Boy, am I glad we decided to homeschool our children! As my wife said to me, "Who has time for school when we're getting an educational experience like this?" ~Kirk Cameron
Kirk Thomas Cameron was born on October 12, 1970 in Panorama City, California. His parents, Robert and Barbara, named him after Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek television series. Kirk has three sisters: Candace, Bridgette, and Melissa. His mother was a talent manager, so Kirk literally grew up in show business. He began acting at the age of nine, appearing in commercials and guest roles.
After auditioning for a part on the new sitcom Growing Pains at the age of 14, Kirk got one of the leading roles, that of loveable teenage troublemaker Mike Seaver. Growing Pains first aired on ABC in September 1985; the show became a hit and launched Kirk’s career. By age 17 he was rich, famous, and successful. Kirk received three Young Artist Awards and two Golden Globe nominations. He was ranked as one of "100 Greatest Kid Stars" and listed in TV Guide's "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols."
Cameron attended school on the set of Growing Pains, as opposed to public school, and graduated from high school at age 17 with high honors. Kirk’s younger sister also decided to pursue acting, following in the footsteps of her superstar older brother. Candace Cameron is best known for her role as D.J. Tanner on the popular television sitcom, Full House. Kirk guest-starred in "Just One of the Guys," a 1988 episode of Full House in which he played D.J.'s cousin.
Cameron was not raised in a church-going home and considered himself an atheist at a young age. By the age of 14 he was so convinced there was no God that he laughed at anyone who said there was. But that all changed one day, when the father of a girl he liked invited him to church. Soon after, the teen heartthrob was sitting in his sports car pondering the first Gospel message he had ever heard. Cameron was 17 years old and at the height of his career, when he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
In a CNN interview, Cameron said: “I really got thinking about the fact that atheism will not hold any water if I die and stand before God one day and say, oh, I guess I was wrong. And I began to get very curious about spiritual things, and began reading the Bible, talking to people that I respect and trust, and ultimately trusted that if God was there, he would lead and guide me to him if I was willing to be open and honest and seek him with all of my heart.”
Cameron further explained in a Christian Post interview: “I had everything that I wanted. Really, it was ultimately when somebody encouraged me to look at my own conscience and helped me to understand that a God who is holy and good, if He were to look in the dark corners of my heart, which He does… on the day I stood before Him I would be absolutely guilty… I wouldn't be able to buy my way with all my money and celebrity. I would ultimately have to give an answer for the life that I have lived. I could see that it was God's forgiveness and His mercy that I needed, and that was provided through Christ on the Cross for those who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. That is how I came to Christ.”
Cameron has been an outspoken Christian ever since he converted to Christianity. He admits that his newly found religious beliefs put him at odds with the Growing Pains writers, producers, and fellow cast members over what he felt were immoral story lines. But although Cameron refused to do certain parts of the scripts as presented, he was willing to work around or edit any offensive content. Growing Pains went through seven successful seasons with a total of 166 episodes before the sitcom finally came to an end in 1992.
Throughout the 1990s, Cameron sought out projects with wholesome appeal, turning down roles that featured adult situations and profanity. He starred in his own WB network television comedy, Kirk, but was never quite able to match up to the success of playing Mike Seaver on Growing Pains. On letting his faith guide his professional choices, Cameron stated in a CNN interview: “If moral values and principles of integrity are your priority, does that sometimes rub or cut down the opportunity for fame and glory? Absolutely. Yes. And there are certain things that I will not do in the name of art or for the sake of my job, because I love my God, and I want my life to be an expression of my gratitude for what he's given me.”
Growing Pains was not only a success for Cameron’s career – it’s where Kirk met his wife, also a Christian, fellow sitcom star Chelsea Noble. Born Nancy Mueller on December 4, 1964 in Cheektowaga, New York, Noble portrayed his girlfriend Kate MacDonald on Growing Pains. They were married on July 20, 1991, in a small chapel in Buffalo, New York. Kirk and Chelsea are devoted parents of six children, four of whom were adopted: Jack (b. 1996), Isabella (b. 1997), Anna (b. 1998), and Luke (b. 2000); and two biological: Olivia Rose (b. July 18, 2001) and James Thomas (b. April 13, 2003).
The Cameron family lives in Southern California, where they are currently homeschooling. In a Christian Post interview, Kirk said: “We had a great private school. It was a private Christian school that all of our children went to in their elementary years. But then we decided that we really wanted to be able to have one-on-one interaction with our kids and be involved in the learning process. We are able to understand their strengths and their challenges better than anyone else, and then tailor make their education to a pace and subject matter that really is a perfect fit for them. And once we did that for the first year, we realized what a great joy that was, how much more efficient it is, and how much more time together as a family we get to spend, that it’s truly been life-changing.”
On September 1, 2012, homeschool dad Kirk wrote on his blog: “Home educating (or as we like to call it, “life schooling”) our kids affords me the privilege of doing cool things with my boys like bringing them with me to a business meeting in Bend, Oregon and learning how to fly fish….Nature is our family’s favorite playground and most exciting school room.” In the recent Christian Post interview, Kirk said: “We sort of invented the term life schooling because if anyone know us, they would know that the last thing I think my wife and I would ever want to do is try to turn our house into a school room. We have discovered the advantages of homeschooling our kids but we do it in a way where we’re teaching them how to live and love life. And so incorporating science and philosophy, economics and geography, and mathematics to…interning at Joni & Friends disability ministry and starting a family business, really turns the whole world into a classroom and they learn how to love and live life. So we call it life schooling.”
Cameron and his wife founded The Firefly Foundation, a nonprofit organization which runs Camp Firefly, a summer camp that provides a week’s free vacation for seriously ill children and their families. There the families can rest and make friends with people in similar circumstances, at an idyllic setting in the mountains of northwestern Georgia. The inspiration for Camp Firefly came from Cameron's work with sick children while on Growing Pains, through groups like the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Camp Firefly has been in operation for 20 years, staffed by Kirk and Chelsea with their family and friends.
Since 2000, Cameron has mostly worked in Christian-themed productions, among them three feature films adapted from the best-selling Left Behind novels: Left Behind / Left Behind II: Tribulation Force / Left Behind: World at War, in which he portrayed Cameron "Buck" Williams. Cameron's wife also starred in the film series, playing Hattie Durham. In 2002, Cameron appeared in The Miracle of the Cards, a television drama distributed by Cloud Ten Pictures.
Cameron also starred as the lead actor in the movie Fireproof, playing Fire Captain Caleb Holt. Produced by Sherwood Pictures, Fireproof was the highest grossing independent film of 2008. Instead of taking a salary, Cameron requested a donation to Camp Firefly. Kirk’s wife stood in for the romantic scene in the movie, because Kirk had made a vow to Chelsea that he would never kiss another woman on or off-screen. Kirk said, “My wife came to the set, and she put on the dress the actress was wearing, and we shot the scene in silhouette. It gave us the ability to make a movie about honoring marriage above all things, and then be able to honor my marriage personally.”
Cameron has spoken at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, where Fireproof won the 2009 Best Feature Film award. The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and Christian Filmmakers’ Academy are the brainchild of Doug Phillips, the president of Vision Forum and a leader in the Christian homeschool movement. His film academy students have received personal coaching and training from veteran television and film actor Kirk Cameron, in an effort to motivate the next generation of Christian filmmakers to reclaim the movie industry from Hollywood.
In 2009, Cameron also agreed to host and narrate a documentary called The Karen: Forgotten But Not Forsaken, about human rights abuses perpetrated against Christian ethnic minorities in the Burma (Myanmar) region of Southeast Asia. The film focuses on the Karen people, the largest and oldest indigenous tribe in Burma. These devout Christians are being oppressed, persecuted, and systematically exterminated by a militant dictatorship. Released in late 2010, the film was produced by the nonprofit organization Vision Beyond Borders, a Christian relief ministry helping Karen refugees who have escaped to Thailand.
An active evangelist, Cameron has spent much of his adult life sharing the gospel of Christ and teaching others how to share their faith. He co-hosts with Ray Comfort the Christian reality television series The Way of the Master, winner of the National Religious Broadcasters’ Best Program of the Year award. Kirk said, “I heard a message that Ray Comfort had given…called 'Hell's Best Kept Secret' and I was so inspired by it…that we got together, we became fast friends, shared a concern for the lost, and began ministering together.” Cameron also speaks at the “Love Worth Fighting For” marriage conferences. He says, “For me, I want to do things that I'm proud of, things that represent who I am and projects that are – that have integrity. My eyes are on Jesus Christ, who he is and what he stood for. And if I keep my eyes there, then I have high hopes of being a true Christian myself.”
On April 11, 2012, Cameron was honored by Indiana Wesleyan University and inducted into their Society of World Changers, an organization established to recognize role models whose lives can serve as an inspiration to future generations. "Mr. Cameron is blessed with a God-given charisma," said Dr. Keith Newman, IWU Executive Vice President. "That word, charisma, actually means 'gift of grace' in Greek. Mr. Cameron's ability to connect with total strangers is a priceless gift for a Christian seeking to acquaint people with God's grace. Mr. Cameron's commitment to the Gospel infuses every part of his life - his evangelistic witness, his family life, his professional career and his extensive humanitarian work."
As a film producer, Cameron is noted for his best-selling documentary Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure, which retraces the Pilgrims’ footsteps and America’s founding. A tiny band of religious outcasts established this “land of opportunity” that has become the best example of civil, economic and religious liberty the world has ever known. The 90-minute movie follows Cameron across Europe and the U.S. as he seeks to discover America’s true “national treasure” – the people, places, and principles that made America the freest, most prosperous and generous nation on earth.
Cameron stated: “As a father of six, I’m very concerned where our nation will be in 10 or 20 years. But I haven’t heard a clear voice telling us how we can get back to greatness. Then, about two years ago, it occurred to me: Maybe it’s as simple as we’ve forgotten what made this nation so successful in the first place. Maybe if we could go back and talk to the men and women who built this country they could tell us what we’re doing wrong and how to fix it.” From September 18-22, 2012, Kirk and his family are going to retrace the steps of the forefathers and visit the historical sites, monuments, and locations of the Pilgrims in their Monumental Tour. Cameron is also creating Monumental resources for families, churches, schools and homeschools.
Kirk currently has another film project in the works. He has hinted that his new documentary will dig even deeper than Monumental, going back to the Roman Empire to discover the nation’s more far-reaching historical roots. According to the teaser trailer, the film will be released in 2013. Cameron told Christianity Today: “I have more plans for other adventure documentaries into other countries, into other centuries of the past. And homeschool curriculum, educational materials, and family films.”
Kirk Cameron speaks at schools, churches, and community events, using his celebrity as a platform to share the gospel of Christ. He has spent much of his adulthood speaking plainly and directly about Christ’s work in his life, and has found many ways to live out a Christian example. Kirk donates his time and talents to serve others by providing rest and recreation for seriously ill children, raising awareness of human rights abuses in Southeast Asia, and offering advice to married couples. He is also a homeschooling dad – or as he likes to call it: “Life Schooling.” Cameron may be best known as an actor, but the totality of his life and work – his unashamed passion for Christ and the gospel, his dedication to his family, his extensive work with multiple humanitarian causes – makes him a strong role model of Christian commitment.
Kirk Cameron: Still Growing - In this intimate autobiography, Kirk opens up about his early years, his rocket to stardom, his life-changing encounter with Jesus and the hard choices he's made along the way to live in the Way of the Master. Fans will get an up-close and personal look at what drives the former teen-magazine heartthrob and find out how God and family became the secrets behind his celebrated smile. In his own words, Kirk shares how he's still growing--even through the triumphs and temptations of his Hollywood career.
http://kirkcameron.com/2012/09/life-schooling - Life Schooling, by Kirk Cameron (9/1/2012)
http://video.christianpost.com/cp-interview-kirk-cameron-discusses-2012-presidential-candidates-3747 - Kirk Cameron Discusses Life-School (August 24, 2012)
http://wiwutv51.com/local/WC/page28.html - Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers Convocation (April 11, 2012)
http://www.indwes.edu/News/2012/Kirk-Cameron---Evangelist/Actor-Selected-as-IWU-s-Latest-World-Changer - Cameron Selected as Latest IWU World Changer, Indiana Wesleyan University (March 1, 2012)
http://www.indwes.edu/About/World-Changers/Cameron - Kirk Cameron, Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers
http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2012/marchweb-only/monumentalissues.html - Kirk Cameron’s “Monumental” Issues
http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0508/20/pitn.01.html - CNN People In The News (August 20, 2005)
https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/evangelism/bagby-kirkcameron_wayofthemaster.aspx - Kirk Cameron: The Gospel Truth, by Laura J. Bagby, CBN.com Producer
http://vimeo.com/16548078 - The Karen: Forgotten But Not Forsaken
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