Someone’s else’s blog was so informative it replaces mine this week: Karlyn Bowman of The American Enterprise Institute, a veteran scholar of public opinion, condenses BYU’s annual survey 52-page report on the American Family to one page, though I do recommend scanning the report itself for great charts on many key measures. Bottom line: Though marriage is still very important to three quarters of the nation — for conservatives and for liberals — there is still a lot of work to be done.
November 30, 2018
Boys becoming good fathers is an unchanging need in every generation, else sexual chaos and violence ensue. It takes cultural deliberation to ensure well-ordered male sexuality.
However, Marxist feminism took deliberate lead in the deconstruction of the family in theUnited States, by severing of the father from his family. (Only 46%of American 15-17-year-olds now live with both biological parents). This absence of fathers is coming into focus as the strongest long-term cause of the now- frequent eruptions of unpredictable forms of violence.
By contrast, a stable society needs fathers who are bonded with their children and who form the sexuality of their sons, so that they, in their turn, build up their own future families rather than tear them apart through uncontrolled sexuality. Malformed male sexuality leads to chaos and to sexual oppression, as the #me-too movement has made abundantly clear.
The founders of The National Organization for Women (NOW),understood that to mold America in their Marxist image of a “good” society the two universal obstacles to this goal — the traditional (“patriarchal”) family and religious practice — had to be removed. Their brilliance was in seeing how to achieve both without having to resort to government coercion: Sever the father from the family by removing all constraints on the sexual.
However, their brilliant success, though destructive, has by now made clear to all that cultural norms on male sexuality determine the level of chaos or order in any society.
A peaceful society will ensure that male sexuality is well-ordered by being well-channeled into marriage. The dedicated, involved father, well bonded with his children, is the keystone to such a well-ordered sexuality, while his absence is a major gateway to chaos. However, nature does not help fathers as much as it helps mothers. Something more is needed.
The contributions of both mother and father to this good order are very different, yet very sex-specific. The unique but complementary contributions are most visible in the DNA of their child, as each sex contributes its half to the double helix. In the relational domain each sex also makes similarly different but complementary contributions.
Feminist ideas have suppressed the most obvious of differences between a man becoming a father and a woman becoming a mother. She is swept along by her biology: once conception takes place biology takes over (unless a woman overrides biology by having an abortion). In the beginning of the child’s new life this biological control is so small it is imperceptible, but soon makes its power visible in gestation, giving birth, and lactating. The father who attempts to develop a bond with his child anyway near as close as the mother has nothing like her biological “assists.” For him it takes an act of his will. He has to choose to act and follow through with responsible action. This deliberately-constructed closeness is the foundation of his later ability to channel his son’s adolescent sexual drive into honoring women not exploiting them.
This choice by father to deliberately form an individual relationship with his children puts in place the keystone of the well-ordered family, which in turn is the building block of the well-ordered society. Sound societies have cultural patterns that guide the male to make this choice while shaming those males who do not, because it is an unchanging need in every generation that boys become good fathers, else sexual chaos and violence ensue.
The next two blogs will focus on the steps a father needs to take to form the sexuality of his boy, so that his mature son will honor women, be a faithful husband and a dedicated father.
November 20, 2018
With our first romance we saw the world in a whole new way because of the one who was absolutely wonderful, and who thought the same of us.
During our early teens, we began in earnest, the journey of our inner life in earnest, an inner life complicated by our sense of how others regard us, which in turn affected how we regarded ourselves. No wonder teenagers are confused and confusing. Many of us spent the rest of our lives trying to reconcile how we value ourselves with how others value us. A lucky few learn early on that this reconciliation is achieved only by being courageous — by being true to oneself and true to the other at the same time. With that insight anyone can begin to build the good relationships that are at the heart of our existence.
Parenting and education are important because this insight does not come naturally. Nothing shapes us more that the intimate relationships that are imposed on us, those with our mother, our father and our siblings. These foundational relationships we do not get to choose.
Apart from these imposed relationships lie the relationships we do choose — our spouse and our friends. By these choices we mold who we become. Without direct instruction, however, we are unlikely to learn this.
Such instruction can impart deep wisdom – that through my friendships I can become the self I am happy to be. Even deeper: that my value as a person — being a person as opposed to being someone’s tool — is reflected most in my friendships. Few are taught this explicitly. It is definitely not taught in the sex-ed imposed on teenagers today. It is its sexual potential that gives romantic friendships their energy. They are important relationships on the journey towards marriage and those relationships we are going to impose on our children.
As mankind moves towards conquering extreme poverty (and there is talk of achieving this by 2030) our relational needs will come roaring to therefore, because our high-tech mode of increased productivity is being purchased at the high price of attenuated relationships and fewer real friends.
Some, aware of the ‘thin-ness’ of how we have produced antidotes, such as the work of Virginia Satir who started a “relational revolution” in psychotherapy that has spread to virtually all dimensions of the applied social sciences; in philosophy with the work of Leonardo Polo; in the theology of the body of John Paul II; in economics with the rediscovery of “the fourth law” of the voluntary redistribution of goods in the work of John Mueller; in business with the customer-service-approach of William Bowman of CUA’s School of Business. In neurological genetics, a recent breakthrough illustrates the capacity of stress— the relational life of a father—, to change the DNA of his child.
We all can contribute to building a relationally-centered-civilization by celebrating teen romance — the first deep experience of “intimacy and otherness.” This is a pivotal point in the formation of the heart and mind, when young adults learn we are made more complete through this relationship, especially if it is one in which I am true to myself and true to the other. Soon, Valentine’s Day will be here, giving us our annual opportunity to impart this attractive wisdom to the young generation.
October 12, 2018
Most Black Americans are less free than their ancestors under Jim Crow laws. They no longer can marry and stay married.
Most Black Americans today grow up in broken families and suffer their parents rejecting each other. (Other ethnic children do also, but less so.)
Compare the Black Family to the Asian American family over the past decades:
Parents pass on a lot to their children, one of the strongest being social capacity. This learned complementarity between husband and wife is the great strength that keeps on giving… across generations. The rejection between husband and wife also keeps on giving — more brokenness across generations. The more splitting in a family’s history, the more the children will split.
Where did this loss of freedom come from? Was this something imposed on Black Americans? Imposed on their church-going families? Where did this rejection virus come from? How is it so endemic even among church-goers?
And keep in mind, this is one Black parent rejecting the other. It is not imposed from outside.
If Black leaders can build unity in the Black family, they can solve, not only their own problems but also white, Hispanic and Native American too. Such leaders will become national heroes.
How is this done? We can put men and women on the moon. But we do not know how build marriage for a lifetime. How do Asian Americans do it? Can they transfer it?
The five richest men in America, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all have intact marriages. If their combined funds could find the solution — nothing would yield greater dividends to the nation nor restore to Black Americans the freedom most of them have lost.
August 24, 2018
(With apologies for the length.) As Russell Hittinger wrote earlier this year in First Things, there are three primary societies to which people most naturally belong: Our family, our religious community (church, synagogue, mosque, or temple or meeting house), and our political community (nation or state). He emphasized that all three, for the first time in history, are in deep crisis. In the past when there was a crisis in one, or even in two, the other(s) corrected it.
The simultaneous crisis today in each of the three has the same cause: the sexual gone wild. The fallout within the family is now boringly evident: Most first births out of wedlock, minority of children reaching adulthood without their biological parents married, a norm of multiple sexual partners prior to marriage — even for those who worship God weekly, cohabitation prior to marriage, abortion and divorce.
The crisis in the church is related to sex as well, starting historically, with the Lambeth Conference in 1930, during which the-up-until-then universal teaching among all Christian denominations was ruptured by the acceptance of contraception in grave circumstances for the protection of the life and health of the mother, which — hardly had the ink dried on the decree — immediately morphed into (without debate) the commonly accepted moral doctrine across Protestant denominations, of the use of contraception to limit family size. By 1950 this was a deeply entrenched pattern. By the 1960’s the crisis on the same erupted in the Catholic Church with a division for many, at almost all levels of the church (but not at the top) between praxis and doctrine.
The children born to all these contracepting parents saw no logical nor practical reason to contain contraception within marriage and, taking it outside, gave us the sexual revolution of the 1960s. That revolution was not only a sexual revolution, but fostered by the cultural Marxists, was a revolution against “authority.” Many churches complied with the zeitgeist, changing, first praxis and then doctrine on divorce, abortion, and cohabitation. With the logical dominoes falling, homosexual sex had to be, and was, logically accepted. Now with multiple religious-moral options, more and more people moved their religious affiliation to less demanding denominations, ceased worshiping frequently while their children ceased worshiping at all.
The emerging recreational sex, naturally led to an abandonment of the worship of God by young adults, and to a loss of attachment to any religious community. It also resulted in the steady erosion of marriage. Thus, the crisis within the family and within religion, are the same: The sexual.
That there is a crisis in the polis – – – the political community of which we are all members – – – is now obvious in the overt refusal of cooperation by the more revolutionary party in Congress. One might say it is akin to a civil war though confined — for the present — to the realm of words (and legal actions). Civil discourse is almost impossible to find. This breakdown is most evident in the debate over the nomination of judges to the Supreme Court and to the Appellate Courts. But this non-cooperation is evident in other areas that impinge on matters sexual, most evidently so, in the issue of abortion but now even at the highest court levels of legal action in matters related to homosexuality. The most publicly forthright, organized display in Congress of a refusal to seek even minimal political cooperation was the behavior of liberal female congressmen and senators during the incumbent president’s First State of the Union speech shortly after his election. These women set themselves apart and aside by an ostentatious show of uniform dress code — white coats — so as to be visible to the nation on television, as pointedly flaunting their refusal of minimal respect when all strive to maintain some semblance of national unity. The day prior, this refusal was presaged in “The Women’s March” whose iconic headgear vulgarly forced all to contemplate the politics of rebellious sex — again with a dress code — this time, not white coats but, pink “vulva hats”.
Any part of Washington that impinges on the sexual has become a nasty place to work, nowhere more than at the Office of Population Affairs at Health and Human Services. The office that runs the family planning/sexual programs of the government. God help anyone who works there who does not comply in their minds and hearts with the radical sexual agenda. They are under intense constant scrutiny and harassment.
In sum, nothing is more contentious at universities, in corporate boardrooms, in bureaucracies, in courts, and in legislatures than the appearance of any item that impinges on the sexual. Everywhere, pollical division and non-cooperation divides the polis.
Why has there never been a crisis in all three societies ever before in history? Never before have so many in powerful places been so insane on matters of sex, family, love between fathers and mothers, parents and children.
Sex, life, love, marriage, children and God are all so intimately linked or decoupled in the thriving of man or in his debilitation, that all functional civilizations and cultures — all — have put tremendous energy, throughout all their institutions, into bringing as much harmony on the society-dependent, foundational issues. In our day instead, we have many in positions of leadership throughout the major institutions (family, church, school, marketplace and government) devoted to deliberately increasing the discord on these issues. A society so divided on these fundamentals cannot stand, as the elite leaders of this revolt understand very well, and have for decades as they worked to this point.
As always, it is the poor who suffer most, and who will suffer even more. For all family life today is much costlier, less productive and less enjoyable than it should be, but especially so for the poor — even as they are used and show-cased as victims by the same elite leaders of the revolt.
Our national fertility — a big sexual issue — is far removed from that of a well-functioning society. For instance, if were no abortions there would not be a Social Security financial crisis today, nor a looming Medicare crisis. Over the next 10 years these programs will gradually shrivel, if not suddenly implode (economists seem to lean towards implosion, barring some global reform in global currency standards). The contraction has already begun as the elderly on Medicare can tell you. And, they have already been flagged that less will be forthcoming and that they must become accustomed to picking up more of the tab (which they had pre-payed).
More than most nations throughout history, we were blessed with the freedom to choose, but we were never free to choose the consequences. Consequences are built into the nature of the choice made, into the sexual and relational nature of man, as the demographics of America — Mapping America — repeatedly illustrates.
To thrive man needs two great loves: The love of his closest neighbor (spouse, and children— sexual love in its fullest expression) and the love of God (minimally expressed in weekly worship).
Is a crisis correction possible?
Of the three societies that we all occupy, the one with the capacity for quickest reform is the religious. Despite all its bad press, some of it, and more to come, no doubt, well deserved — but by no means all, particularly the latest — a close observer will notice the pace of reform within the Catholic Church in this country. It has been gathering steam, not in a way that makes front-page headlines, but more hidden in its deeper reaches. Hopefully the same currents, driven by the same issues (dysfunctional sexuality and its fallouts), are bringing about similar reform within other denominations and faiths.
Addressing the issue of church reform, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, in a recent letter to the university community, quoted St Catherine of Sienna, who was the major stimulus for a reform at another time of deep crisis: “Eliminate the stink of the ministers of the Holy Church. Pull out the stinking flowers and plant scented plants, virtuous men that fear God.”
The road ahead: First the reform of the religious institutions leading in turn to the reform of marriage and the family (all freely undertaken by free adults), which reformed over time, will alter our political behaviors and lead to a reform of the body politic.
The sooner the better for every child yet to be born, every one of whom will thrive or wilt depending on how much a diet of the two great loves he is fed.
Pat Fagan, Ph.D.
Director of MARRI
August 10, 2018
Picture a 4-year-old black boy walking down the street holding his father’s. He is asking his father a question and the back and forth is clearly animated. His father is obviously enjoying it.
This boy is rich.
Picture a 7-year-old black girl helping her mother who is sweeping the porch and asking her to move piece of furniture. The mother is cracking a joke and her daughter is laughing.
This girl is rich.
Picture this girl teaching her younger brother how to play checkers. She lets him beat her and enjoys his yelp of triumph. She lets him know she won’t let him win anymore.
These are rich kids.
Picture their family dinner. It always starts with a short prayer from each member of the family. Each one gives thanks to God for a blessing they experienced that day.
This is family is rich.
Picture the father and mother waving goodbye to their daughter and son as they walk down the sidewalk, going out on their monthly date night. The mother has cracked a joke that has her husband overcome by laughter.
This is a very rich couple.
Their kids are some of the richest children in America.
How many black kids are that rich?
Can we dream of every black child having a father and mother like that? What would it take to have that dream for every black child?
Can we dream really big? Can Black America dream? Can America dream?
What does it take to dream that big?
Can a great nation dream? Can liberals dream? Can conservatives dream? Can religious people dream that dream? Can atheists dream that dream? Can “nones” dream that dream?
Let us have a nation of rich black kids!
Despite declines in religious practice and in marital rates, these two institutions continue to be instrumental to attaining educational, economic, and relational security.
Alternative practices and family structures do not yield the same outcomes.
For the good of the black, the Latino, and the child of every race- the future of America,
Pat Fagan & Maria Archer
July 13, 2018
Last week, The Upshot (New York Times) reported that women are having less children than they would like, mainly because of the worries illustrated below.
Despite the fact that we live in the biggest, most prosperous nation ever in history, our women are anxious and fearful about having children. Given their psychological and family experiences this is understandable: Most young women (and men) today come from broken families. They are afraid to take the risk of a “big exploration trip into the unknown” together. Unlike Columbus setting sail into unchartered waters, they stay onshore fearful of probable storms and occasional bad weather.
But those who worship God weekly see life differently. They are more likely to take the risk and to set sail. Though, unlike Columbus, they don’t discover new continents — they make them.
John Mueller of The Ethics and Public Policy Institute found that, globally, across religions and cultures, women who worship weekly have more than twice as many children as those who never worship.
Mueller reasons: “Personal gift of time and resources involved in worship is closely and systematically associated with the personal gift of having children for their own sake rather than for the pleasure and utility of the parents.”
Those who worship frequently value having children more those who do not practice.
National data shows intact married couples that worship frequently are happiest.
National data indicates that intact families who worship weekly are less anxious and worried during intercourse.
The Upshot team at the New York Times repeatedly does “almost-great” work . Had they included religious worship question and marital status question they would see a dramatically different picture. The national averages would be the same but who is afraid and who is ready to plunge forward would stand out.
With an eye to the hand that could rock the cradle and give us the world,
Pat Fagan, Ph.D.
Director of the MARRI Project
Catholic University of America
June 8, 2018
Fathers give the gift of existence when their sperm penetrates the mother’s egg. While the mother begins nurturing her child immediately, whether the father does so depends on the couple’s “mode of living” up to that point: their own family-of-origin culture and beliefs, moral norms, and their guiding insights and beliefs on life, sexuality, family, the complementarity of the sexes and on marriage.
Let us jump forward fourteen years from this moment, when the baby has just come into existence to the time he has reached puberty and is now biologically capable of becoming a father. His father began to prepare him on matters sexual four years earlier when they had “the talk” introducing him to sex — a task the father denies to anyone else, for that is his and his alone —so that his boy knows how much he owes his existence to his father, and how and why.
Even though he was trained to honor the privacy of his mother and sister — “the talk” began the development of “awe” of females, the father made sure that his mother had her “talk” with him a few weeks ago— to introduce him to the wonders and changes of the female body once the egg accepts the sperm. Having this taught him by his mother changed his idea of girls forever.
His father then began to form his capacity for future marriage: to be an affirmer, a protector and a provider. He had earlier started the formation of affirmation of the women in his life: his mother, and especially his sisters. Now he begins to tutor him in observing and listening carefully so that he gets to know more about who the young women he meets at school and at play and to understand them as much as they permit him to. He teaches him how to be a recognizer of inner beauty. He tutors him in how to listen and how to evaluate — with kindness and understanding when facets become obvious that are not so beautiful or good. He reminds him constantly that every woman is to be honored. By teaching him how to affirm women his father is developing his criteria for selecting a wife.
Having protected him from pornography many years ago — another talk — the boy is used to battling internally with sexual temptation that images that arouse lust (making of a woman an object to be used). The boy has seen its effects on some of his classmates and how their attitude to girls changed mightily. He makes sure his sisters never associate with them. This all led him to a shocking conclusion — that in the adult world he is entering males can be quite predatory.
His father told him how he won this internal battle and still has to win it constantly (how to wipe images away from the mind immediately; what happens when a man does not and how to recover).
But his father also taught him that women too can grow dragons within —slayers of the innocent— and that he had to learn to differentiate between the young women he meets so that he could avoid the trap of a “slayer” in disguise. His son thought this a bit harsh but his father insisted that clear understanding is necessary if he is to be savvy on selecting a wife.
He further instructed him that forgiveness is possible and he tutored him in the need for it — even of the best woman in the world (the one he hoped his son would select) — for her faults and failings will emerge as his future marriage progresses out of the intense romance stage to the long phase of working close together in raising their own children. He will need a wife who will forgive him for his faults too.
He gently advised his son:
“Son, when you are ready we can talk about what your major weaknesses are likely to be so that you will be readier to ask your wife’s forgiveness.”
“When your girlfriend questions you — if she questions you — about your sexual restraint and how you pulled it off — tell her the truth – most of it comes from you and I being close – close enough to have had these conversations over the years. Most young men don’t have that experience so they don’t have the “strength of their father in this area”. You do! It is my gift to you — and to her —– and to your children — my grandchildren.”
“Find the girl who is as close to her mother and father as you are to me and your mother.”
“Choosing who will be your wife and the mother of your children is the most important decision of your life…it will shape the rest of your existence as nothing else will… except your relationship with God. But you know that already even though you are still early in learning about your relationship with Him. There is no severing the connection between sex, egg and sperm, new life and existence and God. Well there is severing but it is disastrous. Just look around and look at the data.”
“Though my guidance is always there for you it is even better that you learn the silence in your heart that is necessary to have conversations with Him so that you get His guidance instead. That will be your strength: Inner certainty arising from inner silence. Without that silence the only voice you hear will be your own —- a bad advisor compared with YOU AND HIM together. That is where I get my deepest affirmation.”
“The other capacity you need to have — being a provider—in some ways it is the easiest part, in others it is the toughest because of the long hours of work. But you have learned to study hard so you already know how to work hard. For hard workers there are loads of job opportunities. But you must learn to save from your very first paycheck… If you can learn to live on 90% of your take-home pay you are doing well. Better still if you learn to do it on 80%… you will never have to worry about money if you learn to live below your means… and you won’t be tempted by money if you do.”
“This will also give you time for conversation in the family that other families will not have. Money and time are interchangeable. As we conquer material nature we seem to have less time — so become rich enough to have the time you need to have many conversations in the family. Protect your wife and children by keeping out the robbers of time – of conversation – of affirmation and understanding of each other.”
“Figure out first what you want: more money or more time. And choose a wife accordingly. If you choose time your children
will thank you. If you choose money they may curse you. They definitely will wish you had chosen time.”
“If you are an Affirmer and a Protector being a Provider comes naturally.”
In turn his son will respond: “But father so few of my friends have families like this!”
How true—that is the great task that confronts the world.
How to change the environment so that every child has such a habitat (a home). Solve this problem and all the others fall in place easily. Solve the other problems first and we will destroy what is left of the environment.
It is time for men to lead where only they can… in being fathers to the full.