Tag Archives: family

I’m in the newspaper today; here’s a subtle clarification

I’ve known Steve Jones for years, and I admire him. He’s a top-notch reporter.

When he was interviewing me with two other members of Church of the Messiah for today’s article in The Sun News (my former employer), I think either I didn’t make my point clearly enough or maybe a subtle distinction was lost in the shuffle.

Jones reports:

Messiah church member Colin Burch chose to stay with the traditional church while his wife and three daughters continue to worship at Trinity Church.

The bishop of The Episcopal Church in S.C. conducted the service where one of his daughters joined the traditional church.

He said his children see the situation much like they might a divorce.

“They just don’t know which (parent) to go with,” he said.

The divorce analogy, which originated with my wife Kristi, was intended to describe Kristi and my three daughters — they see the split between Bishop Mark Lawrence’s diocese and The Episcopal Church USA like a divorce, and they aren’t sure which “parent” to go with.

My wife and my daughters, in varying combinations, join me at Church of the Messiah from time to time.

As far as my family is concerned, I listen to Kristi and I listen to my daughters, especially my 14 year old, and even as dense as men can be, I’m fairly certain we [my wife and daughters] all share certain values. I can certainly claim Kristi, the 14-year-old, and I have rich conversations about many things related to church, Bible, tradition, and theology.

Now, if I can just get the 14-year-old to teach me Latin. She’s way ahead of me.

Furthermore, more than a year ago now, the 14-year-old opted to be confirmed by the Episcopal Church USA bishop while continuing in a Bishop Lawrence parish.

Of course, I continue to love and admire many members of Trinity Church.

Update, 4:10 p.m.: On my Facebook page, I referred to a tradition started by my great-grandparents. As an exhibit of that heritage, please see “An Important Church in My Family,” which includes a few photos from All Saints Episcopal Church in Oakley, Maryland.

Update, 8:50 p.m., Dec. 8: My distinguished friend (though not distinguished because of our friendship) Charlie Jordan alerted me that RealClearReligion.org, in its list of today’s articles, included a link to Steve Jones’s article in The Sun News.

Update, 7:55 p.m., Dec. 12: I added a bracketed phrase to clarify “we” in the paragraph beginning, “As far as my family is concerned…”

The assault on motherhood in Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut

The shooter in Sandy Hook, Newtown, Connecticut, might have killed his own mother before allegedly killing 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school.

The killings were an assault on the very essence of motherhood.

A psychologist interviewed by NBC News anchor Brian Williams suggested that the shooter might have been trying to kill another part of his own mother — not just her body, but the children she cared for, too.

The shooter did further damage to motherhood at the elementary school. The female principal, already a type of mother figure for her school, was Mom to two children of her own and three step-children. She likely was one of the first to be killed during the assault, based on CNN reports about the structure of the building. Presumably after that, 20 mothers lost children.

What creates in a young man such a vicious hatred of motherhood?

Then, the shooter apparently killed himself, throwing the gift of life — the life his mother had given him — back into her lifeless face.

Related articles

Lyrics about parenting

Cast in this unlikely role

And ill-equipped to act

With insufficient tact

One must put up barriers

To keep oneself intact

-from “Limelight” by Rush

New research: How traditional families help children succeed

This fascinating press release appeared in my inbox today:

ATLANTA — In a research presentation for the Centers for Disease Control of the Department of Health & Human Services Dr. William Jeynes, a Professor at California State University in Long Beach and a Non-resident Scholar at Baylor University, shared long awaited results of his research that summarizes the relationship between parenting and academic and behavioral outcomes for children.

Jeynes’ speech, part of the Parenting Series sponsored by the federal government, was based on the findings of his research which examines nationwide data sets and also includes a research synthesis of all the available studies on the influence of certain family factors on children. This research synthesis, commonly called a meta-analysis, involves statistically synthesizing all the research that has been done on a given topic.

There were several of Jeynes’ findings that were most salient. First, the farther one departs from a two biological parent family structure, the greater a negative impact this has on the children’s academic outcomes and what are commonly referred to as at-risk behaviors, including consuming various types of illegal drugs and unhealthy amounts of alcohol and becoming involved in a single parent teenage pregnancy. Jeynes noted that, “As a general rule, the more difficult family transitions a child encounters, the more likely it is that family issues will negatively affect that child’s academic achievement and behavior.”

Second, at-risk behaviors are more strongly associated with low educational outcomes than people assume. Third, there are factors that mitigate the effects of non-traditional family structures. They include parental involvement, the love of other major adults in the youth’s life, and the child being a person of faith. Regarding parental involvement, Jeynes’ meta-analyses indicated that it was generally some of the relational aspects of parental involvement that have the greatest positive influence on children. These include having high expectations of one’s children, maintaining high levels of communication, and having a balanced parental style. By balanced parental style, Jeynes asserts that, “Children learn best in a home atmosphere that provides love and a reasonable degree of structure.” Jeynes presented findings that indicate that a child’s religious faith can reduce the influence of marital dissolution and cut the socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps in half. His findings also indicated that when children are religious and come from an two biological parent family, the achievement gaps are totally eliminated.

Dr. Jeynes is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He is one of the leading quantitative researchers on family issues and their effects on children. He is a well known public speaker, having spoken in 47 states and in every inhabited continent. He has spoken for the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, Harvard University, and the Harvard Family Research Project. He may be interviewed or contacted at (714) 901-4274 or (714) 397-7763 or at whjharvard@post.harvard.edu.

The press release was distributed by Religion Press Release Services.

AP: Church of England offers two-for-one combo

From the Associated Press:

LONDON – The Church of England is offering couples a two-for-one service — marriage for them and baptisms for their children.

The church is recognizing the changing reality of British families, it said Thursday. Statistics show that 44 percent of children in Britain are born to unmarried women, and the church’s own research found that one in five couples seeking a church wedding already had children either together or from a previous relationship.

New guidelines sent to the Church of England’s 16,000 parish churches encourage services that combine a wedding with a christening or a service of thanksgiving for the birth of a child.

Some clergy welcomed the latest move, but others argued it undermined Anglican teaching about the sanctity of marriage.

John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham, told The Times newspaper that the move was an unfortunate attempt to be trendy.

“It is a pity they have not put in a funeral for grandma as well,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Sadie, 3, explains death by sword

We were watching the end of “The Count of Monte Cristo” on the ABC Family channel as we waited for “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” to begin.

I had forgotten how violent “Count” was. At the end, Jim Caviezel’s character thrusts a sword through Guy Pearce’s character, who then falls to the ground, impaled.

Sadie, 3, saw this, but she had a rather enlightened response.

“That’s not good,” she said. “God said we can’t do that.”

Disney opts out of 3rd ‘Narnia’ film

From an article in the Orlando Business Journal:

The Walt Disney Co. won’t help produce and finance the next “The Chronicles of Narnia” movie being made by Denver entrepreneur Phil Anschutz’s Walden Media LLC movie company, Disney said Dec. 24.

Disney blamed “budgetary and logistical reasons” for opting out of a third “Narnia” film, to be called “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The loss of Disney as Walden’s partner puts talent attached to the project “in doubt,” according to the movie-industry trade publication.

“Dawn Trader” has been in preproduction, and was scheduled to start production in spring 2009 with a $200 million budget and English director Michael Apted (“Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Gorillas in the Mist”) at the helm. Stars from the second “Narnia” movie, “Prince Caspian,” were signed to reprise their parts, including Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley and William Moseley.

The movie was slated for a 2010 release.

Family-friendly Walden reportedly is looking for a new backer, possibly 20th Century Fox. Walden and Fox already have worked together on movies such as “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “Bridge to Terabithia.”

Walden also has worked with Paramount Pictures, which co-produced its 2004 version of “Around the World in 80 Days” with martial arts star Jackie Chan.

Read the rest of the article here.