The next time you think that everyone else sees the world as you do, remember the following.
The next time you think that everyone else sees the world as you do, remember the following.
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:
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!
In 2013 California made it legally possible for children to have more than two parents. More states will surely follow suit. The diversity-in-family-structure-loving-liberals think this is enlightened. They’re working hard to bring society out of the dark ages of Married mother and father families into the “Brave New World” of many parents.
Except this idea isn’t so brave and isn’t so new. Some children have already had a similar experience through divorce and they are speaking out. The Ruth Institute is collecting stories from children of divorce. As it turns out divorced couples, remarried couples, step families, broken families, and shared custody don’t actually feel so enlightened to the children who grew up in these situations.
One such personal story, told by Jennifer Johnson, illustrates what it actually feels like growing up with 5 parents. Johnson’s parents divorced when she was about three. Her mother remarried once and her father remarried twice. Johnson explains what her life was like growing up with five parents:
“it means going back and forth between all those households on a regular basis, never having a single place to call home during your most tender and vulnerable years. It means having divided Christmases, other holidays, and birthdays–you spend one with one parent, and another with the other parent, never spending a single holiday or birthday with both parents. Imagine having each of your parents completely ignore the other half of you, the other half of your family, as if it did not even exist. Meanwhile, imagine each parent pouring their energy into their new families and creating a unified home for their new children. These experiences give you the definite impression of being something leftover, something not quite part of them. You live like that on a daily basis for 18+ years.”
So why would so many adults push for this type of family brokenness and even make it possible for many adults to have legal control over a child? It’s called selfishness. Adults want this so they can have children and have sex with whoever they please and at whatever stage of life they wish. They want this sort of life legal so their partner can make medical and educational decisions for their children. They want convenience for themselves, but not their children.
Johnson writes about a woman, Masha Gessen, a prominent LGBT activist, who grew up with a married mother and father and speaks frankly about how her children have 5 parents. Gessen bemoans the fact that there, as yet, isn’t a way for her children to have all of their parents legally:
“I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”
Johnson’s replies to Gessen simply calling out the truth of the matter:
“If what I had is so great, then why don’t they want it as children? Here’s my conclusion: they want it as adults but not as children. They want the benefits of the socially conservative family structure when they are children. But as adults, they want sexual freedom, or at least they want to appear ‘open minded’ and ‘tolerant’ about others sexual choices, even at the expense of children, even though they themselves would never want to live under what they advocate. It’s a bizarre sort of a ‘win-win’ for them, I guess.”
Children don’t need more than two legal parents. Society doesn’t need diversity in family structure. All children and all of society needs responsible adults who marry before having children, work daily on a loving relationship and together raise their children in stable, happy homes. It can be done and would be the source of a truly “enlightened” society!
Monday morning in the west, we awoke to the good news that the Supreme Court actually sided with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood!! These companies and other companies that can show “closely held” religious beliefs can opt out of the HHS contraceptive mandate. A win for religious freedom—yes! A sweeping win for religious freedom—no.
The justices limited their ruling to laws made by the federal government. If a state makes a law that limits the religious freedom of business owners, this ruling will not apply. The Supreme Court could have ruled that every American citizen could run their own companies according their consciences. As Matt Walsh put it:
“This ruling is a limited victory for freedom and sanity, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The justices could have issued a sweeping decision fortifying every person’s right to run their lives and their companies according to the dictates of their conscience, rather than the dictates of an authoritarian government bureaucracy. Instead, they focused the issue down to the specifics of Hobby Lobby’s particular situation, meaning that other companies, businesses, and corporations will still be subject to Orwellian speech infringements.”
And of course, if anyone is still under the belief that Judges aren’t partisan, here is another 5 to 4 ruling along party lines. As is often the norm, more conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and chief Justice John Roberts joined by the most independent Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and the more liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Ginsburg ruled against Hobby Lobby.
As a conservative, I am quite happy about this ruling and hope and pray that none of the conservative justices retire until after 2016. There is always hope for the future right?
Some in the media will accuse the men who ruled in favor of religious freedom as furthering the war on women and taking away women’s reproductive rights. That is just silliness.
Unlike Justice Ginsburg, who in her dissent lamented: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Women need not be concerned with how well they can participate in the economic and social life of this nation. This ruling in no way limits women’s ability to get birth control. Women are still free to purchase any birth control they want. They are still free to apply for work with whatever employer provides the sort of health insurance they want. Women are still free, and now business owners are free from burdensome federal laws that keep them from acting according to their consciences.
My husband subscribes to Bloomberg Businessweek. This magazine and I have a good thing going on. Like weekly clockwork: the magazine arrives, I thumb through, I focus on a fascinating article or two (or six), and a few minutes (or… longer) later, I feel rather amazed at the ingenuity of some of my fellow humans. Knowing this routine of mine—this expectation of curiosity and awe—I was taken aback with the front cover of a recent issue that was sitting innocently on my kitchen counter.
Now, I believe that women are just as capable business leaders as their men counter parts, in fact I think women can bring perspectives to the conference room table that men can’t. I’m grateful that our country has fought for the capability and opportunity of women. I fully believe in education, especially for women, and I think every woman, no matter their marital status or their plans to be stay-at-home-mothers, should have an education, training, or vocation to provide for themselves and their families if necessary.
But this article crossed a line for me. A renowned business magazine is not only giving this sort of intimate advice, but they blew it up all over their cover with a confident looking, successful white woman. It’s like they’re saying, “Here! You wanna play with the big boys? Go through expensive, invasive medical treatments to put your eggs on ice like bulk hamburger meat and then we will accommodate you!”
That being said, I am grateful for this technology. I can see the wonderful blessings that can arise from it when used appropriately, such as freezing eggs before chemotherapy, or early hysterectomy. And though I believe in the strength, love, and power that can come from getting married and building a life and family together, I can see why unmarried women who are the “latchkey kids of glass-ceiling breakers” (as the article so put it) would see this technology as a blessing. They want kids, haven’t found the right husband, were so focused on a career that they all of a sudden look around and realize they’re 39 years old and are running out of time for the family they wanted to have. I can understand their fear.
Still, I am angry that business leaders think they can dangle the carrot of promotion alongside the caveat of “but you’ll have to stall your God-given role and right to have and nurture a family.” What is that telling women? That their roles in society are secondary to trying to be like men? Think about it. That is not empowering women. That is degrading.
Recently, I watched a television episode of a popular law drama where a female associate lawyer decided to quit because she wanted to have a family. My applause at her courage quickly turned to frustration as her female boss somberly sighed and commented that it was a waste of talent. A waste of talent? What do you think will happen to our world when society tells us that raising a family is a waste?
I am an educated, intelligent woman. I do have ambitions to use my graduate school degree towards giving back to my community. But now, I am using my education to raise my children. Women have been charged with the role of nurturing future generations, and I embrace that role whole-heartedly and gratefully. My children bring me more joy, more growth, and yes…more patience, as I carefully nurture, teach, care for, and observe them. I learn things about life, the world, humankind, and frankly physics that could never be learned in the workplace. And my kids learn things from me and feel things from me that don’t necessarily come from a daycare worker.
I absolutely know that I can have more influence on this world by shaping my children into the best selves that they can be than I could have by going to work.
I have found that putting off a family for career reasons is the real waste of time and talents. Don’t let industry leaders, Hollywood, or misguided friends and family tell you otherwise.
As a stay at home mom of 9 children, I get many people asking me the question, “How do you do it?” My answer is simple. I do not do it alone. I am a stay at home mom of many children only because I am married and my husband and I have chosen to bear our children together and to make the financial sacrifices necessary to keep me at home.
While staying home to raise my children, I have the time to keep a clean and organized home, make healthy meals, help with homework, and be there for the little struggles and triumphs of my children. I could not be the same mother if I had to leave the house every day to work a full time job. I have the option of staying at home because I am married to a man who is willing to work hard to provide for a family. Being a mother is not hard when it is coupled with a supportive and loving marriage. In fact, motherhood under these circumstances is beautiful and rewarding.
However, our society is teaching the opposite– marriage is difficult–being parents is too hard–staying home to raise your children is a waste of your education and talents. These teachings and ideas about family life are simply not true. Sure, a happy marriage requires time and sacrifice, but the benefits always outweigh the costs. Yes, parenthood is tiring and messy. It is also wonderful and amazing, and completely worth the time and mess. Of course, when a mother stays home she is not using her education and talents to earn money, but she is using her education and talents to teach and train the next generation—nothing is wasted.
Unfortunately, the negative voice about marriage and parenting is the louder voice and it is taking a toll on the family. With 41% of children being born to single mothers and 40% to 50% of first marriages ending in divorce, many, many mothers do not even have the option to be stay at home moms. Not only do these mothers have to work, they are much more likely to live in poverty and their children are disadvantaged educationally, socially, and economically. These statistics are sad and sobering.
Yet, the answer to fix these problems is simple. As a society, we need to stop listening to the negative voices about marriage and family and make the choice to get married, stay married, and make child rearing a couple effort. Family life is a happy, fulfilling life, and marriage is the best place to raise a child.
In the last number of years a good amount of material has been published about the rewards of parenting. Are parents truly happier? Is parenting worth it? Many of these articles highlight the downsides of being a parent. Dirty diapers. Crying babies. Bulging tummies. Tyrranical teenagers. Authors (often childless) tell us that parents are more stressed, their marriages are less idyllic. They convey the message that parents are less happy than their childless counterparts who travel the world, grow their bank accounts, eat out, attend the movies and pursue ambitious professional dreams. In a culture that values immediate gratification many now assume that parenting is just not worth it. Choosing a child-free life has become an increasingly acceptable option, even among married American women.
Yet, interestingly, when researchers ask parents whether they would make the choice to be a parent again they get an overwhelming response. Yes. 94% of parents would do it again. On the other hand, only 24% of childless adults over 40 would choose childlessness again.
Why the discrepancy? Perhaps the hard work of parenting has its own rewards. Studies support this idea. A study recently published in Psychological Science showed that older adults with children are happier than their childless peers. Another worldwide 2011 Pew Research study showed that while parents in their twenties rated themselves as less happy than their friends without children, this trend equalized during the thirties and then reversed itself in a person’s forties and fifties. After fifty, the more children one had, the greater the happiness. Other studies have supported the idea that the happiness of parents grows as they age. Interestingly, studies also show that parents of all ages, happy or not, find more meaning in life than parents who do not have children. Parenting is hard, creative work akin to planting a garden, playing the piano or painting. But the work of parenting has both tangible rewards and intangible satisfactions. Many of the tangible rewards come in the middle and later years of life as children become interesting adults and as parents begin to realize their own multi-generational impact on a growing family.
Of course there are those who cannot have children of their own. Many of these adults can and still do choose to impact the lives of children in other meaningful ways. But to those who have the option – consider the rewards.
Parenting is not glamorous. But choosing to have children pays great dividends. It is a choice to devote oneself to an endeavor with endless potential and with limitless possibilities for growth and for good – choosing children is choosing to invest in, to advance, and to create life itself.
What do I have in common with Vladimir Putin? Apparently more than I formerly realized.
In September, 2014 the World Congress of Families Conference is being held in Moscow, Russia. The Conference focus: “Every Child a Gift: Large Families—The Future of Humanity.” Take note: The conference in Russia is focusing on large families. Why? Russia’s population has been in decline since 1991, falling at a rate of about 0.5%. Not until 2010 when the government started supporting and even encouraging childbirth has Russia seen a population increase of 0.4%, the highest in Eastern Europe. More recently Russian lawmakers are pushing to limit or completely ban abortions believing that they are partly responsible for the country’s dwindling population. Currently the birthrate in Russia is 1.7 children per woman. Their society is unsustainable at that rate and they know it. In June of 2013 the Russian Parliament past a law that prohibits propagandizing of “relations not conducive to procreation.” Russian leaders are pulling out all the stops. They want their country to thrive again, and they see large families as the key feature in the accomplishment of this goal.
Growing up in the fifties large families were the norm where I lived. My mother had eight children. Dorothy, who lived across the street, had six. Elma next door had five. Aunt Barbara had six. Large families were everywhere. So when I got married in 1975 I couldn’t imagine my newly created family without children…lots of them. In May, 1985 my fifth baby was born, and I knew my family was complete. Was my life frenzied? Most of the time, yes. But it got better and better as I focused on learning how to keep our lives scheduled, positive, and always moving forward. My memories are sweet and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world! When honesty, goodness, hard work, and responsibility are taught in the home, the result is not only a strong family, but a stronger community and thriving society. This is what Russian leaders are hoping to bring back to their country. How unfortunate that it took the demise of the family and society for Russian leaders to recognize the correlation. The laws being implemented are to encourage a family-centered society. It may take generations to recover what they have lost, but Vladimir Putin is finally coming around to my way of thinking.
By now you’ve read about Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his Philadelphia abortion clinic also known as the “house of horrors.” It is exactly that. I’ve heard bits and pieces of the case and don’t want to hear anymore; it’s too heartbreaking and disturbing.
Gosnell has committed extraordinary atrocities and hopefully will never be allowed to harm another woman or child. But the bulk of abortion doctors are performing a legal ‘medical’ procedure. They are doing what the ‘mother’ asks and pays them to do, and what our society allows them to do! Nevertheless, where are their hearts/did they ever have one?
So, we’ve talked about the doctors. Number two on the list are the women who request this procedure. I have no sympathy or tolerance for women who do this. Do they not know what causes pregnancy? With all the birth control so available in our society, there isn’t any excuse for abortion! Do these women have no moral code in their heart/mind/life that tells them that pre-marital/extra-marital sex are wrong and that ending their unborn child’s life is not the way out of their predicament? Last but not least – where are these women’s hearts? How can they allow a tiny helpless baby to be killed – inside their uterus, OR outside!? Where is their tenderness, sympathy, their motherly intuition? Can they feel any emotion at all?
Now, third on the list is our society. I would venture to say that if we think nothing of killing the smallest and most helpless in our society – the sky is the limit. Then we have no sympathy or tenderness for old people, the maimed, physically or mentally impaired, how about minority groups? By the way, Planned Parenthood’s founder stated that the program’s purpose was to get rid of and prevent the birth of the undesirables in our society. Planned Parenthood performs the most abortions per capita on women of minority groups with African Americans at the top of the list. You do the math and draw your own conclusions.
Remember Nazi Germany. They started out exterminating the Jews, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, and moved on to religious groups. Evil usually begins small, and then, incrementally and insidiously, takes over: Nazi Germany and WWII.
The actress Ashley Judd and her batty views have been in the news lately. God is ambiguous to her and she believes it is abominable to “breed.” She’s white and beautiful. She would be the last in Nazi Germany to have been given any grief.
This is the state of many in our society today: heartless, Godless, narcissistic, unsympathetic, past feeling.
So, who should really be on trial in the above case? The mother? Probably. The Doctor? For sure. Our society? Absolutely.
Shame on us.
Because of current circumstances in my life, I have had opportunity to witness seven or eight weddings over the past two weeks. I was actually surprised at how many young couples are getting married. I thought that marriage was a thing of the past. But apparently I have been wrong. Good! I’m glad I was wrong. Before pronouncing the marriage vows the officiator has offered advise to the bride and groom.
1. Communication is a key to a successful marriage. Together your joys will be doubled, and your sorrows will be divided. To the bride: “When your husband gets home each evening, ask about his day…and then listen with your ears and your heart. Your concern and interest can lighten his load and inspire confidence.” To the Groom: “Ask about her day…her ups and her downs. Be the man she can lean on. Be the man who willingly takes time to listen to her. And both of you need to know when not to speak. That too, is an important part of communication…wisely determine when to let emotions calm before voicing your opinions.
2. Create a budget, and live within that budget. The only time you should go into debt is for a home, education, or a modest car. You are at the beginning of your lives. You don’t need the newest and the best. Character is built when second-hand is okay while together you work and save and sacrifice for better. You have years to reach your financial goals. Be patient. Don’t allow debt to destroy peace and harmony in your marriage.
3. To the husband: Take your wife out once a week…just you and her. Every day she should know how much you love her, but that weekly date is the time when you let her know she is still your sweetheart. At first you may only be able to afford a walk around the park with an ice cream cone. But it’s the one on one experience that can reignite the reason why you are here today with a desire to live together as life companions.
To the wife: Get dressed up for your date with your husband. Wear his favorite dress…or his favorite jeans. Fix your hair the way he likes it best. Make him happy to take you out. And if for financial reasons it’s only a walk through the park, put your arm through his and let him know that things will get better. You have confidence in him, the future, and your financial goals.
As the officiator offers this advise the young couples have smiled and nodded their heads in agreement. It’s easy to agree before life’s challenges come into play.
Understanding how important marriage is to man, woman, and child, I have said a little prayer for each bride and groom. I pray they will remember the officiator’s counsel. And I pray they won’t give up on each other and their love.
For thirty-eight years I have experienced the highs and lows of marriage and family. These experiences have given me a wisdom I didn’t have as a young bride. Even if the officiator’s advice is accepted and lived, it cannot guarantee that their marriage will weather the storms of life. But those storms will be less fierce when caring communication, financial peace of mind, and devotion to each other (and none else) are fundamental to that relationship.