Historic Interfaith Conference

In Cohabitation, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Education, Families, father, Gender, Grandparents, Homosexuality, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Religious Freedom, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on November 19, 2014 at 6:51 am

vaticanDiane Robertson

With marriage and natural family relationships in decline, Pope Francis invited leaders from different faiths around the world to gather at the Vatican this week. This historical interfaith conference titled, The Complementarity of Man and Woman brought religious leaders from 23 nations, and representing 14 different faiths together to discuss something they all agree on: the natural family.

We hope that this conference will assist religious leaders around the world in strengthening marriages and families everywhere.

These are some of the wonderful things spoken about during the first two days of the conference:

Pope Francis opened the conference calling the family one of the “fundamental pillars that govern a nation.” He urged young people not to “give themselves over to the poisonous mentality of the temporary,” but to “be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern.”

The Pope declared that:

“Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.

The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”

Discussing the complementarity of man and woman, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said, “The difference between man and woman [is an] essential element to understand the human being and his journey towards God… The human body, in its sexual difference, is not a chance product of blind evolution or an anonymous determination of elements.”

On Tuesday, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks, declared that “the family, man, woman, and child, is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love.”

Henry B. Eyring, from the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that unselfishness is the key to “complementary marriage between a man and a woman,” and that, “we know what we must do to help create a renaissance of successful marriages and family life.”

“We must find ways to lead people to a faith that they can replace their natural self-interest with deep and lasting feelings of charity and benevolence. With that change, and only then, will people be able to make the hourly unselfish sacrifices necessary for a happy marriage and family life.”


Families in the Kitchen

In Child Development, Education, Families, Grandparents, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on November 18, 2014 at 8:07 am

mom making cookies with childrenNathalie Bowman

“Mom, can I crack the eggs? Now can I stir it?” asked my 6 year old with eager anticipation. We were making yummy pecan tarts, and my son couldn’t wait to get them done so he could eat them. With the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your family baking and cooking together. Some parents don’t want their kids to have anything to do with the kitchen because they say it’s much quicker, cleaner, and easier without the help of little hands. While that may be true, families miss out if they don’t spend time together in the kitchen. Being in the kitchen together creates opportunities for family bonding and memories.

When parents make an effort to involve their children in the kitchen, not just everyday cleaning, but cooking and creating together, it provides an opportunity for conversation that may not happen otherwise. When children feel welcome and included (even in the kitchen), they feel free to be open and enjoy conversation with their parents as they work together creating yummy things to eat.

Making tasty food together creates fun traditions and lasting memories. Include your children in preparing your traditional food for holidays. Our children know what food we eat at Christmas every year and look forward to our baking and food prep days. We have lots of fun together creating the food as well as eating it. They are even more excited to eat what they have helped prepare.

Food traditions connect generations. When we spend holidays with Grandma in another state, our children love to help grandma make pies and rolls. Grandma gives them their own little pie plates and they get to make their personal mini-pies. The littlest ones play with the bread dough as if it’s play dough, and pretend they are making grand dishes. All the while, Grandma is cheerful with the children and thoroughly enjoys sharing her kitchen with them. They will never forget how important Grandma made them feel during that time spent together. (And Grandma is training them so when they are older, they really can be a help to her with all of her baking-and it will be fun!)

At some point in the game called life, children grow up and leave home. After they leave home, they will need to know how to feed themselves. Restaurants and fast food are always options, but teaching your children to prepare foods is a skill that will bless them every day when they venture out on their own as well as get married and have their own families. Holiday time is the perfect time to begin your training.

As you create yummy food in your kitchen with your family this holiday season, keep these 5 tips in mind:

  • Understand that it may be a bit more messy (or a lot more) to have the help of your children, and be ok with that. Let them help you clean up the mess as well as make it.
  • Be patient as they learn to follow your instructions, and forgive mistakes quickly.
  • Decorate cookies together, and have a “hands-off” approach. It may be difficult, but unless your kids ask for your help, let them decorate however they want to. This will spark their creativity as they have the freedom to do whatever they can imagine, without strict instructions as to what the cookies “should” look like.
  • Let them taste the dough before it’s baked. Children love to have a sneak preview of what their treat will taste like.
  • Have fun together! Don’t sweat the small stuff. If something goes wrong, take a deep breath and laugh with your kids. There is nothing like just letting things go and making things right with a good attitude.

Set your intention this holiday season to involve your family in preparing your traditional family dishes. Give your children the gift of your love through spending time with them in the kitchen, teaching them cooking skills and eating yummy food together.


In Child Development, Cohabitation, Divorce, Drug Use, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Sexual Freedom, Single Mothers, stay-at-home mom, The Family, Values, working mothers on November 14, 2014 at 7:16 am

latchkey kidsMaddi Gillel

Beverly was six or seven when her parents divorced. She had a brother just 2-3 years older and 2 sisters older than that. Her mother, of course, had to go to work, and just as important, find a new man in her life. So Beverly and her brother went home after school to no one to help with homework, talk about their day, drive them to music and or sports etc.

When Beverly was 19, she met a man at work, and they were soon living together. They were married a few months later. Four years later, they had their first child, a girl. Beverly’s husband was a drug addict, but was able to keep a job in construction. When their daughter was 2 ½, they had another baby, this time a boy. Soon after that, Beverly began doing drugs and she and her husband were both doing heroin. Finally, when their little boy was almost three, and their daughter 5 ½, they split up and sobered up. Beverly gave her husband full custody of the children, and moved two states away.

NO ONE could believe that a mother could do that!! HOW?!!! WHY!?!? Thankfully, her husband wanted the children and managed to keep them and care for them with the help of his family.

Let’s take a closer look at Beverly’s early life. Her dad left, then her mom left (to work and date etc.). She was on her own with only her siblings. Her lifestyle deteriorated in her teen years and she started having random sexual encounters. Studies prove that when you begin using drugs and/or get into sex, your emotional development STOPS !!   So Beverly was basically a mid-teenager when she got married and then divorced.  Without a realization of the problem and some type of treatment, her life story will remain the same – she still lives with a guy and makes other poor choices.

Marriage and parenthood are not for the faint-of-heart NOR the immature! Anyone who is in a marriage and has children will testify that even when everything is as it should be, it is challenging.

I feel for Beverly. Under the circumstances in which she was raised and the choices she made, it’s no wonder she could leave her children and not look back. Marriage and parenthood overwhelmed her as it would any teenager. She sees her children about once a year.

This is my story. Beverly is my ex-daughter-in-law. We have been raising her two children for five years. We are in our mid 60’s. It has been the hardest thing we have ever done. We love these children dearly and would not have it any other way, under the circumstances, but it would have been so much easier- AND EFFECTIVE- to have one, loving, engaged, hard-working mom functioning in their home.

To moms: 100 TIMES YOUR WEIGHT IN GOLD could still never replace what you do in the home.



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