Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Author: Stance Studies on the Family (page 32 of 33)

Dear Mr. President: A Response to Same-Sex Marriage

from AmberLee Hansen 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing this letter in response to your announcement of late stating your stand in support of same-sex marriage. I appreciate your attempt to be inclusive of all people, to help all people feel accepted. The Declaration of Independence speaks truth: all men are created equal. They have certain unalienable rights. But marriage between two people of the same gender is not one of them. That is not marriage, and it is not a right.

Marriage, as a religious institution, is between a man and a woman and should not be redefined by the state. I know there are some loud voices who, in the name of equality, would tell you otherwise. They would tell you marriage is a union of two people who are in love and is detached from religious practices—they are wrong. And they hold the minority opinion. Mr. President, the silent masses of our country stand for marriage, marriage between a man and a woman. After your recent announcement, I decided it is time for this silent voice to speak.

Marriage is a divinely established institution to ensure strong, healthy families. God united men and women so they could have children and raise families. Raising a family is a couple’s crowning joy. Mr. President, two men or two women were not made to have children. And yet you would redefine marriage to call both unions equal; you would call both types of union marriage. I’m sorry, Mr. President, but no matter how many supporters this viewpoint gets, marriage is between men and women—anything else is not marriage.

Mr. President, I stand for strong families. I stand for marriage as marriage has always been defined. People are free to make their own choices, Mr. President, and I am happy to let them. But their choices shouldn’t change how we as a country define marriage and how we as a country define family. Listen to the silent voices of America, Mr. President. Just because they aren’t speaking doesn’t mean they aren’t strong.

Memorial Day

We would like to thank all the service men and women and their families for the immense sacrifices they perform everyday to protect our nation.

Realizing Love’s Loss

by Laura Nava

The cultural ideals set for love relationships between men and women appear beautiful and enticing. Thousands of books and movies portray the most exquisite romantic situations. Holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the pinnacle of all romantic holidays—Valentine’s Day—suggest the absolute importance of romantic love expressions in modern American society. While celebrating love for each other is wonderful in itself, false expectations and affectation of genuine love are a byproduct of the over-romancing tendencies within the culture. Obsession with these idealized romantic expectations, or romance addiction, and lack of consciousness deteriorate the ability to maintain authentic relationships. Solutions are available to those who choose to change—the addiction can be cured.

In her book Escape from Intimacy, Anne Shaef identifies the dangers of romance addiction. In short, romance addiction is a condition that compels the addict to crave romance and its accoutrements to unhealthy levels. A few of the symptoms found commonly in society include being in love with the idea of romance and moving from one “cause” to another. A cause according to Shaef means going above and beyond what is necessary in romantic scenarios. Moving from one cause to another leads directly into the final symptom of romance addiction—feeling disappointed simply because the setting is not romantic and dreamlike.1 In the end, the romance addict goes from one cause to the next in search of pity and praise but never feels satisfied. Normal life begins to lose its luster.

 In the classic film, A Brief Encounter by Noel Coward, the main character Laura exemplifies these manifestations of romance addiction at various points within the story.2 Laura allows herself to slide into an affair due to her lack-luster marriage and the romantic settings of her extramarital escapades. Near the end of the movie, she appears to break the spell that romance addiction has cast. This movie demonstrates a typical affair showing that romance addiction gradually leads to detrimental characteristics that may have lasting effects.

The highly problematic nature of romance addiction presents itself in low self-esteem, vagueness (i.e. playing games or being hot and cold), and the ability to create a sense of instant intimacy. These characteristics portray an elegant romantic relationship in movies or books, yet they are undesirable in a real and tangible relationship.3 Low self-esteem can create a person who fishes for compliments. The labels witty and coy mask undesirable vagueness. And let us not forget the love-at-first-sight encounters that are highly celebrated but rarely turn into lasting relationships.

As romance addiction progresses the ugliness of the disease shows itself in the destructive effect it has on a person’s love-relationships. Romance addicts are left with little or no moral substance for them to give in a real love relationship. This leads to the destruction of love relationships between the couple, friends, and family.4 Devaluing the opinions of loved ones and purposefully acting in opposition to them are both signs that an individual is losing touch with reality. The fruit of love includes the gift of yourself—or more specifically your self. Self is the innermost genuine portion of an individual. The cankering of the self, which occurs throughout the stages of love addiction disease, leads to the root of the issue—the inability to give deeply to the love relationship.

Love addiction can be cured through consciousness—being aware of how we affect one another. The gift of real love is manifest in day-to-day caring and sacrifice, not in a box of chocolates or a vase on holidays. The book We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love by Robert Johnson delves into the details of how men and women have come to a state of ignorance to self. The book shows that such ignorance creates significant personal and cultural dilemmas. In order to give of one’s self, a person must have the ability to understand and share what they have to offer.

Johnson also exposes the common practice of blaming other people in relationships and the unhealthy emotional environment it creates. “Usually, we blame other people for failing us; it doesn’t occur to us that perhaps it is we who need to change our own unconscious attitudes—the expectations and demands we impose on our relationships and on other people.”5 These unrealistic expectations justify unhappiness, oftentimes leading to the dissolution of a love relationship. Gaining an awareness of and taking responsibility for one’s self creates a more successful love pattern to follow than the romantic ideal of being saved from reality by one’s true love. Remember—every individual has a valid and valuable self to offer. As we come to know our own limitations we won’t set expectations of others that they can’t meet.

Romantic expectations tend to push out rational thinking, which undermines the process of recognizing self and relating to others as equals to our self. Consciousness of self becomes integral to finding and maintaining genuinely loving relationships. “Ultimately, the only enduring relationships will be between couples who consent to see each other as ordinary, imperfect people and who love each other without illusion and without inflated expectations.”6 As individuals, we set realistic expectations for ourselves and recognize our personal limitations. If this is acceptable for the individual self, the question to answer is: why would the same practice not suffice for someone who we profess to love? Deeply caring relationships cannot exist if we continually place divine expectations on regular human beings. As we reject the hero and love goddess fantasies, reality allows a practical version of love to exist.

Placing ourselves in the mindset of reality can result in change. As with any other addictions, the addiction of divine expectations must be identified, accepted, and proactively eradicated from daily life. This process is, and always will be, a hard thing to accomplish, yet it is where solutions flourish. One of the first steps to eradication is acknowledging that you have a problem. Awareness is the key to finding help. Sometimes help comes in the form of self-education and goal setting. In other cases, helping yourself means seeking professional, psychological intervention. Whether you choose the former, the latter, or somewhere in between—the outcome of a healthier outlook on love will be worth the work.

Love is an integral part of everyone’s lives. Actively partaking of its happy effects is contingent on the ability to take responsibility for self and allow others the same opportunity. The unrealistic expectations of romanticism reject the self and thereby create a negative environment where love will not survive. The skills to engage in genuine love do not come easily in our romantically charged society, but learning how to find the appropriate balance of romance is achievable. The first steps to the process of giving and receiving genuine love are recognizing and then rejecting the pervasive nature of romance and its demands. As a culture we love love. Let’s keep it alive by keeping it real.

Endnotes
1. Anne Wilson Schaef, Escape from Intimacy (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1989), 47.
2. Noel Coward, A Brief Encounter (Universal, 1946).
3. Schaef, Escape from Intimacy, 48.
4. Ibid., 49.
5. Robert A. Johnson, We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love (San Francisco, Harper and Row, 1983), xii.
6. Ibid, 110.


Motherhood: The Greatest Work

by Christy Hinkson

Christy is an author and a mother of ten. She recently released her new book Home Remedies for a Nation at Risk: What American Leaders could learn from American Families. Also, click here to view Christy’s blog Stand for the Truth.

The debate is back with some people questioning the value of the role of stay-at-home mothers. It is amazing that anyone would actually think that mothers who do not leave their homes to join the workforce are not working. As a mother of 10 children and the grandmother of 4, I would like to invite anyone who holds this belief to come to my house and follow me around for a day. Children enter this world through a process called “labor” and the work associated with motherhood is never done. Each mother in this world works and works hard.

By watching a mother at work you can witness what she does for her family physically, but it is impossible to witness the enormous impact that a mother has on the world now and forever. I dare anyone to find any job on earth that is more important and has a more lasting effect on humankind than mothers do. Governments rise and fall, companies come and go, celebrities leave superficial impressions, but no one can shape and influence another human like a mother can. Women do many kinds of work and make lasting contributions to the world, but any contribution pales in insignificance when compared to the impact of what she does as a good mother.

Sometimes mothers doubt their ability to impact because motherhood is available to so many. This responsibility is given by God to so many, because it is so important. Every hero that has entered this world came the same way, tiny, fragile and placed by God into the arms of a mother. Mothers teach and influence their children in a very personal way, who in turn teach and influence others, who teach and influence many others and on and on and on.  All that is good and right in this world can be traced back to the influence of somebody’s mother.

While I was in college, I wrote a simple song and now, 25 years later, I still believe every word of it. I will include the lyrics below. Our daughter, Heather, now the mother of two, recorded the song. A free download is available at this link:

http://www.heartrisemusic.com/Downloads/Music/07%20The%20Greatest%20Work.mp3

“The Greatest Work”

The Greatest Work that I will ever do, will be in my own Home
I want to live in a way that I can give and make my potential known.
The greatest thing that I will ever do, I know inside will be
To live my life as a mother and a wife and raise a family.
The greatest work, the greatest thing, now is clearly in my view
I may reach heights unknown, but I know that in my home,
Is the greatest work that I will ever do.

 

He Is Risen!

“He is risen! He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice. He has burst his three days’ prison; let the whole wide earth rejoice. Death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.” Christ has won the victory for us over death. He has also won the victory over sin, pain, and suffering. No matter the issues we face, personally or with our families, they can all be swallowed up in the love of Jesus. We discuss many of the issues facing families today and how we can overcome those issues; however, no matter how ready we are to face those challenges through secular means, Jesus is the only means by which our families can be truly united and at peace.

Have a happy Easter.

How to Get Your Kids to Listen without Reminding or Yelling

by Caitlin Schwanger

Amy McCready—Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions

I recently attended Amy McCready’s Positive Parenting Solutıons webinar “How to Get Your Kids to Listen without Reminding or Yelling.” During the meeting, McCready, parenting specialist and creator of Positive Parentıng Solutions, explained a few basic principles to guide parents in their discipline strategies. Everything got better, she explained, when she began using positive parenting solutions: her children’s behavior got better, and her attitude improved. McCready stated that her vision for parents is that they won’t be able to remember the last time they had to raise their voice to get their children to obey.

How is this possible? How can you get your children to listen the first time? How can you stop misbehavior in your home? In the webinar, McCready explained a few basic principles that will help you on your way to parenting peace.

First, we have to understand why children misbehave in the first place. Bad behavior is a symptom of a deeper problem. We have to understand the problem before we can correct the bad behavior. Children (and adults) have two basic needs: they need to feel like they belong and they need to feel significant.

Children need to feel like they belong, that they are important to you. Children need to feel emotionally connected to their parents, to their siblings, even to their teachers. Children need a lot of positive attention from you. If they aren’t getting enough of that attention, they may resort to negative behaviors to get your attention, even if it’s negative. If something they do gets you to give them the attention they need, they’ll keep repeating that behavior. So one solution to bad behavior is to make sure that your child’s “positive attention basket” is full.

Children need to feel significant, that they are capable, that they make a difference, that they contribute. Often, this translates to children having a need to feel power, that they are in control. So, find ways to help your children feel like they are contributing. Have them help around the house–let chores be a positive thing. Also, give your children age-appropriate positive power. When it is appropriate, let them feel like they have a choice, like they are in control.

In her book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time, McCready provides parents with a “toolbox” of strategies for disciplining children. One of the tools she explained during the webinar was the 5 Rs of Consequences.

 

The 5 Rs of Consequences
1. Respectful—you need to be respectful to your child and to yourself. If you can’t deal with the situation right away, wait until you can be calm, collected, and respectful.

2. Related to the misbehavior—Make sure the consequence is related to the behavior so the learning event can take place. For example, if your daughter back talks, you shouldn’t discipline her by grounding her from her sleepover.

3. Reasonable in duration—The discipline should be reasonable for the age of the child. McCready recommended taking a puzzle away from a three-year-old for a day and video game privileges away for a week for a teenager.

4. Revealed in advance—You must reveal the rule and the consequence in advance. This gives your child the opportunity to make the choice. This gives them power and control over the situation.

5. Repeat—Have the child repeat the rule back to you. You now know that your child understands the rule and the consequence, and you now have a verbal agreement.

 

Positive Parenting Solutions has over twenty-five other tools for parents to use with their children. Parents have access to these tools through Positive Parenting Solution’s parenting courses and through Amy McCready’s book. For more information, see Positive Parenting Solutions, or the book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time.

 

General Conference Cinnamon Rolls—Recipe

by Adrienne Anderson

Since before I can remember, my mother has made cinnamon rolls for Christmas, Easter, and LDS General Conference. She gets up around five or six in the morning to make sure everything is ready by the time we wander into the kitchen. My father always takes a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when my mother isn’t looking—which slightly annoys everyone else. While I do not wake up nearly as early as my mother, my husband does take a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when I am not looking. I guess every girl really does grow up to marry a man like her father.

This recipe has become a calorie- and memory-laden tradition in my family; I hope you enjoy it, too!

 

Dough – steps 1–9 & 11–16

2 pkgs yeast

2 tbsp sugar

½ cups (very) warm water

2 cups milk

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp salt

1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (~3.5oz)

6 cups (or a little more) flour

 

Filling – steps 10 & 12

3 cups brown sugar

6 tsp ground cinnamon

1½ cups softened butter

 

Frosting – steps 17 & 18

8 oz cream cheese

½ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

(1 tbsp milk)

 

Also Needed: stand mixer (wire whisk, dough hook and flat beater attachments preferable), spatula, large bowl, dish towel, medium bowl, rolling pin, sewing thread, and baking pans (comparable to at least two 9” x 13” pans—I use a 9” x 13” and loaf pan)

Time Needed: about three hours (including prep and baking)

Space Needed: 34” x 18” area of counter space

Servings: 15–20 rolls

 

Directions:

1. Using a fork, quickly but thoroughly mix 2 packages of yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup

of warm water in a container that can hold at least two cups of liquid. Set aside.

2. Combine 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, and ½ cup of melted butter in the stand mixer on medium speed

using the wire whisk attachment until well blended.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix, and mix thoroughly,

scraping the sides of the bowl with the spatula as needed.

4. Pour in the water, yeast and sugar mixture. (Note that about a cup’s worth of bubbles should have

formed by this point.) Mix on medium speed until smooth.

5. Switch from the wire whisk attachment to the dough hook attachment on the mixer.

6. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 6 cups of flour—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed

on the mixer while pouring the flour, then a medium speed while blending the flour. Use the spatula to

scrape the attachment and the sides of the bowl as needed.

[Note: If the dough is sticky, add flour half a cup at a time until there is very little or no dough sticking to your hands after handling—due to the elevation in Provo, Utah I usually need to add an additional cup or so of flour.]

7. Lightly butter the large bowl. Then round the dough and place it in the bowl.

8. Cover the bowl with the clean dishtowel. Set it in a warm place, if possible (e.g. in sunlight from a

window—don’t pre-heat the oven just yet!). Let the dough rise until doubled in size, then punch down and let double again.

9. While the dough is rising, thoroughly clean a 34” x 18” area of counter space. Then sprinkle the area

with flour—three quarters of a cup should be sufficient.

10. In the medium bowl, mix together 3 cups of brown sugar and 6 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

11. After the dough has doubled in size the second time, take it out of the bowl, place it on the floured area and roll it out into a roughly 34” x 18” rectangle.

12. Spread 1 ½ cup of softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, then evenly sprinkle and

spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough.

13. Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise. Cut into 1 ½”-2” sections using sewing thread as illustrated

below.

[Note: If you do not have sewing thread, dental floss can be substituted, though mint flavoring could transfer. Cutting the sections with a knife is also an option, but is not preferable because it will squish the sections. The first and last sections can either be eaten raw or thrown away; they’re usually too small to bake properly.]

[Note: It is important that steps 13–15 be followed only once for each batch of dough—all sections must be placed in the pan at the same time, must rise at the same time, and must bake at the same time. But they may need to bake for different amounts of time.]

14. Dust off the excess flour, then place the cut sections into the 9” x 13” pan.

14a. For connected, softer cinnamon rolls (as pictured by ingredients), put about twelve sections in the pan.

14b. For separate, all-around browned cinnamon rolls, put about nine sections in the pan.

14c. Depending on the number of sections left over, either use a loaf pan or another 9” x 13” pan for the remaining sections.

15. Place the pans on top of or near the oven, cover with the dishtowel, and let the rolls rise while the oven preheats to 350 degrees.

16. When the dough has approximately doubled and the oven is preheated, bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the rolls are a light golden brown.

17. While the rolls are baking, use the flat beater attachment to mix 8 oz of cream cheese, ½ cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in the mixer until smooth.

18. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 3 cups of powdered sugar—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed on the mixer to blend in the powdered sugar (1 tablespoon of milk can also be added).

19. When the rolls are a light golden brown, remove the pan(s) from the oven, and set them aside to cool (because the rolls will continue to slightly “bake” and darken after removal from the oven).

20. Remove a roll (or two!) from the pan, top with a dollop of icing and enjoy with a glass of milk!

Mother Gardener

by Erin Jones – Dedicated to Alberta Jones

She scatters light to all within her touch
She smiles, and they smile at her gaze
Her garden’s heart to reach and trails to blaze
A mother twenty-four years, but n’er too much
A gardener first, but no one has seen such
A beauty when she laughs in all her ways
She opens to the lost; with life she’ll raise
Five flowers up, and to her legs they clutch
Until they blossom, raise their petals, breathe
And reach the sunlight, shake their leaves and sigh
She gives them soil, water, sunlight, rain
And watches each one grow and shed their leaves
She helps them cut their roots to see them fly
And spreads her smile, warmer than her pain

A Split Second Too Late

by Kaylyn Johnston

Imagine receiving a frantic phone call from your next-door neighbor saying that your son had just been shot . . . by his best friend. For the Stokes family of Oregon, this unthinkable event became a reality in January 2011, when their 12-year-old son Austin suffered a severe head injury after being shot with a loaded shotgun.

Since the near-fatal wound over a year ago, Austin has undergone numerous surgeries, including many to drain spinal fluid from his skull. Austin wears a helmet 24 hours a day to protect his exposed brain. He has had to relearn basic skills such as how to eat, walk, and talk, and has just recently returned to school with the help of in-home tutors.

Within the upcoming year, Austin must have at least two surgeries where doctors will use different parts of his ribs to help repair his damaged skull.

According to the Florida non-profit organization Families Against Murder and Accidental Shootings, the United States has the highest overall firearm mortality rate. The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 28,000 Americans have died every year since 1972 due to firearm accidents.

Because of these startling statistics and their personal experiences, the Stokes family hopes to raise awareness of gun safety from this incident. Austin’s father, Adam Stokes, says it best: 

“Way too many kids have gotten hurt or killed by people who are not being safe. I am going to try my hardest to help other people hear this message so they do not have to go through what we have or even worse. Please help me get the word out and let’s make the world a safer place for kids.

For more information about the Stokes family, visit The Desert News

The Stokes family has also asked for financial support to pay for the ever-mounting medical bills. The family has set up a fund in Austin’s name, which can be found here

 

What about Abstinence? It is Free and Freeing

by Christy Hinkson

Christy is an author and a mother of ten. She recently released her new book Home Remedies for a Nation at Risk: What American Leaders could learn from American Families. Also, click here to view Christy’s blog Stand for the Truth.

With the contraception debate brewing and boiling over, I have to ask: What about Abstinence? Why does anyone have to pay for birth control at all? Why do people laugh and think it is impossible to keep sexual relations within the bonds of marriage. What about all the people in the world who manage to control themselves and refrain from sex until they are married. There are millions of people all over the world who do this and have lived to tell about it. I also believe that those who abstain before marriage are in a better position to speak about “women’s health” than those who are having sex with multiple partners and using birth control, which has historically caused several women’s health issues.

I practiced abstinence and so did my husband. Our children and their spouses have also abstained until they married. I attended a prestigious private University where people were expected to live by an honor code and if they had sex outside of marriage while they were students they faced being dismissed as students from the university. What a great opportunity to go to school where the focus was actually on academics.

Choosing to be “morally clean” was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Here are some of the stresses in life that I now do not have to worry about now because I was not prematurely sexually active:

1. I don’t have to worry that I will get a sexually transmitted disease.

2. I don’t have to worry that I will be as tempted to succumb to breaking this law as an adult. If I can survive the raging hormone time of youth, I am well on my way to living a pure life.

3. I don’t have to worry that I will have an unwanted pregnancy outside the bonds of marriage.

4. I don’t have to worry that anyone will ask me to consider having an abortion or giving a child up for adoption.

5. I don’t have to worry that there will be a child somewhere that I gave birth to and have not been able to raise.

6. I don’t have to worry that I have near as high of a chance of developing cervical cancer that is significantly linked to having multiple sex partners.

7. I don’t have to worry that my husband married me because he “had to.”

8. I don’t have to worry that I will run into old partners and be embarrassed.

9. I don’t have to worry that I will ever think about other partners that I was immoral with.

10. I don’t have to worry that God will be disappointed with my choices.

Practicing abstinence is not only free, but it is freeing. It may cause some people a little stress to practice abstinence but look at all the stress you are able to live without later.

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