My Amazing Husband & His Boys

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Snapped this photo when we went downtown to see my husband working our annual city party called, “FIESTA!!”

My husband is an incredible hero.

It’s not just because he wears the badge, although the courage and bravery there are not to be discounted.

It’s his strength, heart, and mind that make him go above and beyond in teaching our sons how to actually be men.

Real men.

The kind that fight for goodness and against evil in our society.

The kind that are God’s warriors and ministers – both at the same exact time.

Words can hardly even describe the intensity with which I love this man so much.

patrickboys

 

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Importance of Fathers – Sinister Feminist Article on “Deconstructing the Essential Father” vs. Scientific Evidence that Fathers Are in Fact Needed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’d think it’s obvious how important the role of a father is to his children, God designed us male and female on purpose, and equipped us beautifully for complementary and distinctive tasks.  This is not to say that men or women are individually better at parenting than their opposite sex – often times a mother needs to take over a typical “father-role” when he’s absent for long periods, and likewise fathers may have to take over the more traditional “mothering-role” if they become widowed, divorced, etc.  Those situations are not ideal, however, and most that have had to fill those roles (single parents especially) feel the burden and weight of missing their intended partner in parenting.  The two-parent system is in place, not just because of it being easier, but in my personal beliefs, because it’s as God intended it to be.

In 1999, there was an article in American Psychologist (a scholarly journal) titled, Deconstructing the Essential Father, of which the point was to attempt to discredit the belief that fathers are actually needed by their children in the role of parenting.  It’s mind-boggling to me that such a disturbing article was taken seriously enough to be included in an academic journal, however, with the rise of the wildly liberal feminist movement of the 70’s, lesbian/gay propaganda like this was actually very common, and has in part, led to the societal demise we endure today.

The problem is apparent when you look at it through the lens of equality.  No one – absolutely no one – would dare question the role of a mother to her children.  An article attempting to discredit the belief that mothers are needed would have world-wide criticism as being sexist and ridiculous (which it is).  It would even go against the very science and nature of biology.  However, anything can be written to attack fathers… if a feminist writes it.

Karla Mantilla, feminist author, has been quoted saying,

I am highly suspicious of the upsurge of praises of fatherhood and the necessity of kids to have a male role model.  I come by this suspicion after much experience with my own two kids and their male role model, their father … The propaganda that children, especially boys, need fathers I think, has contributed incalculably to the misery of children all over the world.  Contrary to all the pro-father rhetoric of late, to the extent that we value fathers precisely for their ‘discipline’ and ‘toughening up’ qualities, we create children (especially boys) who are less empathetic and caring.  If we want kinder, gentler (and less violent) adults, we need to focus on kinder gentler parenting.”

Ah yes, the all men are violent beasts kind of thinking.  Wouldn’t she be interested to know that the family set-up that produces the most criminals are, in fact, families where the father is absent (single mother families).

The Deconstructing Fathers article goes on to claim that divorce doesn’t irretrievably harm the majority of children – and that a child who has never known his father would not be the worse for it.
The general consensus of the article is that fathers are not needed – and they may actually make a family worse due to their maleness and the resources they consume.

In my undergrad I majored in biology with a heavy chemistry course-load, I learned and reviewed studies on brain development and behavior between the sexes.  One of the most fascinating things I studied was the researched biological affects of when a father is present or absent at the crucial time frame of an infant’s brain development.  Many studies had already been conducted to prove the importance of maternity leave and infant brain development, however, these were done to show that fathers (and paternity leave) were important as well.

When a father was present, it was found that the brain of the infant developed differently – in areas that remained stagnant when the father was absent.  Something about the male interaction and bonding with their infant stimulated connections that the mother being present didn’t.

An article in Scientific American (2010), which was looking at this particular phenomenon states, “Research shows that the father-child bond is crucial to a kid’s future success. If a father leaves his offspring to be raised solely by their mother, the children are more likely to suffer emotional troubles, be aggressive, experience addiction issues, or have run-ins with the law…. 

A recent wave of studies are starting to bear fruit: We are now learning that in the first few days after birth, changes occur in the brains of both the dad and the baby, depending on whether the father is around or not.

While it appears the seed of the father-child bond is planted by supplemental neurons in a new dad, it seems a child, on the other hand, may be born with a brain that expects this bond to form in the first place. 

To prove this, a few recent studies turned to a rodent that employs a remarkably familiar nest structure. Degu rats are biparental animals, which means parenting duties are split between the mothers and father. Degu fathers behave just like human fathers. They spend the early days of their pups’ lives helping with basic care, like warming and grooming. And as the pups get older, the degu fathers begin actively playing with their toddler offspring. 

Researchers reasoned that absent fathers in the degu nests would create a true social and emotional void for the offspring, just as a missing dad would impact the dynamic of a human family. They found that if a rodent father remained in the nest with his pups – presumably due to the newfound bond with his offspring – his babies’ brains developed normally. But if the father was removed from the nest shortly after the birth of his pups, his newborns’ brains started to break down at the level of synapses, which are short chemical junctions in the brain that allow brain cells to communicate with each other.

Specifically, the degu pups raised without fathers had fewer synapses in both the orbitofrontal cortex and the somatosensory cortex. Having fewer synapses can alter the way information is processed in the young animals, and would make these brain areas perform abnormally. 

The orbitofrontal cortex is a part of the prefrontal cortex that regulates decision-making, reward, and emotion. Extrapolating from the degu rat experiments, faulty synapses and processing problems in this locale may ultimately explain why we see some kids who grow up without a father in their life wrestle with (sometimes very serious) behavior problems.

These rat studies square with what we already know about the role of touch in neurological development. Having spent the prior weeks with the senses deprived while afloat in amniotic fluid, a newborn animal’s somatosensory cortex is ripe for change. But instead of flourishing in the early postnatal days, the synapses of the somatosensory cortex wither away when degus are raised without a father. As a consequence, the newborns may not process touch as well as they should, which could lead to a number of other developmental problems, like metabolism issues or irregularhormone production.

These animal studies show that a father’s brain is significantly and beautifully intertwined with his offspring’s. For whatever reasons, be they biological, evolutional, or societal, the onus of human parenthood has traditionally fallen on the mother. But the evidence is showing that a father has direct influence on his child’s neurodevelopment – and indeed, his brain can benefit as well.

What a beautiful article from Scientific American, and that ending is almost spiritual.  Juxtapose that next to what feminist Karla Mantilla said above, and you find that her claims (especially the claims that present fathers might make children (not just children… it’s always boys) more violent) are shown to be bull-shit.  These findings are proving the exact opposite, that present fathers contribute to gentler, kinder, more compassionate men for our society.  The noble men, and fearlessly strong in character leaders that our society truly needs.

More recent amazing findings are that the father’s brain changes also, it was seen that fathers gain a expansion of grey matter in areas that are associated with bonding and caring for their infant.  This separate study’s conclusion was,

‘These early father-infant interactions and emotional bonding become the basis of the father-infant attachment, The findings may thus lead to the identification of specific brain regions of potential importance for early father-infant attachment.’

With our oldest son.   Masculine strength & tenderness... so beautiful.

With our oldest son. Masculine strength & tenderness… so beautiful.

About Boys’ Crisis in Society: Teaching System, Prescription Drugs, & the Attack on Masculinity

Our amazing church has been doing a great series on work – its importance and its purpose for us as Christians.  Recently, our Pastor decided to talk about how to raise kids to have good work ethics, and it was during this sermon that he brought up the controversial topic of our boys being “adrift.”

Our Pastor spent a good majority of his sermon on the crisis of boys in our society.  He was careful to point out first and foremost that the responsibility was ultimately on the parents and the church community to prepare our children for successful adulthood, however, he is realistic in taking a good look at the conditions in our world today that are failing to do well for our kids.

Being a parent of a wonderful, active boy, and pregnant with a soon-to-be-due second boy, this really saddens (& maddens) me.  I definitely don’t think “all hope is lost” or anything like that, however, I do believe in presenting information like this so that it can be critically looked at.  Being ignorantly in “bliss” is a lie, it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and spiritual parents of kids to care about statistics like these.

His message on boys in particular in our society is based off of the book, Boys Adrift, by Leonard Sachs.  For listening to all our Pastor has to say on this topic,  start at 7:30 minutes. Watch Here!

5 Factors that are causing our boys to be adrift:

1) Teaching Methods (our school system) – kindergarten is now about learning how to read and write instead of playing and exploring.  Boys are not developmentally ready at that age to learn how to read or write – girls, however, are actually developmentally ready to read and write and have a greater desire to please the teacher.  Girls in our school system have an edge from the first year they experience school, and this could be what is causing our boys to carry this with them throughout school (a failure mentality – or simply not being academic).

Its alarming to realize the actual statistics of men in universities compared to women… our Pastor mentioned that the statistics say there are more girls currently, than boys.  At Baylor university, where our Pastor’s boys went, the ratio was actually 10 girls to 1 boy!  This should be nothing new, as it has been noted before by other authors and researchers, but the implications for the future are not good.  More and more men will not be getting college education, even less will go through to obtain their Masters, or any Post Graduate work and achievement.

Competition is hard-wired in men, not to say it isn’t something that some women may also have innately, however, it most often shows up in males.  Our Pastor mentioned how our society has been ridiculously limiting the amount of competition in a young boy’s world.  Even in their young sports (since the 80’s when “self-esteem” became a huge issue), competition is stifled when everyone is given a trophy at the end – regardless of how they performed or even if they actually wanted to be there.  They get a trophy for just showing up (and not even perfect attendance).  The implications of what all this is teaching our kids could be written about in a whole book, however, you can only imagine what it is doing as far as their entitlement feelings go.

The bottom line of his first point was that boys aren’t just lazy or undriven, or as the feminists who created the “The Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks At Them” t-shirts a few years ago… it’s simply that the teaching methods we use today are not suiting them.

2) Prescription Drugs – Again… our teaching system is failing our boys and future men.  The classroom environment calls for them to be able to sit still… for very long amounts of time, starting at the very young age of 5.  Recess has been shortened dramatically, which affects girls as well in their ability to learn and absorb information in the classroom School used to be about exploring and adventure and play.  Boys aren’t wired for that experience of sitting calmly for hours, with less and less recess time allowed.  The drugs our doctors are prescribing really DO calm boys down, and DO make the classroom more manageable for the teacher, but for most boys who don’t actually need the ADD/ADHD medication, it was less about what is best for the student, and more about what is best for the teacher.

This just really gets to me being a mom of boys, that they will have to face this kind of unnecessary hurdle in life.

Our Pastor pointed out a particularly scary fact they’ve found from years of research, that many of these drugs actually damage part of the brain that is involved in drive and motivation, and even create depression in our young men! 

3) Video Games – they are not “all bad” they are great for instilling the competition… however, when it is EXCESSIVE and unmanaged by the parents, it has been proven to damage the same parts of the brain that stimulate drive and ambition, and making them anti-social.  Apparently, its easier to have their social life online or in gaming than creating a social network in person.  Anti-social behavior is a “killer” in the marketplace, boys (and girls) need to be plugged in to relationships and learning – making those brain connections of how to be social creatures, and to know how to respond and react in socially acceptable ways.  The great thing about this point is that parents have total control and can monitor the time allowed to play.

4) Environmental Factors – the main environmental factor affecting our boys (and girls) is plastics.  It used to be that we drank everything out of glass… however, now our children are raised on drinking and eating everything out of plastics from baby bottles, to water bottles, to microwavable plastics and dishes.  They’ve found that when plastic is heated and warm, releases estrogen hormones that are then digested by our kids causing changes in their bodies that past generations didn’t have to deal with.  The estrogens cause our girls to be over-developed (7th grade girls looking like their 18), and our boys to be under-developed (a 7th grade boy looking like he’s under 10).

5) The Devaluation of Masculinity – This was the most important point according to our Pastor, and the one he was most anxious to talk to us about.  Our society has been attacking gender differences for years now, with the ultimate goal of taking away the whole IDEA of being a boy or a girl, of being a man or a woman.  “To be a man, a boy must see a man.”  Boys must be taught how to be men… it is not hard-wired, as many boys   In every enduring culture (that lasted 1,000’s and 1,000’s of years), boys were led into manhood by a community of adult men in the society, and girls were led into womanhood by adult women in the community.  We’ve truly lost this today, and our boys and girls are lacking from it.

The dad in the case of the son, and the mom in the case of the daughter, and the community is involved in the bringing up as well, are responsible for showing them how to be a woman and a man.

He also mentions the dangers that girls are facing, the same author has also done the same kind of extensive research and compiled it into a book called Girls On Edge.  Please watch the rest of the video to hear the girls’ issues, they are important as well.

http://media.oakhillschurch.com/default.aspx?page=3679&item=433

My Son & Volcanoes

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My adorable, crazy & full of life and laughter son, LOVES volcanoes.  He has been pretty obsessed with them all summer – making them out of the sand when we went swimming, out of the bubbles in the bath, and even out of toys he sees simulate the explosion that happens in an eruption.  So since we do science experiments together (he absolutely LOVES science), I thought a perfect experiment would be the classic baking soda & vinegar volcano.

We used in total, 3 glasses of vinegar, dyed with red food coloring, about 1 cup of baking soda, and an empty soda bottle.

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We then took it outside to create the volcano out of real dirt and mud – placing the bottle (baking soda inside) at the center of the volcano… it was dirty and icky and so much fun for him!

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I also talked with him about the acid -base reaction and why it would explode, bubble, and fizz… its important to make things fun when you can – and showing your child how something works and letting them experience it for themselves is the greatest gift we as parents can give them to grow their curiosity!

 

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All throughout the experiment, even when he was just funneling the baking soda into the bottle, he kept telling me how much fun this was …

Learning + Fun = SUCCESS!!!!

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I didn’t get any pictures of the eruption, but it was awesome!  And since we did it 3 times (3 glasses of vinegar), the third eruption went the highest – actually SHOOTING out – while we laughed and screamed.  🙂