Strengthening the Family: Marriage vs “Class Cleansing”

A Great Economic Indicator:  The Family

Over twenty years ago, expert demographers predicted a fall in the stock market in late 2009. The fall happened a little earlier in 2009 than the experts predicted, but it did happen.  These demographers, in the course of their work, stumbled upon a fascinating long-term indicator for the stock market—birth rates. A chance comparison of the long-term S&P 500, the premier stock market indicator and U.S. birth rates revealed an eerie similarity.   

Here’s how it works. Spending drives the economy, and the baby boomer’s lifetime spending peaks at about 45-50 years old. The stock market peaks when the baby boomers’ spending peaks. The problem is the baby boomer generation is reaching that age right about now, and there’s no subsequent generation large enough to replace them.

But there’s more to this story, and it goes deeper than the stock market, as the documentary DVD, Demographic Winter, The Decline of the Human Family, clearly shows.  For instance, in order for a population to survive it must at least meet the fertility replacement level of 2.1. That means the average woman needs to have at least 2.1 children over her lifetime in order to, at a minimum, replace the current population of any society.

Anything below 2.1 indicates population decline. Anything over 2.1 indicates population growth. Currently, the U.S. is at 2.01, which is just below replacement level. The overall European fertility rate, however, is between 1.53 and 1.55.

cultural indicatorsIn Wisconsin and the United States we’re fast approachig an aging population, where the majority of the population is now or soon will be in retirement, on pensions and government subsidies. There are not enough young people in the workforce or coming into the workforce to support the aging population, especially considering the exponentially increasing costs of Medicare and Social Security. 

Demographers and economists point to several reasons for this: the sexual revolution, the divorce revolution, prosperity, more women in the workforce during childbearing years and widespread inaccurate assumptions about overpopulation.

Each of these different factors has chipped away at and continues to chip away at the traditional view of marriage and family and children. And who suffers? The children. Our children, the few we are still having, will bear the burden of supporting an aging population that has tried in every way conceivable to not conceive and to destroy the preborn they do conceive.

Incredibly, those families that can afford to have more children are not and those families that cannot afford to have more children are. Lower-income and single-mother families are having more children where, we know from a plethora of social science evidence, children are at a distinct disadvantage developmentally, socially, emotionally and certainly economically.

So, not only will our children bear the burden of our infertility, they will do so without the nurturing of the traditional family. What’s to be done?  The solution offered by a group of billionaires is most definitely not the answer.

The billionaires, including the likes of Bill Gates, George Soros and Oprah Winfrey decided several years ago to pour their billions into what I call a “class cleansing” effort.  They are worried there are too many poor people in the world, particularly in developing countries, so they’re going to engage in “population control efforts,” which is just a euphemism for abortion, birth control, and other nefarious acts. The cold-hearted strategy and arrogance of the plan is astounding!  They don’t want to have to deal with the poor so they plot to get rid of their children.

No, the real solution, as European policymakers have discovered almost too late, is to strengthen the family, particularly among the poor where the gold standard for families—a married father and mother raising their children together—is sadly and tragically lacking.

Families are the economic and social bedrock of a society and definitely of our state. They bring the next generation into the world, raise the incoming workforce in their homes, buy houses and consume products and create a nurturing environment for children—the future leaders of our state and our country. For the sake of the future of our nation we must welcome children and invest in them by strengthening the family. 

That begins with moms and dads determining to stay married, with churches being willing to champion marriage, and with government promoting traditional marriage and families with solid policies.  Demographers get the importance of my oft-repeated phrase, as the family, so the state.  The question is, do the rest of us?

*****

VIEW Wisconsin Family Council’s brand new publication “Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition: by clicking HERE.

Early Voting in Wisconsin Begins TODAY

Early election voting has begun at city clerks’ offices

across the state of Wisconsin.

vote-your-values (1)Voters who are unable to get to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday, August 12, are now able to cast their ballots.

Click HERE for general voter information and to see if you have a primary on your ballot.

  • HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO VOTE FOR?
  • WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES?
  • HOW HAVE INCUMBENTS VOTED IN THE PAST?

 

RIGHT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

****BE INFORMED! Click HERE for our NEW Wisconsin Voter Guide! ****

Vote wisely by choosing candidates who:

  • Best align with your values
  • Have a reasonable chance of winning, as evidenced by endorsements, donations, yard signs, phone calls, etc.

NEW! Wisconsin Primary Voter Guide Released

Who are our leaders – REALLY?  
What’s behind the polished speeches
and promises to make our lives better?

>>>>>Click HERE to watch a video that explains how YOU can affect change in Wisconsin, and in Washington, with your VOTE.

Less than 20% of voters actually vote in the PRIMARY elections in their state, yet did you know…

  • primaries determine the election?
  • in low-voter-turnout elections, your vote matters more than ever?
Wisconsin’s Primary Election is Tuesday, August 12.

That’s less than 3 weeks away!  How do you know who to vote for?  Who are the candidates? How have incumbents voted in the past?

YOUR customized voter guide is NOW AVAILABLE – CLICK HERE!  

The Wisconsin Voter Guide is a combination of:

  • Voting records/ratings
  • Financial contributions
  • Endorsements
  • Candidate website
  • Comprehensive candidate survey

Each candidate is evaluated by a panel of volunteers, people like you, who are dedicated to helping others vote wisely.  
Click HERE for general voter information and to see if you have a primary on your ballot.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Access the Voter Guide TODAY.  Take a close look.  If you want, print off your local races and be prepared for the Wisconsin Primary Election on August 12!
  • SHARE SHARE SHARE this Voter Guide with everyone you know who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin!  Print off extra copies of the Voter Guide candidate results for your local race and distribute them to neighbors and others in your voting district.
  • Copy and paste this link:  http://goo.gl/ORWhCW  (this is just a shortened URL that goes directly to our WI Voter Guide) in an email, on Twitter, or on your Facebook, and let others know about this valuable voting tool!

NEW STUDY: AMERICA – Improving or Getting Off Track?

Heritage logoThe Heritage Foundation has just released its 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity.

The 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity tells how social and economic factors relate to the success of individuals, families, opportunity, and freedom. Through charts that track changes, and commentary that explains the trends, the Index shows the current state of some key features of American society and tells whether specific indicators are improving or getting off track.

>>>>>Click HERE to access The 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity on line.

cultural indicatorsWisconsin Family Action also recently released the new publication, Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, which is the only document of its kind, giving statistical overview of Wisconsin, her values, and the impact on traditional families.  We trust that public officials, educators at all levels, business leaders, pastors, ministry leaders, and lay citizens will find this Wisconsin Cultural Indicators 2014 Edition instructive and helpful as they make decisions affecting Wisconsin’s future.

>>>>>Access YOUR copy of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, HERE

President Obama “LGBT” Order Threatens Religious Liberty

This week, President Obama signed an executive order that will force federal employers to hire homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders against their religious tenets and excludes religious exemption.

>>>>>read more HERE

WFA president Julaine Appling responds, “So this man who would be king once again takes matters into his own hands and tramples on the constitution.  This time our religious freedom is very much at stake.  Our founders called religious liberty “the first freedom” because it is foundational to our other freedoms.  Christians should be alarmed and on high alert.   Churches and Christian ministries are in the crosshairs.”

>>>>>Julaine was a guest on Q90FM’s Stand Up for the Truth program this week to discuss this issue.  Listen to the podcast HERE.

Parenting With Purpose – For Today, or For Eternity?

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

Purposeful Parenting

(Part 3 in a 3-part Series)

Are you parenting with purpose and intention or are you just kind of winging it and trying to survive each day, hoping that somehow your children will grow up with strong character and a sincere desire to know, love and serve the Lord?  Are you parenting for today or for eternity?

Parenting is a high and holy calling. While it brings unbelievable blessings, it also comes with enormous responsibility.  Being purposeful and intentional in the rearing of the precious lives God entrusts to parents helps to ensure that the responsibility is handled well and increases the blessings.
FilipinoFamilyWith the sincere hope that giving some practical suggestions for intentional parenting will be helpful in that regard, this week we wrap up the short series “Purposeful Parenting,” based on a blog post by Whitney Hopler of Crosswalk.com.   Hopler is doing a practical application of a book written by Jim Burns, The Ten Building Blocks for a Solid Family.
The first two commentaries covered the building blocks of be there; express affirmation, warmth and encouragement; build healthy morals and values; discipline with consistency; ruthlessly eliminate stress; and communicate well.  This week we deal with the last four building blocks.
The seventh building block is “play together.” Recently, I’ve been to places where my family vacationed during my growing up years.  Floods of happy memories came back as I recalled fun times, play times together with mom, dad and my brother.  All families need play time…both planned for and spontaneous.  But if you don’t plan for some fun, it’s likely it may not happen given today’s hectic schedules.  Playing with your children allows them to see another side of you—a side that is extremely important.
husband and wife“Love your spouse” is the eighth building block.  Someone very wise has said that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.  It seems to me it could also be said that the best thing a mother can do for her children is to love her husband.  Children thrive when they sense they are safe and protected. And nothing nurtures that sense than a loving, low-conflict, Christ-centered relationship between their mother and father. So build in date nights and marriage retreats and more.  It’s one of the best things you can do for your children.
Burns’ ninth building block is “remember that the best things in life aren’t things.” Hopler says this is about developing a family budget, sticking to it and avoiding debt so that the family is on a strong financial foundation. One of the most important gifts you can give your children is to teach them about tithing and giving—make it a joyous personal practice and an expectation of your children.
And, finally, the tenth family building block according to Burns is “energize your family’s spiritual growth.” The author rightly notes that a parent’s “greatest calling in life is to leave a spiritual legacy for kids.” That requires paying attention to your own relationship to the Lord, purposefully strengthening it daily with Bible reading and prayer. Your children seeing you read your Bible and praying is more powerful than you can imagine. Have family devotions and prayer regularly. Attend a Bible-preaching and teaching church—faithfully—as a family.  Make your family’s spiritual growth a top priority and attend to it with energy and passion, not as a dictator or autocrat but as a loving, attentive, giving father.
Burns talks in terms of building blocks for healthy families. Building something requires a vision, a plan, a foundation, dedication and attention to following the plan, a system, good materials, knowing and following certain rules and more. How many of us have driven by a building that was begun but never finished or seen a building collapse because of poor planning, bad execution, rules not followed, poor workmanship, bad materials.  Building a building takes time, purpose and intention.  How much more so in building a family and how much more important. Purposeful parenting, purposeful family building is all about time–and eternity.

Purposeful Parenting, Part II

Two weeks ago we began a short series I’ve entitled “Purposeful Parenting.” It’s based on a blog post by Whitney Hopler of Crosswalk.com.   Whitney is doing a practical application of a book written by Jim Burns, The Ten Building Blocks for a Solid Family.
In the first commentary in this series, we covered 3 points: be there; express affirmation, warmth and encouragement; and build healthy morals and values.  I am structuring this series around the idea of being intentional about parenting.
It’s been my experience, and I believe this is certainly substantiated by the experts who write on the subject of building strong families, that when parents are purposeful in their parenting, good things happen.  No, they aren’t perfect families. And, yes, sometimes even in the most purposeful and intentional parenting situations, a kid goes off the rails.  There’s absolutely no guarantee, although we do have the principle in Proverbs 22:6—“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  That verse and Deuteronomy 6:4-7, in which God instructs the fathers to teach their children all the time, everywhere, the truths that He, God, was imparting to the Fathers, seem to me to be calling parents to purposeful, intentional parenting.
Fathers inspireAt some point, and I suspect it is very, very early, a child makes his or her choices about behavior. Parents who are purposefully parenting have spent time discovering everything they can about this gift from God, this little human who has been given to them to love and nurture.  Not only that, but parents determined to purposefully parent, and not just go with the flow or respond in the moment, spend time in serious Bible study and prayer, seeking to know God and to have His Word instilled in their own hearts and minds so that they bring their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
And that brings us to the next point:  Discipline with consistency.  Author Burns and blogger Hopler note that this is not easy. It takes energy and time—and I’ll add self-discipline. It’s always easier at the moment to give in. And that becomes a pattern children recognize.  If they badger, cry, act out, plead long enough…they’ll get their way.  In the long run, that’s not good for anyone and actually puts the child on a collision course eventually. Setting clear boundaries and expectations, individually and for the entire family, and then establishing corrective discipline for infractions, is good for everyone. Purposefully, intentionally and prayerfully establish the boundaries and expectations and the consequences for infractions—and then seek God’s strength to discipline yourself so that you can discipline—disciple—your children.
Burns and Hopler highlight that parents need to “ruthlessly eliminate stress,” in their own individual lives and for the entire family. Trim activities; don’t overschedule you or your family. Don’t let your career so stress you that you have nothing left to give to your family. Get adequate sleep and exercise.  When the stress is manageable, it’s easier to purposefully and intentionally parent, to be patient, to discipline in love not anger, to enjoy your spouse and your children.
The sixth building block the authors highlight is power-packed: “communicate well.”  Books and seminars abound on this topic. But it really can’t be over-emphasized. Parents devoted to purposeful parenting take time to listen to their children—really listen—both in the everyday things of life and in the times of discipline. In these exchanges you learn much about the individual child, the way he or she thinks and sees the world. It affords insight that will help you guide your children as unique persons with unique personalities. Purposeful parenting means positively communicating with your children, finding ways to encourage and affirm them not just giving them a constant barrage of negative.  Apologizing when appropriate can also be a real growing experience for all family members.
God the Father deals with us purposefully and intentionally as individuals—unique individuals. His discipline, His communication, and His salvation are all tailored to us individually.  In doing so, He has set the example for parenting.  Nothing can replace the value of strong marriages and strong families—and both happen when husband and wife, mom and dad, determine that by God’s grace, with His wisdom and in His strength, they will purposefully parent the children God gives them.

 

In God We Trust?

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

 

I ended up with a $20 bill in my hand over the weekend—not for long, I assure you. But for a change, I was still enough long enough to really look at the bill. The way I was holding it the words “In God We Trust” loomed large.  It was almost as if I had never seen them before. They fairly leaped off the bill.

In-God-We-Trust-415x276I paused and pondered. “In God We Trust.”  For a few moments I allowed myself to be transported to 1776.  Did the founders of this great country really trust in God?  Who did they look to for direction in a time of great adversity, a time of the heavy hand of government taking away their individual freedoms and their ability to self-determine?  We don’t have to look much beyond the words of the Declaration of Independence for a reasonable answer.

Fifty-six different men signed this document. Men from all walks of life, representing the diversity of the various colonies. They knew what they were doing. The Declaration of Independence represented the sentiments of all of those who took the quill, dipped it in the ink well and with their signature pledged to one another, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

While written relatively quickly, the Declaration of Independence was not hastily or casually considered. Records show that some 86 changes were made including the insertion of three complete paragraphs, before the final vote on the document on July 4th. The deliberations and the number of and types of changes tell me that they were extremely careful about the wording.

In the opening paragraph of this incredible document, the signers make a bold statement regarding the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” with the word God capitalized. For those men, there was no doubt as to which god they were referring. This was God Almighty, the Creator God.

The second paragraph has that phenomenal declaration:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Again, there was universal agreement among the signers that the Creator was the same as “Nature’s God.”

In the concluding paragraph, the colonists through their elected representatives to Congress, boldly declare their decision:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown…”

Strong words. Frightening words. But I note that their trust was not in themselves, individually or collectively.  Rather their trust and their appeal was to the “Supreme Judge of the world” to God Almighty.  In those days, no one asked, “Who were they talking about using that phrase?”  Everyone knew.    It was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

For those 56 men who risked everything signing this document, “In God We Trust” was not a nice-sounding national motto showing up on paper currency.  It was a rock solid belief.  It was direction in the midst of oppressive circumstances.  It was the light of hope in the midst of the darkness of tyranny.

How the times have changed. One of the most profound, world-changing documents ever penned referred 3 specific times to God. Today, some 238 years later, we seriously entertain abolishing the motto, removing it from coins, taking out “one nation under God” from the pledge and completely eliminating God from our culture and government.

I assert that such actions would be absolutely unthinkable to those who risked everything so that you and I could, as their posterity, live even today in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”  So what does “In God We Trust” mean to you as you prepare to celebrate July 4th with friends and family?  Is it just a nice motto or is it a bedrock belief lived out every day?