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?

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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 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.

Woe to Wisconsin: Getting Serious About This Marriage Thing

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

single momThe story could be repeated countless times.  Cindy—not her real name—was born to a single mom in Milwaukee; no father in her life.  Her mom could have chosen abortion; fortunately she made the right choice and chose life. Mom struggled to make ends meet but was dealing with her own issues in addition to rearing a child by herself. Her grandmother became the strongest and most reliable influence in Cindy’s life—taking her to church, praying with her, in general being there for her.  Eventually Cindy wound up in the foster care system and experienced some pretty rough knocks in her teen years and early twenties.  Life was rough. She saw a lot of the seamy side of it.

It took some time, but by God’s grace, Cindy was spared some of the worst things that can happen as a result of an upbringing such as hers.  She got a college education, found a good job, and took on adult responsibilities. In a recent conversation with her, Cindy said in a completely unsolicited comment, “You know, I think if I had had a father in my life, things would have been different.”

Cindy knows, intuitively or otherwise, that being born to a single mom with no father around put her in a dangerous situation and at a distinct disadvantage to actually grow up and thrive.  Today, nearly 40% of babies born in Wisconsin are born to single mothers.  In Milwaukee, that number skyrockets to over 80%.

Cindy happens to be biracial but really her race is immaterial.  Family matters regardless of one’s race.  Children of any race or ethnicity do better when they are brought up by their married moms and dads. Thousands of research studies confirm this.  Experience confirms it.  But yet we pay little to no attention to this incredible truth.

dad_baby_1Our state legislature still is unwilling to grapple with this situation in any kind of meaningful way. Unwed childbirth and divorce, which is nearly as harmful to children as being born to a single mom, cost our state over $737 million each year.  I hear every day from sitting officials and candidates that the only issue worth talking about and the only one anyone is interested in is the economy and jobs.  Well, how about we deal in some significant way with that $737 million number?  How about weaning women off taxpayer-funded handouts that encourage them to keep having children without being married to the father of their children?

How about providing real incentives for men to marry the mothers of their children and to be around for the children they bring into being?  How about modifying our divorce laws so that couples with minor children, in marriages where adultery, abuse, and abandonment are absent, are required to attend classes that show the effect of divorce on their children and extending the waiting period before such a divorce is finalized?

How about honestly and aggressively promoting marriage by championing it instead of dismissing it or worse redefining it to ensure that legally some children will never have both a mother and a father?

After all, judges keep telling us that all children need is people who “love” them and provide for them—whatever that may mean to any particular judge.  Federal judges around the country have determined they know better than the experts in this area and have decreed children don’t need both their mother and father—they just need people…two men or two women—it’s all the same. Two men or two women can give a child everything he or she needs to grow up to be well-adjusted, healthy, productive, contributing citizens.  If nothing else, that’s a denial of reality.

marriage defendingAnd then there’s the president who campaigned saying he believed marriage is between one man and one woman, and early in his presidency made a point of saying how important fathers are in the lives of their children.  Fast forward several years, and we finally get the truth from this man who would be king:  he really believes marriage should be redefined to include at the very least two men and two women because, don’t you know, they are in loving and committed relationships—whatever that may mean.  By promoting this marriage de-construction, the president was also essentially saying gender and inborn gender differences are meaningless and that fathers really aren’t all that important.

Cindy would not agree.  She knows, from very real personal experience, that her life would have likely been considerably different—and much better—if she had had a father involved in her life.  And by the way, God, the creator of male and female and the One Who instituted marriage, doesn’t agree either.

For all the Cindys in Wisconsin, we need to get serious about this marriage thing.  Mothers and fathers—men and women–really do matter to children.  Woe to Wisconsin if we keep ignoring both research and reality.

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.

 

SCOTUS strikes blow against parental rights

From ParentalRights.Org:

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court of the United States has been in the news a lot lately with some major decisions regarding the balance of power. But one decision you may not have heard about – a decision to not make a decision – may have the biggest impact on your parental rights.

On Monday – the same day the Court handed down their rulings in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Harris v. Quinn – they also chose to deny cert to (that is, they opted not to review) Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown. In doing so, they left in place a California ban on reparative therapy which treads on parental rights.

 

Read the rest HERE

WFA president Julaine Appling states, “These laws truly trample on parental rights but then government today seems to think children are their heritage, not the heritage of the Lord given to married moms and dad to love, direct and nurture.  We had a similar bill introduced this session in Madison. Fortunately, it went nowhere but I’m sure it will be back. Parents need to stay tuned in and engaged on this important issue.

Purposeful Parenting; Investment With High Returns

From the desk of WFA president Julaine Appling:

ImageDoug, father of four children in our private Christian school, sat across from me in my office early one school day. After very brief pleasantries, Doug sat up straighter in his chair and looked at me and said, “So what do you think are my kids’ God-given strengths and abilities? I want to know if what you see is what we are seeing at home. Our children are God’s gifts to us; we want to be good stewards in every way and help our kids cooperate with God in using the gifts and talents He has given them.”

The question surprised me. I’d never had a parent ask me that.  I answered him thoughtfully and carefully, suggesting that he also make sure to talk with their classroom teachers.

As we stood and shook hands later, I candidly told Doug that I had never had a parent ask me that question and that I was impressed.  “From my vantage,” I said, “it means you and Gail are truly intentional about how you are raising your children.  It’s not often I have the honor of working with parents who take the time to really know their children individually and then purpose to work to build their character individually and to intentionally strengthen the family unit.”

Intentional, purposeful parenting is not easy, but it is absolutely essential if parents want their children to grow up to be all that God intends them to be and if they want their family unit strong and healthy.

Recently, I came across a blog that featured a post entitled “10 Ways to Build a Healthy and Happy Family.”  As I read the piece, it seemed to be at least a good starting point for some practical suggestions on intentional and purposeful parenting.

The post is actually practical applications extrapolated from a book by Jim Burns, The 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family.  Wendy Hopler, of Crosswalk.com wrote the blog article from Burns’ book. I think the main points are worth mentioning.  It may take a week or two to get to them all, but they are, I believe, important reminders to all families.

The first building block according to Burns and Hopler:  “Be there.”  It’s so obvious but so important. Someone has said showing up is half of life.  For kids, parents showing up is likely almost all of life. Kids know when they aren’t a priority.  When parents are really “there”—mentally, emotionally and physically, kids know that, too. They sense interest, involvement, importance.  As Hopler says, “nothing can make up for your absence.”

ImageBuilding block 2 is “express affirmation, warmth and encouragement.”  The blog author encourages parents to be wary of “shame-based parenting,” which she contends is performance-oriented and approval focused.  Don’t make everything about doing, not doing, or achieving or not achieving.  Spend some relaxed time just being with your children, listening, interacting, expressing interest, letting them know you love them for them, not for what they do.  This is the kind of investment that lets you learn about them and enables you to direct the child into areas of strength and help him or her on those areas of weakness.

Building block 3 is “build healthy morals and values.”  This requires much prayer, study and wisdom in order to know what is going on in the culture that is influencing your children and then seeking God’s will for how to, on purpose and with intention, help each of your children—individually and collectively as a family—deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. It means making tough decisions about television, movies, the Internet, video games, and events and it also means having difficult decisions about personal purity. Parents need to come up with a personalized game-plan for each of their children.  All children won’t struggle with the same areas, but all children must know what God says about what is good for them and what is bad for them.

We’ll get to the other building blocks in future commentaries.  But these 3 get us started and allow for careful examination of your parenting.  Are you being intentional and purposeful? Are you being personal in how you parent?  No matter how much time and energy it requires, I can guarantee you this is an investment with returns so high they cannot even be calculated.