A Response

I stumbled across a blog post on Facebook early this week that I’ve decided to respond to. Below is the post (in italics) with my response (in bolded orange):

It has been said that in marriage, the pain and stress of divorce is greater than even the pain of losing a spouse to death. I believe the same can be said of breaking ties with your child. Unless one has experienced this kind of loss and grief, they cannot fully understand the depth of pain experienced by a parent.

Someone may ask, “Why would anyone break ties with her own child?” The answer is, “loyalty to Jesus.” Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children (Matthew 10:37).

This is true, the Bible does say this. It actually says this several times in different ways. But consider this: the Bible is a man-written account of who we believe was an almost perfect being in order to provide an Earthly aspiration and explanation to the purpose of our existence and what is to come after death. All religions are man-written accounts…and it should be keenly noted that they are just that…man-written…which means they are open to the flaws and influence of humanity regardless to the purpose and intent of the accounts.

I pray that you never have to make such a sacrifice, but I also pray that you love the Lord enough to choose Him over your children. This is where we find ourselves. This is our life. Our oldest son has turned his back on the Lord, and in spite of all our attempts, he refuses to repent. 

The son may or may not have turned his back on God. The relationship one has with faith, God, the higher being or whom, or whatever you believe in, is an intimate and personal one. Humans and/or man-written text can attempt to dictate that relationship but it is ultimately between the individual and that higher power to define.

Indoctrination to a single binary religion/faith is how parents find themselves at this point in their relationships with their sons.

Consequently, our relationship has changed. It cannot remain the same and be loyal to Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Our contact with our son is now limited to attempts at restoration. We have no fellowship. We used to share holidays, regular phone calls and texts, family events, etc. but now, all that is gone. Our son has completely turned his back on everything he ever believed. He has no respect for the Lord or His church. He has chosen a life of sin rather than the hope of salvation. And because of his rebellion against God, we as parents must make a choice. Do we overlook his practice of sin and maintain our relationship, or do we withdraw ourselves from him as the Lord instructs?

The relationshp HAD to change. Being true to who you are requires honesty and change from hiding.

The decision parents make is a decision that we, as the sons, were forced to make before the parents.

Do we overlook who we are in order to accommodate a religion which chastises and pits parents against their children in order to preserve a man-made hierarchy of right and wrong and where a single autoritarian God is placed at the top, or withdraw from the parents for their devotion to a text that directs the abandonment of their child for who they are in order to preserve ideas laid out in the Bible in the hopes that after this life there is a better one? We are required to brace ourselves for disapproval or acceptance.

I believe that the blood of Christ is more important that the physical flesh and blood that I share with my son. Unfortunately, my husband and I know the pain of “giving our child to the Devil.” Those words are sharp, shocking and grim, just as Paul intended them to be when he wrote them (1 Corinthians 5:5). Perhaps I am writing this is for myself more than for those who are reading. I have not seen my son in nearly two and a half years now and there are days that the pain is just as fresh as ever. Until now, I have kept this pain inside and shared with only a couple of my closest friends. I am not sure that a day has gone by that I have not shed tears. Sometimes it is a single tear and other days are gut wrenching cries of despair. I have pulled into my driveway with tears blinding my eyes, only to find myself literally screaming and wailing in grief. I’m devastated by our loss; his loss.

This blog post is absolutely written to help the mother process, just like my writing these responses are to help me process. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I applaud the mother for at least putting it out there to process.

We, as the sons, feel the pain and grief as well. Perhaps more so in many ways than the parent. The idea that a love of God is more important than the love and acceptance of you as a child is gut-wrenching. To be “given to the Devil” because one does not conform to ancient man-made writtings about how to live in order to live a theoretical afterlife is difficult to wrap your mind around.

To have parents you have loved, worked to get their approval and please for all you life, and even hide from because of a binary concept of good and bad, right and wrong, to just turn their backs on you because you were brave and strong enough to be who you are, as God made you, is like being launched into the vastness of space with nothing to ground you.

I feel desperation and hopelessness. I’m scared. What probably began as harmless flirtation with sin has now become a quicksand that pulls my son deeper and deeper toward Hell. Sometimes I feel jealous of other parents who have close, loving relationships with all their grown children. I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.

Over the years I’ve learned that ultimately none of this is about the child. It’s not even completely about God. It’s about the parent. Its about a blind submissive relationship with the Bible and God and how that has convinced them that they can no longer have a child because they are different than what the man-written text says. 

The mother’s jealousy is hers to own, and if that is her choice journey, so be it. There is nothing but a binary idea laid out in a text from thousands of years ago that separates her from having a similar relationship with her son. I often wonder if my mother feels the same. 

Her and my mother’s embarrassment, I think, stems from their feelings of failure in meeting the expectations laid out in the Bible. Not with the child themselves, because I’ll be conceded and say I’m freaking successful and fruitful.

The fact is, I don’t know this person that I once thought I knew so well. Was I blind to things that I should have seen? I believed our relationship was so close. I adored this child. Was the love our son expressed to us all a lie? How does one go from being a respectful obedient child to flagrantly disregarding everything we taught him and everything that we stand for?

Thinking about my journey, my mother probably would closely relate to this. Ignorance was prefered rather than having to work through the idea that the expectations laid out in the Bible could be wrong and hateful. 

I will assume this mother’s son truly did love their family. They, like I, just were not able to live honestly. 

I think the struggle parents go through is the idea that if their child chooses to be different and believe in love of higher levels beyond the structure laid out in a man-made text and they find their own relationship to God, a higher being or with themselves it offers up the potential for questioning their beliefs and religion, which is a contradiction in itself to many zealous believers.

A full night’s sleep…what is that? While I am able to fall asleep easily, there is not a night that goes by that I sleep until morning. I awaken in the middle of the night, and the first thought in my mind is that I had just had a terrible dream, but I soon realize that it wasn’t a dream, it is reality; my reality.

 I try to picture where my son is now and what he may be doing. I hurt. Sin is ugly. It is disgusting. It perverts. While I don’t want to know, I find myself drawn to his social media like watching two cars collide. I want to look away, but I can’t. I care too much.

I think the mother cares for the idea of the child and in fulfilling the duties of a woman of God to raise children as laid out in the teachings of the Bible and of God. And that socal media puts the failure on display for all to see, so shame, and evidence of failure to meet God’s “expectations” is always there. 

Sometimes the hardest thing are the memories. Remembering the joy I felt in that plump baby who looked at me so adoringly. I remember when he sat on the kitchen counter helping peel potatoes or stir ingredients into the batter. I remember our home school days at the kitchen table and reading together on the couch. I remember singing harmony together in the kitchen. I remember the pride I felt when he led singing or gave a talk at young men’s night at church. Those memories are all I have left now. There are no more to make.

There could be more memories to be made, but it requires the mother to understand that her concept of the role as a mother was never about the child but a duty that was given to her via the Bible and God. I think if she could free herself from the constraints of her religion she could have many more memories with her child. 

Occasionally, I may see a young man that looks like my son. Or, I may be cleaning out a closet and see a photograph. I may be asked by a well-meaning person, where my son is now. All these make me cry. He was such a handsome boy, an excellent student, a talented musician, so kind and thoughtful of others. He never gave us trouble while at home. He loved his siblings. I remember his “infectious laugh.”

None of these things have stopped or disappeared when he came out…

Mother’s day and Father’s day are so hard. While we used to receive the most precious cards and notes of love and appreciation, now any correspondence from him are filled with anger, blame, hateful words. Even worse are the sarcastic and blasphemous words used toward his heavenly Father.

Because a parent has abandoned a child based on religion is devastating. The hate that grows and festers in a human who has been abandoned for who they are is real. I’ve been there. These parents like mine have sustained binary concepts in their religion; there is good and there is bad and if you fall on the “opposing side” you are vilified. And each side vilifies the other because it is part of the innate human side of our being when confronted with hate or even just the simplicity of difference.

Self evaluation, guilt, despair, fear….I have felt all these emotions. Who is a perfect parent? Who doesn’t have something that they would change if they could go back. Even so, I know that we were good parents. We loved our son, spent time with him, encouraged him, and taught him God’s word.

I believe there is no such thing as good or bad parents. I believe there are parents who make good and bad decisions. Some parents indoctrinate children to believe what they believe rather than teach their children to be able to create their own beliefs. Organized religion in many ways supplies the groundwork for this. I don’t know if what these parents and mine have done to raise their children, then what they decided to do when the children grew into their own makes them good or bad parents. 

I don’t know what the future holds for our son or our family. What I do know is that God is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He will do what is right (Genesis 18:25). He will reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). More than I could have ever understood before, I long for the promises of heaven, namely that God will wipe away every tear…there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).

Heaven will be a place of great reunion with those who have gone on before. There is an old hymn that invites everyone to “come to the feast”. I just wish we didn’t have an empty chair at our table.

No one knows the future. We also don’t know what comes after life. To create hurt and hate between one’s child and you for a reward in heaven that may not even exist is a gamble. I don’t know if I could ever take that gamble.

And I wonder…if there is an all loving God, is this man-made hierarchy and text that have been written as an interpretation of one man’s life, truly an example and teach the ulitmate lesson in life which is to love?

Addendum: After having read several replies to my article, I saw several common misconceptions that were continually being made. Therefore, I thought I might clear a few of these up for some readers.

1. Unconditional Love Is Not The Same Thing As Acceptance. Nearly everyone who has written to me has “scolded” me for not loving my child “unconditionally.” Their accusation is false. I do love my child unconditionally. There is nothing that my child could ever do to make me stop loving him. I believe that’s what unconditional love is, and that’s what I practice. However, many are apparently confused being unable to distinguish between unconditional love and acceptance. While I will never stop loving my son, I refuse to accept the sin of which my son remains unrepentant. God is indeed a God of love, but have so many forgotten that this “God of love” disciplines his children, even “giving them up” (Romans 1:24,26,28), and will some day eternally separate himself from them? God doesn’t stop loving his children, but his love doesn’t keep him from separating himself from them (Isaiah 59:1-2). I think if people would read the prophets, they’d be shocked to see how their short-sighted view of love is overturned by God’s genuine response of love. Furthermore, you might do well to remember that a man, a good man, came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus told him, and the man was unwilling to do it. But don’t miss this. The text says that Jesus, looking at him, loved him. But he let him walk away. He didn’t call him back. He didn’t change his terms. He loved him, but let him walk away (Mark 10:21-22). The fact that our son has walked away from us doesn’t mean we have stopped loving him.

I agree. Unconditional Love is not the same as Acceptance. 

I honestly do believe this mother and even my own love their children unconditionally. I think that they cannot accept their children because they have been blinded by their religion and faith. This unacceptance is where the parents are forced to “cast aside their children to the Devil” in order to preserve their religious beliefs. 

2. Jesus Loved Sinners, even socializing with them. Of course he did. And so do I. But what many are failing to understand is that there are two types of sinners. Sinners who are outside the body of Christ (still in the world), and sinners who are part of the body of Christ (brethren). The inspired apostle Paul said they are to be treated differently (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). The Corinthians had a question about keeping company with sinners and Paul told them they had misunderstood his instructions. He said that he was not forbidding Christians from keeping company with sinners, otherwise, we couldn’t live in the world. Instead, he was telling them that they were not to keep company or fellowship, not even to eat with a sinner who is a BROTHER in Christ. I’m not surprised that so many failed to see this distinction because it isn’t frequently preached, and it is even more seldom put into practice. But it is in the Bible…read it for yourself.

This is, to me, evidence of the humanity in “divine” text. You must acknowledge sinners, because everyone is a sinner, but they cannot be a part of the Body of Christ.  

3. What Is The Sin That Is So Terrible That You Would “Abandon” Your Son? First of all, we haven’t “abandoned” our son. He has abandoned us. We are right where we have always been. Even the prophet Amos said that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). He chose to walk down a path of sin; a path in which we will not walk with him, nor will we endorse him as he walks it. My loyalty is first to God, not my family (Matthew 10:34-37). Second, the specific sin is irrelevant. My response would be the same if he were unrepentant with regard to any sin. Of course, I’m not talking about sins of momentary human weakness, sins committed in the moment, or sins we are trying to fight. I’m talking about sins to which we have given ourselves. Sins we no longer fight, but to which we have surrendered ourselves. Again, the doctrine of discipline is ignored by many Christians today, and so they, along with the world, are shocked to learn of such doctrine. But if you believe the Bible to be the word of God, then it’s there staring you in the face, and you have a decision to obey or disobey it (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15).

Quick note: “The Bible to be the Word of God”… which was written by man…

The child did not abandon the parents. Let’s be honest.

The child spoke their truth and the parents turned their backs on the child for speaking their truth. Its because the child’s truth contradicted the parents’ beliefs that the child was ex-commnicated by the parents. 

It’s upon the individual to take ownership and make a decison to come out and be their truth. It is the world around us that gets to decide and hold ownership in how they react and respond. 

And one final thought. Those who have, through their “feigned” righteous indignation, called for my death; prayed that I rot in Hell; proposed sexual acts be done to me; cursed at me with the vilest of profanities; and who have blasphemed the God I serve…let me assure you of this one thing…Your hateful words have only solidified my stance. Your hate speech, draped in feigned concern and love for God and my son, have served to remind me that I live in a fallen world. Your words have emboldened me and have not caused me to shrink. Your words have deepened my roots. I will not be moved. In fact, your words have actually given me reason to rejoice in that you have allowed me the privilege, however small it may be, to share in the suffering of Jesus. “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings…” (1 Peter 4:13).

I applaud this mother for writing what’s on her heart. Just as I write what’s on mine.

Do I think it’s blindly following beliefs that I do not agree with…absolutely.

Do I think that the parents have lost the true meaning of what love is because it’s been bastardized by man thousands of years ago….absolutely.

But I do feel bad of the reactions from others to her differing views. This is her truth. To me it’s a horribly hateful, blind and ignorant truth. But it’s hers. Do not chastise or hate her for holding her truth. Otherwise, we are no better. 


I write this response off the top of my head in a time of strong emotions. Very much of this letter is putting my relationship with my own mother into perspective for me, and while it makes me better understand my parents, it also assures and comforts me of the decisions I have made in my life. Plus it’s just after Mother’s Day so everything is hyper-sensitive right now.

I believe in God and a higher power. I also believe that love and truth are the true foundations of faith and religion but that have been detroyed and bastardized by man; and I never want to be so blind in someone else’s truth that I lose sight of my own. I never want to gamble on supporting someone’s truth here on Earth for a theoretical afterlife.

I want to be the best human being I can be here and now and hold to my truths and beliefs and if that means I “abandon” my parents and their beliefs then its a decision I am ready to make.

We only do what we can to the best of our ability here on Earth to the best of our understanding and beliefs. This is mine and you reading this will have different ones. We’ll disagree, we’ll try and one up, or we’ll argue and fight. But the difference and owndership is in how we react and respond. And how we use our difference and similarities to help our fellow man and make the world a better place for all.

Anyway, thanks for going on this post journey with me today.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

 

Reference:

http://www.teachinghelp.org/giving-your-child-to-the-devil/

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“I will push back”: Thoughts on Those Who Fight Against Non-Discrimination Policies

As we all know, recently there has been an uptick in the debate on LGBTQ rights and federal and state non-discrimination legislation and policies.

The arguments for adding LGBTQ into non-discrimination legislation and policies are basically:

FOR non-discrimination legislation and policies: It allows for equal protections for LGBTQ identified individuals.

AGAINST non-discrimination legislation and policies: It infringes on expression and practice of faith-based and religious values and principles.

One side wants to ensure that services and opportunities are not taken away because of one’s sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression.

The other side wants to ensure that members of their community are not forced to provide services or support to those who they believe are not inline with their values and principles.

Both are legitimate communities of our society and both have valid basic positions. Both are doing what they believe is best for their communities. But they’re ideal situation clashes with the other.

Now I have no answer to this dilemma. I can see both sides. But I am also on the receiving end of one of these sides, and am strongly biased.

So, my biased and increasingly more frustrated view on those fighting against non-discrimination legislation and policies is this:

If you deny me services because your faith and religion teaches you that my identity is sinful, I could deny you services because my faith and beliefs teach me to believe that intolerance begets intolerance. 

If you dehumanize me because of who I love, I could dehumanize you for your outdated inhumane beliefs.

If you treat me as though I am broken and need to be fixed, I could treat you as though you are delusional and thusly need to be fixed.

If you rally against me because you believe in an ancient man-written document over the physical being who I am in front of you, I could rally against you for being naive and unrealistic.  

If you treat me differently because I am gay, I could treat you as a bigot. 

Now, even though I could do all this, I work each day to do my best not to. I see you, the human being, on the other side. I try to put into practice those values and beliefs that you say you abide by.

I love the line from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention:

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Honestly, the blind faith and hate is what actually makes me feel sorry and have compassion for those individuals who truly believe in gay conversation therapy, who blindly and ignorantly follow texts that are centuries old and irrelevant, who believe that there is something wrong with those who are different, who use hate and fear of others as a weapon to create a world of ignorance and intolerance and who are afraid of what they do not know or understand.

However, over the last few weeks within conversations over race, privilege, rights, etc, I’ve learned that there is only a limit to which I can be tolerant to those who are coming at me hard. I’m learning that there is a point that I have to step into the fight and push back even if I am biased towards my community. The community’s survival depends on it.

I acknowledge that there is a large community of faith-based and religious individuals who whole heartedly believe in equality but as we are learning, we answer and are responsible for our communities we are a part of. I look to those who do understand for the need of such protections to not only support the community but to challenge their fellow faith-based and religious friends and family who believe that there is no need for such protections.

Now, while both sides have stakes in this battle, for the LGBTQ community, it means life or death.

So, let it be known that even if I feel sorry for you I won’t dehumanize you or treat you as a lesser person, however: If you push against me because of who I am, I will push back. 

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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The Paradox of Tolerance

I was speaking with my dad about my wedding and what he wanted his role in it to be, or not to be as it turned out. (He stated he would rather just sit in the back and experience the wedding. Kinda like with a baseball game or concert apparently…). Well, after going back and forth briefly on that, our conversation turned to my mom who is, as you probably know from previous posts, not accepting at all of my life and my fiance.

I asked him whether or not she would come and if I should even invite her and I laid out my reasons, which were both emotional and logical. He highly suggested I still invite her because otherwise, if she did decide to attend even though she doesn’t support it, it would be a slap in the face if I didn’t invite her. That we may not know until the day of the wedding if she’ll be there but to let her come to that conclusion on her own.

Well throughout this conversation, it was pointed out to me that I was not being understanding of her views and experiences and that forcing her to make a decision on whether to support me or not wasn’t very tolerant. That any struggles were not necessarily between me and her but rather with me and not being open to her experiences and why she does not support me.

That stopped me in my tracks.

I was being called to the mat for not being open, understanding and tolerant of my mom’s intolerance of me.

The day went down hill from there. I couldn’t focus. I was a bit of a hot mess emotionally.

The next day, I was talking with Michael and our friend Jaime about it and Michael pointed out a concept he learned in undergrad called “The Paradox of Tolerance” which was defined by philosopher Karl Popper in 1945. Michael noticed that, that was what my dad had thrown at me.

The short and sweet of it is that refusing to tolerate intolerance is itself intolerance.

My initial reaction was:

Hermione.gif

But now I’m more like:

Chloe.gif

Now, I have no answers to any of this but as usual, needed to write it out to help me process it all. But let me tell you that I’ve got lots of questions swimming in my head right now such as:

-Am I actually an intolerant person?

-Is it wrong to be intolerant of an intolerant person?

-At what point do I become intolerant in my work to be tolerant?

-What would my wedding be like with my family or without them?

-Will Michael and I be comfortable with having people who do not believe in our lives or happiness at our wedding?

-What’s more important: intolerant family at our wedding or not having to deal with that on our Special Day?

-Do I example this paradox in my professional work and am intolerant to others due to their intolerance thus making me intolerant of them?

Though while I have many questions whirling around, maybe this will be a moment of learning in which I finally draw a line with the level of  influence some have over me in my life and limit or close those relationships. Perhaps it’ll help me better understand some of the work that is being done in my professional field. And perhaps it’ll help me better understand and advise my students and even colleagues. Only time knows.

So this is what I’ve been musing over in my head and for the time being, can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe in the future I’ll have some answers but for now just musings and contemplations.

Thanks for reading through my musing and maybe it’ll help you work through some stuff too. 🙂

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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2017 P.A.N.D.A. Awards!

Can you believe it? It’s time for the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A. Awards! AND new for the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A.s, I will be giving shout outs to those beyond the Twitter-verse!

For those of you who are just joining me, think of this as the biggest Non-Follow Friday shout out ever!

Started in 2015 on the night of the Oscars, the P.A.N.D.A. Awards were created in a 10 minute time span to celebrate people who have engaged with me on my social media, and who I think you should get to know! These individuals span my social and professional circles from Student Affairs to Kappa Sigma Fraternity to peeps from college. In true Brian Form, naming them the P.A.N.D.A.s was a  requirement and therefore came up with the best acronym ever:

Positive And Niftily Delightful Associates

So keep reading to see the Awardees of the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A. Awards! (And I promise that I don’t announce wrong results)!

Congrats to all the Awardees!

And consider checking out and connecting with some of these amazing peeps!

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!!

References

Alex Lange
Sera Radovich
Roberta Radovich
Lisa Giles-Schubel
Clyde Barnett
Michael Ciesielski
Luke Dzwonkowski
Daniel Stohlin
Michael Benson
Wayne Glass
Mary Jo Sekelsky
Juhi Bhatt
Erik Haener
Heather Shea
Jason Meriwether
Matthew Pruitt
Jon Peer 
Thomas Peeler

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The Peace I Got With My Engagement

 

“Michael and I got engaged!”

Silence

“Hello?” 

Silence

Then:

“Why are you doing this? Was I a bad parent? What did I do wrong?”

**10 minutes of reassuring them they were a great parent**

“Do you not believe in the Bible any more?”

**10 minutes of theological debate over my soul and the difference in believing the teachings of the Bible vs the text of the Bible**

Then:

“How did you go from such a good Catholic boy to this?”

**5 minutes of telling them I am an amazing, caring, successful, strong and independent person, all because of them**

**Short good byes are said**

This conversation happens more often than it should to way too many people in the world.

I’ve had this conversation in several contexts over the years since I came out with one of my parents. But honestly I was hoping for some progress since last time, when I said I was moving in with Michael 4.5 years ago.

But this time something clicked in me. A sense of not necessarily resignation but a peace-like feeling. My parent was never going to change. They were not going to attend my wedding. They were not going to support my relationship, life or me as a person.

And I am ok with that.

The duration of the conversation was me coming into my own and taking on the parental role. It was me in the unconditional loving role. It was me who was reassuring my parent that they had not failed me. It was me, not only reassuring them but telling them about the amazing person I had become, even more so since coming out. It was me who took measures to ensure that my parent was safe and would not make any poor choices after the conversation. It was me who took the conversation to a higher level of context and love.

And it was midway through the conversation that I realized a key had been unlocked and that a weight that I physically felt lift off my shoulders.

I would be the one to always adore them for what they have done for me. I would be the one to always offer the olive branch. I would always be the one to unconditionally love them. And I would always be the one to never expect them to reciprocate those feelings. I was at peace with the relationship or lack thereof that I would forever have with my parent.

It was at that moment after the conversation that I knew I had grown into someone that I could be proud of and who my parent could be proud of if they knew the whole me.

It was at that moment that I was ok with the fact they thought I was Hell bound.

It was at that moment that I finally understood and embraced unconditional love.

It was at that moment I finally put at peace the battle that I’ve been fighting, for the majority of my life.

And because of that, going into this engagement and wedding (21 months and counting)and the rest of my life, I know that I am going to be fine. That I will be loved unconditionally by Michael. That I will be loved unconditionally by the family I’ve created. And that no matter what, I’ll always love my parent whether absent from my life or not for the rest of my years on this Earth.

ringsSo for those of you who have to have these conversations with loved ones more often than not, please keep this in mind:

We can’t choose who is disappointed in us, who doesn’t love us or who doesn’t approve of us. But we CAN choose to unconditionally love others and enter a consciousness of peace that can propel you to an even greater relationships with those who you do place around you.

Until next time,

Peace Love and Pandas!

 

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Desperate Housewives; Dutiful Househusbands: #TBT Chapter 5 & Conclusion

Chapter Five

The Subversion of the “Ideal Family” in Desperate Housewives

In 2004 a dramatic situation comedy, also referred to as the sitcom, hit the American television screens with such magnitude, the show rocketed to number one almost immediately and quickly became a national and global phenomena. Comprised from a variety of family dynamics, numerous cultural and social issues and an array of varying human traits and characteristics, this sitcom created a familiarity of the family with which most of the American people could relate with. This sitcom taught the sociology of the family. This sitcom was entitled Desperate Housewives.

Desperate Housewives comprised itself of family dynamics which spanned across the years, beginning with the nuclear family concept through to the current, ever-changing, non-traditional family.

By using this sitcom, its unique and blatant imagery of the family, and using the previously mentioned contrasts and comparisons of the television family and real-life family, it is hoped that a conclusion will be formed on whether the image of the real-life American family influences the television family, or that the television family influences the image and dynamics of the real-life American family.

The conclusion will be reached by the use of each major character of Desperate Housewives, Bree Van de Kamp, Gabrielle Solis, Edie Britt, Susan Mayer, and finally Lynette Scavo. Each character and her family will accentuate a specific stage which has been identified in this paper, with a final result of one of the two anticipated conclusion options, previously mentioned.

bree

Courtesy of imdb.com

Bree Van de Kamp and her family lay the foundation for the sitcom by introducing the traditional “All-American” family. Composition of the Van de Kamp family specifically follows the definition of the nuclear family where “family group that consists only of father, mother, and children” and falls into the light of such great television families as the Anderson and Cleavers.

Bree Van de Kamp and her family hold the traditional roles. Bree is a hard working wife who’s main purpose in life is to perform household duties and support her family. Her husband is a business man who concentrates on the financial stability of the family. Andrew and Danielle are Bree’s children.

gabrielle

Courtesy of imdb.com

However, unlike the Cleaver boys, the Van de Kamp children are anything but loyal to the family. Andrew openly embarrases his mother with his life style choice, and Danielle shames her when the young daughter falls in love with a suspicious neighbor.

Gabrielle Solis and her husband Carlos bring the minority into the sitcom. They’re proud Latinos, who’s flair and grace for life accentuate the Latino heritage they possess. Gabrielle does not hold the traditional roles as the mother figure. Her concentration in life is fashion and socialization. Her husband is a work-a-holic who buys his wife’s happiness many times.

edie

Courtesy of imdb.com

Edie Britt is the conniving and most manipulative woman on Wisteria Lane. Her portrayal as a seductive enchantress who brings to light the dysfunctional family to the sitcom in honor of the Connors, Bundys, and Bunkers. Her relationships are off-beat and unconventional, while her motherly tendences are motivated by competition. Edie has one goal in life, to win the best. Whether it be men, money, or anything else, she must win.

susan

Courtesy of imdb.com

Susan Meyer follows with the single parent, non-traditional family. Supported by previous sitcoms such as Full House and Will and Grace, Susan attempts to uphold the motherly role as did June Cleaver, however while also balancing a job and a single parent love life. Her daughter Julie is a mature and responsible daughter, holding many of the traits valued by the daughters of the 1950s, including the Anderson girls of Father Knows Best. Susan’s ex-husband does play some role in the family, going to and from the house when he is between girlfriends.

lynett

Courtesy of imdb.com

Finally, we come to the current form of the family in Lynette Scavo. Lynette Scavo has a basically traditional family. A loving and hard working husband, and adoring children. However she also gives a home to a illegitimate child of her husband’s from another woman, bringing to light the extended family. Lynette is also a hard working woman of the new millennium who’s story line in the sitcom places an emphasis on the delicate balance a modern woman must make between the personal and professional lives. Lynette Scavo uses every ounce of intelligence she has to make the two worlds compatible. Including web-camming her children in the morning to wish them a good day at school, or starting a nursery at her advertising firm in order to feel safe and comfortable with working while caring for a new born.

Conclusion

fam|ly (fam′ə lē; often fam′lē) n., pl –lies [[ ME familie < L familia, household establishment, akin to famulus, servant <? IE *dhe–mo–house ( < base *dhē-:see do1) > Sans dhāman, household ]] 1 [Obs.] all the people living in the same house; household: see also extended family 2 a) a social unit consisting of parents and the children they rear (see also nuclear family) b) the children of the same parents c) one’s husband (or wife) and children (Webster).

By definition, the television sitcom family has up held the general concept of this ever changing social dynamic. Since it’s early form in television, by reflecting the whether brief or long term, nuclear family dynamic, to the extended, integrated families of today, representation of the family has evolve and will continue to evolve. Through the World Wars, Civil Rights Acts, Voting Rights, and Civil Union Laws, etc, television has helped to reflect the family on the television screen whether reflecting the social issues of the times, or the family values. The Cleavers and Andersons hold an ideal perception of the family, with clean lawns, orderly homes, and perfect relationships. Going through the racial transformations Sanford & Sons and The Crosby Show brought to the television screen in light of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Act, the dysfunctional loving parenting techniques that Archie Bunker, Al Bundy and Roseanne Connor provided, to the single extended family or non-related families of Full House, Friends, and Will & Grace, during radical social changes of marriage, divorce, and gay rights, television has reflected society. To the question posed earlier in this paper whether television sitcom influences societal views of family or if family influences television family societies, it may be concluded that there is no true way to distinguish with quantitative or even qualitative research the lucid and transforming nature of both the family and the television sitcom

The approach used to research this paper is a “new millennium way” of investigating the family and American society. Television has only been in the average American’s hand since the 1940s, when it was finally readily available and cost efficient. (Spigle). It has finally reached a point in its existence that patterns and themes, etc may be found. With such a short life span thus far, and it’s ever changing nature, due to new technologies, further research will be inevitable.

Works Cited and Consulted

Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows; 1946 – Present. 6th ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995

Butler, Jeremy G. Roseanne; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997

Chao, Elaine L. and Kathleen P. Utgoff. Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. U.S. Department of Labor, May 2005, Report 985. 12 March 2007 <http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2005.pdf>.

Dean, Pamala S. Sanford And Son; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

 Desperate Housewives. Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Touchstone Television, 2004. DVD

Friends. Warner Brothers Television, 1994. DVD.

 Generic Radio. 25 March 2006 <http://www.genericradio.com>.

Gunzerath, David. All In The Family; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Hunt, Darnell M. The  Cosby Show; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Huston, Aletha C., et al. Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992

Internet Media DataBase. 19 January 2006 <http://imdb.com>.

Kassel, Michael B. Father Knows Best; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Morley, David. Family Television: Cultural Power and the Domestic Leisure. London: Routledge, 1988. 15 March 2007 <http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=MtCzVaj6bUUC&oi=fnd&pg= PP9&dq=family+and+television+studies&ots=8ZSKQTjevZ&sig=wZHH5GzlyEPO2bmDKej9jqn-J1A#PPP1,M1>.

Neufeldt, Victoria. Editor in Chief. Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Editor Emeritus David B. Guralmik. 3rd ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1997.

Roberts, Sam. Who Americans Are and What They Do, in Census Data. New York Times. December 15, 2006, 23 February 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/15/us/15census.html?ex=132383 8800&en=0854d746f02031e3&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss>.

Orlick, Peter B. Leave It To Beaver; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Ruggles, Steven. The Transformation of the American Family Structure. An American Historical Review, February 1994: 103-128. 7 April 2007 <http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Articles/AH R.pdf.>.

Saluter, Arlene F. Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1994. Current Population Reports; Population Characteristics, 20 – 484. 15 April 2007 <http://www.census.gov/prod/1/pop/p20-484.pdf>.

Spigel, Lynn. Make Room For TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Stuller-Giglione, Joan. Married…With Children; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Tindall, George and David Shi. America: A Narrative History. 5th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. 2 vols.

TVLand. 29 June 2006 <http://tvland/tvhome.html>.

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Wober, Mallory and Barrie Gunter. The Television and Social Control. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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“With Great Power There Must Also Come Great Responsibility”

There is so much going on it’s a bit overwhelming.

But I was perusing my Facebook this weekend and came across this video:

I found it quite interesting and significantly insightful.

Now before I go forward, I’ll disclose that I worked at abc12 in Flint, MI for 4 years during my undergrad days as a floor director and studio cameraman. So I do hold a bias in some ways that favors news reporters, however, here are my thoughts on all of this.


The Press

I do believe, regardless any bias on my part, that the news does need to be fair and that it is their responsibility they bear with freedom of the press. It is not their job to be friends with who they report on nor should it support or help any agenda regardless liberal or conservative leaning. News is suppose to put out the information the most honest, fair and best way they can and let the public decide. (However I do acknowledge that every outlet does lean one way or the other simply because they are human).

Meryl Streep put it beautifully in her Golden Globe speech a few weeks ago:

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution.

~Meryl Streep, Golden Globes 2017

 

I was also extremely disappointed to hear Trump Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, suggest that the reporters should be fired. The news needs to be independent of the President. It is absolutely inappropriate for a President’s Team to call for the removal of reporters/anchors and for the Team to call out and demand the names of sources.


Topics

The other point in this whole exchange between Cooper and Conway was the complaint of the story topics that were being covered by the press.

I think Trump has earned these pre-inauguration stories about him; just like Obama earned his pre-inauguration stories about him 4 and 8 years ago. The reason why the stories are so different is not because news outlet are biased against Trump or for Obama but rather the rhetoric, responsibility, respect and accountability each once President-Elect has used and approached the Presidency with.

First, let me share a line from this exchange that really got me thinking on this post was said at about 24:30. “With freedom comes great responsibility.” 

However, let me use the original version of the phrase quoted above: “With great power there must also come great responsibility”

Of course Trump’s news is not about the dresses and the parties and the celebrations. In my opinion he has not acted with a sense responsibility that comes with the Power of the Presidency. The actions and inactions and words of President-Elect Trump and his Team have taken precedence (and rightly so) over the frivolity of the Inauguration Celebrations because of this lack of responsibility and the stories have reflected justifiably so.


Finally, a small side thought, way to rip and alter a phrase from Spider-Man who I feel embodies the struggle that a President must endure and hopefully conquer in terms of the inner battle of what it means in undertaking the power and responsibility of something greater than one’s self.

Just a few thoughts from over the weekend.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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