Archive for the ‘father’ Category

The Wheately Conference: The Supreme Court Decided, Now What?

In Abortion, Abstinence, Child Development, Cohabitation, Constitution, Courts, Democracy, Diane Robertson, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Grassroots, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Parenting, Religious Freedom, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on October 22, 2014 at 8:25 am

marriage equality and supreme courtDiane Robertson

Yesterday I had the unique opportunity of attending a 4 hour long conference hosted by the Wheately Institute and titled: Family is Crucial: Views from Law and Social Science. Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, Mark Regnerus, and Jenet Erickson spoke. These speakers have all vested a lot of time and resources to help form the marriage debate. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to recap a few of the important points as well as some fascinating scientific and statistical information presented in this conference.

Two weeks ago the Supreme Court made a decision about marriage, simply by remaining silent. Many people have either been celebrating that the debate is over or they have been wondering if there is anything else that can be done. This question was answered in a couple of ways during the conference. Ryan T Anderson discussed how the pro-marriage movement needs to look to the pro-life movement as its model. He reminded us that when the Supreme Court handed down Roe v Wade, pro-lifers could have gone home discouraged. Instead, they got to work. Pro-lifers began relying on scientific and legal arguments.

Through the science of ultra sound imaging, pro-lifers proved the pro-abortion movement wrong. Through psychology and statistics, pro-lifers taught about the stress of abortion on the mother’s mind and body. Through compassion and love, pro-lifers set up pregnancy centers to help women with crisis pregnancies. Now the younger generation is more pro-life than the older generation, and there have been more limits on abortion passed through state legislatures than ever before.

Ryan Anderson suggested that we continue litigating in circuit courts, because we don’t know what will happen. The Supreme Court did not hand down a Roe v Wade ruling. As religious freedom, freedom of conscience and even churches are attacked and forced to accept gay marriage, we can still continue battling through litigation and even state laws.

One of the hosts, Jason Carroll, suggested that we need to be positive. Do not be against same sex marriage, be for the family. Marriage has been broken not only by the advancement of same sex marriage, but by the acceptance of pre-marital sex, no fault divorce, co-habitation, and the acceptance of single parenthood. All are at fault and all are enemies to the family.

Be confident. When people see your confidence in your stance, they are less likely to attack that stance. Be really good at what you do. Always do your best and always know your facts. Mark Regnerus only kept his job because he was thorough and careful with his research and statistical report.

The Supreme Court decided, now what? We just keep going. The fact that children do best with their married mother and father has not changed and will not change. The fact that a society is most prosperous when it offers sincere freedom of religion has not changed and will not change. It may seem like we are fighting a losing battle, but we are not. The world needs children and the world needs freedom. The war may be long and hard. Chin up. Be confident. We are on the right side of history.

39: It’s Time to Reflect

In Child Development, Courts, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Education, Families, father, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Schools, Sexual Orientation, Single Mothers, stay-at-home mom, Supreme Court, The Family, Values, working mothers on October 15, 2014 at 5:41 am

reforming-sexDiane Robertson

I turned 39 today! Yup, that’s right. Today is my 39th birthday. Next year, I will be the big 4-0. A lot has happened in my almost forty years. I remember how in the fourth grade I was asked to draw a picture depicting something that would happen in the future. I drew a telephone with a TV screen so people could call and talk face to face. I’m pretty sure the telephone part was corded. We have that technology now, though no cords, and it fits in our pockets. It is funny how things have turned out. Most people, including myself would rather text or send an email instead of talking. Video chatting isn’t as exciting as my 10 year old self thought it would be. With a text, I don’t have to worry if my hair is combed or if my make-up looks okay. Texting is good with me. I like that change.

When I left for college, the internet was just beginning to come to some of the larger cities. Most households did not have personal computers yet. Within a couple of years, that would change. I welcomed this change. I felt like suddenly the whole world was opened up to me. If I wanted information about something, I could find more than just a small paragraph in an encyclopedia without having to wait for a book or an article to come through the inter-library loan system. I could suddenly contact my friends and family without having to pay anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per minute. (I tried to explain that to my teens. I’m still not sure they get it.) With the internet, people and information became much more accessible. I liked these changes, a lot. I think a lot of people did. It’s really nice to have a question and get a million answers in seconds.

But those have not been the only changes. As a child growing up, it was pretty obvious that the sexual revolution had already begun to take its toll. The poorer kids usually came from homes without a father. We just casually knew that if a kid was always in trouble in school it was because his parents were divorced or he never had a father to begin with. We didn’t talk about it. We just knew. We heard stories and even had assigned reading about latch key kids. Some of us, even happened to be those, but most of us had a mom there when we got home from school.

That has changed. With forty percent of children being born to single women, nearly half the kids don’t have a strong father figure. But you still know who those kids are.

The first time I voted, there was an old man standing outside the room asking people to sign a petition to stop what was probably a non-discrimination order that would include sexual orientation. My dad signed it right away. I read it through, and said no. My dad looked a little embarrassed. But I had gay friends. I thought they ought to be left alone to live their own lives. I didn’t know it wasn’t about being left alone to live their own lives. I did not know that the next phase of the sexual revolution was just beginning.

It was several years later that I gave such things more thought. I went to college, got married and had three kids pretty quickly. My days were spent worrying about small children problems and home organization. And then something happened. Gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts. At first, I was like, who cares? If two people of the same gender want to get married, what does that matter? But my husband didn’t have the same attitude. He was really worried about it. He signed up to receive emails from several pro-family sites. Every now and then he would get me to read something that was emailed too him.

At first, I could hardly believe what I was reading: kindergarteners being taught about homosexuality and a dad arrested for asking that his son be opted out? Fertility doctors sued for transferring lesbian patients to a different doctor? Really? I began paying attention. I realized that this wasn’t about gay people just wanting to quietly live their own lives and let everyone else quietly live their own lives. This was much, much bigger. Marriage laws affect many, many more laws. I realized that if the family is the fundamental unit of society, and it is, then marriage laws are foundational laws, and they are. I could not remain quiet and be content anymore. Because I had the internet, I easily got a lot of information from both sides. I began studying the issues and I knew where I stood.

And now, just 8 days before my 39th birthday, the issue of gay rights and gay marriage was basically decided. But the topic is not closed. Just like how the school kids in my day knew that the troubled kids were troubled because they did not have a dad, the kids of today and the kids of the future will know that the kids who live with their married mom and dad have an advantage. They will just naturally see and feel that a mother and a father are both important. They won’t need to talk about it, and it’s not very likely they will be allowed to talk about it. But for these kids, it will be pretty obvious that the next phase of the sexual revolution is taking its toll.

Born to “Stand for the Family”

In Courts, Democracy, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Grandparents, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on October 7, 2014 at 9:04 am

family holding handsNathalie Bowman

Yesterday was a normal day. OK, it was not normal, it was my birthday! But I did the routine thing and took two of my teenagers and three other teens to school 25 minutes away. On the way home, I did something out of routine. I turned on the radio. And I heard the news. And I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The Supreme Court of the United States of America denied hearing the cases of 5 states with their man-woman marriage laws overturned by lower federal courts. As a consequence, the domino effect is happening, and soon gay marriage will be legal in 30 states. The ramifications are huge.

I said a silent prayer, “Really, God? Did this have to happen on my birthday? Couldn’t you have delayed it at least one day?” But then I realized I was born for this. And you were too. We were born to love and protect our families. We were born to learn and become educated about this issue and share the truth with others. Our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers need to know what’s really going on, and we can share the truth with them.

Last night my sisters, parents, and I had a conference call to discuss articles we had read about the state of marriage. My dad sees the bigger picture of what the government is doing at the highest levels to destroy families and our country. He wondered why we would waste our time sitting around talking about this issue. “What are we going to DO?” he asked.

Here is our opportunity to DO something.

First, take care of your own families. Love your children, serve them. Find the solutions to your relationship issues with your spouse and children. Make your relationships about your family members, not you. Every individual family can be strengthened.

Second, educate yourself. If you’re reading this, you are already doing that. Make sure you research and understand what’s at stake here. Sometimes it’s not very fun immersing yourself in the likes of this information, but it is necessary and worth the knowledge!

Third, share your knowledge with others whom you trust. Talk to those who are on the fence and don’t see any harm in how a same-sex marriage will affect traditional families and our society as a whole. By this time, you have the knowledge of what’s really at stake for soicety. It’s time to share.

Fourth, as your knowledge increases and you share with others, be aware of what is going on in your state, who your government officials are, and what bills are being put forth that may continue this downward trend. Communicate with your lawmakers and remind them of the importance of families. Sending emails and making phone calls to state legislators does make a difference.

Yes, yesterday was my birthday. I felt punched in the stomach. But it doesn’t have to last! Hooray that we can love our families, educate ourselves and Stand for the Family! I encourage you to keep reading and studying. Once you do so, you will not be able to keep quiet. There is too much to learn and share! Thank you, my friends for standing for families!


In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on October 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

family workingMaddi Gillel

Yes, you hafta !!!!! How many times have we as parents, heard this from our children when we ask them to clean their rooms, practice the piano, mow the lawn, take out the trash? This article is for you parents who need some encouragement to keep on and also to provide you some ammunition to tell these children.

There is a study by George and Caroline Valient of Harvard University regarding the value of work. They found that more than social class, family problems, or intelligence, a child’s willingness and capacity to work was the most important factor in predicting his or her mental health as an adult.

In “On Rekindling a Spirit of ‘Home Training’: A Mother’s Notes from the Front”: the following: “Without parents’ humanizing work, children may be quite smart, well-educated, and successful, but so selfish, self-centered, and uncaring as to be essentially uncivilized – not able to live in a spirit of community with others.”

I would think that the ‘humanizing’ in the above quote, would mean mom and dad making sure the chores are done every single day with few exceptions – and I know from personal experience, this takes a spine of steel and some swallowing. The crying, moaning, theatrics, and playing sick that ensue would cause the strongest among us to quit.

Here are some more great quotes:

“No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.” – Booker T. Washington

“The more we do, the more we CAN do.” William Hazlitt

“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.” – Richard Whately

“The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success, hasn’t been asleep.” – Wilson Mizner

“It is the height of absurdity to sow little but weeds in the first half of one’s lifetime and expect to harvest a valuable crop in the second half.” – Percy Johnson

“For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice, – no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.” – John Burroughs

“No thoroughly occupied man was ever yet very miserable.” – Letitia Landon

“No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

“The fruit derived from labor is the sweetest of all pleasures.” – Lux de Clapiers

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight,

But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sometimes I get so busy doing what is required of me as a wife, mom , and grandmother that I begin to think I’m drowning. Then I decide to go out in the yard and do some serious gardening or I decide to attack a cupboard, closet, or room that is out of control and it is a boon to my morale and my soul. I love work – good, physical, engaged work.

This seems to be a dying art. Children learn their work ethic (another topic) from their mothers – who are with them most of the day and who know what needs to be done and which child needs to be thusly engaged.

Thank goodness our mom understood this perfectly.


Determining Good, Better, or Best

In Child Development, Democracy, Families, father, motherhood, Parenting, Research, Schools, The Family, Values on October 2, 2014 at 10:46 am

family dinnerRebecca Mallory

It was a crisp fall day nearly 20 years ago that I was frantically driving a carpool of girls to their mandatory dance class for all company performers four days a week right after school. Among them was my daughter, Brooke who was in the fourth grade and was a talented dancer.  We were stopped at a neighborhood stoplight, when I heard quiet sniffles from the back seat. I looked in the rear view mirror to see tears streaming down Brooke’s cheeks as she gazed longingly out the window at a group of her friends who were out roller blading and giggling together.

A lead balloon of reality hit me in the head. “What am I doing? This poor kid is being subjected to this dance commitment at what price?” I felt horrible. Later that night I discussed it with my husband who never really understood the whole dance thing anyway. This is a man with four daughters who graduated in P.E. and is to this day, super competitive in any sport. “So what’s the goal here? What’s she going to do with this? Run off to Vegas and be a show girl?” Dramatic? Yes. But it got me thinking. “Is this for her or for me?”

Given the choice, Brooke finished the year in dance and then quit. She became a kid again and rollerbladed with her friends. She later became a pretty good volleyball player and played in college. It turns out that dance wasn’t really her thing either. Dance lessons as well as volleyball, football, soccer, tennis, all great activities. My point? As families, we need to determine what qualifies as good, better, or best that will promote and strengthen our individual families.

Organized sports and dance classes were rare when I was a kid. There just wasn’t the demand for them. As children of the ’70′s and ’80′s, we would leave home for hours to drum up our own games or to play and use our imagination building forts out of weeds as tall as us, wading through irrigation ditches, or raking fall leaves into houses with rooms that could only be entered through the imaginary door. Taboo to step over the imaginary walls! Times have changed though and there is hardly a parent who dares let their child out of their sight for a second; even in their own front yard. Most parents must now pay for their children to participate in team sports and/or extracurricular activities.

Dallin H. Oakes, a great leader and former member of the Utah Supreme Court, gave a great speech titled, “Good, Better, Best”1 in which he stated that just because something is good doesn’t mean we should do it or that it will be good for our families. There are so many good things to take advantage of today, but never enough time to accomplish them all. So how do we choose? Don’t we all want what is “best” for our families? In my own family of my husband, our four girls, and me, we had to make a concerted effort to determine what was best.

Often nowadays, we pride ourselves on being busy. We over schedule the children with activities and wear that with a badge of honor as if that is somehow the outward symbol of successful parenting. “We’re SO busy!  My life is crazy! I’m swamped. I’m just a taxi for the kids.” That somehow makes us a good parent? We find ourselves grabbing fast food on the way to soccer practice as the kids finish their homework in the car. When is the last time your entire family had a nice dinner at home together? Want some incentive? Listen to this:

“The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs.”2

How about those stats? That your child’s success in school and in life could be determined largely by the time you spend together as a family! Who knew that what your child really wants for dinner is you?

A good friend of mine recently lost a crucial election to the state senate because of some political dirty tricks. He was positioned to be a new up and comer and was being groomed by all the party bigwigs.  He was temporarily devastated by the loss. He asked his eight- year-old son what he thought about his dad losing. “But dad! Now you can coach my baseball team! This is awesome!” Perspective.

He told us how this past summer they took their kids on many trips to cram it all in before dad won this election and would be away a lot. They saw many historical sights, river rafted down the Colorado, went to Disneyland, etc. When asking this same son what his favorite moment was, the son replied without hesitation, “That night that you and I laid in the grass at grandma’s and counted the stars and talked. Just me and you.”

Why do we think it always has to be elaborate to be enough for our kids? Are we over stimulating our children for them or for us? Oakes actually warned about over scheduling of kids.

“Family experts have warned against what they call “the over-scheduling of children.” In the last generation children are far busier and families spend far less time together. Among many measures of this disturbing trend are the reports that structured sports’ time has doubled, but children’s free time has declined by 12 hours per week. And unstructured outdoor activities have fallen by 50 percent.”3

We have so many opportunities to expose our children to the good, better, and best. How do we determine what those are? This depends on the principles and values held dear by each family. No one can make that determination for you. Could it be that the activities we have them in now are not really the best for them? Every family is different and will have a different definition. We should decide together, as a family, what things bring the “best” love and harmony into the home. Let’s do those first, then schedule the “good” and “better” things after that.

No sport, lesson or activity can take the place of parents and children engaging in family time together, especially when children are young. Teaching and rearing children while instilling your core values and principles is crucial to their well-being, security, and growing to be a productive member of society. I can promise they’re not getting that at school…far from it. We still live in the “best” country on the planet that affords us untold opportunity. America! Let’s put “good” on the back burner and fill our lives with the very “best”.

1.   Dallin H. Oakes “Good, Better, Best” Ensign, November 2007

2.  Anderson and Doherty, Family Relations, 54:655.

3.  Dallin H. Oakes “Good, Better, Best” Ensign, November 2007






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, while young men benefit from positive father-child relationships in overall psychological well-being (Berk, 2010). Basically, much good can be accomplished merely by 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…”


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.



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

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


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-


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.



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


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