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FWR says: DEAR MOM - TAKE A BREATH
The Old Family Story
No energy at home for the kids
Little boys missed guy time with Dad
Little girls missed their time with Dad
The New Story is Very Different
When Mom’s strung out, the family is strung out
Shift work doesn’t work for kids who need continuity
The kids are left with more freedom than they can handle
Overstressed Parents Are Trying to Raise Kids
Police patroling schools – just like the street
Churches are losing their grip on family life
Business and governments peddle their products and programs
What About the Family?
Needs to regain focus on the big job - raising kids
Shift priorities from goodies to wellness
Kids need to hear and feel parent values and beliefs
What About Mom?
Dad and kids need to do their full share – family and money
Mom needs to discover her new role in a working family
Time for Mom is a new family job
FWR says: Family! Help make Mom well!
FWR says: WELLNESS IS CAUGHT NOT TAUGHT.
Everybody wants wellness. Everywhere we are offered wellness in different forms - fitness, creams, drugs, meditation, religion - an endless list.
To know what our kids need, the big challenge is to answer the big question: “What are the big gifts we got from our parents?” We end up with precious things like the place we belong, love that lasts, someone looking out for us - these are the real things that bring us wellness.
So, wellness comes to us from our parents and grandparents by osmosis. We don’t usually think about these big gifts. They can be taken for granted.
Therefore, parents and grandparents have two of the most important jobs in the world. First, they need to think about what they have been given. They should make a list.
Second, this list of gifts from parents becomes the job description of parents and grandparents for all the kids. The lives of these young people will be shaped by these intangible benefits. We therefore must make sure we are passing on what we were given.
To help parents and grandparents with this main job, the Family Wellness Rainbow was developed to show the key wellness areas that families need. They are:
Orange for Relationships - families, friends, work
Yellow for Knowledge - for good decisions
Green is for Family - the place to belong
Blue is for Values - goodness, honestly
Purple is for faith - what’s it all about?
These are the colours of the rainbow that in combination and balanced make up the rainbow. The family can use the rainbow to check out how they are doing.
FWR says: The balanced Family Rainbow brings Wellness.
FWR says: The freedom of one person costs many others.
There are so many different kinds of freedom - well beyond our listing. We have freedom from bombs, freedom from harm, from disease, from prejudice, from abuse - and so on and so on.
Each of our freedoms comes at a great cost to others. More freedom for one means less freedom for another. It is easy to trace the history of our national freedom and all the others. So, while we all seem to want more freedom we should be careful who loses what we ask for.
The teen who thinks that a life of freedom comes from no parent control doesn’t get it. He doesn’t know the cost to the family for him being here. He has no idea of all the freedoms he already has, thanks to the efforts and costs of his family.
That teen doesn’t know the history of what it cost for him to go to school. Today’s school costs, though high, don’t match the efforts and sacrifices made in the past to provide education. This is true for most of us for the freedoms we have.
Teenage is a magic time when a person can experiment how he handles freedom. It is a time when parents leave him some wiggle room. It is also a time when he should be thinking about his next steps into work, family and parenthood. He doesn’t have too much time for all that.
With all the types of freedom, there is one that is basic to all of us. It is the internal freedom that we can have if we chose well. Many people of faith have that freedom. It makes other forms of freedom less important despite our conditions.
Ghandi is a prime example of one with inner freedom. On that base, he brought social freedom to millions. The cost was high. He had to live with the cost of strict personal discipline. In the end, he paid for these freedoms with his life.
FWR says: Before we demand another freedom, count the cost to others.
FWR says: Our pace is killing us.
This phrase is all too familiar. Seldom do we take it literally. For four year-old Gary, it was all too literal. The delivery man drove his truck up to the local Boys club. He rushed into the office, delivered his parcel and rushed out to drive off. He didn’t see Gary behind his wheels. Gary died on the spot.
Our daily rush takes lives, injures many times more and is just plain rude. Who knows what physical and psychological pain we are causing in our daily rush? What happens to us and our children as we dash to get out the door each morning? Certainly, a child’s school day starts poorly if he is still trying to wake up as he gets to school.
All this is a strange contrast to our real world of nature. Before we came along, there were trees, birds, fish and grass. They all are living, growing and multiplying - often with great beauty. This is our environment. Has anybody said that we are physically and psychologically created to go at blinding speed when our natural cousins have a drastically different pace? Who knows what harm we are doing to ourselves, our families and our communities?
When we think about it, there are few places where we can be without rush. A lake, trees, a creek, a book and the right company can do it. This means that if we want wellness, we must adjust our lives to let our natural pace return. We are hearing now of the person who walks out of the office, relocates himself away from the hustle, takes on a different and lower standard of living and new interests – cabin building, quilting or a favourite sport or hobby.
FWR says: It is time that we take the time needed to live well
FWR says: Balance is Essential for Family Wellness.
We all know the essentials for family wellness: body, mind, spirit, relationships and values. We don’t know enough how to blend these in practical family life. Why do we have uncertainties about this?
Our families need a balance of the essentials to assure the character and nurture of all family members. But, our families are surrounded by an “individual freedoms” culture. Modern marketing skills in governments, business and the media promote benefits for individuals (and themselves).
In our Western culture most have too many choices. Only the Family can bring balance into the lives of children.
Here are some simple choices families can make to bring balance:
Donating vs. Getting? Quiet vs. Blaster?
Exercise vs. Obesity? Study vs. Hanging Around?
Gardening vs. Street Protests? Meals Together vs. On-the-Go?
Chores vs. Couch?
FWR says: By families making better choices, we get balanced family wellness
FWR says: What’s holding back Family Wellness?
Nothing makes more sense than working on wellness to keep fit, enjoy life and prevent many forms of illness. Despite the good sense of Family Wellness nobody is taking it seriously. All parents want the best for their children. Each of us has a couple of wellness ideas, why don’t we go for the right combination?
Here are some reasons why Family Wellness isn’t making it:
FWR says: Watching families miss the benefits of wellness is a source of sadness
Highlights From Our Past
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FWR says: We have a family gap and a family gulf
We now know that there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor. There is every sign this will continue with the poor growing much faster than the rich. The days ahead for our children will mean lower living standards and the need to recapture our work ethic.
There is an even scarier picture of the family gulf. Here is an example: A teen group was making a presentation about their recent great camp experience. The audience was older adults.
The most notable feature of the presentation was the language used by the teens. If “awesome”, “like” and “cool” were deleted there was little other words and phrases used.
A second notable feature was their music. This is a misnomer because their tunes didn’t have any of the harmony, melody or phrasing found in conventional music of their audience.
We know that the current generation of youth has special problems. The unemployment rates are so high that many join protests just to feel that they belong somewhere. Their suicide rates are especially high. We have a generation of youth who are rootless.
In earlier days youth rebelled. In those times, however, their communities were stable - school, church and families were on the same page. There was a sense of belonging not shaken by teen pranks. Now is different. Our communities are much less stable - marriages are fragmented, religion is hardly relevant and in schools they learn undesirable behaviour often overshadowing their studies.
Too many of our youth are rootless with no prospects of improvement despite the good efforts of many community agencies.
The big youth message could be that our “proper” society looks phony to them. Are they saying they don’t want to be in the money rat race to buy more and more things?
FWR says: Sorely needed is much more dialogue between the generations.
FWR says: Go For the Whole Family — The Clan
We all know that the family is getting fragmented by our pace, our work, our media and by technology. What we don’t know is how today’s lifestyle is effecting marriage, young children and teens.
New forms of family are becoming common - The blood lines don’t always work. A family is where a member’s love of the others doesn’t change regardless of anything. Family members are those who show up when things are at their worst.
New studies show one big fact: In the Clan with strong family ties, their members do well in their learning, work and individual lives. If the wider family leads we follow. Here are some Clan facts:
2. Parents keep grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins involved
3. Children are full members - chores, thoughtfulness and decisions
4. One troubled member is not be allowed to disrupt the family
5. All remember that forgiveness builds relationships
FWR says: It is time for us to return to the Clan
FWR says: Wellness and independence don’t mix! Here’s why:
Here is what living independently would be like:
We live in a society where many teens and some adults are in a fantasy of seeking independence. We pride ourselves on our independence. We campaign for more rights in the misguided hope that personal freedom will lead to personal wellbeing. Like the meteor the path to independence leads on to death.
The new Family Wellness Rainbow shows that the interdependence of relationships is the path to wellness for the individual and the family. It shows big ingredients for wellness and a practical way to build family wellness.
It is found at: www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Independence is a brief teen fantasy, not a way of life
FWR says: Loneliness is bad for our health and wellness
Loneliness is a growing condition in our society. Marriage breakup continues at a fast pace. More and more seniors live longer and face life alone. Single parent families now have set a pattern.
Why is loneliness lethal? Because, we are social beings who require company, friends we can count on and relatives who are close. Loneliness brings on fears and anxieties about ourselves and our future.
A recent study verifies this. Japanese immigrants to California were studied for their health and well-being. These people arrived in America with Japanese conditions of lifestyle. For instance, their rates of heart and stroke disease were 20% lower than Californian rates.
Those who immersed themselves in the Californian culture adopted U.S. health rates. The clan members that maintained their Japanese life-style and culture, their heart and stroke rates remained 20% below Californian rates.
It is not difficult to understand this. Clan members remained in touch with dear friends and relatives. That meant normal group and individual help and support. Loneliness could hardly exist there. This other group were at the mercy of the diverse and ever changing culture.
The moral of this story is that our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and dear friends are essential to our wellness.
FWR says: The wellness of family and its members depends on our clan
FWR says: Deep Friendships are Rare
We all have lots of friends. Here we look at the real close ones.
Shakespeare got it right when he wrote: “Love is not love which alters with alteration”. In other words, real friendship is unconditional. This is the love we first experienced with our parents.
We have few heart and soul friends - most friends qualify as friends without influence. They can be pleasant and kindly but the acid test comes when one or the other does a really bad thing. Best friends hang in.
Let’s see how the Rainbow helps with real friendships:
Red: Each respects and cares for the other’s fitness
Orange: Full togetherness creates a new being
Yellow: Open minds lead to a growing bond
Green: Each has tasted solid family bonds
Blue: Right and wrong are very clear
Purple: Faith in God and faith in others are inseparable
FWR says: A real friendship requires constant attention
FWR says: What’s happening to our kids’ Work Ethics?
Our kids are losing work ethics because:
What happens to kids with little work ethic?
How can we recover the work ethic for kids?
All this is obvious. The cure for the work ethic problem lies first with the parents. They have the unpopular job of reducing kids’ pleasures and introducing chores. No parent wants to do this unless they realize the long-term effects on their children.
FWR says: Work ethics come when families share responsibilities
FWR says: Helpfulness - Ways to Family Wellness
There are a number of tried and true ways we can be helpful in our family.
2. Be supportive - This overworked phrase is more said than done. Support requires listening. It requires positive feedback. Often repeating what was said works best. “I understand” hardly ever works.
3. “How are you?” - This is helpful because it gives the message we really are concerned. Inquiring questions about personal details is usually not helpful.
4. “Can I help?” - This sometimes can help but most times people just want to be heard and understood. Most folks are not looking for advice – unless they ask.
5. “I love you” is the best of all when our feeling is honest.
Our body language says even more than our words. Eye contact, polite closeness, and smiles, usually tell the real story of our interest.
These ways of helping come from the professional practices of skilled counsellors. It is vital that we don’t try to be counsellors ourselves. That is beyond our reach.
FWR says: Our family wellness grows when we are helpful to each other
FWR says: Let’s look at Anxiety – Inside and Out
Richard Louv, Chairman of the Children and Nature Networks, says:
“A growing body of research links more time in nature with a reduction of stress and depression”
Ours is an age of anxiety. Ours is also an age moving from rural to urban life, that is, from trees to cement. The question here is:
“How much of us is linked to nature?”
The big answer came from Thoreau 100 years ago:
“Civilization is found in wilderness”
Translated – we are part of nature and nature is part of us.
Looking at some anxiety facts:
Walking is now is big – for both physical and mental health
We look for nature in the garden, the park or in camping
Golf is good but fishing is better
In today’s lifestyle, we are losing touch with nature. We now spend our time in boxes – home, office and car. Older generations lived in the country, were fed from the garden, and walked as much as they drove.
In our cement generation, we are hemmed in with others, night and day. We are seldom alone. The constant togetherness breeds complex relationships, often the sources of anxiety. Our sole nature contact is often only the plant on the windowsill.
Here are suggestions from Dr. Louv:
Encourage the children to play in the dirt - caves, holes, forts
Create a nature club for families to share outdoor experiences
FWR says: There is no beauty as great as in nature - the sunset, the countryside, the river. It seems that we are created to be part of nature, not separated, not anxious
FWR says: Breaking News for Family Wellness - Friendship
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, reports on revolutionary results from recent studies:
Here are the results of one study. Italian immigrants from the mountainous region of Roseto settled in the Pennsylvania mountains. The conditions in Pennsylvania were close to that of Roseto. These people, named Rosetani, maintained their original Italian culture separate from the neighbouring cultures. They kept their rural work routines, preserved their language and avoided the other warring clans. Their diet and exercise habits were risky by today’s standards. The rate of heart attack and stroke conditions remained 20% lower than that of the States.
What does this mean for today’s family?
FWR says: This puts the clan as a top priority for family wellness!
FWR says: Teens are our future parents
In the “good old days” we could predict our family’s future:
Today family life with teens is also predictable:
What is not predictable is what our family will be like in a few short years. Those who are now teens will be calling the shots. They will decide:
Being parents is the toughest job with the least training. If families with teens were focused on these mighty questions of the future of their family, maybe the teenage phase would have a better focus for all family members.
FWR says: Teenage is their time to get ready to lead their own families
FWR says: Why are we all in a spiritual muddle?
The family is surrounded by 57 varieties of religion. There is little evidence these religions are helping children to do better.
Why the muddle? All these religions have their own rules, beliefs and routines. Who knows who has it right? Since they all think they have it right, Joe and his family haven’t the time or interest to figure them out.
Many of these religions have their big, life-giving message buried in a complicated clutter. So, their focus is on their own beliefs - words, routines and structures. This can’t help Joe answer faith’s big question:
“What’s it all about?”
Joe doesn’t need another religion. He needs a faith for his family. Soon his young ones will go out into this muddled world. At the very least they need to know what their family believes.
FWR says: Joe and the family should decide together “What’s it all about”.
We live in a money world. It is hard to think of anything that is not seriously influenced by money. Business, the media and governments want us to think that more money is our big need.
Our lives are chained to the banks because there we borrow rather than save. Business sells lots of useless stuff and suddenly lays off 200 people. The media feed us a tsunami of half truths because they always have one eye on their profits.
All this can mean family slavery to the dollar. This happens while the family’s first job is supposed to be the wellness of their children. The family has sole responsibility for wellness in children.
The Family Wellness Rainbow identifies the six big ingredients in family and child wellness. Here is what money can do to our wellness:
Fitness: We are so smothered by commercial wellness gimmicks that we neglect the basics of wellness such as regular exercise.
Relationships: We let money in and our relationships become deals, competition or power and stuff.
Knowledge: The avalanche of information from the new technologies spin half truths to meet media financial goals.
Family: When money is the driving force, family life can become competitive, replacing vital bonds with fragmentation.
Values: Money can determine our jobs and careers rather than our individual gifts and humane pursuits.
Faith: Money is destroying the churches because they have often allowed expenses to overshadow their mission.
For a realistic picture of sound money management, here are the money rules of one CPA for his family:
Separate fixed from optional costs
Make saving a fixed cost
A savings rate of 25% provides for education, retirement and insurance
To do this, re-examine house and car indebtedness
Get rid of online banking, debit cards and unused credit cards
Pay down monthly credit card balances
Limit internet purchases to rock solid sources only
FWR says: Money is the big elephant in the family living room.
FWR says: A tale of two Jimmies
The first Jimmy is 8 years old with trouble concentrating at school. He is a quiet boy, but overweight.
Parents get a call from the school to meet regarding Jimmy’s learning difficulties. He finds it difficult to concentrate. At the meeting, the parents agree to some special interviews to see how to help him.
This good school system has special education teachers and psychologists. Jimmy has several interviews followed by a meeting with the parents. At that meeting the school staff recommends referral to a doctor for medication that would help Jimmy concentrate.
The medication helps.
The second Jimmy is the same age with the same school adjustment problems. After a meeting with the teacher, the parents decide to pay extra attention to Jimmy.
Jimmy comes to breakfast after making his bed. He is complimented on his homework. When getting ready for school, his Mom suggests he stick close to his best friend when the bully is around. After a hug he is off to school. After school he has several things to do. He can play with his friends, look after the garbage and set the table for dinner. If he still has time he can use his computer – no videos or games on school days.
After family dinner together, Jimmy can play but must do his homework. At bedtime one parent reads with him and stays with him for prayers.
What are the big differences between the two Jimmies? In the first case, Jimmy gets a new learning problem. Before, he was just fat. Now, he is fat with a learning problem. The big issue here is that Jimmy is viewed as a boy with a problem. The school does good work, however the medication eases but does not fix the problem.
With the second Jimmy, the big issue is attention by the parents. Jimmy gets the message that they care and he counts. He becomes more settled at home and is ready to learn at school.
A large research project in Atlanta was designed for 120 of the most troubled families in the city. In it, parents set goals for themselves with highly successful results. The independent research consultant claimed the most promising results were school adjustments that came from new attention at home. Pretty simple - the child is more settled to learn when the family is more settled.
FWR says: Family Wellness is all about quality time with each other.
FWR says: Here’s one good way to handle an addiction
We have an addiction when we lose control of our behaviour. We all have at least one. Some addictions like grumpiness and greed, can escape public attention.
AA has the best grasp on dealing with addictions. Their main steps include:
Own up to at least one trusted person
Pray daily to hang in
Here’s a real life example. Harold, a senior, has daily devotions with his wife. One day she quoted King Solomon who said that spite is destructive. The next day Harold, doing his Rainbow meditation, bumped into the Yellow from the Wellness Rainbow which says to decide one thing for today.
Suddenly Harold realized he was keeping two 30-year old spites. He knew he had to stop. Why be so dumb keeping old hurts alive? He stopped. Then, for over three weeks, Harold bumped into the Yellow from the Wellness Rainbow telling him to hang in each day.
Then a miracle happened. He realized he was free! No more wasted energy. Now, he watches out for new spites trying to hatch. Now, he realizes he is free to treat the two old spites peacefully.
FWR says: Any addiction can be controlled – it just takes grit and faith.
FWR says: Family Wellness for the GOOD LIFE II
Just How Good is Family Wellness? Here’s How Good:
Family Wellness - Shows us a better family life
A family trip that is sweet rather than sour
Wellness won’t let one problem spoil our day
One headache doesn’t make our day
Wellness overcomes problems
Wellness thinking replaces problem thinking
Family Wellness - Wards off illness
When we are well, the germs have a hard time
Family Wellness - Wellness breeds wellness in others
It can bring to life a relationship we have neglected
Family Wellness - Brings focus to life by one daily goal
A goal a day keeps the blues away
Family Wellness - Shows our kids what’s good in life
When we are well, our kids get it
Family Wellness - Makes our family beliefs clearer
Family beliefs build family bonds
FWR says: For family wellness, see this bulletin and www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Parents are the Family Leaders
Much is written these days about the nature of leadership. We don’t always consider applying that growing knowledge to family life. We are so busy, we are lucky to spend much time on this big subject. More often we go with what we’ve got.
It may help parents to consider the key lessons from literature on leadership. Here is a digest:
Leading is a tough job. It can be lonely. It can be unpopular. It requires the leader to do two jobs at once - get things done and support the folks.
FWR says: The big satisfaction in leading is seeing folks learn and grow
FWR says: Wellness for the GOOD LIFE I
With Family Wellness - We have a real nice day!
Wellness is positive; problems become secondary
Family Wellness - When we are well, we want it for others
This is how we become peace makers
Family Wellness - Creates a healthy mind
We want to help, not hurt, ourselves or others
Family Wellness - Strengthens our family ties
Now, our family is part of our daily life
Family Wellness - Helps us kick one bad habit
Willpower can’t break a habit: wellness overcomes the bad with good
Family Wellness - Gives us a new sense of purpose!
When well, the family becomes - Team Family
Family Wellness is a new mindset - replaces problem thinking
We grow up with wellness and down with problems
FWR says: For family wellness read this bulletin and www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: There is no silver bullet for family wellness
We humans are really dumb. We don’t learn from the lessons all around us. Our plants and pets get it and we don’t.
For a healthy tomato plant we know it needs the right soil, fertilizer, sunshine, weeding and water all in the right balance. For our dog, we know it needs space, a safe bed, right food, right medicine and lots of attention.
So much for the plants and the pets. When it comes to us, if we are not well we look for a pill, a machine, an exercise or a book. We think that the right thing will do the trick. It won’t - for the simple reason we are at the very least as complicated as plants and animals.
Our wellness depends on a combination of the right things in good balance - just like the tomato plant. What are the right things?
The Family Wellness Rainbow says that the right things are Fitness, Relationships, Know-How, Family Life, Values and Faith. Miss one and we don’t have it; just like the tomato plant would be without sunshine.
Why can we act dumb about our own wellness? There are reasons. One is our pace that tells us that we need a quick fix now. For another, the advertisers claim wellness with a pill, an exercise machine, a cream or a special food. We are in the habit of solving problems fast because we always have a string of problems facing us.
So, instead of finding wellness we try one thing, then another, then another wasting time and money, neither of which we have.
The Family Wellness Rainbow shows a good way to find wellness. It shows and illustrates the six big ingredients. It shows how to be practical by setting one wellness goal at a time.
FWR says: The Family Wellness Rainbow is worth a try - www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Are we facing a social tsunami?
We have enjoyed fifty wonderful years compared to any other people on the planet. We have been safe. We have been prosperous. We enjoy the protection of big medical, social and pension programs. We have charge cards we use to get what we want.
The big question is: Will all this last, or we in for a big change?
Here are some of the danger signs:
We adults are probably going to be OK. Our children and grandchildren may be facing a new kind of world:
Nobody knows how things will go. If huge changes are coming, the big question is:
Will our kids and grandkids be ready?
It is easy to feel helpless in the face of the big powers. We can’t really change governments, business, media, religions or other people.
Here is what we can do. We can build our families. Why is that so important? Two reasons - our society rests on the foundation of the families and Family Wellness is something we can change. Now, most of us need to learn more about family wellness and its benefits.
The Family Wellness Rainbow, developed by the Markham Institute, gives us a clear and simple way for families to make home life better. Besides, only the family can make a difference. The professionals can advise but wellness is entirely in family hands.
FWR says: Families can face tougher times together, please see: www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Here are some Parent Wellness Stages
Parents learn by doing. All are at different stages. Here are some stages:
Teen Mother: F
It is not possible to bring up a child in wellness by a person who has yet to find him/herself. The only answer is to find a caring person with lots of parenting experience to be your coach.
Your problem is that you have no experience or training in raising children. Classes, books and CD’s won’t do it. Your big resource is you own family. Pick a mom, dad, grandparent, uncle, aunt - who have the experience. Use their advice.
Young Parents: C
Your learning curve may be starting to dip. You may still be practicing the mistakes drawn from your own childhood. Your children are on upward learning curves. You need to try to keep up with your kids learning.
These good folks have learned child raising the hard way, (the only way). They have made mistakes. That is how they learned. They are appalled at some of your styles with your children. These grandparents are a rich resource. They are waiting to be asked. Start taking their “old fashioned” views seriously.
Regular parents: A
By experience, you have learned that parenting requires teamwork. Better to be together, even if you are wrong. You now know that children learn mainly through example. So your first job is to see that you are OK. After that things get to be good.
One good way to check out your child raising lifestyle is the Family Wellness Rainbow. It shows the big wellness features most needed. It shows how to work on your family wellness, one goal at a time.
Please see: www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Raising children to live well is the parent’s most demanding job
FWR says: Family Wellness - Just Do It!
What’s the most important thing? Answer: our wellness. OK, what’s even more important? The wellness of our children and grandchildren. So what is holding us back?
A person who wants to be a doctor, prepares by college, study, practice and then doing it. He/she actually learns medicine from the daily practice of seeing patients and keeping up to date.
A person who wants to be a plumber must go to school, become an apprentice and if all goes well, he becomes an experienced plumber as he continuously does the job. There is no better teacher than experience.
If it is true for doctors and for plumbers why isn’t it true for parents? We are not trained. We start practice on our first kid. Here we are doing the most important job with no preparation.
Why are we being so dumb? One, there is no training available. Two, our community professionals have little wellness experience. Three, we are too busy. We all know people who endanger their health by being too busy. That is dumb. We are endangering our family’s wellness if we concentrate on some single approach to wellness using one product, one activity or one family saying.
Fortunately, help is on the way. One way is the Family Wellness Rainbow that lays out the essentials of wellness and shows how a goal can start the growth process. For details please see: www.familywellnesscybermall.org.
FWR says: Wellness comes from daily discipline - not a one shot deal
FWR says: These are enemies of family wellness
While caring and patience are two best friends of wellness there are more than enough enemies
The doctor who prescribes medication not knowing side effects
The teen who claims he doesn't need any more advice
The lawyer who advises a way to skirt the law
The Mom who won't allow the child some of his own way
(Don't give up, there are more)
The book or TV writer who promotes smut
The business person who sells stuff people don't need
The parents who censor grandparent's contacts with children
Parents who put their work ahead of child care
Parents who don't match consequences with kid's misbehaviour
FWR says: Why do the wrong ways always outnumber the good ways?
FWR says: How do we handle all the anxiety?
Anxiety has become more common than the common cold. Why?
New social conditions make us ripe for anxiety. These conditions include economic and media fragmentation of the family. We have lost trust in our social institutions - school, church and government. We live in a society that has become egocentric. We are no longer a stable, caring society.
Here we deal with the big sources of anxiety we face daily. It can come from the road traffic. Relationships at work can make us tense all day. What hits the hardest are family relationships, when things aren't right at home.
How does the Family Wellness Rainbow help today's sources? It asks its six big questions:
The combination of our answers to these six big questions is the main way to deal with anxiety coming from daily life.
Medication usually helps, but it is a band aid. These big six questions and medication equips us to deal with our anxiety. However we tackle anxiety, it takes daily attention.
FWR says: Wellness is the main way to control anxiety coming at us daily
FWR says: Let's listen to what our children say.
Of course, we can't listen to all our kids arguing, raving and tantrums. Beyond these, however, there are pearls of great wisdom. Here is why:
We parents need to take time to do two of the most vital things with our kids: teach them what they need to know and listen to what they are thinking.
FWR says: Words from our children can be our most precious gifts.
FWR says: One Child's Wellness - The Costs and Benefits.
Jimmy is eight - obese and doing poorly at school. There are two ways for him: our usual problem-solving way and the new family wellness way.
Jimmy is in a good school. For his school problems there are interviews with parents, Special Ed teacher and the school psychologist. Then there is a school team meeting which refers to a doctor for medication. Jimmy settles better in class.
There are several costs here. The family spends two months going to meetings and worrying about Jimmy's learning problem. Jimmy ends up with two problems - he is fat and he now has a learning problem. The process costs the school over $1,000.
The other way is the new family wellness way. It is a series of normal family things. Jimmy gets up, makes his bed and goes down for breakfast. He gets praise for doing his homework. He is coached on how to deal with the bully. He gets a hug and then he's off to get the bus.
After school, he can play with kids and work on his computer (no videos). Before dinner he has chores including setting the table. After dinner it's homework, playing with friends and getting ready for bed before 9:00 pm. Using teacher advice, parents read with Jimmy for a half hour before bed. They join him in his prayers.
After two months of the wellness way, Jimmy has lost weight and is doing better at school (research backs this up). The medicine eases the problem, the wellness way gets at the sources.
The one big wellness cost to the family is extra time and attention with Jimmy. That's a win/win.
FWR says: Why are we attending to problems instead of attending to kids?
FWR says: Here's how to pass fitness on to our children.
We all know how to get and stay fit. We need regular patterns of exercise, diet, study, work and rest. It is difficult and takes time to build these into our routines. When we do, there are big payoffs.
Fitness is one of the six Family Wellness ingredients of the Rainbow. The others are: Bonds, Wisdom, Family, Values and Faith.
As with all the six Rainbow wellness features, it is quite simple but requires effort. Wellness requires hard work. Personal well-being is worth all the effort. Illness is much more costly in time, money and energy.
A middle-aged couple read a book about running. They decided to do it. After a couple of weeks of misery, they found new attitudes, energy and much less anxiety. Now their kids exercise regularly because it is a family thing.
With fitness we stave off disease. Our energy and attitudes are up. These benefits spill over into the wellness of our children's lives. When we are fit, they are fit because it is part of our family life.
There are plenty of fitness problems. Obesity is a big one now. The Rainbow is a good reminder of the areas we need to check out in order to stay fit.
FWR says: In the Family Wellness Rainbow, each of the six ingredients is essential. Fitness is a big one for our children.
FWR says: How we can deal with new worries and old anxieties.
We all know it is dumb to worry. We all do it. In some cases it is so severe that professional help is needed. But mostly we can manage with help from family and friends. But, it takes regular work.
Our old bad experiences come back to haunt us - often daily. We have done unfortunate things. Someone has done us dirt. Then there is our favourite pastime of blaming our parents. Whatever the sources, we carry around baggage that gets in the way of having a good day.
The Family Wellness Rainbow has help with all this. Here are examples using the six colours:
Family Wellness works from the combination and balance of its six big questions.
FWR says: To deal with new worries and old anxieties, we do the daily work of scanning the Rainbow and setting one goal for the day.
FWR says: Parents and kids need a new Family Wellness Vision
Why do we use our common sense about everyday things and lose it when it is personal? We each think we know what is best for our family and our children. The odds are against us on this. The reason is we don't use our common sense for family wellness.
Using our common sense, we know that our lives on earth require light, heat, air, water, relationships and communication. We know that life requires each one. We also know that these essentials must be in the exact right balance.
If that is the way life is, how can we use some local rule of thumb for the wellness of our family and our kids? Why don't we see that family wellness also requires the right mix of the essentials? One reason we fly blind on this most important matter, is that we think we can rely on some expert to help us with our problems. No expert can bring us family wellness.
It is not difficult to decide the essentials for family wellness. We know that the list includes fitness, relationships, knowledge, family belonging, values and faith. We dont think of these essentials working together as we know life's essentials must.
To help with this family wellness challenge, a new approach has been developed for families called Family Wellness Rainbow (please see: www.familywellnesscybermall.org). It shows family wellness as a rainbow with the essentials and the need for the right balance for each family.
FWR says: Without a vision, the family and its wellness die.
FWR says: For their wellness, families are on their own
Today's families are being fragmented by the big forces of business, government and the media. Their marketing systems are dividing families; by separating kids vs. adults, men vs. women, looks vs. character, traditional vs. new cultures, ease vs. work, needs vs. wants.
These big forces do not recognize families or family values. In these big systems, families don't have a say or vote. Individuals and families become just numbers. It is hard for any of us to see what all the rapid changes are doing to the family. In all the confusion, families are being fragmented. In the rapid pace, families don't see help coming from the community.
The biggest single issue is that families don't realize they are alone in this money-focused, less personal world. Only the family is the source of wellness. The key family character traits - good or bad - flow down from the older to the younger members. Families are on the job 24/7.
No outside agency can strengthen family wellness. Take sickness for instance, surgery and drugs don't bring wellness. They are designed to ease a problem. Solving problems rarely leads to wellness.
The miracle is that family wellness often prevents sickness and alleviates suffering. A family's shift in focus from problems to wellness puts them on track for building on their strengths. Just like the gardener whose focus is his flowers first, then the weeds. Weeding alone doesn't make a garden.
On it's own, the family is still the heart and soul of the community and its members. It's job is to build its own wellness. Now, there is a new guide for families and their wellness. It is called, "The Family Wellness Rainbow". In it, the six colours of the rainbow represent key ingredients of family wellness.
Please see: www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR says: Each family needs their own guide to wellness ways
FWR says: The do's and don'ts of Family Wellness
Eat together - as often as possible
Discuss what a new rule means
Parents aren't pals - respect for parents is vital
Listening is often a rare event
Family councils are a must - everybody has a share
Cut the teen's umbilical cord - over dependence is lethal
A community service project brings the family together
Arguing is OK; pouting is not
When one fouls up or is hurt, all have a job to help
When push comes to shove, parents are in charge
Family devotions strengthen the spiritual lives of all
It is more important that parents are together than always right
FWR says: Wellness comes when the family works together for it.
FWR says: The family has its own wellness crisis
These are tough days for families. These days are made tougher because families aren't doing their wellness job. Instead they have the habit of looking to someone else to solve their problems.
Only families can raise kids. Only families can ensure their wellness. Three trends are making families dependent on others.
The first is their access to community agencies for a range of problems. As good as these agencies, schools and hospitals are at their own professions, they have neither the experience nor the know-how of family wellness.
Second, families are now relying on increased state subsidies for a whole range of family needs and conditions. There are special grants for special conditions. There are cash subsidies for families for welfare and unemployment pay.
Third, families still have easy access to money. With loans and credit cards families can have what they can't afford. This is primarily the family's doing.
These three powerful trends have distracted families from their prime job of raising kids to be well, trained and ready for adult life. There is no wonder our communities are facing daily tragedies. This is why our streets are run by young people who don't know who they are or what jobs they should be doing.
FWR says: Only families can strengthen the wellness of their children.
FWR says: These are days for Grandparents
Parents are on a dead run, barely keeping up. They have no time for themselves and little time for the children. This brings big opportunities for grandparents and not just for baby sitting.
The wellness of children flows to them from the family. There is a generational river with precious gifts flowing from the older to the younger generations. Children need a rich array of wellness traits as in the Rainbow. From that river, children choose their wellness traits from the family members who attract them.
Here is a good example. Cecil was raised in families with neither religion nor music. Yet, in his early twenties he turned avidly to both. That started a life-long growing devotion to both. Where did Cecil's taste for these come from? Answer, from Buffalo, where there were annual family visits. There he got glimpses of Grandma praying bedside and Uncle Frank playing popular piano pieces.
This is a case showing how casual contacts with family members generate lasting images of important wellness traits in children. Today's children are in great need of these opportunities. It is the parent's job to see that children have access to all the choices among those in the wider family.
FWR says: These days, parents need all the help they can get from the whole family to assure the wellness of their children
FWR Asks: How well is our family doing?
The family is the keystone of our society. Wellness is the keystone of the family. The Rainbow is the keystone of the family.
Many community forces are fragmenting the family because the family is not the first priority with business, the media or the governments. The local commercial and professional services reflect that lack of focus on the family.
All this leaves the family largely on its own to build its own wellness. Here are their questions from the six key areas of the Family Wellness Rainbow:
The family that is working to get answers to these questions is the family growing in wellness for all the adults and children.
FWR says: Wellness is free but requires steady, hard work and prayers by the whole family
FWR Asks: How does the Wellness Rainbow work?
Picture all the commercial wellness products and all the various therapies. Where can you find a reliable one that is free when all the rest cost money?
Take for example Cecil, who heard that King Solomon had said that "spite" does bad things. One morning in his daily quiet time, it hit him - he was guilty of nursing spite for 30 years. He had spent energy thinking bad thoughts about two people all that time. He had been hurting others and himself.
Here, the Rainbow delivered a message to Cecil. It was, either keep spite or stop. He stopped right there. It took over three weeks of the Rainbow attention reminding him and his friend of the goal and the result. Then he woke up to the fact that his spite had gone. After 30 years - he was clear of that spite.
How about that for in-depth therapy!
The Rainbow is both free and simple. What makes it grow is steady, day-by-day work. Here is the Wellness way for individuals and families - Please check www.familywellnesscybermall.org:
We scan each of the six Rainbow elements asking "How are we doing?"
We decide what most needs our attention today.
We write a goal for today which defines the result.
We share this with a good friend.
With regular attention, this simple exercise can bring big changes. It has proven to fix big and little problems.
FWR says: The Rainbow really works and it is free
FWR Asks: What is the real job of the family?
The obvious answer is - raising kids.
The Torrances are a typical new family. When the first baby arrives they fumble because they are trying to do the world's most important job with little or no training. They have read some books and listened to their parent's advice. Truth is that raising kids requires experience which they don't have. They may be smart but will they be lucky?
Why are new parents not ready for the job? They need child care experience, but start with none. If they and their parents were really smart, they would have learned about raising kids from their own wider family.
Could it be that the first task of parents is shared training? This suggests that training becomes a big feature of family life. What is missing is actual experience. The new parents don't have it, but their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents do. These folks have learned the hard way. Hopefully they have learned from most of their mistakes. They have the experience new parents need.
The young folks can get involved in child care before they face it as parents. They can take up baby-sitting and leading games at home. Volunteering at community services such as day care centers and schools - are also good places to learn the real way.
What is the big idea here? It is that the teenage years is the time to get experience helping to raise kids. This is revolutionary because we have bought into the teen craze of learning about themselves by doing a lot of dumb things. Parents can change that with the right attitude towards child raising.
The Torrance family has more than its share of challenges - jobs, wide family fragmentation, "New Age" beliefs and behaviors, schools and other community professionals not oriented to family wellness. The Torrances are largely on their own with little time for new ideas.
It is time that the Torrance wider clan helps their new parents to get a new vision of family wellness by sharing child care experiences. There is a new resource. It is called The Family Wellness Rainbow. With this kind of overview, the Torrances can find time for the world's most important job.
Please check out: www.familywellnesscybermall.org
FWR Says: It is time the family makes childcare training a must for all
Family Wellness Rainbow (FWR) says: Why the Family Wellness Rainbow is so Great
The Rainbow approach starts with an image of the whole big picture. It shows each family how to work out its own wellness combination.
Wellness is a job unique to the family. Nobody else can qualify and understand the unique features of a family. Only the family is on duty 24/7. Wellness plans globally and act locally.
Using one family as an example, here is their own Rainbow Wellness picture:
Red for Fitness: Exercise is number one with us
Orange for Relationships: Our love must be open and caring
Yellow for Know-How: Decisions need a mix of new and old views
Green for Family: Who is more important, me or my family?
Blue for Values: The top one is service to others
Purple for Faith: We discuss the big question: "What is life all about anyway?"
The best use of the Rainbow is a regular scan to check ourselves out. We use the Rainbow to decide what needs work today. We set one goal for the day that tells the result we want.
The Family Wellness Rainbow is a family self-care tool. The Rainbow has proven itself as an aid to daily personal preparation. It also has been successfully used by small groups.
FWR says: Wellness is the family's greatest asset.
Despite great world-wide confusion, the family spiritual issue is quite simple:
What's it all about? That's the question.
With all the possible different answers, each family faces the same question.
Can you imagine parents trying to raise their children without looking at that fundamental question? Yes, because it is happening. The spiritual questions are too confusing, so let's leave it till later when we may need it.
Can you imagine turning kids loose in this mixed up world to find their own answer to the big spiritual question? Sure we can, if we forget kids look to us to see our answers so they have somewhere to start.
At the very least, kids need to know the spiritual choices. Parents need to know and share what the big religions say about our choices. There are four big ones:
1. Do I want to become better?
2. What do I believe - God? Fate? Luck? Prayer? Goodness?
3. Do I have a spiritual home or group? (Can't get there alone)
4. Am I here to help others?
The many millions who have followed one of the great religions have learned that spirituality requires answers to all of these big choices.
So, is my family spiritual? The answer is "Yes", if the members are actively helping each other with the four big spiritual questions.
This is a big question in our world.
Our society seems intent on finding fun, in whatever form. If this is where we are headed, sorry to report that the incidence of mental health problems in children has doubled in the last 50 years.
It has been a common goal to work hard for retirement to have fun. The problem here is that retirement itself is retiring. Those who are retired find themselves working harder than ever.
So does this mean no fun? Not if we have the right attitude towards work. Many will say that the most important satisfactions come from work. Maybe fun is a fantasy that lures us away from work with nothing to show for it.
Fun might just be like happiness. If you go for it you don't get it. But if you do the right things, fun comes as a perk which cannot be planned.
This line of thought is true in the faith. We grow in the faith through caring, serving and praying. Faith does not come easy or easily. It takes work.
The Family Wellness Rainbow shows us where we need to do some work.
Most people most of the time are not happy, that however doesn't mean most are depressed. It does means that there is a lot of living between happiness and depression.
When we start a day we are hopeful, maybe optimistic but also a bit concerned. So each family member starts the day somewhere between happiness and depression. Family happiness depends upon how each individual is feeling. That would seem to lower the odds for family happiness today.
All this is good or bad depending on how much importance we place on happiness. There is a good chance that happiness has been oversold as a life goal - which means there's something greater. There is. There is satisfaction, joy, love, accomplishment, positive attitude, health, optimism and so on.
So what happened to happiness? It didn't disappear; it just found its place. That place is as a by-product of the many good things in life. It is the icing on the cake which comes from baking a good cake in the first place.
When we want our family happy, all this means is that it can't be bought in a bottle or a tube or a magic formula. Happiness is a gift that comes, not a goal that can be achieved.
Is our family happy? There is a good chance if the family:
Happiness is, like most family benefits, a gift which comes and goes like magic - always surprising and always wonderful.
The Senior who Could Lose His Citizenship.
Granddad has a problem. It is not a pretty picture.
In earlier days he had two jobs. One was to work so that the family had bread on the table. The other, he was in charge of big things like houses, cars, trips and kids' education.
Now, his two big jobs are done. He may be left without a purpose. Being old without a purpose is both bad and dangerous. We see some granddads sweeping the driveway and tinkering with jobs that aren't essential. This is a tragedy for a person with skills, experience and a desire to be useful.
His life is made worse by all the changes. In his old world the church, school and family worked together. Now they largely ignore each other. He is blinded by the pace of life. He is appalled at the "Me" generation that wants everything now and charges to get it.
He is particularly upset by the lack of gratitude of the younger generation. It is not just what he did for them. It is what our society has done for them. How many of the young families realize thousands of Canadians died in WWII to protect our way of life? Eastern societies revere the elderly. In Western society, they are in many ways a liability.
Nor is there an appreciation of what old age is like. Maybe they don't want to know. For instance, old age means forgetfulness, chills in warm weather, a body that is steadily changing, lack of energy to do the ordinary things and lots more medical attention and medications.
There can be a good side to old age despite all this gloom. Here are some of granddad's good options:
Hopefully his loved ones will encourage him to stay positive. They want him to be healthy and fun to be with. And, they should keep in touch to support and encourage.
Do words matter? Poets say words have power. Let's see if "partnership" has power that applies to the family.
If a family says it is a partnership, it is laying claim to a very special nature. It is saying that:
In our family, everybody plays, everybody wins and each has and plays a part.
Partnership highlights relationships whose focus is bigger and better than a focus on any one man, woman, child, teen or senior.
Each person wins because he is vitally important to all.
There is a peril in partnerships. They can become lopsided when some carry the load and others have a free ride. That destroys partnerships and hurts.
So, in a sound family partnership, everybody counts, has a say and does his/her share. The members take responsibility and work together.
In partnerships, everybody is not equal. There are senior partners and junior partners. Senior partners have more responsibility. Junior partners have less say for now. However, in good partnerships, junior partners learn how to be senior partners who then in turn bring along new junior partners.
We all have had experiences with partnerships - at work or in the community. Making a partnership work at home is probably a bigger challenge with much bigger benefits for all.
The Boomers are the generation who brought us our social philosophy - "Do your own Thing".
In the space of one generation we turned our backs on the wisdom of our parents, on the authority of schools and on the relevance of the churches. Thanks to them we are now a materialistic, amoral and godless society - getting more so every day.
The essence of the philosophy is that I, an individual, am able to make better life judgments than the family, school and church which were our social foundations.
To help along this belief are both governments and businesses. Governments want our votes so they package up fancy "individual rights" (plus regulations). Businesses target individuals to sell us every possible item to make us successful.
The big problem is that the "Do your own thing" philosophy is directly opposed to the philosophy that says "It takes a tribe to raise a child". Our addiction to individual freedom is shredding families as each person does his/her own thing.
The Boomers are quick to say we are giving our children the freedom to make their own social, moral and spiritual choices. The problem with that is they are not being given the options. The social, moral and spiritual lessons are not learned in school or from books. They come from their family and community experiences. These are the essentials children now do not have.
It is a tough, nasty and selfish world out there. Our children and grandchildren are being tossed into that world without the survival skills.
SO WHAT? It's back to the family. The Boomers need to rediscover the family and rebuild it with all the players of all ages. That does a number of good things. It provides security for each person. It shares the wisdom and experience of those who have been there. It provides a personal identity, saving them from unhealthy identities offered by our unwell society.
If this is true, it's a big message for families.
Guess where this title came from? None other than Disney World. We hope Disney is living by this message.
But, many others also have it right including:
G.K. Chesterton: "We're in a stormy sea and owe each other our total loyalty."
Max DePree: "A covenantal relationship rests on shared commitments to ideas, to issues, to values, to goals."
Bishop Stephen Neil: "Faith is nurtured only in the fellowship of believers."
Jean Vanier: "We have the power to call forth the gifts of others or to crush them."
Crick and Watson: "The Double Helix" - "All of life is connections."
They all say the same thing. It is in our connections where we find focus and power. Power through teamwork. It is the team that gives life to its members.
The terrorists are teaching us this. Why are they so powerful? They are one in purpose and action. Their mission is clear. They give their lives for that mission. That's real power.
Disney and terror - two names not meant for each other. Disney has the words. The terrorists have the power.
Looks like we need to find the teamwork way to create a happy style for our families. Looks like families are stronger when members work together. It also looks like families gain support when families work together.
For a step toward teamwork, please see www.newhopecovenants.org.
Grandmothers have decades of life experiences - both good and bad.
They have the benefit of being in the family but not in the daily battles.
Tony has 8 grandkids. She has seen to it that they do well in school. Tony is not shy. For her, these children are always polite.
Rhoda didn't say much. Her practice of kneeling at bedtime influenced a generation.
Stella at 80 is still bailing out families and grandkids. It is her full time job.
Aileen is keeping the 8 grandchildren of five adopted children in touch with each other despite big challenges.
Mildred has mothered 5 grandchildren on her own for 20 years.
Barna Research has studies that show grandmothers to be the first line of faith influence on children.
In this too busy generation, we can't neglect such treasures.
These are the messages of this forum:
If you don't believe us, here's what John Steinbeck says:
Saturday Review (May 1955)
So, this means that:
For the safekeeping of our money, why would we turn money over to those who keep half for themselves?
This is what the big banks, governments and businesses do. They call it by the seductive name "Credit". These big boys keep track of their own welfare by a game called the "stock market" - which has little to do with the welfare of us ordinary folks.
Our answer to our money madness is savings - the opposite of credit. Credit makes us slaves to big system pressures, dragging down our family wellness. Saving puts our families in the driver's seat, giving us control and well-being.
It is going to take guts for families to shake credit and do savings. We have all dug ourselves into big holes. The big guys want us there and will give us no help out.
Here is a sensible, though tough, prescription and revamp for family financial well-being: (from www.familywellnesscybermall.org):
A Family Balance Sheet that Balances Leads to Balanced Wellness
The inventor of the dollar had a great idea. I can exchange the value of my labour for goods. This was good because I worked, earned a dollar, and then saved it so I could buy the goods.
Over the past decades we have tried an easier way. When I want goods I use credit to get those goods and end up with debt. We have worked that game to the point where I can now owe more than I own. My debt is over 100%, which we will likely pass on to our children.
How did we get there? The insurance companies learned that when they get people paying they can keep as much as they dish out. Then, the furniture and car companies learned that with credit they can make more money on money than on goods. In the process, we end up paying double for all that we buy. That is why credit is dumb. That is why savings is smart.
There are things worse than having no money. When we chase it full bore we lose sight of why we are doing it - our values and behaviour get messed up. Family life is more hectic and frustrating than an airport. We have lost sight of what's important in our lives. We are raising our kids in some money fantasy world.
Our money-driven fantasy world is weird. When we can't stand the pressures we do drugs, alcohol and all the other diversions. To get money we gamble and lose the money we didn't have anyway. We can destroy our way of life.
Nations have the same problem. The big money managers have the credit virus big time. On the brink of disaster they convince our governments to lend them our money to bail them out so they can turn around and lend us our money at high interest rates. All these big guys think they can solve the credit crunch by borrowing more money than we knew existed, if it does.
In the meantime, families have a pile of credit card, car loan and mortgage debt deeper than we know how to shed. The big guys get rid of debt by cancelling their obligations - leaving savers who loaned, empty handed. We can only do this with personal bankruptcy which takes us into a new lean world. We need a better family money solution than those coming from the big guys. That solution is not asking the big guys for even more of our money from the government so that we can supposedly borrow our way out of our debt.
Coming next month:
OUR MONEY MADNESS PANDEMIC II: THE SOLUTION
Decades ago, Bumstead in the cartoon Blondie, started the jokes about dear, old, bumbling, Dad. It would still be funny but some folks now take it as a comment on modern family life.
This coincides with Mom taking on two jobs. The focus has turned to Mom and the heavy load she has. In the process, Dad seems to be losing his muscle.
Most Dads today are very pleased to share the load of family breadwinner. They are also glad to lose the label of Family Boss. They know that teamwork works best.
There is a snag in all this. With all the attention on Mom, kids can get warped views of men and women. Both girls and boys continue to need to see Dads as strong and brave - doing guy things. They will enter their later adult relationships holding family views of adult roles.
In the old days, the dominant male style wasnt the best for children. Now, any dominant female styles will also do kids a disservice.
So, this comes down to the old story. Mom and Dad must make sure they have their act and their signals straight to do the best job for the kids. This is true regardless of family structure or orientations.
Wars between Mom and Dad are the worlds most damaging experiences for children. In wars, nobody is right. In wars, nobody wins.
In our day, Moms are trying to do two or more jobs - well. By her taking a breath, Dad, the kids and the grandparents can share in the heavy lifting.
Betsey Hart, Chicago radio station WYLL says If Dads are there at all, its SuperMom handling everything.
Look Whats Happening to Mom and Dad:
Looks Whats Happening to the Family
Whats Driving this Family Imbalance?
How to Correct All This Family Fragmentation
What is this all about? The proposition is this: Just as our words and language create human communication, so joining creates our families.
We are steadily learning that there is a big difference between hearing and listening. Now we are learning that this thing called Joining actually shapes our families.
To get at this lets look at three levels of human communication: chatting, conversation and joining.
Most of us have lots of chat. We cover the worlds weather, national crises and Aunt Ednas rheumatism. We can have a lot of chatting without much connection from all the talking. We fill our world with words either within the family, with others or from all the media. Shakespeares line is Sound and fury signifying nothing.
At the conversation level, things are different talking, hearing and listening really happen. When the other person talks, I not only hear but I listen - which means I let his/her talk sink in. So at this level, in a conversation, there can be both hearing and listening - creating understanding between persons.
The claim here is that joining actually creates families. To better understand this, we had better see what joining really means. The word suggests one person actually joins the space of another. If I say to you Im having a lousy day, you actually start to feel with me my lousy day. Even more importantly, if you respond with something like I thought you looked a little down today, that tells me you are with me.
What just happened here? One person left his own self concerns to move into the world of another. That is a very big deal. Why? Because two people forged a link. Relationships are built when two individuals join with each other by sharing what they are thinking and feeling - both ways.
Families are where our lives are intimately linked. The members are part of each other. Joining is how all this happens.