Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


Children of Divorce Suffer Negative Side Effects

children of divorce, daughter with divorced father

 

Children of divorce, we are told, don’t suffer negative effects from their parents’ divorce. Unhappy marriages drag the parents down, which makes everyone unhappy. The solution, which permeates nearly every aspect of media, public policy, therapy, and even some quarters of the clergy, is divorce ideology, including switching sexual partners at will. This solution, complete with smiling, happy children, is preached as the ill for what ails us.


 

Instead of the promised panacea, many divorced parents find their pre-divorce problems still plague them. The probability of another divorce increases in a second marriage. And children, so often an after-thought in the whole process, are left suffering tremendous negative side effects.

All too often, children are not permitted to voice their real feelings. Love inside the family feels fragile: the kids have absorbed the message that people sometimes leave each other, or get kicked out. They may view love as unreliable. Even if children could verbalize their feelings, (which they can’t) they are afraid to risk losing their parents’ love. They don’t want to upset mom or dad. The children are silenced, or learn to silence themselves.


The children of divorce are socially invisible. If they have a problem, we take them to therapy. We put them on medication. But we never admit that maybe the adults should have worked as hard on their marriages as they seem to work on managing their divorce. And we certainly never tell the adults not to remarry.

So many children of divorce struggle massively with the emotional toll that the divorce took on them. From their perspective, each parent is half of who the child is. When the parents reject each other, they are rejecting half of the child. They may tell the child, “We still love you: we just don’t love each other.” The child cannot make sense of this impossible contradiction. In my opinion, this is the underlying reason for the negative side effects of divorce on children.

We, as a society, are faced with two competing world-views on divorce: 1. Divorce Ideology and 2. The traditional sexual ethic. Divorce ideology, reinforced by our media and culture, prioritizes parents’ sexual desire over all else, minimizes children’s rights, and requires state intervention. Children of divorce are not valued by the ideology or even the system.


The traditional sexual ethic, on the other hand, starts with the premise that children have identity rights and relational rights to their parents, that marriage exists to not only bind children to their biological parents, but to protect these rights, and naturally places legitimate obligation on the parents to protect and care for their biological children. When children are deprived of these rights without an inescapable reason, it is an injustice to the children.

We talk about protecting the rights of vulnerable populations, but we often forget that children are among the most vulnerable populations. We discard the systems built over thousands of years to protect them, and then silence them with the power of the state and a shattered family dynamic. No wonder children of today are struggling so much. Isn’t it time we changed our societal approach?

Dr. Morse

 

P.S.

Leila Miller has done us all a great service by giving a voice to the Children of Divorce. Please read her book, Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, share it with friends, family, counselors, teachers, and pastors. Break the silence. Do it for your own family, and for the families of future generations.

If you are a child of divorce, have suffered negative effects because of divorce, or know someone who has, please visit our resource page here. Our resource page contains information to understand the why, the how, and the consequences of divorce culture, and has resources to help survivors.

 



Our Annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution is Coming!

 

Educating yourself is the first step in fighting the effects of the sexual revolution in your life and among loved ones.

The Ruth Institute is hosting its Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, and you're invited.

Learn how to confront and survive trends in transgenderism, the LGBT subculture, the pitfalls of population control, post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, childhood sexual abuse, and more.

The summit will include various sessions loaded with information. Have you ever wondered, for example, how pornography is affecting people’s lives? The Summit’s class “Protecting Our Children from Our Pornified Culture” will open your eyes. These and other facts about pornography will be discussed:


  • The average age of first exposure to porn is 11 years old
  • 25% of search engine requests are related to sex
  • 35% of downloads from the Internet are pornographic
  • 40% of Americans say they regularly visit porn sites
  • 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once a month
  • One-third of all Internet porn users are women
  • Conditions frequently associated with porn addiction include depression, anxiety, mood disorders, substance abuse, memory problems, and erectile dysfunction
  • In the United States, 68% of divorces involve one party having what is described as an obsessive interest in pornography

For this and many other well-researched presentations, save the date:

Third Annual Ruth Institute Awards Dinner and

Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution

PROTECTING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

July 17-18, 2020

 


 



Ruth Institute Makes History

On Feb. 21st “We’ll Make History”

Ruth Institute to Present Its Make-The-Family-Great-Again Petition to State Dept. Commission

“On February 21st the Ruth Institute will make history,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. “We will present our petition to Make the Family Great Again to the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights. This petition is historic because, for the first time, we explain how and why the family itself has human rights. And we demonstrate to the State Department that a worldwide coalition supports this view.”

Morse explained: “The Commission was appointed by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to advise the Department on how to make authentic human rights the basis of its dealings with international bodies and foreign governments. As the Commission’s Chairman, he appointed Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, a distinguished Harvard Law Professor well-known for her thoughtful articulation of genuine human rights, including the right to life.”

 


 

 

Pro-family leaders from five continents have signed the Ruth Institute’s petition. Dr. Morse explained, “Pro-family leaders from around the world have seen first-hand the destructive results of international policies undertaken in the name of ‘rights.’ All too often, the United States government has facilitated policies that undermine the rights of children to their parents, and parents' rights and responsibilities toward their children. These pro-family leaders are keenly interested in the deliberations of this Commission.” (See below for a partial list of leadership signers.)

The Ruth Institute Petition urges the State Department to work for the recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents
  • The right to life from conception to natural death
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Morse noted: “President Trump campaigned on a promise to Make America Great Again. Only by making the family great again can he fulfill that promise. The Ruth Institute and its international interfaith coalition whole-heartedly support the cause of making the family great again, worldwide.”

###

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization, leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

The Ruth Institute collaborated with Life Petitions to create and circulate this petition, which can be found here.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact media@ruthinstitute.org.

##

Leadership signers include: Gary Bauer (President, American Values), Brent Bozell (Founder and President, Media Research Center), Fr. Shenan Boquet (President, Human Life International), Janice Shaw Crouse (Author, Columnist and Speaker), Pat Fagan (Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute), Jor-El Godsey (President, Heartbeat International), Governor Mike Huckabee (former Governor of Arkansas and commentator), Alveda King (Author and Activist), Michael Pakaluk (Professor, Busch School of Business, Catholic University of America), Tom Morrison (Representative, Ill. District 54), Steve Mosher (President and Founder, Population Research Institute), C. Preston Noell (President, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property), Sharon Slater (President, Family Watch International), Steven Smoot (President, Family First Foundation), Mathew D. Staver, Esq. (Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel) and Michael Voris (Founder and President, St. Michael’s Media).

Signers from outside the United States include: Rebekah Ali-Gouveia (Pro-Family Leader, Trinidad), Bishop Emmanuel Badejo (Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria), Moira Chimombo (Former Executive Director, Sub-Sahara Family Enrichment, Malawi), Silvio Dalla Valle (Executive Director, Association for the Defense of Christian Values, Italy), Ann Kioko (President, African Organization for Families, Kenya), Lech Kowalewski (Board Member, Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements), Christa Leonhard (Foundation for Family Values, Germany and the Swiss Foundation for the Family), Gwen Landolt (First Vice President, REAL Women of Canada), Warwick and Allison Marsh (Founders, Dads4Kids, Australia), Dr. Theresa Okafor (Director, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, FACH, Nigeria), Fr. Boniface Ssenteza, (Youth Chaplain for the Kasana-Luweero Diocese and National Scouting Chaplain, Uganda), Christine Vollmer (Founder and President, Latin American Alliance for the Family, Venezuela), Andrea Williams (Chief Executive, Christian Concern, United Kingdom) and Levan Vasadez (Pro-Life Activist, Republic of Georgia).

 


Ruth Institute to Present “Make the Family Great Again” Petition to State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, announced that she will present the signatures of the Institute’s petition to Make the Family Great Again at the next meeting of the State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights February 21.

Of the petition, co-partnered with Life Petitions, Morse said, “We’re greatly encouraged by the outpouring of support, including from many leaders and scholars.”

Morse noted: “President Trump campaigned on a promise to Make America Great Again. But only the family can help him fulfill that promise.”

In July, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo established the Commission to advise his department in its dealings with foreign governments and international organizations.

The Ruth Institute petition urges the Commission and the State Department to make certain fundamental principles the basis for articulating these unalienable rights, among them that:


  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.

The petition calls on the Commission to work for the recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • The right to know the identity of one’s biological parents.
  • The right to life from conception to natural death.
  • The right of families to educate their children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Leadership signers include: Gary Bauer (President, American Values), Brent Bozell (Founder and President, Media Research Center), Ted Baehr (Chairman, Christian Film and Television Commission), Fr. Shenan Boquet (President, Human Life International), Janice Shaw Crouse (Author, Columnist and Speaker), Kari Curtin (National Director, Marriage Reality Movement), Pat Fagan (Director, Marriage and Religion Research Institute), Jor-El Godsey (President, Heartbeat International), Governor Mike Huckabee (former Governorof Arkansas and talk show host), Alveda King (Author and Activist), Robert Knight (Washington Times columnist), Michael Pakaluk (Professor, Busch School of Business, Catholic University of America), Toni Morrison (Representative, Ill. District 54), Steve Mosher (President and Founder, Family First Foundation), C. Preston Noell (President, American Society for Tradition, Family and Property), Sharon Slater (President, Family Watch International), Steven Smoot (President, Family First Foundation), and Michael Voris (Founder and President, St. Michael’s Media).

Pro-family leaders from around the world have seen the destructive results of international policies that undermine the rights of children to their parents, and parents' rights and responsibilities toward their children.

Signers from outside the United States include: Rebekah Ali-Gouveia (Pro-Family Leader, Trinidad), Bishop Emmanuel Badejo (Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria), Moira Chimombo (Former Executive Director, Sub-Sahara Family Enrichment, Malawi), Ann Kioko (President, African Organization for Families, Kenya), Lech Kowalewski (Board Member, Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements), Christa Leonhard (Foundation for Family Values, Germany, and the Swiss Foundation for the Family), Gwen Landolt (First Vice President, REAL Women of Canada), Warwick and Allison Marsh (Founders, Dads4Kids, Australia), Christine Vollmer (Founder and President, Latin American Alliance for the Family, Venezuela), Andrea Williams (Chief Executive, Christian Concern, United Kingdom), Levan Vasadez (Pro-Life Activist, Republic of Georgia), and Fr. Boniface Ssenteza, (Youth Chaplain for the Kasana-Luweero Diocese and National Scouting Chaplain, Uganda).

“We’re honored to have such distinguished leaders among the petition’s signers,” Morse said. “Their support and that of more than 8,000 others should help the Commission to understand that the family is the foundation of these unalienable rights.”

Go here to sign the petition to Make the Family Great Again.


Student Pro-life Activists NOT Single-Issue Voters!

Students Care About a Broad Range of Issues Related to the Sexual Revolution

Despite common stereotypes, most pro-life activists are NOT single-mindedly focused on abortion. The Ruth Institute conducted what may be the first survey of pro-life student opinion on other social issues at the Students for Life Pro-Life Summit on January 25 in Washington D.C. This Summit followed the annual National March for Life and was attended by more than 3,000.

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., explained: “With almost 10% of those attending the Summit taking the survey, we believe we have a representative sampling of the attendees. Since they are the future of the pro-life movement, we wanted to learn what other issues concern them.”

Of the 252 who took the survey at the Ruth Institute booth:


  • 83% said they were concerned about euthanasia
  • 83% said they were troubled by the decline of marriage
  • 66% mentioned contraception as an area of concern
  • 59% said they were troubled by what’s called comprehensive sexuality education
  • 50% said they were concerned about surrogacy and
  • 47% named the worldwide decline of fertility

The ages of those who took the survey ranged from 12 through 76, with an average age of 28. The respondents were 71% women and 77% Catholic.

Dr. Morse observed: “Despite a general belief to the contrary, pro-lifers aren’t single-issue activists. They care about a broad range of issues which, like abortion, are related to the Sexual Revolution.”

Other questions on the Ruth Institute survey included:

  • 1.What brought you to the pro-life position?
  • 2.What do you think is the best argument to advance the pro-life cause?
  • 3.What is the best practical solution to abortion?

Morse said, “We were honored to be able to participate in the Summit. It was an exciting event that brought together student activists and leaders from across the country to learn and network. It also gave us the opportunity to conduct this important survey, perhaps the first of its kind.”


Pro-family groups ask US ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’ to fight for parental rights

 

October 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., welcomed the news that the Commission on Unalienable Rights will begin its work with two public meetings, October 23 and November 1, at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

PETITION: Ask President Trump to Make the Family Great Again! Sign the petition here.

"The Commission has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the State Department behind authentic human rights, which begin with the family," Morse said. "Respect for the rights of others is learned in the family. In turn, governments must respect the rights of families, including the right to educate their children in their own faith tradition, without being undermined by the government."

The Ruth Institute is co-sponsoring a Make The Family Great Again Petition with LifeSite Petitions.

The petition affirms that:


  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Loyalty and fidelity are universally recognized as virtues.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.
  • The United Nations and other international organizations often work at cross-purposes to these important truths.
  • Making America great again requires that we make the family great again, both at home and abroad.

Therefore, the Petition urges the Commission on Unalienable Rights to work for recognition of the following fundamental rights:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents.
  • The right to life from conception to natural death.
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Morse noted: "Our more than 40 original petition signers are a Who's Who of the international pro-family movement, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alveda King, and Fr. Shenan Boquet, the President of Human Life International, as well as international leaders from Africa, Europe, and Latin America."

To date, nearly 7,700 have signed the petition worldwide.

"We welcome the beginnings of a process to get the State Department behind the rights of the family. If kids don't have a right to their parents, nobody has a right to anything," Morse concluded.

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love. On April 26–27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives. More at thesexualstate.com.

 



Ruth Institute President Welcomes First Public Meetings of State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., welcomed the news that the Commission on Unalienable Rights will begin its work with two public meetings, October 23 and November 1, at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

“The Commission has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the State Department behind authentic human rights, which begin with the family,” Morse said. “Respect for the rights of others is learned in the family. In turn, governments must respect the rights of families, including the right to educate their children in their own faith tradition, without being undermined by the government.”

The Ruth Institute is co-sponsoring a Make The Family Great Again Petition with Life Petitions.

The petition affirms that:


  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Loyalty and fidelity are universally recognized as virtues.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.
  • The United Nations and other international organizations often work at cross-purposes to these important truths.
  • Making America great again requires that we make the family great again, both at home and abroad.

Therefore, the Petition urges the Commission on Unalienable Rights to work for recognition of the following fundamental rights:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents.
  • The right to life from conception to natural death.
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Morse noted: “Our more than 40 original petition signers are a Who’s Who of the international pro-family movement, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alveda King, and Fr. Shenan Boquet, the President of Human Life International, as well as international leaders from Africa, Europe, and Latin America.”

To date, nearly 7,700 have signed the petition worldwide.

“We welcome the beginnings of a process to get the State Department behind the rights of the family. If kids don’t have a right to their parents, nobody has a right to anything,” Morse concluded.

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

Find more on The Ruth Institute at http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, email media@ruthinstitute.org.


RUTH INSTITUTE GRATEFUL FOR LEADERS SUPPORTING ITS MAKE THE FAMILY GREAT AGAIN PETITION

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute, thanked the pro-family leaders who have signed the Institute’s petition to Make the Family Great Again.

“We’re grateful for the help of so many wonderful leaders, both here and abroad, who’ve been in the trenches of the fight for life and the family and are supporting the Make the Family Great Again petition,” Morse said.

The petition, co-sponsored with Life Petitions, calls on the newly created State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights to focus on the family in guiding the Department in its dealings with foreign governments and international institutions.

The Commission is headed by pro-life Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon, a former ambassador to the Vatican, and a natural-rights proponent.

Original petition signers include:


Ted Baehr (Christian Film and Television Commission), Fr. Shenan Boquet (Human Life International), Brent Bozell (Media Research Center), Patrick Fagan (Marriage and Religion Research Institute), Professor Robert George (Princeton University), Michael Pakaluk, (Catholic University of America), Jor-El Godsey (Heartbeat International), Mike Huckabee (former Arkansas Governor), Alveda King (author and activist), Steven Mosher (Population Research Institute), and Sharon Slater (Family Watch International).

Signers outside the U.S. include leaders from Trinidad, Nigeria, Malawi, Canada, Kenya, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Georgia.

Find a complete list of original signers here.

“This is a great opportunity for the pro-family movement to be heard with a petition addressed to a sympathetic State Department Commission,” Morse observed.

The petition notes that:

  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security, and international peace.

Therefore, the petition calls on the Commission on Unalienable Rights to work for recognition of:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father, excepting an unavoidable tragedy
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents
  • The right to life from conception to natural death, and
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Sign the Petition to Make Families Great Again here.

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives. https://thesexualstate.com/

For More information on The Ruth Institutehttp://www.ruthinstitute.org/

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse media@ruthinstitute.org


Thousands sign petition asking Trump to defend life, marriage and make family ‘great again’


September 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ruth Institute and LifeSiteNews have just launched a petition asking President Trump to “Make the Family Great Again!”

Sexual revolutionaries have been using so-called “human rights” language, domestically and internationally, to promote their radical vision of society. This includes insisting that both abortion and “same-sex “marriage” are “human rights.”

But, in their zeal to convert the world into a secular paradise, they conveniently fail to address troubling questions, such as: How can one “human right” trump the right to life of another person?; and, how can the desire for sexual license and companionship trump the right of a child to have both a mother and a father?


To better answer these questions and to achieve greater clarity as to what actually constitutes human rights, at the behest of President Trump, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, recently formed a Commission on Unalienable Rights, to advise his department in its dealings with foreign governments and international organizations.

Where our government’s dealings with international institutions are concerned, this is a giant step forward.

For at least the last 35 years, all concerned parties have unquestioningly accepted the meaning which radical secularists attach to human rights.

Finally, the world is now wakening up to the reality that these radical secularists have, in the social-moral-sexual dimension of human rights, got it very wrong…and, continue to get it very wrong.

In particular, by jettisoning Christianity, these radical secularists have produced tragic real-world effects – which have devastated the prospects for the unborn and practically demolished the protections afforded by the state to man-woman marriage.

But, unborn children and the natural family need to be defended.

And, the philosophical foundation protecting genuine rights, which inhere in every human being from the moment of conception till natural death and which seek to vindicate, in law the unique superiority of the natural family as the quintessential building block of society, needs to be put in place and defended.

Radical secularists are very vocal in defending their morally-socially-and-sexually-corrupt philosophy.

But, they have nothing to be proud about.

35 years of their ideology has produced more than 1 billion abortions worldwide and the dramatic decline of marriage and fertility.

In short, the radical secularists’ philosophy has been an utter disaster for mankind. And, it’s now time for us to stop letting them destroy society, one person and one family at a time.

The world needs better ideas about Life and Family than those proposed by radical secularists and sexual revolutionaries.

That is why the Ruth Institute and LifeSiteNews have created a petition to encourage the Trump Administration to “Make the Family Great Again.”

This petition is directed to President Trump.

So far, the petition is doing very well, with almost 4,000 signatures!

We are asking the President to direct the Commission to consider the rights of children and families in their deliberations. This line of thought produces a different set of rights than those we are used to hearing about:

  • the right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father, except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • the right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents.
  • the right to life from conception to natural death.
  • the right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Pro-family leaders from around the world and across the religious spectrum have enthusiastically signed this petition.

To ADD YOUR NAME to this important petition, please CLICK HERE.

And, to learn more about the Ruth Institute, please CLICK HERE.

WATCH Dr. Morse, from the Ruth Institute, succinctly lay out the need for this petition, and the importance of the new Commission's work. Please CLICK HERE.


Do You Want To Be a Happier Parent?

, at Integrated Catholic Life

Raising children isn’t as easy as it looks in those soft-focus magazine and television ads. I think it might be some kind of ruse designed to bamboozle us into peopling the earth (and buying all the products for it). Actual children are messy, unreasonable, and they’re around for such a long time! It turns out it takes more than absorbent paper towel and animal shaped multi-vitamins to raise good kids! It takes happy, loving parents.

It’s the rare parents, however, who don’t admit they’re in over their heads upon the arrival of their first bundle of joy. To get through this extreme sport known as parenting, it is essential to seek out the commiseration and encouragement of fellow parents-in-the-trenches to compare scars, swap tactics, and share a whole mess of humorous anecdotes. And also to remind us what our goal is in this crazy endeavor: eternal happiness for the whole family.



I have the just the thing for you! I recently read Betsy Kerekes’ new book, Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying. You may know Betsy from her humorous blog, Parenting is Funny, or from the two books she co-wrote with Jennifer Roback Morse, 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage and 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person. Betsy is flying solo this time – and she was tipsy when she wrote this book too! (It contains more tips than the apron of the prettiest bar maid at Oktoberfest.)


It’s clear that she’s a happy, fun person (Betsy, not the bar maid), who followed the advice from her previous books. It’s not that she comes across as the perfect wife and mom, nor is she preachy and didactic. In fact, many of the pro tips that pack this slim volume were gleaned from her myriad mom friends. She shares her struggles and successes with a healthy dose of humility and humor. Well, maybe it’s more a gluttonous dose of humor – because, it’s huge.

I guarantee, by a few chapters in, you will feel like you’re sitting in her kitchen, enjoying coffee with the author, sharing parenting stories, while your children play (or bicker) with hers nearby. The writing is conversational and encouraging.

We can all use a little more encouragement these days when it’s so easy to feel like a failure if you can’t keep up with the “perfect” example of those moms we see on television, blogs, and magazines. You know, the examples they save to show the public for our emulation – even though hey probably don’t live up to it either. Betsy is refreshingly real. While she does give examples from her own successful experiences, she shares her failures as well. She never comes across as superciliously saying, “Just do it like I do; it’s so easy!” This is not an instruction manual.

Each of the ten chapters is headed with an inspiring quotation from a saint. It’s just one of the things that make apparent Betsy’s goal of not merely curating a fun-filled family environment, but of helping us to build a happy family in the truest sense. Aristotle names happiness as our ultimate goal and virtue as the means to get there. Kerekes leads us through various ways to grow in virtue as a parent and help our kids do so as well, and always with the purpose of reaching our true end of eternal happiness – as well as daily happiness gleaned from a loving, peaceful household.



There are chapters that focus on having fun, dealing with tears (yours as well as your kids’), discipline, the frustration of trying to keep an orderly house, teenagers, matters of faith, and gaining help from the saints. She shares a couple of additional essays on the heartbreak of infertility and the loss of children. As a mother raising four kids, she has experienced her share of all of these topics. Her irrepressibly positive attitude has carried her through difficulties and is uplifting to read.

There is a good deal of wisdom behind her cheery words. In the pages of this little book, you will learn the housekeeping secret of “The Magic Chair” and of allowing angry kids slam doors. Betsy comes across as sort of a phlegmatic version of Mary Poppins steeped in Saint John Paul II’s teaching of respect for the dignity of the human person.

With the recent Mother’s Day and the approach of Father’s Day, this is a book to consider getting for yourself, your spouse, and anyone who has or is contemplating having kids any time in the future. You can even give it to your parish priest, because he can see from the pulpit the parents who might benefit from such a book.

It may take more than animal shaped multi-vitamins and absorbent paper towel to raise real life kids. This little book will give you a spiritual multi-vitamin pick-me-up to face your family with a renewed sense of happiness and humor.

 

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