Recently in Family Category

Ideas: Breaking the Walled Garden of Childhood

David D. Friedman writes:

"One exception used to be the Society for Creative Anachronism, a historical recreation organization that I have been involved with for a very long time. I was taught to use a sewing machine by a twelve year old girl; a few years later she was the moving spirit behind a puppet theater. But that has gradually changed. More and more over the years, children who come to SCA events are expected, not to help set up the hall or cook the dinner or run the event, but to attend 'children's activities.'

"What set off this post was the discovery that at the Pennsic War, the SCA's largest gathering, a two week long camping event with something over ten thousand people and a Pennsic University with about a thousand classes (some of which I teach), there is now a new rule. Nobody under eighteen can attend a class unless accompanied by parent or legal guardian. When I complained to one of the people responsible, I was assured that they had made special provision to allow children to attend children's classes.

"I have long held that there are two fundamental views of children: That they are pets who can talk, or that they are small people who do not yet know very much. The wrong one is winning."

(In linking to this, I need to say that I disagree with his nonchalant attitude toward early exposure to internet pornography and find his barnyard analogy inadequate. There is a world of difference between two bovines un-self-consciously engaged in the reproductive act and videos of human sexual interaction organized to arouse a jaded consumer. The medium itself is a message that we don't want children -- or anyone -- to take to heart.)

The Fragile Generation -

Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt write:

"In earlier generations, this would have seemed a bizarre and wildly overprotective upbringing. Society had certain age-related milestones that most people agreed on. Kids might be trusted to walk to school by first grade. They might get a latchkey at 8, take on a newspaper route around 10, start babysitting at 12. But over the past generation or so, those milestones disappeared--buried by fears of kidnapping, the rise of supervised activities, and the pre-eminence of homework. Parents today know all about the academic milestones their kids are supposed to reach, but not about the moments when kids used to start joining the world.

"It's not necessarily their fault. Calls to eight newspapers in North Carolina found none that would take anyone under the age of 18 to deliver papers. A police chief in New Albany, Ohio, went on record saying kids shouldn't be outside on their own till age 16, 'the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom.' A study in Britain found that while just under half of all 16- to 17-year-olds had jobs as recently as 1992, today that number is 20 percent.

"The responsibility expected of kids not so long ago has become almost inconceivable. Published in 1979, the book Your 6-Year-old: Loving and Defiant includes a simple checklist for what a child entering first grade should be able to do: Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored? Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels? Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to a store, school, playground, or friend's home?

"Hang on. Walk to the store at 6--alone?"

WALSH: The Most Effective Way To Destroy Your Husband, Ruin Your Marriage, And Encourage Infidelity | Daily Wire

"A wife who belittles her husband, cuts him down, nitpicks him relentlessly, holds her affection -- both physical and emotional -- as a ransom, nags him endlessly, criticizes him constantly, humiliates him in public and to her friends and in front of the children, and will not allow him to take a leadership position in the home, cannot be terribly surprised when he begins to withdraw. And if he cheats -- which would be a great and indefensible evil, no matter how cold and domineering his wife may be -- it cannot be said that he was the first. She cheated him; she lied to him, by promising to respect him and treat him like a man, only to turn around and treat him like a child....

"Sadly, the average man in America is not always given this advantage. He enters marriage and finds himself immediately in a hole. He must prove his worth if he wants to be treated like he has any. His wife paints a line on the floor and expects him to walk it perfectly. But he will inevitably stumble, as all men (and women) do, and his wife will chastise him and use his mistake as blackmail against him.

"A man in this situation is called nonetheless to endure, to fight for his family, and never to be unfaithful to his wife or leave her. But if he does wander, it should be noted that he is not the only traitor in the marriage. She betrayed him. She promised him a wife and instead gave him a stepmother. The two have now betrayed each other, each in their own way."

How My Parents' Divorce Ruined Our Holidays And Family Life Forever

From an anonymous author:

"Navigating a divorced family was and is like walking through a field of landmines. I was supposed to call my stepdad Dad but by his first name when I was with my real dad. I also certainly was not to ever refer to my biological dad as my real dad in front of my stepdad -- I mean Dad.

"My dad (real, not step) also remarried a woman I was not supposed to talk about in front of my mom. My stepdad wanted me to call his parents Grandma and Grandpa, but they told me not to 'because they were never really going to be my grandparents.'...

"When I was a child, anxiety loomed over visits with my dad. Both of my parents always loved me, but to have excitement to visit my dad was a judgment against my life with my mom, and to be happy to return home after a visit with dad was an indictment against him. Either way, I caused a parent grief. I was torn in two and couldn't tell anyone how I felt. I coped by pretending whichever parent wasn't present at the time didn't exist."

7 totally mean things women do to men - Grumpy Sloth

"Scolding him in public, telling him what he ought to be doing, complaining about him on social media like he's a naughty dog -- these are all ways of infantilizing and invalidating a person's agency, and you would be livid if he did it to you. Adults speak TO each other. Can you imagine if he said at a party or posted online, 'She was crying over a dog food commercial like a little baby'? That's how he feels when you say, 'Who puts dirty dishes on the counter when there's a dishwasher right there? Five year olds. That's who.'

"The conversation should be happening at home, in private, at the moment of infraction. 'HONEY. Dishes. Come on. We're a team here.' And if he says the same thing to you about your stuff all over the bathroom counter, respond the way you'd want him to respond to the dish issue."

"BodyWise: Discovering Your Body's Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing" | Public Radio Tulsa

The January 30, 2017, edition of Studio Tulsa was an interview with Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams, author of BodyWise: Discovering Your Body's Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing. Dr. Abrams discussed chronic pain and fatigue and the challenges of tracing those systemic and diffuse conditions back to a cause, which can sometimes involve food sensitivity (e.g. gluten) and hypothyroidism. Dr. Abrams emphasized the importance of journaling to keep a careful daily account of nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress so as to correlate them accurately with their effect on pain and energy levels.

David French: Male Vulnerability Isn't a Virtue | National Review

"Here is the key question -- what better equips a man to confront a difficult and challenging world? Is it more tears? Or is it more toughness? Is it teaching men to be compassionate or to be objects of compassion? The vulnerable male's cry is "help me." The masculine male's quest is to become the helper....

"Boys will be boys, but they won't all become men. At their best, shorthand admonitions such as 'man up' or 'be a man' carry with them the weight of tradition and morality that makes a simple, though difficult request: Deny self. Don't indulge your weakness. Show courage. Avoid the easy path. Some men fall naturally into this role, for others it's much more difficult. The proper response to those who struggle is compassion. It's not to redefine masculinity for the minority.

"For a father, there are few more rewarding things in life than helping a son become a man, to watch him test himself in productive ways and to help him cultivate and demonstrate a protective spirit. Among the great gifts a father can give a son is a sense of masculine purpose, and no that purpose isn't a 'box,' it's a powerful force for good."

Family Life: Anniversary Gifts

Family Life, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, offers some creative ideas for the traditional gifts for each anniversary.

SMU's Meadows Symphony opens a new season with an unusual mix | Classical Music | Dallas News

"Between music director Paul Phillips and a fine instrumental faculty, Southern Methodist University maintains a student orchestra worthy of reviewing as a professional ensemble. If Saturday night's Meadows Symphony Orchestra concert hadn't all the polish of the group's best, each school year--this one only a month old--starts with significant turnover of players....

"Strings were on their own in a warmly rendered Meditation on the Old Bohemian Chorale 'Saint Wenceslas,' by Dvorak's son-in-law Josef Suk. Although this lush, yearning music, from 1914, probably encoded a wish for Bohemian independence from Austro-Hungarian dominance, it could pass for the work of Vaughan Williams or several other early 20th-century English composers.

"The Dvorak [Cello Concerto] had a passionate and technically accomplished soloist in cellist Andres Diaz, one of the stars of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts faculty. From an aptly urgent beginning, the orchestra was in its glory here, Phillips giving the music just enough room to expand, contract and catch its breath.

"Paired clarinets and oboes played with expressive warmth, and the three horns displayed superb breath control. There were notable solos from Garrett Law (horn), Isaac Beu (clarinet) and Hannah Cruse (oboe).

"Alas, the acoustics of SMU's Caruth Auditorium disadvantage any soloist in the usual position left of the conductor, and Diaz was repeatedly swamped by the winds. Fine as Caruth is for smaller-scale music, it is too physically and sonically cramped for orchestral performances. An orchestra of this quality deserves better."

Making Sense of Bioethics: Parents and "Sex Ed"

Perspective from Father Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

"At the end of the day, the parental duty to influence in a positive way a child's upbringing around sexuality cannot be abdicated or delegated. Parents know their children in a personal and individual way and are able to determine their readiness for, and receptivity to, sexual information.

"Moreover, the reality of parental love toward their children enables a parent to say certain 'hard things' in love that may need to be said, in a manner that only a parent may effectively be able to say it."