 measures of agreeableness, conscientiousness…”), participants (i.e., “parents”), and outcomes (i.e., “structure and warmth”). This could be strengthened by providing additional details (e.g., how were these variables measured/operationalized) to demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge communicated. A strength of this current start is that it links several different research findings to a larger structure as well (e.g., Baumrind’s classification), bridging information from multiple sections.

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· Relevant themes: This may be relevant to several of the themes, such as “humans are broken, in need of redemption” and “humans are responsible limited agents”. Consider the questions that I would use, if writing this paper, to frame my discussion of the relevance of these findings to these themes that I have identified:
o Theme 2: Why do children experience differential outcomes because of their parents, especially as a result of something their parents were not in full control of: personality? That doesn’t seem “fair”. However, another way of thinking about this is that our personalities both reflect God’s image and our brokenness. As such, they represent one place that we need to continually seek God’s grace and redemption—for our own lives and the lives of our children. In acknowledging our weakness (e.g., low conscientiousness) before God, we have initiated the possibility that God can redeem and transform us. We aren’t in charge of our starting place, but we are in charge of what we do with what we’ve been given (e.g., parable of the talents).
o Theme 4: We do not choose our personalities or our parents. This reflects a limitation to our agency (e.g., Exodus 20:5). We, as children, are influenced by our parents. We, as parents, are influenced by our own parents. We cannot escape these influences. That being said, we are not determined by these influences. Although parents can do much to set their children up for success or failure (developmentally speaking), children still choose and respond, within the limited scope of choices available to them (choices limited by parents, personality, etc.). There is nothing in this research that suggests otherwise concerning choice. That I would suggest with theme 2 the idea of seeking redemption implies some amount of agency.
o Comments for Students:
§ Students should spend about 1- to 2-pages describing both themes as they relate to the research finding.

· Implications: There are a number of implications to these findings for Christian living. For example, we, as parents, have strengths and weaknesses. How can we best use our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses and what is the role of Christian community in this process? Community is central to who we are (e.g., Theme 1), but may also be the key to reducing the effects of our limitations on our children. This same community may also be the key to our own transformation, the lived experience of God’s redemption. So, Christian parents should be living in (e.g., active, integrated) Christian community. Another implication is that, even when we feel we have acknowledged and dealt with whatever “baggage” we have from our own upbringing, it may still influence us. We can’t just “do better”, we have to learn to be different. Just as our development with our parents was a process (over many years of childhood and adolescence), changing and developing new habits is, too. Learning and developing new habits, strategies, etc., is one way we can enhance our agency, despite our limitations. So, Christian parents should be proactive and strategic in their own development, especially as parents, if they desire to provide the best possible starting point for their own children. Behaviorally, this might look like attending parenting classes, getting involved with small groups at churches, finding mentors, reading books, etc. Finally, parents need to acknowledge their limitations. These limitations are past and present; acknowledging them, especially to their children, as they are engaged in community and working to be transformed, is one way to model the reality of brokenness and a need for redemption—for all people (the child, included).
o Students should spend about 1 page describing implications for Christian living. Note that the implications include more “theoretical” elements, but have a clear “action point” (behavior) associated with them. This section is taking what we know and turning around to say what we should do. The action steps should be connected to the previous discussions, expanded as necessary. Make the suggested behaviors—and their rationale—explicit.

A few notes:
· It is not sufficient to provide simple bullet points as above; this is just an example of where your thinking for this assignment might start. See and use the provided template.
· No quotes are permitted in this paper. Everything should be in your own words.
· Include references (see NOBA example above), but no formal reference page is required unless you cite information other than NOBA, MT, and the Bible. For citing MT, a “(MT, pg. #)” is sufficient. Providing the Scripture reference is also sufficient. If you do bring in additional references, please provide a reference page with that information.
· Your final submission should be submitted as a pdf file.

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