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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.

Family Read Aloud: “Carry On Mr. Bowditch”

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on January 27, 2015 at 7:47 am

“Carry On Mr. Bowditch”Nathalie Bowman

Do you want a great story you and your children will love? A story that is rich in history as well as adventure? Try “Carry On Mr. Bowditch” by Jean Lee Latham. Winner of the 1956 Newberry Medal, this book tells the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, author of the famous “The American Practical Navigator” also known as “The Sailor’s Bible”. “Carry On Mr. Bowditch” is a lively story, beginning when Nathaniel is only 6 years old in 1779. He is fascinated with numbers and does math in his head about all kinds of things that other six year old boys wouldn’t be aware of. Nathaniel, or “Nat” as he is called, grows up with adventures and mishaps, is voracious about his studies, and comes to love ships and sailing.

Whether or not your family knows anything about old time ships or sailing, you will be captivated by this book and Nat’s amazing mathematical mind, new discoveries, and sailing adventures. It’s  an entertaining chronicle of old Salem, overcoming odds, friendships, and the history of maritime in the United States. This is one of those books you won’t be able to put down. My family has enjoyed reading it over and over through the years.

As you begin (or continue) your family reading time, here are some tips for making it more relaxed, fun, and effective. These ideas are quoted from author Jim Trelease in his best-selling book, “The Read Aloud Handbook”:

  • “The most common mistake in reading aloud—whether the reader is a seven-year-old or a forty-year-old—is reading too fast. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures of what he just heard you read. Slow down enough for the children to see the pictures in the book without feeling hurried. Reading quickly allows no time for the reader to use vocal expression.
  • Remember that everyone enjoys a good picture book, even a teenager.
  • Allow time for class and home discussion after reading a story. Thoughts, hopes, fears, and discoveries are aroused by a book. Allow them to surface and help the child to deal with them through verbal, written, or artistic expression if the child is so inclined. Do not turn discussions into quizzes or insist upon prying story interpretations from the child.
  • Remember that reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it successfully and with ease you must practice.
  • Use plenty of expression when reading. If possible, change your tone of voice to fit the dialogue.
  • Adjust your pace to fit the story. During a suspenseful part, slow down, and lower your voice. A lowered voice in the right place moves an audience to the edge of its chairs.
  • Bring the author to life, as well as his book. Google the author to find a personal Web page, and always read the information on your book’s dust jacket. Either before or during the reading, tell your audience something about the author. This lets them know that books are written by people, not by machines.”

Reading together as a family is a wonderful bonding time, and the stories you read together will always be remembered. Enjoy your family reading!

 

The Goal of Parenting

In Child Development, Drug Use, Education, Families, Family Planning, father, Health Care, motherhood, Parenting, Research, Schools, The Family, Values on January 26, 2015 at 7:31 am

Family Enjoying meal,mealtime TogetherTashica Jacobson

There are many things that parents try to accomplish with their children. They try to get them to eat vegetables, do homework, and keep up on household chores. But what is the ultimate goal of parenting; what should parents really try to accomplish? To answer these questions parents have to look beyond what they hope to accomplish in the moment. Good parenting is more than obedience, it’s more than being a child’s friend. It is raising children to have an understanding of why they do what they do and how to act appropriately in situations. It is this understanding that eventually allows children to get along on their own.

However this goal is not accomplished without effort. The way a parent interacts with their child will be one of the largest influences in that child’s life. Involvement doesn’t mean that you do everything for them. In some ways it is the opposite. It means that you know your child and so are able to teach when they don’t understand, help when it is needed, and at other times give them full responsibility. Parenting is hard work and involves a lot. It involves providing care for children as they grow and develop. Parenting also entails teaching, socializing, offering guidance, and emotional support. It is all of these things interacting together that influence the type of person that a child will become.

As parenting plays such a crucial role in a child’s life it is so important that parents are intentional about their parenting. They have to plan and actively work to be involved in their children’s lives. If an active plan has not been devised beforehand, people typically revert back to what they are accustomed to, meaning how they were raised or what is familiar. While the home of origin of today’s current parents are not always bad, parents need to develop an environment and parenting style that is unique to their child’s needs and abilities.

When children’s parents are active and involved in their lives, children have better social skills, higher self-esteem, and internal control. Multiple studies have found that “youth who experience higher levels of parental involvement and a closer relationships with their parents are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems and to engage in risk behaviors”.

One example of parental involvement helping kids to be self-sufficient is involvement in school. Research has shown that “Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status.” Involved parents are aware of their child’s studies, encourage them, and aide them when needed, in fulfilling their academic responsibilities. When parents are involved in a child’s schooling they are more likely to attend school regularly, have better grades, and eventually go on for higher education.

The benefits of family meals has been a subject of discussion within recent years, and this is another way parents can be involved. These benefits range from better nutritional intake to lower drug and alcohol use. However it is not just the meals alone that provide these benefits in a child’s life, it is the time that parents spend with their children during these meals. Family meals are a symptom of something else. These meals show that the family and especially the parents, put forth an effort to come together throughout the week. Parents who make the effort to have meals together are more likely to make the effort in other areas of their children’s lives.

The benefits of involvement are tremendous and parents can provide them in different ways for each child. Making time together as a family, as well as individual time with each child is important. But in addition to time it is also important that parents be aware of what is going on in a child’s life. Knowing about the child’s teachers, friends, homework, and problems is important; as well as asking about their daily experiences.

As one scholar put it, that in parenting “our primary job is to put ourselves out of a job.” Parents take upon themselves a huge and immensely rewarding responsibility. Theirs is the job of raising the next generation and preparing their children to become self-sufficient. When parents take the time to be actively involved they are able to teach their children daily and monitor their growth so they are on the right track to becoming self-sufficient.

Same Sex Attraction

In Abstinence, Education, Families, father, Feminism, Gender, Homosexuality, Marriage, motherhood, Non-Discrimination, Parental Rights, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on January 20, 2015 at 8:30 am

same sex attraction 2Nathalie Bowman

Let me be frank. Those of us who don’t experience same-sex attraction don’t understand it. Not only do we not understand it, but many times we judge it and reject it. By judging and rejecting “it”, we judge and reject another human soul who just wants and deserves to be loved. It’s time we understand a little bit about same sex-attraction.

What is same-sex attraction or “SSA”? You may think that’s a funny question. Everyone knows what SSA is. It’s being gay or lesbian: men attracted to men and women attracted to women. But is being gay or lesbian really the same thing as being attracted to someone of the same sex? Not according to Joseph Prever, a Catholic same-sex attracted and celibate man, who says, “….some of us in the Gay Catholic business prefer the phrase “same-sex attraction,” or SSA. I find it more accurate than “gay” or “queer” or any of the others, just because it suggests that homosexuality is something I have rather than something I am. That’s the way I think of it. So the idea of gay culture, gay rights, gay marriage, gay anything really, is foreign to me. You might as well talk about gluten-intolerance culture, or musician’s rights.” (“The Truth About Same Sex Attraction”)

Men (I bring up men because I haven’t seen women writing about this) who are same-sex attracted say there is a difference between gay and SSA. There are many men who have come out of the closet as having same-sex attraction, yet choose not to participate in a sexually active gay relationship. They do not define themselves as gay, nor do they endorse the workings of the LGBT movement.

Another way to look at same-sex attraction

Joshua Johansen, an SSA man who is married to Alyssa, describes it this way:

“In January, our son Isaac entered our family, and Alyssa became conflicted between her desire to work and her desire to be a mom. People often spoke of being “just” a mom, as if being a mom wasn’t as good of a career as a chemical engineer. Too often these comments come from other women. Alyssa has been grateful that the feminist movement has enabled her to go to college and have a successful career. However, she also feels that they have debased the most feminine of roles, being a mom. It frustrates her that just because she is a woman, people assume she supports abortion.

I see many parallels between how my wife views the feminist movement and how I view the gay rights movement. I too am very grateful to the gay rights movement for fighting discrimination. I don’t have to worry about losing my job or getting kicked out of my house just because I have SSA or walk or talk a little effeminately. I am protected. At the same time, I feel the gay rights movement has debased my choice to be a husband and a father and has made it more difficult for me to have and raise my family the way I want to. Worse yet, there are many political issues they assign to me that I strongly disagree with. The gay rights movement no more represents me just because I am gay than the feminist movement represents my wife because she is female.” (“Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire”)

Joshua further explains, “Most people have sexual temptations. To me, sexual orientation is the direction temptations come from. I am not tempted by females. I am tempted by males. Therefore I have SSA. However, desire is different. My desire is to be faithful to my wife and son.”

Choosing a different path

The term “gay” assumes the desire for homosexual relationships, whereas, the vast majority of those with “same-sex attraction” do not desire gay relationships and choose not to have them. Some have found happiness in marriage, and some have chosen celibacy, and they are satisfied with their decisions.

Kudos to Joshua Johansen, Joseph Prever, and others for sharing their stories of this sensitive subject. The more we understand this issue, the more we understand those who are experiencing same-sex attraction.

Check out these recommended articles written by or about men who are experiencing same-sex attraction:

The Truth About Same Sex Attraction” by Joseph Prever (quoted above)

Navigating the Labyrinth Surrounding Homosexual Desire by Joshua Johansen (quoted above) This article is  written by a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), to a specifically LDS audience and has many references to God and religion. However, I recommend it for all readers because it is the most comprehensive explanation of this sensitive subject that I have read. Plus-it’s entertaining!

Attracted to Men, Pastor Feels Called to Marriage with Woman

 

 

America’s Need for Family

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Drug Use, Families, father, Government, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Sanctity of Life, Schools, Single Mothers, The Family, Values on January 9, 2015 at 7:42 am

troubled teenMekelle Tenney

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study conducted in 2013 that stated the following:

  • 20% of high school students reported having had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row
  • 18% of high school students reported having had a drink of alcohol before the age of 13
  • 40% of high school students reported having used marijuana
  • 23% of high school students reported that they were currently using marijuana
  • 22% of high school students reported that they were either offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property
  • 46% of high school students reported having had sexual intercourse
  • 34% of high school students reported that they were currently sexually active
  • 22% of high school students reported having used alcohol or drugs before last sexual intercourse

Why do these problems exist? Where are we failing as a society? Could it be that our school systems are not sufficiently instructing our youth? Our government has made a big effort to educate our youth on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and there is still a problem. Perhaps it is time for us to look to another source to instruct our youth; the family. Studies show that family has a substantial impact on children, their choices, self-image, and success. Consider the following:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 71% of high school drop outs come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youth in prison come from fatherless homes
  • Fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to end up in jail, and four times as likely to need help for emotional and behavioral problems

The family is by far the most powerful unit in society, creating the biggest impact and effecting the greatest number of people. Yet we have seen it steadily deteriorating in the United States. In 2013 the New York Times published an article entitled “The Changing American Family” in which the author quoted some statistics on the family:

  • “Fewer women are becoming mothers and those who do have fewer children”
  • “More than 40% of American babies are now born to unmarried women”
  • “Marriage rates have been falling for several decades and are now at a historic low”
  • “Both men and women are getting married later, shifting marriage to an act of later adulthood and increasing the number of births to unmarried parents.”

It is clear that family is not the main focus for many Americans now. Even more alarming is the report that our youth have taken on the same attitude. In 2012 The State of Our Unions stated, “Less than a third of the girls and only slightly more than a third of the boys seem to believe,….. , that marriage is more beneficial to individuals than the alternatives. Note also that young women have seen their faith in marriage’s capacity to deliver happiness fall markedly over the last thirty years”.

It is clear that the family is necessary in society. Such attributes as personal responsibility, morality, honesty, and dependability are most effectively taught and understood within a family. The very nature of our democratic society calls for a closeness of family. In fact Alexis De Tocqueville stated in Democracy in America that democracy created a environment where society has less of a hold on the individual thus allowing the individual to create stronger and sweeter bonds with their family.

President Reagan shared a similar sentiment stating that “Families stand at the center of society, so building our future must begin by preserving family values.” The future of America depends on her families. Family must, once again, become the center of our society. Families are needed to teach our youth.  Government run institutions cannot and should not be counted on to raise the rising generation. The family is vital not only to our progression but also to our happiness. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “by a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the enduring connections of our families.”

Have Some Respect…For Your Children

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Parenting, The Family, Values on January 8, 2015 at 6:39 am

children respect themBy: Kristen Jan Cannon

There are many cases where children are reprimanded or scolded for lacking respect for their elders. We’ve all probably been there. “Don’t talk to your mother like that!” or “Have some respect for your father!” are common phrases used to put children in their place.

But probably not many adults have been chewed out, “Don’t talk to your child like that!”

And probably a lot of adults should be chewed out for how they disrespect their children. Or at least taught better.

Family psychologist John Petersen explains that one of the most common concerns parents bring to his office is whether or not their children are being disrespectful. He goes on to explain that in an effort to force our kids to be respectful, we are placing more value on power than on people.

True respect for others should be intrinsic, not coerced. Our society needs to take a look at the value we place on extrinsic motivations, and make some serious adjustments, particularly in regard to parenting techniques.

John Gottman, author of “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” instructs that to be an effective parent one of the most important things we need to do is to validate our children’s emotions. This doesn’t mean giving in. It doesn’t mean allowing disrespect. But it also doesn’t have to involve a whole lot of lecturing, time-outs, or spankings.

It happens to involve a lot of respect, understanding, and patience.

In his parenting philosophy book Gottman teaches the following skills:

  • Be aware of a child’s emotions
  • Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
  • Listen empathetically and validate a child’s feelings
  • Label emotions in words a child can understand
  • Help a child discover appropriate ways to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting situation

These skills require a lot of practice, but the results will be rewarding. Bottom line parents (and adults in general): If you want respect, GIVE it. Don’t demand it. Don’t manipulate. Don’t threaten. Just be respectful, like you want to be respected.

In a world where children are often neglected, ignored, or treated like a nuisance, it’s crucial that we aim to have some deeper and more genuine respect for an important population that will one day grow up to be just like the rest of us. We’re shaping the future. And in the words of the great Dr. Seuss, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

So let’s shape the future with a little less lecturing and a little more love.

*For additional information on emotion coaching, check out John Gottman’s book, “Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child.”

Strengthening the Family…#1 Resolution

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Grandparents, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on December 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm

egg gathering with grandmaTracy Allen

Aren’t we all motivated by the turning of the calendar?  December thirty first of each year not only causes many of us to turn our thoughts to the past twelve months, but also to face the next twelve months with hope and resolution to make it a happier and more productive year.

And, according to one source, these are the ten New Year’s resolutions most frequently made.

Starting with number ten:

  1. Get Organized.
  2. Help others.
  3. Learn something new.
  4.  Get out of debt.
  5. Quit drinking.
  6. Enjoy life more.
  7. Quit smoking.
  8. Lose weight.
  9. Exercise more.
  10. Spend more time with family and friends.

As I looked over this list, I had to agree that I have made some of these very resolutions.  And I’m pleased to say that making them has always helped me do better.  My husband and I put our resolutions and goals on our bathroom mirror where we can be reminded daily of those things we are trying to accomplish or overcome.

I hate to admit it, but the “spend more time with family” is something I have never written on my resolution list.  Have I been a negligent mother and grandmother?  I hope not! But number ONE on that list has jolted me into recognizing that there are always ways to improve.  Maybe instead of resolving to spend more time with family, I can resolve that the time spent is more productive, …more grandiose so that long-lasting memories are insured.

This thought made me think of the memories I have of my grandparents.  Sure there was the Christmas when my granddad made wooden stilts for all of us.  The stilts were a hit! And not only did his grandchildren spend Christmas Day walking around two feet taller than usual, but our dad’s all tried them out.  What a fun memory! I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it! But the memories that my mind gravitates to are the simple experiences shared.  Like the night my sister and I and two cousins spent the night with Grandma and Grandad.  We ate breakfast together in our pajamas and sat around the breakfast table talking and laughing until it was time for lunch.  Now that’s a memory!

Our grandma would hike the hills behind her home with us. She made little sack lunches for us so that hunger never shortened our “adventures.”

My grandma taught me how to play Chinese Checkers and Solitaire. She taught me how to gather eggs carefully from the nests of her hens. And she taught me to love flowers and gardening simply because I loved what she loved.

Hmmm!  These experiences and resulting memories cannot necessarily be called productive or grandiose.  They are a result of time and love given….just what I am going to put at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list for 2015.

 

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