One by one, they all filed into the kitchen for the family meeting. My oldest hopped onto the counter. His gangly legs dangled past the knobs on the cabinet doors below. Bouncing on his toes, the youngest stretched his arms as high as he could — the universal baby language for “pick-me-up.” I automatically lifted him. He felt twice as heavy the day before. At least, it seemed like yesterday. All of a sudden, his face didn’t look like my pudgy baby with the button nose. Instead, a full-blown toddler had taken his place. As he settled into my lap, wrapped in my arms, I looked around the room at all the faces. Curiosity framed eight pairs of big, Robinson-blue eyes. We filled the entire kitchen of that old farmhouse.
“It’s time to take a vote,” I announced.
Before I could say what we were actually voting on, squeals of delight slipped out of the girls. It’s always fun when you’re little and someone counts your vote — on anything.
“Okay,” I continued. “Daddy and I want to know… who wants Mommy to have another baby?”
All hands immediately shot into the air. The little guy on my lap raised both of his, and now all the girls were giggling.
“Well then, it’s settled. Mommy’s going to have a baby.”
“At the end of the summer.”
The entire room erupted with cheers. The big girls hugged each other, and the two boys started jumping up and down making boy-noises. The older kids narrowed their eyes and studied us. Their suspicion was plainly written all over their faces– “Wait a minute, I don’t think that’s how it works…”
Their dad shot a smile and a wink their way.
Our children were always excited about welcoming a new member. To them growing a family took nothing more than an announcement.
However, building a strong family takes more than simply adding children. It takes these three vital elements.
Subjected to criminal prosecution for homeschooling their six children, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled Germany in 2008. US Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the family asylum in 2010, only to be overturned in 2012 after being targeted directly by the Obama Administration.
On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family.
“The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home school anywhere,” said Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “It’s an utter repudiation of parental liberty and religious liberty.”
The Justice Dept. is arguing that German law banning home schooling does not violate the family’s human rights.
“They are trying to send a family back to Germany where they would certainly lose custody of their children,” Farris told Fox News. “Our government is siding with Germany.”
“Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Director of International Affairs. “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany.”
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?
Before she could walk on her own or speak a complete sentence, her tenacious personality glistened through her dark blue eyes.
Like most toddlers, Chelsea learned to pull herself up to practice walking around the furniture. At the time we had a large, heavy octagon coffee table, which quickly became the favorite gathering place for the wobbly-leg crowd.
Our tiny house made it easy to watch Chelsea crawl and explore the living room while I worked in the kitchen. As small as it was, I still couldn’t get to her in time.
She stood up next to the table. With every open-palm smack of the surface came squeals of delight — until she missed the tabletop and lost her balance. She fell face first, catching her chin on the way down.
The dull thud sent me darting into the living room. I arrived just in time to witness an omen.
With tears streaming down her face, her eyes narrowed as she grabbed the table’s edge with both hands and bit into it with all her might, as if she wanted to be sure to imprint each new tooth. Then, she pulled away, with a self-satisfied “That’ll teach you to hurt me” look washing over her face.
I dropped onto the couch as she turned and grinned at me with total satisfaction. The teeth marks in the table were a clear sign that this child had a spirit that could conquer her world.
The personalities of individual children along with unique family dynamics make any theory on raising children subjective and controversial. All children should not be disciplined the same, but rather in accordance to their own temperament and personality — in short, whatever works for your family.
There are children that test their boundaries, push their limits, and question the rules — on a daily basis. Their philosophy of life is “Edges are made to make life exciting.” Then, there’s the child whose doctrine is “Edges are boundaries — they are in place to make life safe. Rules are our friends.”
If this is your child, congratulations — you’ve hit the parental lottery. There’s no need to read any further. Enjoy your peace, and try not to judge the rest of us.
The following rules are for parents who believe in using the politically incorrect parenting method of corporal punishment — who are raising the table biters of today to grow into the movers and shakers of tomorrow.
His wasn’t the first brilliant plan to end in the emergency room.
The two boys had a problem they needed to solve. You see, there was an opossum on their farm and the boys had to capture it.
I’m not real clear just why, other than that’s just the way of things in a boy’s mind — opossums were made for trapping.
Nonetheless, the two set about their adventure by Googling “how to make a opossum trap.”
The contraption that inspired them consisted of a heavy rock, a rope, and a high tree branch — constructed and powered solely by two 11-year-old boys. It’s really not hard to see how this plan landed one of them in the emergency room to have his collar bone X-rayed.
Just as the mother of the chief architect was about to remind him that this was exactly why boys should put on clean underwear and socks every day, the triage nurse walked in.
“What brings you in today?”
“Well, you see, there’s this opossum on our farm.…”
For the next ten minutes the hospital air filled with the dreams and designs that ultimately knocked the starch right out of the young trapper.
Trying to keep a straight face, the nurse simply smiled and said the doctor would be in soon.
Apparently the boy’s adventure made the rounds ahead of the doctor. It wasn’t long before a stream of hospital staff including the janitor “needed” to hear the story.
At last the doctor entered the room. The gray-haired gentlemen pulled up a stool, leaned forward, and began listening intently.
“So tell me what happened.”
Once again the tale began:
Well, you see, there’s this opossum….
The doctor asked many questions; he seemed mostly interested in the construction of the trap. Shaking his head with a grin, he ordered the X-rays.
When the results came in, he returned with an announcement:
Well, boys, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board.
Your collar bone isn’t broken, just bruised. But I want you to know you made my day just to know that there are still boys that act like boys.
What do you think he meant when he said he was glad there are still boys that act like boys?
I think his idea of a boy is a bit old-fashioned. He remembers when boys were allowed to be a bit dangerous, adventurous, and industrious — before they were feminized.
Here are five ways parents can capture their boy’s heart, douse it with character, and send a real man out to conquer his own world.
From Rielle Hunter’s interview with George Stephanopoulos:
GS:You would still walk up into that room six years later, knowing everything you know now?
RH: Would I do that again? No way.
RH: Absolutely not.
GS: So in the end, even though you got this lovely gift, of Quinn. The relationship was a mistake.
RH: I don’t, many things in the relationship was a mistake, but I don’t regret loving him.
GS: And you still love him.
RH: I do.
GS: And he still loves you?
RH: You’d have to ask him that, but I think he does. I mean that I feel that he does.
GS: So how does that work going forward? You have a daughter together. You are a family.
RH: We are a family but as last, the end of last week, John Edwards and I are no longer a couple.
Watching this interview, it’s hard not to notice Hunter’s vivid, immature fantasy life.
As she talks about her relationship with former presidential contender John Edwards, you can practically get whiplash as she swings between reality and make believe, going from giddy girl and back again to sensible woman.
David Swindle recently pointed out how sad it is when a 50 year-old man hasn’t grown up sexually since he was 13. Hunter demonstrates the female version of this aberration. Like most adolescent girls, she embraces idealized definitions of love, marriage and family.
Hunter says, “We are a family” but admits they are “no longer a couple.” This “family” only exists in her imagination. Just because her fantasy life produced offspring it doesn’t mean she’s built a family.
A mature woman knows that it takes an immense amount of self-sacrifice to create a family. You can’t just wave a magic wand and conjure up one.
Has Hunter inadvertently exposed the underdeveloped mental anatomy of a mistress?
Her voice was low, steady, and unfamiliar:
“We haven’t met. I know you just moved in not too long ago. You have a boy about ten, is that right?”
With a rapidly growing concern swelling in the base of my throat, a hesitant “yes” was all I could muster.
“He’s made friends with [the boy that lived behind us]. I’m not going to say too much. But please don’t let him play inside their house.”
With little else said, she hung up. There really wasn’t much more to say. She articulated the unspoken message quite well. I took her advice without any further questions.
Our kids learned about “stranger danger” beginning in grade school. We followed up at home by making it a point to tell them that we would never send someone they didn’t know to pick them up — for any reason.
We also took the experts’ advice and established a secret code word for safety. I worried about, and took many deliberate precautions against, abduction.
Like most parents, I didn’t have to read these statistics. I could practically feel them:
US Department of Justice reports, nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.
Abductions happen. We see the children’s faces on the walls at the store, and cringe with every Amber alert. But we don’t mentally subtract the fact that of those 800,000, only 115 children were victims of the “stereotypical” kidnapping of a stranger snatching them — what we fear most. With all of the attention drawn to it, we tend to think sexual assaults are more likely to come with abduction.
In all my precautions, it never occurred to me to tell my son that not all moms and dads were good. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to explain to our ten year old that I suspected his new best friend’s dad was deeply disturbed.
Most children can’t begin to comprehend the depraved acts a person with a friendly face can do. They’re still looking for bad guys with black hats and a sinister laugh. How do you protect a child’s innocence physically without devastating him mentally?
The FBI tells us that predatory pedophiles, like the obscure man behind us and Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant coach just convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, have a pattern of seduction.
It sickens me to admit that, had I not gotten that call, I don’t know that I would have recognized the signs.
Ask yourself these questions…
In my last article, “6 Lies You Should Tell Your Kids,” I explained my definition of a “legal” fib:
One day, with a little more age and maturity, he will not only realize I lied, but also understand why — all in the span of one epiphany.
As a child’s logic and understanding of the world develop, the fable’s truth materializes. Maturity comes with his newly acquired wisdom and understanding, not devastation at the loss of a perceived reality.
By breaking this one simple rule, you risk delivering a major blow to his ability to trust.
Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist — I don’t even play one on TV — but even I know the following lies, from the most common to the unbelievable, can deliver lifelong problems.
5.”Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.”
I’m amazed by the complaints of former children who still resent their parents’ attempts to create a magical Christmas. The lie (obviously a family tradition) once exposed casts a round, but dark, shadow over their relationship with their parents. For some, this experience shaped their parenting philosophy. This single fabrication has produced enough backlashes to merit a place on this list.
In a powerful blog post titled “The Devastating Power of Lies in a Relationship,” Donald Miller shares his experience of being lied to by two friends. Within his analysis of his own feelings, he articulates some universal truths about deception and its impact on our relationships. Although he writes of lies between friends, they still hold true for children.
When my friends lied, I felt disrespected and unimportant. They didn’t seem to care about me or trust me enough to tell the truth. This made me feel bad about myself, as though I were not important or trustworthy enough to be told the truth.
When I found out the extent of one of the lies, I felt like a fool. … I felt tricked and deceived. Again, without meaning to, she’d made me feel bad about myself because I felt like somebody who could be conned.
The extent that some children experience these feelings relates to both the depth they believed in the story and the degree parents fought to preserve the illusion. There always comes a time for truth to replace childhood fantasy. Parents cross the line of trust when the child believed the parent over his own better judgment.
I do not believe in telling lies to children or to anyone else. The sole exception would be lies told to save innocent human life: telling the Gestapo (or the lynch mob) that you don’t know where their intended victim is.
For instance, tell your children the truth about “Santa Claus.” The life of Saint Nikola of Myra is a far more inspiring story than any folk legend about “Santa Claus” could ever be. “Saint Nick” is a man that you and your children should try to emulate! The real “Saint Nick” was a HERO who fought against tyranny and injustice.
This is also the path my children have taken for their families as well– so far with no known harmful side effects.
However, a truth told in exaggeration is still a lie that can hurt…
Honesty isn’t always the best policy when it comes to reasoning with small children. Being totally honest with your children is a noble thought and in a perfect world it would certainly be considered the best practice.
However, the world isn’t perfect, and young children are not compact adults. In fact, the world is too complex and dangerous to expect the under-seven crowd to grasp the total truth on most issues. It’s hard enough trying to get them to grasp personal hygiene, let alone an ugly reality.
Young children possess limited reasoning and coping skills. Just because a child is old enough to ask if his military dad might die in Afghanistan doesn’t mean he should carry the burden of worry every day that his father could be killed.
Lies come in all shades, sizes, and colors. My rules for what constitutes a legal parental lie have more to do with childhood fantasy, health, hygiene, and safety.
If you’re not sure about what constitutes what I call a permissible lie, here is my basic rule of thumb. One day, with a little more age and maturity, my child will not only realize I lied, but also understand why — all in the span of one epiphany.
Establishing truth and trust is important for a healthy, happy childhood. You tell stories to your children and keep them safe, and build trust in your relationship as they grow. Wise parents will do so without destroying their innocence.
A few well-placed lies, or crafted stories handed down from generation to generation, can color a childhood with imagination, protect children from their immaturity, and shield children from the adult burden of understanding the truth of real evil.
From the most harmless fibs to verbal shields of protection, here are six lies we tell our children.
It didn’t occur to me that the six-foot fence around the perimeter was meant to keep me in. That is, until the day I decided to leave.
Fed up with being kicked around the schoolyard, I decided to do what any intelligent human being would do: go home. I soon learned this wasn’t a viable option for a sixth grader.
Looking back, it’s not real clear who was surprised the most by the situation — the school authorities at my assumption that I would actually leave, or me, at the revelation I had no choice in the matter. Apparently there were laws. Huh, who knew?
The view of the playground fence from the jungle gym was never quite the same.
Parents strive to prepare their children for school. We teach them to recite the alphabet, to count, and learn their colors. Is that preparation really enough to survive the next twelve years of compulsory education?
In spite of its intended purpose, after you boil away the Friday-night lights, dances, and hook-ups, all you have left is a state-run institution, excreting the same social sludge as its cousin the prison system.
When you stop and think about how similar they are, you have to wonder: is the system designed to ready children for society, or to provide the mental skills for prison life?
What did you learn in the locker room shower?
Mandatory gym showers usually begin around 7th grade. The time in human development when boys and girls have no self-awareness or inhibitions — no wait, that’s a toddler.
Can you think of a better way to teach herd behavior than to strip naked an entire class of adolescents and corral them into open shower stalls? Sweat is not the only thing washed down those drains.
However, it is a good way to prepare kids for the other lessons you’ll need for prison life.
Just when you thought it was safe to search Pinterest for a sexy apron, a new skirmish in the Mommy Wars erupts in time for Mother’s Day and — purely by coincidence, I’m sure — a new election cycle.
When Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen accused Ann Romney (a mother of five) of having “never worked a day in her life,” both working moms and stay-at-home moms alike drew new battle lines. However, I can’t help but notice that the theater has changed.
The old feminist guard has grown as obsolete as their eight-tracks. A new generation of moms views power and choice in ways that surprise many feminists.
One such feminist, Wendy S. Goffe, wrote a guest post at Forbes.com (“A Working Mom Defends the Lululemon Stay at Home Mother“) and inadvertently stumbled across a tripwire, setting off a firestorm of criticism that pelted her with “emotional” comments. In response, Goffe wrote another post titled “Who Started the Mommy Wars?” where she writes,
In short, my effort to bridge what I saw as the mommy gap seemed to just accentuate what turned out to be the Mommy Wars.
For Mother’s Day, let’s declare a truce on the Mommy Wars. Instead of bashing one another, let’s communicate amongst ourselves about what we need and what we can offer each other–a sort of free flowing Craigslist.
I understood what she tried to say. She sincerely tried to get women to see past a perceived social status and outward appearance so, as she put it, “We can lead happier, more fulfilling and less guilty lives as parents.”
Before there can be a ceasefire in the Mommy Wars, and the communication lines can freely flow, we need to stop believing the Mommy Myths. Here are 10 of the worst.
Sporting her usual bubbly demeanor, the midwife strolled into the kitchen and announced she had a special gift for the new mom. She held out a clear bag filled with hundreds of capsules. The emotion on my daughter-in-law’s face fell somewhere on the scale between utter disgust and sheer astonishment.
“It’s your placenta!” she explained.
“I dried and capsulated it. It works wonders for post partum depression. Take two everyday as a precaution, or just when you feel the need.”
As repulsive as it sounds, rumors of the benefits of eating one’s own placenta have floated around the natural mothering crowd since the days when we still called them hippies. Believe it or not, today many of these trends are making a comeback.
January Jones, who plays Betty on Mad Men, doesn’t have a problem eating her afterbirth, or apparently discussing it in public.
She told People.com:
Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins. It’s something I was very hesitant about, but we’re the only mammals who don’t ingest our own placentas.
Old hippies have spawned a new hybrid generation of parents that’s three parts high-tech and one part organic. The new “Crunchy” or “Natural Mamas” have inherited some ideals once considered “out there” for we Boomers, like nursing and laboring in water.
The next four extreme trends could become the new norm.
Badinter places the guilt over breast-feeding into a larger cultural and historical context. Modern women have given themselves over to the cult of what she calls “ecological parenting.” It’s not just breast-feeding on demand, but the fad for doulas and natural childbirth and our horror of epidurals and formula. Many of us do not fall for all these trends, and we may even make fun of them, but they are in fact our current ideals—the markers of perfect motherhood. “Beware the woman who takes even a small glass of champagne at a birthday party,” Badinter writes, hinting at the sinister modern framing of motherhood as a constant trade-off between the needs of the child and the selfish desires of the mother.
Gearing up for a football game, my son Tom once wrote 33TOM across his cheek. When he turned from the bathroom mirror to show his sisters, their laughter confused him. In reality, he wrote MOTEE.
Badinter and her brand of feminists have tattooed their own MOTEE across the foreheads of women for generations. And their love affair with the mirror has permanently distorted their ability to seereality.
Many of the so-called “cultish” trends that the author claims modern women have given themselves over to have existed at least thirty plus years. No, wait – I believe natural childbirth and breast feeding existed a bit longer.
Trends, fads and cultish behavior are the byproducts of new ideas. Giving birth to your child without unnecessary intervention and bonding with her on an intimate level (such as co-sleeping or breastfeeding on demand) are only new ideas in the minds of women who have embraced feminism as a form of external power.
In reality, the “trends” bemoaned by the author are actually a slow recovery that started a couple of decades ago when many of us embraced our femininity. We discovered that our bodies are a spectacular design that didn’t end with sex. When given the chance we are capable of almost unimaginable strength, resilience and an inner power no movement can give.
Personally, I find it refreshing that there is a new generation that has rejected the decaying ideology that claims children undermine our “status.”
Natural childbirth, nursing, doula care, healthy eating habits — are all these just cultish trends? Or is it that this generation has refused to embrace the shallow values of the “me” generation?
Today, with the exception of pockets of religious communities and Rick Santorum, we’ve mostly gone sex-positive as a nation—there’s now “sex week” on a large smattering of college campuses, and condoms, while occasionally controversial, are not hard to find at the vast majority of health centers. In other words, we have more or less embraced the reality that young people have sex before they get married, so they might as well be doing it safely.
Yet cohabitation seems to have replaced premarital sex as the axe to grind among everyone from social conservatives to psychologists. Given that 70 to 90 percent of young people will live together before they get married, though, it’s a pretty shortsighted view to the issue.
Cohabitation by its very nature is a shortsighted view to a committed relationship between a man and a woman. The amount of young people doing it doesn’t make it socially acceptable or desirable. Despite the author’s veiled attempt to minimize their voices by politicizing it, there’s a lot of good reasons why everyone from social conservatives to psychologists aren’t embracing shacking up. Not the least of which is how women fall into a second-class slot that even an eventual marriage won’t always change.
According to research the article cited, couples often “slip” into cohabitation rather than making it a conscious decision– it just seems easier. On the surface, it makes sense if you are sleeping over at each other’s place regularly. It would feel like the next logical step. However, it bypasses some important steps that lay the foundation for a relationship equipped to last a lifetime.
When considering living together, men and women often have two different motives or agendas. Women are more apt to view this as the natural phase before marriage — a progression toward, not a test of. Meanwhile, men are more likely to see it, according to researchers, as a test of the relationship — or worse, a way to postpone a commitment.
Often without realizing it, women enter into this type of relationship with the same frame of mind she would have as a wife. Instead, she has all the responsibilities and none of the protection of a legal marriage. In a sense, she is demoted to little more than a modern-day concubine.
Wouldn’t your criteria for a roommate be different than that of lifetime partner?
See also Dr. Helen’s response: Why should it be the man who is relegated to second-class status?
Baby Connect allows you to track daily information about your little one, such as feeding times, diaper changes, mood, activities, milestones, vaccines — and even more, if you can believe it. An especially unique and convenient feature of this app is that multiple users — your spouse, sitter, or other family members/caretakers — can access the same account for each baby. So whenever an update is made (say your baby’s diaper is changed), entries are immediately and securely synchronized across all users’ phones. You can even be notified via text or Twitter when an update has occurred!
Now we’re tweeting diaper changes and infant mood swings? Who wants status updates on a dirty diaper?
First-time moms usually feel overwhelmed and sleep deprived. I get it. But apps like “Baby Connect” and “Grow with me” over complicate things.
Full discloser: When I got my iPhone, I sent all my married children this text:
Do you have a mother that forgets her own grandchildren’s birthdays? Good news! There’s an app for that. Please send me your child’s birth date–and picture please–love mom.
I am a full-pledged tech junkie. I love any excuse to use my phone. If I were a new mother with a smart phone I would no doubt have a ton of baby apps. However, I’m not. I’m an old mom with a teenager and I see a problem.
We have our faces in our phones a lot. More than we realize. There have been countless times I’ve noticed young mothers out to eat with their children who spend the whole meal talking on the phone. You see them in grocery stores, and on park benches gazing into a screen — seemingly oblivious to the child at her feet.
It’s not what they are doing that’s the problem; it’s what they’re not doing. Infants need to see their mother’s face. They need to look deep into her eyes. Competition for her attention is steep already. How can a newborn compete with a screen, especially when it’s about him?
Remembering a birthday is one thing, but do we really need an app to record the frequency, consistency and color of baby poop? Is there really an app that can make us better moms? Or do they just make us feel like we are?
No, the new blockbuster film just might help you straighten them out. That is, if you’re willing to go see it with your teenager. While that statement does not come with a guarantee or qualify as psychiatric advice, for the discerning parent The Hunger Games can open the door to some deep conversations on tough topics.
Although you may not have paid any attention to its literary counterpart, it’s hard to ignore a film that’s kicked up so much controversy (and revenue) right out of the starting gate. The Hunger Games racked in $152.2 million in ten days– making it the third best opening of all time. Today the film passed $300 million.
The first installment of the trilogy begins with a fight for survival between 24 kids, aged 12 to 18. Set in a futuristic post-America, where the states have been divided into twelve districts, one boy and one girl are selected from each district to fight to the death on live television. When her timid little sister’s name is drawn, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place.
If the very thought of a violent movie based on children fighting each other in gladiator fashion gives you pause — good. It should. However, if you’re a parent always on the prowl for teachable moments — I have four suggestions.
Let me first say that as a parent I was pleasantly surprised that The Hunger Games avoided foul language or sex scenes. However, the violence depicted in this film is the primary concern for most parents. Actual on-screen violence is minimal — even mild when compared to the recent Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park. Blood appears mostly on the weapons after the fact.
In fact, the producers deserve congratulations for fight scenes, both from a moral and artistic standpoint. Rather than taking the easy route of showing gruesome bloodshed for sheer audience gratification, The Hunger Games masterfully reveals the brutality of human nature as the real horror.
Keeping the lines of good and evil clearly drawn, we see vicious kids enjoying the game contrasted with the innocent Katniss, who only uses self-defense and makes friendships rather than self-serving alliances. The underlying message is clear: even in the most inhumane circumstances, we don’t have to lose our humanity.
Using Fantasy to Teach Reality — Parental Talking Point #1:
All killing is not inherently evil. This is a concept we have lost sight of. War can be fought in pursuit of peace, or for conquest and domination. Wisdom discerns between the two and understands both exist. Yet one is evil. Killing in self-defense is not murder. This concept is constantly distorted and blurred by the cultural Marxists in our society to the point that this generation must be taught to see the difference clearly.
Nightmares plagued my childhood. The Wizard of Oz terrified me. I could fathom no creature nastier than the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys. And so I learned very early in life that what my mind consumed would ultimately embed itself deep within me.
All of which makes me one of Twilight’s most unlikely champions.
I usually don’t care for science fiction, romance, and certainly not horror novels. As a Christian, I don’t believe filling my mind and spirit with evil is ever a good idea.
So why do I consider Christian conservatives who berate the Twilight films as misinformed or hypocritical?
I still remember how it felt being a little girl listening intently to my grandfather reminisce. It was like having Norman Rockwell paint his vision of America on the canvas of my mind.
I grew up hearing stories of cold winter nights when Jack Frost sketched his icy masterpieces on the inside of single-pane bedroom windows. Of children sleeping five to a bed, snuggling and giggling under the covers, keeping each other warm. Of thunder jugs and outhouses.
In the back of my grandfather’s childhood home stood that old wooden shack. Just how far back it stood was a matter of perspective. The length of the walk somehow magically lengthened in direct disproportion to how desperately one needed to get there.
It was commonly known as a “one-seater.” The 4X4 shanty was fully furnished with an old plank fashioned into a bench. The hole that was cut out of the middle had been worn smooth with use and time. At your feet sat two bushel-baskets. One filled with red corncobs, the other with white ones. First, you used the red corncob, then, a white one — to see if you needed to use another red one.
I’ve spent my share of long nights balancing my head on the edge of a hard vinyl hospital “lounge.” Trying to sleep beside the bed of a sick child, with the constant interruption of obnoxious machines, the distant chatter of nurses echoing down the hall, and the incessant gaze of florescent lights is anything but restful.
I’ve seen needles probe for tiny veins, wide gashes sewn closed, and lethargic children attached to monitors, but never had I seen the look of sheer terror in the eyes of a newborn — until Zachary was handed to me by his weary, hospital-worn mother.
We may now have scores of sophisticated books written by highly esteemed PhDs and a well-tread, lollipops over Castor oil, time-outs over spankings parenting path, but our progressive march through human history has ultimately produced adults that are… well, still childish.
Worse, we’ve managed to add an extra decade to adolescence.
How could this happen? It’s one of the most confounding aspects of raising children: the sheer unpredictability of the endeavor. Success is far from guaranteed. After all, everyone can name someone that was raised by “bad” parents and turned into “good” adults and vice versa.
Nonetheless, with parenting (as in all of life) it’s the seemingly insignificant that makes the biggest impact on a child’s life. You don’t have to be a “bad,” unloving parent to really mess up your kids — just clueless will deliver sufficient damage.
Have you ever noticed that children born to parents without spines often suffer needlessly from overindulgence? It’s a startling epidemic. Overindulgence can come in many forms, from lax bedtimes to finicky eating habits, too much video gaming to an obscene amount of toys — but the outcome is always the same. It creates an entitlement mentality that can last a lifetime.
You can take a tour of this mindset in action anytime after midnight at your local 24-hour grocery store. My first peek at this particular parenting underbelly was after a late night movie. My husband and I stopped to pick up some milk for the next morning. I expected to find the typical sub-culture of teenagers that only come out late at night to roam the store aisles. What I didn’t expect to see were the families.
Moms and Dads with young children were actually out shopping after midnight. I first noticed that there seemed to be a different sound in the air. Rather than the usual chorus of beeps emanating from multiple checkout lanes, the few that were open were drowned out by a symphony of cries mingled with spurts of sugar-induced, high-pitched squeals.
I couldn’t help but notice that the little girl behind me was in the middle of a complete meltdown. In an attempt to calm her down, her mother was promising her the moon with ice cream. On the next register over, a five-year-old little boy with a sheepish grin had succeeded in pushing every button within reach. I couldn’t tell who his parents were; no one else seemed to notice him but me.
When did bedtimes go out of style? Conquering bedtime is one of the first achievement badges young parents earn.