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 Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoorsfrank4zen
13 Jul 2005 @ 05:26
Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoors
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
BELLBROOK, Ohio — Being a kid isn't what it used to be.

Many among today's generation of children would rather play video games or surf the Internet than hang out outside.
Dakota Howell, 9, went fishing in this town of 7,000 the other day with his mom, dad and little brother. "It's fun," he says, happily reeling in sunfish from Spring Lake during a fishing derby sponsored by Wal-Mart.

But, to be honest, he'd rather be doing something else: playing video games. "That was my first choice," he confides. "But mom says they rot your brain."

Misty Pollock, his mother, smiles. "When I was a kid, we wanted to be outdoors," she says. "Today, you have to push kids outside."

The fundamental nature of American childhood has changed in a single generation. The unstructured outdoor childhood — days of pick-up baseball games, treehouses and "be home for dinner" — has all but vanished.

Today, childhood is spent mostly indoors, watching television, playing video games and working the Internet. When children do go outside, it tends to be for scheduled events — soccer camp or a fishing derby — held under the watch of adults. In a typical week, 27% of kids ages 9 to 13 play organized baseball, but only 6% play on their own, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated in the past decade, with huge declines in spontaneous outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming and touch football, according to separate studies by the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group, and American Sports Data, a research firm. Bike riding alone is down 31% since 1995.

A child is six times more likely to play a video game on a typical day than to ride a bike, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC. Dakota Howell says his favorite video game —Tony Hawk's Pro Skater— is more fun than actual skateboarding.

The change can be seen in children's bodies. In the 1960s, 4% of kids were obese. Today, 16% are overweight, according to the CDC. It can be seen in their brains. Studies indicate that children who spend lots of time outdoors have longer attention spans than kids who watch lots of television and play video games, says Frances Kuo, director of the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"New research indicates that our intuition is right: Kids are spending way too much time with media and not enough time outside," Kuo says.

The lure of television and video games isn't the only thing keeping kids indoors. Parents are more afraid of letting kids roam in a world of heavy traffic and reports of pedophiles and missing children. A 41% decline in the birth rate since 1960 means smaller packs of kids roam neighborhoods. Air-conditioning means kids don't need the local pool or swimming hole to cool off.

"Boundaries for kids used to be measured by blocks or miles. Now, the boundary for most kids is the front yard. A lot of kids are under house arrest," says Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, a book about how children have lost touch with nature.

He says many parents fear the outdoors, whether it's letting a kid climb a tree or hike alone in the woods. "Parents think their kids are safer in front of the Xbox in the next room."

Home alone

Consider Jared Timmons and Cole Hillsamer, a pair of athletic 11-year-old friends from Beaver Creek, Ohio. The boys live in neighborhoods separated by a busy street neither is allowed to cross in their 38,000-resident town outside of Dayton.

During the school year, both boys got home about 2 p.m. and spent a couple hours alone. Cole flopped on his bed, watched MTV or the Dukes ofHazzard. Jared sat 2 miles away instant messaging friends and sometimes stepping outside to shoot baskets by himself.

The buddies were outdoors together at this month's fishing derby. Cole's mother, Janet Begley, drove them to the event and sat in a beach chair behind the boys reading Hidden Prey, a murder mystery.

She says she would never let her son play in the woods without an adult. She won't even let him go alone to the park down the street. "Parks are where pedophiles go," she says.

The mother pauses for a moment to recall her tomboy childhood. She rode her bike all over town. She played outdoors freely — climbing trees, playing tag and kick the can. "Life for kids isn't what it used to be," she says.

Annabel North, 9, a bubbly Catholic school student, is fishing a few feet away. Last night, she had a sleepover at a friend's house and had a grand time trying to make grape jelly from juice and milk. She stayed up whispering until midnight discussing whether the Loch Ness monster is real.

But much of her time, she says, is spent by herself. "When I'm happy, I go outdoors. When I'm sad, I watch TV," she says.

Some days, Annabel says, she watches television from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed.

Is that boring? "No, it's not boring at all!" she exclaims, surprised by the silly question. "It's great. I don't miss anything."

Multimedia lives of children

In the 1960s, television broadcast 27 hours of children's programming a week, much of it shown simultaneously on Saturday morning. Today, there are 14 television networks aimed at children, and the most popular show with children, American Idol, isn't on any of them.

Children ages 8 to 10 spend an average of 6 hours a day watching television, playing video games and using computers, according to the Kaiser study. And that's during the school year. No study has been done on vacation habits, but TV ratings show kids watch more during the summer.

Childhood's outdoor pastimes are declining fast and the rate has accelerated in the past decade, especially the past five years, according to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) annual survey of physical activity.

Since 1995, the portion of children ages 7 to 11 who swim, fish or play touch football has declined by about a third. Canoeing and water skiing are down by similar amounts.

The relationship between kids and their bikes is especially telling.

In 1995, 68% of children ages 7 to 11 rode a bike at least six times a year. Last year, only 47% did.

The sales of children's bikes fell from 12.4 million in 2000 to 9.8 million in 2004, a 21% decline, according to Bicycle Industry and Retailer News,an industry magazine.

"Bikes used to be empowering for children," says Marc Sani, publisher of the magazine. "My parents didn't care where I went as long as I was home for supper. Now, parents are afraid to let kids out of their sight."

Many kids have substituted skateboards and scooters to get around. But skateboards and scooters travel short distances and their use peaked in 2001 and 2002 respectively, according to the NSGA survey.

Children today tend to get outdoor exercise by appointment.

Soccer participation has been unchanged in the past decade — about 28% of kids age 7 to 11 play the sport. Soccer leagues and soccer camps are in full bloom this summer, although non-organized soccer games are uncommon.

Organized outdoor activities have kept kids moving. They are declining but much more slowly that unstructured outdoor play.

Little League participation has fallen to 2.1 million children, down 14% from its peak in 1997. But overall baseball playing — pick-up games, catch, pickle — has declined nearly twice as fast, the NSGA surveys show.

"As a kid, I'd throw my glove on a bike and pedal 2 or 3 miles to the ball field for a pick-up game," says Little League spokesman Chris Downs, 33, in Williamsport, Pa. "That doesn't appeal to kids as much today. They have many other choices — and not just video games."

In generations past, children's play tended to be open-ended, following whatever game or adventure a child's imagination could generate. Children and parents now prefer structured entertainment, whether it's a video game or a day at the pool.

Spring Valley Pool in Granville, Ohio, closed this year after 70 years. "Kids expect entertainment at a pool, not just pleasure or friendship," says Chip Gordon, whose family owned the pool. "Our 12-foot high dive couldn't compete with the jazzy stuff kids expect."

Kids specialize

Mike Morris, 20, a pole-vaulter at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., says the introduction of Nintendo 64 in 1996 was a seminal event in his generation's childhood. It introduced 3-D graphics, the joystick and the ability to play "shoot 'em up" games that allowed competing against friends. Almost overnight, play in his neighborhood shifted from outdoors to indoors. Some kids never really came back out, he says. Even those who did had their habits changed.

Morris often works out three hours a day at the gym, then returns to his dorm to play the Halo combat game against 20 fellow students sitting in their own dorm rooms nearby.

"My college memories are more likely to be a great move I put on to kill someone in Halo than a great move in pick-up basketball," he says. "It's kind of sad in a way."

Tracey Martin, 40, head of parks and recreation in Greenville, Ohio, says his athletic 14-year-old son spends a typical summer week playing basketball all day at basketball camp and playing soccer at night. But when his son is home, the boy spends his free time using computer chat rooms and playing cards over the Internet. "The funny thing is, I never see him play cards with his friends," his father says.

Many parents express dismay over the lives their children lead, but they aren't sure what to do.

Darrell Mueller, 54, runs the parks and recreation programs in North Platte, Neb. His childhood was spent outdoors playing ball, riding his bike and building forts. Even today, he hates being inside.

His children are the opposite. They prefer being driven to school, which is just two houses away.

His 11-year-old daughter, Ivy, spends hours instant messaging her friend across the street. He asks why she doesn't just go over and play with her friend. "This is more fun," his daughter explains.

Mueller's 16-year-old son, Taylor, spends nearly every waking hour in his room, playing the Warcraft fantasy game on the Internet with people from around the world.

"I call him the caveman because he never leaves his room," Mueller says. "He comes out now and then for dinner, but he can't eat with us. He has to get back to his game."

His son recently burst out of his room excited. His guild, or team, had earned a top ranking in Warcraft. The father didn't know what to say: Should he congratulate his son on his success or worry about what it meant?

Mueller pulls his son out of his room three times a week — twice for a summer basketball league and on Sunday to mow the grass at the boy's grandfather's house. "In my day, we tried to get out of the house any way we could," Mueller says. "Now, you can't get kids outdoors."

In Bellbrook, the fishing derby ends at noon.

Dakota Howell and his brother John, 7, are ready to head home from Spring Lake. Dakota declares he wants to be an archaeologist because he loves getting his fingers dirty. John, carrying fishing rods, looks like a child in a Norman Rockwell painting. He has a big smile on his face.

"Now," he says, "we're going home to play video games."  More >

 Boffins create zombie dogsfrank4zen
picture5 Jul 2005 @ 19:18
SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.

US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.
Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.

However rather than sending people to sleep for years, then bringing them back to life to benefit from medical advances, the boffins would be happy to keep people in this state for just a few hours,

But even this should be enough to save lives such as battlefield casualties and victims of stabbings or gunshot wounds, who have suffered huge blood loss.

During the procedure blood is replaced with saline solution at a few degrees above zero. The dogs' body temperature drops to only 7C, compared with the usual 37C, inducing a state of hypothermia before death.

Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved.

Damaged blood vessels and tissues can then be repaired via surgery. The dogs are brought back to life by returning the blood to their bodies,giving them 100 per cent oxygen and applying electric shocks to restart their hearts.

Tests show they are perfectly normal, with no brain damage.

"The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology," said one US battlefield doctor.

article  More >

 The Boom Shelter the very latest in apocalyptic newsfrank4zen
picture5 Jul 2005 @ 03:05
The Boom Shelter
Are you the type who considers Art Bell, the Weekly World News, and the Book of Revelations the only sources you can trust? Have you converted all your wealth into gold and ammunition? Do you still worry about the Y2K problem? Then have we got a site for you! Scouring the Web for reports even remotely hinting at the possibility of global collapse, The Boom Shelter offers the very latest in apocalyptic news aggregation. Read the most recent entries or check out the archive, which includes sections on the climate and environment, war and terrorism, and natural disasters. Whether you're into global warming, killer viruses, or giant earthquakes, there's enough here to keep you under the covers for days. Don't forget, though, to check out the calendar of apocalyptic predictions, so far 100% wrong. But don't let that console you. After all, nothing lasts forever. (in Weblogs)
Web Site  More >

 Marijuana-Flavored Candy Blastedfrank4zen
picture22 Jun 2005 @ 00:22
(06-21) 15:40 PDT ATLANTA, (AP) --

Marijuana-flavored lollipops with names such as Purple Haze, Acapulco Gold and Rasta are showing up on the shelves of convenience stores around the country, angering anti-drug advocates.

"It's nothing but dope candy, and that's nothing we need to be training our children to do," said Georgia state Sen. Vincent Fort, who has persuaded some convenience stores to stop selling the treats.

The confections are legal, because they are made with hemp oil, a common ingredient in health food, beauty supplies and other household products. The oil imparts a marijuana's grassy taste but not the high.

Merchants call them a harmless novelty for adults and insist they advise stores to sell only to people 18 and older.

"There are more than 70 million people in the United States who smoke marijuana. We're catering to the audience of people who are in that smoking culture," said Rick Watkins, marketing director for Corona, Calif.-based Chronic Candy, which uses the slogan "Every lick is like taking a hit."

An Atlanta company called Hydro Blunts markets a similar product under the name Kronic Kandy, which is made in the Netherlands.

New York City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez introduced a resolution condemning the candies when she saw them at convenience stores near schools in her district. She plans to hold hearings this summer.

At Junkman's Daughter, an Atlanta novelty shop, the suckers are sold near the cash register from a bucket labeled with a marijuana leaf.

"We've got probably every weird kind of candy there is in here," owner Pam Majors said. "If it was anything you could get high off of, we wouldn't carry it, obviously."

article  More >

6 Jun 2005 @ 00:49
Issue of 2005-05-16
Posted 2005-05-09

Buy a pie at a pie shop, carefully remove the upper crust, and then gently lower a family of live gerbils into the pie. Replace the crust and storm back into the pie shop, indignantly pointing out the five little heads poking up through the crust. Collect ten million dollars and appear with the gerbils on “Larry King Live.” Repeat in all fifty states, with different pastry-rodent combinations so as to elude detection.

Go to a frozen-yogurt shop, order a medium cup of vanilla, and then punch your index finger through the bottom of the cup so there appears to be a human finger in the yogurt. After demanding to see the manager, threaten to sue the yogurt chain for ten million dollars, making sure to tell him that you know Larry King. Note: Keep your finger very still during all of this, because if it wiggles even slightly this hoax has no chance whatsoever.

Order a bowl of chili at a fast-food restaurant. When the chili arrives, angrily complain that there is no human finger in the chili, despite the fact that you specifically ordered one. In the ensuing argument with the manager, shout the words “chili” and “human finger” for all in the store to hear. You will probably not get ten million dollars this time, but if you play your cards right the manager may pay you a little something just to get you to leave.

Get a bunch of your friends together, ring O. J. Simpson’s doorbell, and tell him that you are “the real killers” and that you are surrendering to him so that he can finally stop searching for you. Get his reaction on videotape and sell it over the Internet.

On the eve of your bar mitzvah, tell your parents that you are converting to Catholicism. Say that you no longer want to be referred to as Seth Graubman and insist that they call you Francis Xavier Graubman. Force them to cancel the reception at the Lefkowitz Jewish Center and tell them you want to fly to Rome for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Just as they are pulling into the psychiatrist’s driveway, tell them it was all a big joke and that you were Jewish all along. They will be so relieved they will finally break down and buy you a PlayStation Portable, which is all you really wanted in the first place.

Tell the authorities that you were held at gunpoint and abducted by a nationally famous runaway bride. Say that during the hostage drama that followed you read to her from “The Purpose-Driven Life” and “The Da Vinci Code,” and that during a particularly boring chapter of the latter book she finally let you go. It will be her word against yours, and since her credibility is already shot, everyone will believe you. Testify at her trial and score a book/movie deal; become best friends with Ethan Hawke after he plays you in the film.

Convince the leaders of the world’s only superpower that a Middle Eastern nation is loaded to the gills with weapons of mass destruction. Tell them that some broken-down old vans there are “mobile weapons labs,” and persuade them to spend billions of dollars on an invasion and an occupation. After they scour the country for the weapons and come up empty, shrug your shoulders sympathetically and take over the oil ministry.

Tell the international community that you are merely performing a “routine cleaning” of your nuclear reactors and that you have no intention of harvesting nuclear material for the purpose of making weapons. Then, when no one is looking, lob a test missile into the Sea of Japan. You will not get ten million dollars or a book/movie deal or an appearance on “Larry King Live” for doing this, and you will not become friends with Ethan Hawke, but sometimes you have to do a hoax just because it’s so damn funny.

 .Gay's man's brain works a lot like that of a woman when exposed to a particularfrank4zen
10 May 2005 @ 14:13
.Gay's man's brain works a lot like that of a woman when exposed to a particular stimulus, researchers say.

In an experiment, men and heterosexual women sniffed a chemical from the male hormone testosterone. The homosexual men's brains responded differently from those of heterosexual males, and in a similar way to the women's brains.

``It is one more piece of evidence ... that is showing that sexual orientation is not all learned,'' said Sandra Witelson, an expert on brain anatomy and sexual orientation at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Witelson, who was not part of the research team, said the findings clearly show a biological involvement in sexual orientation.

The study, published in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was done by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

They exposed heterosexual men and women and homosexual men to chemicals derived from male and female sex hormones. These chemicals are thought to be pheromones - molecules known to trigger responses such as defense and sex in many animals.

Whether humans respond to pheromones has been debated, although in 2000 American researchers reported finding a gene that they believe directs a human pheromone receptor in the nose.

The brains of different groups responded similarly to ordinary odors such as lavender, but differed in their response to the chemicals thought to be pheromones, lead researcher Ivanka Savic said.

The Swedish researchers divided 36 subjects into three groups - heterosexual men, heterosexual women and homosexual men. They studied the brain response to sniffing the chemicals, using PET scans. All the subjects were healthy, unmedicated, right-handed and HIV-negative.

When they sniffed scents like cedar or lavender, all of the subjects' brains reacted only in the olfactory region that handles smells.

But when confronted by a chemical from testosterone, the male hormone, portions of the brains active in sexual activity were activated in straight women and in gay men, but not in straight men, the researchers found.

The response in gay men and straight women was concentrated in the hypothalamus with a maximum in the preoptic area that is active in hormonal and sensory responses necessary for sexual behavior, the researchers said.

When the female hormone estrogen was used, there was only a response in the olfactory portion of the brains of straight women. Homosexual men had their primary response also in the olfactory area, with a very small reaction in the hypothalamus, while heterosexual men responded strongly in the reproductive region of the brain.

Savic said the group is also doing a study involving homosexual women, but those results are not yet complete.

In a separate study looking at response to body odors, researchers in Philadelphia found sharp differences between gay and straight men and women.

``Our findings support the contention that gender preference has a biological component that is reflected in both the production of different body odors and in the perception of and response to body odors,'' said neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who led the study.

It's hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor, he said.

Wysocki's team at the Monell Chemical Senses Center studied the response of 82 heterosexual and homosexual men and heterosexual and homosexual women to the odors of underarm sweat collected from 24 donors of varied gender and sexual orientation.

They found that gay men differed from heterosexual men and women and from lesbian women, both in terms of which body odors gay men preferred and how their own body odors were regarded by the other groups.

Gay men preferred odors from gay men, while odors from gay men were the least preferred by heterosexual men and women and by lesbian women in the study. Their findings, released Monday, are to be published in the journal Psychological Science in September.

The Swedish research was funded by the Swedish Medical Research Council, the Karolinska Institute and the Magnus Bergvall Foundation. Wysocki's research was supported by the Monell Center.

On the Net:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: [link]

Karolinska Institute: [link]

Monell Center: [link]

 diet programsfrank4zen
picture29 Jan 2005 @ 23:10
"A review of 10 of the nation's most popular weight-loss programs found that except for Weight Watchers, none of them offer proof that they actually work at helping people shed pounds and keep them off. Only Weight Watchers had strong documentation that it worked - with one study showing that participants lost around 5 percent (about 10 pounds) of their initial weight in six months and kept off about half of it two years later. However, the researchers who conducted the review published in Tuesday's Annals of Internal Medicine stressed that the lack of scientific evidence should not be viewed as an attack on diet programs. 'There are no data on weight loss when you go to a health club, either,' said Thomas Wadden, a University of Pennsylvania weight-loss expert and the study's co-author. 'We hope that doctors and patients will use this information to make more informed decisions.' About 45 million Americans diet each year. People in this country spend $1 billion to 2 billion per year on weight-loss programs. But millions of those who enroll in weight-loss programs every year do not have much to go on when choosing a plan because few studies have been done that pass scientific muster." article.  More >

 Quitting now means results start in just minutes, and your risk of heart diseasefrank4zen
29 Jan 2005 @ 22:30
A key strategy for living a longer, healthier life comes as no surprise — don't smoke. If you're a smoker, you're simply more likely to die early. Smoking can take more than 10 years off of your life.

But there is good news. Quitting now means results start in just minutes, and your risk of heart disease is cut in half in as little as a year.

Using more than one strategy might increase your chances of successfully quitting. Consider the following options:

Self-help. To plan and maintain your attempt to stop smoking, obtain publications from national health organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as your state and local public health departments.
Group support. Meet with others who are working to become smoke-free.
Individual counseling. This includes one-on-one contact with a trusted physician, psychologist, nurse or counselor.
Cold turkey. This is a sudden, decisive break from cigarettes. You stop smoking completely with little or no reduction beforehand. If you quit cold turkey, you're likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal, like nearly everyone else who quits smoking. Some withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, increased appetite and irritability. It's a good idea to get some form of help when quitting, whether it's a support network or medication.
Medication. Medication helps reduce cravings and ease the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine until the worst effects are over. Medication comes in two basic forms. Nicotine replacement products deliver controlled amounts of nicotine to your brain by way of your bloodstream — without smoking. Non-nicotine medication, such as bupropion (Zyban), lessens withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, restlessness and depressed mood.
Exercise. This may help reduce the stress and weight gain that sometimes occur after you quit smoking.
Find a buddy. Ask a nonsmoking friend or family member to be available for you to contact when you experience tough times or when you have reason to celebrate.
Alternative therapies. Some smokers turn to hypnosis or acupuncture to help them quit, though little proof exists that either is effective.

 marriage as the basis of family life continues to decline in Americafrank4zen
29 Jan 2005 @ 22:15
As the recent results of the Year 2000 Census confirm, marriage as the basis of family life continues to decline in America. Since 1970 the rate of marriage has dropped by about one third, the out-of-wedlock birth ratio has climbed from 11% to 33% of all births, the divorce rate has doubled, and the number of people living together outside of marriage has grown by over 1000%. With the exception of nonmarital cohabitation, which increased dramatically, the marriage-decline trends decelerated a little in the 1990s. But they have continued in the same direction. As of now, there is no tangible evidence of a turnaround, although a more pro-marriage attitude does seem to be gaining ground in the media and the culture at large.

Why should this marriage decline be of national concern? Principally, because of its effects on our nation’s children. The social science evidence is now overwhelming that children fare better in life if they grow up in a married, two-parent family. Children who grow up in other family forms are two to three times at greater risk of having serious behavioral and emotional problems when they become adolescents and adults. Many of today’s youth problems can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to the decline of marriage. This includes high rates of juvenile delinquency, suicide, substance abuse, child poverty, mental illness, and emotional instability. One important new study has found that the average American child in recent decades reported more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. Indeed, as former Senator Moynihan once observed, the United States "may be the first society in history in which children are distinctly worse off than adults."

Much of the linkage between the decline of marriage and the rise of problems in childhood rests with the absent father. The evidence is now strong that fathers do matter in the lives of their children. And, although there are many caring and responsible non-resident fathers, the alarmingly simple fact is that men are much less likely to stay close to their children when they are not married to their children’s mother. Men tend to view marriage and childrearing as a single package. If they are not married or are divorced, their interest in and sense of responsibility toward children greatly diminish. Many studies have found that a high percentage of all unmarried or divorced fathers lose regular contact with their children over time.

Why is marriage so important to fatherhood? Because being a father is universally problematic for men in a way it is not for women. Put simply, as marriage weakens, fathers stray. While mothers the world over bear and nurture their young with an intrinsic acknowledgement of their role, fathers are often filled with conflict and doubt. Left culturally unregulated, men’s sexual behavior can be promiscuous, their paternity casual, their commitment to families weak. Marriage is society’s way of engaging the basic problem of fatherhood—how to hold the father to the stronger mother-child bond. As a cultural institution, marriage stresses the long-run commitment of the male, the durability of the marital relationship, and the importance of the union for children.

Our national goal should be no less than to rebuild a marriage culture, one in which as many children as possible grow up with their fathers and mothers providing care and nurture and stability. We should be every bit as much concerned with our nation’s family environment as we are with our nation’s economic and natural environments. Yet if ever there was a serious domestic problem almost entirely ignored by our national elected representatives, this is it. Despite the fact, for example, that many Americans believe the current state of marriage to be one of the major problems of our time, no high-level government body in memory has examined the issue. Indeed, in recent years the government even has cut back on the collection of marriage statistics.

Is the goal of renewing a marriage-based society impossible to achieve? It certainly will not be easy. Much of the needed change must come, of course, in the cultural, moral and spiritual realms. But there are many things that can be done at the federal level to smooth the path. Perhaps the most important is merely to recognize—as societies in the past have nearly always done as a part of public policy—that the benefits to children of having married parents are so great that the institution of marriage should be encouraged by every reasonable means possible. Fortunately, many ways exist to strengthen and stabilize marriage, to make marriage a more satisfying as well as more durable social relationship. And, of course, government should seek to do no harm in this realm. It should never institute policies, for example, that provide disincentives to marriage, or that fail equally to support children not in a two-parent family.

Some believe that pro-marriage policies can not be put forth without stigmatizing and penalizing those who for one reason or another, sometimes through no fault of their own, are not married. Yet the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of young people today wish to marry for life, and the parents of these young people, no matter what their marital state, also hold that goal for their offspring. There is actually an enormous reservoir of support for a marriage-based culture. In addition to the significant and enduring benefits for children, the evidence is clear that having a solid, long-term marriage greatly enhances the wealth, health, longevity, and overall happiness of adults.

More than 2000 years ago the Roman statesman Cicero noted that "marriage is the first bond of society." Surely this observation is no less true today.

 No matter how extreme a situation is, it will change. It cannot continue forevefrank4zen
1 comment
picture 4 Nov 2003 @ 14:28
No matter how extreme a situation is, it will change. It cannot continue forever. Thus, a great forest fire is always destined to burn itself out; a turbulent sea will become calmer, Natural balance themselves out by seeking their opposites, and this process is of balance is at the heart of all healing.
This process takes time. If an event is not great, the balancing required is slight. If it is momentous, then it may take days, years , even lifetimes for things to return to an even keel. Actually without these slight imbalances, there could be no movement in life. It is being off balance that keeps life changing Total centering, total balance would only be stasis. All life is continual destruction and healing, over and over again.
That why, even in die midst of an extreme situation, the wise are patient. Whether the situation is illness, calamity, or their own anger they know that healing will follow upheaval.

Deng Ming Dao(365 Tao)  More >

1 comment
picture 12 Jul 2003 @ 18:24
you can post me a note here!

Back to  More >

 The following is something to ponder:frank4zen
picture 10 Jul 2003 @ 05:02
The following is something to ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a
roof overhead and a place to sleep ...
you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change
in a dish someplace ...
you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ...
you are luckier than the million who will not survive this

If you have never experienced the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture,
or the pangs of starvation...
you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married ...
you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on
the shoulder...
you are lucky because you can offer a needed touch.

If you can read this message,you are wealthy
enough to have an internet connection and power on, and
furthermore, you can read whereas over
two billion people in the world cannot read at all.

Be happy!  More >

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