Home Power – The Solution to Social Ills 

Society, with all of its innovations and intricacies, has lost the vision of home power. With social and political upheaval happening around the globe, parents wonder how to raise up a new generation of people who can set things straight, get society back on track toward goodness, diplomacy, truth, and healthy problem-solving. The solution to these modern problems lies in truths that were fully understood in the past and taught through home power.

Gaskell wrote, “The home is the epitome of society and government.” Whatever happens in the home is what ultimately happens in society. Does this mean that our homes are encouraging social contention and war? Or, maybe, is it that the world’s social and political wars have crept into our homes and shaken the bonds of love, affection, truth, trust and acceptance that should exist there to provide a stable, calm foundation no matter the troubles? What happens to the upbringing of our children if the world raises them through the media in our homes instead of getting life training through the home-training of parents? 

Home Power

Samuel Smiles said, “…home-training includes not only manners and mind, but character. It is mainly in the home that the heart is opened, the habits are formed, the intellect is awakened, and character molded for good or for evil…From that source, be it pure or impure, issue the principles and maxims that govern society. Law itself is but the reflex of homes. The tiniest bits of opinion sown in the minds of children in private life, afterward issue forth to the world, and become its public opinion.” 

Homes have the power to cure or canker society, to corrupt, control, or curtail law. Homes form and open hearts, create stable or slippery foundations, and catapult family opinions into the public sphere, whether true or false, emotional or logical. When we seek to problem-solve the social ills around us, why do we look first to law and legislation, when we should be looking first to home culture, self-culture, and true power; home power? 

Could it be because focusing on improving home culture and self-culture requires taking personal responsibility, self-control, and consistent work, and that law and legislation are just about controlling others and placing blame? The hardest work we ever do is to work on improving ourselves. Healthy homes teach and exemplify self-improvement as the means to happiness and success. 

Home power is a true power. No matter if the home produces moral or immoral opinions, good or evil children and adults, it still has the power to form them. Home power reaches into the formation of thoughts, ideas, morals, character, manners, civility, spirituality, connection, problem-solving, skill development, relationships, habit formation, and condition of heart. 

“Thus the home may be regarded as the most influential school of civilization…” said Smiles. “…civilization mainly resolves itself into a question of individual training, and according as the respective members of society are well or ill trained in youth, so will the community which they constitute be more or less humanized or civilized. The training of any man, even the wisest, cannot fail to be powerfully influenced by the moral surroundings of his early years.“ 

Nurture and Culture 

Consider mothers. From the earliest moments of a child’s life, mothers encircle their child in the arms of affection and love. They protect from harm, instruct in virtue, and correct vice. They form language through songs, stories and simple conversations. They create thought and action habits through living with the child. They socially introduce the child to the world, and set protective boundaries to keep the child steered in their desired direction. 

Mothers nurture. To nurture is to strengthen, nourish and correct. Mothers are not afraid of telling their child “no” and teaching their child that frustration, pain, mistakes, sadness, stress, and loneliness are part of life and can all be overcome. Through love, mothers allow their children to learn and stumble and bounce back again and again as they master their first steps and their social catastrophes. Without the nurture of mother, a child misses what only a mother can give. The heart and confidence of a mother. 

Consider fathers. Throughout all the phases of development and life, father sets the ultimate example for success or failure for his child. He is the person in the child’s life that offers a special kind of acceptance that confirms to the child that they are socially acceptable and valuable despite their failings and struggles. Through father, the child sees their ability to progress. 

Father establishes a culture for living that either compliments or contrasts to mothers. If complimentary, then the child has a firm compass for future success. If contrasting, then the child must test mother’s wisdom against father’s example and choose for themselves. This can be difficult, and some children fall from mother’s teachings. 

Father gives his child a larger view of life by not being the designated nurturer, but still engaging in nurturing and protecting. Fathers protect by setting an example and living virtuously. They point their children toward truth through wisdom, but mostly through the way they live their lives. Children usually set their life bars to the bar that their father set for himself. 

Family culture is unique to any other culture. This is why people are always intrigued to learn about other people’s upbringings and why people often share their upbringings for context in conversations. The method of nurture and the home culture for the family ultimately create the foundation for the child, and that foundation is formed much younger than many people realize. Before the child can fully converse they already know how to socially engage and what priorities matter most because of the nurture and culturing of mother and father. 

Grandparents are also a key part of the nurturing and culturing of children. They offer a second witness to all the teaching from the parents, or they offer another view of life, depending on if the virtues of parents and grandparents are the same or different. Healthy bonds with grandparents give the child a generational view of life and identity that provide the child with increased confidence, wisdom, and purpose throughout life. Ideally, they are also a voice of truth that can reach a child during difficult times when a child may be turning against the ways of their parents or need another wise opinion. 

Solving Social Problems

In order for the social ills of today to be turned around, society must focus on home power. It would be naive for us to believe that all the problems are coming from outside our homes. The way we best engage with the outside influences is for us to exercise our home power. Do we take it all in or not? We can choose. 

When we put our focus on parenting and grand-parenting in deliberate ways and we set boundaries, teach skills, and correct and instruct our children when needed, then we are acknowledging that we are more powerful than some family exploiting voices want us to think that we are. We can choose to have positive or negative effects to our home power, but the home power is constant. Homes do form people. They are that powerful. It’s just the parents who realize this fact that end up having results that can strengthen society, instead of taking society of track. It’s never too late. The world is never too far gone. But, to right the ship and put things back on track, we have to acknowledge and strengthen real power; home power. 

Strengthen your home power by learning the not so known secret for parenting success, here. 

Is Mother’s Day Too Commercial?

When Anna Jarvis created Mother’s Day in 1908 to honor her mother and her mother’s work meant to nurture mothers who added so much to society, she didn’t intend for it to be commercialized. Now, around the globe, the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day brings businesses billions of dollars. Many people don’t like the commercialized celebrations of many holidays, so why is there no pushback on Mother’s Day about commercialization?

Maybe it’s because the holiday hits at everyone’s heart; their mom. Where would we be without mothers? Where would our societies be? Mothers are the epitome of duty of sacrifice for a greater good. The very act of bringing a child into the world and later raising a child is a sign of deep love. And, the fact that she does all of her mothering without ever expecting to be honored is what makes honoring her so fun and meaningful for everyone.

The WOW organization sees a deeper impact to celebrating Mother’s Day than many others. Motherhood has been disregarded, disrespected, and degraded to servitude in the minds of so many feminist ideologues. College campuses and the media preach anti-motherhood and the doctrine of SELF. But, motherhood throws the self-serving views of adulthood on their heads. As soon as a woman cares for her baby in public, she softens the hearts of the people around her. Suddenly they care about the baby. She shows the world, by her humble example what is really important; the people.

WOW doesn’t mind the stores making money on Mother’s Day, because the mothers don’t require it. It’s not a selfish holiday like other holidays are. Mothers are happy enough with a hug, rudely made pancakes for breakfast, a hand-drawn picture, or a sweet act of selflessness. Mothers want to see that their children are good people more than anything else. And, Mother’s Day gives the children that chance to show their mother that all her work to raise them was worth it. They do have good, kind hearts after all. Whether the children spend money or not to honor mom isn’t the issue. The issue is, and will always be, that they cared.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Marriage, Motherhood, and the Destructive Intersectional Lens

This year at the Commission on the Status of Women [CSW], at the United Nations, the topic of discussion was finding solutions for global poverty. While some of the family and motherhood organizations came up with good solutions for teaching entrepreneurialism, networking, and developing life skills through training programs and micro-lending solutions, many global NGOs and diplomats suggested solutions that would dismantle the family and decrease marriage.

They advocated for more abortion services to be provided and paid for by governments since, through a socialist lens, it is cheaper to pay for abortion services than for births. Others also looking through a socialist, anti-family lens seemed to care about women in poverty when they said that mothers, wives, grandmothers, and children caring for parents should all be called “unpaid workers” and should be paid for fulfilling family responsibilities, but is that message really honoring wives, mothers and grandmothers? 

These seemingly caring messages can be confusing to listeners if they don’t recognize the true value of family relationships and marriage and the miracle of life. The paid worker suggestion insinuates that roles and relationships in family have the same value to us as money or employment. The reason motherhood and nurturing are so valuable is because it comes without price, and is priceless to society.  No one can financially compensate a person for their love and sacrifice for another. Therefore, when love and sacrifice are given, they are more valuable than any paycheck would ever be. Paying a mother to be a mother would ultimately lead to the exploitation of motherhood. When a person gets paid for motherhood, then a mother becomes a birther and children or services become transactional, not the life-giving, most influential support that they really are when done with a mother’s love. 

When motherhood becomes nothing more than “unpaid work”,  then we promote financial entitlement, lose the whole family unit by focusing on work transactions, and simultaneously disconnect children from their mothers by taking a mother’s supreme status away. A woman’s children would represent money to her. That’s objectification of children and women. 

Marriage is rarely talked about in a positive light at the CSW conferences. Most marriage references refer to child-marriage and how unnecessary marriage is for a woman’s happiness. Ironically, most people discussing marriage are unmarried people. 

Obviously, a person doesn’t need to be married to live a fulfilled life or to find happiness, but marriage and family have led to stable, selfless societies since the beginning of recorded history. When a man and a woman sacrifice for each other and their children by honoring a marriage covenant, the children have greater outcomes and society stays more service-oriented, instead of self-oriented. 

The University of Virginia sociologist and director of the National Marriage Project, Brad Wilcox,  says that data proves that marriage helps all children. He said, “Marriage benefits children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds,” (Fox News, Kendall Tietz “Marriage Promotes White Supremacy According To White University Professor”)

Pat Fagan, Anne Dougherty, and Miriam McElvain from the Marri Research Institute give “164 Reasons to Marry”, including lower abuse rates, more sexual fulfillment, and less drug abuse and better grades for children in school.  

The Intersectional Lens

Many voices at the United Nations are looking through an intersectional lens as they try to solve complex global problems. Viewing problems through an intersectional lens leads to polarization and blame instead of empowerment and problem solving. 

Intersectional theory was invented by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, a critical race theory and civil rights activist. The theory suggests that certain people, with certain identifiers such as being married, not married, employed, unemployed, religious, non-religious, or being a certain race are indicators of how much a person is oppressed as a victim or is an oppressor. The theory is very rigid and doesn’t allow for a person to declare that they are not a victim or an oppressor if they don’t want to be one. Once they have be categorized through the intersectional lens, then they are socially, physically, and morally stuck. 

At the United Nations the conversations have adopted the terms intersectional and intersectionality to create more victims and oppressors. While discussing widowhood and inheritance rights problems in Africa, which are big problems for women, the WHO organization said that we need to take an intersectional view of these women and therefore give them more access to abortions. It’s true that rape of widows does often happen, but to declare them victims and to just provide abortions gives them no way past their problems. True empowerment shows a person a path away from victimhood, not toward it. 

Take Aways 

The conversation at CSW is always vast and impossible to monitor completely, but what I saw this year convinced me, more than ever, that our families really are the most powerful groups in society, and that we must value them and protect them. If we keep family, marriage, and motherhood in the forefront of our minds and conversations, then the next generation has a chance to see past the false, disempowering intersectional lens that is being presented to us all. 

Family relationships and the organic organizational structure of family bonds has always had the power to throw those who would oppress individuals on their heads. 

Talk to your children and grandchildren about how much family means to you, about stories of family members from the past, and about how the principles in family life, like marrying and having children can lead them to great purpose and fulfillment. Simple conversations can bring a needed light in our darkening world. 

Strengthen your family bonds and better solve family problems by learning self-government 

Let There Be Peace on Earth and Patience For All Mankind

In our modern times, patience is all but lost as our society encourages entitlement and instant gratification. Thank goodness for Christmas. Patience, one of the eternal virtues that great characters are built upon, is part of so many memories of Christmas past and present. We all know the stories of sneak peeking into Christmas gifts because it just seemed too hard to wait until Christmas day, only to destroy the fun on the real holiday because the surprise was ruined. The Christmas gift tradition is a beautifully magical reminder of the sweet joy that comes from waiting. 

For centuries, prophets foretold of a Messiah that would come to save all people. The believers waited. There was no other choice. Patience, after all, is part of having faith and believing. Christmas day was the day of the prophecy, the day all the patience of believers paid off. As we count the days until Christmas on advent calendars and wrap gifts for future opening we are literally rehearsing the faith and patience practiced by believers leading up to the coming of our Lord over 2000 years ago. 

War-Time Christmas 

Sometimes Christmas day brings unexpected challenges and tears. However, those Christmas days have their own kind of magic too as they teach patience in a different way. 

The love contained in Christmas has the power to turn tears of sorrow into tears of gratitude. 1942 was a tearful Christmas for many families who were missing their loved ones due to World War II. Farrell and Beverly Pond had been married for about a year when Farrell was drafted into military service. Soon after, Beverly found out that she was expecting their first child. 

Farrell and Beverly were each looking ahead to an empty Christmas without their true love by their side. At the time Farrell left for military service, the two lovers promised to write to each other every single day that Farrell was away; and they did for three long years. This simple plan to stay connected, devoted to and focused on each other daily, kept them deeply loyal and committed to each other no matter how far apart they were. They built faith and hope in each other as they patiently wrote their letters each day. 

Beverly: “Christmas is just another day for me this year, but I will surely be thinking of you, my darling, and my fingers just itch to open your package. That will be the only fun I’ll have.”

Farrell: “Honey, I’m not expecting anything for Christmas, but I’m getting a little bit anxious to open your box. You have surely got me wondering. No matter what it is I’ll be so happy to have it, because all your love came with it.”

His loyalty to his love and principles encouraged Farrell to agree to working barracks guard duty on Christmas  Eve and Christmas day instead of going to town to drink and let loose like many of the other soldiers did that year. 

Even though Farrell was unable to regularly attend church in the army, he was a very devout believer and felt that getting drunk on Christmas was not the right way to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. He wanted to have a calm Christmas and think about his “beloved eternal wife”, even though he didn’t get a chance to talk to her that day. Farrell said that he couldn’t even enjoy watching a show with other soldiers because he didn’t enjoy anything unless his beloved Beverly was seated next to him.

Farrell: “Honey, every time that I’ve been to a show, which is twice, I have had, and still have, a guilty feeling because I hate so much to do anything without you…It is more punishment for me to to go to a show without you, darling, than it ever would be staying in the barracks. I love you so much and nothing is enjoyable when you aren’t with me. I’d so much rather sit and write to you.”

He longed for his wife and married life, and did all that he could to live in a way that would please his wife and God. 

Farrell: “The best relaxation and amusement for me is just to write to you, honey, and keep my bunk and shelf and floor clean, keep my clothes clean and neat and all my personal belongings kept as they should go. Because I know that you would want them in ‘spick and span’ order if I were home, and I don’t feel decent if they aren’t”

They each practiced patience by thinking of and encouraging each other instead of pitying themselves too much. They often testified to each other of the truths they held dear to remind each other, and themselves, that they could endure this trial with the hope of eternal happiness. 

Beverly: “I hope you won’t let yourself get too homesick sweetheart, as I know it’s a terrible feeling. I think I’ve felt the same way many a night since you left. But all you can do is think of the glorious time when we’ll be together again, honey, and of our eternal and undying love.” 

Farrell: “Tonight I can picture you right now. 8:00 pm M.W.T., darling, being out at Dad’s and ‘helping Sasie’ with the dinner…You can never imagine how I miss you tonight, our second Christmas since our being so happily married in the temple of our Heavenly Father. For the first time, I really dread Christmas to come too. I never dreamed I would want you so much, darling, as I do this Christmas and each day that passes. Honey, I love you so much that if I could be with you tonight I would give anything in the world.” 

Christmas day was filled with tears for both of them.

Beverly: “Oh darling, I can’t tell you how I feel today. Everyone is so very good to me, and yet I can’t enjoy any of it without my beloved sweetheart. I keep wondering what kind of day you are having this Christmas, honey, and I’m certainly missing you. Every once-in-a-while the tears just won’t stay where they should, but I always feel better after my hankie gets them…Such an eternal love as ours can never die, my darling, and surly there has never been a love any greater than our love for each other. God, in all his goodness, will surely bring us together very soon, sweetheart.” 

Farrell: “I received so much today that I was truly overwhelmed, darling. The agony of opening the packages and not being able to thank everyone face to face, most of all you my sweet darling wife, was almost unbearable…Your sweet card, darling, brought tears to my eyes because of those words ‘For there are memories we two alone can understand and there are ties that bind us close’…I want to show you each thing that I unwrapped and to kiss you and thank you so much for what you have done for me and what you and your love means to me, darling. More than a few tears have been shed by your eternally loving ‘cubby,’ darling, this Christmas, honey.”

However, behind the tears was patience and hope for better times to come and gratitude for blessings that they noticed in their lives despite their circumstances. Farrell even noticed that their relationship had a chance of improving under the circumstances since they were focusing so much on each other. 

Farrell: “Under the circumstances, darling, may the year bring you happiness and joy, and my prayer is that we will be reunited in the early months of the year. We should be doubly happy and thankful because of the coming of our baby in a  few months…We have truly been blessed in spite of the present world conditions, honey. Our love has grown so much and seems to have grown more since my being in the army, darling, and more because of the blessed event to come to us soon. I hope, my darling, that you had a Merry Christmas. I miss you so much, Beverly dear, and Christmas this year won’t have a joy or happiness for me or you either that we had had on other Christmases that we have been together. Each of the years at Christmas has shown how our love has multiplied for each other and this year is another year only of greater love and affection than all the others put together, darling. Life is so empty and meaningless when I’m not with you, because you are so sweet and loving to me…”

Beverly: “The Lord will hear and answer our prayers I’m sure, darling, and may he always bless you ‘till we are together again…”

Patience is a hopeful thing that ultimately leads to more gratitude and inner peace. 

Beverly: “I certainly pray that it won’t be another year before you are home and there’s ‘peace on earth, goodwill towards men.”

Farrell: “Happy New Year to the sweetest girl that has ever breathed the breath of life, my wonderful, darling, wife. God bless and be with you, Beverly dear, and Jr. too for your eternally loving husband, Farrell.”

Farrell and Beverly survived the years apart during the war and went on to be madly in love throughout their married life. They focused on enduring the war and each Christmas apart with patience and hope and after the war they were blessed with a truly happy, one-of-a-kind marriage. As I read their letters each week with my dad, their son, the lesson of patience and long-suffering that Christmas symbolizes has been engraved upon my heart. Patience is a rare virtue in these selfish times, but those who possess it, are truly blessed with happiness and hope during the hardest of times. 

To improve your marriage and in increase your patience at home come to this online event. 

Are Traditions a Source of Peace or Stress?

Traditions are much more than activities we regularly do for fun or foods we regularly eat. After all, traditions make up a large percentage of social small talk and family discussion, and they help us get to know each other. Traditions set us apart from others as they demonstrate our uniqueness, individualized family experiences, and memories. However, traditions don’t just set us apart, they also unite us. Traditions tie us to other people through a deep sort of bonding that no one else can fully understand. Families, who originate and often recreate traditions, have a connection that runs deeper than personality or common interests. Enduring family relationships are rooted in memories created during  the planning and participation in family traditions.

Family relationships are formed as families establish daily routines, such as, family prayers, mission statements, after-dinner clean up and other family work. On a weekly basis, many families create lasting bonds and memories by diligently planning and having family activities, family meetings, and attending regular events together. Yet, seasonal traditions, especially the ones associated with holidays, are powerful in fostering lasting memories, because of the extra special nature of the tradition and the anticipation it involves.

Family traditions are so magical that they transform us all into children again. During a 2023 Christmas Devotional, Gerrit W. Gong said, “Part of the magic for Christmas for me is to be a child and an adult at the same time. We delight as an adult in what once delighted the child we once were. We delight with the child as we create and recreate memories and traditions together.”

Holiday traditions, whether good or bad, lay a foundation for connection and communication patterns for our lives. The traditional experiences of our past, whether unifying or dysfunctional, influence our identity and bonding habits. They can promote enduring joy or family-oriented anxiety. 

Distress Over Traditions

Maybe this anxiety is why some people worry over creating family traditions and even sometimes hesitate to recreate traditions from their childhoods. On Today.com, Connie Lissner wrote an article called “Creating Family Traditions is a Bad Idea.” In her article she suggested that since children sometimes push back against seasonal traditions that parents should consider discontinuing those traditions. She even suggested bribing children to participate in traditions by having all seasonal traditions include gifts. Neither one of these ideas will solve the problem of entitlement, selfishness or complaining behavior in the family. They are simply placing a bandaid over a deeper problem. 

Sometimes children can feel that they have outgrown a tradition or that they would rather do something else with their time, missing the significant point of a family tradition. 

Family traditions aren’t meant to please only one person, they are to unify the group. They create a unique memory that represents the family identity and includes the whole family. Of course it would be perfect if everyone liked participating and found pleasure in the tradition every time, but that isn’t likely to happen since we can’t control the choices or processing of others. So, when push-back happens ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this family tradition? Is the purpose important enough to emphasize even if one person is not having a good time this year? Is it okay or even healthy for one family member to not get his way sometimes?” Sometimes being part of a group involves looking at the bigger picture and not thinking only of yourself and what you want. Bonding is grounded and family identity is established when families create traditions and stick to them. 

There are other reasons people don’t like the idea of family traditions. Some people have had bad experiences with traditions that have left them feeling distressed, neglected, or even abused. If sarcasm, prejudices, aggression, and put-downs are part of family traditions, then it’s no wonder that a person might start to think of family traditions as toxic or hostile environments. These family traditions can potentially pass on unhealthy behavioral patterns that will last for generations. In such cases, it could be best to make new family traditions or have open conversations about how to help the family traditions hit the mark for family unity in the future.  

What We Lose When We Lose Traditions

Gerrit W. Gong said, “A Christmas memory recalled, is a Christmas memory made anew. Christmas memories become traditions.” (Christmas Devotional 2023) When we lose a treasured tradition we lose some of the beautiful family memories that lead to identity, security and hope during difficult times ahead. Memories build traditions and traditions make memories. 

Memories get lost when we give up or lose family traditions. When the memories get lost the opportunity to increase a sense of family identity through tradition is also lost. Family traditions offer families who have had relationship problems the hope for healing relationships and greater happiness in the future.  It gives families a  chance to push aside problems, and to focus on family the way they intentionally want to be as a family. When we stop having traditions we potentially destroy the chance for families to deliberately unify about something when they normally wouldn’t. 

How can a certain game, pudding, Christmas decoration, or bedtime story really do that much good? If the same attention is paid to that item or moment, then that item or moment, when repeated is a reminder of old days and joy in relationships. For some people it likely sounds liberating to adapt to life changes and abandon old traditions. 

However, traditions are roots of identity that our children return to again and again as they go through life. We don’t want to lose that. Maybe those temporary selfish complaints are a sign that a tradition needs to change, but they could also be the sign that they need to just invest more in the tradition instead of looking at traditions through an entitled lens. Before you change a treasured tradition, ask yourself, “Am I changing this tradition into an even better tradition for my family, or am I giving up an important tradition that makes us who we are?” 

How To Create Healthy Family Traditions 

Since family traditions are so foundational, it’s worth the effort to establish healthy family traditions for seasonal holidays. Here are four steps for creating healthy family traditions. 

First, work on yourself. The way we feel about ourselves can directly impact the way we interact with and feel about others. If you don’t like a family tradition or are struggling with family interactions, ask yourself, “Is there anything about my own thoughts or behavior that I’m not seeing which I could work on to improve the situation?”

Second, you don’t need to do every new tradition you hear about. I know that some people struggle with the “fear of missing out” more than others, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family by attempting too many traditions. 

Third, explain to your children why you want to use traditions from your childhood so that they get some buy-in too. You love the traditions for a reason. Share your stories with your children so that they know what you are trying to recreate. 

Fourth, get input from the family about traditions too. Be sure to be open enough with your holiday tradition schedule to allow for time to try new foods and experiences. Maybe try one new thing each year and see if it turns into a tradition. If it doesn’t, no worries, you still have all those other wonderful traditions, like the fruit cake that everyone loves and the family Christmas Eve talent show. 

We all know people who struggle at Christmas time because they either don’t have anyone to relive family Christmas traditions with anymore, or they had such bad experiences with toxic family traditions, like family aggression, that they dread this time of year. This is very unfortunate since traditions are so foundational to each one of us and contribute to our vision of ourselves.  Perhaps this year is a great year to start a new tradition by inviting someone outside the family group to be part of a special family tradition. Maybe opening our arms and sharing our treasured traditions could be just the thing someone needs to have hope for family traditions again. 

Merry Christmas! 

Video by Nicholeen called Creating Family Traditions That Last 

Why Would WOW Suddenly Be Against Title IX?

“Just tell them you’re a girl if they ask you anything and they’ll leave you alone.” This is what my son’s soccer coach told him a couple of years ago when he was told to play on the girl’s soccer team a few times so that they wouldn’t forfeit. (Coaches stop at nothing to get a win.) My son didn’t want to disobey his coach so he went on the field with the girls. He reported to me, “It was so easy Mom. At first, it was fun to be so much better than them, but then it was boring, and felt like we were just being mean. I didn’t like it. And, after a bit, the coach told us not to score, but just set up the score by passing it to a girl for the point.” This is happening to our girls. No wonder so many girls are stopping sports.

Title IX, adopted in 1972, known for disallowing the discrimination of women based on sex in education programs and activities, has historically helped women have access to sports and was a reason for the creation of women-only sports teams and clubs. Over the years, the Worldwide Organization For Women [WOW] has referred many legislators and leaders to Title IX as a standard to follow for the non-discrimination of women in educational settings. So, why now, after 46 years as a women’s and girl’s advocacy organization, would WOW be against Title IX?

Even though Title IX isn’t perfect, in its current state it has been protecting women and girls from harassment and discrimination in educational settings. College campuses have Title IX offices to take complaints to and to help women and girls navigate social and academic situations that target their sex on campuses. However, now, under the Biden administration, Title IX has been attacked, thereby actually attacking women.

Proposed Changes 

In October, the Biden administration and the Department of Education are planning to make the following changes to Title IX.

“The proposed regulation would be in the Title IX regulations at section 106.41(b)(2):

If a recipient adopts or applies sex-related criteria that would limit or deny a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female team consistent with their gender identity, such criteria must, for each sport, level of competition, and grade or education level: (i) be substantially related to the achievement of an important educational objective, and (ii) minimize harms to students whose opportunity to participate on a male or female team consistent with their gender identity would be limited or denied.” (ed.gov press release)

What is this saying?

This addition says that so long as a person says that they identify as a certain gender they can play on that gender’s school sports teams. This would include full participation involving locker room and restroom access for that specific gender. It says that the only way a student can be denied is if there is a reason related to an “important educational objective” and that students shouldn’t be denied based on gender. “Important educational objective” is a very subjective term that would be hard to prove in court.

These changes eliminate vital protections for women. Gender isn’t the same thing as sex. Previously Title IX protected women and girls because of their biological sex. Now, Title IX would protect people based on their declared gender. If this occurs, women and girls will no longer have safe spaces to engage in sports. Not only will men and boys feel it’s an easy way to poach the girls’ matches and get the win, but women and girls will get hurt and not make the teams they hope to make. Putting the emphasis on gender instead of sex excludes women from sports by forcing them to unfairly compete with biological males. These changes will be bad for the physical, emotional, and social health of women and girls.

The Department of Education [DOE] says that these changes need to be made to clear up “uncertainty” by coaches related to students of other genders playing sports. This is overreach! The states are tackling this issue independently of the DOE and feel good about their local laws. Federal control of education is unconstitutional, therefore mandating policy related to gender should be a state issue. Additionally, creating a Title IX gender mandate attempts to undermine laws that states have already made that disallow biological males in women’s school sports.

The DOE Is Behaving Unethically 

The creation of the DOE was unconstitutional, and the DOE has overstepped its bounds multiple times. WOW has historically opposed governmental overreach due to our desire to protect state sovereignty. So, it isn’t new that WOW would oppose the US national government on an educational issue. However, this time WOW feels that an attack on women and girls is not just overreach, but unethical conduct for a government department.

As the president of WOW I take women’s sports seriously. I know that without playing on volleyball, basketball, and softball teams in my youth, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today. Thanks to the Title IX movement of 1972 I had no limitations to my sporting aspirations. Society empowered so many girls and women just like me as they supported equality in sports.

Now, women and girls are pulling away from sports again due to men and boys choosing to claim they are female and then poaching on the girls just like my son did in those unfair soccer games.

The changes to Title IX must be stopped soon. Put pressure on the DOE by sharing this article and posting your positive stories about Title IX or negative stories about the proposed changes to Title IX on social media.

If Title IX is corrupted with these proposed revisions, we will have no choice but to call for the abolition of the US Department of Education.

Toxic Barbies & The Great Happiness Debate

There are times when I do things I wouldn’t normally do just because I wouldn’t normally do it. It’s a kind of self-check to make sure that I’m still open-minded and hopeful, instead of resting in a bias. Allow me to give you some context into my life so that you can understand why it was unusual for me to attend the new Barbie movie. I teach parenting, child development, and relationship-strengthening practices, I also head the Worldwide Organization for Women [WOW]. The WOW organization has been dedicated to the empowerment of women, girls, and families since 1977. Our organization is an NGO with consultative status at the United Nations. It is with 46 years of experience that we express sorrow at the current toxic feminist, even Marxist, messaging that is targeting females and undermining a hopeful, happy future for women and girls. In my role of advocating for women and girls on a global scale, I analyze everything to determine the cause of the effects I see in the lives of those for whom I am advocating.

Don’t get me wrong, I played with Barbies when I was young and some of our favorite cartoons to watch together on a family movie night when my children were young were the Barbie productions. So, I was skeptical, but hopeful when my friend called me and asked, “Do you want to dress in pink and go see the new Barbie movie?” 

I said, “Sure! Sounds crazy, like something we don’t do. I like it.” 

My friend must have known what I would get out of the show (she likely looked it up ahead of time as usual), because she said to me, “Nicholeen, I have a feeling that you’ll end up writing an article about this one.” 

I laughed off her assertion and we joked that I should have paid for the ticket with the business card if it was going to be a business expense. Then we settled into utter disappointment. 

My kind of movie is more like the recent Sound of Freedom movie or classics like The Sound of Music. If a production is done well and doesn’t push untruths, I can usually find something to appreciate in it. However, my family does know me as a pretty harsh movie critic when analyzing for: morality, social grooming, and truth. My children were called the same day I saw the Barbie movie to hear my review. They were actually shocked that I’d gone to that movie in the first place. I kind of was too. 😉 There is a part of me that loves to know what people see, learn, and think with each social trend. The psychological aspect of a movie trend fascinates me. 

In light of all the social buzz about the recent Barbie movie, I feel that some parents might appreciate deeper analysis of common themes found in the Barbie movie that can negatively script today’s children. In my view, the new Barbie movie is toxic. It is an obvious vehicle of the anti-woman movement. 

Many parents worry about what their little girls think of themselves. They see the mixed messages targeted at girls and women which are confusing, disempowering and alarming at best. These ideas are most accurately described as toxic. To say nothing about the messaging that is targeting the identity of men and boys. The consensus of activists seems to be that the threat to global happiness is “toxic masculinity” and “patriarchy.” Where does this messaging leave the future of men and women? Is it even possible to raise children who honor women and men in a world that has adopted stereotypical views of men and women?

The New Barbie Movie

Ironically, the new Barbie movie put out by Mattel, a toy company, seems to be trying to address stereotypes because the main character of the movie is named Stereotypical Barbie. Unfortunately, Mattel completely missed the mark. If they were attempting to unify society by exposing stereotypes – they failed. If anything, they seem to have created a deeper stereotype divide that will inevitably create more social division and disharmony amongst the sexes as our children grow into adulthood. 

Even though the Barbie movie was entertaining, funny, and creative in some places due to some slapstick, ignorant, toy humor, it was ultimately a toxic production, especially for our youth whose brains are not fully developed, and individuals who don’t understand world views and the great happiness debate. The Barbie movie promotes: many forms of entitlement, self-absorbed men and women, disunity, objectification of men and women, a disregard for character development, contention along with passivity (ironically), parental immaturity, disrespect for a creator or plan from a creator, manipulation, despising maternity and babies, rejection of men, scurrilous depictions of manhood highlighted by buffoonery, and, finally, Marxism. 

In a recent discussion with a colleague of mine, he said that the Barbie movie “might be, if you think about it, exposing how absurd modern feminism is.” After some discussion, I saw his point of view but concluded, that most audiences, especially juvenile audiences, who don’t scrutinize messaging when looking for entertainment, would never look that deeply into the production to see it as a backward view of why modern feminism is so toxic. On the contrary, most people are heralding the Barbie movie as a great step toward putting men in their place and strengthening women. Clearly, the movie gives the message that women must be aggressive and dominant to find happiness. 

The Great Happiness Debate

Happiness, its importance, and how to achieve it, has been part of the great debate of civilization since the beginning of time. Happiness means “the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good.” [Webster’s 1828 Dictionary] In order to understand happiness, we must also understand the word good. 

Good means “having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God’s law requires; virtuous; pious; religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vitious, wicked, evil.” [Webster’s 1828 Dictionary] The word God is actually the root word of the word good. To be good essentially means God-like. In that context, happiness means having a sensation associated with being in alignment with God, likely a spiritual sensation. 

Happiness does not mean the same thing as pleasure, even though throughout history people have asserted that pleasure is the greatest indicator of happiness. This miscommunication about happiness has repeatedly led selfish or naive people down paths of emptiness, corruption, and self-destruction. 

Epicurus, a Greek philosopher born in 341 BC, turned the meaning of happiness on its head by detaching happiness from goodness and associating it only with pleasure in his best-known egotistical hedonistic philosophy. He philosophized that the only thing that is intrinsically valuable is one’s own pleasure. 

Other philosophers and prophets refuted these false Epicurean claims. Jesus Christ showed with His entire ministry and act of Grace that pleasure has nothing to do with the purpose and meaning of life. His life showed that joy, which stems from a deep spiritual connection and alignment with goodness, is most attainable through giving up oneself to/for another.   

Since happiness is directly connected to God, it’s no surprise that anti-god philosophers continually suggest that God destroys happiness, because their definition of happiness is nothing but pleasure. I’m always saddened for people who think pleasure is happiness, because in my experience, I’ve found that pleasure is fleeting and often manipulated or exploited. Pleasure is a weak substitute for the security that comes from joy and happiness. 

Jean-Jaques Rousseau, a philosopher and one of the fathers of the French Revolution was raised without much parental attention because his mother died and his father was absent. He expanded on Epicurus’s philosophical conclusions about pleasure and happiness. He declared religion “tyrannical”, pleasure and personal choice “king”, “equality through entitlement”, society “the enemy of the individual”, and rejected taking personal responsibility if it inhibited personal pleasure. This led him to take all five of his children to an orphanage so that he could pursue his own personal pleasures. 

In the Barbie movie happiness is portrayed as partaking in the following pleasures: “every night is a girls’ night”, disconnection between men and women, expensive clothes, looking good, doing what you want to do, living in a dream house, driving a dream car, wallowing in your emotions or projecting them on others, controlling others to get your way, winning social battles and activism, and apparently going to the gynecologist (that one is disturbing on many levels).  

Spoiler About What Spoils the Barbie Movie

What’s so toxic about Barbie? To be honest, it’s not just the Barbies or the women in the movie who are toxic. The Kens and men are toxic too. All the men and women in the Barbie movie are stereotyped, even the woman and her daughter who represent the real world and the solution for the Barbieland problem. Every character has an absence of character and is advocating for an ideological/activistic agenda. 

Barbie may be a movie that was intended to show how all sides, of the socially constructed ideological battle of the sexes, are selfish and ridiculous. But, that would mean that Barbie is a movie only for adults who understand world views, -isms, stereotypes, and social programming. I don’t think most movie-goers fall into that category. I know they don’t because every time I share my findings about movies, people say that they didn’t see many of the things I saw, or that they didn’t want to think about the things I saw during the movie when they saw them; they just wanted to “enjoy it.” 

For those parents who are intentional in their responsibility to protect their children from the evils of the world, here is a list of what Barbie teaches movie-goers and what should definitely be discussed with children if your children see this movie. 

The opening scene shows girls playing with baby dolls and pretending to be mothers and looking bored. Then they see a larger-than-life sex symbol, Barbie, and they smash their dolls’ heads in and kick them and strip their own clothes off. It was disturbing. Children and those seeking entertainment could interpret this scene as promoting the idea that motherhood and babies are bad. 

While we are on babies, there was a pregnant Barbie that was shunned by the community and always referred to as “gross” or “disturbing.” She didn’t ever have a say in anything but was just kind of tucked away. Also, the mother heroine in the story seemed to feel like motherhood and womanhood was a burden and led to “darkness.” What kind of a selfish message is this? 

Mature families know that it’s family sacrifice that leads to our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. Giving ourselves to family takes work and subordination of self but is ultimately our source of purpose and true happiness. The only thing this woman/mother gave to anyone was rhetoric about all the hard things about being a woman. 

Her little activist speech which was portrayed as the hero moment of the movie, about how awful womanhood is, was meant to sound like all of this happened to her because of men. The thoughts she shared weren’t thoughts that a man would generally give. I work with lots of families. I’ve noticed that most women put expectations on themselves because of perfectionism or because they are comparing themselves to other women. More times than not, it’s the men who are telling their wives to “relax and not put so much on themselves.” The whole premise of the inner dialog was false, and saying such a negative dialog would only promote entitlement, not healing. 

This woman was celebrated for her “darkness” thoughts, specifically, thoughts of dying. Instead of healing through hope, the movie showed her healing through anger and entitlement. That isn’t how a soul heals. Why would we want to promote indulging in “darkness?” That doesn’t sound like it leads to purpose at all. Talk about disempowering women. Sure, we all have hard times and can get caught up in our own heads sometimes. But, those are times to recognize our ability to identify thought problems and patterns and choose to adjust our thinking or seek help. This woman just gave her poison away. She didn’t adjust herself at all. This is personally and socially problematic. This immature mother character was morally bent. Her character could lead mothers to be selfish, which leads children to feel detachment from mothers in order for mother to pursue her self-interest, or worse that children had to save mother from her problems (dysfunctional), and she would teach men that a woman’s emotions are sovereign. This thinking is toxic. 

Objectification and vanity are a big part of the Barbie movie. Barbie has to go on her expedition in order to make her feet and thighs look better. She is very afraid of cellulite! The cost and coordination of outfits is an important humor piece that promotes materialism and vanity. 

Women, in the real world and in Barbie world are portrayed as objects. They are what they do. They don’t have any value outside of what they do for an occupation. Motherhood is noticeably not an option for Barbie to be a powerful woman. They have to look good and be perfect. To liberate themselves they have to focus on what they do and what they want, and then they change their looks. The movie massively objectifies women. 

The men are also objectified. There isn’t one man that is shown as intelligent, and they are just there to hang around Barbie so that she looks like she has it all. Of course, when Ken turns to patriarchy, the objectification swaps for a minute, but it’s all just an objectification battle in the end, that no one can win because they are all being objectified and exploited. 

Emotions are shown in a confusing light. When Barbie is happy it is shown as false and bad and when she cries or gets angry, then she is seen as good or normal. This makes good seem bad and bad seem good. This would be very confusing to immature, emotional, young girls who have a hard time sorting through their emotional ups and downs. It’s a negative, emotionally weak and entitled message. This isn’t to say that sadness or anger are bad. But, promoting them leads people to seek unhappiness in order to see themselves as normal. This is false messaging and goes against inner recognition of our capacity to handle problems or to choose optimism. 

Several characters in the movie make references to their genitals or lack of genitals as dolls. For example, Barbie doesn’t feel complete without a vagina. So, at the end, after a slightly blasphemous, confusing, and misleading conversation with her “creator,” she happily goes to the gynecologist. There is a disturbing moment when a middle school-aged girl tells Barbie that she doesn’t have anything to worry about at the gynecologist. Why would a middle school-aged girl know this or say this? What are we promoting here? Sexually active teens? And, why is Barbie going to the gynecologist if she has no interest in Ken or men? Is it because she intends to be sexually active? Is this the happy ending that Mattel is offering to young girls? Sexual grooming anyone?

We can’t have a movie about Ken and Barbie without some love, or can you? It used to be that Ken and Barbie were a couple. They went on dates and got married. I had a wedding dress for my Barbie and Ken had a suit. My Barbies always got married. But, in this movie Ken loves Barbie, but she doesn’t want him. So, maybe there is another guy she likes. Nope, she is all for herself. The movie promotes solo living and pushing away relationships. 

Every movie that ends this way bothers me because it turns the purpose of humans and happiness upside down. Sure, not every romance in real life ends in marriage, but there is a reason that good stories end in marriage; why it’s the universal sign of a happy ending. Stories that are repeatedly copied, like Cinderella and the Jane Austin Romances are copied because people love the build-up to marriage: the happy ending. 

In his book Manhood, Josh Hawley gives some great understanding of what marriage really means to society. Hawley says, “If a man wants to meet his purpose as a man, then he will have to give himself away to a woman and bind himself to her. He will have to sacrifice. He’ll have to acquire the character of a husband…Marriage was viewed as foundational to a good life. Today our epicurean age teaches a different message…it is a truth the one can only become one’s self by giving one’s self to another.” 

Modern men have been trained in epicurean thought, and so live for pleasure. What does this do to women? It further objectifies and disrespects them. But, then society tells them that they are bad for wanting pleasure from women. This results in women feeling that men are objectifying them, even if, like Barbie, they are objectifying themselves, and then women retaliate by pushing men away and getting hostile. Epicurean women want their pleasure too, so they emotionally abuse the men. No one gives themselves to each other and they all lose. That is where we find ourselves and what the messages in the Barbie movie will lead to. Each person is just living for themselves. Epicureans would call this a successful culture. But, we see, even from Barbie, that this just creates an oppressor/victim culture. Happiness, if undone, fractures the family and a life of purpose: the foundation of real happiness. 

Men and women gain great purpose through each other and through marriage. Hawely says, “In love we do the opposite from what Epicureans council. We surrender ourselves to love another. That is what men and women were meant for…To love and commit your life to another is to open your life to pain, hardship, and misunderstanding. Love means embracing the hard stuff too.” Marriage teaches us to endure life, instead of just looking for a scapegoat to blame for what is not perfect enough yet. 

Yes, the men in the Barbie movie behave badly. The depiction of men is definitely exaggerated at best, but mostly stereotypical and falsified for effect. They aren’t behaving as good men. A good man is respectful to women and children. They provide for, protect, and preside over their home and family with gentleness and kindness. The bad behavior of these men seems to justify Barbie’s retaliation. However, Barbie was conceited toward Ken first. Even though in her conceit she seemed pleasant, where Ken was gruff in his retaliation. Barbie didn’t value Ken as a person. She was selfish and exploited him, just like he exploited her. No amount of manipulation will solve the exploitation of men and women in our culture. Only love can heal that problem. 

Finally, the housing situation is concerning in Barbieland. I know they were being literal about the Barbie toy line. I guess Ken didn’t really have a toy house released for him. Probably because it was assumed that they’d live together. So, all the Kens in Barbieland are homeless. They really want a home, but the Barbies all have their own mansions and don’t want Kens in them. “Every night is a girls’ night” they say. When the Kens do their patriarchal takeover, they take over the houses. This is significant since they are homeless. It’s interesting to note that neither the Kens nor the Barbies really seem genuinely happy living alone. They do stuff each day, but it is obviously empty living. 

Josh Hawley said about home, “The real feeling of home represents what the husband and the wife have built together in that place. In that place husband and wife, together, endure.”  He explains that that is the reason why going to his grandparent’s house was always so special to his heart and why he wanted to have a home with a woman. There is a presence in a real home where people have sacrificed for each other that can’t be felt elsewhere; it’s a feeling of security and safety. Our children need to know that homes are better when we share them. The selfish messages in Barbie will lead to homelessness, even if people live in their own mansions. 

Toxic Culture End Game

The sad news about the Barbie movie is that more and more people are embracing Mattel’s version of happiness; selfish loneliness focused on pleasure seeking. In contrast, focusing on family at your house, disengaging from the battle of the sexes, celebrating the magnificent order that the ideals of marriage and family bring to the world even if you are a single parent or have been wronged by the opposite sex, can give the rising generation a counter message to what Hollywood is peddling. Our children’s hearts and identities are under attack. We must discuss more with our children and proactively prepare them for the cultural ideological grooming that they are and will continue to encounter throughout their lives. 

When the Barbie movie ended, I noticed that there wasn’t applause or even smiles. There was just silence in the theatre. I saw children holding Barbie dolls and parents silently stand up and walked out. The feeling was thick and awkward. It was as if I could hear parents thinking, “What do I do with this experience? Will they forget it? Will they even see what I saw? Was it so bad? Should I just focus on the funny stuff? Are men really that bad? Is that the way women should handle men who act that way? Why is this happening? Why is this the message given to our children?” 

I felt bad for those parents. I don’t usually write such long articles, but this time I felt like I wanted to help those parents who left with their heads down and in silence. It’s okay that you felt awkward. It’s probably a sign that what you saw wasn’t true or shouldn’t be true. It’s okay to tell the real truth to your children. Please do. Please talk about it. Ask the questions above to them and discuss the themes. 

The Bible says that there is always what is seen and what is not seen, “for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV] I believe this verse applies to movies too. Look deeper and talk about what is seen and what is not seen with your children. Discussing deeper is good parenting. These discussions with your children could potentially be liberating too. The last thing we need is a society of loveless, selfish, angry, pleasure-seeking people who don’t value anyone but themselves. We can teach our children to see more and be more; be family. 

Improve conversation with your children by having regular mentor sessions. 

UN Global Day of Parents Is June 1st! — Why?

Let’s Celebrate! June 1st, the Global Day of Parents, is dedicated to celebrating the impact that parents have on raising children. Not only is a parent required for the biological creation of a child, but parents are vital to the social, moral, emotional, and academic formation of the child as well. No influence is greater than that of parents on a child, even if the parent isn’t present in the child’s life. If a parent is missing, the child carries a scar and a longing to know their parent more and to bond with the unknown parent.

Parents give their children a sense of purpose, confidence, and well-being through the powerful force we call belonging/bonding. In the northern hemisphere, June means summer and family time. This is a great time, when children are home from school for the summer, to really put some deliberate effort into bonding with our children.

Go fishing, camping, and star-gazing. Create forts, gardens, clubhouses, summer businesses, and crafts. Invite discussion, tell stories, play games, learn new things, and make memories. Summer is the perfect time to fall in love with parenting again by looking forward to the adventures of each day with the children.

The global climate hinges on the dedication and condition of the heart of parents toward their children. When parents are ‘all in’ with their parenting, then their hearts open up more toward their children and they naturally teach the children the life lessons needed for confidence, safety, and purpose in life. This powerful impact of parents is worth some attention.

United Nations Says… 

In 2012, a few years after the United Nations decided to focus on family issues, the UN created a resolution to have a Global Day of Parents (A/RES/66/292).

“Universal Declaration, Article 26-3.43 “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of

education that shall be given to their children.” Children’s Summit, 18.74 “The family has the

primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children from infancy to

adolescence. The introduction of children to the culture, values, and norms of their society

begins in the family… Accordingly, all institutions of society should respect and support the

efforts of parents.”

Even though the United Nations doesn’t always stay within its boundaries globally, and even sometimes influences states in ways they shouldn’t, some of its plans and focuses are worth some merit. Global Day of Parents is focused on what really determines the success of nations and societies; parents.

Celebrate with me by attending a virtual Global Day of Parents event on June 1st at 1:00 pm EST. This event is sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation and the permanent mission of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations. I’ll be one of the three speakers.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vSWyd-qRRYCRAgV4yS__UA#/registration

May Is For Mothers

There is an attack on motherhood. However, May, the month of flowers, birds, and life, the month that reminds us of all that we are grateful for, brings our hearts back to the simple, yet powerful lessons of our mothers. Lessons of gratitude, strength, work, and love, that mothers teach, need to be honored. May, the time of light after the spring storms, is the perfect time to remember the light that mothers bring to our lives and our societies. So, this year, people all over the planet are using the hashtag #MayisforMothers as they post photos, videos, and notes of gratitude for the power of their mothers and being a mother. 

Since the 1970s, motherhood and the fundamental role of mothers has been philosophically, and socially attacked. The social messaging about motherhood is that it’s a drudgery, considered undesirable, lesser than any paid vocation, and even a sign of oppression or a mental condition. For example, when I was pregnant with my fourth child, I heard some female college students talking. They concluded their discussion with this assumption: “a person who chooses to become a mother must be mentally disturbed.” Thankfully, despite the negativity surrounding motherhood as a chosen life path, people still choose to become mothers, they love being mothers, and are empowered by their chosen role as a mother.

The Power of Mothers 

Why is motherhood under attack? Because it’s the most powerful social, spiritual, physical, psychological, biological, and political position a person could ever hold, and dedicated mothers who are “all in” know it. Mothers and grandmothers who don’t buy into the negative messaging about motherhood, but quietly accept the responsibility of raising the next generation of people to be good, honest, brave, hardworking, kind, loving, and true are given overwhelming proof of the power in honoring motherhood as they see the people that they’ve molded go against the negative cultural trends of the day. I like to think I’m one of those people. Thanks Mom!!! 

When motherhood came under attack by the feminist culture of the 1970s, suddenly women all over the planet felt that it was time to bring the power of motherhood to the discussion table. Women flocked to the United Nations and social events to articulate the power of motherhood while other women tried to gain public platforms to tear down motherhood and dishonor the impact a good mother has on all of our lives. Those battles continue to be waged in the same social arenas. However, mothers aren’t fighting back, because they truly don’t have the time or the stomach for battles. This battle against motherhood that has been waging for quite some time has now become more intense. Mothers are now considered to be obstacles to get around for those who desire the power to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of children. 

The Greatest Threat

Currently, parents are presented in public forums as dangers to children. This idea then presents support for the assumption that children must be rescued from their parents. To gain perspective of what is happening, it is useful to look to the past. Historically, the act of stealing children or sacrificing children has been one way forces of evil have exercised dominion over families and nations. Think Hitler, Mao and the child sacrifice rituals to evil gods in ancient times. Parents, specifically mothers, were forced to give up their children for some perceived societal good or to a false god in order for the ruling powers to gain greater control over the hearts and minds of the people. To these rulers, children were considered materials, like money or animals, owned or transferred by adults for their purposes to control. If parents, specifically mothers, are continually marginalized, then who will protect the children and preserve their identities as valuable individuals? What will the future of society look like?

Mothers are the gate keepers for freedom, and virtue. They nurture these qualities in the hearts and minds of their children. If mothers stay close to their children and raise them well, then freedom and virtue, both in our society and in the lives of our children, can be maintained. A mother’s influence is too strong for a total societal takeover if she is allowed the power to maintain her place at the helm of society; raising her children. This is why motherhood, fertility, holy intimacy, family structure, identity, and the parent/child bonds are being attacked from every possible angle. All of the attacks are attempts to steal the hearts and minds of children from their mothers. 

Mothers are the greatest threat to those who design and scheme for ways to control or change society. Mothers, who hold the heart strings of all of her children and teach them who to trust and not trust, who to listen to or not, are the big stumbling block for the dark enemies of the family. 

Love Over Money

Motherhood is an unpaid position. That is precisely what gives it such power. A woman mothers her children because she wants to, not because she is getting paid. Payment to mothers would cheapen their role as a mother. And, even though people have tried to pay mothers off for their children and “service”, most women will not sell the hearts and minds of their children for money. Motherhood isn’t about gain. She doesn’t mother for herself directly, even though there are obvious indirect benefits to motherhood. Mothers do what they do because of love. Money is never going to be more valuable than love. Love is too strong. It’s that strength that gives mother such great power; a power that threatens would-be power-seekers and can’t be taken or fabricated. 

In a time when motherhood is more important and more attacked than ever, it’s time for a new motherhood movement. Women from around the world held a summit about this issue recently and determined that May is for mothers (#MayisforMothers.) No matter where we all are in the world, let’s post all the great things about mothers and grandmothers. Without mothers and grandmothers, we wouldn’t be who we have become. Let’s share stories of power and purpose and the impact for good that come from mothers. Motherhood is under attack because it’s powerful all by itself. Motherhood doesn’t have to fight back. A virtuous mother is moving the needle toward greater goodness just by doing what she does and as a nurturer and example of love to her children and grandchildren. There is nothing more powerful than a mother who knows how much power she has! 

Spread the word that #MayisforMothers 

And, if you or your organization is interested in being part of the next Woman Watch Network Summit, please contact here for information with the subject Woman Watch Network.  

Today’s Complexity Demands More Simplicity

“It’s harder for children nowadays with all of the technology and temptations and bad examples”, a mother said to me at a recent conference where I was speaking. We talked for a moment about the differences between her childhood and the childhood of her children. She was concerned. She felt lost and confused about what she should do to help them navigate these unfamiliar challenges. Then she said, “The complexities of today must require more complex solutions.”

I understood her concerns , and why she would assume complex problems require complex solutions; however, I knew her assumption was incorrect. One thing I’ve learned in all the years of raising my four children and doing therapeutic treatment care for the many foster children who came to stay with us, is modern complexities demand simple solutions.

Finding Simple Solutions Through Principles

When the BBC asked me to be on their program, The World’s Strictest Parents, in 2009, they took some time before the beginning of the program to tell me about all the issues with which the two 17-year-old teens were struggling. It was clear to me the producers were hoping to foster some stress or worry in me. But I wasn’t concerned. For many years, I’d taken in some of the most difficult youth the state had to offer. I had seen behaviors I didn’t even know existed. I knew there wasn’t much I hadn’t seen. I knew no matter what behaviors these two new youth would use to try to gain control or cause trouble, the solution was always the same –  appeal to my principles.

In order to create a firm and loving home where the spirit of love could reside, despite the issues children in our home were facing, we had to rely heavily upon the following principles: honesty, calmness, patience, trust, acceptance, love, work, play, compassion, mercy, justice, loyalty, unity, understanding, open-communication, roles, health, timing, time, identity, trust, priorities, teaching, planning, correcting, praising, problem solving, leadership, emotional intelligence, emotional strength, and self-government.

To accomplish the task of living by my principles, which is much harder than simply identifying them, I had to create a system. A system would support the entire family as we navigated problems. Our system included pre-teaching the family certain principle-based skills, such as: how to follow instructions, how to be calm, how to accept disappointment and “no” answers, how to accept corrections, and how to disagree appropriately. We also taught the children all the parenting skills for correcting and teaching so our parenting would follow another principle – predictability.

The following are a few of the simple solutions I created for our family using principles.

  • Love — Look into their eyes every time I talk to them and think “I love you” while talking.
  • Unity — Have regular meetings as a family to discuss our family relationships and solving family problems. Families also need more time together playing and working to have more unity.
  • Justice — Consistently pre-teach, correct, and praise the children so they are held accountable and have more success. They need to have the opportunity to earn negative and positive consequences.
  • Work — Work as a family each day, as well as, have the opportunity to do individual work daily.
  • Trust — Give instructions, but don’t micro-manage. If they don’t follow through, just do a calm correction.
  • Calmness — Make my own calm plan to use if I find myself not feeling calm, and help my children do the same.
  • Self-Government — Teach my children cause and effect and how to self-assess and self-correct. This will empower them. This also requires calm teaching.

Principles Make Problem Solving Simple

Modern technologies, with all their conveniences, make parenting and boundaries seem more difficult and may even lead parents to assume they need to get creative in their parenting to handle misuse, addictions, or safety issues. But creativity can be complex and isn’t required. Simplicity and principles are best.

For example: To solve misuse of or addiction to technology remember the principle – roles. What is the role of a child? A child is a learner. This means the child is always learning. What is the role of parent? A parent is a teacher. Everything they do or endorse is encouraging a lesson of some sort. What is the role of a device? It is supposed to be a tool. Once the roles are established the parent can ask themselves, “Is my child using the tool as a tool or as a toy?” and “Is the device teaching my child the things they ought to be learning?” Finally, “As a teacher, should I be endorsing this teaching device and the lessons being learned?” If the answer is no, then the parent must consult another principle – time. “Is this the right time of life for my child to use this tool?” or “How much time is appropriate for device usage if my child is to live a healthy life?” After answering these questions, the parent can feel confident creating boundaries or giving “no” answers about devices.

What about all the attitude problems and emotional walls children are creating in their relationships with their parents? Those may also seem like they need intricate interventions. They don’t. Principles have always worked at solving problems because they are eternal and broadly applicable. Again, the solution is the simple connection and application of principles.

To solve relationship problems, a parent can consider the principles of time, patience, priorities, open communication, trust, roles, honesty, and deliberate planning. Let me explain how I correct relationship problems. First, I would have what I call a parent counseling session with the child. We would talk about what we want our relationship to be like. I would then describe the problem I see with the relationship. Next, we would plan how we will spend more time together to have more open talks while also counseling together about being patient as we get used to the relationship changing. We might also discuss how to course correct if we see our relationship suffering again in the future. Finally, as a parent, I consistently follow through with course corrections and keep the open dialog going. Relying on principles makes it simple.

In 2014, L. Tom Perry said, “Today’s complexity demands more simplicity”. Then, he shared a life lesson from his grandfather that taught him a principle for life. The oldest books and the wisest people teach principles. Historically, those are the sources we have always gone to for answers to our problems. Nowadays the answer to problems is the same. Match your practices with your principles and the solutions become simple, even though the problems are different.

Find Nicholeen’s principle-based parenting skills at https://teachingselfgovernment.com/