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Archive for the ‘father’ Category

How important is Forgiveness? And where do you begin?

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Values on March 4, 2016 at 7:38 am

child forgivenessby Tashica Jacobson

“Now what do you say…” was a common phrase heard in my home growing up. With eight children somedays I’m sure my mom felt like she was always breaking up a fight or encouraging someone to apologize. It wasn’t just that my mom was hoping to ensure peace in the house, when she taught us how to say I’m sorry, she was teaching us lifelong principles of forgiveness. It may seem like a simple thing but the ability to forgive others and recognize when you have been in the wrong is a valuable skill that will help in all aspects of life. An atmosphere of forgiveness is something that every family should strive to have in their home.

One of my friends told the story the other day of accidentally bumping into his seven year old daughter, and when he apologized, she responded “It’s okay. I forgave you before you even asked.” These innocent words spoken from a child say a lot about how we need to be in our own marriages and families. We need to be willing to forgive at all times. And we need to want  to forgive when the forgiveness takes time.

Things don’t always go our way in life and within a family. The simple fact that we spend so much time with each other means that we are occasionally going to “bump” into each other; we have disagreements, forget things, and cause each other hurt. But each one of these is an opportunity to forgive.When families have an atmosphere of forgiveness in their home they are less likely to attribute small outbursts as shots at them personally.

John Gottman uses the example of a couple getting ready for a dinner party. When the husband asks where the napkins are, the wife responds in an edgy tone “they are in the cupboard.” Rather than feel hurt by her tone, the husband can simply attribute it to something else…Like her not being able to get the cork out of the wine bottle (Gottman, p. 21).

This is a perfect example of having an atmosphere of forgiveness in the home. When people are short or act inconsiderately towards us, many times it can be attributed to other things going on in their lives, rather than the situation at hand. And in return when individuals feel they are in a safe environment they are also more likely to apologize for outburst.

There are many health benefits to forgiving others. Sleep improves, while pain, blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and stress all decline. It has also been shown that it is harder to forgive others including yourself, if you have never had someone forgive you. The home is the perfect environment to teach this. Children can learn forgiveness over broken toys so that when they deal with the larger issues of life they will know how to forgive.

Parents can encourage their children to apologize and forgive and should demonstrate these values by example. These two things will help all families as they deal with problems no matter what size, and lifelong lessons will be learned.

 

 

 

Link to the Past to Strengthen the Now

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on February 26, 2016 at 6:10 am

family historyby Ally Fife

When I was pregnant with my third child, my in-laws sent me a 500 page, hardbound journal written by my husband’s great great grandmother. Her name was Hannah Jane, and I became obsessed with her over the course of my pregnancy. She was amazing! I read the journal through, then went back and marked favorite stories. By the time my daughter was born, I had already talked my husband into the perfect name: Hannah Jane.

Hannah Jane (the younger) has a connection with her great great great grandmother; linked by names even though over a hundred years separate them. I love to tell Hannah stories about her namesake and hope someday she will read the journal also. What a precious gift to leave behind.

Legacies such as this link us to our past. We not only get a view of everyday life in a different time period, but an interesting view of historical happenings. Hannah Jane (the elder) lived in Mexico during the time of Pancho Villa. She had some rather scary run-ins with him through the years. One of the things I loved about her and wanted to pass on to my child was her strength and conviction. Alone in a hacienda, she defended her family against marauders, and even gained the respect of Pancho Villa, who knew her by name.

Recent studies, done at Emory University, show that children who are taught their family history are more emotionally resilient, handle stress more effectively, and feel a stronger sense of control over their lives. This is because our self-confidence is related to our sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves.

If you don’t think your family has kept any of these records, you may want to think again. Find your distant cousins on Facebook and see if they have any photos, Bibles, or journals. Visit your own grandmother and search her bookshelves and attic. Antique shops, historical societies, and genealogical libraries hold a wealth of treasures just waiting to be found. Once, while visiting Scotland with my husband, we went to the local library where his ancestors had come from. We found several books that were about our particular family of Fife’s. There are also websites designed to reunite families with old diaries and memorabilia. (honoringourancestors.com is a good one.)

Even if all you have is oral stories, write them down. Begin your own book of family stories for future generations to read to their children at bedtime. Linking our past to our present and future brings our immediate families closer together. It builds family pride and responsibility, and we gain a greater appreciation for the sacrifices made for us. As we study our past, we come to know ourselves.

 

Everything Worthwhile Requires Sacrifice

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on February 23, 2016 at 7:40 am

mom with sick infantby Tori Perez

It’s been a tough couple of weeks as a mother. When one person gets sick then everyone gets sick and when mom is sick it feels like everything gets thrown off. Or maybe I’m just thrown off because I’m sick.

At any rate, it’s one of those times in life (this seems to be a reoccurring theme on the blog) that is ridiculously difficult but creates so many beautiful moments. Listening to my perfect – yes, perfect!! –  husband sing to my sick little baby to calm her down while he bathes her is one of the most rewarding moments of my career in motherhood thus far.

That being said, the beautiful moments don’t make anything less hard. I stood there and listened to that song through a cloudy, throbbing head, a sniffly, stuffy nose, and the world’s tiredest, achiest, first-time-mom muscles. I’m not the person that can preach about looking on the bright side, and looking for the rosy, happy moments in life. To be honest, I’m not very good at it. I get mopey a lot, I like to blame other people and outside circumstances for all of my problems instead of taking accountability, and darn it if I don’t like to eat up the attention I get when something bad happens to me.

But even with all of my negative nancy tendencies, somewhere deep in my soul I know that life is really all about the hard stuff. I know that the bathtime song of my husband means twice as much to me when it’s happening at the end of his day off from work that he spent taking care of his sick little family instead of relaxing or doing what he likes to do. It should mean a lot to me even on a good day, and it does! All I’m saying is that the tough stuff has a magical effect that makes the good stuff mean much much more.

And this is true everywhere. The things that I “give up” to be married and to make my marriage work make the things that I “get” out of my marriage worth EXPONENTIALLY more than they would be without my efforts. The sacrifices I make as a mother and the selflessness I have to learn from my children make the rewards so much more rewarding!

What I am trying to say here is that yes, we can choose to live mediocre lives, and shy away from the tough stuff, or we can choose to live vibrant lives. But a vibrant life encompasses all colors – not just the colors we like. A vibrant life is one with ups and downs and in betweens (take note – only ups and downs is no good either).

And yes, families are the epicenter of vibrant living. There are those who will disagree but I am telling you right now that nothing will bring more opportunities for sacrifice and simultaneous pure JOY than marriage and children. No hard thing you experience will ever be as rewarding as the difficulties of family life. Nothing will teach you about beautiful disaster like family can.

And so, from a sick-mom-with-a-very-sick-daughter’s perspective: I get it. I get why people hesitate to start a family, or at least put it off as long as they can. I get why so many moms feel like they just can’t hack it, and why we succumb to complaining to each other about how hard it is instead of celebrating the “little moments.”

I get it. It’s because it’s stinking hard. Life is hard. Getting married, starting a family come with enormous sacrifices. But that’s exactly what makes it so worth it.

So don’t give up, okay?

*This post was originally published at http://subtlesphere.com/everything-worth-your-time-requires-sacrifice/

I Didn’t Always Want to Be a Mom: This is How I Came to Love It!

In Child Development, Choice, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Feminism, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, stay-at-home mom, Values on February 22, 2016 at 8:13 am

mother-daughter

by Erin Weist

When I was a teenager I didn’t think much of being a mom.  In fact, that thought process continued as I grew into a young adult, attended college, lived overseas, held full-time jobs and basically became an adult.  Looking back it’s silly that I didn’t even once consider my own mother and the amazing woman she is and how fully I owed my life and the shaping of my persona to her loving time and attention—didn’t even cross my mind.  That sort of sums up young adulthood, though.  We spend a great deal of time “finding ourselves” or discovering our interests and planning our future or whatever it is we do and conversely spend very little time thinking about how that future could involve or shape other people.  Now, there are others who are more sensitive than me, I will wholeheartedly agree to that.  But even those seeking altruistic professions would probably agree that those times in their lives were basically selfish.

Then, I met my husband.  Well, of course, he wasn’t my husband when I met him.  He was just a hunky guy that I wanted to wrap myself around and never let go.  I fell in love.  We talked about a future and I admitted that, while I agreed to the ideal of family, I wasn’t sure if it was the life for me.  It sounded so… boring, so unfulfilling.  I worried that I needed to be out backpacking around the world, volunteering in third world countries, holding a corporate job, doing SOMETHING BIG that really mattered, otherwise my life wouldn’t mean anything.  Really, I was still in my selfish phase and I had no clue.  Understandably, this freaked out my poor soon-to-be-husband who actually really wanted a family and it was almost a deal-breaker.  It speaks volumes about his maturity and his love for me that he accepted my concerns and stuck with me.

After we were married we both worked full-time in jobs that paid our bills but that we both ironically hated.  ‘But this is what adults do and this is fulfilling,’ I kept trying to tell myself.  It was hard to take myself seriously.

And then we decided to have a baby.

We talked about family, we talked about our responsibilities, but really we had no idea.  Would I continue to work afterwards?  Hmmm, I wasn’t sure.  ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,’ I thought.  Although, truth be told, it was a relief to have an exit plan from a job I dreaded going to every day.  I had thought about looking for a new job but they all seemed the same: stuck in one place, working for someone else all day, only being able to live my own life for about 2 hours a day, plus weekends.  For the first time in my life I started to get excited about staying home with a baby.

I still didn’t know how long it would last.  Maybe I would get bored after a few months and be itching to get back to work.  (And honestly, those times have come over the years as we have welcomed more children into our home, but they never last very long.)  I can promise that the moment I held that squishy baby on my chest, breathing his first breaths, I never wanted to be away.  Not for a moment.  I wanted to hold him every second of his life and let him hold my finger for comfort and just be there.  And so I was.  I stayed home, feeding him, holding him, trying to keep up with mealtimes and cleaning and oh my goodness how do I go grocery shopping with a baby???… and being an attentive wife and a helpful neighbor and all the while dealing with the nagging doubts swirling around me of “what do you do all day?”  (Well, if you don’t have kids and you wonder what moms do all day, try babysitting for a week sometime and then we’ll talk.)

 

And it was hard.  And beautiful.  And we created memories—some good, some bad, but all memorable.  And we’re still creating them.  My children are still all under 10 years and I have learned a million and one things since that first foray into full-time motherhood and I will learn another million and one things just this year.  And then they’ll grow, reach new life stages and it will all change.  But somewhere in there, I got it.  I mean, I get it now.  

I understand why motherhood is important.  I understand that having a full-time out-of-the-home job will never be as fulfilling as the full-time in-the-home job I’m undertaking right now.  Mostly because co-workers and bosses and corporate politics will fade but I will have my children forever.  But also because I’m realizing that I am the first line of defense for my children in a confusing, violent, and sometimes dirty world.  

I can spend my days teaching them about self-control and love and patience and making better choices and learning to see beauty and wonder and love in that scary world.  Certainly I can teach them their ABC’s and how important it is to eat their vegetables and how to sort clothes for the laundry.  Those are visible things, probably things that they can recognize now as teaching.  But most of my teaching they won’t recognize until they’re grown and trying to raise their own little brood.  

Then, possibly like I did, they’ll understand the significance of their mom teaching them to pray always.  They’ll know why the most important parts of the day were the ones when our family was all together.  They’ll remember that their mom believed in them to make good choices and knew they could always strive to be better.

 I could still be a part of the work force and do those things, but I have found that this is where my heart is…and I count myself incredibly blessed both in circumstances and in my husband who allows me to do this, to be taking part in the noblest undertaking I will ever experience in this life.  

I walked through the valley of the shadow of death to bring these kids into this world and I’ve never looked back.  Nothing can ever shake the firmness of my belief in the VITAL, CRUCIAL, IRREPLACEABLE role of a mother.  And I believe fathers have their own vital, crucial, irreplaceable role as well but that deserves its’ own topic another day.

I wanted to record my thoughts today when I realized my own daughter might struggle with these same fears.  And that’s OK, everyone has to learn and we do that by experience.  But I want her, and any young woman concerned with her place in this world, to know that their potential to be a mother will be the most difficult, fulfilling, and important work she will EVER do.  Not to mention the most lasting.  So prepare for it, if you can.  Make your foundation steadfast and immovable so that you’ll be strong enough to hold up yourself AND your little ones.  It will be hard, you may feel unnoticed or unsure, but stick with it and I promise that someday you will look at your life’s work and say, “It is good.”

 

The Shocking State of Sex Education in Ontario and What it Means for the Rest of Us

In Abstinence, Canada, Child Development, Choice, Education, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Gender Identity, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, Non-Discrimination, Parental Rights, Parenting, Pornography, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Transgender, Values on February 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

sex ed protestby Elise Ellsworth

Kids in Ontario have been learning things a little differently this year.  There has not been as much time for the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic as the schools have a new challenge: sexual re-education from kindergarten on up.  The area’s new sexual education program, Fully Alive, is one of the most liberal anywhere.  It began, despite protest, this school year. Some basics of the program:

The “Fully Alive” curriculum requires that children be taught detailed information on homosexual practices, the importance of “carrying a condom”  and other sexual information that children do not need or want to know.  This curriciulum was prepared under the direction of a confessed child sexual predator, Benjamin Levine whose links to child pornography are well-established.  It includes statements such as: “exploring one’s body by touching is something that many people do and find pleasurable.  It is not harmful  …” and other even more detailed statements on the nature of homosexuality, the importance of “getting information from a credible source” (health professional, not parent), the normal nature of two mom and two dad households, and gender identity as something that “may be different from one’s birth-assigned sex.”

The teaching of these radical concepts begins as early as grades 1 (basics of sexuality) and 3 (gender as a matter of personal choice and homosexuality).  Nowhere in the curriculum are the words “love” or “marriage” mentioned.

Religious schools are required to teach the curriculum and parents are being denied the right to opt out – Catholic and other religious schools in Ontario are also required to teach the program and are struggling to make accommodations.  Children in Catholic schools that receive state funding now must learn about condoms, gender identity and abortion along with everyone else.  

In at least one county, parents have also been denied the right to opt their children out of the parts of the program discussing homosexuality and gender identity stating that “where the work is about inclusion … we will not provide religious or any other accommodation.” Effectively, however, the “inclusive” program excludes individuals of many religions.

The program has the effect of denying religious individuals access to public education – Faced with the indoctrination of their children, religious individuals are left with only one option, pull their children out of public schools altogether.  And this is what a growing number of parents are doing.  In the Muslim community, where there are few private options, parents find their hands tied.  Muslim homeschooling groups are seeing large increases. But it’s a tough call.  As one Muslim parent put it: “We don’t want to be outside the mainstream.  Our call is not anti-public school system, but we feel there should be a system that should accommodate all people.”

Many parents are too busy today to pay attention to what their children are being taught in public schools – but other countries and states across the United States have slowly been moving toward mandatory public sexual indoctrination of children.  And this effective denial of religious and parental rights poses a risk for the health of children and for society as a whole.

 

Are You Giving the LOVE your Companion NEEDS?

In Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Values on February 16, 2016 at 9:55 am

love languagesby Keely Tanner

Everyone is different in their expressions of love. You might express your love and feel it in a different way than your significant other or others in your family. This is okay because everyone is different, even in expressing and feeling love for someone. What is going to be helpful to you in your relationships is to know and understand the different languages of love and how to apply them.

Based off of the five love languages that Gary D. Chapman came up with I have listed a few major points for each of them. Which is YOUR love language?  And which best describes the language of those you love most?

1.  Quality time– This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. This love language is where you spend time together doing meaningful things.

Actions include: running errands, taking trips, doing things together, going on walks, and sitting and talking at home.

Communication in quality time: quiet places with no interruptions, undivided attention, one-to-one conversations.    

Things to avoid: too much time with friends or groups, isolation, gaps of time between visits.

 

2.  Words of affirmation– This language uses words of encouragement and appreciation. They want to hear it from you that they are valued and cared for in the relationship.

 Actions include: Spoken words, written cards or letters, including text messages and email.

Communication in Words of Affirmation: Encouraging words, complements and affirming spirits.

 Things to avoid:  Emotionally harsh words and undue criticism.

 

3.  Physical touch– To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.

 Actions include: hugs, pats, touches, and sitting close.

 Communication for Physical Touch:  Pleasant facial expressions mostly non-verbal.

Things to avoid: physical abuse, corporal punishment, threats and neglect.

 

4.  Gifts– For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.

Actions include: giving gifts, giving time, remembering special occasions, and giving small tokens.

Communication: Private gift giving and pleasant facial expressions.

Things to avoid: materialism and forgetting special events.

 

5.  Acts of service- For these people, actions speak louder than words. Even one small act of service is meaningful to the person receiving it.

Actions include: assisting with house chores, ongoing acts of helpfulness, and exchanging of chores.

Communication in service: make a check list, and say things like “what can I do for you?”, “I will stop and get….”, “I did……for you”

Things to avoid: forgetting chores, over commitment of tasks, and ignoring.

There may be times when this will be a stretch for you especially if you find out that you have different love languages and it’s not the normal way that you express your love. But as you come to understand the five love languages and apply them, your relationship will grow stronger and you will be able to have a better chance in having a successful relationship.

Where’s the Bonus Coming From

In Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, Parenting, Research, The Family, Values, working mothers on February 2, 2016 at 8:06 am

married couple and financesby Tashica Jacobson

A common phrase heard over and over during my schooling was “married individuals are happier, healthier, and make more money.” This can seem hard to believe as my husband and I experience the struggle to pay bills and survive the tension of weekly budgets. However the financial benefits of marriage are proven and have been documented multiple times. One study found that “on average, married people each generate 4 percent more wealth per year than singles.  Over time, that means married people accumulate twice the wealth of singles, on average, and couples end up with four times the combined wealth of a single person.”

Many factors contribute to this “marriage advantage;” the level of commitment in marriage, the pooling of resources, and the documented effects of marriage on men.

Level of Commitment

Marriage demands a higher level of commitment than other relationships. It has the expectation of permanence and exclusivity. Because of this couples invest together for the long term. This explains why married couples are more likely to be home owners, have savings, and plan for retirement. Married couples are seven times more likely to own their own home than singles.

Pooling of Resources

Couples also have the benefit of pooling their resources when they are married. For two people they only pay one rent and one set of utilities. They can “ride share,” saving on car and gas expenses, buy food in bulk without it going bad as fast, and divide up chores and household duties.

One example of this is shared meal preparation. When living alone cooking meals every night gets mundane and doesn’t always fit into schedules. Couples can take turns preparing meals, and the other can step up when one spouse might be running late. Result? Married couples eat out less often and buy fewer frozen dinners.

Child care is one of the more costly expenses that parents have. Spouses can pool their resources here, as well, to reduce and even eliminate the cost of childcare. Many couples I know plan work schedules so that one parent is in the home to care for children while the other parent works. Split-shift parenting allows parents to reduce or eliminate the amount of time a child spends in daycare by adjusting to each other’s schedules.

Spouses also tend to combine their income. Rather than each partner paying for his/her set of expenses and managing money separately, married couples tend to combine their income and manage bills and expenses together.

Transformative Effect on Husbands:

Brad Wilcox, a well-known educator and popular speaker,  stated that “Marriage has a transformative effect on adult behavior, emotional health, and financial well-being—particularly for men.” Men show better work habits once they are married. They work harder, earn more money, and are more conscious about the effect of work on life.

Marriage focuses men on their role as providers and they tend to start looking for opportunities to make more money and work harder. Married men are also less likely to quit a job before another one is secured, and they are less likely to get fired. Result?  They earn more money on average than their single counterparts.

Marriage really does make a difference in the financial well-being of individuals, and as those benefits are accumulated over the years a large difference begins to be manifest.  After ten years of marriage, one study showed that married couples reported an average net worth  approximately 4 times greater than their single counterparts. Finances are just another way that marriage benefits individuals and society.

 

 

 

Life Isn’t Fair

In Choice, Divorce, Families, father, Freedom, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Sanctity of Life, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, working mothers on January 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

parent talking with daughter 2

by Rebecca Mallory

All of us, at one time or another, are brought to our knees because of unexpected events. Trials and tribulation hit each of us whether we’re rich, poor, short or tall, young or old. We all have them. These moments often jolt us back to reality in reflection of what is truly important. I’ve had one of those weeks.  Not from personal experience, but from the experience of others.

 How do you deal with trials, devastating news and/or set backs?
What purpose do trials serve?
What are we supposed to learn from them?
Without core beliefs and a trustworthy support group, many of us would be caught up in the “why’s” of life. No, life is not fair. Life is precious and can be cut short at any time.Though tragedy strikes us all, we still have a choice of how we will react.
Will we allow it to destroy us?  Or will we pick ourselves up, be forgiving, loving and patient and move on?  I contend that our reaction depends on those core beliefs. So as you kiss your kids or spouse “goodbye” today, let’s not take anything for granted.
If this was your last day on earth, would you be a different person?
How would you treat the people around you if this was so?

Would you look for the good?

Such was the case for some friends of ours. Mary, (not her real name) had been divorced for many years. She raised her sweet kids, got them through college, and did it alone. She recently met a great guy from Australia online, they dated and got married over Thanksgiving, 2015. They were so incredibly happy together,  Mary seemed to glow. Last week, Robert (not his real name) was playing pickup basketball and literally collapsed with a massive cardiac arrest and died at 54 years old.  Why? How is that fair to this darling girl?

A couple of days later, I heard of a young mom in the neighborhood who was taking her little four year old out for a walk in hopes that mom would soon go into labor and deliver their new baby sister. The little girl somehow let go of her mother’s hand, dashed into the street and was hit by a car and killed. Why? How is that fair to this grieving young family?

Life is anything but fair. So how do we deal with these tragedies of life? I had a sister who died of lung cancer three years ago. She never touched tobacco.

I know that each of you have these same stories or know of close friends who have. Here’s what I do know, however. We must all come to grips with what life may throw at us. We need to have a strong support system and core beliefs to guide us through those times. For many people that is their religion,  a faithful friend, strong families, or belief in a higher power, etc. It is so important that we have access to something or someone bigger than us to support us through these times.

I reflected on the words spoken in the funeral of this newlywed. His two sons spoke and were obviously distraught. One son recounted how he always got on his dad’s case because he didn’t save money like the son wished he would. “But,” he answered, “I’m creating memories with my precious family.” This son was so grateful for that. Mary, his wife, bravely spoke also. She spoke of Robert’s goodness and positive attitude. She spoke of the seven glorious weeks they had together and how grateful she was for those precious memories. Certainly she could have sobbed and wailed about how unfair it was that he was taken at such a young age. From her core beliefs, however, Mary chose to look at the bright side of having had those wonderful weeks with a wonderful man. The difficulty will not stop for a long time of course. Loneliness will settle in and those pesky “why’s?” will creep into her thoughts as they do all of us when we face trials.

Life rarely turns out the way we planned. As teenagers many young girls picture their life with a handsome and rich husband who showers them with anything they want. Large families who all love each other and live next to each other in total bliss. Problems and life’s road bumps would never be an issue for them. What if that actually happened? What kind of growth is gained from that perfect life? How would they learn to be a little more kind, compassionate or empathetic to those around them?

Look back at your life. What experiences brought you the most heartache and/or joy? I’ll bet it was those that were most difficult and brought you to your knees to search the depths of your soul for what is truly important. “Stuff” suddenly does not matter. Petty grievances are often forgiven, and hopefully, we learn life’s hard but valuable lessons that then prepare us for the next big challenge we will face. I remember feeling sorry for parents who had a wayward child, one who had a drug addiction, lost a job, or died at a young age. It wasn’t until my family faced similar trials that I truly understood the pain of those who went before us.

Like the rough stone that tumbles into a river and is constantly bombarded with debris, freezing cold water and other elements, it slowly becomes smooth as it yields to the river. On the other hand, think of those you know who choose to remain heartbroken and bitter because of refusing to yield to life’s curve balls. Often these people look much older than their age and are in poor health because the worry and stress that they allow, yes allow, to consume them will age or even kill them faster than most diseases.

This blog post has been cathartic for me as I struggle with the “why’s?” of life. What have I learned? The same lessons that I learn each time a tragedy happens and yanks me back to the few things in life that matter: my God, my family, my relationships. Life is fleeting and you can always expect the unexpected. Love your children, spouse, neighbors and friends. Treat the people in your community with love and respect. They are experiencing life just as you are. They have feelings, families, trials and joys just like you. Let’s try to be a little kinder, a little more gentle in our reactions, less likely to take offense, and more filled with joy and laughter.
Be the bright spot in someone’s day. It takes so little on our part to bring a smile to someone’s face. And the great secret is that you benefit even more and feel great joy. No, life isn’t fair, but we can overcome the unfairness with our choosing to look at the good in all including ourselves!

What is the Most Effective Form of STD Prevention?

In Abstinence, AIDS, Birth Rate, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Education, Families, father, Feminism, Free Speech, Freedom, Health Care, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Population Control, Religion, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Sexually Transmitted Disease, The Family, Values on January 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

STD's 5by Erin Weist

*The opinions expressed in this article are mine alone.  Each individual reserves the right to live and choose as they best see fit.

I have seen a few articles recently touting the need for greater national exposure to the HPV vaccine, a series of shots given meant to prevent the spread of Human Papillomaviruses which cause things such as genital warts and certain types of cancers.  I firmly believe in the right of any individual to make individual choices concerning his or her own body.  That responsibility also lies with parents to make the best choices possible for their children.  In the case of this vaccine, I believe the recommendations by the CDC and other medical groups are misguided and counterintuitive.

 

First, the CDD website recommends the following: The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus.  But elsewhere on their site, under an article about risky sexual behaviors in youth, there is a score of worrisome statistics regarding unhealthy sexual behaviors and the need to curb them.  Rather than teaching kids about the theories behind sexual activity (the “why” or “when”) there is only a list of the “how,” attitudes and behaviors suggested that they adopt, such as “reducing the risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy.”

 

The reasoning is all there behind the rules and recommendations but NO ONE comes out and says it.  Abstinence works.  It prevents this stuff.  It is possible, it is healthy, it is normal.  Our society has moved away from an unhealthy shunning of those who fall into sexual snares to an equally unhealthy acceptance and LAUDING of over-active sexual discovery and behavior.  I maintain the right in my own life to practice abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage and likewise the right to teach my children this practice, in place of vaccines meant to allow the continuation of harmful behavior, only with fewer side effects.  

 

The site cancer.gov explains that “HPV vaccination before sexual activity can reduce the risk of infection.”  It also states that “people who are not sexually active almost never develop genital HPV infections” (emphasis added).  Weighing the odds, it seems even science can’t argue that abstinence is the most effective form of infection prevention.  So why doesn’t anyone teach it?

 

Suggest at a local school board meeting that you teach abstinence to kids and you are laughed out of the room.  Suggest it in ANY public forum and you are actually derided for your values.  They are out-of-touch, they are unrealistic, they are even unhealthy.  For sake of public awareness of other possibilities I submit the following:

 

My kids will learn about sex.  Not a single one of the bunch is over 10 years old and they already know quite a bit.  My kids will likewise learn about sexually transmitted diseases.  They will learn about how & why they are spread, they will learn the dangers of those diseases.  But they will also learn how God commanded us to keep ourselves morally chaste throughout our lives.  They will learn why we have the ability to sexually reproduce, what sex is for, why we have children, how they can use it to promote a healthy relationship with their spouse and why we don’t engage in sexual behaviors with anyone before we are married.

 

THIS IS POSSIBLE.  It is even reasonable and healthy!  It is how both my husband & I were raised.  Granted, our children may find spouses someday who have been sexually active previously and they will need to deal with that issue as a couple.  But it should never be about telling them that we know they’re going to be reckless so “here are the things to help you during your harmful behavior.”  A simple Google search brought up these articles and studies (here, here and here) that show how harmful early sexual behavior is for kids (and those were just on the first search page).  Why are we sending counterintuitive messages saying early sexual activity is harmful but here is something to help you engage in it?
I invite anyone who will listen to join me.  Kids should not be having sex.  It is meant to be between husband and wife.  At minimum it should be between ONLY adults.  Our legislation, our physician recommendations, our schools, our federal recommendations, our family values, EVERYTHING should be encouraging abstinence for kids.  Always, always, always.  By all means teach them about the dangers of STDs and then encourage them to stay chaste until they are adults and able to navigate the waters of sexual activity with emotional maturity.  Do it for the kids, please.

The Results Are Out: Children Need a Married Mom and Dad

In Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on January 22, 2016 at 7:50 am

family in forrestby Elise Ellsworth

About a year ago I noticed that a bird had built its nest above my neighbor’s garage. It was the most uniquely situated of any I had ever seen.   I commented on the nest. My neighbor responded with something like, “Oh, that stupid, stupid bird.” I wondered what she meant. She explained to me that the previous year the bird had built her nest in the same spot. The baby birds, when venturing out of the nest had plunged to their death on the pavement below. And yet this year the bird was at it again – building a nest in the same place.

It seems that society has become fixated on creating novel and unique family arrangements that do not work well: cohabitation, no-fault divorce, unwed parenting. And the results from social science and data have come back. Overwhelmingly. Resoundingly. Go back to the tree.

Children do best when raised by their happily married biological parents.

An article published in the Journal of Marriage and Child Wellbeing was entitled: “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation.” In this article, the author studied children who grew up in a household with two biological parents as compared to those growing up with one biological parent. The conclusions were that these children were “less likely to experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and social problems, not only during childhood but also in adulthood.”

Many other such studies have been performed with similar results. Children need their biological mom and dad. We don’t need more new alternatives. We need to learn from history. We need to do better what already has been done. Our children only get one chance at life. Let’s build the best families possible for future generations.

 

 

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