The family is a prime institution of civil society. In its origins, it is both natural and pre-political. Family is not the creature of the state but a network of relationships between a man and a woman, their offspring (if any), and the families from which they themselves come and that their union will create.
In the modern era, temptations to experiment with the institutions of marriage and family have multiplied. With less emphasis on the long-term responsibilities of marriage, the consequences of redefining the institution for children and society are subordinated to the desires of adults. Rather than compound these weaknesses, policymakers and citizens should consider and adopt necessary reforms to strengthen families and rebuild civil society as the engine of the greatest human goods.
Marriage as a Natural Institution
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage straightforwardly as the “formal union of a man and a woman, by which they become husband and wife.” The United States Census Bureau defines family as a “group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption.” Until recently, the plain meaning of these definitions has been universally recognized.
The underpinnings of sexual differentiation and complementarity have been understood as fixed in natural law. The jurist Joseph Story spoke for this tradition when he wrote, “Marriage is treated by all civilized societies as a peculiar and favored contract. It is in its origin a contract of natural law.”
The marriage contract derives its strength from its conformity with the truth about the human person. Whether or not spouses in a particular marriage are able or willing to have children, they are themselves the children of one man and one woman. Their coming together is the extension into a new generation of the pairings of men and women. Marriage is not only a conjunction of individuals but the intertwining of family heritages. Marriage is the intragenerational expression of the union of man and woman that results from, and often results in, its intergenerational expression: the child.
The simplicity of this truth accounts for the nearly universal history and expression of marriage across cultures. Despite the enormity of the pressures marriage and family face today, the vast majority of people in American society express the desires to marry, experience a lifelong faithful relationship, have children, and raise those children into adulthood where they are able to establish families of their own.
Protecting Marriage Protects Society
The personal benefits of marriage to men and women, their children, and the social benefits to neighborhoods and nations are extensive. Author Michael Novak famously referred to the family unit as the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.”
The intact, married family performs best on measure after measure of social outcomes for parents and children alike. For example:
The fracturing of a family is not the breaking of a single link in a chain but the opening of a hole in a protective net. One scholar has referred to five concentric “rings of community” that the family affects:(1) their unborn children, (2) kin or extended family, (3) the neighborhood, (4) the community of faith, and (5) the nation as community. Damage to one of these rings affects all the others.
Marriage is a wealth-creating and wealth-preserving institution. One proximate result of its weakening has been the growth of government as substitute provider. As one prominent economist has remarked, “Deinstitutionalization of marriage will lead to an expansion of the size and scope of the state.”
Decades of Failed Experiments
Current challenges to the primacy of marriage and family as well-established civil institutions are often premised on the assertion that they will inflict little damage beyond that done by previous changes in law and culture. Those prior experiments, however, bear witness to the unintended consequences of ill-considered changes in public policy.
No-Fault Divorce. Advocates of no-fault divorce assured policymakers that the impact on children would be minimal if not beneficial. National studies of the children of that generation who are now adults provide a clearer picture, as do surveys of divorced adults.
While many marriages are not salvageable (particularly in the presence of abuse, adultery or addiction), a recent University of Texas study of ever-divorced spouses found that only a third of them felt that they had done enough to try to save their marriage. Moreover, children of divorce disproportionately suffer from such maladies as depression, compromised health, childhood sexual abuse, arrests, and addiction.
Welfare. The expanding programs of the Great Society, while well-intentioned and effective in meeting short-term needs for basic necessities, also had long-term and unwelcome effects on intact families.
Until welfare reform in 1996, anti-poverty initiatives in the United States contributed to the self-defeating financing of family breakdown. Marriage remains the primary route out of poverty for low-income couples, and children who grow up in single-parent homes are five times more likely to live in poverty than children in two-parent homes.
In each of these instances, experiments with family form and support mechanisms have inadequately considered the needs of children. They have spurred calls for reform, frequently from the children themselves as they reach maturity. These calls remind policymakers that no period of family decline has proved inevitable or irreversible.
Go with What Works
The decline in the most fundamental indicators of the health of marriage over the past 40 years is real. Rather than risk further decline in this core institution of civil society through additional experiments with the nature of marriage, policymakers would be wise to turn their attention to reforms that capitalize on the lessons of prior eras.
Blueprints are proliferating for the strengthening of traditional marriage. Attention to these blueprints should be the first concern of policymakers seeking the common good of a marriage-centered and child-focused culture. The well-being of this generation and of generations to come depends on their success.
Chuck Donovan is Senior Research Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
Oxford University Press, “Marriage,” Compact Oxford English Dictionary, at http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/marriage?view=uk (January 11, 2010).
U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey Definitions and Explanations,” at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cps/cpsdef.html (January 11, 2010).
Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws, cited in Matthew Spalding, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2009), p. 157.
Mindy E. Scott, Erin Schelar, Jennifer Manlove, and Carol Cui, “Young Adult Attitudes About Relationships and Marriage: Times May Have Changed, But Expectations Remain High,” Child Trends, July 2009, pp. 4-5, at http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_07_08
Frank Newport, “Desire to Have Children Alive and Well in America,” Gallup.com, August 19, 2003, at http://www.gallup.com/poll/9091/desire
Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially (New York: Broadway, 2000), cited in the Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good (Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute, 2006), p. 31.
Jennifer Steinhauer, ‘Studies Find Big Benefits in Marriage,” The New York Times, April 10, 1995, A10, at http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/10/us/studies
Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good, p. 33.
Ibid., pp. 22-29; see also, generally, Patrick F. Fagan, “Special Collection: Mapping America: Marriage, Family and the Common Good,” October 9, 2009, at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WX09J01 (January 9, 2010).
Allan Carlson, Conjugal America: On the Public Purposes of America (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press, 2007), p. 42.
Jennifer Roback Morse, “The Limited Government Case for Marriage,” in Jennifer A. Marshall and J. D. Foster, eds., Indivisible: Social and Economic Foundations of American Liberty (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, 2009), p. 31.
Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children and Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005), p. 169.
Ibid., Norval Glenn, foreword, p. xxii.
Ibid., p. 189.
Robert Rector, “Reducing Poverty by Revitalizing Marriage in Low-Income Communities: A Memo to President-elect Obama,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 45, January 13, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/
See especially David Blankenhorn and Linda Malone-Colon, The Marriage Index: A Proposal to Establish Leading Marriage Indicators (New York and Hampton, VA: Institute for American Values and National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting, 2009), pp. 14-22. The authors offer 101 specific ideas to strengthen the institution of marriage without alteration of its historical terms.
Posts Tagged ‘parenting’
Teenage anti-social behaviour is on the increase, but for how much of this should parents bear the blame? Latest research suggests that, rather than being disinterested and irresponsible, parents today are more conscientious than they were 20 years ago, spending more time with their offspring and paying more attention to where they are outside the home. In fact, they are so determined to be the perfect providers that they worry about it far more than their parents did.
Academics at Oxford University, who carried out a study of families for the Nuffield Foundation, a charitable trust, found there was “no evidence of a decline in parenting” over the past two decades. In order to understand the rise in anti-social behaviour among teenagers, we need to look outside of the home, they suggested. They did, however, conclude that today’s parents are more stressed, with a 50 per cent increase in depression rates among those in the poorest families between 1986 and 2006.
So how has parenting changed? To start, the home is a different entity to what it was in the 1970s. Families tend to be smaller, women give birth later, more parents have chosen to cohabit rather than marry and the proportion of children living with just one parent has tripled from the early 1970s, to reach 24 per cent.
Behavioural problems occur across family types, so how has the relationship with our children changed?
Frances Gardner, a professor of child and family psychology at Oxford, led a team that looked at comparable data taken from the past 20 years and found a marked increase in many of the factors that suggest parents are far more involved in their children’s lives than they used to be. They are, for example, spending more quality time together: 70 per cent of young people spent more time with their mothers in 2006, compared to 62 per cent in 1986. The figure has also risen for fathers, from 47 per cent to 52 per cent.
And rather than have little idea where their teenagers are at night, modern parents are more likely to monitor their children’s movements. In 1986, 79 per cent of parents expected to know where their children were going; by 2006, that figure had risen to 85 per cent. The proportion of children who said they regularly told their parents where they would be also increased, from 78 per cent to 86 per cent.
Professor Gardner concludes there is no concrete link between overall parenting standards and the increase in problem behaviour among adolescents, saying: “This leads us to believe this factor does not generally explain the rise in problem behaviour.”
But others are less convinced. Trudi Butler, a parenting coach who runs the Parent Guru agency in Edinburgh, said the report raised as many questions as it answered. “I certainly do believe modern parents spend more time with their children than they used to and they are extremely conscientious about how they bring up their kids,” she said. “But when it comes to bad behaviour, I think parents perhaps should play a greater role in disciplining their children. Obviously I would not recommend a return to 1950s-style parenting but there must be some sort of middle ground.”
Dr Pat Spungin, who founded the website Raisingkids.co.uk, said she believed parents needed to do more to prepare their children for the future, beyond making them feel good. “It depends on what your definition of parenting is, but I would argue that a key element is socialising a child so they are ready for the outside world,” she said. “It is so much more than just making them feel good about themselves and spending time with them. It is about making sure a child is educated and socialised but also respects authority and is grounded enough for when they themselves become parents.”
Additional reporting: Jennifer Morgan
Family fortunes: How life has changed
* Smaller families and later childbirth. In 1971, there were 84 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44. That number has since dropped to 56 births, meaning British families are getting smaller.
* Fewer marriages and more cohabitation. Since 1972, the number of marriages per year has dropped from 480,000 to 306,000 and divorce has risen by a third over the same period, to 167,000 annulments per year.
* The average age at first marriage has also increased substantially, from the early 20s in the 1970s to 31 years for men and 29 years for women now. Over the same period, cohabitation for women tripled to about 31 per cent of 18- to 49-year-olds.
* Divorce peaked in the 1990s and has since come down, although about one in five British children still experience the permanent separation of their parents.
* Though starting to fall, rates of child poverty rose markedly between the mid-1970s and the early 2000s. Inequality in household incomes grew in the 1980s and stabilised in the 1990s. More mothers now work, with 80 per cent of those with children aged 11 or over employed in either full-time or part-time work.
‘Perhaps we just worry too much’
Andy McSmith, a child of the Sixties, has four children, including Imogen, 18, who is awaiting her A-level results
Andy says: To some of us parents, these findings say only what we already know. When we were young, children amused themselves, especially on sunny days. There was less traffic, the word ‘paedophile’ had not entered the language; and people were not afraid to let their children out of sight for hours. I also remember my surprise on learning that my uncle read books to my cousins, but heaven knows how many hours I have spent reading JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain etc, aloud, because that is what fathers now do. All the parents I know pile more structured activity into their children’s lives than their parents did. Perhaps we just worry too much.”
Imogen says: I was sure all my friends were given a lot more quality time with their televisions than I was, though now I can almost sympathise with my mum’s disapproval of the telly. Reading was the big thing in our house. Usually one of my parents would read to me every night, and I was enlisted in quite a few extracurricular activities ? ballet, Brownies, French etc ? so my parents would often shepherd me and my two siblings (and another one, a bit later) back and forth. We were rarely given homework at primary school so I suppose these endeavours were to occupy our ever-expanding minds. My parents were around me a lot but, saying that, they weren’t ridiculously over-protective. Compared to some of my friends’ parents they were really laid back ? though that didn’t stop me feeling envious of some of my peers who claimed they could do whatever they wanted.”
‘I’ve given them more freedom ? and a mobile’
Amanda Morgan, 49, and her husband live in Loughborough, Leicestershire, with their son Charlie, 18, who is about to take a gap year before university
Amanda says: My parents were fairly full-on when it came to school work and behaviour, but on the other hand, myself and my three siblings had an enormous amount of freedom for outdoor activities. We were expected to keep ourselves occupied and to rely on each other for company rather than on gangs of friends. There were some pretty strict curfews, though perhaps less so for the younger siblings. I have made a conscious effort to bring up my teenagers differently. I have been far more accepting of contacts from outside the home, allowing my children to develop a social circle of their choosing. And I have always insisted on regular mobile phone updates on their whereabouts at all times. My husband has certainly spent more time with the children than my father did with us. He has always tried not to let his work get in the way of his parenting.”
Charlie says: I’m the youngest child and I think, by the time she got to me, mum had become a bit more complacent. For example, I’m allowed to watch TV shows that my elder brother was banned from, and the curfews are less strict. In fact, mum actively encourages me to go out! She does, however, always want to know where I’m going and who with. I think the main difference for parents and teenagers now is the technology ? my grandparents were probably worried sick about what my mum was up to ? they just didn’t have the option of checking up on her. Mobile phones have changed all that.”
‘I had to be back by teatime’
Deirdre Hughes, 48, is vice-president of the Institute of Career Guidance. She says that while her upbringing was different to that of her daughter Gemma, the values she wants to pass on are the same. Gemma Hughes, 23, is a marketing resources assistant. She says one of the most important lessons she learned from her parents is how to look after herself
Deirdre says: “I remember having fewer restrictions when I was a girl: I could go out all day and nobody asked any questions as long as I was back by teatime. But when I was older, I was not allowed out as much as my daughter was. Still, I used to leave a pillow in my bed, shin down the drainpipe and go out with my friends. I wanted to teach Gemma that she has to work hard, to be independent but also that I will always be there for her.”
Deirdre waved Gemma off to live in Barcelona for a year at the age of 20. The family found it hard but felt it was an important part of her upbringing.
Gemma says: “When I was younger, my parents did not wrap me up in cotton wool. By the time I was in secondary school, I could cook for myself and would sometimes make meals for the family. My family is close, but we do not live in each others’ pockets.”
Would she bring her children up the same way? “Absolutely, I learned valuable lessons from my parents. There was nothing wrong with my upbringing and I think: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.”
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Is the princess stereotype harming our daughters?
Little girls love glamorous princesses, but as Disney launches its newest, Tiana, a study says the stereotype is harmful
Lizzie Gorham is in love. Her passion influences what she wears, how she decorates her room, and her dreams. Sounds scary? It depends who you ask. After all, Lizzie is not yet 4.
She’s also not alone. Lizzie’s world — like that of so many other little girls — is full of royalty, tiaras and beautiful dresses. And, like the other girls, her focus is not the prince, but the woman he woos: a Disney princess.
“This is my Aurora dress,” says Lizzie, twirling around with excitement in the bedroom of her home in Buckinghamshire. “Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is my favourite princess because she marries a handsome prince and because her dress is pink. I like the Princess dresses and the stories. And I want to marry a prince.”
A ninth member of the successful “Disney Princess” brand is soon to join the ranks of Cinderella and Snow White; one who, Disney hopes, will widen their appeal. Princess Tiana, who is black, appears this December in The Princess and The Frog and the trailer for the film has just been released (Tiana already takes centre stage on the dedicated princess website, disney.go.com/princess, where you can enter the world of your favourite heroine).
Ten years ago, one of the corporation’s executives had the idea of grouping the Disney princesses together. It was a masterstroke. Each princess retained her individual mystique, but gained mass-market appeal as part of a distinctive group. Sales of their merchandise, — from Cinderella dolls to Ariel pyjamas — have soared from $300 million in 2001 to $4billion last year.
But while the Disney machine is busy girding itself up for yet another multimillion dollar marketing opportunity, a report last week highlighted the possibly damaging effect of dolls on a generation of girls. The Women and Work Commission, reporting on the gender and opportunities gap, found that while girls are outperforming boys at school and at university, they still earn less than men — and the pay gap may be widening. One of the main reasons for this, says the Commission, is that little girls spend too much time in the Wendy house, playing with dolls or pretending to be nurses while their little brothers want to be Bob the Builder.
From an early age, girls are being socialised, it seems, for the caring, soft “feminine jobs” that perpetuate gender stereotypes, job segregation, and lower pay rates. The Commission, chaired by Baroness Prosser, recommended that “The Department for Children, Schools and Families disseminate national guidance for teachers and early years childcare workers on how to ensure that the horizons of children aged 3 to 5 are not limited by stereotypes of what girls and boys can do.”
Some argue that the merchandising of dolls such as the Disney princesses only perpetuates these gender divides. “[Princess dolls] are promoting a very narrow and prescriptive view of femininity, and one that ought to be outmoded in the 21st century. I think they are regressive,” says Dr Melanie Waters, lecturer in English literature and specialist in feminist theory at Northumbria University. They encourage girls to be passive, and to nurture. There is also, says Dr Waters: “an aggressive focus on beauty, hair accessories and other images that promote the idea that girls should be concerned with their appearance”.
New research, however, appears to show that the attraction towards dolls may be innate. In June, an American academic found that little girls fall in love with princesses and so-called “girly” toys from a very early age for genetic rather than social reasons. Gerianne Alexander, from Texas A&M University, showed young babies aged three to eight months a pink doll and a blue toy truck. The girls showed a definite visual preference for the doll and the boys for the truck. Girls may be biologically programmed to love Cinderella before any “self-awareness of gender identity and gender-congruent behaviour”.
Whether it is down to social pressure or biology, the fact remains that not everyone thinks Disney Princesses are charming, particularly from a feminist point of view. Snow White, for example, in the film first shown in 1937, is cleaning the dwarves’ cottage within minutes of arriving, while the key to Sleeping Beauty is her waiting to be brought back to life by a Prince’s kiss.
The more modern princesses, who arrived decades later with Ariel in The Little Mermaid in 1989, are more assertive and involved in their destiny. However, no Disney film has, as yet, been brave enough to subvert the genre entirely, like Princess Fiona in Shrek, who is, of course, an ogre.
Disney doesn’t agree, and Andrea Tartaglia, Disney’s Vice President of Franchise Marketing, Europe and the Emerging Markets, is keen to emphasise that beauty is not dwelt upon in the films. “We are talking about being kind — it’s inner beauty, not external,” he claims. “When we develop our product and our strategy for those characters over time, we always look at some specific attributes that we want to include in the product. Those are, for example, the idea of being kind, the idea of being respectful and loving animals. All these contribute to a positive message that one could give to kids and how we think they should aspire to that behaviour.”
Whether these attributes are all that’s needed for 21st-century girls is questionable and although inner beauty may matter, all the princesses are (coincidentally or not) outwardly gorgeous too. They all have very small waists, large busts and flawless skin — just what’s required to attract a prince, apparently.
“I’d like to be a princess, because I’d look nice,” says five-year-old Jessica Thompson. She loves “everything” about the princesses, particularly that they look “pretty”.
However, Karen Benveniste, Jessica’s mother, is not unduly concerned: “I don’t want to sound like I’m not into women’s rights because my daughters like Disney princesses,” she says. “I’m as feminist as they come, but I don’t analyse it that closely. I think kids are entitled to escapism at that age. In fact, I’m very sad that Alice, my other daughter, who’s only 7, is already moving away from the princesses.”
But Dr Waters can’t understand why parents aren’t more concerned about their daughters’ fascination with princesses. She’s convinced they’re bad news. “I don’t want to be the no-fun feminist, suggesting little girls can’t dress up,” she says, “but there’s something insidious about the merchandising of all this.” There are various contradictory messages at play, she says. “Mulan, for example, discovers that she’s happier in warrior garb than in a dress, but in the images that are merchandised, she’s always wearing the very restrictive feminine dress. The films may show gutsy, tough heroines, but it’s a shame a lot of that is negated in the way they are promoted.”
It’s certainly true that some of the more recent Princesses show their feisty side (Pocahontas and Mulan are usually included in the grouping, though Mulan isn’t a princess, either by birth or by marriage). Belle from Beauty and the Beast would rather read than dally with the local hunk; Pocahontas actually turns down the chance of everlasting love to go back to her people and be a leader. Yet the merchandising shows almost identikit princesses waiting for their princes to come.
Andrea Tartaglia seems surprised by suggestions of a disconnect between the heroines of the films and dolls. He also admits that he never considered the issue of Mulan’s clothing. “We tend to be very true to the original story telling,” he insists.
In reality, is wearing a dress and wanting to be kind really that bad? The princesses may be marketed at three-to-six-year-olds (the age at which the Women in Work Commission feels that gender stereotyping should be challenged) but for now at least, most mothers seem content to let their daughters discover their feminine, caring sides through dolls, Disney or otherwise.
“I can think of far worse things for them to like,” says Karen Benveniste. Suzanne Gorham, mother of Lizzie, agrees. “It’s all about a dance, a kiss, marriage, happily ever after, and some high heels,” she says. “It does worry me slightly that if something terrible happened, Lizzie thinks that she would be rescued by a handsome prince. But then again, she is only three.”
Is the princess sterotype harming our daughters? – Times Online.
Families – The True Strength of America
Copyright © by Ron Ewart
The glue that binds us all together is the bond forged in families – husband, wife and children. It is a powerful bond, held together by love, mutual respect and a large dose of pre-programmed genetics.
The saying that “blood is thicker than water” gets its’ roots from the bond of family. Families are the natural order of life on this planet, at least for most mammals, but it is especially true for the human mammal.
The character of family for we humans is several orders of magnitude above our other earthly creatures and considerably more complex. Being complex, it leads to more complex problems that require resolution.
Sure, family life is more complicated now than it was before, with both parents working to maintain their lifestyle and a schedule for children with education and ancillary activities that has gone way beyond what we used to do in the 1940′s and 50′s with sand-lot baseball and kick-the-can, sans television.
And yes, our adopted contemporary lifestyle has weakened the bond of family a little and increased the complexity of daily life, but still our families survive and thrive, in spite of that lifestyle. Yes, our new lifestyle has fractured the family some and divorce rates are up, but even with the added strain, over 50% of families still stay together.
We need to work a little harder on getting the number of stay-together families higher and we will. But all things tend to run in cycles and it takes time to adapt to rapidly changing technology and the rapid pace of our lives.
We fully expect the divorce rates will go down some in the future, as our adaptation increases.
Raising children in this environment is not easy, but when has raising children ever been easy?
Still, the joy that children bring adults, or each other, is incalculable. The birth of newborns, babies first step or first word, joy during the holidays, the elation and pride that comes from achievements in school or sports, the first date, marriage and its promise ….. all difficult sometimes, but all very worthwhile in the cycle of life.
In spite of these conditions that shake the very fibers of the nuclear family, those fibers and that bond are the true strength of America.
Responsible families produce the current and next generation of thinkers, intellectuals, hard workers, producers, consumers and pray-ers. Some lose and some win, but most who lose pick themselves up again and get back in the game …. sometimes all by themselves, sometimes with the help of family and sometimes in spite of family.
That bond of family is even stronger under the umbrella of freedom and it is that bond that will allow Americans to hold onto their freedom. The job of preserving freedom must start at the family level. It must start with teaching our kids about the foundations of freedom and liberty in America.
Our children are not being taught the great history of America in our schools and why we have become the most powerful nation on Earth, but also the wealthiest, the most creative, industrious, ingenious and the most generous.
Many adults who grew up in the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and now in the first decade of the 21st Century, haven’t learned and aren’t learning it either.
The fact is, America is a “Constitutional Republic”, (see definitions below) which means that the minority is protected from the majority (mob rule) by the rule of law under the Supreme Law of the Land, our Constitution.
Because of the current massive attempts by all levels of our government (especially the federal government) to rule every aspect of our lives, our constitution is being torn asunder by the day and yet it is the only document that stands between us and socialism, communism, fascism, a dictator, or outright anarchy.
It is the ultimate responsibility of the parents in the family to pass on the heritage of freedom and liberty to their children, even if our public school system isn’t doing it. It is the family’s responsibility to teach their children about the documents that established that freedom and how important it is to preserve, protect and defend those documents.
In the end, the preservation of freedom lies with each individual but each individual’s drive to preserve freedom is best nourished in the safe environment of a loving family. It is up to the parents of the family to initiate the conversations about freedom and our founding documents. It is up to the parents to show their children the rich heritage of this great nation and learn about those who sacrificed so much that we might live free.
With most families having one or more computers and access to the Internet, the information about America is literally at the family’s finger tips. Talk about these issues when you gather together for holidays. But the most effective environment to discuss America, is right at the dinner table when all are gathered to share the evening meal.
President Reagan stated that “freedom is only one generation away from extinction.”
If Americans care about the preservation of our liberty and American sovereignty, they must teach their children about freedom, so that it is carried on from generation to generation, or freedom will die and our culture of liberty and our very sovereignty will be absorbed into the one-world-order without a shot being fired. America will become but a footnote in some history book that will improperly paint America as some strange anomaly that could have never lasted very long anyway.
Americans need to do everything in their power to see that that footnote is never written.
Losing is not an option.
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Constitutional Republic: “….. is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican.”
A True Democracy: “….. where the majority has the ultimate say in all things ….. essentially mob rule.”
United Nations and Fatherhood policies
As global leaders in policy formulation the UN agencies are a rich source of inspiration about global initatives on fatherhood and it’s importance.
All agencies are committed to the UN Millenium Development Goals. Fathers must be included in the picture if the MDGs are to be most effectively met in sustainable ways. For almost every goal, the father’s role makes a difference, as does the mother’s. Men in families may influence child survival, growth and development through the decisions they make about resource allocation, through supporting women in decision making, through economic contributions to the family which make the seeking of care more possible and through their caring for children.
(See also the MDGs and Africa paper updated in 2007 (download at bottom of this page). We would love to develop our understanding of where committed fatherhood can achieve the MDGs and hope to do so to help with the achievement of the goals!
Children of any age suffer when parents divorce – Daily Tribune: Breaking news coverage for southeastern Oakland County, MichiganIn Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm
Dear Annie: How do I talk to my adult children about divorcing their mother? I’ve been a good father and tried hard to be a good husband, but I knew early on that the rushed decision to marry was a mistake. I considered divorce 17 years ago and went to counseling, but my wife said I was the one with the problem, and things didn’t change. I have had a number of indiscretions seeking companionship and intimacy.
When my wife said she would turn my children against me, I became depressed and had thoughts of suicide. She has said she will make my life hell if I leave her. But, Annie, we have no life as a couple, and I often wish God would take me. My children are tremendously important, but I feel manipulated by them with their threats of keeping the grandchildren from seeing me if I divorce their mother. I plan to stay in the marriage a little longer for the sake of my youngest child, who will graduate next year, but I don’t know how much more I can take.
My wife and I are both at fault for this broken marriage. I am guilty of many things and have apologized. My children know their mother is difficult to live with. I want them to understand that the marriage is beyond repair, and divorce could be a way to heal. I am angry that my wife isn’t thinking of the children when she badmouths me to them. What can I do?
— Fearful in the Dakotas
Dear Fearful: Most children, no matter the age, are upset when their parents divorce. And it is unfortunate that many spouses try to alienate the other parent from the children. When you decide to file, get your children together for a discussion. Explain that you love them all deeply and have no intention of enumerating their mother’s faults or your own and assessing blame. Things just haven’t worked out, and you are both unhappy. No matter how difficult the situation becomes, it is important that you don’t give up communicating with your children. We also recommend the National Center for Fathering (fathers.com), which is loaded with information and support.
Dear Annie: A dear friend of mine has become quite the gum chewer and is terribly noisy with it — popping and cracking, etc. When I quit smoking some years back, I took up gum chewing and understand that chomping away can bring pleasure, but I don’t do it in public. “John,” however, seems oblivious to his noise, no matter when or where. I’ve seen friends give him nasty looks, but he doesn’t notice.
I love John and can endure these noises, but some of our friends have begun to distance themselves, and he can’t understand why. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so how can I tell him his gum chewing is the reason?
— Would Walk Across Croc-Infested Waters for Him
Dear Would Walk: Say, “Honey, I never realized how loud our gum cracking has become. When I do it, will you please tell me so I can stop? It must be really irritating to others. And I’ll tell you when you do it, OK?”
Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009
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I ask myself what would Martin Luther King do..? would he stand up for parents and parents rights.. if he knew that more than 60 percent of black children grow up without fathers because of the federal government involvement in “welfare” rather than dads..??
Would MLK stay a Republican, as he was all his life.. or join with the Democrats in the Socialist Revolution to destroy capitalism, education, parenthood and even more black families?
What would MLK think about the Democrats attack on Christianity and the Gospel? Would he call it a “hate” crime?