Monday, October 9, 2017

Restoring Our Religious Liberty Against Attempts to Make Secularism Our State Religion

The promotion of secularism in the United States is rapidly becoming 'politically correct' as the organizing principle of our present day culture. defines secularism as a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith or worship.  It includes the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.  Secularists may refer to themselves as humanists, rationalists, freethinkers, skeptics, atheists or ethical societies.

Secularism is increasingly being upheld in our government circles, courts, universities and law schools as the necessary foundation for admittance to and participation withing social organizations.

For example: In 2009 Julia Ward entered her final semester of Eastern Michigan University's graduate counseling program with a 3.9 grade-point average.  After her professors and dean of studies kicked her out of the program because she refused to affirm homosexuality because of her Christian faith, Ward appealed to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) organization  to defend her cause. (1) (7)

ADF affirms that such attacks against religious freedom are rapidly increasing across the country.  The ADF, founded in 1993, provides legal support for cases of religious discrimination by coordinating the legal efforts of Christian attorneys and allied groups that are working to protect religious liberty, family values, and sanctity of life cases.   First Liberty Institute is another organization actively supplying legal support for the protection of our religious liberties. (8)


Recently anti-religious bigotry was demonstrated against Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame, who was being considered for a position on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  In a letter signed by every full-time member of the Notre Dame law school faculty, Barrett was described as "a brilliant teacher and scholar, and a warm and generous colleague.  She possesses in abundance all of the other qualities that shape extraordinary jurists..."  Barrett is also a serious Christian believer.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein declared Barrett part of a suspect class.  "Dogma and law are two different things...And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different...When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you." (2)

This line of questioning that contends that secular ideas are the only valid basis for public engagement violates the 'no religious test' clause of the Constitution.  The Constitution makes it impermissible to deny any person a national, state, or local office on the basis of their religious convictions or lack thereof.


A letter to the editor printed in the San Antonio Express News (August 30, 2017) boldy contended that "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.  Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is God mentioned.  The Bill of Rights does not mention a Christian God.  Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, as well as other Founding Fathers, were also influenced by deism, which is not a Christian religion."  The newspaper editor emphasized these comments by printing colored pictures of Jefferson, Washington and Franklin adjacent to the comments.

However these statements are misleading and inaccurate  


The Declaration of Independence
lifts up 4 references to God as the Creator, the Lawgiver, the Judge, and the Protector.
1. All people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
2. 'the laws of nature and nature's God
3. 'appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World
4. 'with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence. (3)

In his prayer journal, our first President George Washington wrote, "O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before Thy Divine majesty...daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy son Jesus Christ." (6)

"In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin declared, 'God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"  (3:23)

In a prayer to the nation in 1801 Thomas Jefferson stated, "Almighty God...We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will... all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. (5)

President Andrew Jackson declared that the Bible "is the rock on which our Republic rests." (3:25)

After the Union army was defeated at the Battle of Bull Run, President Abraham Lincoln declared a National Day of Prayer and Fasting, stating "It is fit and becoming in all people at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God...the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (4:124)

The last act of Congress signed by President Lincoln required that IN GOD WE TRUST be inscribed upon all our national coins. (4:101)

President Teddy Roosevelt declared "The Decalogue and the Golden Rule must stand as the foundation of every successful effort to better either our social or our political life. (3:25)

D-Day, June 6 1944, during a six minute prayer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, "If we will not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction." (3:25)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, "Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. (3:25)

President John F. Kennedy stated in 1961, "The guiding principle of the nation has been, is now, and ever shall be IN GOD WE TRUST." (4:105)


Previous Considerations of Secular Challenges to Our Country

The reader is referred to two previous discussions within this blogsite.

Holy Humanism! It's Politically Correct -  September 20, 2008

Imagine No Religion.  Impossible! -  December 26, 2008


1. Dial, Karla.  "Christians Need Not Apply."  Citizen. Aug/Sept 2009, Vol. 23, No. 7. Pg. 26
2. Gerson, Michael. "Dem inquisitors would make secularism the state religion." San Antonio Express News. Thursday, September 21, 2017. pg. A11.
3.  "A Nation Like No Other".  Citizen. Aug/Sept. 2009, Vol. 23, No. 7. Pgs. 22-25,
4. Federer, Susie. Miracles in American History.  2012. Amerisearch, Inc.  St. Louis, MO.
5. "Thomas Jefferson's Prayer for the Nation."  Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.  www,
6."George Washington's Prayer Journal."  William J. Johnson . The Abingdon Press, 1919. NewYork.  
7. Alliance Defending Freedom.
8. First Liberty Institute.

Monday, August 8, 2016

VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE: Blame Enough to Go Around!

      The months leading up to the 2016 presidential conventions in July were rife with violence.  The first 3 months of the year showed significant increases in the homicide rate in six major cities across the U.S.: including Chicago; Dallas; Jacksonville,Florida; Las Vegas; Los Angeles and Memphis (1).
     In early July, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, LA became the 135th black person killed by police in 2016 (2).   Black Lives Matter organized to challenge this violence against them.  On July 7th a Dallas sniper gunned police officers, killing 5 of them and sending screaming crowds scrambling for cover.  The following week a gunman ambushed and killed three law officers in Baton Rouge, wounding three others.


     The political parties took differing positions in regard to the tragic escalation of violence.  President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party platform called for increased gun control legislation.  The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, called for law and order and an increase in prison sentences for law breakers.


      However, these are stop gap measures.  They are not solutions but scapegoat measures that place the blame for violence on the perpetrators of crimes that have grown out of anger and fear, while pretending that the rest of us hold no blame.

     Behaviors do not occur in a vacuum.  Behaviors grow from the images that have formed in the mind about what behaviors are expected, what behaviors are legally accepted and what behaviors are appropriate. 

     Sadly, the moral foundation upon which our country was founded is under attack and disappearing. 


      Our first president, George Washington, said, "True religion offers to government its surest support."  Religion in general and Christianity in particular have provided a moral foundation for American life.

     The last act of Congress signed by President Lincoln required that IN GOD WE TRUST be inscribed upon our national coins.

      In 1949, President Truman states, "When the U.S. was established...the motto was IN GOD WE TRUST.  That is still our motto and we still place our firm trust in God."

      In 1961, John F. Kennedy stated, "The guiding principle of this nation has been, is now, and ever shall be IN GOD WE TRUST." (3)


     In 1962 and 1963, three decisions by the Supreme Court of the U.S. decreed that school sponsored prayer and Bible reading were unconstitutional.  Engel v. Vitale in 1962 decreed that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented the establishment of religion. (4).

     Following these decisions, discussions of religious ideas and values were censored within the schools.  Children who talked of God or religious values were silenced and told that school was not a place for these discussions.


     Throughout the history of our country the Ten Commandments have been upheld as moral expectations handed down to humankind from God through the prophet Moses some 3,500 years ago.  The first four commandments require honor and respect for God, and the fifth commandment requires honor for parents.  The remaining five commandments outline behaviors that lead to social harmony.  These include the commandments to not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear a false witness, or covet what belongs to another.

     These commandments have been held in reverence by the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths throughout their history.  Respect for the commandments provided a moral foundation for appropriate social behaviors. Children were taught early to learn and respect them.

     When  some parents challenged a Kentucky state law that required the posting of the commandments in each public school classroom, the decision went to the Supreme Court.  On Nov. 17, 1980, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in Stone v. Graham that the law was unconstitutional.

     Many court buildings contained plagues or monuments outlining the Ten Commandments, including even some in the Supreme Court building.  In June of 2005, the Supreme Court by a 5-4 decision ruled that the Ten Commandments could not be displayed in court buildings or on government property.  Children watched as the media dramatically covered the controversial removal of these monuments.


     Moral codes relating to sexuality have been the concern of religious leaders and civil philosophers throughout history.

     Traditional sexual values supported 'Love and Marriage', protecting sexual behaviors for the formation of a 'death do us part' family for enduring nurture, support and child rearing.

     In 1926, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, challenged the moral codes when she formed the American Birth Control League.  Her interest was promoting free love, sexual freedom and birth control (5).

      When the birth control pill was introduced in the early 1960's, women were challenged to enter into casual sexual relationships.  By 1997, 418 public schools were making condoms available to students (6).

     Pornography, considered the seedy business of underground markets, brought sex into the living rooms of America when Hugh Hefner, influenced by the sexual research of  Alfred Kinsey, published Playboy magazine in 1953.  Pornography is addictive and can lead to desires that escalate.  Sex became an almost expected behavior of casual relationships.  Rape, serial killings and sexual trafficking became prevalent.

     In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws as a criminal offense in Lawrence v. Texas, making same sex activity legal.  By 2012 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 636,000 people had died from HIV/AIDS, a disease primarily transferred by men having sex with men.


      In 1970 no-fault divorce was introduced in California and soon became the norm.  The 'death do us part' expectations of family were challenged.  Divorce escalated and each year over a million children experienced the divorce of their family, many responded to the breakup of their family with shock, fear and grieving.

     In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, making the taking of a child's life in the womb a legal 'right' for  women.  The CDC reports that since 1973, close to 60 million babies have been aborted in the United States.

     Television producers discovered that graphic images of sex and violence increased their ratings and profits as they brought in more advertisers.  In response to complaints, the family hour established by the Federal Communication Commission in 1975 mandated that the hours before 9:00 PM should be shows appropriate for all ages.  In 1976, a U.S. District Court ruled that the family viewing policy violated the first amendment of the Constitution.  Sex and violence soon filled all hours of television viewing.

     A Kaiser Family Foundation study reported that in 2009 young people spent about 4 and a half hours a day watching television (7).

      Following the tragic school shooting at  Newtown in 2012, Parents Television Council analyzed every program that aired on prime-time television for a one-month period.  Of the 392 shows examined, 193 contained violence and 121 contained violence and guns (8).

      In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court passed Obergefell v Hodges by a vote of 5-4, giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry, although over 30 states had denied this right with a state constitutional amendment by popular vote.


    Instability in family relationships became prevalent in the lives of many children.

     Many no longer saw marriage as a necessary or permanent commitment for living together.  Cohabitation increased  By 2011,  24% of children in the U.S. were born to cohabiting couples (9).  and 44% of children were living in mother-only families (10). 

     In large numbers we have bought into the conviction that children do not need both their mother and their father to develop in a healthy, responsible and productive direction.  However, family scholars and researchers provide ample documentation of problems and concerns.

     Family researcher, William Galston, notes that, "The absence of fathers as models and co-disciplinarians contributes to the low self-esteem, anger, violence, and peer bonding through gang lawlessness characteristic of  many fatherless boys." (11).
     By 2014, children from fatherless homes included 63% of youth suicides, 90% of homeless and runaway children, 80% of rapists with anger problems, 71% of high school dropouts and 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers (12).

     After divorce, women were primarily responsible for children of the marriage and were at greater risk of poverty.  Single parenting became the foremost reason leading to poverty.

      In March of 2008 researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 1 in 4 teen girls had at least one sexually transmitted disease, sometimes leading to infertility and cancer.     


     Personal pleasure and individual 'rights' have replaced traditional family values.  With the increase in casual sexuality and the decline in stable marriages, many children are failing to learn the processes necessary for responsible social interaction and family functioning.

     When God and cherished historic moral values are held in social disrespect, children are at a loss in knowing how to make responsible decisions.

      More gun control and prisons will not solve the violence that is overrunning our country.
 It is time to restore a responsible moral foundation for our children.     



1. Blau, Eric Licht and Monica Davey.  "Homicide Rates Jump in Many Major U.S. Cities, New Data          Shows."  May 13, 2016.  The New York Times.
2. Craven, Julia  Huffington Post.  Jul 07, 2016.
3.  Federer, Susie.  2012. Miracles in American History. Amerisearch, Inc. St. Louis, MO:pgs.101-105
4.  Starr, Penny. "Education Expert: Removing Bible, Prayer from Public Schools Has Caused Decline."  Aug. 15, 2014.
5.  Marshall, Robert G. And Chuck A. Donovan.  "How Planned Parenthood duped America." Citizen. Vol. 6, No. 1 (Jan 20) 1992. Pg. 4.
6.  Advocates for Youth.  1997. Unpublished data from the School Condom Availability Clearinghouse. Washington DC.
7.  Media Violence: An Examination of Violence, Graphic Violence, and Gun Violence in the Media.  Parents Television Council. 2013.
 8.  New PTC Study Shows More Than Half of Network Programs Contain Violence.  Parents Television Council. Vol. 15, No. 2, April 2013.
9.  Institute for American Values.  2011.  Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions  from the Social Sciences.  New York, NY. Pgs.6-8.
10.  Statistics on Father Absence/National Fatherhood Initiative.  2014.  "The Father Factor."
11.  Galston, William A. 1996  "The Reinstitutionalization of Marriage: Political Theory and Public Policy." In Promises to Keep.  Editied by David Popenoe, Jean Bethke Elsthtain, and David Blankenhorn. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Pg. 273.
12.  Statistics on Father Absence/National Fatherhood Initiative. 2014. "The Father Factor".
      The Fatherless Generation. 2014.  Statistics.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Discrimination is the foundation of wisdom and freedom

Discrimination as Hate?

Discrimination as a hate word is being used to intimidate and culturally bully people whose best judgment concludes that marriage should not be changed to include people of the same sex.

This is unfortunate.  Wisdom and freedom throughout the ages have lifted up the ability to discriminate as a foundation for making wise choices about what behaviors are best suited for personal and social well-being.

Totalitarian societies deny citizens the right to reason and decide. Decisions about appropriate behavior are made by an elite few.  However,  in a free society,  people as unique individuals are expected to use their best understanding and experience to  establish laws supporting behaviors in the best interest of social well-being.

Our patriotic statement that all are created equal is a 'faith' statement based on the spiritual worth of each soul.  It does not follow that all ideas or behaviors are created equally.  Behaviors must be evaluated by their consequences.

Within the last 20 years a minority group of liberal elites have sought to override definitions of marriage that protect heterosexual family forms.  Heterosexual families  have been protected through centuries of civilizations and in virtually all societies.  Raising of children throughout history has been seen as being best protected by a heterosexual marriage.  Social science research has strongly documented that a married mother and father provide the best social and physical support for raising their children. 1.

In June of 2015, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Obergefell V. Hodges, declared that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.  Same sex marriage became legal throughout the United States, even though at least 30 states had ruled this illegal by a vote of the people.  Personal decisions and personal pleasure were put above the larger social well-being and the best interest of the children.

We are now being bullied into accepting that the behaviors and opinions of a minority must be considered as equal to values and behaviors that have been cherished and protected by the majority throughout the ages.

Discriminating debate  that considers behavioral and social consequences are the best way to ensure well-being for the greater good and the protection and support of all citizens.  Discrimination is the foundation of wisdom and freedom.

1 Wilcox, W. Bradford, et at.. Institute for American Values.  2005.  Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty-six Conclusions from the Social Sciences.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reflections From My Mother

A Mother's Day Tribute
Although my mother, Elizabeth, passed away in 1999, she left behind books of poems and thoughts that she had written down through the years.  To honor her on this Mother's Day I will share some of her thoughtful poems.

Since we have had some torrential rains here in Texas recently, I will start with Mom's poem on this subject.


Quietly the raindrops fall,
They whisper soft and low,
Join forces on the sunbaked earth,
Make rivulets below.

Thunder moans o'er distant hill,
Tired dying plea,
Fret not, my love, the cleansing balm
Refreshes thee and me.

Brightness floods the morning sky,
See radiant moisture smile,
Come, explore for hidden jewels,
Let dripping grass beguile.

Sing, O earth, thy thirst is quenched,
The clouds that opened wide,
Have poured their liquid vapor out,
They heard you when you cried -

"Water, water, I must drink,
My vegetation wanes,
I cannot keep myself alive,
Without the gentle rains,"

Come, tender heart, in rain and sun,
Clasp hands and walk with me,
Watch rose and grain new life embrace,
Contented we shall be.

Mom and Dad retired to the family homestead in New England at the top of a hill overlooking a peaceful pond.  Mom writes of her fond memories of this lovely homestead.

New England

The seconds make the minutes,
The minutes make the hours.
The hours crowd and press me,
Work on, 'mid pelting showers.

Faint not, strong heart, nor falter,
The future brings a day,
The path you'll tread more slowly,
Scent flowers in the way.

The seconds make the minutes,
The minutes make the hours,
The hours filled with blessings,
In wooded vale and bowers.

In New England's peaceful haven,
Where roosters crow at dawn,
Anticipated pleasure
Is mine on velvet lawn.

I'll rest and watch the sunset,
Reflected in the pond,
Beyond the rugged stone fence,
My mem'ry holds so fond.

The seconds make the minutes,
The minutes make the hours,
The hours take me dreaming
Of fairy castle towers.

 In addition to raising her four children, Mom was a Director of Religious Education and a social worker.
She shares her faith in her poems.

They Searched For God 

They searched for God,
The men of old,
To ease their troubled minds,
They turned to classics and The Word,
The grace of God to find.

They saw corruption in the fold,
Could not condone man's greed.
They prayed, and pled, and prayed again.
God, what is mankind's need?

Why, don't you know? the Lord replied,
Man cannot live alone.
He must have me to guide his way,
And bring him safely home.

I've sent my Son,
He'll see you through.
He opened up the way,
He took man's burdens on himself,
Won resurrection day.

The men accepted God's new plan,
And learned to love the Lord.
Love is the bond that binds us close,
Fulfilling Holy Word.

The Devil Has Many Disguises

The devil has many disguises,
He enters God's sacred abode,
Taps the shoulder of many a Christian,
Follow me, on destruction's road.

He is clever and smooth in his manner,
He pretends to be helpful and kind,
In politeness he walks with God's children,
Leads astray the ones who are blind.

With subtle endeavor he wanders,
And shrewdly maneuvers his tricks,
His tongue is gracious with sweetness,
While his hand is throwing a brick.

There is only one way to combat him,
You must feel God's grace, know his peace,
Work with tender compassion, Christ's insight,
Love mankind and never cease.

Satan gnashes his teeth at God's children,
Imbued with power from above,
Courageously facing his evil,
With firmness they give him a shove--

That sends him reeling and rolling,
Away with his lying to men,
But vigilance constant is needed,
Or that devil will walk here again.


I thank Thee, God, that through the years,
Amid the fervor of men's greed,
With steadfast burning zeal have come
Impassioned souls to meet their need.

Prolong Thy vision with our lives,
Mold Thou our hearts and mind,
Until we too, like those of old
True consecration find.

Thanks, Mom, for all the truths you shared through the years and for the written records you left behind for our well-being.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Parenting Classes For Young Mothers: A Growing Social Concern


Over the last 50 years changes in marriage and family patterns have challenged the traditional well-being of family relationships.  Historically the nuclear  family outlined marriage and family as a social institution with rights and responsibilities in regard to spouse, parent and child.  The family provided continuing support and nurture.  The modern era moved away from the institutional family to an emphasis on personal contract in which individuals decide their own terms of relationships.  Women's liberation, no-fault divorce laws, reproductive technologies, and the gay movement challenged lifelong monogamous and heterosexual marriage, creating fluid and flexible family structures.

Divorce Increases

In the early 1970's, no-fault divorce laws gave rise to a rapid increase in divorce.  Each year over a million new children under 18 experienced the divorce of their parents.  Following divorce children could become 30 or more percent poorer.  Custody arrangements create challenges for children and parents.  Twenty-five years following the divorce of their parents the adult children often continue to recall feelings of shock, loneliness and bewilderment.  Many became pessimistic about relationships and marriage, fearing a sudden loss.  1.

A Postmarriage Society

A trend toward a postmarriage society shifted the basis for childbearing and child rearing in America.  By 2011, 24 percent of children in the United States were born to cohabiting couples.  Another 20 percent of children were spending some years in a cohabiting household. 2.

Fatherless Families

Men were increasingly leaving or being left out of family relationships.  By 2014, 24 million children in America - one in three- were living in a biological father-absent home.  Children in father-absent homes were almost four times more likely to be poor.  Children from fatherless homes, by large majorities, were included among youth suicides, homeless and runaway children, rapists with anger problems, high school dropout, adolescents in chemical abuse centers, and juveniles in state operated institutions. 3.

Growing Need for Parenting Education

Many community, religious and national non-profit organizations focused attention on improving marriage and family relationships by offering parenting and relationship classes for couples and single parents.  However, despite efforts to increase the marriage rate, relationships continued to unravel.  By 2013, young adults in middle America, the sixty percent with a high school education but no college degree, were cycling through unstable relationships, hooking up, having babies, hooking up with someone else, and so on.  Sexuality was being viewed as an assumption of dating.  Many teens had already had several sex partners. 4.

This is a difficult foundation for forming strong families.  Young mothers who find themselves 'suddenly pregnant' are in a crisis of confusion, not knowing what is necessary to build strong relationships.  Reaching these new mothers and helping them develop a positive approach to supporting their children is essential. Those who come from broken and dysfunctional homes need guidance, encouragement, direction and a way to think about a positive family life for themselves and their children.

Parenting classes that offer information in positive communication, conflict resolution skills, childhood education information, health and wellness, nutrition, money management and participation in the community are increasingly necessary to help families survive and thrive in our increasingly complex society.  These classes are especially important as young women from unstable backgrounds become parents.

  It is essential that schools, community organizations and religious organizations step forward to offer parenting courses to encourage and support healthy family relationships.

In my blogs between February 21st and April 6th, 2016,  eight parenting sessions are presented that may be used to help parents, especially new, young mothers,  grow into strong, supportive and loving mentors for their children.   These sessions have been successfully used to guide young mothers who came to  a pregnancy care center for help.  The women responded well to the materials and expressed appreciation for the help.

1.  Wallerstein, Judith S. Ph.D. and Julia M. Lewis, Ph.D. 2004. "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: Report of a 25-Year Study."   Psychoanalytic Psychology.  Vol. 21, No. 3:353-370.
2.  Institute for American Values.  2011.  Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences.  New York, NY.  pgs. 6-8, 46.
3.    Statistics on Father Absence.  National Fatherhood Initiative.  2014.  "The Father Factor".
       The Fatherhood Generation. 2014.  Statistics. 
4.    Lapp, Amber and David.  2013.  "Looking for Marriage in Middle America".  Propositions 11. New York, NY: Institute for American Values.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Keys to Healthy and Loving Family Relationships

Happy and healthy family relationships grow from decisions to work through all the problems of life in a constructive and loving way.

Homes are more than houses of walls and beams.  Homes are built with thoughtful caring concern where the family unit shares protection, support, sacrifice and love.
Careful planning turns a house into a home for the people who dwell there.

Eight sessions are presented each representing a parenting class to help parents grow into strong, supportive and loving mentors for their children.  The materials provided may be used to guide discussion and considerations for a 50-60 minute parenting session.

 The materials in these sessions were compiled and used by the author (Dr. Marjorie Coppock) over a three year period to guide young women who came to the Pregnancy Care Center (San Antonio).  The young women responded well to the materials presented and expressed appreciation for the help.

Each session has been entered as a separate blog in this blogsite. (
The topic of each session and the date entered into the blogsite are listed below.

Session 1.  Skills of Listening and Communicating  - February 21, 2016

Session 2.   Solving Conflicts Constructively  - February 26, 2016

Session 3.  Wise Money Management - March 4, 2016

Session 4.  Parenting Your Children  - March 10, 2016

Session 5.  Passing on Family Traditions  - March 21, 2016

Session 6.  Creating Health and Wellness - March 27, 2016

Session 7.  Good Nutrition  - April 1, 2016

Session 8.  Attitudes of Gratitude - April 6, 2016


 Individuals, schools, churches, and community organizations are invited and encouraged to use these (or other) materials  to offer parenting sessions to help families solve the problems of  living together in a constructive and loving way.  

The PDF file and docx file of this series of eight parenting classes is also located on my website: under the section 'Related Essays'.  It is entitled: "Turning the Keys to Healthy and Loving Family Relationships".  It can be downloaded at no cost. 


Keys to Healthy and Loving Family Relationships: Session 8, Attitudes of Gratitude

Happy and healthy family relationships grow from decisions to work through all the problems of life in a constructive and loving way.  The materials provided here may be used to guide discussion and consideration for a 50-60 minute parenting class to help parents grow into strong, supportive and loving mentors for their children.


Develop an Asset Focus:
...the more you look at what's right instead of what's wrong,
Change actually occurs.  Impasses break up,
           New insights arise, and
               The energy begins to move in a positive direction.
Conversely, when you focus on what's wrong, you dig yourself into a bigger hole.

A Culture of Problems
We are trained in our culture to focus on problems:
           what is wrong,
                   what needs to be corrected.
We develop a negative mind set.

However, "When one generates mental negativity, one starts suffering;
Whenever one is free from negativity, one enjoys peace and harmony."
           -  S.N. Goenka

Gratitude is a matter of putting our attention on what is right in our lives,
and what is right about the people we live with.
The more we do it, the happier in love and life we will be.

You Can Choose What to Pay Attention To.
To fall in love - focus on everything wonderful about the person.
To fall out of love - pay attention to their flaws (we all have them).
We can choose to notice a person's good qualities (we all have them).

Taming Our Expectations
"An expectation, as they say, is a resentment waiting to happen."  - Jon Carroll
"Ah, expectations!  They do have a way of forming, but nothing is better at killing a sense of appreciation. That's because...they quickly launch us into resentment when our expectations go unmet.  When we cling too tightly to our expectations of how it should be,  we can easily overlook what is marvelous about what is." 2.

Receptivity is Key
"Gratitude is a feeling that is created when we become aware of what we are receiving.  We may have been receiving it all along,  but it is only when we become aware of what we have that we experience a sense of thankfulness...
Receptivity is an attitude that we choose - to allow life to enter us, move us, transform us.  It is enhanced by practices - for instance, of consciously taking in the world around you through your eyes, ears, and body - and by taking time.
It's hard to be receptive when you are going ninety miles an hour."  3.

Make a Gratitude Laundry List

"How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways." - Robert Browning

In family 'fights' it's easy to remember everything remotely related to build a case of how terrible the person is.  We keep lists!
It's embarrassing to admit that we don't keep an equivalent Gratitude List.
But if we can keep a list of negatives, we can also keep a positive one on hand.
"Make you list long and engrave it somewhere.  Then when times are tough and you've lost your perspective, you can bring it out and make a case for why it's worth going on." 4.

We are often guilty of treating the persons we love worse than we would a random stranger.  Don't forget to say "Please" and "Thank you" at home.

            By Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism
                   He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
                   He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
                   He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
                   He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
                   He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
                   He learns to have confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
                   He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
                   He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
                    He learns to have faith,
If a child lives with approval,
                    He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
                    He learns to find love in the world.

Consider how this poem can be adapted to apply to all the family.
     People Learn What They Live.
If people live with criticism, they learn to condemn...
If people live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love.  

THANKS, Lovable, Livable, Laughable Lines.  5.

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

The best things you can give children, next to good habits, are good manners.

Our business in life is not to see through one another, it is to see one another through.

One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness - it is usually returned.

The most powerful single thing you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them.

No one stands as straight as when he stoops to help someone.

Thanksgiving comes but once a year, but reasons to give thanks are always here.


Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

Finally,  brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things...
And the God of peace will be with you.    
                         Phillippians 4:4-9

1. Ryan, M.J.  Attitudes of Gratitude in Love - Creating More Joy in Your Relationships.  New York: MJF Books. 2002.
2.  Ibid: pgs 69-70
3.  Ibid.  pg. 84
4.  Ibid.  pg 132
5.  Kapla, Marcia & David.  THANKS,  Lovable, Livable, Laughable Lines.  1989.