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Do You Have on Your Perspectacles?

In Child Development, Choice, Families, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Religion, Values on May 2, 2016 at 7:17 am

spectaclesby Erin Weist

I have 5 young children and my life revolves around them.  It is a beautiful, wonderful life that I never even imagined and I am continually struck by these blessings in my life.  But sometimes, it’s hard.  Sometimes, it’s stressful.  Sometimes (ok, most of the time) it’s loud and chaotic.  And those times I need to remember to put on my perspectacles.  I don’t remember where I first heard this term floating around the internet (like this blog post here) but I love it.  Spectacles is a colloquial word we use to refer to eyeglasses.  People need spectacles because their vision is flawed.  They have a fault which, when corrected, allows them to better navigate the world.  Perspectacles refers to “perspective spectacles,” a metaphorical vision correction that changes one’s perspective or outlook on life, allowing for smoother, happier navigation through a tough world.  Sometimes being a mother requires this type of perspective correction.

 

Often, when I look at my children, I only see what needs to be done.  Chores need to be done, kids need to learn certain principles, faults need correcting, character needs sculpting…and so I focus on the faults in order to improve them.  It can be overwhelming, to say the least.  But putting on my perspectacles usually comes in the form of viewing my children from another person’s point of view.  If I look at them without looking at how far we still have to go and instead look at how far they’ve come I am bewildered at their maturity, their learning, their manners, their cuteness and their light.  They shine like fireflies in the dark!

 

How much is life like this?  Do you look at a neighborhood full of faulty people who need to learn lessons?  Do you look at your job with despair or disdain?  Do you look at all of the fixing needed to be done on your house, yard, marriage, family, career, love life, or faith and only see how far there is still to go?  Try putting on your perspectacles!  You have neighbors, a potential support system, maybe you’ll be the one to pull them together.  You have a job, a way to support yourself on a daily basis.  You have a house or apartment with a space to live where you can have a refuge from the world.  

 

And some reading this may not have those things, but you can still look with perspectacles on the beauty of the world God created for you, that He knows your name and loves you more than you can imagine.  You have learned so much in your short time on earth and have come so far!  If you were looking at yourself or your life from someone else’s perspective, or from yourself 5, 10, or 20 years ago, you would probably see more positively.

 

Having an appreciative perspective is a way of expressing gratitude, of acknowledging progress and blessings in your life.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or you can’t quite keep a grasp on what or why you love, grab some perspectacles and you’ll realize how good things really are.

SEX sells– are YOU buying?

In Abstinence, Child Development, Choice, Cohabitation, Divorce, Education, Families, Marriage, Media, Parental Rights, Parenting, Planned Parenthood, Pornography, Schools, Sex Education, Sexual Freedom, Technology, Values on April 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

reforming-sexby Mekelle Tenney

What happened to your standards America? What happened to your morality? I am both amazed and disgusted at our entertainment today. Amazed that we can’t find anything other than sex to write and joke about and disgusted that we are entertained by it. Whenever I have the radio on I have to flip through five or six stations before I can find a song that isn’t about sex. Of course there is the occasional song about a woman’s “smokin hot body” or about the abusive cheating boyfriend. TV is the same way. You can hardly find a comedy that doesn’t use sex as the main source of its humor. And of course it doesn’t stop there.

We use sex to sell everything from cars to dog food to hamburgers. You might say that we have turned it into nothing more than a selling point for entertainment and marketing. But we have done a lot more than that. We have normalized and rationalized immorality and infidelity. We no longer expect high moral standards from our leaders or our families. In our society premarital sex is acceptable. Teenage sex is also acceptable. I would argue that it is even encouraged. Kids go to school and their health teachers tell them “everyone is doing it”.

Government funded organizations such as Planned Parenthood encourage teens to explore their sexuality and to learn what feels good through masturbation. They teach teens that as long as they use protection it’s okay and perfectly natural. Natural? Really? Let’s look at some of the results of our corrupt morality.

  • Every year 1,600,000 children are born to unwed mothers (that is 40% of all live births in America)
  • In 56% of divorce cases infidelity is cited as a major cause
  • Every second 28,258 people are viewing pornography
  • Every minute $184,500 is spent on pornography
  • 38% of adults say that pornography is morally acceptable
  • Every day there are 116,000 internet searches for child pornography
  • 46% of high school students admit to having sex at least once
  • More than half of all American’s will have an STD at least once in their life

This is not natural.  This is obsessive and destructive. There is nothing natural about people who allow their obsessions to destroy their health and their family.

The callous attitude toward morality in our society must change. I believe that the influence of the family will have the most powerful effect for change. We need to stop allowing the media and public schools to set the standard for morality in America. Our children’s understanding of physical intimacy and morality is our responsibility. We can reverse the moral decay of America simply by choosing to teach our children. The standard of morality in America should be set and protected by the family.

Don’t Want Family? Fine. Just Deal With Loneliness Instead.

In Birth Rate, Child Development, Choice, Demographic Decline, Elder Care, Families, Family Planning, Freedom, Grandparents, Health Care, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Population Control, Values on April 20, 2016 at 7:18 am

man sadby Elise Ellsworth

Family life can be a burden. A proliferation of more articles have been written about those who forego marriage in favor of unconnected lifestyles: “I Just Don’t Want a Child.” “The Child-free Life.” “10 Reasons You Don’t Have to Get Married.” “Why Marriage is a Raw Deal for Men.” And many, many more.

The advantages of not having a family or of limiting one’s family life have been well-documented: Time. Lots of uncluttered free time. Time to devote to career. Time to devote to personal advancement. And even time to devote to other noble causes not related to family. The deforestation of the planet. AIDS in Africa. And Money. Money to travel. Money to buy nicer food. Money to buy nicer clothing. A nicer home. A nicer car. And no one to mess up the clothing, the home, and the car once you have them.

Am I the only person who has noticed the big, huge elephant in the room. Don’t all of these lifestyles sound extremely lonely? Yes, lonely?

When I was younger my mom would take us to nursing homes to visit an “adopted Grandma” or “Grandpa” at Christmas time. These were people who had no one else to visit them to whom we would bring treats and a little Christmas cheer. My husband and I have over the years done similar visits with our own children. And I can tell you that our children are the most welcome visitors ever. Ever. They are loved, doted on, given gifts of candy, toys, anything that these people have, they share. These lonely, elderly people love having our children around. And they are so proud to have them there.

Interestingly, the same magazine to publish “The Childfree Life” has more recently published an article entitled “Why Loneliness May be the Next Big Public Health Issue.” The article laments the fact that “more and more people are living alone than ever before.” The author points out that lonely people suffer from a variety of illnesses and have an increased mortality risk of 29 to 32 percent.   And then the solution that the article gives? Policy changes. Re-thinking the way neighborhoods are designed.man alone

Hmmm. I could think of a solution that has been proven over centuries to yield proven and real results in the loneliness problem. Family.

Yep, it’s a little bit messy. You are going to have to work with in-laws and out-laws and a number of other not-so perfect people according to you. And dirty carpets. And sick kids and big arguments. And your home, your life, and your body are never going to look quite like the magazine covers. And it’s true that you may never ever have the picture perfect family you always wanted. That’s true for all of us. But try for family. Invest in family. Work at family.

It was C.S. Lewis who once reminded us:Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.”

family forgivenessYes, family is inconvenient, it is difficult, it is costly. But it is deliciously, deliciously alive. It is living, breathing, noisy, full of love, full of anger, full of tragedy, full of talking and breathing and messes and hugs and ups and downs. It is full. Not lonely. Family life is full. Full. Full. And isn’t that delicious fullness what we really really want? You decide.

 

Families are Struggling–Symptoms are Worldwide

In Abstinence, Birth Rate, Child Development, Cohabitation, Demographic Decline, Divorce, Families, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Pornography, Religion, Sexual Freedom, Values on April 15, 2016 at 9:25 am

families around the worldThe following is taken from the UFI Alert dated April 6, 2016.

http://unitedfamilies.org/default.asp?contentID=773

The following questions were asked a German couple who are well acquainted with what is happening to family values in Germany/Austria and Switzerland. Reading their responses to the following questions, it is apparent that families throughout the world are facing the same struggles.  Because these issues are so prevalent in our culture have we become numb to them?   What can we be doing to help our spouses, children and grandchildren to stand strong against the forces that would destroy our families.


Q – What are some of the biggest problems families are facing in Switzerland?
•    The politically-correct view of our society on divorce as something that is a pretty normal part of life in relationships;
•    Occupational and financial prosperity as key success indicators;
•    The rapid, even dramatic loss of religious interest and faith in God in our society in the past couple of years/decades.
Technology.jpg•    The biggest problems deal with the consequences of digital media usage (focus/distraction/addiction; anytime/anyplace availability, pornography everywhere, easy access, gaming habits/time consumption, continuing interaction with former friends/partners; media usage by children/youth and unprepared, overwhelmed parents). 

 

Perception of people and relationships as well as rhythms in life change dramatically (e.g., last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning is a cooperative computer game and not the spouse, children, etc.).

Q – Are parents having fewer children?
•    In the past 5 years the birth rate has been rather stable with on the average 1.5 children, with 20% of those stemming from unwed mothers (Switzerland). It has to be added that this considers the childbirth rate of foreigners as well, which is often higher than the one of Swiss couples. For many young couples the goal is two children at most.

Q – Do many couples live together without getting married?
•    Here, marriage definitely is not the standard “framework” for intimate relationships; cohabitation is mostly not even a topic anymore. It increasingly becomes the generally accepted and expected norm, with couples choosing marriage some time later in life or not at all (with less and less legal/fiscal reasons for marriage, if at all; in Switzerland it is fiscally more attractive to cohabit). The average marriage age is 30 – 31 in Switzerland.

Q – Is pornography impacting families?
•    Yes, young couples as well as older relationships. Although pornography is mostly not viewed as a “bad thing” in the Swiss public, people are slowly but surely starting to see that it can still be (and often is) destructive for people and in relationships. But many still live in denial and judge pornography “politically correct” as something that just has to be dealt with wisely, as is the case with legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco (publicly widely accepted vices here in our area).

We appreciate the Gappmaiers for teaming up with United Families International, and we look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen families.

Importance of Rituals

In Child Development, Families, father, Grandparents, Marriage, motherhood, Parenting, Values on April 11, 2016 at 7:50 am

family birthdayby Keely Tanner

Is there a birthday, an anniversary or a meaningful day coming up between you and your significant other? Some of us look forward to these celebrations.  But if the truth were made know, we would realize that there are many who dread them!  Why?  Perhaps because of expectations not realized? Too often time, creativity, or financial restraints make it difficult to meet the expectations of a loved one? These celebrations are not intended to make anyone’s life miserable. In fact there is more meaning behind the reason we have celebrations?  They are ritualistic.  And there is purpose in rituals.

What defines a ritual?

First, it needs to be repeated.

Second, it needs to be coordinated.

And finally it needs to be significant to both parties.

If you have an event or something that is reoccurring in your dating, marriage or family, this is a ritual. Rituals have meaning.  Rituals have the power to bond couples and families emotionally.  But the main thing to remember is that it needs to be meaningful to both parties, or there is little value to the effort.

If you are one of those people who just can’t seem to catch the vision of weekly, monthly and annual “ritualistic” celebrations, choose to make an attitude change. These rituals are important events that are supposed to happen in relationships. In the long run, these rituals will benefit you and your loved ones. Make the effort. Get your creative juices flowing…or do as I do, and get ideas from others who seem to thrive on such creativity.  Surprisingly many of the most meaningful rituals just seem to evolve. For those that take more thought or research, it’s surprising how creativity doesn’t need a big price tag.

 

A Book Review: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

In Child Development, Families, Marriage, Parenting, Values on April 7, 2016 at 9:49 am

seven habits of Highly Effective Peopleby Annalise Jarman

I recently finished listening to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey on audiobook. It is a well-known self-help book on how to have healthy interpersonal relationships. The basic concept is that in order to have healthy relationships with others, one must first have a healthy foundation of character within oneself. As the author states, it is an inside-out approach to relationships and leadership success. It requires you to start “with the man in the mirror”. It reflects the idea that “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Then it describes how you can use your character foundation to build trust and synergize with others in cooperative tasks. As my husband put it, it’s all pretty intuitive. So why the popularity? Why have over 25 million copies of the book been sold worldwide, in over 40 languages?

  1. I think the main reason for the success of this book is that, in a way, it actually gives its readers psychological air. In The Seven Habits, Dr. Covey describes psychological air as the emotional boost we give to others when we listen empathically. When someone listens empathically to me, I feel like the air they are giving me is really permission to be who I am and to develop my character based on what I value. To me, that’s what psychological air is more specifically. While the Seven Habits obviously can’t listen to its readers, it does seem to have this same effect as empathic listening; it gives it’s readers permission to be who they are and to develop their character based on their values.

It is my belief that none of us start out being exactly the kind of person we want to be. We do not live exactly according to our values because we are imperfect and underdeveloped. We make mistakes. We act in ways we do not want to act. Even though this book is largely about self-control, Dr. Covey explains that learning self-control is a growing process. He emphasizes that it’s not a quick fix. As we work on the seven habits, though, he promises that we will gain a greater and greater ability to choose our actions. Dr. Covey describes the seven habits as a lifelong upward spiral of personal progress. By explaining it this way, he gives us enough psychological air to know that we can start where we are.

Having said that, the main purpose of the book is to show us a process by which we can develop our character. Dr. Covey gives us this quote from the psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl several times throughout the book: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” This premise gives us psychological air in that it recognizes  that we do have the power to change – to become the type of person we want to be.

In this way the ideas in this book are both accepting and empowering. The paradigm it expresses is powerful and full of hope. No one is perfect, but no one has to be a victim either. That is why, I believe, this book is so popular. I enjoyed the read, and if you haven’t read the book, I certainly recommend it.

 

Put Your Phone Down: How Technology Negatively Impacts Face-to-Face Communication

In Families, Marriage, Media, Parenting, Research, Technology, The Family, Values on April 6, 2016 at 8:47 am

couples using cell phoneBy:  Miriam Merrill and Susan Liufau

Jane’s phone alerted her to a new message in her email inbox.  She picked it up off the white linen tablecloth and clicked a few buttons not noticing the dejected look on her husband’s face.  After checking the message, Jane put the phone back down and looked up at Brad, only to see him playing that game on his phone, again.  Here they were, at this fancy restaurant, celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, and he was playing on his phone instead of paying attention to her.   She sighed and decided she might as well check into what her Facebook friends were up to as long as her husband was more interested in his game than in her.  Brad glanced up from his game and, sure enough, she was still on her phone.  Well, he was almost to level 87, so he might as well keep playing.

The elderly widower sitting nearby watched Brad and Jane with a tear in his eye.  Oh, how he longed for one more night with his dear departed wife.  One more night to hold her hand, look into her eyes and give her all of his attention.  One more night to listen to her talk about her hopes and dreams and laugh with her about silly things.   His heart broke as he watched the young couple just sitting there coexisting.  Don’t they understand?  Why are they wasting so much precious time?

From the outsider’s perspective, this scenario could not be more frustrating. Yet, although we can see the problems with it, we fall victims to our cell phones all too often. Though advancements in technology should be celebrated, it’s face-to-face communication that ultimately suffers.

This isn’t just an opinion. We already know from a recent study that the use of technology in relationships distances partners, causes trust issues and misunderstandings, distracts partners from sharing intimate moments, and even impairs trust. Another study found that half of its participants had been ignored by a partner while they were using their phone. They found this trend so popular that they even gave it a catchy new name – phubbing.

None of us want to ignore our partners. Not one of us would choose Candy Crush over a family vacation or Snapchat over a romantic dinner. Yet, our phones consistently make the choices for us. We need to control our devices rather than allow them to control us.

The slow erosion of marriage

The slow erosion of marriage relationships has reached epidemic proportions.  Researchers claim the current divorce rate sits at about 50 percent.  John Gottman, in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, asks us, “How can you prevent a marriage from going bad – or rescue one that is already in trouble?”   He states, “In the strongest marriages, husband and wife share a deep sense of meaning.  They don’t just ‘get along’ – they also support each other’s hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose into their lives together.” In order to build each other’s hopes and aspirations, we need to know what they are.  We find this information by talking with and listening to each other.  We must hold real, face-to-face conversations.  Gottman suggests building a deep friendship with “mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company.”

Perhaps each of us could step back and take a good look at our own marriages.  How much time do we spend on our phone while in the same room with our partner?  How much time do we spend in talking and listening to each other?  Do we go out on real dates?  How often do we hold hands and laugh together?  How often do we simply look into each other’s eyes and remember why we’re friends?

Jane looked up from her phone just in time to see a young man at the next table pull out a ring and propose to his beautiful girlfriend.  The girl was ecstatic!  With a huge smile on her face she took the ring and cried, “Yes!”  She then pulled out her cell phone, took a selfie with the new ring, and proceeded to post her new relationship status on Facebook.  The “Likes” and comments came pouring in.  Jane looked to the young man and noticed the crestfallen look that had come across his face as he realized his new fiancé was completely consumed in her phone.  Jane felt a stab at her heart and suddenly saw the stark reality of what was happening to her own marriage.  She quietly picked up her phone, slipped it into her purse, and reached over to gently take Brad’s hand.  This gesture surprised him but he followed her lead and put his phone in his pocket.

They held hands over the table, and as he watched the candlelight dance in her eyes, he smiled and whispered, “Hello.”

 

Miriam Jean MerrillMiriam Jean Merrill is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Studies with an emphasis in Family Advocacy & Policy. She is passionate about the family and also loves music and performing. She currently resides with her husband, Sam, and their boxer puppy, Captain Wellington.

Susan Liufau

 

Susan Liufau is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho majoring in Marriage and Family Studies.  She and her husband, Gordon, have been married for 30 years.  They have six sons and four grandchildren.

 

The Most Masculine of Roles: Husband & Father

In Child Development, Families, father, Free Speech, Freedom, Gender, Marriage, Media, Technology, Values on April 4, 2016 at 9:18 am
Little Girl Helping Father with His Tie ca. 2003

Little Girl Helping Father with His Tie ca. 2003

by Erin Weist

I listened to a talk today by an apostle of my church about “the highest of masculine roles: husband and father.”  In a world that constantly pushes the normality of immorality, adultery and other purely selfish forms of living, it was highly refreshing to hear a man– a husband, father, and grandfather– praise the virtues of putting a family first.  

Part of his talk was an open call to media to eschew negative depictions of the role of men.  As he spoke I could think of several depictions of men in television or movies that are shown to be bumbling idiots, or inept, groveling servants at the feet of their grossly overbearing wives.  I could think of rap and other music that indicated the necessity of men to show their “manliness” by demeaning women in their roles of wife or mother, or by racking up a high count of illegitimate children.  

On a different but slightly related note, for some reason I thought of being a young teenager, seeing the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire” and being disappointed with the message that a mother & father could grow apart so much that it was better for everyone involved for the two to divorce.  Obviously, these things can and do happen, but the idea that we encourage our media to promote positive messages appeals to me.

I would never promote censorship, and I understand that many people have different stories to tell, stories that can be violent or full of pain, doubt and fear.  But what if the roles we modeled to our children (and ourselves) had clear messages?  Our lives can be muddled and confusing but stories, in every age and every part of the world, have always been clear– they are meant to entertain or instruct.  Or both.  

Watching or hearing about a tragic character make poor choices leads us to understand how to avoid similar negative consequences.  Shakespeare gave us plenty of those.  Watching or reading or hearing about a strong character faced with difficult circumstances who makes correct choices based on correct principles strengthens and moves us to pattern our lives in a similar way to lead to positive rewards.

Imagine the difference in a generation of boys if their media, what they consumed the most, was filled with exemplary men, men who are forthright, who uphold virtues of morality, who encourage honesty in those around them, who respect women, who honor the institution of marriage, who treat as sacred the role of husband and father.  

Every story needs a villain as well, but where are those exemplary men?  Surely there are some scattered throughout our media but we could do better.  We could expect more.  We could demand more.  And, as generally works in a consumerist society, one of the surest ways to vote is with your dollars.  Are there shows you support that demean those roles?  Could you take your time and money elsewhere?  Do you know people in these industries?  Could you encourage them in this effort, and encourage your friends to do the same?

 

We all have different tastes and there are different voices that best speak to us but we can love ourselves and our younger generation enough to demand more, to encourage those around us to teach to the ideal, rather than the lowest common denominator.  Men are inherently noble and powerful, I hope we can treat them as such and remember their worth and ultimate potential.

 

(Full video of talk on Fatherhood found here)

Be Where You Are

In Child Development, Choice, Families, father, Marriage, Media, motherhood, Parenting, Research, Technology, Values on April 1, 2016 at 1:14 pm

children with computersby Tashica Jacobson

A favorite Buddha quote states “be where you are; otherwise you miss your life.” This can apply to many different things in our lives, but for now let’s look at it through the lens of technology and electronic devices. The advancements in these is dramatically changing the way that members of society interact with one another, and making it easier and easier to be someplace that we are not. How many of us have been in the same room with a friend while they are texting and surfing the internet, only to find that their mind is anywhere but present and there is no connection between the two of you.

Technology has many benefits and is a great luxury of modern society. I wouldn’t be able to write this article, nor could you read this, without it. It can be a source of information, job networking, connection with family, or even a relaxing break from stress. But along with the benefits come the downsides. Family time is diminishing; work bleeds over into home life, we are in constant contact with friends, and we expect that everyone should be available at a moment’s notice. These things together scream that technology while good, needs to be monitored.

In 2010 the Kaiser Foundation conducted a survey that found youth, age 8-18, spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes on electronic devices a day, about 53 hours a week. And because they can use multiple media devices at the same time they pack 10 hours and 45 minutes of usage into those hours. A 2014 study done on adults found that the average adults spends 11 hours a day plugged in to their electronic devices. To put this in perspective that is more hours than a full time job.

These statistics have a dramatic effect on how we live our lives, and how we interact with our families. The biggest noticed effect is a decrease in family interaction. One article describe our obsession with technology as a new family ritual that consist of “One family. One room. Four screens. Four realities.” Even when families are spending time with each other it is interrupted by constant distractions.

Both children and parents have become increasingly dependent on technology, and it is causing a divide in families. Many times these devices are used as a problem-avoidance tool. When a conflict arises and family members need to address the issue, instead they are turning to technology to avoid confronting the issues.

It is also limiting members’ ability to connect with each other. For one thing, when children are on electronic devices it takes away from the time family can spend together. You can’t do both at the same time. A growing trend is parents, in attempt to fill this connection, connect with their children on social media rather than face to face. This does not allow true connection and increases the divide even more. Jim Taylor of Psychology Today stated “the ramifications of this distancing are profound. Less connection—the real kind—means that families aren’t able to build relationships as strong as they could be nor are they able to maintain them as well. As a result, children will feel less familiarity, comfort, trust, security, and, most importantly, love from their parents.”

So what can be done? In our day it is impossible to disconnect one hundred percent from technology; that is why monitoring electronic usage is so important. Families should have household media rules that are enforced. Each family is different and rules should be set for your specific situation, but put down the phone. Have a specific time set aside each day to actually connect as a family with no electronic devices.

Meal times are a great time for this. Make an active effort during this time to learn about each other’s day.

Computers and tablets can be used in a shared room where others are present. This helps media not pull members into a chamber of isolation, and helps parents monitor electronic usage. And parents, be a good example of the electronic usage you want your children to follow, take the initiative to put the phone aside and really connect.

Media use can be a great way to connect with your family and a facilitator of conversation. Families should talk about the messages portrayed online and what their time on media was used for. Parents can talk to their children about the dangers online and ways to avoid them. If this habit of communicating is established when children are young, they will feel comfortable talking about questionable situations they encounter online.

My last semester at college I made it a point to put down whatever I was doing when each of my roommates came home and ask how their day had been. In other words I wanted to actually be where I was. I wanted to be aware of what my roommates had going on in their lives. I was usually doing something productive when they came home, but it didn’t hurt my grade at all to put my homework aside for a few minutes and try to really connect. So as technology keeps demanding our time, be intentional about your media usage, be where you are and be part of the life happening around you right now.

Three Keys to Better Relationships

In Choice, Families, Marriage, Parenting, The Family, Values on March 28, 2016 at 9:29 am

couple-climbing-a-mountainby Keely Tanner

Have you ever wondered how you could make your relationships better?

Are there things that we, as individuals, can be doing to make our relationships stronger?

One thing that we should consider is “What changes can I make?”

Too often we think of what others are doing wrong and what they can do better. What we really need to be thinking is, ‘How can I better myself and what can I do to better my relationships?’

All relationships have their rough times, but we can get through them with effort and understanding.

The University of Arkansas Extension Service compiled data on three key principles entitled “Getting Our Hearts Right.” If applied the information could provide a good start to better our relationships. We are creatures of habit and usually change is difficult. But knowledge and a strong desire to improve can be powerful tools of change.

“Getting our Hearts Right” suggests three key principles: Humility, compassion and positivity.

  1. Humility opens our hearts.

Some people think of humility as passivity or a lack of self-respect. But healthy humility is  neither of those.

  • Humility is the recognition that, while our needs matter, so do the needs of other people.
  • Humility is the willingness to admit that we do not have a complete understanding of truth. It is being open to other people’s opinions.
  • Humility is a willingness to admit that we make mistakes. It allows us to continue learning and growing.

Humility is the foundation of healthy relationships. Those who are humble are ready to learn from people and experiences.

We need to apply having humility in our relationships, but it does not stop there. We need to work on the second key as well.

 

  1. Compassion connects our hearts.
  • Compassion is being sensitive to the struggles and suffering of others. It means experiencing others’ sense of struggle and suffering along with them.
  • Having compassion also means that we are willing to work with them and the struggles they are facing because we love them.
  1. Positivity inspires our hearts
  • Positivity is the practice of seeing the good in people. In every relationship there are times of irritation and frustration. Positivity is deciding not to dwell on those moments or allow them to define the relationship. It is the choice to notice and dwell on what is good about the other person and the relationship. We focus on all the ways this relationship enriches our life.

Positivity is the basis of kindness. Kindness sustains relationships.

As we apply these principles into our relationships, these relationships will improve. They will become stronger and more meaningful.

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