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Who Should Provide the Care?

In Birth Rate, Breastfeeding, Child Development, Courts, Diane Robertson, Families, Family Planning, father, Government, Health Care, Human Rights, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Single Mothers, The Family, Values, Women's Rights, working mothers on February 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

pregnant and workingDiane Robertson

Last December the Supreme Court heard arguments about the workplace and pregnancy. A pregnant employee wanted UPS to accommodate her pregnancy by switching her to a job where she would not have to lift heavy packages. UPS refused, so the woman took unpaid leave while keeping her health insurance, and later sued in federal court stating that the UPS didn’t adhere to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

In my home state, a bill has come before the legislature asking that pregnancy and breast feeding be included in the state non-discrimination law. Again the question becomes how much should employers do to accommodate pregnancy and breast feeding.

Along the same lines as the UPS case, new science is warning about the necessity of prenatal care and the possibility that a stressful job during pregnancy could cause a lifetime of health problems for the unborn child.

As the mother of 10 children. I fully understand that pregnant and breast feeding women need care and accommodation. It takes a lot of energy and nutrition to build a person. But who should care for and accommodate women and their children?

The question comes down to this: should the government mandate the care of the mother and baby to the woman’s employer? To me this question is not one of rights and regulations, but one of families.

This week, I read a rather sobering article. It said that 54% of children will not be raised in a home with both their mother and father. Many of these are abandoned mothers left to fend for themselves and their children. The majority of families are not taking care of their own.

This question would not have been asked in the past. In the past, families took care of their own. The father stayed with the mother and worked hard enough to support his family. When a father failed, the woman’s parents, siblings, or other extended family took over this care. I think the care of mothers and children should be on the shoulders of the families.

Instead of mandating that employers provide the needed care for mothers and babies, maybe the government should look at other policies that have encouraged this adult-centric world where sexual desires trump the essential needs of vulnerable women and children. The needs are real.

What do you think? Who should provide the care?

Take a Vacation…You need it more than you realize

In Child Development, Families, father, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on February 23, 2015 at 6:41 am

family skiingCaitlin Woolbert

So many sources today steal time away from our families. They try to get our children to place priority and trust in the wrong places such as media or popularity. As wonderful as it is to have friends, what our kids really need are great FAMILIES where they know they will be safe and loved. The home needs to be where our children learn important lessons and make decisions so they will feel confident with themselves and their ability to make good choices when they are not in the home. Knowing this, family time should be our number one goal. With all of the temptations our children face it is essential that we make time to teach important lessons.

A great way to spend quality time with your family is by taking family vacations. Here are five benefits of Recreation:

  1. Recreation provides time and opportunity for better communication.
  2. Recreation allows for families to set time aside specifically for the family, where their main priority is the family well-being.
  3. Provides an opportunity to work as a team and for the parents to see their kids accomplish tasks.
  4. Provides opportunities for praises.
  5. Provides opportunities for reliance on one another to accomplish tasks. (Build trust)

Family vacations are stressful for parents. “Trying to manage children during family outings can be a real challenge. But what often happens is that we as parents have good experiences, and, although we may not know it, our children are probably having great experiences.”  Mark Widner, BYU ProfessorRecreation Management and Youth Leadership.

In Widmer’s article he shares a great example of this. “Charles Francis Adams was a son of the second president of the United States, a successful lawyer, and ambassador to Great Britain. Although he had little free time, one day he took his son fishing. In his diary, he wrote, “Went fishing with my son today. A day wasted.” On that same day, his son wrote “Went fishing with my father today, the most wonderful day of my life.” Spending time with your children is important to them.

Think back to a time in your childhood that you would describe as joyful. Chances are good that most of these will relate to your family in some form or shape. Some of my greatest memories come from spending time with my family. When we are gathered together as a family we often bring up memories from past family vacations. These experiences help us grow closer.

I encourage you to make time today to be with your family. Sit down and plan family vacations. You won’t regret it, and lasting memories will be made for you and your children.

References

Huff, C. (2002). The influence of challenging family outdoor recreation on parent-adolescent communication. (Master’s thesis)Retrieved from http://search.lib.byu.edu/byu/id:byu2907931

Widmer, M. (2004). Strengthening marriages and families through wholesome recreation. Retrieved from http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu/issues/2004/Summer/wholesomerecreation.aspx

 

Stress with Families

In Child Development, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, Religion, Research, The Family, Values on February 20, 2015 at 7:05 am

family holding hands 2Tashica Jacobson

Many joys come from family life. It allows us to be in a situation where we can give and receive love, feel fulfillment, and accomplish goals. But that does not mean that it is without its challenges. Having a family and even dealing with life’s daily challenges can be very difficult. Even planned events that people anticipate still bring their share of stress, such as pregnancy or weddings. While unplanned events, like unemployment and death, can be even more stressful. Whatever the cause of these stressful situations, families need to have the means to effectively cope with them.

In one of my classes my professor instructed a group of students to stand in a circle and hold hands; and then to remain holding hands throughout. He then went around the circle and moved different individuals to see how the whole group would respond. At one point he pulled a student back, at another time he pushed a student into the middle of the group. Each time everyone in the group reacted and moved to keep the circle together and to keep from falling over, sometimes stepping back other times moving inward so that they could remain intact.

This example illustrates how all members of a family are effected by change. One member may be effected by the direct pressure, but all members feels its effects. That is why all family members need to be aware and work together to overcome challenges as they arise.

Families need to develop the ability to be resilient. Family resilience is the ability of families to adapt and rebound to stressful situations. This quality is very desirable and allows individuals as well as the whole family to effectively deal with events. While resilience appears to come easier to some, it is a quality that can be developed in all families. It creates a different way of looking at life experiences, and how we view a situation has a large influence in how we respond.

One of the most basic models used to demonstrate family stress and coping is Hill’s ABCX model. The idea behind this theory is that the outcome of the experience is not only determined by the event itself but other factors. There are three parts to every trial A- the actual event, B- the family’s resources, and C- the perception or cognitions. All of these added together equals X- or the actual event. Thus A+B+C=X.

Some of the resources that families have are flexibility, connectedness, and social and economic support. When families view a trial in these terms it increases their resilience. Families can work on flexibility by allowing change to happen but still creating a stable environment and schedule. Equal partnership in marriage also allows for flexibility. Each spouse can play to their own strengths and still work together. When couples do this their children see them as united and the set rules that come from this unity allow for clarity even within the midst of a crisis.

Connectedness is “the emotional and structural bonding among family members.” Not surprisingly when families are close they respond better to crisis because they are aware of each members needs as well as the support of each member. Commitment also plays a role in connectedness, since members who are committed to each other are more likely to work to help one another.

Families fare better when they acknowledge and accept the resources that they have. And these resources can come in various ways. They can be community organizations that are able to lend assistance. They might also be social support in a variety of forms; friends and family are the most commonly thought of, but it could also be support groups or religious organization.

When families view their trails in terms of resources and outcomes they are more able to more effectively deal with them. This allows them to create shared meaning from the experience and grow closer together as they cope with stressors whether they are planned or unplanned.

What About the Children?

In adoption, Child Development, Families, father, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, The Family, Values on February 19, 2015 at 6:54 am

child 3Kristen Jan Cannon

I recently came across a letter written by a woman who was raised by lesbian parents. In this letter, her thoughts are directed to a Supreme Court justice, and she goes onto explain to him that redefining marriage in society will ultimately fail to protect the rights of a very important population in our society:

Children.

You can read her letter here. And I recommend that you do.

While it is absolutely justified that gay couples should receive equal treatment in regards to taxes, housing, and employment opportunities, changing the definition of marriage in society should not be treated as an adult only issue.

Because it is not an adult only issue.

And isn’t it the government’s duty to protect everyone, including the most vulnerable among us? Shouldn’t the government strive to promote equality for every citizen?

Are children not counted as citizens, too?

The largest scientific study so far on the effects of same-sex parenting outcomes was just published this month, in February 2015. The results? Children fare best developmentally when raised by a mom and a dad. Of course, this ideal is often not available in many homes for various reasons. However, one interesting point of this study was that even among homes where a single parent was the caregiver or stepparents were present, those families without both the biological mom and dad, still showed better results than the children of same-sex parents.

So if this whole issue is truly a fight for equality, what about the children who have no choice but to be involved? Don’t they deserve equal rights, too?

While there are no easy answers for this debate and so many tender feelings on all sides, let’s not sweep the children aside just because they are children. Because in this conquest for fairness, that isn’t fair at all. Don’t you think?

 

Who cares more: Government or Parents?

In adoption, Birth Rate, Child Development, Diane Robertson, Education, Families, father, Government, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Schools, The Family, Values on February 18, 2015 at 8:09 am

mom with sick childDiane Robertson

Parental rights come naturally from the conceiving, birthing and rearing of children. It’s not just a natural right, but a biological right. Children are tied to their parents through care and through genetics. Parents not only have the right to their children because they created them, but because better than anyone else, parents, and this includes adoptive parents, know their children.

Parents have an intimate knowledge of their children in a way that no other adult could possibly have. Some of that knowledge comes naturally through biology and genetics and much more from living with their children and associating closely with their children from the moment they are born.

Better than anyone, parents know:

  • Their children’s sleep habits
  • What they will and won’t eat
  • The typical contents of their diapers
  • How they pronounce or mispronounce their words
  • What makes them happy
  • What makes them sad
  • What makes them laugh
  • What makes the cry
  • If they are clumsy or coordinated
  • How they react to strangers
  • What they like to read
  • What they like to watch
  • How they act when they are tired, or angry, or hungry, or wet, or cold
  • What they think about the world
  • How they will react to different school assignments

The list could be infinite.

More than any other person in a child’s life, parents are at the cross roads. Parents are there when:

  • The child is born (duh)
  • Every or almost every medical procedure
  • When the child is ill
  • When the child starts school
  • When the child has a first date
  • When the child graduates
  • When the child gets married
  • When the child has their first child

Again, the list could be infinite… and not applicable to any other adult. In fact, no other adult on the planet cares about being there and knowing about anyone else’s child in even a one thousandth of the detail that the parents do.

For example, school teachers, who spend some significant time with children, actually know very little of these details of each of their students, and they will not be there at most if any of the cross roads of the child’s life. Think about this: unless the class is very vocal, it isn’t very likely that a teacher would be able to recall the favorite color or favorite food of each student. But the parents can without pause.

Scotland, however, has decided that parents are not good enough. They have passed a law in which each child in the nation will have a “named person” assigned to them from birth until 18 years of age.

This “named person” will be a health worker from birth until school age and a teacher there after. This means that not only does the “named person” have very little internal knowledge of the child they are named to, but the “named person” could change yearly. Oh and these “named persons” that will have some significant authority over the children will be over a lot more children than even the most fertile of couples in Scotland.

The government cannot do a better job at raising children than parents. God has already named two people to raise and care for children. They are called mother and father. Sure when that fails, it is nice to have an institution in place to care for children. But ask a child who loves them the most and you are guaranteed not to hear, “the government”.

 

Childproofing your marriage

In Birth Rate, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Polls, Research, The Family, Values on February 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm

marriage happiness with newborn

What to do to keep that marital spark alive and well…

Erika Walker

Most people believe that after marriage, the next natural step in a couple’s life is parenthood, but after I got married, the thought of becoming a parent terrified me. Not because I didn’t want kids or because I didn’t think I’d be a good mom, but because I was afraid of what having children would do to my marriage. Based on what I had heard and read it seemed that the transition to parenthood was marked by an inevitable decline in marital satisfaction. This scared me because I had a strong loving relationship with my husband; one we had worked hard to build together; one that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice to become a mom. So before taking the plunge of parenthood, I set out to learn what I could about the transition to parenthood so that I could more effectively childproof my marriage against my future children.

Decline in Martial Satisfaction

My first question was: Is a decline in marital satisfaction inevitable in parenthood? What I discovered was that not all couples experience a decline in marital satisfaction with the birth of a child (Lauer). A study of 250 new parents during their first “postbaby year” found that:

  • 13% of the couples marital satisfaction declined severely
  • 38% experienced a moderate decline
  • 30% reported no change in their marital satisfaction
  • 19% experienced an improvement

Notice that based on these statistics, nearly 50% reported either no change or an improvement in their marital satisfaction, which goes to show that decline is not inevitable.

However, the results of this study didn’t satisfy me until I realized that a decline in marital satisfaction doesn’t mean dissatisfaction, it just means less satisfaction (Lauer). And whether we want to admit it or not, satisfaction tends to decline whether or not you have children. Think about it, when a couple first gets married they are typically at the peak of satisfaction in their marital relationship which is why it is referred to as the “Honeymoon Phase”. Therefore, if the relationship changes at all, it is likely to go down. Studies have shown that the sharpest decline in satisfying marital functioning typically occurs just after the birth of a child (Lauer). But the average decline in satisfaction is modest and does not go down to the point of dissatisfaction for most couples.

Factors that Contribute to Dissatisfaction

Next I wanted to know: What is the difference between the couples who experienced little to no change in their marital satisfaction and those whose satisfaction declined severely? And how do I make sure that my marriage is the former and not the latter?

One factor that I found contributed to dissatisfaction in parenthood was the quality of the relationship before pregnancy and parenthood. Some couples who experienced a decline in satisfaction were already having serious problems before the baby came and believed that having a child would fix their rocky relationship (Lauer). The truth, however, is quite the opposite. Because parenthood requires both parents working together, parenthood has the ability to make a good marriage better or worse, but it rarely makes a bad marriage better.

Another factor among those whose satisfaction dropped was gender differences (Kluwer). It seems that the ‘postbaby’ decline in marital satisfaction is greater among women than men. This discrepancy has been thought to be due to mothers’ perceptions of a lack of support both from the father and social network, creating feelings of stress and isolation for the mother (Ahlborg).

The final major factor was lack of leisure time together. As with any relationship, a lack in couple togetherness, impairs the intimate relationship and makes the individuals feel disconnected as a couple. This lack of time and energy also contributes to a loss of sensual and sexual affection (Ahlborg).

How Can I Minimize the Negative Effects of the Transition to Parenthood?

  1. Preparation- Maintaining marital satisfaction in parenthood begins during pregnancy. Use the time before baby comes to strengthen your marital relationship and learn key parenting skills. The more competent both parents feel about their parenting abilities and satisfied they are with their marriage during pregnancy, the more satisfied they will feel about their role as parents and their marital relationship postnantally (Wallace).
  2. Father Inclusion- It is typical the mother and baby to build a close bond even before birth. However this bond can sometimes make fathers feel left out of the picture. “Both marital and parental satisfaction are likely to be higher when the father is more involved with the baby” (Lauer). Thus, it is important to find ways to include the father both before and after the birth of the child.
  3. Coping Mechanisms in Parenthood- Maintain a sense of continuity by continuing to do some of the activities you and your spouse did together before the birth of the child (Miller).Take time away from the baby (Miller). Make a conscious effort to express appreciation for each other, express concerns, and listen to one another’s feelings (Miller). Rely on friends and family for help, emotional support, and advice (Miller).

 

References

Ahlborg, Tone, and Margareth Strandmarka. “Factors Influencing The Quality Of Intimate Relationships Six Months After Delivery” First-Time Parents’ Own Views And Coping Strategies.” Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 27.3 (2006): 163-172. Informa UK Ltd. Web. 7 July 2012.

Kluwer, Esther S.. “From Partnership to Parenthood: A Review of Marital Change Across the Transition to Parenthood.” Journal of Family Theory & Review 2.2 (2010): 105-125. Print.

Lauer, Robert H., and Jeanette C. Lauer. “Becoming a Parent.” Marriage & family: the quest for intimacy. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 257-281. Print.

Miller, Brent C. , and Donna L. Sollie. “Normal Stresses during the Transition to Parenthood.” Family Relations 29.4 (1980): 459-465. JSTOR. Web. 29 June 2012.

Wallace, Pamela M, and Ian H. Gotlib. “Marital Adjustment during the Transition to Parenthood: Stability and Predictors of Change .” Journal of Marriage and Family 52.1 (1990): 21-29.

 

Achieving the American Dream

In adoption, Child Development, Constitution, Democracy, Education, Families, father, Government, Human Rights, Marriage, Schools, Sovereignty, The Family, Values, Violence on February 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

Submitted by Rebecca Mallory

vietnames manMy name is Dzung Tran. (John Tran Myers)

I was born in 1965.

Family of seven; Mom, Dad, three boys, and two girls. I am the second child in the family.

Before 1975 life in Vietnam was fairly good.

We live in a city called Da lat (South Vietnam)

We owned our own house. It small but its our home.

Mom and Dad had to work hard, but there always food on the table.

4/30/1975 was the day that changed our and all the people’s life in South Vietnam.

It was the day the Americans pulled out and the communists took control over Vietnam.

I was 10 years old, we abandoned our house and move further south to the countryside.

We became homeless and my father had pass away in 1978 due to over working and malnutrition.

The school system back then, all that they would teach was about communism and how great they were. They taught us that the Americans were the most notorious enemies and English and French languages are forbidden in school.

As for toys, we had to make our own toys from scraps, woods or mud.

The communists took away everything we owned and tried to make everyone equal. People and citizens didn’t own anything. The Government owned your house, your land, livestocks, even your furniture. The Government will come and take them whenever they are needed. You must obtain a permit before you can slaughter your own pig or cow and you must give the leader the best cut and a large potion of what you butchered.

Communists tell you who to believe and what to worship.

Vietnam is beautiful country, and the Vietnamese people are friendly and smart, we have lots of natural resources, but the communist doesn’t know how to use them.

Communists turned Vietnam into a poorest country in the world.

Nov. 1980, with 21 other people, my older brother, and I got into a small riverboat and left Vietnam in the middle of the night in search for freedom, a better life, and an opportunity.

Chance for survival was very slim. We could have been shot and kill by the Police or coast guard and our boat could sink or we could get lost at sea.

First night and day at sea I had no memory at all due to sea sick and passed out.

Second day Thailand’s pirates raided us. They raped women, beated up children and tossed men over board. They destroyed our engine, took our gasoline, food and water supply.

Drifting hopelessly at sea with no food and water. By the end of day four, a Malaysian fishing boat show up and offer to pull us to shore.

Day five we arrived to Malaysia shore. Next day they transferred us to a small island to joint with 10 thousand or more of other Vietnamese refugees. This place we call home for the next 17 months. Here we wait for the USA and other countries come to interview us. What countries were applying for will interview and lets us know if we are accepted or rejected by that country. Back then to me any country is better than Vietnam as long as it’s not communist country. Life here in the refugee camp was very tough, but we know its only temporary. For all this months I owned only one pair of pant and one shirt. I wash my clothes once a week at night. Food supplies was scares. (Very thankful to the RED CROSS) Once a week per person we were blessed with 5 gallons of fresh water, 7 bags of Ramen noodle, one lbs of rice, a can of canned chicken (the size of tuna can), a spoon full of salt, a spoon full of sugar, a hand full of soy beans, and a cup of cooking oil.

We live on an island but we were not allowed to go fishing. Finally, USA accepted us. Once we were accepted, we transferred to another camp in the main land. We were at this camp for 7 months.

Here we had to go through the health screening, getting all the required shots and processing paper work to enter USA.

From here we were transferred to another camp in Philippines. We stayed here for 9 months to learn American culture, American History, and Basic English.

July 1983 we arrived in Phoenix, AZ. The Government gave us a loan to pay for the airfare to fly to America. Once have jobs we pay back the loan. The Government gave us housing and food stamps for the first three months. With the help of the volunteer social workers, they helped us to look for jobs, school, churches, and foster families. My brother and I were very blessed. Both of us were adopted into the Myers family and that is how I have an American name and became an American citizen.

First year in school in the USA was quite an experienced. With a very limited English, in classroom teachers teach and classmate talk I didn’t know what they were talking about. For years, instead of enjoying life, playing games and having fun like all the kids that were born here in the US. For us, weekends and after school we had to take ESL to improve our English and the rest of the time busy looking up English-Vietnamese dictionary tried to translate my school works so I can (maybe) somewhat understand my school works and text books.

Five years later my younger brother escaped Vietnam and arrived here in AZ he too got adopted into the Myers family.

A few years later my younger sister also tried to escape Vietnam but unfortunately she did not make it to freedom. She lost her life at sea.

My mom and a younger sister still live in Vietnam.

I am very thankful and appreciate what America and American people do for us. America is a heaven on earth and you can make dream come true. You can’t ask for a better place than America.

With the freedom and opportunity you can own or become what ever you want to be. If you work hard for it you can fulfill your dreams. To me American system had been more than fair for me. I am so glad that I live in America.

I don’t believe that America is a selfish country. I felt that some time we got involved into too many things in the world. We sacrificed our people our money to fight for other countries turmoil.

We should put more resources and focus into our country to make America to become stronger, healthier, and safer for our children and grandchildren. We should focus more on better, higher education system and make it more affordable. Strong education equals a stronger country.

I am now married to a beautiful wife and had two beautiful children one boy and one girl. I have a nice house, nice car, and owned my own HVAC business.

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Parenting, Schools, The Family, Values on February 9, 2015 at 7:00 am

Love, peace, music

If a parent does not provide meaningful activities for the child, the world will do it for them.

Chuck Malone

As a teenage product of the 60s I was constantly aware of the generation motto

“If It Feels Good, Do It.”

Later in life as co-parents of 5 active children my wife and I actually learned the baseline of this iconic statement with our first child, who was all about feeling and touching… and tasting. As he learned to crawl and develop a first level independence, new horizons were opened to him. Those food morsels that lay on the vinyl flooring in the kitchen had once been objects of attention and wonder. Now that he had gained mobility, however, free will took over and to a crawler who had not yet developed an understanding of discipline the flat-line world of the kitchen floor opened new vistas of exploration and entertainment.

As a parent we learned to gently turn our child in another direction, or place a colorful toy in his hand to distract him from his intended morsel-target. But as he grew older and more independent it became harder to just “distract” him from making potentially harmful choices. We had to get creative.

Being creative in a time-starved world filled with constant demands and responsibilities takes time, energy, planning, and yes… a bit of creativity. But in today’s world of instant gratification, if a parent does not provide meaningful activities for the child, the world will do it for them.

What if I told you that there is a way to build lifetime memories and perhaps continue your legacy into future generations? Maybe even reduce the risk of the child making choices that would lead to inappropriate activities?

It’s all about the experience!

The premise I am writing this blog under is that “all” experience is for our good. There was a time in my life I doubted that premise very much (topic for a future

blog). But in the context of this blog’s narrow subject matter as it pertains to Family, let me just offer this for your consideration… “Experience defines us.”

If I buy into that premise as a parent, then my attitude toward how creative I get in providing experiences takes on new meaning (more to come on this in part 2).

It also affects how I view experiences that “happen” to my children, as opposed to those I “cause” to happen.

As a parent there is much outside our control when it comes to monitoring the influences that surround our children once they become exposed to the outside world; yet isn’t that how they grow and develop into mature adults, capable of making independent choices?

My parents paid dearly for me to take trumpet lessons when I was young. Later in life, the scholarship offered to me paid for a good portion of my college expenses. I don’t remember wanting to quit along the way, but knowing my selfish nature I most likely did when it interfered with my fun. Yet, as I gained a little stature among my fellow musicians as one who could at least hit some correct notes it had a positive influence on my character development. Trumpet lessons and music in general provided a wholesome channel for that teenage energy.

I am probably the only person ever to have been “fired” from my high school auto mechanics class. If it’s all about the experience, I really got a dose of negative one day when my auto mechanics teacher came up to me as I was staring into the cavity exposed by an open car hood and gently (or not so, I really can’t remember) turned my shoulders away from the subject auto and said quite firmly, “You are ‘fired’ from this class. Please go take another class of instrumental music,” as he pushed me out the shop door.

I remember quite vividly walking across the school yard back to the building used for music instruction – the building I had just departed before being fired from auto shop. My music teacher was surprised to see me, but made a place in his schedule for some private tutoring during that hour. This led to a future friendship and being invited to be the drummer, vocal, and brass player in his little trio that played at a local lounge. This led to larger venues and cash flow that put me through college.

It’s all about the experience!

Personal Note: For the record I didn’t quit on my auto mechanics education just because of a negative experience. In fact I was hired by Standard Oil (white uniform, hat, and rag) to wait on cars as they pulled into the gas islands and determine their needs, which often resulted in selling and installing a new set of tires, or a battery, shock absorbers, fuel filter, radiator cap (so there Mr. Auto Mechanics teacher!) and a plethora of other services needed by Route 66 travelers to save them from being stranded on this very busy highway due to auto failure.

The training I received from this job as a high school senior set the foundation for my lifetime career of serving others as a real estate professional.

It’s all about the experience!

I was fortunate to have had parents who allowed me to pursue my interests as well as their own for me. And they didn’t storm the school admin office demanding the removal of the crazy auto mechanics teacher who scarred their little boy-teen for life, either. Nope! My dad just smiled when I told him about being fired. Sometimes you just have to let time prove them wrong.

It’s all about the experience! (Stay tuned for Part 2)

The Benefits of Adoption

In adoption, Birth Rate, Child Development, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on February 5, 2015 at 7:13 am

teen pregnancy 2

700,000 teen pregnancies each year: Decisions made have lasting impact.

Kristen Jan Cannon

According to StayTeen.org, approximately 3 in 10 teenage girls will get pregnant in the U.S. each year. That equates to 700,000 teen pregnancies annually!

For such cases, adoption is a phenomenal route to go. And while it is not the only option available to teen parents, it may very well be the best one for everyone involved. Here’s why:

In terms of teen pregnancy, adoption can be a very beneficial option long-term for the teen parents. Teen parenthood is the leading reason why teenage girls drop out of high school. In fact, less than half of all teen moms will even graduate, and less than two-percent will earn a college degree by the time they are 30. Choosing to keep the baby could drastically alter the course of a young mom’s life in terms of employment opportunities, academic growth, and simply just being a teenager.

Choosing to keep the baby also may not be the best long-term option for the baby, and could potentially result in many missed experiences. For example, 8 out of 10 teen fathers don’t end up staying with the mother of their child. Choosing adoption can give the baby involved an opportunity to be part of a family where both a mother and father are present in their lives. This can benefit them financially, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

And finally, adoption benefits those families who are so desperate and hopeful for a child of their own. By considering the possibility of placing a child for adoption, teen parents could be blessing the lives of a family who will love their baby and be able to provide for their needs. Although adoption would be an extremely difficult choice to make, what a sweet experience that only people who have participated in can fully appreciate.

If you or someone you love is considering placing a child for adoption, there are many factors to consider. For instance, you might want to examine the stability of the marriage of the couple adopting, their financial situation, their ability to nurture your baby, their desire for a child, and their ability to love a child who is adopted.

Certainly, there is not a one-size-fits-all plan for coping with teen pregnancy. But adoption is something to think about-it can truly benefit everyone for life!

 

 

 

The Greatness Gift

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, motherhood, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, Schools, The Family, Values on February 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

dad close to daughterNathalie Bowman

If you’ve ever been around a newborn baby, you know there is something special about that perfect, new little life. Each new little person born has their own unique personality and is filled with love and the potential to succeed at life. It’s beautiful to hold a new baby and feel the wonderful possibilities of life awaiting them. But wait, they grow up. They may become fussy toddlers, trying young kids, or rebellious teenagers. It seems their potential and zest for life has gone right out of them. What happened?

Little children have an innate ability to love and are quick to forgive. However, when a parent consistently nags, criticizes, tells a child they’re wrong, or dismisses their emotions, the child’s trust and love start to fade and they are less likely to confide in or connect with their parents because they don’t feel loved or accepted as they are.

I used to be really good at nagging and criticizing. I’ve learned my lesson. That kind of behavior pushes children away. Even though we, as parents, really care about our children and are just trying to help them succeed through letting them know they’re wrong and how to do it right, that kind of interaction is not good for the child or for the relationship. So, the child grows up losing confidence in themselves and wondering if they’re loveable.

Children also lose their confidence and may become cranky or rebellious because of influences outside the home. They may have issues at school with being rejected by friends, feeling like teachers don’t like them or think they’re smart enough, they may be teased, or experience any number of negative things. Life throws out a lot of challenges and children need to know that when they are home, they are safe to unload to mom or dad and they will be loved and encouraged through their experiences.

There are many ways to overcome this dilemma of how to help a child feel confident and able to overcome their challenges. Many books have been written on the subject. With all the information available, sometimes it gets confusing as to what exactly to do and where to begin.

Start with this one idea. It’s called the “Greatness Gift”. If you have a difficult time connecting with your child, this will help you, as well as your child.

When you tuck your child in bed, look them in the eye, and tell them what’s great about them. You can hold their hands if you both feel comfortable doing so, and tell them what you love about them. Tell them, “I am the luckiest mom (or dad) in the world to have you as my son (or daughter).” Then go on to tell them the great things you see in them. Be careful not to say “I love it when…” or “I like ….. about you” too often because then it makes the conversation more about you than them. Try to focus your words on them.

If this feels uncomfortable or you don’t know what to say, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • “You are a great problem solver. You’re always trying to figure things out.”
  • “You light up the room with your smile. Thank you for being so cheerful!”
  • “You have such a gift for helping others”
  • “Your mind is so smart. You really think things through”
  • “You always have nice things to say to others”

There are as many wonderful things to say to kids as there are kids. Another fun thing to do here is to ask your children what they want to hear you say. Each child is different and knowing exactly what fills their love bucket is a great place to start.

Commit to doing this several times a week. If you have more than one child, do one child a night, and if you can’t do it every night, make the effort to do it several times a week. If bedtime doesn’t work, choose another time-before or after school may be better for you. Don’t let this overwhelm you, it’s just a simple place to start that will improve your relationship with your children.

If your children are grown and gone, give them a phone call and say, “You know what I love about you?” Then tell them. Then hang up. This is for no other conversation except just to tell them you love them and you see the greatness in them. If your relationship isn’t very good, and you’re not seeing much greatness at the moment, remember them as a child. What were your favorite things about them? They still have great potential-it may just be dormant. Remind them of who they really are-the greatness within them.

I just started doing this, and because my old patterns as a mom were critical, this has been a good challenge for me and is changing the way I see my children. I encourage you to start giving your children a “greatness gift” today.

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