In case you missed it, A&E launched a new series titled Neighbors With Benefits on March 22. The reality show about a neighborhood of spouse-swapping couples only aired two of its scheduled nine seasons before getting the ax.
Maybe A&E is starting to get it. The reason for the success of the hit Duck Dynasty is not that it is a counterculture freak show. The family’s appeal lies as much in their wholesome family-centered lifestyle as it does in their non-conforming looks and disregard for a politically correct culture.
Neighbors With Benefits presented a totally opposite lifestyle. It suggested that living by a canine code of sexual conduct is actually good for a marriage.
Could this cancelation be an indicator that America’s taste for perversion has finally induced nausea?
When I try to grasp what Michelle and Isaiah Rider’s life has become over the past year I think of nightmares so horrible you make a conscious effort to wake yourself up. Tragically, there is no waking up from this. On March 11, an Illinois judge plunged this small family of two deeper into the dark world of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Michelle and Isaiah are now living in what seems like a strange, alternate world where the freedoms they once believed they had don’t exist. Now they are captive to a system that tears apart families and devours children. The two entered this real-life Twilight Zone when they traveled to Illinois for Isaiah’s much-needed surgery.
Due to a rare neurological condition, painful tumors developed along Isaiah’s nerves. Although Michelle and Isaiah are both residents of Missouri, it was decided, together with their doctor, to travel to Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for the surgery. When complications set in, as they often did for Isaiah, the hospital was ill-equipped to diagnose or relieve his suffering. Michelle, a registered nurse by profession, believed it was her right and responsibility as his mother to have her son transferred to a hospital that had successfully treated him in the past.
The hospital administration did not see it that way.
Instead of complying, two social workers and the director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) led Michelle into a small room. There she was stripped of her hospital band and parental rights. After informing the distraught mother they were charging her with “medical child abuse” (also known as Munchausen by proxy), they waited for her to stop sobbing and escorted her out of the hospital.
While in the ICU, Isaiah was forcibly separated from his mother far beyond the customary 48 hours. He was not allowed to see or hear from his mother for 24 days. He was then dumped in a foster home.
Since then a lot has happened. While Isaiah was recovering from his ordeal in foster care, his mother told PJ Lifestyle that her son was raped at gunpoint. Although Isaiah reported the assault, the crime was not fully investigated. Instead, his case is showing all the earmarks of a coverup.
Isaiah has continued to suffer from the same complications of his condition. Most recently, his mother told PJ Lifestyle that Isaiah was diagnosed with a lesion on his brain. For the last three months, his family has tried in vain to get medical help. However, the state of Illinois must approve every aspect of his care — and they are neglectfully slow.
Isaiah’s condition has not changed but has instead worsened outside of his mother’s care.
This is significant because according to CriticalCareNurse Vol 30, No. 6, DECEMBER 2010
Both the diagnosis and the cure for the victim of MSbP [Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy] is complete separation from the perpetrator, a total parentectomy.
Is there more to this story? That is a distinct possibility.
“There must be more to the story,” is the first and natural response to a story like this. It’s a defense mechanism. There is a tendency to think that the government and the agencies we give authority to are just. We need to believe that a “service” intended to protect children does just that.
The problem with this false sense of security lies in the idea that government institutions are inherently good. Since these are made up of human beings, we also assume that people are trustworthy and moral by nature.
On what do we base this assumption?
This is not a biblical principle, nor is it one the Founding Fathers believed. They saw the vices of government and men and attempted to put checks and balances in place. Although they knew and understood corrupted power, it’s doubtful they could fathom our republic so infected with cultural Marxism that it would become incapable of recognizing rudimentary parental rights.
What if the system is not good? What if men and women steeped in their selfish desires use their power for their gain? Then there certainly would be more to this story.
The state of Illinois has refused to loosen its grip on this boy.
Consider this: Isaiah reported he was raped at gunpoint while in foster care. His pleas for help have gone virtually ignored. He has pleaded to go home. He was not allowed into a courtroom where his fate was being decided.
What does a bankrupt state, riddled with corruption, have to gain by holding on to a young man with chronic medical needs?
Let’s look at the roots of all evil. When looking for a motive, follow the money trail. A child is a valuable commodity in a morally bankrupt culture. Michelle Rider said she noticed a notation on Isaiah’s transfer papers, which stated he is Title IV-E eligible:
“Funding is awarded by formula as an open-ended entitlement grant and is contingent upon an approved title IV-E plan to administer or supervise the administration of the program… Funds are available for monthly maintenance payments for the daily care and supervision of eligible children; administrative costs to manage the program; training of staff and foster care providers; recruitment of foster parents and costs related to the design, implementation and operation of a state-wide data collection system.” Children’s Bureau
The incentive and motive are surely there for the agency. What about the individuals involved? What could they possibly have to gain that would justify robbing this or any other family of their most elementary human needs — their parental rights?
Stay on that money trail. It leads deeper and deeper into the lowest bowels of a very sick culture.
Photo Credit Shutterstock: LeviQ
Pervi Patel, an Indiana woman, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for not having a proper abortion.
According to the Chicago Tribune Patel opted for the convenience of abortifacient drugs from China, rather than seeking the assistance of a doctor. When the infant was born premature and still alive, the new mother left him on the floor to die, and then threw the baby in a trash can.
Judge Elizabeth Hurley took a moment to scold Patel for her actions at sentencing.
“You, Miss Patel, are an educated woman of considerable means. If you wished to terminate your pregnancy safely and legally, you could have done so,” Hurley said. “You planned a course of action and took matters into your hands and chose not to go to a doctor.”
Apparently, Miss Patel will be serving time in prison, not for killing her baby–but for doing it on the cheap.
”Does the amount of time children spend with their mothers matter for children’s developmental outcome?” The answer, according to researchers, is an emphatic no.
Under the microscope of this new study is what the researchers termed “intensive mothering” and its impact primarily on children ages 3-11:
Indeed, this ideology of intensive mothering –the belief that the proper development of children requires mothers lavishing large amounts of time and energy on offspring (Hays, 1996)— is pervasive in American culture, is central to the spirited debates over whether maternal employment harms children (Bianchi, 2000), and is embodied in the “Mommy Wars,” an alleged dispute between homemaker and employed mothers in which the former are said to accuse the latter of being selfish and harming children by being away from home too often (Hays, 1996). Journal of Marriage and Family
The study measured the quantity of time mothers spent with their children and compared that with the desired outcomes of academic achievement, behavior, and emotional well-being. The study concluded that “ideology of intensive mothering” (defined as lavishing large quantities of time on one’s offspring) not only had no bearing on the stated desired outcome, but in some cases was considered detrimental.
Researchers told the Washington Post their findings should relieve a lot of guilt for working parents. The study states cases deemed harmful were with children spending their time with emotionally drained mothers. It’s important to note that these were not just stay-at-home moms, but women who felt stressed, guilt-ridden and sleep-deprived.
It wouldn’t surprise me if many, if not most of the mothers in the study are “helicopter” parents.
Mothering young children is intensive. It evolves over time. The desired outcome can’t be measured by academic success or the mental stability of an adolescent.
The deposit slips invested in a child’s life by a good mother are most accurately tallied when life is done.
Photo credit, Shutterstock, Frank Fennema
In my house ADD is considered a personality type, not a mental disorder.
I’ll admit that there were times when homeschooling my boys felt like keeping order in an asylum rather than a classroom. After raising five girls in a row, the two boys that followed stood in stark contrast. In fact, more than once my boys dumbfounded me.
For example, the time I explained a math problem to my son, for the umpteenth time. He had struggled with the concept for several days. This time, I secretly impressed myself. A mental news roll streamed through the back of my mind. “Brilliant explanation,” I thought. “This makes it all so crystal clear.” Just as my self-congratulatory thoughts began, I saw it. That flash of light in his eyes that showed actual brain activity.
“I got it!” he blurted.
“Yes!” I thought to myself. Waiting with the anticipation usually reserved for Christmas morning, I leaned in.
“Mom, you know that motor on the old lawn mower? Can I put that on my go-cart?”
As my over-inflated bubble of expectations burst into flames, all I could muster was, “No. However, you can go outside. Don’t come in for at least 30 minutes.”
Your first impression might be that I just gave up on the boy and sent him outside to play–and you would be wrong. I released him from captivity to burn off energy. It was a necessary move so that he could come back in and concentrate.
This is where a homeschool setting has the advantage over a public educational system simmered in cultural Marxism. Unlike teachers, mothers are not required to pound their boys into a cultural and political mold.
Rather than being appreciated for the future explorers, warriors and leaders they were designed to be, boys are viewed as defective little girls. Teachers want them to love reading and play nice, and no one wants to know where their hands have been. What is the real trouble with boys? Well, simply put, they are not girls.
Boys are no longer judged by their developmental standards. We have lost sight of a very basic tenet of humanity, one that our ancestors understood since the beginning of time: girls are very different from boys. Boys with uniquely masculine strengths, once prized, are no longer valued. In fact, these traits of boyhood are considered dangerous, even pathological.
Schools, steeped in the feminist agenda, have been instrumental in furthering what Susan L.M. Goldberg calls “gendercide” for some time now:
Should it come as any surprise that the idea of medicating away behavioral problems would be associated with a feminist movement….Medicine is the solution to eliminating those pesky biological and psychological problems an ineffectual ideology fails to confront.
She’s exactly right, and it all started in 1990.
J.M. Stolzer explains that back in 1990, Carol Gilligan, a “difference feminist” and author of In a Different Voice, published a series of case studies that became widely accepted as fact. According to Stolzer, Gilligan hypothesized that it was the masculine bias deeply rooted in the American school system that was causing girls to suffer severely both psychologically and academically.
Gilligan garnered unprecedented exposure and acclaim from policymakers and academia–all accepting her theory without question. The cultural Marxists did what Marxists do best–they created an underclass of victims. What more compelling victim to raise money and change policy for than sweet little girls?
Women’s groups rallied and lobbied, and government agencies responded with funding, policy changes and programs. The “girl crisis” became a commonly held belief: girls are at a significant disadvantage in the American school system because a masculine bias tilts it.
All this happened with under an ounce of peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Instead, it fit the narrative of what Thomas Sowell calls “the vision of the anointed”–and the paradigm shifted.
As it always does with cultural terrorists, the remedy implemented for the manufactured crisis has created a real crisis.
Never before in the history of the American education system have we accepted a theoretical premise that suggested that males and females would follow similar developmental pathways. It appears that recently the female “way of learning” has become the gold standard in public schools and that those who deviate from this standard are assumed to be developmentally delayed, behaviorally disordered, and/or learning disabled.
For millions of years, males have been perfecting the art of “maleness,” and this maleness was considered throughout historical time to be extremely valuable to the functioning and maintenance of society (Stolzer, 2005). What are we to do now that, for the first time in the history of humankind, we have defined these ancient and uniquely male traits as pathological? The answer is that we have constructed a myriad of disorders (i.e., behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and so on) that are currently rampant in the education system and in many instances require that male children use pharmaceutical drugs in order to alter their behavioral patterns so that they will conform to the scripts set forth by their female constituents (Stolzer, 2005). Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 10, Number 2, 2008
The “female way of learning” has become the standard for both sexes in the classroom, and the gold standard for behavior in general.
Just as we will never fully comprehend the emptiness in the world that an aborted child might have filled, so, too, the world suffers the loss of modern-day knights, and leaders subdued in boyhood.
As long as male traits are considered defective, boys will be left to sharpen their skills in the fantasy world of a video game. While the real world, in desperate need of heroes and bravery, is content to have him sitting quietly on the couch.
Disney cruise–two words that when linked together create an exotic, fun-filled vacation for the entire family.
My husband Mike has always wanted to go on a cruise. For our 25th wedding anniversary he wanted to sail away, just the two of us, into a sunset at sea. At the time we still had seven children living at home, so going anywhere alone together sounded like paradise.
But then, it seemed a shame not to celebrate the family we worked hard to create in those 25 years.
Having grown up in Riverside California, not far from DisneyLand, I wanted to share some of my best childhood memories with my own children. And so we did. We took a convoy of two vehicles overpacked with camping gear, children and expectations on a ten day adventure to Disney World’s Fort Wilderness. Without exaggeration, my children talked about that trip every day for the next two years. I promised them we would go back.
We never did.
Life hit us hard shortly after that trip. As we rolled with the punches, time refused to stop. The children continued to grow into adults. Not only did we not make it back to Disney, we never took another family vacation.
Last year, shortly after our last child announced her engagement, I remembered that promise left unkept. So I booked that cruise my husband always wanted, and made good on my promise all at once–we went on a Disney cruise.
Why on earth would a family of adults want to go on a Disney cruise you ask? The short answer is nobody does it like Disney.
A Disney cruise is more than just a ship with characters. Personally, I trust Disney to see to it that my family is safe, and well cared for as my family heads out to open sea.
Most of all, everything is steeped in the Disney tradition of making a magical time for each guest, with meticulous attention to every detail. From real time dinner conversations with Nemo’s Crush the sea turtle, to fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line made our last family vacation one the adults will be talking about for years.
Don’t wait until you’re facing an empty nest to give your family a dream vacation. Here’s how you can make a magical, exciting cruise to some far away tropical island affordable for your family.
The only thing more complicated than a relationship is parenthood. Samuel Forrest may know that better than most of us. What he didn’t know was that his newly adopted country of Armenia has commitment issues, and suffers from a Messiah complex.
Samuel and his new bride Ruzan entered the hospital together with the usual high expectations that accompany the birth of a new baby. They exited separately, heading for a divorce court to end their 18 month marriage, their personal agony going viral and the dark secret of Armenia held up to world-wide scrutiny.
One can only imagine that for Samuel this baby with a new wife held the promise of restoring everything he left behind in New Zealand: his home, the four children — one with Down Syndrome — and the church he grew up in. Excommunication by the Exclusive Brethren church for divorcing his first wife also carried the punishment of being shunned by his extended family. With nothing left for him in New Zealand he moved to Armenia.
Fast-forward to the moment all expectant parents live for, labor day. Apparently, their son’s birth required the couple’s separation and Ruzan was not fully conscious for the birth of Leo. She describes her first moments as awaking to “alarmed” faces around her:
My first question was about the whereabouts of my child. I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: “Your child was born with a Down Syndrome.” One can never imagine my feelings at that moment.
Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours. (DailyMail.com)
The evasive looks from doctors, the tear-stained faces of family, the calls of condolences — all weighed heavy on the new mother. Not only did she make the “ruthless” decision within several hours to not keep her baby and to send him to an orphanage, she also decided it without her husband.
Samuel didn’t play by the rules; instead, he cradled his son in his arms and fell in love. Then his wife informed him that she would divorce him if he kept the baby. Ruzan made good on her promise.
Alone, and needing to get his newborn son out of Armenia, Samuel started the GoFundMe campaign to “Bring Leo Home.” It has made ripples across oceans and cyberspace, garnering $497,645 in only 15 days.
On the surface, it looks like there are just two sides to this story.
But there is more at play here…
First there was the father that called the police to supervise as he spanked his 12 year-old daughter, then Megan Fox revealed how many parents are being arrested for allowing their children a bit of independence. A sobering thought emerged: parental authority is no longer trusted or honored.
Today’s parents feel the cultural sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
What we are seeing is a form of progressive parenting. The social current sweeping parents off their feet treats children like a class of oppressed people dominated by adults, then makes sure they are coddled and protected by the state from any would-be offense or danger.
Take spanking for example. It is legal. However, it’s now considered a moral crime. Letting a child play outside without the watchful eye of an adult is considered neglect and endangerment. While allowing children to become obnoxious brats without the ability interact with adults is now an acceptable norm.
Over at Parenting.com, the current wisdom is on display as “Creative” discipline. Tricks, apparently have replaced parental authority.
I call it ineffective manipulation.
Another tragic death of a teenager has ignited a cultural firestorm. Once again, angry voices drape their political agenda over a coffin. Although this time it’s different. The deceased’s mother is not getting the empathy and support of the mainstream media.
A confused and depressed 17-year-old young man walked four miles from his home in Ohio to a highway, where he stepped in front of an oncoming tractor-trailer. Joshua Alcorn died at the scene. When he didn’t show up to delete a scheduled post on Tumblr, it surfaced as a public suicide note.
He wrote that his life was not worth living as transgender. He also wrote of his loneliness and his parents’ refusal to get him gender-reassignment surgery. Instead, he lamented, they would only take him to “biased” Christian therapists.
As you might expect, the “proud” and “tolerant” community are rubbing a grieving mother’s face in her dead son’s troubled life. Without a second thought, their bony fingers of blame point to the parents for the child’s suicide and they scream murder. The purveyors of progressive ideology are doing their best to smear the blood of this precious child on the face and hands of his family and their Christian religion.
It’s hard not to wonder what the flash of brilliance looked like as it crossed filmmaker Rejina Sincic’s face with this idea for a public service announcement (PSA). Did she think, “I can make this a better world and reduce gun violence in schools and communities by teaching children to steal their parents’ guns and bring them to school”?
What this activist did achieve, is to create a teachable moment for children and adults alike.
The video, now mysteriously marked as private on YouTube, depicts a young, middle-class boy who looks to be around 12 or 13. As he comes out of his basement, he peeks around the corner at, one can only presume, his mother. We find her curled up on a couch with a blanket and a book in her lap.
The boy then goes into her bedroom, pulls a handgun out of her dresser drawer, takes it to his room, and puts it in his school backpack. The next scene has him in a very small, diverse classroom. To highlight his responsible nature and mature insight, he waits until all his other classmates leave the room.
The polite young man then presents his mother’s gun to his startled, elderly teacher. He then utters the first, and only, line in the entire video:
Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house.
What we have here, boys and girls, is a wonderful example of a kid committing several crimes. Can you count them?
Editor’s Note: This article was first published as “3 Children’s Christmas Books That YOU Will Actually Enjoy Reading” in 2013 and is now resurrected and republished as part of the Ghost-Lists of Christmas Past Series.
My fingernails still carry splashes of color.
The nail polish, once so meticulously applied by six-year-old Pearl, is now worn and chipped. I hope the memory stays as vivid as this awful color. Note to self: Before agreeing to a free manicure always have plenty of nail polish remover on hand.
When I finally do get around to scrubbing the polish off, it will be the last physical reminders of our dress-up tea party and our short time together.
Pearl requested, immediately upon arrival, that we have a tea party. Although she was only three at the time, apparently we had one the last time she came for a visit, which she remembers astonishingly well. So we spent a few hours painting nails, rolling hair and trying on gowns and dresses.
Yes gowns– little girl tea parties are a formal affair, in case you didn’t know.
Without realizing it I created a tradition. Apparently, in my granddaughter’s mind, going to my house is synonymous with going to a tea party. Traditions can crop up without realizing it when you’re dealing with children. The kid that can’t remember to brush his teeth every night will remember that hot chocolate you made three years ago. Moms may hate that, but that really works in grandparents’ favor.
This week I was reminded of a tradition that I started when my children were young, then, somewhere along the way I lost it. It was really just as much for me, as it was for the children.
Every year (at least for several years) I would hunt down the best Children’s Christmas book I could find. It had to have a great story, and even better artwork. Not your usual Santa stuff. I always found something that I enjoyed reading as much as the kids loved listening to. The idea was to collect these treasures over the years. Then, when my children are grown I would have a wonderful collection of Christmas stories to pull out each year and share with the grandchildren.
Somewhere along the line, I dropped the ball. All but a few books are left. So this year, I’m starting over.
So, I thought I would share a few of my old favorites.
I’m not opposed to lying to very young children. In fact, my family considers it one of the finer points of good parenting. The art of storytelling, when done appropriately, can soften a harsh reality and bring it into an easy-to-swallow, child-sized bite. In “6 Lies You Should Tell Your Kids“ I shared a few of our family secrets for doing just that. The Elf on the Shelf, however, is a Christmas tale with a dark side that could produce some unintended character flaws that could show up later as adults. Adults, no doubt, that will be living in a very different world.
Before you dismiss the whole idea as harmless fun, it’s important to understand two basic truths that Christmas traditions, as with all family traditions, are vitally important to children. You are always teaching your child–intentionally, or unintentionally.
The Elf on the Shelf is a cheap looking stuffed doll that looks like it came from a dollar store in China. The elf itself is not what has made it a multi-million dollar success. It’s the story behind it.
That’s where we get into some real life issues.
This elf is placed somewhere in the house to observe the children’s behavior. Apparently, this generation’s Santa can’t really see who’s naughty and nice. He needs surveillance elves. The elf is adopted into a family or classroom, given a name and perched somewhere to observe the children’s behavior. Then he receives his magic. Each night the little snitch flies back to the North Pole to let Santa know if the kid being watching is good or bad.
There are two rules, one for the elf and one for the kid: The elf cannot be touched. If he is, he loses his magic and can’t fly back to the North Pole (hence, no Christmas for the kid, and they’re stuck with just the elf). The elf’s rule is that it can’t say anything– only watch and listen carefully. Not a problem for a stuffed doll, even a cheesy one.
This type of tradition fits this generation of parents well. We all know the NSA is listening in, and it produces some great Instagram shots. By the looks of what a simple #elfonshelf search will uncover, naughty and nice parents are having as much fun with it, if not more than their kids.
So what could go wrong with an Elf on the Shelf?
The obvious answer is “neither.” Who wants their child, at any age, handcuffed by police – let alone at age 6? Sorry if I misled you with the title; you don’t have the option between spanking and handcuffs. Children are not being spanked in school and obviously not at home. That would be just wrong, right?
Handcuffed for bad behavior? Yeah, that’s happening today.
As the wife of a retired police officer, I have some very strong opinions about the role of the police. This, however, is an entirely different matter. A police officer in an elementary school is not the same as an officer on the street. This isn’t about police. It’s about developmental behavior, abdicating responsibility, and the natural consequences of cultural Marxism.
It’s a given that one or two instances doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s commonplace, although it is an issue that is occurring more often than most of us realize. I defy you to find one story of this happening even in the turbulent years of the ’60s and ’70s.
Believe me, it would have made the news. But back then we had segregated classrooms–average children were in one room, obnoxious kids in the hallway, and autism was one in 2000 students. Most schools never saw one autistic child.
There’s a lot of blame to go around here, so I’m going to narrow it down to a cultural issue that parents need to recognize embedded in how we view the family.
Before I explain that statement, let’s take a look at a couple cases at hand.
“The due process clause of the fourteenth amendment guarantees, protects the rights of parents but the fact is that we have to put it in law. You wouldn’t think we have to go here. What we’re seeing in our country today leads us to believe that if we don’t put this stuff into law then we are behind the eight ball and we find ourselves with these kinds of situations. I’m just afraid, down the road, we’re going to see more and more cases like [the Isaiah Rider case].” — Ken Wilson (R-MO)
We’re farther “down the road” than most dare to imagine.
The bill Rep. Wilson introduced states that a parent cannot be charged with medical child abuse for disagreeing with medical advice and choosing treatment of another doctor. Yeah. We’re there.
You might remember the well-publicized ordeal of Justina Pelletier. It seemed like a fluke of injustice, an isolated case. So beyond right, it was easy to assume there’s more to the story. In the Pelletier case, rather than receiving discharge papers, parents were charged with “medical child abuse,” the new term that has replaced Munchausen by proxy (MSbP). Mr. Pelletier was surrounded by agents of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and hospital security and ushered off the premises. Justina became a ward of the state for 16 months and her health deteriorated.
In a press conference, Reverend Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., and spokesperson for the Pelletier family, made a remarkable statement that became a mirror reflecting an unsettling image of a dangerous mindset:
“t’s easier for us to want to believe, or wrap our brains around the fact that a family is mistreating their child, than the alternative to that, and the alternative to that, is what happened in this case and that is, with impunity government agencies and courts have removed a child from the loving care of their parents—and so that’s that obstacle that no one wants to believe that reality.
“That reality” is the last thing parents think of when they have a chronically ill child or have taken a holistic path to health.
Michelle Rider, the 34-year-old registered nurse and single mother of Isaiah Rider, the boy in the above video, told PJ Lifestyle just why we have a hard time accepting this is happening:
We are taught that hospitals are safe, that doctors are safe, and DCFS intervenes when intervention is needed. So when we accept the fact that this is really happening– we are accepting that we are not safe, and our children are not safe.
While President Barack Obama asks the nation if we will accept the “cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms,” it’s blatantly apparent to parents like Michelle that he isn’t talking about sick children like Isaiah. Agents of the state — with calculated impunity — take their children.
On the very day a law was introduced in his name, his worst fears came true.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in May 2013 as “3 Steps to Rediscover the Lost Art of Mothering.” We wish a wonderful mother’s day to all the moms working so hard and sacrificing so much for their families. Please be sure and check out more of Rhonda Robinson’s articles on family and parenting themes. She’s been such an inspiration and fountain of wisdom in her writings over the years. - DMS
Although it was many years ago, the image of a young woman with a tear-streaked face and blank stare is forever etched into my memory. She sat in front of the television cameras, shredding a soaked tissue, telling her story. Once a happy new mother, now distraught and on trial for the death of her baby — the infant died in her arms. The cause of death was starvation and malnutrition.
The first-time mother said she loved her baby and breastfed her regularly. She cared for the child to the best of her ability. She claimed that she had no idea the newborn failed to get the nourishment she needed. Nevertheless, the baby languished in her arms until she became too weak to suckle. It was only then that help was sought.
Of course the outrage came quickly. Bony fingers of blame pointed in all directions. Some held the hospital responsible, believing the first-time mother got released too soon. No doubt a direct result, others moralized, of the cold, cost-calculating insurance companies. Always pressuring hospitals for earlier discharge of maternity patients. Others cast the blame on social services. The government let this poor young woman slip through the cracks. Over and over, the resounding cries filled the airways.
Their haughty laments over that young mother’s fate still echo in my mind: “Where were the pediatricians? Where were the lactation experts?”
The answers were never found. Perhaps because no one asked the right question.
Where was her mother?
We really do learn to lie from a very young age.
One particular toddler of mine, removed her diaper, wet the floor and blamed it on the dog. I’ve had children become adept liars before they could string three word sentences together. Are my children natural born liars? In a word yes.
As adults, we have to learn how to be truthful. Or better still, we learn when to be truthful–when it doesn’t pay to lie. That’s not to say, that all lies are for sinister reasons.
We become masters at lying to protect our inner selves. It’s a built-in protection mechanism. Who we really are, our deepest feelings and thoughts are kept hidden only to be revealed to our inner circle of close family and friends.
Children master the craft of protecting their inner selves. In high school teens learn to craft the acceptable persona for school, and often another to present to parents.
“By the time we grow up we become masters at dissimulation, at cultivating a self that the world cannot probe. But we pay a price. After years of turning people away, of protecting our inner self, of cultivating it by living in a different world, of furnishing this world with our fantasies and dreams–lo and behold we find that we are hopelessly separated from everyone else. We have become victims of our own art.” — Ernest Becker
Not only do we protect our inner self from the world–we protect it from our harshest critic–our own minds.
We pretend something doesn’t bother us, that our feelings are not hurt. We lie to ourselves about how important our dreams are, and the real reason we are angry.
If we want to take our creativity to the next level, as with any deep relationship, complete honesty with our inner self is a must.
Peeling back those layers aren’t as frightening as you might think. What you unleash might surprise you.
Editor’s Note: Check out the previous installments in Rhonda’s series on Ernest Becker’s ideas:
Part 1: What Makes You Human?
“Once upon a time there lived a little boy name Tom. He was brave, strong and he always obeyed his mommy…” and so each story would begin.
Every afternoon my little hero would meet a bear, a lion, go into the dark woods, or find a treasure. Each story led to a decision to be made, and our hero always chose what was right even when his faithful companion Little Bear (the scraggly teddy) did not. Every story would end the same–”because Tom always”…my voice would soften and fade as my own four-year-old Tommy would drift off to sleep.
When there are mountains of sand to conquer and frogs to capture, little boys find it hard to take time for a nap. However, I needed one desperately, so I made up wild stories to settle down my adventurous boy and feed his imagination. All in hopes of holding him still along enough for sleep to pin him down.
Until I read what Earnest Becker had to say about heroes, I hadn’t given those days of tale-spinning, or heroes for that matter, much thought.
“Two centuries of modern anthropological work have accumulated a careful and detailed record of this natural genius of man: anthropologist found that there were any number of different patterns in which individuals could act, and in each pattern they possessed a sense of primary value in a world of meaning. As we said earlier, short of natural catastrophe, the only time life grinds to a halt or explodes in anarchy and chaos, is when a culture falls down on its job of constructing a meaningful hero-system for its members.” Ernest Becker, [Emphasis mine]
What stories do you tell your children?
Perhaps a more important question we, as parents need to ask, is what stories are the culture telling our children? What are the childhood heroes we, as a culture, are providing?
If in fact, Becker is correct and the only time life grinds to a halt or erupts in chaos is when the culture falls down on its job of constructing a hero system–we could be in more trouble than we thought. Although, I think we’ve always known it deep down–that’s why we are so disgusted with the likes of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. At one time they held the admiration of young children.
What if Cyrus and Bieber aren’t the problem? What if, it goes deeper than that?
“It just comes down to love. I mean, if you love your child then you should do anything in the world for your child. And it’s as simple and as pure as that.”
This is not parental love. This is misguided, tragic indulgence. It’s as simple and pure as that. Parental love prepares a child for adulthood–momentary happiness has little to do with it.
Parental love sees beyond what a child currently wants, or thinks he wants, and gives him what he needs. What this child needs is unconditional love and a chance for his brain to mature and his body to fully develop.
It’s far beyond the comprehension of a child to see himself as an adult. To a child of nine, eighteen is a lifetime away. Neither Keat nor his parents can fathom what his life will be like as an adult. The physical and mental consequences of a chemically altered body through puberty cannot be fully understood and weighed.
What if Keat had Body Integrity Identity Disorder? The same feelings of being born wrong exist. A person with this disorder believes he or she would be happier without the appendages they were born with. Would these parents still be good parents by indulging this disorder with amputation before puberty?
At the beginning of the year, I realized what’s wrong with me–I’m a creative.
It wasn’t until we moved to the Nashville area that I understood that it’s not what you do, it’s a personality type. People from all over the world come to Nashville to follow their dreams and find their own kind. Writers, artists, recording artists and songwriters–all creatives from every area of the arts flourish and wither here.
Living with your creativity is a challenge. Making a living with it is a lot like trying to make two marriages work at once.
Creatives of all genres want a muse. Every artist has watched with amazement as their best work flowed effortlessly through their fingertips as though they were the instrument, not the creator.
Call her what you like. Although she is fickle, selfish and obstinate, she is a most desired companion. She is the whisperer of the words to a song in the middle of the night. She is the unseen hand atop your brush as it glides across the canvass. She is wisdom. She is color, song and prose. She sows thoughts in the mind that blossom at the fingertips. She is your creative self, set free.
Without her, the fields of creativity are rough, rocky and require long hours of toil– often abandoned, and left to lay fallow.
With her at your side, the creative life is a joy and new every morning–but if you wait on her to feed you, you will become an artist all right–a starving artist.
As any marriage partner, she is to be treated with respect, courted and never taken for granted.
But first, you have to know where to find her.
Do you ever wake up feeling guilty or angry with yourself? Contrary to popular belief, anger and guilt aren’t about self-control– they’re catalysts for change.
One of the perks of old age is that I seldom do things that make me feel guilty. The majority of my guilt comes from things I don’t do.
There’s a lot to be said about our conscious. In “Is Self-Esteem a Social Construct or the Soul’s Self-Awarness“ I wrote about how our “self” is stamped with the knowledge of right and wrong, and how it comes with a moral imprint. While this is true, all guilt doesn’t necessarily come from immorality. Nor is all anger wrong.
I’ve battled bouts of guilt all week. Like, every time I look at my dog. Poor girl can’t see me because I’ve failed to take the time to cut holes out of her mop for her eyes. I’ve been guilty of not calling my mother–and getting lost in Facebook when I should be working, just to name a few. All of these things seem minor on the surface. But they do in fact diminish the quality of my life, and those I love–in small and large ways.
Recently, I woke up under a severe reality attack–another failure, I’d been too busy to realize. I failed to continue both my series. The works on Ernest Becker that I began here, and creative recovery which began as a promise to my daughter. While I consider both important for several reasons, guess which one held enough guilt to induce anger at myself?
I made commitments on two levels. First to my daughter who once begged, “Come draw with me mama.” The idea of this creative series was to explore and revitalize our creative lives as artists, and bring our PJ readers along for the ride. Our thirteen-week adventure The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron fizzled out in just four weeks.
My theory is that when we fail to do something that we know is right or would enrich our lives and relationships–it’s more of a spiritual battle than one of self-discipline.
When confronted with failure of any sort Michael Hyatt explains we have three options: recommit, revise or remove.
I chose to recommit. That’s when I learned about anger.
I worried about my son’s inability to read. He seemed far behind other second-graders. When I brought my concerns to his teacher, she brushed my fears aside. ”He is the highest in his reading group.” With her assurance, sprinkled with condescension that hinted education is best left to professionals, my parental instincts were put aside. After all, what parent argues with a teacher who insists a mother should be proud of her child’s hard work and dedication?
Imagine my surprise when at the end of the year, the decision was made to hold the boy back and repeat the grade. The reason? You guessed it–reading. When I pushed-back, reminding Mrs. Professionaleducator of her own words of assurance, she added one small detail previously left out. He was indeed at the top of his reading group–the lowest group in the class.
When he reached the top, she did not advance him to the next level for fear of hurting his self-esteem. He would no longer be the top dog. He would be at the bottom in the new group–with better readers. He would have to struggle to climb back to the top. For this reason alone, the preservation of the boy’s self-esteem, that he was not pushed to the next reading level.
He was reading somewhere around the 1.3 grade level at the end of the second grade. His prized self-esteem, was artificially inflated–something that was quickly and properly adjusted with the news he would not be advancing to the third grade with his friends.
For years, I chalked this experience up to the fact that his teacher just didn’t know my son. If she had, she would have known that putting him at the bottom would have challenged him to climb to the top. His competitive spirit and almost untamable drive would have propelled him over each obstacle put in front of him. Instead, she gave him a dunce cap and told him it was a crown, and rewarded him with a false sense of accomplishment as a foot-rest.
This week’s reading of Ernest Becker’s Birth and Death of Meaning reminded me of that first encounter with an esteem-puffer disguised as an educator. Becker made me rethink how self-esteem is actually built.
LifesiteNews.com reported on March 28:
As parents in Germany have protested a new pro-homosexual “sexual diversity” curriculum in their schools, homosexual activists have attacked them by hurling feces and destroying their property, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, which documents anti-Christian incidents in Europe.”
“Protesters were physically attacked and it was felt that the police failed to protect the parents’ basic right of assembly,” said a statement from the Observatory describing incidents at recent rallies in Baden-Württemberg and Cologne.”…
“They were spit at, eggs were thrown, and little bags with feces or color. Cables of loud speakers were torn out,” the organization says. “Pages were ripped out of the bible and used to wipe backsides, then formed into a ball and thrown at the parents.”
Not so long ago, this story would induce little more than a shoulder shrug and a bit of pity for the poor folks living in such a place.
That is Germany–not America right? I’m safely tucked in the Bible belt. Besides, we have enough problems of our own–why worry about what’s going on in another country?
At some point, it’s wise to step out of our own house and check to see if our foundation has eroded. Now is that time. A steady drip over time becomes part of the landscape hardly noticeable, then it erodes more than you can imagine right under your nose.
This incident, although in Germany, is worth looking at a little more closely. Not just because of the shocking depravity of the acts involved, what is more important is to understand the plight of the parents. It’s a good reminder to check our own foundations and compare what is currently happening in our schools to the rights of parents.
Our similarities might surprise you.
Parents of the Plymouth Wildcats had a hard time watching their high school boys play baseball through the chain-link fence that obstructed their view. So they took the traditional American approach to the problem–they worked hard, earned the money to buy raised-deck seating, and then pulled together and installed the seats for all to enjoy.
These parents fully expected the time and sweat they invested in making their own lives a little better would also become an inheritance for future parents to enjoy for many years to come. In the past, that would have been right, good and honorable.
That is no longer the case in an era where the morality of the elite rules the day. It was “not fair” to the girls.
In the process of dismantling a high school cheering section, the U.S. Department of Education has taught Michigan a real life lesson in the new American brand of social Marxism, one that young parents need to learn and understand well. We now have a higher order of right and wrong that is sanctioned by the state.
This sad state of affairs began when one
useful idiot person complained to the U.S. Department of Education that it wasn’t fair that the boys had better seating than the girls. Did I mention that the parents of the boys also bought a new scoreboard? Apparently, that wasn’t fair either–and so it was thus decreed:
“As a resolution to the district’s violation of longstanding Title IX requirements to offer equal athletic opportunities to both boys and girls, the Department’s office of Civil Rights (OCR) accepted the district’s voluntary agreement to address this inequality by constructing necessary improvements to the softball field, or demolishing the baseball structure, or some combination of both. The final decision on how best to comply with the law was made by the district. OCR’s preference from the beginning, was for the district to construct a similar structure for the girls’ softball team.” – U.S. Department of Education spokesperson
Since the school claimed it had no funds for improvements, the girls’ team obviously doesn’t have parents willing to work for it, and the one who “cares” only wanted to whine–the new raised-seating area was demolished under the guise of fairness and equality.
Equality for women, or so the story goes, was achieved with the sexual revolution. When the pill hit in the sixties, it leveled the playing field by giving women a victory over their reproductive systems. At least, so they thought. Now, women could behave as promiscuously as men without being “punished with a baby.”
If in fact this were true, young women today should be living in feminism’s promised land. We have arrived in a world where hook-ups are the norm, at least on most college campuses. However, life is not better for women. In fact, a new study shows it is much worse.
Romantic relationships are becoming more difficult for women to navigate and young couples are putting off marrying until much later.
In spite of the epidemic of young men failing by “all social indicators,” as the video above put it, to adjust to adulthood, males are now in the driver’s seat of the premarital relationship. Before the sexual revolution, however, women determined the course of the relationship. The average woman sought a relationship with the ultimate goal of securing a lifetime mate, not a one-night workout. Her sexual response tended to go hand-in-hand with the depth of the commitment of the relationship. In the hook-up culture that is no longer the case.
The Austin Institute has put out a video explaining the courtship and mating habits of young people in the economic terms of supply and demand. The AI theory is that it is a matter of basic economics.
There are far too many women flooding the dating market with easy sex, thus driving the value down. A sexual encounter no longer costs a man much more than a few drinks or a couple nights out. In order to recover the market, women need to collectively agree to hold out for more.
Interesting, but oversimplified. This still assumes that women are in fact the same as men sexually — a mutual trade for equal goods. In spite of the popular cultural narrative, this is simply not true and the results have been destructive to women for generations. This theory must ignore science and keep hidden one fact about a woman’s body no one wants to talk about — even in college.