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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Adult children Need Support Too!!!

In Child Development, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, Parenting, The Family, Values on April 14, 2015 at 7:32 am

father comforting adult daughterRachel Allison

It has been over nine years since my father passed away. Over the past couple of days I have been thinking of him a lot.

My Dad was a man of few words, but life’s lessons had given him a wisdom that enriched each of our lives. When he spoke, “we listened.”

My youngest sister tells of an endearing experience she had with Dad. She had been having some very discouraging setbacks in life. One morning she received a phone call from him. The first thing she heard after she picked up the receiver was dad singing, “I just called to say I love you. I just called to say how much I care,” (“I Just Called to Say I Love you” by Stevie Wonder.) My sister started to cry, but the ensuing conversation comforted and gave her hope and courage to tackle the future.

I have been surprised in recent years to hear friends admit that now that their adult children are out of the house, “they’re on their own.” In other words, these mothers and fathers with years of wisdom have chosen to let their children make mistakes without a word of advise. I am so much better because my parents stayed involved. Granted, they lived six hundred miles away, so it’s not as if they were at my door every day, but they were always just a phone call away and they always took the time to offer advise when I needed it.

The advice I specifically remember came at a time when I was a newlywed.   Looking back I see a very immature (dare I admit even spoiled?) young woman who called her parents often to express her frustrations with her new husband. My parents would always listen, but our conversations always ended with my mom and dad telling me how much they loved and appreciated my husband. They NEVER EVER badmouthed him. As the months and years passed, my tirades subsided, but when I did need to vent, my parent’s positive expressions were always a reminder of just why I married my husband.

Now that I have three adult married children I am determined to be as good a listener and advisor. I try to NEVER EVER badmouth my son-in-law or daughters-in-law. The few times my children have called with relationship issues I listen and I give them advice as to how THEY could make the situation better. We learn from an accumulation of generations of wisdom. And when the wisdom is shared each generation tends to get better and better.

 

Marriage, the Kitchen, and the Bedroom

In Abstinence, Child Development, Cohabitation, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Drug Use, Families, Feminism, Gender, Human Rights, Marriage, Media, Meet UFI, motherhood, Parenting, Research, Sexual Freedom, The Family, Values, Violence, Women's Rights on April 9, 2015 at 9:38 am

woman in the kitchenTashica Jacobson

Laura Bunker’s recent UFI alert struck a cord with me, and I haven’t been able to get her message out of my mind. Not only did it bring up this year’s trip to the UN, which brought up wonderful memories for me, she quoted Kate Gilmore’s shocking comment at the CSW side event.

We discovered that for millions and millions of women that marriage is not much better than an arbitrary detention cell; that the kitchen is a torture chamber; that the bedroom is a site for the gravest of human rights violations.”

While it would be false to say that every marriage and family situation is good, taking the other route and advocating against the marriage institution is even more destructive. I bring up the following points in defense of the institution that can and will bring about the most good for society, if we promote strong marriages and families.

Marriage

Marriage is more than a piece of paper and it’s more than a private relationship, it is a public commitment and responsibility for one another. And it should always be viewed as more than just one individual’s happiness, even though that is part of it.

Marriage promotes many benefits to many different people. It benefits the couple and their children, and it also benefits society. And when marriage is entered into in a responsible way these benefits are even more pronounced.

Married couples are typically better off financially, physically and mentally. And they are able to fully invest in a relationship that is protected by the promise of permanence. Another benefit is pooling: couples bring their abilities, income, and skills together. And then these tools benefit both parties rather than just one individual. Overall happiness is increased by marriage, which in itself promotes positive change in lives.

Children do better when raised by their biological married parents. They do better in school and have better relationships with their parents, while the likelihood of drug use and delinquent behavior decrease.

These benefits then transfer over to society, because when the individual people benefit, the society also improves, and people have more time and resources to devote to bettering the community.

Kitchen

The kitchen is actually my favorite room in the whole house. Do I cook? NO, but it’s so much more than cooking. Growing up, the kitchen was the center of my home. It was where we gathered together at the start of our day and where we finished our day. It was where we greeted each other through the comings and goings. It is one of the things that brought us together as a family.

Research has shown the benefits of the family meals together. These benefits range from better academic performance to lower risk of delinquency and depression. Kathleen Ferrigno, the director of marketing for CASA said, “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it.” And the same could be said for the kitchen as a whole. It allows ample opportunity for family members to connect with one another.

Time in the kitchen also allows time for all members to contribute and work together. Family work has changed over time and what used to be time together, is now typically isolation. That is what needs to be avoided when doing kitchen chores. It should be a time to remember your family and the service that you are doing for them and a time to work together. Kitchen chores are one way children can feel like they are part of the family, even if they don’t enjoy completing them.

Bedroom

The bedroom and intimacy shared between husband and wife can be a source of conflict in marriage but we also need to keep in mind that it is also a way to bring a couple together and unite them in a way like no other.

When intimacy is shared within a marriage, with care and concern for the other, it enhances a marriage. And because the couple has already made the ultimate commitment to one anther it provides a safe environment to be vulnerable.

In his book How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, Dr Van Epp describes the relational aspects of sex. “The primary reason why sex is always relational is because you cannot separate your body from the rest of who you are.”(p.289) meaning that casual sex is not beneficial. Sex needs to be allowed in the context of a relationship with the maximum commitment, which is the marriage relationship.

Marriage actually improves ones sex life and studies have shown married couples are actually more satisfied with their sex life. Access to partner, commitment, exclusivity, all contribute to the increased satisfaction. Care and concern for each other throughout all parts of married life contribute to care and concern in the bedroom.

 All parts of family life play an important role in strengthening the family and society, but they also add to individual safety, security, and happiness. This is why we need to continue to promote healthy families. Despite the opposition married intact families do continue to achieve the best outcomes for individuals.

Millennials and Marriage: Don’t Count Us Out Just Yet

In Divorce, Families, Marriage, Research, Values on April 7, 2015 at 11:09 am

piano duetKelsi Marie Shipley

18 – 35 year old Millennials are constantly a topic of conversation with older generations. We are too liberal. We have more opportunities than any other generation before us. We don’t have the respect that we should. Today, let’s discuss my personal favorite: we are not getting married.

Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation have a right to be concerned. When they were our age, 36% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers, and 65% of the Silent Generation were married. Compared to the 26% of Millennials married now, there is cause for worry. However, if we don’t look at the whole picture of modern marriage, we miss the reasons why Millennials are waiting for marriage.

  A recent PEW study described three reasons why Millennials are not getting married.

First, we are not ready to settle down or feel too young.

Second, we are not financially prepared.

Lastly, we just haven’t found what we are looking for.

This leaves out the increasing rate of divorce, our friends and families failed relationships, pornography, and the many heartbreaks we have personally endured.

Right now you are probably thinking, “OK, I get it. Relationships are hard.” Yes, yes they are. Interestingly enough though, we are better off financially and emotionally when we are in safe, committed marriage relationships. While I share all of the fears listed above with my fellow Millennials, research debunks some of the myths associated with them.

Finances. You worry about them when you are single, and you worry about them when you are married. 26% of Millennials ages 18-24 do not feel financially prepared for marriage. This also applies to 34% of 25-34 year olds, and 20% of those 35 and older. Both Time magazine and CNN Money proclaim that many Millennials do not want to be married because they are uncertain about the future.

Finding a job for many college graduates is not as easy as it was ten years ago. I often worry about being able to take care of a family, or if my husband will be able to take care of us. The irony in this is that with two incomes, married couples are often better off financially than someone who is single. Married couples also have more specific goals: kids, house payment, etc. Because of this, married couples may keep better track of their finances.

Another concern is the divorce rate. If we were in person, and I asked if you knew someone who was divorced, you could probably give me the names of three or more couples. Divorce is everywhere. 40 -50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Guess what? That doesn’t have to be you.

I am personally guilty of bringing past fears into relationships. Being open with your partner and setting goals together, will help create the security that is needed to help avoid divorce. Marriage is not always going to be easy. A good marriage relationship has to be fostered daily.

For those of us who are not ready to settle down, and feel like we are too young: if you are not ready emotionally to be married, you are not ready. You should never jump into a marriage. That’s how divorce happens. However, if you are holding off because you love golf on Tuesday with your best friend, or that you can do whatever you want whenever you want, you might want to reevaluate your personal emotional readiness.

Many Millennials feel like they haven’t found the right person. Good for you! Don’t set your expectations beyond reach, but don’t settle. In a world where the divorce rate is high, financial situations dominate everything we do, and pornography is everywhere, you can’t just marry anyone.

John Bytheway, a famous youth speaker, has compared marriage to playing a duet at the piano. You have the music, you are playing it, but it does not sound quite right until someone sits next to you and plays the other part. Unfortunately not everyone knows how to play the music. Some try to play, and it doesn’t sound right, others look at it and walk away, but one day someone will sit down and the music will sound more beautiful than it ever has before.

As a Millennial, I can’t wait to sit next to the right person at the piano. Even with all of the hardships concerning marriage, I know that it can be the most satisfying relationship. To Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation, don’t give up on us Millennials just yet. We have always surprised you, and will continue to do so.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/04/people-who-marry-young-are-happier-but-those-who-marry-later-earn-more/

http://time.com/3422624/report-millennials-marriage/

http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/20/news/economy/millennials-marriage/index.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/03/25/dont-worry-america-millennials-still-want-to-marry/

Is It the Economy Again?

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Cohabitation, Divorce, Families, father, Marriage, The Family, Values on March 20, 2015 at 7:16 am

empty ring boxGary Boyd

Seth Freed Wessler, writing for nbcnews.com, charges the economy with the low percentages of married young people and the rapidly diminishing institution of the American middle-class family. As industrial and professional jobs for men that paid a living wage 50 years ago have dried up, Wessler asserts that those of traditionally marriageable age no longer give marriage a high priority, since marriage no longer secures financial stability.

In his article, Mr. Wessler uses the real-life and current example of a young couple with a child who have not married, in order to show that the economic pressures brought to bear on them have caused them to make other choices than marriage and the traditional family.   He quotes the couple and recounts their experience.

Michael Bridges and Laura McCann had a longstanding relationship. McCann came up pregnant, and delivered their baby a few months after McCann finished college. Today, they are still not married. In fact, they separated two years after the baby was born.

Statistics cited by Mr. Wessler are undoubtedly true. Marriage rates are down, when compared to 1960. Births of children to unwed parents are up. Most young couples are choosing to bypass marriage and jump directly into having kids, or avoiding both marriage and procreation. The question, however, is whether the economy can be blamed, or must we look to the erosion of morals and values.

While couples having babies today are often not staying together, would it still not behoove them to do so economically? The Earned Income Credit is not enough on which to live for a year, and even though the mother may no longer stay home full-time, are two incomes still not more than one? Does it not cost less to house two adults in one apartment than in two apartments?

The answer, regrettably, is an erosion of our values. After the baby was born, and the responsibility to its care established, McCann was quoted as saying: “We weren’t going to stay together just because we were together, if it wasn’t the right thing”.

Again, the article does not give the causes of the couple’s choice to separate. The undertones suggest possible disenchantment with each other or a desire to move in different directions. However, in the absence of abuse or infidelity, how could staying together not be the right thing? The question is one of perspective and priority.

Until the real issues are addressed, society will continue its march towards the increased barbarism and unravelling of civilization that loom inevitably before us, and away from chewed-up-and-spit-out traditional family in the trail behind us.

What You Say Matters

In Child Development, Families, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on March 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

self esteem talkKelsi Shipley

Recently I had a conversation with an adorable five-year-old boy. At one point he confided in me that he thinks his mom is a negative person. Knowing this boys mother, I was surprised by the accusation, and assured him she wasn’t. We talked about a few other things, and then as we parted ways he exclaimed, “Wait! I don’t know what negative means!” In the best five-year-old terms I could think of, I explained that when you are negative, you are not very happy about what happens around you. He then got a puzzled look on his face and said, “Oh. My mom is always happy.”

This experience made me wonder where he had heard that his mom was a negative person. Had family members said it? Had dad said it? Had mom said it about herself? How we talk about ourselves affects our children’s opinions of us, and their opinion of themselves.

Throughout the day we are constantly thinking to ourselves through our inner voice. We use this voice to make critical decisions, and to analyze situations. To describe this inner voice, psychologists use the term self-talk. Our self-talk can be positive or negative. Self-talk often becomes our outer voice and unfortunately, our negative thoughts about ourselves are often expressed before our positive ones.

“I can’t do that work project. Carol would do a much better job.” “If Joe really knew me, he wouldn’t say such nice things about me.” Not only have you probably had these thoughts, you’ve probably expressed them out loud.

Children often mimic their parent’s habits, reactions, and expressions about themselves. Children with lower self-esteems often make negative remarks about themselves, don’t want to try new things, or give up easily. “I’m dumb. I’ll never get this assignment” “I can’t do this.” “What’s the point?” Some feelings of self-doubt are normal, but when these feelings affect everything we do, it can be debilitating.

A child’s self-esteem, as well as an adult’s, is a valuable tool in helping them to succeed. If we want children with healthy self-esteems, we must have a healthy self-esteem ourselves. The following are suggestions of ways to increase your self-esteem which then, by example and teaching, may increase your child’s self esteem.

  1. Feel your thoughts: You don’t have to like the negative thoughts that you are feeling. You also don’t need to believe them. However, it is important to truly feel these thoughts. Author Karol K. Truman has said that, “Feelings buried alive, never die.” Find out where these thoughts are coming from. Use the phrase “I feel______about________because________. This will help you identify how you truly feel, and why you feel that way.
  2. Adjust your thinking: Use “I can” statements to change your understanding. “I can do this work project.” “It does matter, and I can do it.” Encourage yourself to keep progressing. Write down the positive things you are doing, and look back on these notes when you need them. Also, ask yourself what you can do to make a situation less stressful.
  3. Forgive yourself. Life is hard. We all make mistakes. Daily. Learn how to forgive yourself. Work hard to make the changes you need to make, but don’t be so hard on yourself that you forget who you are, or your capacity for greatness.

Youtube sensation Kid President made a video for babies on the day they are born. He said, “You’re gonna need a pep talk sometimes, and that’s OK. For now, remember this: You’re awake. You’re awesome. Live like it.” Each of us will not always feel great about ourselves. We will make mistakes. However, each of us has the capacity to be great, and to help others feel better about themselves.

Just like the five-year-old boy I talked to is watching and listening to his parents self-talk, your child is watching and listening to yours. What you say truly does matter. Your self-esteem, and your example will have a greater impact on your child’s self-esteem than you can ever imagine. Take Kid President’s advice, “You’re awake. You’re awesome. Live like it.”

 

 

Marriage Anybody’s Way

In adoption, Child Development, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Families, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Parenting, Proposition 8, Research, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, The Family, Values on March 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

three-way marriageGary Boyd

Proponents of same-sex marriage have won ground over their opposition during the last two decades. In a rather scary, yet perfectly logical article, Joseph Farah gives us an idea of what may be coming next.

This past Valentine’s Day, Thailand saw a three-way same-sex marriage ceremony, one which Mr. Farah speculated might well have been the first of its kind. The author hastened to express that the three-way ceremony was not legally binding even in Thailand, but that certainly the demand for even more liberal marital configurations will be made by society’s perverts and their friends, anywhere they may be found.

Let us consider the implications. First, and really nothing new, mere review for most, when same-sex marriages are wrongfully legitimized by the government, the same-sex couple, legally married, now has access to the rights and protections afforded any other legally married couple. Such rights include the right to adopt and raise children. While abhorrent to me personally as well as many others, society has warmed up to this idea, and the expression of anything to its contrary catalyzes hot contention in public discourse.

Now, use your imagination for a moment. What is the most sordid conceivable connubial consortium you can come up with? Maybe one has always had a thing for his sister, or sisters, or perhaps his best friend, some breed of canine.

Globally, would society go to such extremes? While nobody can know for certain, the possibility cannot be dismissed. Only several decades ago were sodomy laws overturned. At that point in time, did anyone, even its architects, ever believe that same-sex marriage would become reality in their own lifetimes?

I was a teen in the 1980s, and was first introduced to the idea of same-sex marriage sometime in the latter 1990s. When Question Two was on the ballot in Nevada, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, the idea that same-sex marriage would be legalized, at least in our state, was laughable, and Question Two passed with 80 percent of the popular vote. The ponderous shift in public opinion over the last 20 years could possibly continue with similar momentum over the next 20 years. It could head down a road, the end of which we cannot now fathom, just as I, in 1995, could not even have conceptualized the possibility of same-sex marriage.

And what of the children? Are synthetic family configurations equally as effective as the natural ones in stabilizing society? Will not the children grow up to be even more the animal than those who raised them?

An adequate work on the proven superiority of the traditional nuclear family to society would require a page length into the hundreds. A 350 to 550 word blog cannot begin to address the topic, yet we know from both religious and secular sources, as well as from the history of other nations, that the traditional, nuclear family is the environment best calculated for raising of children in a manner that instills in them the work ethic, honesty, and integrity necessary for productive citizenship, and when we deviate from that model, we walk in crooked paths, the end of which we cannot know.

Appreciating Your Siblings

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Divorce, Families, Family Planning, father, Grandparents, Health Care, Marriage, The Family, Values on March 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

siblingsTashica Jacobson

My Nutrition and Foods teacher, in high school, was a fun talkative lady. She cared about each of her students and had unique way of getting us to look at the world. One day she told us that both of her parents were only children…which at first doesn’t appear too unusual. It’s not unheard of to be an only child. But then she told us to think about what this meant and how that would influence her life. “It means,” she told us, “that my parents have no siblings, but that I also have no uncles, aunts, or cousins. So you can imagine how much fun family reunions are.”

Her statement made me take a moment to look at my siblings and gain an even greater appreciation for having them. Not only will I have an amazing support system throughout all of my life because of them, but I have so many adventures and good memories already because of each one of them. Ask anyone that knows me well and they’ll be able to tell you that my siblings are an enormous part of my life. I could write a whole book on how amazing each of them is, but for this paper I’ll look at the benefits that siblings have on each other throughout all of life.

Our siblings  affect how we relate to other people, how we see ourselves, and provide the support system that we will have in later years. These relationships accomplish all of this because “it’s a bond unlike any other that we have in our lives.” This is why parents are encouraged to promote affection and closeness between their children.

Health

Studies have shown that having siblings can lead us to be more active and healthy. That a blessing to have a constant playmate. Activities that require physical activity like sports, tag, water fights, or hiking, are activities that more often require someone to do them with. Even eating habits improve because of siblings. When children have someone close in age to base food intake on, they eat smaller portions, and healthier foods.

Social skills

Positive social skills are more easily developed because of interaction with siblings. Brothers and sisters provide an opportunity to interact with peers on a daily basis. It provides a chance for children to do good deeds for one another and allows for positive interactions. Even fighting provides an opportunity for siblings to learn. Children are able to learn social rules regarding conflict. They learn how to control their emotions and work through their frustrations with other people, along with developing forgiveness, compromise, and sympathy. Mastering these traits helps us in all of our relationships throughout life; having good relationships with siblings, has even been shown to decrease the likelihood of divorce.

Mental Health

Mental health is also improved when siblings have good relationships with one another. They lend support to each other, provided a listening ear, and give children someone “who’s got their back.” A child’s likelihood of depression is decreased when they have  siblings that are dealing with the same family crisis and stresses as they are. This support system extends into later life as siblings often become each other’s closest friends in adulthood. From them we also have an extended support system in aunts, uncles, cousins, and nieces and nephews. This support system encourages individuals to take on challenges, and stay positive during difficult situations. Mental health benefits are also seen specifically when we have sisters. A combination of studies found that “having a sister protects adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.”

Every situation with siblings is unique. Age differences, gender, and overall experiences will vary but I can speak from personal experience that having siblings is fun. And more than that it provides opportunities for growth and learning. The friendships and support that we develop with them will continue throughout childhood and be a factor even in later life. Healthy sibling relationships should be promoted and cherished.

Do we Really Need Dads?

In Child Development, Education, Families, father, Gender, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Schools, The Family, Values on March 6, 2015 at 9:28 am

father wrestling with sonErika Walker

In the realm of family studies the role of mothers is often researched and discussed. After all, between the two parents mothers typically spend the most time with their children, and are therefore responsible for the majority of the teaching, comforting, disciplining, and nurturing.

So what do dads do? Do they serve a purpose in the lives of their children besides providing for their physical needs? Do children even need a father in their lives? Many women and men share this skeptical mentality toward fatherhood. It seems that the role of fatherhood has lost significance or has been undermined in importance in recent years.

Unbeknownst to many, fathers serve a very important role in the healthy development of children socially, intellectually and psychologically. “Dr. David Popenoe, one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fatherhood stated ‘Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home… Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring’” (Rosenberg).

Loving relationship with child’s mother

One of the most significant ways that a father influences his child’s life is through his relationship with the child’s mother. If the mother and father share a loving relationship both parent’s parenting behavior is likely to improve. For instance, “a father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier.

Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother” (Rosenberg). But the benefits don’t stop there.

Research has shown that wives perceptions of the father-child relationship and father involvement with the children was one of the strongest predictors of wives’ marital quality (Galovan). Though each of these will positively affect the child, the greatest advantage that is gained by a child from the healthy relationship between parents is the behavior it models for children. Both boys and girls benefit from this behavioral modeling.

From observing the healthy relationship between father and mother, boys learn how they are to treat women and to resolve conflict without acting aggressively toward them. “Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships” (Rosenberg). This is a significant contribution in children’s lives because in many cases it could eradicate relationship violence, postpone premarital sex, and prevent teenage pregnancies.

Cognitive ability and Academic success

Father involvement also directly affects a child’s cognitive ability and academic success. There have been numerous studies conducted showing that fathers influence their child’s cognitive capacities throughout their life starting from infancy. The U.S. Children’s Bureau says that “fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities” (Rosenberg). “The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood” (Rosenberg). Adolescents with involved fathers are more likely to stay in school, are 43 percent more likely to make mostly A’s, and “are 33 percent less likely to repeat a grade”(Rosenberg). This is important because children who take their education seriously are more likely to gain a college education, pursue a career, and be able to support themselves.

 

Socially and Psychologically

Children also benefit from father involvement socially and psychologically. “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers… and more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior ” (Rosenberg).

How does a father provide all that? Well, infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers are more securely attached and are therefore much more willing to explore their environment. In addition, fathers generally spend more of their one-on-one time with their infants and toddlers “in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior” (Rosenberg). This is actually much more significant than it might seem. These types of skills keep children from getting into trouble at home, at school, and in the neighborhood. Involved fathers’ children are much less likely to get into fights or participate in delinquent behavior.

Don’t discount the role that a father plays in a child’s life. Children need fathers, as role models, as playmates, as caregivers. Their presence in a child’s life or lack thereof will have lasting effects for generations to come. The key to being a positive influence is being involved.

References:

Galovan, Adam M., Erin Kramer Holmes, David G. Schramm, and Thomas R. Lee. “Father Involvement, Father–Child Relationship Quality, and Satisfaction With Family Work: Actor and Partner Influences on Marital Quality.” Journal of Family Issues 35.13 (2013): 1846-867. SAGE. Web. 5 Jan. 2015. <jfi.sagepub.com>.

Rosenberg, Jeffrey, and W. Bradford Wilcox. “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being.” Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Children’s Bureau , n.d. Web. 30 June 2012. <http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood/chaptertwo.cfm&gt;.

 

Is This Not Tyranny?

In adoption, Constitution, Courts, Defense of Marriage Act, Democracy, Diane Robertson, DOMA, Families, father, Free Speech, Gender, Government, Homosexuality, Human Rights, Marriage, Non-Discrimination, Parental Rights, Proposition 8, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Freedom, Sexual Orientation, Values on March 4, 2015 at 9:35 am

tyranny alertDiane Robertson

Tyranny is defined as cruel and oppressive government or rule, or cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control. Countries that embrace religious freedom are typically free from tyranny, while those nations who insist on certain beliefs lean toward tyranny.

Nations with a state enforced religion such as Saudi Arabia or communist nations where established religions are banned like China, offer little to no religious freedom.

In the most tyrannical countries in the world, the one thing the government can never enforce or stifle is thought and belief. Unless a person declares or publicizes their thoughts and beliefs, laws can have no hold over them. Everyone in the entire world can believe or think what they will.

With the exception of violent acts, for a nation to be free of tyranny, that nation must allow the people to speak their mind and act on their beliefs without punishment. Man is only free when he can live according to his conscience.

Religious freedom has been the norm in the western world for more than two centuries. However, things are changing. Due to mass embracing of secularism and “sexual rights” in these nations, those freedoms are rapidly eroding.

Laws have been made and enforced that disallow people to speak or act on certain beliefs.

In my state, the legislature is working on forming a law that will allow the LGBT community protections for housing while still allowing people to live according to their beliefs. I like this sort of compromise. But as I started reading comments from a local online newspaper, I realized that many people do not want a compromise. Many comments were along these lines:

“Offering exemptions for discrimination on religious grounds is immoral.”

“If their ‘line of work’ is the wedding industry perhaps they should choose a line of work more suited to their belief system.”

“Religious leaders already have religious protections, its called the 1st Amendment… if you give people the right to discriminate outside of an religious organizations, you’ll open a can of worms that will be headed for court, wasting tax payer dollars in the mean time on a court case that won’t win.”

“Really? Have your “marriage beliefs” been outlawed? Not in the least; you can still believe anything you want, you just can’t use your beliefs against your customers. It is not the business of a business to make value judgements about their customers.”

 

There are hundreds such comments from people who feel like freedom to think or believe something should be enough, unless it is what they think or believe— they want the right to act on their beliefs. In fact, they want the government to enforce people to act only according to an approved set of actions– theirs. Well give the government something to regulate and enough people telling them to do so and the government will.

Today many people who dare to disclose their beliefs or act on them are in trouble. They are being fired from their jobs, fined absurd amounts of money, and forced to undergo change of belief training, politely called “sensitivity” training.

A judicial magistrate in England has been suspended for privately stating his belief that children need a mother and a father. According to the Daily Mail:

“Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.

He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.

He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.”

We have all heard about Baronelle Stutzman, the Christian florist being sued by her State Attorney General for referring a gay couple to another florist for the couple’s wedding. And then there’s the photographer in New Mexico, and the bakers in Colorado and Oregon.

There’s also the CEO of Firefox fired for donating to his state’s marriage amendment campaign.

A couple in New York had to pay a fine and undergo sensitivity training for refusing to use the home they lived in for gay wedding ceremonies, and a police officer in Utah was fired for asking to direct traffic instead of performing motorcycle stunts in the Gay Pride Parade.

Is this not cruel and oppressive rule or unreasonable, and arbitrary use of power or control? Is this not the definition of tyranny?

It certainly knows no bounds. Those enforcing this new sexual secularism in our nations will say, “if your religion does not allow you to do what I say, then just change your line of work.” But as time goes, it becomes clearer and clearer that no line of work is exempted. Judges, lawyers, doctors, school teachers, business owners of all sorts, and even computer programmers have not been exempted. No one is exempt. It’s clear that if these sexual secularists could find a way for the government to regulate thought and belief, they would. In the meantime, they are doing what they can to intimidate all who do not believe as they do, and to do only what they approve.

 

 

Progress Not Perfection

In Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, The Family, Values on March 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

hiking togetherNathalie Bowman

The Quest for Perfection is all consuming. Many women have an ideal of the perfect life, and beat themselves up for not being able to attain it, or they put on a mask and pretend they’re perfect even though they know they’re not. Neither way brings happiness. What, really, is “perfect”?

There are as many definitions of perfect as there are people trying to attain it. Think about how you would define your perfect self. Does the thought bring you joy? Or does it feel heavy? The never ending pursuit of perfection can get old fast, but somehow, we still manage to want it, thinking it will do us some good.

Instead of perfection, how about having joy in the journey and recognizing progress?  It reminds me of the time I hiked the Grand Canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim in one day; it was over 23 miles. We started early in the morning, and hiked in darkness with only a flashlight to guide our way for the first several hours on the trail. I wanted to be “perfect” and make a good impression, because this was my first official date with my boyfriend (who later became my husband). As we went on, the sunrise was beautiful and the day began to get warm. By the time we got to the bottom of the canyon, I was a bit worn, but we still had the most difficult part of the hike ahead of us-going up the South Rim. I was getting worried about my strength to make it all the way up.

I knew my boyfriend enjoyed the great outdoors as much as I did, and I wanted it to be the perfect day as I made a grand impression on him. As we went up the steep switchback trail, he was holding my hand to keep me going up the trail at his pace, which was faster than mine.

I felt like I was going to throw up. My body did not want to take one more step, but I kept going. I was so grateful for the resting points along the way. Finally we made it up to the top, and it was beautiful. In spite of my desire to impress and be “perfect,” the journey wasn’t perfect–I made my boyfriend wait for me to rest when he may have preferred to go on; we had to wait for mule trains to pass us; we were tired and sore and thirsty. But we made it, one step after another. The beauty was in the progress along the way, even though our experience didn’t fill my “perfect” expectations. In spite of it all, we look back at that experience with wonder and awe because of the progress we made together.

It’s about progress, not perfection. Life can be like my experience hiking the canyon–at first I wanted it all perfect.  Then as we pushed on through the journey, I realized that the perfection was in the progress, not in the unattainable ideal.

Progress is putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up.

It’s getting up in the morning to care for our families or go to work when we’d really rather stay in bed.

It’s doing the little things that add up and that help us along the way.

Progress is forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes, letting go, and moving past the frustration.

Taking steps and acknowledging our progress creates peace and confidence, even through the hard days.

Next time you start getting uptight because you’re not “perfect,” take a deep breath and find evidence of the good things–even if it’s little steps-and banish those thoughts of “perfection!” It’s always good to improve yourself, to set goals and move forward, and the easiest way to do that is to let go of the myth of “perfection,” love yourself as you are, and enjoy your progress.  

 

 

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