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Archive for the ‘father’ Category

Men, Put Down the Remote and Help Your Families Succeed

In father, Media on September 29, 2014 at 7:59 am

dad with sonFathers can give the best gift of all – it’s not about  presents, but presence.

By Chimane Hess & David Puente

In the 1970’s a series of public service announcements aired that promoted strong families. Several of the ads focused on getting fathers to realize that their families wanted their time and attention. One of the favorites was of a busy father who is “kidnapped” by his wife and children to go on a family campout because he told them he was too busy to go. Another depicts a college age daughter calling her father (who is at work in an important meeting) to tell him of her exciting news. He has her on speaker phone, and he tries to get her to wait until later. She responds to this by telling her father that he can tell “all those stuffy old men” that his daughter just made it big. She tells her father that her dance audition was successful, had resulted in a job and an apartment, and then ends the call by saying that she loves him. The message of these ads is loud and clear…a father’s time is needed to give security, stability and strength to the family!

President Barak Obama commented on this problem in a father’s day speech, “too many fathers…are… missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.” Can this be good for the children? How about the communities and nation?

National statistics show that “children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

When a father is involved

What can we do to avoid such a gloomy picture of our nation? Studies have shown that high levels of father involvement are associated with a range of significant and highly desirable outcomes. These include: better psychosocial adjustment in children and better mental health as adults; higher levels of cognitive and social competence; increased social responsibility, capacity for empathy, self-control, self-esteem, social maturity and life skills; more positive child–father and adolescent–father relationships; more prosocial sibling interactions; fewer school adjustment difficulties, better academic progress and enhanced occupational achievement in adulthood.

According to childwelfare.gov, the influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood and highly involved biological fathers have children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly A’s and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade. It has also been shown that a father’s warmth contributes greatly to children’s long-term favorable development, emphasizing that young girls with good father-child relationships are less likely to begin early sexual activity and have unhappy romantic involvements chological well-being (Berk, 2010). Basically, much good can be accomplished merely by, while young men benefit from positive father-child relationships in overall psy a present, involved, warm and loving, but firm father back at the head of his household.

Dangerous distractions

Some fathers may feel that their family is just too busy to spend time together. “Parents are working, children are at school and the evening and weekends are taken up with a host of clubs, sports and play dates with friends. But this means that many families really struggle with time together and just enjoying each other’s company for a while.” The unlimited supply of technologies have opened up a world of information, opportunity to continue work after hours, connect with colleagues and friends more, relax through a video game or movie…the list could go on, contributing to the distractions to keep the father “away from the family.” Fathers are not the only victims of media distraction; the media will take hold of the children as well. “On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV.” Many people see media as a way to connect with their children; though it has a few moments of connection, it is not “real” and more often serves as a distraction from the nurturing, in-person relationships and building memories together. We cannot let quality time with children take a back seat to other activities; they need that time with their fathers. There isn’t anything that can replace or make up for the loss of it.

There are men that might think that they are not up to the challenge. Such was the case for Dwayne. He said “The reason I walked away is because, at the moment, I wasn’t the man that I wanted to be for [my kids] … I put them on a higher pedestal than I put myself. So, at a point, I wasn’t worthy to be in their life because I wasn’t the man that I would want for them.” Because there are so many benefits for father interaction, father’s need to realize that they are never too inadequate to be a father and that they must do all they can to preside, provide, and protect their families in order to give them the best chance to be successful in life. Roland Warren from the National Fatherhood Initiative “notes that men not feeling like the ‘perfect’ dad stems from a gross misunderstanding about the real role of fathers… it’s not just about presents… but presence…”

Conclusion

It is possible to change the foundation of a family, therefore the community and nation one father at a time! Fathers will find that they will also reap some healthy psychosocial outcomes for themselves. It has been shown that psychological and social aspects of sharing parenting are associated with marital happiness, parental competence, and closeness to children. These esteem building benefits strengthen the father, causing him to be a better father, which strengthens the children and it starts over again – a circle of positive progression and happiness for the family. Father’s need to give THEMSELVES back to their families.

Chimane HessChimane Hess is the wife of Allen, mother of Ty, ChariAnn, Kevin, Clayton, Ethan, mother-in-law of Nathan, and grandmother of Allayna. She is currently a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the Marriage and Family Studies program. She loves families and knows that they can be successful when all members pull long, strong, and all together.

David PuenteDavid Puente is happily married to Maria. They have been married for two years. He is the son of Mario and Juventina and has three older brothers. He is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho and is in the Marriage and Family Studies program. He loves spending time with his family.

 

References

Berk, L. (2010) Development Through the Lifespan.

Boys, K. Television and Children. (2010, August). Retrieved from

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm

MCCAIN, J. No time for the family? You are not alone: Parents and children spend less than an

hour with each other every day because of modern demands. (2013, July 14). Retrieved

from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363193/No-time-family-You-Parents-

children-spend-hour-day-modern-demands.html

Obama, B. (2008, June 15). Obama’s Father’s Day Remarks – Transcript. The New York Times [New York]. Retrieved from http://http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

OWN. Absent Fathers: An Absentee Dad Explains Why Men Leave Their Children. (2013, May

8). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/absent-fathers-dad-why-men-leave-children_n_3231932.html

Rosenberg, J., Bradford, W. W. The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of

Children. (2006). Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood/chaptertwo.cfm

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (1995, September 23). Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Wilson, K, Prior, M. (2010) Father involvement and child well-being. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.byui.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1a65fdd4-4089-4935-924f-4a6f42199919%40sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=112

 

 

 

 

Starting with Breakfast

In Child Development, Elder Care, Families, father, motherhood, Parenting, Schools, stay-at-home mom, The Family, Values on September 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Danish pancakesMom had a special way of making a task seem less daunting when I was growing up. Her deportment was kindness, shown through soft and encouraging words, through quiet acts of service, and through her genuine belief in our ability to do hard things. Every Saturday was a work day on our small farm. Dad would come down the hall between our bedrooms singing, “It’s nice to get up in the morning,” delighted to have the help of his eight children to weed the gardens, pick up trash, fix fences, water the orchards, prune trees, pick fruit and vegetables, and do many other things that were needed to help sustain our family. But my siblings and I often dreaded the hours of work ahead and longed to read a book or play in the tree house instead. To lighten the load physically, Mom made dozens of delicious Danish pancakes and sliced a huge bowl of fresh fruit for breakfast each Saturday morning, before we went out to work. This delicious breakfast, graciously made by her week after week for hundreds of Saturdays, lifted my spirits and made the work ahead seem less daunting. With a hug and a smile she would send us out the door with full, happy stomachs, often looking forward to her homemade scones filled with tuna and cheese, and others rolled in cinnamon sugar, for lunch. As a mother now, I can hardly fathom all the time she must have spent in preparing all that food and cleaning up after those big meals while we worked.

Mom also lightened my load emotionally. When I came in the house from the bus after a long day at school with many hours of homework ahead, the feeling of reassurance I received from her warm hug, happy greeting, and a thick slice of hot buttered bread was almost tangible. She would regularly stay up late to help me study for a test or give me a back rub, murmuring quiet words of reassurance, as I finished a school paper or project. Her quiet presence had a way of lifting the tension and lightening my burden. Mom’s simple, kind acts of love bound me to her, deepening my sense of security and validation.

Even now as an adult who is facing much larger and challenging events in life, I benefit from Mother’s calm, reassuring presence. As my seven siblings and I recently surrounded Dad’s hospital bed to say goodbye, Mother’s reassurances to Dad that it was OK to move on, that she and all of us would be just fine, gave each of us the peace we would need to move forward in the days and years ahead without his wisdom and guidance. Our lives will always be better because of what she alone could give.

Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Kathryn Ward’s story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 26. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.

 

LIFE’S MAPS AND COMPASSES

In Child Development, Divorce, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Schools, The Family, Values on September 19, 2014 at 8:20 am

road maps for lifeMaddi Gillel

Have you ever been trying to get somewhere, such as in a different city, state, or country? Did you have a map? Did you speak the language so that you could ask? We’ve all been in this situation. Some of us are born with a compass in our heads, some are born without one. This compass might be for direction-NESW direction – or it might be for one’s path through life. Do we need a map?

What makes the difference in someone who is well educated, well-adjusted, clean, articulate, talented, musical etc. AND one who is illiterate, dirty, poor, hounded by collectors, kicked out of apartments, and ‘kicked out’ of all polite, decent society?

I have a sister who just dealt all summer with a renter of this latter category. He is married and raising 2 grandchildren. His son lives with them also, who smokes non-stop. The head of the household is a hoarder, he’s dirty, smelly and greasy – and 70 years old. He was several months behind in his rent and the place was a mess–old cars parked on the lawn – you get the picture.

No one starts out in life thinking this is how they’ll end up, much less wanting to. Did this man follow a map for life? Or has he just wandered around wherever life took him?

I know a man who is around 40 and started using drugs when he was 14. He graduated from high school because his parents stayed on top of it. He has some college. He’s been married twice and is now divorced with two young children for which he has full custody. His emotional health has been jeopardized; he has a few skills for life but insufficient education and training. His spiritual life is difficult for him because he did not establish those habits and that lifestyle when he was young. Life, for him, is an uphill battle and struggle.

It was once pointed out to me in a class, that the most important decisions and direction for life are determined by the time a person is 20-21 years of age. This period of time is when someone has learned life skills. How to be a father or mother; how to manage a home; how to manage money and time; how to cook, clean, sew, mend, and nurture for women (Julie B. Beck said that the key to nurturing is homemaking skills) – and for the men, how to repair items in a home and yard; how to earn a living; how to be a good husband and father; how to function well in society by being a giver and producer rather than a taker and a destroyer.

 It takes learning, observation and action to become a strong individual and to build a strong family. This, in turn, builds strong children and grandchildren. This, in turn, builds a strong culture and society.

This is where we get back to our maps and compass. This is where principles and values come in. There are some things we do and are: honest, faithful to God and family, industrious, cheerful, generous, educated, clean, reverent, loving, considerate, courteous, dependable, kind, courageous, disciplined, grateful, responsible, refined, and patient.

When we don’t have (or use) our maps and compass, we are lost, dishonest, selfish, angry, immoral, drug/alcohol/tobacco dependent, illiterate, broke, lazy, disrespectful, rude, inconsiderate, cowardly, hateful, dirty, etc.

How we end up when we’re 40 or 70 years old all depends on what maps we used and the compass we consulted. There can be mid-course corrections, and thank goodness. It’s seldom too late, but the sooner we get back on course, the better.

 We can conclude that strong families become our map and compass for life. Wrecked families provide little direction and purpose. There are certainly exceptions in both situations, but the odds favor the strong families.

 

 

 

 

A Rational Basis for Marriage

In Child Development, Constitution, Courts, Diane Robertson, DOMA, Families, father, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on September 17, 2014 at 7:19 am

marriage one man one womanDiane Robertson

We live in a time that many refer to as an “age of entitlement”. There are books and papers written about parents hassling teachers to give their children higher grades, or bosses talking about parents calling them up to tell them they have to hire their kids. We hear how the rich, the poor, the elderly, the young, and the many specialized groups demand benefits and rights from the government or society as a whole. Everyone feels like they should be rewarded certain things just because they are, and not because they have worked for it. But we forget there is one thing every human being is entitled to. There is one thing every child should have legal claim to and that is their mother and their father. Shouldn’t the laws protect that claim? Marriage laws used to protect children, but that is changing…

A year ago I kept very close track of all of the lawsuits and all of the rulings going on about gay marriage in the United States and even in the world at large. But times have changed, particularly in the United States. Once the Supreme Ruled on DOMA and Proposition 8 lawsuits and rulings from various judges and courts took off. Nearly every one of these rulings declared that laws limiting marriage between a man and a woman were unconstitutional. This has even been true for lawsuits concerning polygamy. Feeling a bit tired of the debate, my careful watch of marriage rulings drifted. So, it came as a happy surprise when I read that a Federal District Judge in Louisiana ruled that laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman are constitutional.

Yes, that is correct! In 2014, September even, after multiple rulings in favor of same sex marriage, a judge listened to the rational reasons why a state should support conjugal marriage and ruled in favor of it! District Judge Martin Feldman ruled that Louisiana does not need to recognize gay marriage for their state or for homosexual couples who marry in other states.

He declared:

  • Same-sex marriage was “nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently,” Feldman said in his 32-page ruling. For that reason, he said, it is not a fundamental right that states must uphold despite constitutional or legislative bans.
  • “The court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today, is not universally irrational…”
  • The Windsor decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “references an amorphous but alluring ‘evolving understanding of the meaning of equality,'” Feldman said. Nevertheless, he noted, it upheld states’ rights to regulate marriage.
  • “This court has arduously studied the volley of nationally orchestrated court rulings” against democratically approved gay marriage bans, he said. “The federal court decisions thus far exemplify a pageant of empathy; decisions impelled by a response of innate pathos.”
  • “Louisiana’s laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage’s historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents…”
  • If states can’t do that, Feldman said, they may not be able to prohibit marriage among minors, groups of people or members of the same family. After all, he said, “all such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another.”

The case is being appealed to the 5th Circuit court, one of the most conservative circuit courts in the nation.

 

In the Garden

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Parenting, The Family, Values on September 12, 2014 at 5:38 am

in_garden_seeingtheeverydayEvan Crockett

I remember working in the garden with my father. As a boy, it was hard to see beyond the seemingly unpleasant task at hand—the physical labor required get the job done. He often asked for my help in tilling the dirt at the beginning and end of the season, teaching me to plow deep and to stick with it. Though I often hesitated to start and sometimes complained about it, he would mindfully help me when and where I needed it, teaching me how to do it well, how to do it right. No matter how I felt about my progress, my father would put his arm around me and praise my work and my effort and tell me he was proud of me.

At the end of the season, Dad would select some of the grandest prizes from our harvest—large orange pumpkins and yellow squashes, corn and grapes, carrots and tomatoes—arranging them near the white picket fence in front of the garden. Then he would gather his five children together, arranging us neatly for a harvest photo. The lessons of the garden were important: where to step, how deep to place a seed, how hard to pack the dirt on top, how much to water, how to dig a good hole. But more importantly, I’m able to look back and sense my father’s influence in helping me feel confident planting the right seeds in my life or pulling the weeds that hindered my progress. I never doubted that my father wanted me out there with him. The work that my father shared with me tied us together in a way that has been a lasting source of strength and comfort in my life.

 

Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Evan Crockett’s story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 26. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com

Attentive to Habit

In Child Development, Families, father, Parenting, The Family, Values on August 29, 2014 at 10:38 am

field_image

My father wanted me to be as well prepared for life as I could be. He was attentive and took time to correct misconduct when needed. He was home enough, and I was into mischief enough, that it seemed I was in “the doghouse” throughout my childhood. He was not austere but was simply unable to let any inappropriate behavior sink too deep into habit before being corrected. I was a sensitive young man, and I never took his correcting very well. He had a practice, however, which always repaired my hurt “little boy” feelings and brought us close even when I felt he was very demanding. On Sunday afternoons he would often say, “Let’s go for a walk around the track.”

I grew up on a small farm in northern California, and every spring Dad would disc and scrape a flat track around the perimeter. It was approximately one third of a mile around, and we used it for running, driving practice, and to bring loads of fruit home from the orchards in the pickup truck. Dad and I would walk around that track and talk. It was usually a one-sided conversation at first. Dad began by reinforcing the folly of my misbehavior but then spent the bulk of the time reminding me of who he knew I was piece by piece. I can still remember him telling me how handsome I was, what a good boy I was, and that I would turn out to be a great man. He made me feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. This building time would usually open me up so that by the end, I was the one doing most of the talking. It was a deliberate expression of his love for me, an intentional strategy to create a confident young man. I would not be who I am today without his loving correction.

 

Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Edwin Wells’ story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 25. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.

 

Debating Marriage

In Abstinence, adoption, Child Development, Courts, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Health Care, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Sexual Orientation, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, Violence on August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

marriage debate

by Diane Robertson

As the many marriage cases move through the court system supporters of marriage often find themselves in conversations in which they must defend their stance on marriage and family. This can be a very stressful conversation. Even the best and smartest debaters risk losing friends, isolating family members, or becoming victim to harsh words. Here are some ways that may be helpful while having the conversations and hopefully staying on the good side of family and friends.

  1. Ask a question before giving an answer. Catholic blogger, Jonathan Van Maren described a situation where responding with a question was the best answer. His story goes thus:

    “One friend demanded to know why I wasn’t sleeping around. I responded with a question: ‘How many of the people that you were with do you wish you hadn’t hooked up with?’ After a pause, the thoughtful response: ‘Most of them, I guess. Maybe even all of them.’”

  2. Be wary of smoke screen or strawman arguments and use social science and reason to call them out. I had an encounter with a stranger online. I had posted this website which addresses conjugal view of marriage and why it is important for society to support mother/father families.

    This man replied:

    “Diane that whole article can be summed up in the conclusion: ‘if we are correct about the likely harms of redefining marriage,’ That’s a big if don’t you think? So what your saying is we should round up all families that are not Father, Child, Mother because they are bad for society?


So is it better to have a father who beats his kids or molests them than to send him away to jail and not have one present at all? If two parents are killed in a car accident and the kids are taken in by an Aunt who is single then that too is destroying the fabric of society?”

Here is how I replied to his nonsense:

“You are using smokescreen arguments to avoid the real points. Obviously most people are better off without an abuser and there are laws to protect victims of abuse as you well know.

 

Here are some honest arguments addressing your smokescreen.

 

  1. Has it ever occurred to you that denying a child of one of their biological parents for the sexual advantage of another is not its own kind of abuse? Biological roots are deeply ingrained into the human soul. Everyone desires to know who they are and where they come from. Adopted children fought for a long time to have adoption records open so they could more easily trace back to those roots. Donor children are currently fighting that same battle.

 

  1. Children whose parents have died are disadvantaged and they know it. It would not be fair to pretend their suffering at the loss of their parents is fake or wrong just because other people want to purposely inflict a similar situation on children for the sexual advantage of the adults.

 

  1. Fatherless children are indeed disadvantaged. If you do not believe fatherless children are harming the fabric of society then take a look at the statistics and then try to imagine what it will be like when a whole bunch of children grow up without a mother. Taxes will surely increase so that government can take up the slack where the parents failed.

 

Statistics of the Fatherless

 

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Health/Census).

90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.

85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes (Center for Disease Control).

80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26).

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report).

70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988).

85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).

71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999)”

 

  1. Speak the language of the person you are debating: If your conversation is with someone who has religious beliefs then use religion. If your conversation is with someone who does not believe religion, then use social science.
  2. Be prepared. Really know your topic and don’t be afraid to mimic the language of the pros. Spend time researching and reading the issues. Know the current events associated with marriage. (Personally, I think Ryan Anderson is a great person to read and learn from.)
  3. And remember no matter how hard or tense it gets. Remain calm, smile, and never, ever call names.

Grandmother’s Wisdom

In Child Development, Divorce, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, The Family, Values on August 19, 2014 at 6:33 am

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by Nathalie Bowman

Last week my grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was almost 92 years old. Grandmothers have wonderful life lessons to share.

The wisdom of Grandma Nielsen:

  1. Gambling is NOT allowed. One year, when I was 16 or 17, one of my favorite cousins was surprised I didn’t know how to play poker, so he arranged a game. But we needed something to bet with. hhhmmmm…… There was a new convenience store across the highway, and several of us cool teenagers walked across the busy highway and stocked up on penny candy as our poker chips. We got swedish fish, sour patch kids, gummy berries and I can’t even remember what else. But it was awesome. We were all ready to play. Our family cabin had lots of open space, but we managed to find a quiet, secluded corner for our game. We knew face cards were forbidden, so we used a deck of Rook cards for our game. My cousin got us all situated and gave out some of the candy to start. Just as he began explaining how to play, we hear grandma’s voice screeching, “Are you playing POKER?!?”  Yes, we had to admit sheepishly. How did we think we could get away with that? Grandma says No Gambling. Even with penny candy. We were foiled.
  2. Families ties are important! Grandma had a dream that someday she would have a cabin for her children and grandchildren to gather every year for a family reunion. That dream came true in 1981 when we built our family cabin. Grandma even gave it a name: NielsenHaven. This cabin became a haven where we made many happy memories. Grandma’s highest priority during her life was her family. She and grandpa had 8 children, 44 grandchildren, 147 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great grandchildren at the time of her death. And her greatest legacy is that we enjoy being together.
  3. Make everyone feel special. I was never personally very close to Grandma. We lived about 40 minutes away, and we mostly visited her during family events, so there were many people around. However, even with the lack of personal time with her, I always knew I was very important to her. She loved all of us, I could tell, but whenever I talked to her, she made me feel like the most important person on the planet. She had a wonderful ability to be interested in each of her family members and remembered details of her 44 grandchildren. I always felt special with her.
  4. Tell Family Stories. Grandma always wanted to make sure we knew about her parents and grandparents as well as my grandpa’s family. They were our family, and she wanted us to know these wonderful people who were a part of her life.  She put together an amazing book of stories and history about our family. By telling these stories to us of our pioneer ancestors she helped create a sense of pride in who we are and a feeling of belonging that has spanned over the many many years.
  5. “You can create your own…” When I first heard of my grandma’s passing last week, I was surprised at how much it affected me. She was told by her doctors that she only had 2 months to live, and she kept going for 4 more years! She had gone downhill recently and the family knew she wouldn’t last much longer. The news that she had finally gone shook me to the core. I realized that because of my parent’s divorce and my dad’s subsequent remarriage, the little-girl self inside me didn’t feel like she ever belonged in a family. Then I realized that the only time I truly felt like I was a part of any family was when I was at those family reunions at our cabin. I knew I belonged there! And now the creator of that family legacy was gone. What would happen now? We would all drift apart, and that would be the end. It felt so final. Then I felt a thought come into my head….I could create my own family heritage with my children and their families. I can teach them about who they are and why their family ties are important just like my grandma did! I can create happy memories and fun times with my family even if we’re struggling at times. I can do what she did!

Although I didn’t used to believe it, I now know that family ties and happy family relationships are possible for all of us! Start by following grandma’s advice – the advice of your grandma,  or mine, it doesn’t matter. Just begin. and enjoy the fruits of wonderful family relationships!

The Truth About Porn

In Child Development, Courts, Domestic Violence, Drug Use, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Government, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Pedophilia, Pornography, Research, Schools, Sex Education, Technology, The Family, Values, Violence on August 11, 2014 at 5:34 am

hooked-on-porn-addiction

By: Kristen Jan Heimuli 

            It’s a $57 billion a year industry worldwide; $12 billion right here in the U.S. Its revenue is larger than all combined revenues of professional basketball, football, and baseball franchises. It transcends the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC networks. With over 372 million web pages, it takes up 12 percent of the Internet’s total websites. Seventy-two percent of males and 28 percent of females visit these websites regularly. No doubt about it, pornography is an expensive business. It costs billions of dollars to produce and to view. And it costs a countless number of relationships, families, and lives.

            Pornography isn’t a brand new phenomenon, but the media has certainly increased expansion and accessibility of this perverse drug. It can now be found right on your smart phone-and your child’s smart phone. In a world where children are so media savvy, and media is so saturated with pornography, parents need to take precaution. Children, particularly boys who are at risk of anti-social behavior, are more likely to engage in pornography via the media. It is essential for parents to understand what they are up against-and also what their children are facing every single day.

            The effects of pornography are not something we can afford to ignore. Many individuals claim that engaging in pornography is healthy, liberating, appropriate, normal. Perhaps it’s just “boys being boys.”

            Science strongly suggests otherwise.

            Pornography physically damages and rewires neuro-pathways in the human brain, just like illicit drugs. A few of the startling psychological consequences of pornography include: desensitization, habituation, and eventually boredom. As users move from “soft-core” pornography to more perverse forms, desensitization for people increases as victims become objects to be used at the user’s disposal.           

            For instance, numerous married men who view pornography report becoming bored with their wives in regards to sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual intimacy. Many pornography users suffer from erectile dysfunction and are unable to have sex with a “real” woman because of the numbing effects that pornography has on the brain. Like any drug, the first high will never return, and many will spend a lifetime trying to feed their gratification through more disturbing forms of pornography, which is often linked to sex crimes and domestic violence.

            As if that’s not frightening enough, a study conducted back in 1995 showed that pornography even has the capability to not only influence individuals’ sexual behaviors, but to promote sexually violent behaviors. Individuals who are exposed to pornography are more likely to perceive rape and other sex crimes as acceptable. Notice this shocking apathy occurs in individuals who are exposed to pornography, and not just those actually engaging in it.

            The question is, in the society that we live, who hasn’t been exposed to it? Imagine the consequences on one’s brain who is repeatedly choosing to view pornographic material over and over.

            The effects pornography has on the brain and on relationships have been studied for awhile now. So what has been done about it? And what are we going to do about it?

            In the United States, not much has been done by the government regarding pornography. However, the use of child pornography in any form (i.e. distribution, viewing, selling children, etc.) is illegal. While this is a way to protect children from harm once the act has taken place-it does not prevent children from harm. Thus, this measure really addresses symptoms of a much bigger problem: a lack of education about sex and pornography. This type of education should particularly be implemented among youth.

            While school assemblies and advocacy groups are beginning to educate individuals and fight pornography head on, the most effective way to reduce consumption of pornography is for adults to teach sex and media education in the home. In fact, the likelihood of pornography exposure turning into pornography consumption significantly drops when positive standards regarding women, relationships, and sex are demonstrated in family life.

            What do you say we take that seriously?

            Let’s stop being okay with pornography! Let’s offer support and encouragement to those overcoming pornography addictions. We need to educate those who may one day find themselves in pornography’s grasp. We need to teach our children, and ourselves, what pornography really does. Prevention is better than intervention.

            Knowledge truly is power. Remember, the first step to combat pornography begins in our homes. Don’t take this drug lightly-it is a force to be reckoned with. Prevent it. Reduce it. Explain it. Understand it. Discuss it over the dinner table. Spread the word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill the Love Bank with Play

In Child Development, Families, father, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, The Family, Values on August 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

children on trampoline

by Nathalie Bowman

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Dinner was over and my husband and I remained at the table, enjoying a conversation without the noise of the family. I glanced out the window and watched three of my sons and my daughter play on the trampoline. There was an intense battle going on in the imaginations of the children, and it was being played out before my eyes. I cringed as I watched fists being thrust at each other, boys being tackled and thrown down, and our little 4 year old girl doing somersaults and jumping all around them, her blond hair sticking straight out with static. She was a little princess helping the warriors save the castle. They were having a grand time releasing pent up energy from sitting in church earlier that day, and I was just waiting for the fight to get real and someone to get hurt (which didn’t happen).

As I watched my children pretend and play, I began to enjoy the scene before my eyes. Their world was perfect in that moment. Tummies were full, the sun was shining, and there were siblings to play with. I allowed their joy to infuse my heart, and relished being their mother. This was definitely one of those rewarding paybacks for me. Watching my children have so much fun together with their imaginations going wild was an absolute delight.

Family life can take its toll with stress, busyness and worry. Taking care of children is a very demanding full time job. We get lost in the stress and the desires we have for everything to be perfect. It can get very frustrating. In spite of all the stress that comes with parenthood, there are many delightful moments.

Take the time to observe and enjoy the random delightful moments that are created in your home. Share with your children how much you enjoyed watching them and have them tell you the story of their play. Jump in and play with them – and allow them to tell you what they want you to do. This will provide a wonderful opportunity to connect and will put huge deposits in your child’s love bank (and in yours).

Being a child can be absolutely delightful. Encourage your children to free play and pretend. Take more time off electronics and play together. Allow the play time to be a stress release for you and your children as you either play with them, or enjoy watching them play. Either way, your children will know you are interested in them, and you will fill the love bank with fun family memories. Take some time to play today!

 

outdoor32012Nathalie Bowman is a mother of eight children, and is passionate about helping families heal their hearts and homes so they can live happily ever after.

 

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