Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A link

For my readers who read my post about Nurse Practitioner Nancy Lake I found the website containing the article I was referring to. I have since deleted that post so don't bother trying to find it, but some of you were curious to read the actual article.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rehearsing Adulthood

Isn't it cute how kids practice being adults through play? Take my boys for example, always playing sword fights or make believe. They're rehearsing for the real thing when they'll have to protect and provide for their family.

I remember when I was a little girl. I had this raggedy old doll named Laura. On cold winter nights I remember crawling into bed with her and cuddling her tight under the blankets, warming her cold plastic appendages. It didn't matter so much if I was cold as long as I could warm her. Fast forward two decades and you'll find me doing that same thing with my real baby. Whenever I take him out of the bath he knows the routine: I wrap him in towel and carry him to bed where I wrap us up tightly in blankets, cuddle him close and breastfeed him. It's so bonding.

I remember my first grade best friend got an expensive realistic looking doll. I wanted one so badly. I never got it; but I smile now when I think that I've got something even better.

When I was little my parents wouldn't let me play with barbies. They thought they protrayed a bad female image to young girls. I whole heartedly agree. Instead I had plenty of baby dolls and doll-house dolls. I don't know how much that shaped me into who I am, but the principal is right. I can't help but think that it may have contributed positively. I am raising a big family now, after all. And I've never had too much of a problem with body image.

Certainly, I grew up in a family where motherhood was valued. We recently found a picture I drew at a very young age. The assignment was to draw a job mommies do. I drew a stick-figure-ish drawing of a mom having a baby and that was the caption "Jobs mom's do: have babies". How cute is that?

There are a number of things I do differently then my parents. I don't want you to think that I blindly copy how my parents raised me. Nor should you think I was raised in a perfect household. (I wasn't). For instance, while my parents forbid all celebrating of Holloween; I have looked to alternative celebrations -leading a church "Harvest Party" for four years and allowing my kids to dress up in positive dress-up costumes. Also, I was just reminiscing with my brother and dad recently on the fact that our "birds and bees" talk left room for improvement.

I also don't want you to think that I think I'm raising my kids perfectly. Like the title of this blog says , I'm "Trying to raise my kids the best I can". I'm sure my kids will come up with a nice list of things I did wrong raising them. But I'll just nod my head as they read the list to me and stuff the grandkids' faces with cookies.

* * *

I can't leave the topic of childhood play without touching on the subject of "over-scheduling", which we all know is a huge problem these days. Of course I'm against it. You just have to fight the inner urge to do it and remind yourself that your child will not be disadvantaged for not taking (fill in the blank) lessons. It's so much more important to develop a cohesive family and learn things together. I mean, some lessons are fine, but like all things in life: moderation is the key.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005


I read an article today indicating that Mitt Romney is moving to the right on abortion. I am so excited about this because I had been concerned about that. The way I see it; the 2008 election is shaping up to be Romney Vs. Clinton (Hillary of course). I am spoiled by "W." in that our views match so closely. It seems like the country is more and more feeling this way too; so why should we compromise on the issue of abortion? But I'd have to compromise if my option is Hillary. But now, as I said, Romney is coming around on abortion and this of course is a very very smart thing to do. In today's day and age, the last thing you want to do as a politician is come across as a liberal on moral issues.

Does it bother me that he just "changes his mind" when it's convenient? Of course. But I'm not naive about politics. It's all about compromises. Reagan and George H. W. Bush both changed their minds before being elected President.

Mass Citizens for Life and The Family Research Council (Two groups I greatly admire) are both much less impressed then I am. Tom McClusky of The Family Research Council says "For a lot of people, especially Christian conservatives, it's one of those black and white issues. You're either pro life or not. That's the trouble with Governor Romney - he's gray." I agree that abortion is black and white; but politics is not. The key to success in politics is incrementalism. Now, that usually refers to policy not personal opinion, but in this case I'll take that too.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More about cooking

I just wanted to add a thing or two. First of all, if you haven't yet seen "Super size Me" you should. It's a great documentary about the obesity epidemic.

Secondly, I was remembering with my single mom friend what it was like when I was a single mom. It's really difficult to cook balanced meals when you're only cooking for yourself and small children. They have such small appetites and are so picky - you make a big meal and end up having to throw most of it away. So after a while you just don't cook so much. You rely on the chicken nugget/mac and cheese staples. But when I'm cooking for my husband too, the kids see him eating and then it seems to be OK to try it.

I guess my point is that home-cooking can be another innocent victim in the breakdown of the family. But as I was trying to say in my previous blog, home cooking is so important to home life. What a vicious cycle!


Friday, May 20, 2005

True Feminist/At home moms

I am happy to see some healthy debate in the comment section of my last blog.

I am a feminist in the true sense of the word - meaning that I want equality and respect and freedom for all women. I wanted to make that clear, since my readers might be confused. Of course the word "feminist" nowadays denotes a much more liberal meaning. For instance I am 100% pro-life. As a true feminist I would not support a procedure that destroys the very essence of womanhood (which is motherhood). Jesus was a feminist too.

"Do I have a problem with women in the working world?" you ask. Well when her children are young, yes. God designed women to be the caretakers of young children. That's why she has breasts. And you'd be lying if you said she didn't have a special bonding with her baby that not even the father can replicate. After all she carried her baby for nine months in her womb.

"But when the baby get's older? Or how about a childless wife? Do you have a problem with her working?", you ask. No, I don't. Assuming we're not talking about kids spending long hours in the daycare. I've had many jobs over the years... personal trainer, DJ, administrative assistant, nanny, life-guard (OK that's going way back). Anyway, I enjoyed the working world. And yes women deserve the choice that our freedoms have enabled us to have. But, and this is the big but... I am extremely frustrated by the lessoning of that choice. Meaning, it's getting harder and harder to stay home these days. First of all it's the economy. And it's the tax burden. You just can't raise kids on one income anymore. I should know. My husband and I just bought our first house [today :) ]. But the mortgage is outrageous. It's going to be really tough on one income. What pressure I have to just drop the baby off at a day-care and get a job. On top of that, there is subtle societal pressure. For instance... convenience foods/fast foods, cleaning services, landscapers, after school care, before school care are all accepted as normal and right. So what is the point of a woman staying home? There are "acceptable" replacements for all her duties. It is almost shameful to stay home now.

But that is where I disagree. Because mothers are the glue that hold a family together. And when you take them out of the home for 30-60 hours a week there isn't so much family left. And that, in my opinion is exactly what has happened in the past couple of decades and is the explanation for much of the society decay we have withnessed. Note: I've heard of families where the roles are reversed and I applaud that when it works successfully. But that is the exception, not the norm.

A while back I was talking to my friend about how I want to volunteer in my sons' classroom, on occasion, when he goes back to school. The problem is I can't bring my one year old with me. So I'd have to find someone to watch him. The obvious choice is another stay-at-home mom who could occassionally swap with me. The sad thing is that we wracked our brains and couldn't think of a single one who stays home with her kids. (The happy ending to my story is that my sister in law is now home so I bet I could swap with her).


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The role of Cooking in Motherhood

I read a book about the rise of convenience foods in the 1950's. It was a slow process and it took a few generations, but I would say the convenience food industry has won. Not many people cook anymore. Or should I say, not enough people.

To view this book at amazon click on:

The book was interesting. The convenience food industry was borne out of necessity as World War II came to an end and the factories had to find a new outlet for their packaged foods (since the soldiers didn't need them). They had to do a lot of advertising and media shaping to convince women that they were too busy to cook. But since women have to prepare the food and they derive some satisfaction from it the convenience food industry convinced them that it was more important that they were creative in the kitchen then actually slaving in the kitchen. They also sponsered these successful bake-off contests using their brand name ingredients. This led to scores of disgusting recipes combining canned and frozen goods in strange ways.

The recipe my mom made this past Thanksgiving (which I loved; make it again, Mom), was this silly recipe that mixes jelllo with mashed, sweetened pretzels. That is a perfect example of a recipe that came out of this era. (Maybe you can email it to me, Mom and I'll add it to this blog).

When I met my husband I saw how his family cooks - with very little processed foods. They are immigrants from Cambodia and like most immigrants they still cook like they did in their home country. Back in Cambodia all their ingredients came from the market or the farm. I learned a lot from them. The first thing I learned was that I was a sugar addict. When I would open their fridge looking for a snack I was always frustrated (even angry) because usually the only thing in there is a hunk of meat and some herbs for cooking. It took a long time, but I eventually figured out that they weren't the ones with the problem. It was my problem that I needed to find a source of sugar every few hours just to feel normal.

The next thing I learned was how to cut meat. The only time I ever saw this, growing up, was on Thanksgiving and then the turkey was already cooked. At my in-laws there was always a slab of raw meat being sliced and diced. Sometimes a huge hunk of beef, sometimes a whole chicken. I learned to wield an intimidating butcher knife and only cut off the tip of my finger twice (only once requiring stitches!) I learned to cut chicken legs up into bite sized peices -bone and all. This is the best way to eat it in a stir-fry.

Since I was handling all this raw meat I had to deal with my American phobia of germs. I am, of course, careful about cross-contamination and all the other things we are taught to do, so as not to get sick. But I noticed that my in-laws never got food poisoning, even though they broke all the sanitaion rules. Note: I did accidentally undercook food twice causing food poisoning , once nearly killing my husband, but both times were with ground beef which Cambodians don't cook with.

Next I learned to cook on a regular basis. This was new to me, because as a good old fashioned American I was used to relying on convenience foods. You know: cereal for breakfast, a sandwhich for lunch, something fast for dinner. But my husband expected food like his mother cooked it...always. Meaning that I have to actually cook a homecooked meal every single night and if he's home (like weekends) then lunch too. But I got used to that and now that I do it, I know what I was missing out on before (lots of good food). The way I was eating before just wasn't that healthy. And now that I cook big meals every night I look forward to having a bunch of teenage boys to feed. Of course it isn't cheap, but there's a price to pay for everything good in life.

My friends and I noticed how open and welcoming some families can be and one thing they seem to have in common is a woman of the house who is constantly cooking. After all, if you're going to have a lot of people around, eventually they have to eat.

I read about a famous Italian cook in Newsweek. She said she didn't own a microwave. Although I couldn't live without one myself, I can sympathize with her sentiment that true cooking doesn't involve short cuts. When I hear about short-cuts for the house-wife I think to myself that it's just one more step to push her out the door into the working world. But you cannot provide the same home-cooked meals if you're gone all day. Not to mention the same boo-boo kisses but that's a blog for another day.

It is so sad how obesity rates have risen in the past decades. Particularly when you're talking about children. The rates continue to rise and really it's a problem that children have little control over. Their parents are responsible for the food they eat and the lifestyle they lead. I am convinced that a big part of the problem is the lack of home cooking. It leads to the junk food used as a replacement.

If you want a copy of my family's cookbook email me for my address. I can copy and bind it for you for only$10. It's loaded with pictures! (Though the copies will be black and white).


Monday, May 16, 2005

If at first you don't succeed...

If at first you don't succeed... try try again.

That's my motto for parenting.

I once read this book, written by the parents of some huge number of children (maybe a dozen). The book had all these ideas on how to raise children. They were good ideas. One of them was for allowance: You build a little wooden peg and hole board so the kids can mark when they've done their chores. Then you sign a little slip of paper showing that you checked it and at the end of the week the kids can turn in their slips for money.

Anyway, I tried that for a little while. And it worked for a little while. Then it stopped working. So I tried a sticker chart and that worked for a little while. Sometimes we don't do a chart at all, but I still expect work from the kids.

My point is that, although it would be ideal if we could stick with one thing, like that family from the book, the more important thing is that we keep trying.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Birth control Part II

My brother raised a good question of what the difference is between the diaphram verses "noticing symptoms" to avoid pregnancy. I thought I would clarify my point of veiw. First of all, as I stated in Part I, I don't have any huge moral problems with the diaphram (or condoms) and would use it if I felt I had to (for instance if I didn't want to get pregnant for medical reasons). So, I am not as strictly against birth control as others are.

My point of view is really based on two things:
#1 Being pro child
#2 Seeing the destruction that birth control leads to.

I won't go into too much detail on #1 here, but I believe that we are still called to: "go forth and multiply". The rewards of parenting are too good to miss out on and the sacrifice of parenthood is our ultimate calling. To go into more detail on #2 I would like to quote from The Art of Natural Family Planning p171
"The acceptance and rising use of contraception since the turn of the century has been followed by rising divorce rates, wife-swapping, increased frequency of nonmarital sex, and, most recently, huge increases in the number of abortions. The question that thinking people simply must ask themselselves is whether the rise in these other behaviors has been merely a historical coincidence or whether contraception has been a significant contributory cause to these other areas of sexual behavior."

In ancient times it was recognized that contraception was "cheating" the woman of her rightful pregnancy. I still think of it in terms of that and I think some other women do too even though no one talks of it that way. I'm sure most women haven't given it any thought because birth contro is so taken for granted.

I look at contraception as a slippery slope into sin... there is natural family planning, which is just observing nature as God created it and creating your family in that scope. Then there is the diaphram and condom, which prevents pregnancy in the same sort of way only more deliberately, less naturally. Then there is hormonal alterations like the pill or the patch. These are potentially harmful to a woman't body and her future chances of conceiving and I would not condone those. Then there is abortifacients like the IUD and morning after pill. These are unacceptable and finally abortion which is just plain murder.

Do I think I'm better then everybody because I don't use birth control? Absolutely not. Do I think everyone should stop using it? No. I can think of a number of really good reasons to use it: maybe you need the pill to control really bad acne. Maybe you're husband is abusive. Maybe you feel called to adopt crack babies instead of having your own. Maybe you have a 50% chance of conceiving a baby with a deadly disease. Those all seem reasonable to me. So, my point is really to take a second look at contraception. It is not the magic pill (pun intended) that we are led to believe. Just ask the 38 year old wife who is desperate to have a baby, only to be told by her doctor that she waited to long. There are millions of them out there.

So that is why I don't use birth control and whether you believe as I do or not, hopefully you've thought the subject through more thoroughly now.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Fertility Awareness

Sorry guys (and my #1 fan, Dad): This isn't a blog that would interest you...

Happy Mothers Day to all you other Mom's out there.

I've been really into fertility awareness ever since I read the book The Art of Natural Family Planning that my mom gave me. If you read my first blog you know that I don't beleive in birth control and this book helped me come to that conclusion. I highly recommend it and others like it.

I think that all girls should be taught the signs of fertility- (from their mothers not their schools!). Once you are aware of them you can't not know when you're ovulating. It also gives you an appreciation for the complexity and beauty of a woman's body. I won't go into too much details of the signs. You can learn them at other web sites (especially "Trying to Conceive" web sites -"TTC"). Basically the three signs of ovulation are mucus, raised/opened cervix, and then once ovulation is complete a rise in body temperature. I also have to add um... let's just say "turned on". I never was able to chart my temperature successfully. Maybe because the month I tried it I was sleeping with the window open. I gave up after that, but the other two signs are plenty for me.

Right now I'm in the unusual situation of breastfeeding an eleven month old and still waiting for the return of fertility. This is tricky because you can't rely on temperature readings and I've found that my cervix is also completely unreliable. That leaves one sign only, the mucus, which can be tricky to spot.

My friends know that I am very curious and observant, especially about medical things. If I weren't a mom I'd be an M.D. I'm always coming up with theories on stuff. One thing I observed several months ago by accident was that I went off my acne cream and my face stayed totally clear! I was esctatic, thinking that this could be the beginining of a new me. A while later I started breaking out again, just like the old me and I got excited again thinking that this could mean the return of my fertility. Two weeks after that I think I ovulated. Now the countdown is on to my first period - one week to go. We will see. (I'll keep you posted). I was a good girl and told my husband. Though I have to admit that first I did look up what the due date would have been if I would have forgotten to mention it to him. It would have been my middle son's birthday.

When I breastfed my last son (the five year old), I didn't get my period for TWO YEARS!. This is an extremely long wait. I didn't really mind then, but I've been thinking about it a lot as I impatiently wait for my first ovulation. One theory I came up with is that God didn't think I could handle a dozen kids so he is limiting my child bearing possibilities to one every three years. However, now that I am possibly ovulating eleven months into it, that blows that theory. So I was trying to think I why I would ovulate so much later last time (this is based on the assumption that I even have ovulated). I thought of something that I didn't consider before- perhaps I was underweight before. Because that coincides with the time in my life when I was a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. I even went on a strict diet when I tried out for the NE Patriots cheerleading. I was eating tons of protein and even Creatine. Now this is interesting to me and encouraging, because my friend and I always talk about "the good old days" when we were thin. Our goal is to get back to that weight. Believe it or not, for me that is a hefty 138#. But that is on a 5'6" frame and a lot of muscle. However, with my new theory, that weight might just be an unhealthy goal.

I've actually maintained 146# very steadily the past six months and I'm beginning to think this is my ideal weight (for my body structure, plus breastfeeding and trying to conceive). If I were an athlete I'd cut it down, but I think any less would harm me. In fact, I also noticed my immune system depresses when I work out too hard. I've recently cut my workout from runing three miles down to run/walking three miles, three times a week.

Well that' all for my blabbing. Peace out. And if you're a woman who cannot tell if you are ovulating then don't put it off! Learn about your body now!

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Is this normal?

I have two questions for you. The first is that I frequently mix up the names of my five year old and ten month old. I'm pretty sure it is because the five year old was the baby for so long. And so his name slips out of my mouth when I'm thinking 'baby'... but come on! It's been ten months now! This is getting old. Or maybe because their names both end in the sound "ee"

My next question is for you experienced breastfeeders. My baby likes to switch back and forth between breasts. The obvious thought is that one breast is more full then the other or maybe he's looking for fore-milk or hind-milk so he switches to find it. But he does it over and over and over. He will switch about every ten seconds for maybe ten minutes or so. It's not every time I breastfeed, only occasionally. Usually at bedtime. Maybe he thinks it's a game. Does anyone have experience with this? I guess I should ask this on a breastfeeding website.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

An amusing story

I thought I would take a break from some of these heavy subjects and share a most interesting adventure we had just yesterday...

We are currently renting a big beautiful house. For some reason my landlord put the door knob to my son's room in backwards so that instead of being locked out of the room you could be locked in. Well, on this evening my husband went out with my brother to celebrate his upcoming birthday. I was trying to put the kids to bed and my oldest son thought it was a fun game to run away from his mother. So I was wrestling him to bed when my middle child decided to carry the baby up from the livingroom and join us. Meanwhile, my oldest was about to run out of the room so I slammed the door shut to stop him.

Of course, it was locked. We were locked in. Uh, Oh. We shook the door. We stuck thin toys in the crack where the door knob is. We shook the door some more. We inspected the hinges. But it was pretty much hopeless. So we decided to make the most of it and just go to sleep. I thanked the Lord repeatedly for my second son bringing the baby into the room. If he were locked out I would have died. (Or more accurately I probably would have broken the door down). My husband was expected back late and then he was planning to go right to work. I figured we would be freed when he came home and checked on us. After all, I left all the lights on in the house, and I wouldn't be in bed. It would surely look suspicious.

So we fell asleep, though fitfully because unfortunately there were no blankets in the room. We wrapped ourselves in the bed sheets and again I thanked God that the baby was dressed warmly. I dreamt all night about trying to catch my husband before he left for work. I also threw all the clothes from the closet on us because it was getting quite chilly. I kept thinking that this must have been what it feels like in jail. I also thought about other people who had to stay in rooms like in the underground railroad or Jews hiding from the Nazi's. It's one thing to be in a closed room. It's a totally different thing to be in a locked closed room. It is terrorizing.

When I awoke in the morning we were horrified to discover that my husband's car was gone from the driveway! He had gone to work without checking on us! He could be gone all day! I tried to stay upbeat for the kid's sake. I turned on the radio and danced to warm up. They played an old favorite: Biz Markey's "Just a friend". The boys peed out the window, dribbling down the window sill. They also made a makeshift bathroom for me by putting a cup and a light in the closet (which I gladly used). "You said you would have a plan in the morning," my five year old said. And I did!

We would yell out for our neighbor to help us. I could see him in the distance. So on the count of three we all yelled, "BRUCE! HELP!" After a few attempts it was obvious that he couldn't hear us. So we gave up.

But then I had an even better plan! I would tie the sheets together and hang them out the window so I could climb down and escape! So I began tieing them together. We were all a little nervous. But I assured the kids that I couldn't die. The worst that could happen was a broken bone. We threw the pillows down on the pricker bushes below. As I tested the knots in the sheets I psyched myself up by saying it is just like Fear Factor. My eight year old chimed in "Yeah, but in Fear Factor they have safety nets."

So there I was in my thread bare nighty and no underware, shimmying down two green sheets tied together. When I reached the bottom I let go and dropped onto the pillows. It was a success! We were elated.

All the doors to the house were (of course) locked. I ripped open a screen and came in through a livingroom window. I freed the kids and called my husband. It was finally over. He felt appropriately bad for not checking on us the night before. When he came home from work we wanted to see if he could have unlocked the door. Of course he jimmied the lock in less than a minute. But that's why I married him, because of his street smarts.

It was a happy ending to a strange adventure.


Monday, May 02, 2005

The slow erosion of parental rights

Over the past couple of decades parents have been losing the rights to parent their children as they see fit. It's a subject that can be alarming, but it is not one that is new. Parental rights have been in jeapordy many times before in history. Thankfully we live in a country where we can express opinions (like here!) and stand up for what we believe in (like in the voting booths).

This subject affects me very personally. It goes back to the worst moment in my life. The moment that still haunts me to this day. It was several years ago when I was a single mother with two young boys. I got very very ill with the flu. I think I have a weak immune system because I catch everything that goes around and, as my best friend will attest to, I always get it worse then anyone else. I struggled all evening in so much pain and disorientation. You know how when you get the flu you have one really bad hour as the fever peaks and then everything starts to get better? Well that hour dragged on and on for me all night. It never peaked, it never ended. And I was scared I was going to die with my two boys there in the apartment. So I called 911 and asked them to bring me to the hospital. It didn't occur to me to call a friend because I didn't want to bother anyone. Earlier in the night I had a called a relative hinting that I needed help, but it was late and she couldn't come. I didn't want to bother anyone else.

You can probably guess where this is going. When the police and ambulance arrived they did absolutely nothing to assess my medical condition. They asked me if I was on drugs. They asked me to call someone to watch the kids. But since no one was taking my medical condition seriously I was beginning to think I shouldn't bother anyone else at two in the morning. I called another relative, asking half heartedly if he could come over, but he couldn't either. So I told the EMTs and police to just forget it. But instead they took my boys -ripping my breastfeeding baby from my arms and left. Of course I was hysterical, but I didn't want to scare my children so I just got on my hands and knees and prayed over and over "Jesus, please don't let them be scared".

Then I got on the phone with my closest friends in the church and called them. I knew that this was an emergency worth waking people over, as opposed to me being sick. I got a ride to the hospital where I finally got treated. I had to fight the nurse to get a drug test. I knew I would need proof if this dragged on. Thankfully it didn't. The emergency social workers called to the scene were appropriately scandalized by the police' behavior and promptly returned the kids to my custody. I never even got an apology from them.

Of course, since this incident I am hyper aware of the "child saving" mentality in today's society. It has crept up so subtly that perhaps you haven't noticed it. One example of this is a favorite charity I'm sure you've seen. A group will put together a bunch of stuffed animals to donate to law enforcement or firemen to give to children who have been removed from their homes. My children recieved two of these on that night. I can't help but think that this subconsiencely encourages law enforcement to take children from homes.

Some other examples of this "child saving" mentality are best put by sociologist Allan Calson in his book Family Questions:
"Recent decades have been witness to the 'child abuse' crisis, the 'teenage pregnancy' crisis, the 'child care' crisis, the 'working mother' crisis, the 'population' crisis, and 'the youth suicide' crisis, all seen as justifications for new federal programs that would necessarily restrict or supplant the failing family." p 235
"Minnesota's attorney general found 'many instances' of parents being charged with abuse at a time when their children 'had either denied the abuse or had not even been interviewed' and of parents being arrested and charged with abusing their own children 'even though these children denied the abuse through several weeks of interrogation and separation from their parents.' " p.251
"the social work profession has with only scattered exceptions, institutionalized the anti-middle class, anti-family values embraced during the 1960's"
"A second reason for pessimism is that child saving has become quite a lucrative business. In Sweden, always a decade ahead of America in the evolution of social policy... there are ten times as many children in foster care, on a per capita basis, as in neighboring Norway and Denmark. The reason? Foster parents... earn roughly $1200 per month or more for every child they took in. Moreover, half of this income, called a support allowance, was tax-free, the hardest kind of income to find in tax-happy Sweden. " p 252

The latest assault to parents comes in the form of the court system which is starting to treat international treaties as US law. Perhaps you remember the recent case of the Supreme Court which decided that juveniles who commit murders cannot be executed. The reason there was such an uproar over the case was that the decision was based on the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is not a ratified treaty. Congress needs to enact legislation that prevents courts from applying International treaties unless they have been ratified by the Senate.
If the UNCRC were to become a law of our land, parental rights would be goverened by a ten member committee in Geneva. This includes schooling, discipline, religious training, the amount of government money spent on children, and more. What a disaster this would be. Keep your ears open as legislation goes to Congress regarding these issues and make your voices heard.

Above all else: stay vigilent, pray often, raise your kids the best you can. Me too.
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