KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Friday, August 20, 2010

Obama's HHS suppresses study that shows parents matter

Back in 2007, there was a great to-do about the alleged failure of abstinence only education. I wrote about it here. [make sure you read the comments for the linked post. They offer even more insight into what this study showed and did not show.] Safe-sex advocates could not put this message out loudly enough. The truth is that the 2007 study showed that in extremely socially impoverished populations, no school based, faith based, or community based intervention impacted the rate of sexual activity among teens. It was not a repudiation of just abstinence only education. It was a repudiation of all sex education programs operating independently from parents.

Now another study confirms this. However, instead of shouting from the rooftops, the HHS is refusing to release the full results of this study:
In a short article about her efforts to obtain a copy of the "National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents" (conducted by Abt Associates), Dr. Rue says that having been denied access twice by the Obama administration "leaves me to reflect on the role of cultural values with regard to prevention science."

The University of Northern Colorado assistant professor continues: "If we are truly interested in learning how to prevent two critical epidemics currently devastating our country (out-of-wedlock child bearing and sexually transmitted infections), then the nationally representative findings provide momentum and support for accessing cultural values of parents and children which promote optimal health choices for adolescents."

Echoing Huber's concern, Rue concludes with this statement: "...At this point in time, we must ask ourselves: Is this valuable process being suppressed by those who wish to repress American values in an effort to exert control over sex education offered in the United States?"


As I read this, I am not convinced this conflict is about abstinence education vs. safe-sex education. The primary conclusion that is known about this study is that it shows that 70% of American parents want their children to avoid pre-marital sex. Teens who have been given this message at home are less likely to be sexually active. The influence of parents is so great that the impact of state-run sex education programs is negligible.

I think the real tension here is between nanny state advocates who want to usurp parental roles and the truth that parents really do matter. It is a battle between Hillary Clinton and her village of bureaucrats against us, the parents, for the minds and souls of our children. As I wrote here, I am not the enemy. I am the parent.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Cancer Roller Coaster

John chemotherapy @ Wed Aug 11 This Google calendar reminder popped up in my gmail inbox. It is not like I needed the reminder. Cancer is not something you forget. Cancer and chemotherapy have prompted several metaphors. Chemotherapy is aptly likened to a roller coaster. Every cycle is like another hill on the roller coaster. You never know what is on the other side. There are all kinds of twists and turns between the hills. No two hills are exactly the same. I've never been too fond of roller coasters.

Living with cancer is very much like having a constant ringing in your ears--tinnitus is the medical condition. Much of the time you can push it to the background and carry on as if it isn't there. There are times when you are totally unaware of it. But then something happens and it marches to the forefront crowding out all your other senses. It interrupts your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

There is a temptation to try and read the tea leaves. "Oh, (fill in the blank) must be a sign of (fill in the blank with a positive or negative prognosis)!" The conclusion drawn has no real basis in fact but it is an attempt to know the unknowable. The better yet more difficult way to cope is to trust. There has never been an occasion when God has not been present. I know that. He will give us the grace to face whatever lies on the other side of the roller coaster hill or around the next hairpin curve. So we pray. Prayer is not an attempt to change God's mind. Prayer centers us on the One who is control. Many of our prayers are petitions. And many of those petitions will be answered exactly as submitted. But submitting prayers of petitions to God is not like ordering breakfast at McDonald's. I submit my humble prayer and know that God, who loves me more than anyone on earth has ever loved me, will offer me so much more than what I can even think to request. In the short term, I may not understand His answer. The challenge is to trust that sometime in the upcoming eternity, I will understand.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

This is really handy!




Our kids have preferred taking a lap top to college but there are times when a bigger screen is helpful. So we now have the best of both worlds. We get a lap top and a 24-inch monitor. Hook them together and they have the option of using the monitor as a mirror of the laptop screen or as an extension of it. I prefer the extension mode. I look at my email on the laptop and use the monitor screen for web surfing and writing. We got this set up for my daughter a little over a year ago but since she is away at school I didn't get to try it out. Since my son is living at home this semester I get to share his monitor. I drag things from one screen to the other as if they were just one screen. I am really enjoying the flexibility of more screen space without giving up the portability of a laptop. This is so cool! For those of you who are so much more tech savvy than I, this is old news. Forgive my excitement.

Does the Church welcome "liberal" Catholics?

If you do not already read Mirror of Justice, I highly recommend you add it to your blog reading regimen. This is a group blog by a collection of Catholic lawyers. There are diverse viewpoints. Some I agree with. Some I don't. However, for the most part, the discussion is thoughtful, well stated, and respectful. There is a distinct lack of snark that is prevalent on so many sites. I know that I myself have an instinctive urge to issue "zingers" and seek the nods and applause of those who agree with me. Perhaps that is necessary when you seek to rally the troops. However, the real Spiritual Works of Mercy are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and admonish sinners. That cannot be done if you are gleefully rubbing their noses in their errors.

Currently there is a discussion about whether or not self-labeled liberal Catholics are welcomed in the Church. It is an interesting discussion. I have offered a few comments on this post but you can get the complete discussion by also reading here, here, here, and here.