Archive for the ‘materialism’ Category
Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!
…[W]hy aren’t the networks covering the fact that Barack Obama’s half-brother George lives in a 6 by 10 foot hut in the slums of Kenya? It took a reporter for the Italian edition of Vanity Fairto locate George Obama. Obama noted that when he met his famous half-brother in 2006 “we spoke for just a few minutes. It was like meeting a complete stranger.” George Obama also told the magazine that “I live here on less than a dollar month,” and “if anyone says something about my surname, I say we are not related. I am ashamed.” Obama has done absolutely nothing to help his unfortunate half-brother.
I found this story interesting, but I’m not quite sure it shows hypocrisy on the part of Barack Obama. Maybe if they were brothers who grew up together, but they have different mothers and it appears to me that they did not meet until a couple years ago even though they share the same father. While I disagree with many of Sen. Obama’s policies and political ideology, there is much to commend him for in his young political career.
Sen. Obama is correct to say that no where else in the world could his story be possible. Of course, the same could be said for Sen. McCain & Gov. Palin as well. America is blessed beyond measure, despite her imperfections. Her people and her Christian foundations and her work ethic have made us the most prosperous nation in the history of the world despite the current “struggling” economy and all — so I cringe when I hear politicians say things like “it’s time to chart a new course.”
Sure, we need to stop wasting our resources and end our dependence on unfriendly nations and their resources. We need to find ways to meet the challenges ahead. But we need not forget that America is still the envy of the world. We have amazing freedom. And we have become numb to our own wealth and prosperity. People risk life and limb to reach our shores to breathe freedom’s air even if it means living in “poverty” by our own standards. And if for one moment we might think that America is a disgrace and an embarrassment and an experiment gone terribly wrong, all we need to do is have a conversation with someone like George Obama.
French author Corinne Maier has written a book called No Kid: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children
“The child has become so vested with importance, such a huge burden requiring so many changes to one’s way of life that having one has become inhumane, so my advice to people is don’t have any,” says Maier.
Here are 20 of her reasons:
— Childbirth is torture
— You will become a mobile feeding bottle
— You will struggle to continue having fun yourself
— You will lose touch with your friends
— You will have to learn a language of idiots to communicate with your children
— Your children will kill your desire
— Children sound the death knell of the couple
— Having children is conformist
— Children are expensive
— You will be duped into thinking that there is such a thing as a perfect child
— You will inevitably be disappointed by your own child
— You will be expected to be a mother before you are a professional and a woman
— Families are a nightmare
— Children will put the seal on your childhood dreams
— You can’t stop yourself wanting complete happiness for your progeny
— Staying at home to look after children is breathtakingly dull
— You have to choose between motherhood and professional success
— When a child appears, the father disappears
— There are already too many children on the planet. Times Online Article
Commentary: Parenting is not easy. Slackers need not apply. Parenting is likely the single greatest personal challenge possible. It takes a tremendous investment of emotions, time, energy, and resources. And I never really appreciated what my parents had done for me until my 20’s when I became a Dad. Raising the next generation is no small task, but you can do it! And to absentee husbands and fathers: your family desparately needs you–your love & leadership! Parenting is your opportunity to shape the world.
Never! Never! Never surrender!
“[B]earing and raising children requires every spiritual, emotional, financial and psychological resource that parents can muster. It is a journey fraught with potential pain and disappointment, but also unspeakable joy and satisfaction. The investment in children is the antithesis of our society’s self-centered, “me first” environment that so often aborts its babies or neglects its young. An important study by social researchers, Drs. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, brings this anti-child mentality into the sobering realm of reality. Their report, titled “Life Without Children,” confirms that “demographically, socially and culturally, the nation is shifting from a society of child-rearing families to a society of child-free adults.”
The most striking evidence of this shift can be seen in our nation’s declining birthrate. An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that in 2002, the birthrate in the United States fell to only 66.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. This figure, an all-time low, represents a shocking 43 percent decline in the fertility rate since 1960. In their study, Popenoe and Whitehead state that “since 2000 the birthrate has been continuing its downward trend. In 2004 . . . the American ‘total fertility rate’ stood at 2.049 . . . This rate is below the ‘replacement level’ of 2.1, the level at which the population would be replaced through births alone . . .”
Whitehead and Popenoe assert that in today’s economy, childless young adults are considered extremely desirable as both consumers and economic contributors because they are not “burdened” by the time constraints and other limitations associated with marriage and, especially, parenthood. Similarly, adults over 50 “make up a growing share of Americans with money to spend on second homes, travel, recreation, learning and entertainment.”
This conclusion might help explain why studies show an apparent link between our society’s wealth and materialism (what some have termed “affluenza”) and its increasing aversion to children. Apparently, when people are caught up in the ongoing race for bigger houses, better jobs and faster cars, they have little time for or interest in bearing children. [For example:]
—San Francisco, which has a median house price of $700,000, also has the lowest percentage of people under 18 than any other city in the nation—14.5 percent (the nationwide average is 25.7 percent).
—In Seattle, there are nearly 45% more dogs than children.
—In Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19% more kids than dogs.
This demographic shift has produced an adult-oriented, self-centered mindset reflected in a proliferation of “no kids allowed” housing developments, health clubs, stores, and so on [in more progressive/liberal areas]. Social and travel groups are organized for “DINK” (dual income, no kids) couples, and anti-child Web sites abound, many of which derisively refer to children as “spawn” and their parents as “breeders.”
The eventual result of this hostility to children and parents, as it spreads, will be a form of social suicide, leading to a world without springtime, regeneration or the idealism of youth. Remaining will be an increasingly aging community stumbling inevitably toward death and decay.
Leon R. Kass, a respected professor and researcher at the University of Chicago, has described the experience of parenthood in particularly eloquent terms:
Marriage and procreation are, therefore, at the heart of a serious and flourishing human life, if not for everyone at least for the vast majority. Most of us know from our own experience that life becomes truly serious when we become responsible for the lives of others for whose being in the world we have said “We do.” It is fatherhood and motherhood that teach most of us what it took to bring us into our own adulthood. And it is the desire to give not only life but a good way of life to our children that opens us toward a serious concern for the true, the good, even the holy.
This is precisely why the high calling of childrearing deserves our society’s support and encouragement, not its scorn and indifference. Parents who are earnestly endeavoring to raise productive citizens and, hopefully, committed followers of Christ, need the very best resources that our government, social organizations and churches can provide. What they don’t need are looks of disdain from the cultural elite, backbreaking taxes and family-unfriendly policies from the government, or jeers and jabs from everyone else.
If you’re a parent, you already know that raising children is the most difficult job you’ll ever do. In the words of Popenoe and Whitehead, “the bone-wearying and time-consuming work of the child-rearing years [does not] comport with a culture of fun and freedom . . . Indeed, child-rearing values—sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity—seem stale and musty by comparison.”
But it’s also a faith-challenging, faith-stretching and faith-affirming endeavor that nurtures selflessness and maturity in the face of our culture’s admonitions to pursue pleasure and to “look out for number one.” If approached in a spirit of humility and prayer, parenthood produces the fruit of righteousness in those who embrace it. How can one not be transformed by a trip to the ER in the middle of the night when your little one has a dangerously high fever? How can a mother not mature in her faith after years of nursing skinned knees, bandaging broken arms, or offering comforting embraces after bad dreams? What father hasn’t learned a valuable life lesson after experiencing, though his children, the joys and failures of school sports? What parent could remain unmoved and unchanged after hearing a little voice ask, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Where will I go after I die?” or “Who is God?” This is the stuff of real life. The pursuit of fame, fortune, comfort and convenience are utterly meaningless in comparison.“
—Highlights from Dr. James Dobson’s April 2007 Newsletter from Focus on the Family Action.
[Jay:] I make this post in honor of my own mother. Thank you for your love and dedication in my own life. And to my lovely bride, I thank you for your compassion and dedication in the life of our child. Finally to mothers everywhere, thank you for taking on the greatest challenge possible: shaping the future. God bless you all.
Happy Mother’s Day