'Christmas Jars' with author Jason Wright

Looking for a way to make Christmas more meaningful?

You might consider trying out what author Jason Wright suggests in his book, Christmas Jars. It's pretty simple. Just contribute all your loose change over time to a jar and surprise someone with it as a gift for Christmas.

Wright joined Glenn on radio Friday to share what prompted him to write the book and what has happened in the decade since he wrote it. Based on anecdotes that have come in, he calculated somewhere between $8 and $10 million has been given away in change.

"And I frankly think that that could be a conservative number," Wright said.

He added, "It's not just something you do during the holidays. It's something you do all year long."

Listen to the segment or read the transcript below.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

GLENN: Jason Wright wrote a book years ago that has really, truly changed so many people's traditions in families. It is called The Christmas Jars. And Jason is joining us now.

Hey, Jason, how are you, sir?

JASON: I am so well. How are you, my friend?

GLENN: I'm very good. So you wrote this book. And I want you to explain it for anyone who hasn't read this book because I think that this is a tradition that, A, you should read to your family and a tradition that you can so easily do -- I know so many people that do this now, and it really has changed their holiday. So explain the book.

JASON: Yes, it's remarkable, Glenn. I have you to thank for so much of this.

I found myself 11 years ago, the most selfish person I knew. I sat down with my wife, she agreed. We came up with this idea of a Christmas jar. We put our change in a little purple jar on the counter, and we would fill it up and we'd give it away at Christmastime. And we didn't even know who would get it or how that first delivery would go. We just knew that every day, as we dropped our change in that jar, no matter the temperature outside or the date on the calendar, we would think about the needs of someone else and the real meaning of Christmas and the life of the savior and that daily sacrifice for us. And we gave that first jar away. And it really, truly changed our lives.

And the next year, I decided to write this little book. The publisher fired it off to some people, kind of on a whim to see if anyone would talk about it. And this guy named Glenn Beck who had a pretty big radio show said, "You know what, I'm going to take this thing home and read it over the weekend." And as I recall, you came back Monday morning and just gushed and gushed, and it launched a career.

GLENN: Yeah. I don't know if that is entirely true. But it did really well. New York Times best-seller. So tell me the actual story for anybody who doesn't know.

JASON: So the story is about a fictional story, of course. It's sparked by our experience as a family, but it's not based on our experience. But it's about a young reporter who stumbled upon this tradition of the Christmas jar in her small little town and decides she wants to uncover who gave the first jar, where did it come from. And it turns out that the origin is really personal for her. And it goes back to a little baby being abandoned by a single mom in a greasy chicken diner -- chicken and biscuits diner and being adopted and raised by a single mom. It all comes full circle at the end of the book. And you discover where the movement began, why it began, and how one little jar changed not just one family's lives, but many, many lives around the country.

GLENN: So this is a book now that has been out for, how many years? Ten years?

JASON: This is the ten-year anniversary.

GLENN: That's unbelievable. I got at it the first year, Jason?

JASON: You did. And that part of the story is true. I remember you telling me that you took it home over the weekend because it was the smallest little advanced copy that anyone had sent you. And you felt you could plow through it over the weekend.

GLENN: I do remember that. I get books sent to me all the time. And I got piles of them next to my bed. And I read what I can. Very few really interest me. Especially fiction. And I saw this big pile and this really teeny book. And I thought, "Man, I can read that in the bathroom." And I read it over the weekend and I came in. And now I hear it's sold a million copies.

JASON: Yeah, it crossed about a million copies over ten years. And it's just -- it's hard to believe. It's now become about more than the book. You know, I would love for your listeners that haven't discovered the book yet to go out and read it. But it's not about the book anymore. It's about a movement. It's about millions and millions of dollars being given away in spare change around the country.

GLENN: How are you estimating -- I've heard the estimate of $8 million and change has been given away?

JASON: Yeah, it's based on the anecdotes that have come in and the dollar amount. We get about $220, the average amount, per jar is what we've heard the decade. So we did a little math based on the number of books sold, the number of people that actually don't just stick the book on a shelf but decide to pass the book on with the jar, we come up with a figure somewhere between eight and $10 million and change. And I frankly think that that could be a conservative number.

PAT: So, Jason, how does it exactly work? You just -- you put a jar out, right? And then every time you get spare change. Put it in that charge.

GLENN: Can I ask you a question, does it hurt anyone anymore? Because I rarely have change in my pockets because I use debit cards everywhere I go.

JASON: Absolutely. That's a great point. And, you know, the best thing to do is just to cheat a little bit. It's not just something you do during the holidays. It's something you do all year long. So maybe change doesn't go in the jar every day or even every week. It does in my household.

But from time to time, when I'm thinking about it and I'm in 7-Eleven or the grocery store or the Post Office, you know, I get a couple dollars back in change intentionally and it goes home, it goes in the jar. You know, the kids are digging through couch cushions and the washer and dryer and the cup holders in the car. You can still find plenty of change. And, you know, if it's $10 you give away, if it's 50 bucks you give away, if it's $100, to the right family at the right time, it can be a significant blessing in their lives.

PAT: Yeah, and after you've accumulated that money in the jar during the course of the year, you choose someone to give it to. How do you make that determination? Because you've been doing this for a long time now. So what kind of system do you have to decide who gets the money?

JASON: Well, you know, I would encourage people -- there's a new e-book out this year. It's called Christmas Jars Journey. That's exactly the true story of our -- the Wright family's very first jar. And I go into detail about how we came up with this, sitting around the kitchen table. I mean, it's like an old movie. We took a sheet of paper. We made a list of six or eight people that we thought could benefit from it, neighbors, friends from church, teachers, et cetera. We selected a young man that was getting ready to leave the country to Mexico to do some volunteer church work. And it was at the family -- you know, they did okay. But the money would be a blessing. It was about $80 that first year in our jar because it was only a couple of months.

And then we set out in the minivan. And, again, I encourage people to check out Christmas Jars Journey for the kind of behind scenes of this. Because this moment, this night in 2004, it changed our lives. It changed the whole trajectory, not just of our family, but of me personally to really understand that Christmas is not a 24-hour holiday. You don't flip on and off a switch, think about the Savior, and then put him away until the next year. It becomes a part of you all year long. And the Christmas Jar helps that in a really small away.

GLENN: I just got an email, a text saying that I'm in this book several times.

JASON: You are. Several times. And I just can't overstate, Glenn, that you having me on your show back then, radio and TV, talking about the book, you read -- you know, it's been a long time. You've interviewed a million guests since then, but you read most of that first chapter on the air. And it just gave life to this book. We were struggling to really find any traction and to get anybody to talk -- in fact, I had a hard time getting the darn thing published. I had publishers and agents both tell me. This thing will never, ever end up in a bookstore ever. I had one agent tell me -- this is in the e-book, I had one agent tell me in a rejection letter: I like the idea, I just wish someone else had written it.

GLENN: Holy cow.

PAT: Wow.

JASON: I have that on my desk. I look at it almost every day. And then Glenn Beck comes along and gives it a breath of life and a career was born.

GLENN: Wow, that's amazing. Well, I'm happy for you, Jason. You know how I feel about you and what a great writer -- I mean, we were just talking about you just the other day in and around the office about what a great writer you are and a great storyteller you are. I mean, I've enjoyed many of your books. The -- what was the Charles one? Finding Charles?

JASON: Recovering Charles. Based down in New Orleans, yeah.

GLENN: That was a great one. And there was another one that you wrote --

STU: It was "50 Shades of Gray" you're thinking of.

JASON: No, I wrote The Wednesday Letters, which is one that you and I talked about. That's the one where I gave out my cellphone number, and I almost shut down AT&T with phonecalls over about three days. That was wonderful.

GLENN: Yeah, The Wednesday's Letters was another one. And there -- I hate to say it this way, but people understand, almost Nicholas Sparks in a way.

JASON: Yeah, Nicholas Sparks with a little more touch of faith because faith is so very important to me. I would give everything I'm doing up for my faith.

PAT: And without the cheese. You know.

JASON: Yeah. Yeah.

GLENN: There's nobody standing out in a rainstorm making out.

PAT: No.

GLENN: And it's not just a coincidence, it's a God thing in Jason's books.

JASON: Amen. God is at the center of everything. So true.

GLENN: Yeah, that's great. Thank you so much, Jason. I appreciate it. You can buy The Christmas Jars Journey: The Behind the Scenes True Story of the Very First Christmas Jar. It's an e-book available from Amazon.com. And while you're there, if you've not read the Christmas Jars, read the Christmas Jars. Buy it. You'll so enjoy it. It's, what, 200 pages. Something like that. It really is -- it's 100 pages. It's an easy one-night read and one that your whole family will enjoy and could actually change the way your family does Christmas. It's really, truly tremendous. Jason Wright is the author's name. Christmas jars and the Christmas jars reunion and journey. Find it at Amazon. Thanks, Jason, I appreciate it. God bless.

JASON: Thank you, sir.

In one of his first executive orders, President Joe Biden reversed the Trump administration's ban on critical race theory training within the federal government.

Christopher F. Rufo, director for the Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, joined BlazeTV's Glenn Beck to discuss what this means moving forward and how you can help defend America's values in your local governments, businesses, and schools.

Rufo, whose research inspired former President Donald Trump's ban on critical race theory training in federal agencies last year, said he's gearing up for a classic David vs. Goliath underdog fight and taking this "Marxist takeover" to the courts, where he's optimistic it'll be ruled not only anti-American, but outright unlawful.

"We're going to wage decentralized, relentless, legal warfare against critical race theory in every American institution, and really flood the zone in the courts," Rufo said. "I think that when we get up, hopefully, to the Supreme Court, I'm confident that we'll win because this stuff is just so toxic, it's so divisive, it's so harmful. I have faith that at the end of the day, the folks within the judiciary — and even the court of public opinion — will be on our side."

Watch the video below to catch more of Glenn's conversation with Christopher Rufo:

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Remember when rooting for your favorite sports team felt patriotic? It's no secret that the sports world has become extremely leftist over the past few years and is now even preaching anti-American ideals in many ways.

This week on "The Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn spoke with veteran sports journalist Jason Whitlock about where he believes this all started — and Whitlock tied it back to former President Barack Obama, Nike, and China.

Whitlock first talked about how professional football and baseball used to have a healthy rivalry over which was the most patriotic.

"The military fly-overs, the national anthem before the game, and all of that — the NFL tried to make you feel like the most patriotic thing you could do on a Sunday is go to church and watch football. It was a brilliant business strategy that catapulted football to where it's America's favorite pastime. ... It's something that I authentically believe in: Sports do teach the values that best exemplify America," he said.

"Then China and our competitors figured out, if you really want to influence American culture, you have to get into the sports world," he added.

Whitlock also told Glenn why he believes President Obama and Nike both played significant roles in moving left-wing political rhetoric into the world of sports.

"I'm not some super-harsh Barack Obama critic, but I'm just going to let the facts speak for themselves. Barack Obama intentionally partnered with ESPN because he wanted to speak to that sports audience," he said.

"It was a process of 'let's move left-wing stuff into the sports world,'" he added. "And Nike is a much bigger business, five to six times more lucrative than the NBA. Nike actually runs the NBA. The NBA is a marketing arm of Nike. Nike's relationship with China is the key to all of this."

Watch the video clip below, or the full podcast with Jason Whitlock here:

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IN PLAIN SIGHT: COVID and mental health

NotesfromPoland.com

A lot of times, people drown in plain sight. Largely because most of us haven't been taught what to look for. We're accustomed to the movie version of a person struggling in the water — flailing their arms and shrieking and gymnastic — but in real life drowning is quieter, something you could see and not realize. It's never been harder than it is now, in 2020, as we're all locked indoors, alone, out of sight.

Every year, an estimated one million people worldwide kill themselves. A death every 40 seconds.

America is in the throes of a suicide epidemic, with the highest suicide rate since World War II. Suicide rates have risen 30 percent since 1999, and the number keeps climbing. There were 45,000 suicide deaths in 2016 alone. In 2017, there were 47,000. Roughly 129 people a day.

In 2018, 10.7 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.3 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide. There were 48,344 recorded suicides. That's roughly one person every 11 minutes. And that's 1,171 more people than the year before. The average American knows 600 people. Meaning, the increase of suicide deaths in one year was more than double the number of people you know. And that's just the difference.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in this country. It is the second leading cause of death among children, and since 2000, there has been a worrying jump in the suicide rate of 15-to-24-year-olds.

In January, USA Today ran an article about the rising suicide rates, "More and more Americans are dying by suicide. What are we missing?

That was January. Three months before the pandemic sent all of us indoors.

An article in The BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, points that "Widely reported studies modeling the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%." In other words, "We really don't know."

So we can't prove exactly how much damage the pandemic and the lockdowns have caused, or how many suicides there have been this year compared to last year because those numbers will take a while to assemble. But we can get an idea by measuring the scope and prevalence of the conditions that lead to suicide, and they are significantly higher in 2020. Because what's not in doubt is that the pandemic has gravely affected people's mental health.

Affect on Adults

For starters, while suicides tend to drop at the start of pandemics, they quickly increase in response to the conditions of quarantine. It's also true that suicide rates increase during recessions.

A study in Science Advances journal noted that "as the rates of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths increased substantially across the United States, COVID-19–related acute stress and depressive symptoms increased over time in the United States." A CDC report from August found that in 2020 compared to 2019, adults' symptoms of anxiety have tripled and symptoms of depression have quadrupled (24.3% versus 6.5%). Compared to 2018, two different studies concluded that symptoms of depression and "serious psychological distress" are triple the level they were. In fact, the rates of anxiety and depression have been higher throughout the pandemic than "after other large-scale traumas like September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest." Ten percent of Americans surveyed in June said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.

French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote that "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Well, we find ourselves — literally and figuratively — in the depths of winter.

Lockdowns

A number of studies warn about the danger posed by lockdowns. One in particular, published in Lancet, summarizes it well: "Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects."

The report is very clear about how to minimize the harm of quarantine: Give people as much information as possible, reduce boredom, improve communication, emphasize altruism, and keep lockdowns as short as possible.

Affect on Children

The pandemic and the lockdowns have been especially difficult, and even fatal, for one group in particular, but you might not have heard about it because the media is too obsessed with identity politics to stop for a moment and look at the bigger picture. I'm talking about the most important population: Children.

But they aren't dying of Covid. In fact, children are more likely to die of homicides, drowning, or even fires and burns, than they are to die of Covid. The Academy of Pediatrics reported that, as of December 3rd, children accounted for slightly more than 0% of all COVID-19 cases, and even fewer deaths, about 0.11%, about 160 in total. There are still 15 states with zero reported child deaths. They don't even catch it as often: They account for less than 2% of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases globally. Even here in America, the nation with the highest infection rates, that number is the same: 2%. And, when they do catch it, the overwhelming majority of them experience either no symptoms or mild symptoms. Another recent study found that, compared to the flu, children play a minimal role in spreading Covid-19, and most children who contract it actually get it from their parents.

So they rarely catch it, they almost never die because of it, and they don't spread it. Yet, according to data from the CDC, the rate of children visiting emergency rooms has skyrocketed. Compared with 2019, the number of 5-11-year-olds is 24% higher, while the rate for 12-17-year-olds is 31% higher. This surge is due to mental health reasons.

According to a ton of studies (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here), during the pandemic, children of all ages have "had high rates of depression, anxiety, and pos-traumatic symptoms as expected in the aftermath of any disaster."

The reality is unequivocal: The lockdowns and quarantines are bad for children. Certainly much, much worse than the disease itself, a point Donald Trump was heckled by the media for making. We waded through a sea of studies, reports, and articles, and the consensus was so consistent that we shifted our focus to looking for studies that said otherwise.

The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction released a study this month that found that three in four children have reported having depression, and that "the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's mental well-being is worrying 60% of parents, according to a survey by parents with primary-aged children and 87% reported that their children were missing school and less than half stated that their children were feeling lonely, which altogether affects their children's mental health and wellbeing."

One study found that children of all age groups "showed more clinging, inattention, and irritability. However, 3-6 year-olds were more likely to manifest clinginess and fear that family members might contract the infection, while 6-18 year-olds were more likely to show inattention and persistent inquiry." Another study found that "In many households, children who end up staying indoors become restless and, in some cases, violent."

Children need predictability... and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things.

Uncertainty, social isolation, and parental angst. Children need predictability, they need activities, and they need to believe that their parents are in control of things. But, as a result of draconian lockdowns, they have spent much more time in front of screens. They are also more susceptible to sleep disruptions, or "somatic symptoms." And they are at a much higher risk for sexual abuse and domestic abuse, and, without school, unable to escape it.

Like us, they'll be dealing with the long term effects of the pandemic and lockdown for the rest of their lives. The difference is, we're more equipped to handle it.

One report refers to the undue harm lockdowns cause children as "collateral damage," adding that "we all have a responsibility to promote the health and well-being of children at home, and to ask questions and fight for service provision in areas where clinicians are not needed to fight COVID-19 but are needed to protect children."

As a society, it is our duty to protect the defenseless, and there is no group of people more defenseless, yet more important, than children.

German philosopher Kant wrote a lot about suicide. His argument can basically be boiled down to two parts:

1) I ought to do my duty as long as I am alive; and

2) It is my duty to go on living as long as possible.

He used the anecdote of civilization as a human body. We must only harm our body if it's necessary for self-preservation. If a toe is necrotic for whatever reason, we amputate it, so that we can preserve our body, our person, as a whole. Suicide, on the other hand, is an act of destruction. It is harmful, not just to the person it removes from humanity, but to humanity as a whole. Each of us plays a role in making sure that body remains in motion. So, when a person resorts to suicide, they are harming the body, the whole, they are depriving society and humanity. They are severing limbs or slicing our arms. They are robbing us of every good that they would bring.

School

Most European countries have closed their schools. According to UNESCO, 91% of children worldwide have been affected by school closures. A study from Bangladesh found that Bangladeshi children were suffering from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorder. In Italy and Spain, one study determined that 85% of parents have noticed negative changes in their children's emotions and behaviors since the pandemic. In England, deaths by suicide among children increased shortly after the country's first lockdown. In Holland, a study "found that young people reported a significant increase in severe anxiety and sleeping problems during the country's lockdown period." Numerous studies from China found that roughly a quarter of children were suffering from the same symptoms. In India, like many other countries, children are spending so much time in front of screens that experts fear it will lead to "psycho-social problems, like lower self-esteem."

Meanwhile, in Sweden, where schools and childcare centers have remained open, the spread of Covid as a result of children attending school is practically nonexistent. Over the next few years, research will show us exactly how Sweden's no-lockdown approach affected their youth.

The research concludes that children should remain in school.

Overwhelmingly — and I mean overwhelmingly — the research concludes that children should remain in school. Academic articles are known for their boring, long-winded, incomprehensible titles, but not these. Like this one: "Mitigate the effects of home confinement on children during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Children need physical activity, which is crucial to minimizing depression and anxiety. Schools provide structure. Schools are a consistent source for children's nutrition, and a lapse in nutrition can have psychological effects. Schools also provide healthcare.

School closures have also put children at a higher risk of domestic violence or sexual abuse, because "school is a safe space where children can report problems and where signs of abuse can be detected."

Children need community. They need friends. While many adults are at home with their kids, most of us are working, and children left alone on workdays are more likely to have anxiety or depression.

Teenagers

According to the CDC, of every demographic, 18-24-year-olds have been most affected, with 75% of respondents in that age range reporting at least one negative mental health symptom. One-quarter said they were using more drugs and alcohol to cope with pandemic-related stress, and another one-quarter said they had "seriously considered suicide" in the previous 30 days.

No prom. No graduation. No church. No dates. No birthday parties — birthdays spent alone. No games. No homecoming. No extracurricular clubs. No sports. No Spring Break — no vacations at all. No funerals, although there are plenty of people being buried.

Teenagers in lockdown are more concerned about their more basic needs. They feel less connected to other people. They are learning less and spending less time on school work. In other words, they are hurting, and bad.

The number of studies that back this up is daunting.

Three papers (Here, Here, and Here) determined that older adolescents suffer more symptoms of depression than younger ones and children. Another study describes the "collective trauma" that the lockdowns have had on teenagers.

The National 4-H Council found that:

●81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation's mental health.

●7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.

●55% of teens say they've experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression.

●61% of teens said that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.

●82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.

Life has always been hard for teenagers, but even before the pandemic, it has been especially rough on American teenagers, who are twice as likely "today to have more anxiety symptoms and twice as likely to see a mental health professional as teens in the 1980s.

Here's how the conversation went on radio:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: The politics of COVID-19 is DESTROYING our children youtu.be


On "Glenn TV" this week, Megyn Kelly, host of the "Megyn Kelly Show," told Glenn Beck she believes the Democrats' talk of unity is "all nonsense" and forecasted the "death of journalism" under a Biden administration.

Megyn cited President Joe Biden's unwillingness to make concessions that would help unify Democrats and Republicans as an example of how much he actually cares about unity, and added that, while she's all for lowering the political temperature in America, she also believes there are some personal freedoms that are worth fighting for.

"What's happening substantively is worth fighting for and it's not going to go away just because [Biden] gave a nice speech," Megyn said.

"I will object. I will protect my family and what I think is right over Joe Biden's need for unity, which is false anyway. 'Unify behind my agenda' is not a real call for unity," she added.

Megyn said she believes the Left has reached too far and "awakened a sleeping giant" in reference to the silent majority who should speak up, speak out, and refuse to be silenced any longer.

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

Because the content of this show is sure to set off the censors, the full episode is only be available on BlazeTV. Get $30 off a one-year subscription to BlazeTV with the code "GLENN." With BlazeTV, you get the unvarnished truth from the most pro-America network in the country, free from Big Tech and MSM censors.