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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Giving Adult Children Money: Helping, Hindering, or Hurting?

In Child Development, Choice, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parental Rights, Parenting, The Family, Values on August 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

money 3by Rebecca Mallory

When is it a good idea to lend adult children money? As young marrieds, we never had money. There was a time when we had three small kids and were working four jobs between us. We borrowed $5,000 from my husband’s parents for a down payment on a house and eventually paid it back. But we never even thought about borrowing another dime from parents or family. Let me just say up front, that I am no expert on this subject. All I know is what I’ve experienced and heard from close family members, and friends. There are countless books and lectures dedicated to this sticky little family subject that might give you much better advice on the subject of money and adult children. However, you may find these examples helpful.

When my husband and I got married we were beyond dirt poor. Though we both had college degrees, we had no real job and scraped by. I was working part time for an orthodontist, and he was working at Wendy’s. Several months later we wanted to surprise his parents and go to their home in San Diego for Thanksgiving but Dave couldn’t get off work. We went anyway. By now I was 6 months pregnant. When we got back home Dave had been fired. Duh… Really? What did you think would happen? I’m sure his parents were indeed “surprised” to realize how irresponsible their kids were to make such a dumb move. He eventually got another job which turned out to be a blessing and the beginning of his 33+ year career. Still, it was a dumb move.

Fast forward to today where we’ve learned some difficult life lessons but are in a much better financial position.  So a few years ago, we decided that any extra money we had would be used to help our kids rather than having fancy cars, travel, etc. We’ve “helped” all four of them to some extent with interesting results. If we could rewind, we probably would not have made that choice. It’s been more stressful than we would ever have guessed. It’s a subject that I have discussed with many “empty nesters” recently. How do you handle money with your adult children? Especially married children?  Their answers have been telling. I’ll relate a few cases to you and let you make up your own mind. Perhaps you have your own story?

Couple #1: “We have three married daughters and one son with families of their own. I don’t know about your family, but sometimes we don’t think alike! We do things differently and have different expectations. Nothing is so glaring as when it comes to money. Lending our kids money has put a strain on our relationship because we both “assumed” that we had the same intent and goals. Not so! We don’t know if we’ll ever see that money again which also puts a strain on our marriage. We just thought our kids would respect us enough to see that we need it back as soon as possible. They think we’re thoughtless and stingy. It really hurts.”

Couple #2: “We offered to co-sign on a house for our kids. It was right after the big foreclosure fiasco and knew that they wouldn’t be able to qualify for a loan without us. Why did we feel it our job to “fix” their problem? If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. We would never have thought to go to our parents to help us with a house that we couldn’t afford on our own! They were grateful but seemed entitled to our money. They even alluded to the fact that they would have to live with us if we didn’t help them. We want them to have independence! Did we make the right move or are we just enabling them?”

Couple #3:  “We borrowed money from our parents when we bought our first house. It took us ten years to pay it back but we did. It felt so good to pay off that debt. So we lent money to our newly married kids, assuming fully, that they would pay us back. First mistake. They were shocked that we would expect them to pay us back. It’s been eye-opening to realize the different expectations. Reactions have been varied. From a “you owe it to us” attitude or “you can afford it so just give it to us” to a real extreme of ” you need to give us X per month” with no explanation of where that money is going and no accountability. It was shocking and hurtful. They told us that they were hurt and don’t want to see us. We haven’t spoken to them for two months and they live a mile away from us.”

Couple #4:  “We’ve given our newlyweds so much money that we’ve lost count. They just expect it now. Have we helped or hindered their success? It’s caused problems with our relationship with them and between my wife and me. I’m truly sick of it but don’t know how to stop for fear that they won’t let us see the grandchildren if we rock the boat in any way. We feel totally trapped.”

Couple #5: “Our situation is easy. We just don’t have it. Our kids have had to plain figure it out for themselves. Some did, some didn’t. It’s not our problem though. We honestly couldn’t help them financially. We just told each of the kids that we’d pray for them and hope for the best. Guess what? The ones who truly wanted to figured it out did, because they had to. It was often painful to admit that we flat out couldn’t help them. But as heart-wrenching as that was at the time, to see the lessons they’ve learned through hard knocks and struggles, has been rewarding in and of itself. Why did we try to protect them from those life lessons?”

Each of these couples have learned hard lessons with married children. If you listen to
Dave Ramsey or any other financial guru, I’m sure that in most cases they suggest to refrain from lending money to your adult kids. Obviously, there are extenuating circumstances but if you’re like me, YOURS are always the extenuating ones, right? It’s painful to watch your children struggle and suffer. Especially when they have little kids of their own. Sometimes I would like a “do over” with my kids which isn’t possible. But we’re all here learning together through the successes and the failures. Giving your children autonomy over their own lives seems to be a priceless way to handle sticky situations including money. There are no right or wrong answers. Only the ones that works for you. I would love to hear your take.

Speak Up for Family and Life

In Abortion, Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Diane Robertson, Divorce, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Prostitution, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Freedom, Technology, The Family, Values on August 26, 2015 at 8:47 am

Ashley Madisonby Diane Robertson

There’s this infamous company in Canada, Ashley Madison, which hosts a purportedly secret online dating service for people who are married or in a committed relationship. The company’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Customers pay Ashley Madison to help them have extra marital affairs and one night stands.

On July 15th of this year hackers stole the company’s “secret” customer data—including email addresses, names, home addresses, sexual fantasies and credit card information. At the time, Hackers said they would release the information to the public if Ashley Madison did not permanently shut down. On July 22nd, the company released just the first names of the customers. When the company did not comply with the demands of the hackers, they released all of the information on Aug 18th.

The fall out has been huge with ordinary people to celebrities such as Josh Duggar being outed for cheating on their spouses.

The Toronto police department even reported that two people committed suicide because they were outed by the hackers. The Toronto police department blamed the hackers stating this would “not be tolerated”.

Normally, I agree that hacking is wrong. It’s typically used to gain access to personal information for financial gains. I feel like this situation is different. I agree with the hackers that the company is abominable. They make money while facilitating the breakup of marriages and families. I think justice has been served.

Most people are standing by the fact that hacking is illegal, and that what these hackers did was wrong because they have ruined millions of lives. I agree that hacking is illegal and should be. But I do not believe the hackers are responsible for ruining the lives of the adulterers. Rather, those committing adultery are responsible for ruining their own lives. They made conscious choices to do something they were very aware would harm their spouse, their children, and ultimately themselves.

I am going to speak as a Christian in an appeal to other Christians. I believe that as Christians it is imperative for us to recognize what is wrong and damaging to families and to society and call it out. We need to make judgments so that we can understand what is good and what is bad. Sadly, as a society we have been bullied into a place where we won’t say something is right or wrong because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We cower at the being called names, and our unwillingness to face the criticism of those calling us judgmental or bigoted or hateful has led to a whole host of societal ills.

Ashley Madison would not exist if there weren’t enough corrupt people willing to pay for it. Companies can only exist if there is enough of a market to be profitable. Along the same lines, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many mothers and fathers willing to sacrifice the very life of their children for the sake of lust and convenience.

I look around me and see that as a society we have given our compassion to the people selfishly destroying life and family instead of those who have had their lives and families destroyed. The people who need our compassion are the husbands and wives whose marriages have been shattered by infidelity, the sons and daughters who are left without a mother or a father because of the resulting divorce, and the babies that never breathed because their parents did not want them.

Just 60 years ago, compassion was given to the real victims and as a result more people considered the consequences before breaking apart their families or taking the lives of their unborn children. The pressure to live a chaste life meant that life and family were cherished. Now, individual choice is cherished, and life and family are discarded.

To Christians, I say, make a choice. Is what we say and how we judge saving lives and strengthening families, or is it promoting (quietly or openly) the destruction of life and the breakdown of families? Those who hacked into the Ashley Madison website, may have committed a crime, but they also made an important statement about marriage and family. They stood up for love and fidelity. We can to, and we don’t even need to break the law to do so. We just need to speak.

Pornography: Do you still have a choice?

In Marriage, Pornography on August 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm
Little Girl Helping Father with His Tie ca. 2003

Little Girl Helping Father with His Tie ca. 2003

By Rachel Soderquist

Jim had been married for five years. He and his wife had two little girls. They were happy. In the last year, their relationship had spun way off course. It started quietly, almost unknowingly. Jim spent more time at work; he was a little bit more tired when he came home at night. He started interacting less with the girls. Little acts of kindness and reaching out began to dwindle and affection stopped all together. He was caught by the poison that plagues many of our families and society: pornography, an utter disregard for the sacred.

At every second, 28,258 people are viewing pornography. That means that if these 28,258 people represented different individuals every second, it would only take 59 hours, a little less than 5 days, before the entire world population had been exposed. Pornography changes the way the brain thinks. It is an addiction. Many addicts don’t realize the actions they are taking until after it has happened. They are no longer in control and cannot act on conscious or heart. Their values are changed and they don’t even realize it.

When Jim first met his wife, he was head over heels in love.

Jim looked forward to the opportunity to provide for her and spend the rest of his life working to make her happy. She was his world. As pornography took over his life, that pattern began to change. The results of one study showed a consistent pattern of value changes in exposed individuals. Those individuals who were exposed to pornography were more likely to be unfaithful to their partner, have a decreased desire to have children, and have a lower opinion of marriage and family in general.

Pornography consumption is also affecting the overall value society places on the family unit. What does a pornography addict value most? I can assure you it is not their family. This research confirms that individuals exposing themselves to pornography are self-focused. When an individual’s heart is set on their ‘relationship’ with pornographic images, all other relationships have a tendency to fall to the wayside. Everything they used to hold dear loses meaning.

Jim can’t love his wife anymore. He doesn’t have a choice.

The sad part is this ‘relationship’ isn’t even real. Pornography distorts the consumer’s view of reality. This distorted reality makes it more difficult for the viewer to create and maintain real loving relationships. “Porn teaches that both men and women aren’t worth anything more than the sum of their body parts and how much sexual pleasure they can offer.”[1]

Imagine for a minute the images of actors, athletes, models, and others you see in the media. They seem perfect in every way. Hair that glimmers in the sun, clear skin, pearly white teeth, toned arms. Everything flawless. Real people are not like this. We each have our quirks, imperfections, impossible opinions. Once the consumer gets used to this ideal relationship, where there is no talking back, no consideration for her needs, no hard work, no apologies, etc., it becomes difficult to snap back into a real relationship. As a result, thousands of marriages fail.

Now let’s look at it from the consumer’s point of view. Pornography is an addiction. The brain is rewired to think the addiction is a necessity. Often the addiction becomes so natural that even before the addict realizes what they are doing, they relapse. And with each exposure, the dependency on the product becomes deeper, perpetuating the problem.

Jim ended up leaving his family, to the heartbreak of his wife.

His little girls will have no memory of him as the supportive father and husband he used to be in their home. The choices we make affect those around us, those we love the most. Pornography is one of those choices that hurts the consumer and those closest to them.

Rachel SoderquistRachel Soderquist is a current student at BYU-Idaho, majoring in Marriage and Family Studies.  She hopes to continue using her education to promote homes and families across the nation, by sharing research in a way that people can understand.

 

 

Sources

http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html

http://jfi.sagepub.com.byui.idm.oclc.org/content/9/4/518.full.pdf+html

http://fightthenewdrug.org/porn-kills-love-2/#sthash.OqKRsUFL.dpbs

[1] Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 80; Mosher, D. L. and MacIan, P. (1994). College Men and Women Respond to X-Rated Videos Intended for Male or Female Audiences: Gender and Sexual Scripts. Journal of Sex Research 31, 2: 99–112.

Focus on the Next Generation

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Drug Use, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parental Rights, Parenting, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on August 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

couple in love 3by Erin Weist

I have four boys. Four wonderful, mischievous, wrestling, tumbling, occasionally smelly little boys. Someday they will be young men. Then they will go on to become men. I burst with pride at this thought, hoping with all my heart they become valiant, courageous, faithful, hard-working, responsible men. I think of this when I hear neighborhood reports of vulgar vandalism by boys as young as 12. I think of this when I read studies about boys near that same age who are addicted to hard-core porn. I worry for my boys and I worry for my daughter that these are the men she has to choose from as a potential spouse. I want my boys to be good men that someone else can entrust their daughter to and I want to entrust my daughter to a good man who will love her.

I spoke with my 97 year old grandmother this week. I told her I wanted to give my boys advice about how to treat a lady. I told her I thought a lot of those worthy traditions had been lost and that “old-fashioned” was considered a bad word. I loved hearing her stories when she recounted how respectful my grandfather had always been. He opened doors for her. He helped her with her chair. His language in her presence was above reproach. When they were courting they hardly ever spent time alone. My grandmother’s parents thought my grandfather was of a lower class and wouldn’t allow them to see each other, so instead they met at my great-aunt’s house, always chaperoned and usually helping with household chores. On the few occasions they went out it was generally with another couple.

With a twinkle in her eye my grandmother recounted to me (for the umpteenth time) how she was coming down the stairs at their high school and my grandfather saw her for the first time. He leaned over to his buddy and said, “There’s the girl I’m going to marry.” There was no temptation to engage in sexual activity while they were dating because the goal they had in mind was marriage. They wanted to spend time getting to know each other and focusing on the future.

Encouraging marriage and holding it up as an ideal in our society is a way to decrease the social ills that come from sexual promiscuity. If you want to start a fight online just dare to mention abstinence as a valid form of birth control. It wasn’t an issue for my grandmother because there was no social pressure; there was no public demand for birth control for young girls; there was, instead, a focus of marriage and family.

I know we can’t romanticize earlier ages just because we want to think about the rosy things. My great-grandmother was forced to marry a man in his 30s when she was only 13 years old. Her life was frankly horrifying. But that mostly came from an unloving father who didn’t want to care for her. We have the same problem today in one form or another. Again, things are better when we focus on marriage and family.

Young men today: would you make different choices as a teenager if you were focused on one day becoming a husband & father? Young women: would you make different choices or be more selective of who you date, and HOW you date, if you were using it as a catalyst to someday becoming a wife & mother?

I understand that unwanted pregnancy is an epidemic, particularly among lower socio-economic classes. But rather than focus on picking up the broken pieces, putting band-aids on gushing wounds, our legislation, our public policy, our mission statement as communities and civic leaders should be to focus on marriage and families. Everybody wins when young men grow up to be responsible husbands & fathers. Everyone wins when young women are revered and protected as the next generation of wives & mothers. I’m working for that in my home and my community. Will you join me?

Married To Your Phone

In Marriage, Technology on August 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Facebook, updateThe addicting power of Facebook, togetherness not tech-etherness, and putting up safeguards for your marriage

By Jackie Bowles

Social media helps people stay connected with family and friends all over the world. It also helps in spreading the word of current events such as the Boston marathon, or the capture of bin Laden. Social networking is a great tool in searching for a job for both you and your next employer. Missing children can be found more quikly through social media. Social Media can be helpful in so many ways but it can also take over our lives if we aren’t careful.

Facebook Fever

Facebook and other social networking sites are increasing their traffic every year. In 2008, in the early years of Facebook it had 100 monthly users. Fast forward to 2015, Facebook currently has 1.44 billion active monthly users all over the world.   Studies have shown that people spend an average of 7 hours a month connecting on Facebook. Fifty-three percent of people check their Facebook profile before even getting out of bed. A survey of 1000 people across the United States has shown some startling statistics. Of the 1000 people, 56% of Facebook users checked their account at least once a day. Only 29% of those people could only go a few hours before they had to check their Facebook account. And 63% users are checking their Facebook on the toilet.

Is Facebook becoming a trend? Or would we go so far as to say that we as a people are becoming addicted to being connected? Are we spending more time in a virtual world than in the real world? Psychologist Michael Fenichel calls it Facebook Addiction Disorder. Facebook can take over our normal daily activities and is mind numbing. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you really have a problem.

  • Are you losing sleep over Facebook and then that effects your day?
  • Do you spend more than one hour on Facebook?
  • Have you become obsessed with past relationships and start visiting their profiles? Does it gradually start to affect your current relationship status?
  • Is your work being ignored because you are using Facebook during office hours?
  • Does even the thought of going a day without Facebook cause you stress and anxiety?

Couple riding  bikesMarriages declining due to social media

As we can see Facebook and other social network sites are becoming addicting. It’s interfering in marriages today. In fact one third of divorces today end because of Facebook.

Let’s imagine for a moment, that we have a busy mom of six very active children. She, like everyone else, likes to have some down time to just sit and relax after a bustling day of children. She becomes involved in her Facebook updates. Online friendships start developing. These online friends soon become very important to her. And life starts revolving around these new friends that she has made. She even goes as far as having social activities with them in person. This mom quickly starts to love the idea of just having fun, forgetting her duties as a mother, and letting her marriage take a back seat.   There is so much responsibility in being a wife and mother that it is very easy to become absorbed in these new friendships that come with no responsibility and are just so fun and carefree.

Tech-etherness Time

How do you as couple spend your time together?   On a device, or do you have real quality time with one another? Do you have to quickly check your Facebook before you can go out? Are you updating your status instead of communicating with your spouse? Are you tempted to revisit past relationships? Have you ever asked yourself some of these questions?

Facebook and other social network sites are taking away our “together time” and creating “tech-ether time.” We need to put away our phones every once in a while. Christian Lous Lange has said, “Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master.” Our phones can become our task masters, if we don’t put up safeguards and boundaries.

Putting up social media safeguards

There are many things that we can do in our online community to safeguard our marriage relationships. Research has shown that there are higher levels of trust within a marriage when passwords are shared with your spouse.   Others things that we can use to protect our marriage are: Watch the clock, don’t spend excessive amounts of time on social media; Don’t put your dirty laundry out for the whole public to see; Be selective in what you are sharing; Talk about what your online rules before they become a problem; Make sure that you are choosing wisely those you associate with online.   Make a rule that you don’t add past boyfriends or girlfriends. As a couple you need to find more time to spend with each other. That might even mean that you turn off your phone so that you won’t have any distractions. We need to focus on what matters most. Spend time with “real” people in “real” time, which will be more fulfilling than connecting with people through a computer or device.

It has become easier and easier to do one more thing on a phone, or make one more connection with someone, or “like” one more thing. I have chosen not to have a Facebook account because my time is needed in raising my family, going to school, and serving those around me. Even though I don’t have a Facebook account, I’ve found that I’m grabbing my phone more and more all the time. I could be better at putting the phone away and using that time to spend nurturing and building my own marriage. I can find better things to do with my time so that I’m actually connecting with my husband and deepening the bond that we share. I would hope that each of us could beware of the time we spend, the friends we have or make, and the things we are doing on social media that could destroy our marriages. We need to protect that which is dear to us. We need to protect those that we love.

Jackie BowlesJackie Bowles is a student at BYU-Idaho. She has been married for 12 years. She just had her 4th child (1 girl and 3 boys). Jackie enjoys playing at the park with her children and gardening with her husband. If there is any free time she also like crafting, reading, and cooking.

No Room Left For Religion

In Choice, Courts, Diane Robertson, Free Speech, Freedom, Gay rights, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Religion, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on August 19, 2015 at 6:24 am

camel with nose in tentby Diane Robertson

I remember quite distinctly the day in 2004 when my husband told me that Massachusetts legalized gay marriage. I said, “Why should I care? They should be able to live their lives however they want.” And I meant it. I had some friends in high school who were gay and a few more acquaintances since then. It made sense that they could live how they wanted and I could live how I wanted and none of us would be the worse off. It took a few years, but I soon learned just how wrong I was.

It was sometime in 2009 that I began reading news articles of how either gay marriage laws or non-discrimination laws were requiring Christian business owners, doctors, parents of elementary students, and psychological counselors to deny their religious beliefs in their work or schooling. I came to realize that gay marriage was not about people just living their lives how they wanted while letting others do the same. Rather it was more about forcibly making everyone agree with the lifestyle of a few. It soon became clear that the lobby fighting for gay marriage thought that if a religion said that the gay lifestyle was wrong, then that religion and anyone who believed in that religion were wrong.

That is when I decided that I must not be a part of the silent majority. I began to speak out against gay marriage and in favor of religious freedom. I knew that if the government decided that my religious beliefs were bigoted, then eventually that same government would try to remove my right to live according to my beliefs.

Today that is just what is happening. The gay lobby has successfully legalized gay marriage throughout the United States. In essence, current marriage laws, unless stated otherwise, no longer support the first amendment that extends the free exercise of religion. Instead gay marriage laws seem to protect the feelings of a few while condemning anyone who heeds their religious tenets, virtually labelling religious people as hateful, bigoted, and possibly engaging in discrimination akin to racial discrimination.

A prime example recently came in a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct. The board ruled that a judge who performs civil marriage ceremonies cannot decline to perform them for same-sex couples no matter what the judge’s religious beliefs or moral convictions on the matter. This might not be so bad, if the board allowed judges to stay out of marriages all together. But the board went further demanding that if a judge “publicly states or implies a personal objection to performing same-sex marriages” and seeks recusal from performing all marriages, then that judge violates the state mandate against judicial “impropriety” and is unfit for judicial duties.

That alone denies the free exercise of religion, but as Roger Severeno of the Heritage Foundation explained, “It has come to this: citing the Bible is now viewed as evidence of bigotry. So what would stop the Board from dropping all pretenses and asking sitting or potential judges: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of a church that publicly opposes same-sex marriage?’ According to the Board’s logic, nothing.”

This action, of course, makes it so all judges in Ohio must adhere to a single point of view. In Ohio, judges no longer have freedom of thought.

If state legislatures do not make laws that say otherwise, gay marriage laws will label religious people and by extension religion itself, as hateful, bigoted, and discriminating. There will be no room left for religion or religious people in America.

 

 

 

Increase Your Family Circle

In Families, Grandparents, Marriage on August 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

extended familyby Erin Weist

A few weeks ago, Caitlin from this blog posted a great article on putting our families first in our lives (see her article here: Five Great Ways to Make Family the Priority). It started me thinking about the ways we can expand that influence to include extended families or friends within our circle of influence who have no family presence. So here are a few more great ways to increase the influence of families in our own lives and in our communities.

  1. Reach out to an older generation. If you or a spouse have living grandparents or great grandparents make an effort to include them in your lives. Holidays are a perfect opportunity to open your home but regular traditions of any kind make for great memories. I have a sister-in-law that has spent the last several years inviting her kids’ great-grandmother to dinner one Sunday every month. It has been an uplifting experience for everyone involved and a way for her kids to learn more about where they come from.
  2. Branch out along your family tree to discover and befriend cousins. If you or your children aren’t familiar with cousins, start today to find and develop relationships. This will be a lasting blessing for all families involved. Social media is a great way to start because it is an easy way to find people, no matter where they live. All you need is one relative to start you in the right direction or link you to others. Share photos, express your love of family and your desire to know each other. My own childhood was greatly enriched because I was close to my cousins and I see the same thing in my children’s lives. I hope they can always be connected to cousins, near or far.
  3. Include siblings or friends without a family support system. My husband’s sisters all live far from us—some on the others side of the country, even on the other side of the world. They also travel a great deal and have made a concerted effort to send my children postcards from various spots around the world. This is a great ritual that is adored by all in our home. We stay connected to family, feel their love for us and learn about what is going on in their lives. Obviously this doesn’t work in all circumstances but it shows that distance is not necessarily an obstacle. Write emails (or even better, letters!) to those far away. Video chat with them online where possible. Remember birthdays (something I have always failed at but keep vowing to be better) and other significant events. Consider making a regular standing appointment with someone who has no siblings or family support, such as a weekly or monthly activity or dinner. Try to put yourself in their shoes and include them the way you would want to be included.
  4. Research your family tree. Each of us has a story and it doesn’t start with our birth. It starts long before we lived—with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents…and so forth. They all have stories about how they were born & lived or died, how they came to live in certain places, what circumstances they endured or enjoyed. Whether we realize it or not each of those stories affect our personal story. How did your family come to live where you do? Where did your ancestors live before and how did they come here? How were they educated, what industries did they work in and what did they learn? How did they pass those lessons on to future generations? There is a remarkable power that comes from knowing who you are and where you come from. Also, because of the internet it is infinitely easier to begin: type “family history” in your favorite browser and see where it leads!

Whether you are single or married, you can support the institution of family in small ways in your daily life, starting today. Choose one to start on and you will find your own life enriched in the process. We are all blessed when we support families.

For the Love of Children

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, stay-at-home mom, The Family, Values, working mothers on August 13, 2015 at 11:25 am

boy with blocksby Jodi Walker

According to the childstats.gov website, over half of America’s children are being raised in daycares. The first time I ever thought about a “daycare child” was before I had children of my own. I was with my friend at a park and a huge bus pulled up, her 9 year-old child exclaimed, “Oh no! The day care kids are here.” At the time, I thought, “what a funny thing to say.” Then the kids came onto the playground. Some were well behaved and some were a nightmare. What I didn’t like was that the kids that were not behaved were not reprimanded. The kids that cried because of the bullies were not comforted. Do I think this happens at all Day Care sites? No. But one thing I have learned over the years, “Nobody loves my children like I do.”

We live states away from family, and so when we had our first child, I tried to work weekends so my husband could tend our child instead of someone I didn’t know.  We quickly came to the realization that rarely seeing each other was detrimental to our relationship, and I chose to quit.

The consequence of that decision?  We have never had cable television. For the first eight years of our marriage we had one bathroom.  Most nights we have dinner “in house” as a family. My job of being a stay-at-home mom can be demanding, difficult, devalued by society, and very thank-less at times. However, I have seen the difference in my children’s behavior compared to others.

Now, just because I am home doesn’t mean I have the time to sit and watch TV. In fact, before the birth of my new baby…number four, I was getting up at 5:30 to find time to exercise and going to bed about 10:30 p.m. …and I still had things that needed doing.  Time for television?  Maybe a movie on the weekend with my husband…other than that, RARELY.  Teaching my children manners, work, religious principles, and educating them in the art of cooking and reading took all day. Being an involved and good parent takes A LOT of energy and time.

I have a good friend who drops her son off at daycare 5 days a week for 9-10 hours a day. He spends more awake time at daycare than he does in his own home. They have one child and their house is bigger than our home.  Am I jealous? No. We are building character, not a material dynasty. I love my friend. I love her family. But sometimes I think about the memories that she will miss because of allowing someone else to raise her son.

In this day and age, it feels strange to be so blunt, but I would urge any who can to spend as much time with their children as possible. Once a child starts school, they are gone from the home for a majority of the rest of their lives. I gently but firmly discipline my children. They are devoted to me. I believe it is because they spend many good times with me so when I do need to correct them, they are secure in my love for them. My husband comes home and plays with them. He can do this because I am managing the home and most days have things under control and a healthy dinner on the table. While Day Care is an easy option, I do not believe it to be the best option.

Nobody loves your children as much as you do.  Our children need OUR love, OUR time, OUR attention.  Let’s be honest. Those who watch children in a daycare setting want the paycheck.  They do not care if the children in their care are taught values, learn manners, develop self confidence, treat others with kindness, are hugged and comforted if hurt…need I go on?  I have heard “a Mother’s love is nearer to God’s love than any other.”  That’s why God sent these precious children to mothers….and not to day care.

A Letter to my Children: Please Choose Marriage

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Education, Families, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values on August 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

writing a letterby Erin Weist

Someday I hope my children make it a priority to get married. I know it will only get harder to keep the traditions of family-building alive, rampant as societies are with self-serving choices. I wanted to write a letter in hopes of expressing to them why I think marriage is important and why I hope they choose this path when the time comes.

My dear sweet babies,

I know you will only be babies for a little while. I know when this letter becomes really pertinent to your life you will be grown and moving into adulthood. I hope you are happy. You can do this by making choices that lead to overall happiness. Unfortunately the world around you is full of sophistries that try to lie about ways you will be happy. These ways are generally self-serving and focus on immediate pleasures rather than true, long-term happiness. One of the things that I truly hope for your futures is that you make it a priority to find a good spouse and create a family together.

Many voices around the world say that marriage isn’t important, that it is too binding, that people need to be free, that relationships should be fluid. Please don’t listen. Your mother (who loves you more than you will know until you have your own children) begs you to turn away from these ideas. Marrying your father was the best decision I’ve ever made and has brought me some of the single greatest blessings in this life—especially all of you! Many people will also say that you don’t need a spouse to have children, that you can co-habitate with multiple partners of any gender at any given time, even simultaneously. Again, please don’t heed these selfish lures. They may tout happiness and freedom but they are meant only to ensnare and enslave. Women & men were made to be together—mating for life, as it were! When you follow the ends of these purposes you will find happiness!

I love your dad so much and I know he loves me, but these are only words. Real love also comes through actions, not immediate pleasure. It’s the support of one another through difficult choices or trials. It’s encouraging each other to set lofty goals, both individually and as a couple, and seeing it through in attaining those goals. It’s intimacy on a much deeper level than can be found anywhere else. It’s putting the needs of another human ABOVE your own. This will be preparation for becoming a mother or father to your own children.

As an example, while writing this letter I have been interrupted several times by one of you when it is way past bedtime (no, I won’t tell you who) and each time I have been stern and annoyed at the disruption. Finally when it came to tears I realized that I wasn’t practicing what I preached—putting someone else’s needs above my own. So I asked my sweet child, “what do you need?” The reply, “a hug,” was a sweet reminder of the lessons I’ve learned as a mother about selflessness and how those actions truly bring peace and happiness. Now he is in bed and we are both filled.

Family life may not be the only place to learn these important lessons but it is specially created to be the most intensive course in learning and joy that we can ever have. I want the best for all of you, I hope you want the best for yourself and never settle for any counterfeit. I hope your father & I present to you a positive image about the joy & benefits of marriage and that you’ll want that life for yourself. We love each other and we love you. Don’t ever settle for anything less yourself.

Love, mom.

Do Parents Matter?

In Abstinence, Child Development, Cohabitation, Courts, Families, father, Freedom, Government, Marriage, Parenting, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Single Mothers, Supreme Court, The Family, Values on July 31, 2015 at 11:21 am
parents with adult sonby Mekelle Tenney
Do children need both mom and dad? This has become a very controversial question. Do children do best in a home where both the mom and dad are actively involved in their child’s life? This question has been brought up several times in the debate on same sex marriage. However this concern has been dismissed in most cases based on the lack of evidence to support the claim that children do best with both a mother and father. Due to the fact that same sex marriage is a fairly new concept in America it is safe to say that perhaps that is true. We don’t have enough data on same sex couples to conduct the proper research, at least here in America. However the question of needing a mom and a dad has been asked long before the same sex marriage debate came around. Society has been dealing with the effects of the broken family long before this issue came up.
The state of the family in America.
Currently 40.6% of  babies born in the United States are born to unwed mothers
According to the US Census one in three American children grow up without a father present in the home.
Divorce rate in America is between 40% and 50%.
Over 40% of cohabiting couples have children.
48% of women cohabitate with their spouse or partner before they marry.
What difference does it make?
The following are just a few of many findings surrounding parenting and child development.
Toddlers with involved fathers are better problem solvers and have higher IQs by age three.
Children with involved fathers are 43% more likely to have mostly all A’s in school.
Children with involved fathers are 33% less likely to repeat a grade.
 Girls with involved fathers have higher self-esteem and are less likely to become pregnant as a teenager.
Studies show that by 8 weeks of age infants can notice the difference between a male and female interacting with them.
Fathers encourage competition while mothers encourage equity. Many psychologists believe that it is dangerous to have only one of those parenting styles. In order for a child to develop healthy socially as well as mentally they need both parenting styles.
Psychologists have also found that mothers and fathers communicate differently with their children. They have also found that children need both forms of communication for healthy social development.
Mothers naturally care for and nurture their children while fathers tend to play and interact. Again, both are needed in a child’s development.
What now?
With the legalization of same sex marriage The number of children without mothers or fathers in the home will continue to increase. The social science surrounding the issue of child development and the need for both male and female influence will continue to be ignored. And the children are the ones who will pay the price. What a selfish generation we have become.
Continue to support the family!
Though the statistics shared earlier about the state of the family may seem very discouraging it is important for us to remember that the family still needs advocates. Though we lost the battle on marriage there are still many other battles to fight and our involvement is critical. We must continue to stand for the family, be aware of what goes on in congress and how it affects the institution of the family, be informed, and speak up! The family needs you and your voice.
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