Posted in Children, Church, Home, LGBT, parenting, Sex change, Transgender

Why the Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill is a Very Bad Thing for Canada

In today’s news we read that the Conservative party is giving a reluctant nod to the Anti-Conversion Therapy Bill introduced by Liberals. Reluctant or not, this is extremely concerning. Some, by their agreement, hope for amendments to be made to a bill we do not need. Criminal behaviour and coercion is already prosecutable in courts.

The arguments for the bill of course are very forceful and emotional with statements on Twitter like this one by David Lametti, “It is a cruel practice, based on false beliefs, that has no place in our country.”

Are we supposed to believe that? What is cruel and what has no place in our society is the LGBT community interfering with how a mother and a father want to raise their children. The agenda here is none other than the extinction of the heteronormative family.

The bill “would criminalize the practice of forcing children or adults to undergo therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“Some Conservatives have expressed fears the bill would outlaw conversations between parents and their children or counsel from religious leaders.”

It would also outlaw professional counselling as we read here:

“Under Bill S-202, it would be illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison.”

Note the reference to “under the age of 18.” These are our children and grandchildren we are talking about. We will not be able to seek counsel or give counsel to our own children.

Meanwhile, in Britain, “One woman is suing the British National Health Service for the decision to so quickly place her on puberty-blocking drugs, at age 16, after a “gender-affirming” clinic proclaimed she was a boy.”

If the bill is passed, as another article states, “those not wishing to transition and those wishing to “de-transition” one day will have nowhere to turn for professional help.”

This article in favor of the bill states: “Conversion therapy these days happens mostly informally in churches on a one-on-one basis rather than in larger, more organized groups, Hargreaves says, but he stresses that the impact on people is the same.” The bill targets any kind of intervention and makes it a criminal offense.

Freedom of speech is further eroded and now restrictions will apply to what we say in our homes and definitely in our churches, as we’ve just read.

The goal of the LGBT activists is control over our churches and our families. This is not about freedom of religion or parental rights. This is only about the Rights of the Child, as instituted by the U.N., and with ulterior motives, I might add. Continue reading.

The IGLA, an umbrella organization over 1200 plus LGBT organizations encourages advocates/lobbyists (in a 270 page document of recommendations to the United Nations) to show up at the United Nations Committees in Geneva in person and make a presentation for LGBTI children and adolescents. In their 2016 document of recommendations for the United Nations you will find this statement: “The Advocates are encouraged to focus on the right to identity within the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to raise issues of gender identity and expression. CRC is also very experienced in discussing questions of children’s capacity to consent, as well as their right to health, which could be very useful in the context of accessing puberty blockers, for example.” The CRC refers to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. You will also read that enforcement through litigation is encouraged. I encourage you to take a look at this document.

Let’s be clear. Giving under-age children hormone blockers, with or without parental consent, is the real criminal offense. This article explains the impact of these medications: “More than 26,000 of the events associated with the two hormone blockers, Leuprolide acetate and triptorelin (which includes Lupron and similar drugs used by clinics), were classified by the federal agency as “serious,” including 6,370 deaths. The drugs, which dramatically lower testosterone and estrogen levels in the body, are linked to life-threatening blood clots and other complaints, include brittle bones and joint pain.”

We are incurring permanent, life-altering damage on our children. That’s because we’ve lost our common sense. Planned Parenthood has extensive information on their website as to why your birth gender is not your actual gender. Look under Learn/Gender Identity. Planned Parenthood has now influenced the United Nations to mandate this SOGI education in our schools where children are taught to stimulate themselves as young as the age of six. I kid you not. See this article.

Planned Parenthood makes no apologies for doing their utmost to influence society as you can read about in this piece articulating their influence on Hollywood. LIfeSiteNews summarizes and states that “The article quotes other pro-abortion figures, such as Planned Parenthood senior vice president for communications & culture Melanie Roussell, as hailing pop culture’s “power to challenge abortion stigma,” citing how shows such as Will & Grace helped normalize homosexuality.” The sexualization of our children by these two entities seems to know no bounds. The movie industry recently crossed the line by marketing a child’s Troll doll with what “may be perceived as inappropriate”–a tickle button between her legs. The doll was taken off the market.

We are told the following: The new offences would not apply to those who provide support to individuals questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, such as parents, friends, teachers, doctors, mental health professionals, school or pastoral counsellors and faith leaders.

If you read this carefully you will see that what is claimed to be a reassurance is no reassurance whatsoever. Assurances are only offered for those who PROVIDE SUPPORT. Who decides what is supportive and what is not supportive? And what are we supporting here, the child’s long-term wellbeing or their momentary inclination? Anyone who is a parent knows there is a serious difference.

Research shows that children, possibly as high as 80% of them, will change their mind about their gender as they age. Bill S-202 means we can’t even tell them this happens because the information could be considered as other than “supportive.” Can you imagine the Pandora’s box this will open? And the court cases that will ensue? Not to mention the trauma to well-meaning parents and support persons. See, that is the key here. Planned Parenthood and the LGBT activists along with their allies in our schools and social systems will be the ones to decide what is in the best interests of our children. And we will have no recourse because they are in the process of changing the laws of the land.

I, for one, have stood on the sidelines long enough. If we don’t speak up now, we can kiss our rights goodbye and give our children and grandchildren over to Child and Family Services who will take them from our homes under the guise of criminal child abuse because we affirm their biological birth gender. What can exceed this insanity?

This isn’t a one size fits all scenario. And in this case, this bill does not fit the family, although it fits the LGBT and Planned Parenthood agenda very well.

I know I will be labeled homophobic and transphobic. That is what anyone who objects to a portion of the LGBT ideology or their agenda is called. I ask, what do you call someone who objects to a mother and father raising their children to be mothers and fathers? What do you call someone who wants to help others feel comfortable with their biological sex? We cannot allow the rights of one segment of society to trespass any further and violate the rights of all others.

We will pay dearly if we don’t stop this insanity. We have allowed our compassion to be hijacked. I am just an ordinary concerned citizen who feels the distinct need to draw a line in the sand.

Posted in Abuse, Children, Coronavirus, COVID-19, parenting

Is the Coronavirus Judgment?

clinicOn March 24 LifeSite News reported Pope Francis saying, in a March 22 interview, that the coronavirus pandemic is nature throwing a tantrum ‘so that we will take care of nature’. Coincidentally, I just read the headline of an article in which Joe Biden similarly called the coronavirus panic “a wake-up call to climate change.” Have they heard from the same prophet?

Melanie Phillips’ responded to the Pope’s statement with incredulity. She said he was essentially, “investing the earth with the capacity to make moral judgments.” Phillips explains that, “At a philosophical level, environmentalism anthropomorphizes the earth as ‘Gaia’, investing the natural world with supernatural qualities as some kind of goddess to be worshipped.”

We run into a problem when the earth becomes a goddess. What sort of obeisance or sacrifice does this goddess require? What will satisfy her?

Al Gore, a prominent climate change proponent, endorsed Biden on Earth Day, April 22. One of the core tenets of climate change, according to Gore, is population control. The whole premise behind climate control is control of human behavior based on the belief that humans damage the environment. Hence, population control through any number of means.

Reducing the population of the earth through human controls sounds sinister, to say the least.

Patricia MacCormack, a professor of continental philosophy at Angelia Ruskin University, has written a book The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene, in which, according to the Cambridge News, she “argues that due to the damage done to other living creatures on Earth, we should start gradually phasing out reproduction.” A LifeSite News article reads,

Mainstream radio programs regularly host long discussion with people who have decided not to have children to preserve the planet for the children, and MacCormack is just a bit ahead of the curve.

The article also contributes the following:

Not so very long ago, the term “death cult” was considered to be a sinister term, not an aspirational description of the human race. MacCormack may be fringe for the moment, but she is the future of climate change activism: Actively hostile to the human race, and an advocate of “phasing out reproduction.”

I think, if anything, the coronavirus is judgment directed at our moral bankruptcy and hostility towards the human race.

Remove purpose and morality and population control can spin out of control. Existential nihilism is the belief that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. It is logically followed by moral nihilism, the assertion that morality does not exist at all. Nihilism will make monsters of us all when we have nothing to live for and no compass for right or wrong.

An example of this is the callous controversy we witnessed this past year over care for live births after failed abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood has been in court on charges of profiting from sales of fetal tissue for fetal cell research. In 2016 there were 186 abortions in the US for every 1000 live births with over 1% happening after 18 weeks. In Sweden midwives failed to gain the right to refuse to perform abortions.

We are losing our moral compass. Take, for example, the cutting of provincial funding for a hospice centre in BC that will not provide assisted dying.

Around the world children are at home with their parents as schools are closed due to the pandemic. Here is an article about action parents recently took in the UK to protect their children in schools. If you want to read more of what is happening in our schools you can go here, here and here.

Another matter of concern we saw recently was the movie Unplanned being called “propaganda.” Theaters refused to show it or severely limited showings. It received an R rating, which is ironic, since a girl of 15 can have an abortion without adult consent, but she cannot watch the true story, sensitively presented, of Abby Johnson who was once the Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood clinic and turned pro-life.

Two other, specifically Canadian issues have stood out for me as well. Trinity Western University in the province of British Columbia fought a court battle to open a law school and lost because their student handbook indicates that students are to “adhere to a covenant allowing sexual intimacy only between a married man and woman.” The other involved an attestation supporting abortion and homosexuality that had to be signed by applicants for summer student jobs, including charitable organizations and churches. An opinion article describes how our religious protections are deteriorating.

We have seen inhumane backlash against Professor Jordan Peterson author of Maps of Meaning and Twelve Rules for Life, and Lindsay Shepherd a T.A. who was disciplined in November of 2017 for showing a clip of Peterson for discussion in a Wilfrid Laurier University class. Peterson objected to Bill C-16 as an infringement on free speech. We were told that the bill would not “criminalize pronoun misuse” however this is now being disproved by our courts.

Canadian leaders have turned a blind eye to blatant human rights abuses and the pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate, in the interest of trade agreements. Government interference with justice in the case SNC Lavalin bribery scandal was unprecedented.

Our liberal prime minister can do no wrong. He can accuse others of racism but be excused for black-face, and groping. He refuses to show his face when a convoy of truckers from Alberta arrive at his doorstep and yet he can easily fly to Vancouver to march in a Pride Parade. Truckers who wanted to draw attention to job losses in the oil industry due to government decisions were maligned as giving a platform for hate.

There is no end of individuals and groups being accused of hate and de-platformed for their conservative views. Even I was threatened by Facebook when I posted an alternate view on Climate Change and a link to a letter sent to the UN by 500 scientists. Facebook warned that they would “reduce my distribution” if I posted the link. This to me was a huge red flag regarding the powers behind the climate change message. I have since left Facebook.

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The bias of “Sensitivity readers” is now determining what can and cannot be published in Canada. Read this revealing article about what is happening as our institutions of learning censor publication.

Family values are trodden underfoot every day and every form of deviation is allowed and encouraged in the media. There is a consorted effort to socially condition our children in schools, beginning in kindergarten. Parental opposition is not welcome. Sex education in schools is suddenly funded and controlled by the ARC Foundation without parental knowledge or consultation (in a pilot project in BC in 2017) and those who have questions or objections are vilified in the media.

In Canada we face the introduction of Bill S-202 banning conversion therapy and making it “illegal to advertise conversion therapy services and to obtain a financial or other material benefit for the provision of conversion therapy to anybody under the age of 18, and punishable by up to five years in prison.” In other words, if a trans person wants to change back to their biological gender, anyone offering counsel could be imprisoned for doing so. In the meantime a father has been told in court, regarding his daughter, that “referring to AB as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties; shall be considered to be family violence.” Medical doctors have to change the way they practice because the view they once held of what it is to be male and female was “incompatible with human dignity.” 

Of all of these, my greatest concern is for children and the fact that Planned Parenthood and LGBT lobbyists have more say over what children are taught in schools than parents. Even the courts are no longer making judgments in the interests of the family. Weaponizing “progressive” gender ideology against parents and families is of paramount concern. Check out the IGLA (International Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, and Intersex Association) website to see the level of organization and aggressive action being taken, using the United Nations as the instrument of implementation world-wide. These are the bodies of influence behind Bill S-202 which can result in parents being imprisoned for any attempt “to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex.” See the Canadian government website as this bill had its first reading on December 10, 2019.

Yes, it could be that the coronavirus is judgment. Jesus said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” I hear that dying of the the coronavirus can be like choking and drowning. Judgment happens when God’s wrath is incurred. It could be that the cup of his wrath has steadily filled up and has begun to overflow. The spread of this virus, world-wide, may be what judgment looks like. If it is, then things could get much worse. The only antidote is repentance, turning from our wicked ways and returning to God’s righteous standard.

Note: Scripture is sourced from biblegateway.com and found in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:12

Posted in Coronavirus, Disciplining Children, Home, parenting

5 Quick Tips on How to Manage With Kids at Home During COVID-19 Crisis

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Nobody said this would be easy.

And on top of that, you don’t have your usual supports–outings of various kinds, kids sports and lessons, playdates, shopping, even daycare–all those amazing parenting helps.

I’m sure I’m not the most qualified person to speak on this subject. I’m not a natural at this parenting thing, as some women seem to be. But I did learn a few things as I home-schooled my children for half their school years and lived with very limited options on a restricted income.

There are so many resources out there for parents today, so what I am going to pass on are some really simple basics that just might help you keep your sanity.

  • You are the Queen. Or the King. In your home. That means you manage your kingdom. You are in charge.

This really works best if your subjects like you. It works best if they buy into your plan. So you have to get them excited about the big picture. For us it was to have a HAPPY FAMILY. Who doesn’t want that? Everything we did was to work towards the final end of having a happy family.

  • Your job description, as the King or Queen of your home is, in practice, very much like that of a Coach in relation to your team.

A coach teaches the team essential winning skills. The coach thinks long term strategy. The coach is the encourager.

  • The King or Queen is also a good Manager. One of the keys to good management is having good systems and structures in place.

Divide the day up into sections. Separate each one with a food break. (Plan and prepare snacks.) See what would work best in each section. Make a list of things to do and fill each section with some significant activity. Don’t have too much structure. Leave room for flexibility and down time. Include regular chores, physical exercise (maybe to a video) and personal/rest/down times. Strategically schedule things to look forward to and enjoy. Have a few back-up activities you can pull out on the spur of the moment. The thing young kids enjoy the most is activities that involve their parents so plan when these will happen.

  • Princes and Princesses can sense their personal value in the kingdom. One day they too will be a King or Queen.

I never actually used this analogy in talking with my children. Parenting is a very personal thing, but there are a few principles that make parenting easier. Ask yourself what you want for your children as adults and what you would like your relationship with them to look like in ten, fifteen or twenty years from now. Keeping this picture before me constantly helped me in the trying times.

  • As a subject to a Heavenly King, we have access to his Throne, to ask for those things of which we are in need. Our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves and we can trust him to Coach us.

Teach your children gratitude. Teach them reverence for God. Teach them faith. When times get tough, we have a place to go to in prayer. When times are good, we have Someone to Praise.

 

 

Posted in Children, Disciplining Children, Home, Love, Marriage & Family, parenting

Can “Time-Out” and Other Disciplines Be Bad for Your Child?

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Some time ago I wanted to know what the research said about the effect of spanking on children. Naturally, I did a Google search, and discovered that there were literally dozens of articles that all said the same thing. When we read the same thing over and over, we tend to think it is true. We are inclined to go with the “consensus.”

The wording of the articles I read was so similar, that they aroused my suspicion. It looked to me like all these writers were drawing from the same source. That would be alright, as long as it was the actual research. But what if one writer misinterpreted the research, or conveniently omitted important relevant information, and everybody copied this person as an authority on the subject?

It turned out that was exactly what happened. After a long search I finally tracked down material from the original research and found that it read nothing like the popular articles posted on virtually every parenting site.

There may be a “consensus” or agreement from many sources about some form of parenting, but we need to apply our own understanding and observations and determine if what we read is really helpful.

If you have a parenting style that is working well for you and your child, then read no further. But if you’ve ever wondered about the effectiveness of two popular discipline techniques–“time-out” and withholding privileges–then hear me out.

“Go to your room.” We’ve probably all heard it and maybe we’ve said it. What is the purpose of this order? Think about it. I suggest it is multiple. 1) It indicates to the child that there has been an ‘incident’ or some misbehavior. 2) It separates the child from the setting where the incident occurred, and maybe from others involved. 3) It gives the child a “cooling off” period. 4) It gives the child a quiet space for reflection. 5) It offers a parent the same–time to cool off and time to reflect on what happened and to decide if there will be further consequences.

There is an age where this is appropriate. We wouldn’t tell a toddler to go to their room, for instance. They wouldn’t understand, and the separation anxiety would not be healthy for them.

“Time-out” says to the child, “You are being punished because you did something bad.” You may ask, what is wrong with that?

There is a slight difference between being sentenced to “time-out” and being told to “go to your room.” The difference I observe is that “time-out” can be used as a threat, whereas sending a child to their room is what happens immediately after an incident.

I managed without using “time-out” in my parenting and here is the reason why I resisted it. Ask yourself, what is a child doing when they are in “time-out”? They are thinking. You don’t want them to think too long without your guidance and comfort. I think “time-out” can be helpful if done the right way.

When a child has misbehaved it is particularly important for them to know what their parent is thinking and what the next step will be. This is a need they have, like the need for food.

If you send a child to their room it means something happened. The thing that happened has to be addressed. “You and your brother were fighting. Now I want you to apologize and then (fill in the blank, e.g. read quietly in your room) for the next half hour.”

After an incident there needs to be a brief discussion about the impact of the child’s actions or words, as well as talk about future prevention. This can happen at the beginning or after the cooling down period.

Make these uncomfortable conversations relatively short. I once overheard a father “lecture” his son in public for half an hour. I saw the compliance on the child’s face and felt there was no need for this kind of extreme parental intervention. I admit I became afraid for the father/son relationship. Cover all the necessary ground, but don’t go on and on. Kids get it.

“Time-out” is the removal of a privilege–the privilege of being able to roam freely and interact with others. It is “confinement.” The sooner you can get your child out of confinement, the better. For a young child of four, giving them five or six minutes alone is plenty of time before the parent comes and talks to them and then allows them to go and play. For an older child, half an hour is a reasonable time to be required to stay in their room. After the first few minutes it is good for the parent to return to the room and make contact. You don’t want your child to see this as rejection or alienation. It is simply a time to change course and momentum. You may look into the room and say something like, “You can read in your room for half an hour.”

I don’t think it is a good plan to send a child to their room without any input about how to use their time. Say, “You can play quietly for awhile in your room.” This will connect your child to you, and the child will find comfort in knowing you know what they are doing. To an older child you may say, “I want you to work on your homework for at least an hour.” This has now gone beyond discipline to a productive use of the next hour. If they come out and get a drink of water, that is allowed but they are expected to return to their room for the duration of the time. Don’t shout at them and tell them to go back. Watch them. If they dawdle, then remind them in an even tone by saying, “An hour isn’t up yet.”

Once again, ‘room time’ is to be a quiet, reflective time. I discourage music, movies or video games. The brain is to calm down and have limited stimulation. It needs to “work” in a constructive way by coming up with play, reading, doing homework or some other calming activity. In this way “time-out” can be a positive experience. You want your child to emerge from their room a happier person.

“Time-out” is the removal of a privilege. There are other privileges that parents tend to remove and I want to touch on taking away video games or electronics. Many times I’ve heard parents tell me they have removed a privilege for “two weeks” or longer, even for very young children who don’t have a sense of the length of this time period. When I see this, one question that pops into my mind is, what happens if there is another incident two days into the two weeks?

Not only is there the problem of what to do if another incident occurs, but there is also the problem of the child being left without an activity. If the activity is not a good thing for them, then by all means cut it out, but not as a discipline.

In my opinion, two days/two nights or three days/three nights without electronics is plenty of time as a discipline before the privilege is restored. This is a time span even a younger child can perceive, when you talk in terms of “two sleeps.” It also means there is more frequent optimism about having the privilege restored.

Children start out wanting to believe that their parents are being fair. But if they perceive that a punishment is extreme, they start to lose hope. Sometimes they even become more angry. You don’t want your child to lose hope. They need to see that the punishment is reasonable.

I come from the old school where spanking was also part of discipline. Yes, it was abused by some, but three swats on the bottom–after a clear understanding was reached about the error of a child’s way–was sometimes the best “attitude adjuster.” Spanking should only ever be done for misbehavior and defiance about which a child has been warned, and then, after other methods have proved ineffective. Some children never need this degree of correction. The research shows, however, that corporal punishment when infrequently administered, without excess, is actually beneficial to a child’s development.

Discipline is for the purpose of correction. If the outcome is not positive, the problem is very likely not your child. It could be that correction needs to be applied differently. Correction is meant to have a good outcome for you child. Watch for this with any form of discipline you use.

-Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Posted in Children, Communication, Home, Marriage & Family, parenting

What I Would Change if I Could Parent My Children Again

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Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash

If I had the chance to go back and parent my children again, what I would change?

When thinking about what I would change, I have to look at my values. What is most important to me? What was most important to me when I was raising my children? What mattered most and why was that so important? Was I true to what was important to me? And were my methods effective?

We tend to follow the model set by our own parents. It is all we know, as children, but later we begin to examine other models. We watch other families, we read books, listen to podcasts or sermons, watch videos, and attend parenting seminars. Some of the input I gleaned from these sources was very helpful to me.

Here are the things that I wanted and were important to me as a parent.

  1. I wanted my children to like me.
  2. I wanted my children to respect me.
  3. I wanted my children to be happy.
  4. I wanted other children and adults to like my children.
  5. I wanted my children to like and respect other children and adults.
  6. I wanted my children to be healthy and safe from harm and injury.
  7. I wanted to train my children in such a way that they would have a successful future as adults.
  8. I wanted to train my children in such a way that we would have a good relationship as adults.
  9. I wanted to pass on my values to my children.

I look back, now, and ask myself if I accomplished my objectives. How well did I do? Were the methods I chose the best ones I could have used? Could I have done some things differently and possibly had a better outcome?

With any responsibility there is daily opportunity for success and failure. Each day requires an evaluation of what went right and what went wrong and from these evaluations we can determine how to make more suitable choices and how to carry out a more effective plan the next day or the next week. As someone has said, the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. For a different outcome, there must be a new input. A change—large or small—is necessary.

Wanting my children to like me and respect me

The first and most important thing I realized in parenting was that who I was would determine how I would act, as a mother, and whether my children would like me and respect me. They were watching me. They would see my flaws. They would benefit from my strengths.

I saw that these little people needed me to be a strong and wise and consistent person in their lives. If I was this kind of person then they would feel confident in my leadership. They would like me, and they would respect me.

Parenting is about leadership. We show our children a pattern of behavior that we want them to follow. We care for them. We plan activities. We play with them. All this time we are teaching them how to respond to life. From our approach to life they determine how to engage with life and even whether life itself is worth living. They pick up our hope for the future, and, conversely, our hopelessness.

Wanting my children to be happy

There are discussions going on these days about whether or not it is a wise thing to pursue happiness. I wanted happiness for my children. I don’ t think it was a bad thing to want for them. I wanted each day to be happy. I made a point of being cheerful in the morning when I awoke them. I tried to maintain my cheerfulness and optimism throughout the day. Bedtime needed to be a happy time as I put them to rest with sweet thoughts and feelings. The reason I did this was because I heard from someone that as adults our happy childhood memories will sustain us through the difficult times. We had regular “happy family times” that we looked forward to when we would do fun things as a family, such as play a game or have popcorn with a movie in the living room. We took pleasure in simple, ordinary things like a good meal or snack, or a family walk in the neighborhood, or camping, or gardening in our small backyard. I tried to model enthusiasm and instill wonder and curiosity–traits that contribute to happiness.

Wanting my children to respect others and have others like them

I wanted others to like our children, so I treated other adults with respect and spoke respectfully about them. I especially treated their father with respect and required that they did the same, even in times when I disagreed with him.

We were delighted to host other families and have them over for meals. This was a highlight for me and for our children. My culinary skills were put to the test and honed. Our children saw this. They shared my pleasure. Children are encouraged by the risks we take and the competence we show. It gives them confidence that they can do the same, and confident, adventurous children are more likable.

Wanting my children to have a successful future

I knew that work would always be an important part of our children’s lives. If they could hold a job and be good employees that would greatly impact their success as adults. So I started giving them small responsibilities early and I modeled a positive attitude towards work. They might do the dishes grudgingly some days, but it was required. They might not clean up their rooms as regularly as I wished, but I modeled tidiness in the home. They learned personal discipline through weekly chores like cleaning bathrooms. When we were offered the job of vacuuming the hallways in our small apartment building, we realized that our sons were old enough to do this and we gave them the job, along with the income. They saved the money to buy bikes and had their first sense of the power of work to give them what they wanted. This was a lesson in responsibility. They each held part time jobs while they were still in school. Work would not always be fun, but it was an unavoidable fact and a means to an important end, that end being to put food on the table and pay the bills. Growing up, my parents required that I give 90% of my income to them. We did not expect this of our sons because we wanted them to learn to be responsible with their money and see that they could accomplish their goals. We did, however, incorporate a very realistic aspect into their financial responsibility training. Once they had full time jobs they contributed to the expenses of the family by paying a minimal amount in rent which essentially covered their food costs.

We encouraged our children to explore music and art and technology, anything that might round out their skills and better equip them as adults.

WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY

So, what would I change in how I raised my family, if I could do it again? I think my values are still very much the same, but I know I would pay attention to a few areas where I could have done better.

I would reach out more

If I had it to do over again, I would still focus on a happy childhood. But I would reach out more to others and teach my children to observe needs and meet them. I was so focused on meeting their needs that I did not teach this very well.

In a small family of two children my sons missed out on the opportunity of caring for infants and small children under my supervision. I was the eldest of seven siblings and gained a lot of experience as a result. I did not see that my sons were not benefiting from the same experience.

I also did not teach them the value of visiting and looking after the elderly or the infirm because I was so caught up with my job and volunteer responsibilities.

I would speak more openly about suffering and injustice and our response

Although it is important to have a happy home, I would be more realistic with my children and talk more openly about the pain and suffering and evil in the world, at an appropriate age. I would share coping skills with them, and possible ways of thinking about and responding to what happens in the world.

I would include warnings about abusive behavior and train them in assertiveness

In teaching our children about respect for others, I would also include warnings about when blind respect can go wrong. I would be more open, once again, at an appropriate age, about signs of abuse. I would teach them about discernment and what emotional abuse looks and feels like. I would teach them how to say no and set boundaries.

I would be involved in talking about sex

I left the sex talks to my husband and I would be involved in this important area if I had it to do over again. A wife and mother has much to contribute and I missed my chance.

I would emphasize the importance of good communication skills

All of our lives we are going to be communicating with people and our success will depend to a great degree on our relational skills. We must model good communication skills to our children and I fell short in this area. Our sons turned out to be fairly good communicators, however, I notice areas where they could have benefited from skills such as negotiation and conflict resolution. Later in life I took helpful training in these areas. I wish this training would have been available to me much earlier because then my family might have enjoyed the long term benefits.

Those are a few of the things I would change. There is little point in living with remorse, as a parent. I know I did the best I knew to do at the time and I was aware that I wouldn’t be a perfect parent. None of us are. But we can still learn, even later in life, and become more effective in our various leadership roles. Maybe others can even learn from the areas where we failed. I’m hopeful that in some way what I have gleaned will be helpful to others. I have a undying admiration for those who take on the life-long responsibility of parenting.