Archive for the family Category

Frontline Documentary: Growing Up Online

Posted in Current events, education, family, Media, Parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 24, 2008 by len20

If you missed the PBS Frontline documentary “Growing Up Online,” you can watch the entire show on the Frontline website. I think it was very well done.

The reaction to the documentary ranges from accusing the producers of creating another alarmist piece of journalism about the internet age, to complimenting them for embracing the reality that the internet and all that is scary about it is here to stay, and parents and educators need to figure out how to live in that world alongside their kids.

They do a good job of segmenting the various issues of teenagers and the internet:

  • Educating the internet generation
  • Online sexual predators
  • Kids spending too much time online
  • Internet anonymity: trying on new identities
  • Cyberbullying – A very interesting look at a new arena for abuse

“Growing Up Online” argues that the gap between generations (parents and their teenage children) has never been wider. This probably scared me more than anything else. The show features a white suburban family who, by all appearances, have everything going for them. But the relationship between the mother and her teenage son has been strained to a near breaking point. It’s a classic struggle between the parent who wants to protect her kid, and the kid who feels that he’s old enough to have a part of his life be completely private from his parents. After an incident where the mother (head of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization) sends an email to other parents regarding the happenings at a rock concert, the son cuts off all possible interaction (within his control) with his family.

This would kill me. I want to have a relationship with my daughter even when she’s a teenager. I don’t want to have to wait out those years until she grows out of a stage and realizes that I set certain boundaries because I loved her and wanted to protect her.

One of the best things that my mother ever did for me when I was in high school was to tell me (more than once) that if I was ever in a place or a situation that I wanted out of, I could call her; she would come and get me with no questions asked. I didn’t have to tell her a thing. She just wanted to help me get out of there.

Parenting scares me. This documentary points to evidence that it’s not getting any easier from one generation to the next.

The Frontline website has a number of resources, an ongoing discussion, and more information than one can possibly take in.

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Is the Adoption Discussion One-Sided?

Posted in Adoption, family with tags , , , , on December 14, 2007 by len20

I’ve recently been getting the idea that the adoption discussion has more characteristics of a monologue from one set of stakeholders than a dialog between several different perspectives. First, there was Reunionwritings reaction to my previous post, “Study: Adoption Not Harmful to Child’s Self-Esteem” which spun the news article’s idea around on its head to look at it from the biological mom’s perspective rather than the child’s. Second, Sang-Shil’s comments on the same post asks us to seek out the perspectives of those that may not feel that adoption is “the win-win-win solution that many claim it to be.”

Finally, I ran across an article today by Elizabeth Larsen in which she argues that people who are critical of adoption are not given the same opportunity to be heard. She emphasizes the perspectives of adoptees, birth families, and adoptive parents. She writes,

I think when it comes to adoption, American adoptive parents (myself included) steer the discourse. We direct adoption agencies and think tanks. We write the home studies of prospective adoptive parents. We are policy experts and doctors and academics and journalists. We are passionate about adoption—an institution that has given us so much—and therein lies the problem: In our passion, we sometimes shield ourselves from larger discussions about the toll that adoption can take, a discussion that is in fact gaining traction across the globe. And in doing so, we are preventing adoption from evolving.

My question is, why would there be such a disparity in the dialog? Is there a lack of people listening, or a lack of people speaking?

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The Alternative Baby Shower Is On!

Posted in all about me, alternative baby shower, family, God's Kids, Orphan Care, stewardship with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2007 by len20

Ok, I got enough encouragement from friends and bloggers to make this idea happen. If you have no Idea what I’m talking about, I wrote in a recent post about an idea that Jill (my wife) and I came up with while we were walking our dog. Here’s the idea.

God’s Kids needs a big December in donations to meet the commitments we’ve made to more than 2,000 orphans across the world. Jill and I are having our first baby (anytime now), and lots of people are asking us what our baby needs. Well, the fact is that we live in the land of plenty, and our baby just doesn’t need a whole lot. So we thought, what if we held an alternative baby shower? Instead of our friends and family getting us gifts for our new baby, why don’t we ask them to give to God’s Kids to help orphaned children who know what “need” really means? Oh, and why don’t we invite the whole world to come to this baby shower to help orphans?

So we’ve done it. It’s really easy. Just follow this link to give to orphaned children in honor of Baby Leonard.

I’m really excited about this, and I hope people get into it. The shower will go through the end of the year, and I’ll post updates on this blog and at the God’s Kids site. If you like this idea, and you think that others might like it too, please feel free to invite them to the shower. We need all the help we can get.

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Alternative Baby Shower Proposal

Posted in all about me, alternative baby shower, family, God's Kids, Orphan Care, stewardship with tags , , on November 22, 2007 by len20

When you have a baby (or in our case, are about to have a baby), people get you stuff, which is a really good thing if you don’t have the stuff you need to have a baby. Our friends, family, and my wife have been incredible at getting us the stuff we need to make sure our baby doesn’t feel bad about itself when it comes out and realizes that all the other babies have already begun their collection of stuff. Craig’s List and Freecycle.org are a boon to young couples who need to get stuff on the cheap.

So after getting a pretty serious head start on gathering appropriate things for the baby to suck on, things for the baby to lie on, and things for the baby to feel fashionable wearing, I am beginning to think that we just might have the stuff we need to create a habitat in which the baby could survive until it can find a job and buy its own stuff. So, what do we do with the thousands of dollars that are left on the retail table by people who still want to get us stuff?

Well, Jill and I thought it would be fun to have an online alternative baby shower. Instead of buying us more stuff, people could give a gift to God’s Kids in honor of our new arrival. I can’t think of a better way to begin life than to come out helping other people.

At this point, I’m just batting the idea around, wondering if anyone finds this idea of value. What do you think?

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

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A Tale of Two Pregnancies

Posted in Adoption, all about me, family with tags , , , on November 14, 2007 by len20

My wife is pregnant and the arrival of our “little bundle of joy,” as our doctor calls it every time we see him, is imminent – possibly as soon as next week some time. We’re pumped! Jill splurged on a hip diaper bag, and when I protested that it was too girly for me to use, well, we splurged on getting me a hip manly diaper bag that’s black and rusty orange and exudes testosterone.

Yesterday, I went with Jill to her obgyn appointment, and as always, we spent fifty minutes finding the appropriate wing of the clinic so that we could wait in the appropriate waiting room, and five minutes with the actual doctor. There are always interesting people to watch in clinics and hospitals, and the baby wing is no exception.

There were women in various stages of pregnancy either waddling around like they’re about to explode, or trying unsuccessfully to fit into their old favorite pair of jeans. The gamut ran from young couples like us, to single moms with three other kids hanging on their legs. And then a different family stepped out of the elevator.

It was mom and dad, and what looked like a fourteen-year-old girl. Mom was all business, but not the kind that anyone looks forward to doing. Dad looked incredibly kind and gentle. And the girl looked down at the floor. She took a seat across from where we were sitting while her parents checked in at the desk. She sat looking down at her hands twisting the hem of her dress around each finger. She curled her toes in on themselves, and her shoulders sagged. She looked like she was trying to fold herself up like a tent and just disappear. Every once in awhile, she swept her hand across her wet cheeks.

When mom and dad came back with the paperwork, no one looked at each other or talked to each other. Mom started writing on the clipboard; dad handed his wife and daughter tissues; and the girl continued to cry and collapse.

Jill and I could hardly stand it. Looking into this little family’s window, we saw the disappointment of the parents, and the shame and terror of that girl. There was such a stark contrast between what we were feeling and what they were feeling.

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The Buzz about Bella

Posted in Adoption, Current events, family, Media, Orphan Care with tags , , , on November 12, 2007 by len20

Has anyone heard about the movie, Bella? I got to see a screening of it at a big Orphan Care summit in Colorado Springs last Spring. It was a very good movie. There is a subtle pro-life thrust to the over-all story about a soccer star, Jose, wrestling with his guilt after hitting and killing a young girl with his car when she ran into the street. Jose’s life falls apart until he discovers that an acquaintance is considering an abortion and he takes it upon himself to listen to and support her as she struggles with this decision.

The producers of the film are using grassroots marketing techniques to get the word out on the film, which I’ve come to admire. The Bella website has all kinds of materials to equip people to promote the film. The website also includes a growing list of theaters that are showing the film. Theaters are added as the buzz grows and independent donations come in.

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