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"How to Build a Strong Christian Home" Part One


Burris

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Well, I have purchased June Fuentes' new book, How to Build a Strong Christian Home.

I figured if I review one chapter a day of the 14 relevant breaks in her book, it might make for an interesting experiment.

Before I get to that, however, I would like to address the copyright notice. While she prohibits all copying of any kind, my actions fall under fair use for the purpose of review so it's legal.

The last time I tried to review one of Fuentes' books, she desperately needed an editor. It was s poorly written I couldn't bring myself to finish it. In this case, however, it seems she has learned from her mistakes and so the book is easy to follow - which isn't the blessing one might assume, since she has an even more misanthropic view of human nature than I do.

During her introduction, Fuentes makes clear her fundamentally negative view of certain human relationships, writing,

" We live in a fast-paced society that is broken down, dysfunctional, and morally disintegrating. For many of us, the purposeless way of life that we have chosen for ourselves is leading us, and our families, down a dead-end path."

Is it the divorce rate Fuentes finds distressing or perhaps violence at home or even childhood sexual assault? Not quite - although I'm sure those complaints will make an appearance later in her book.

Indeed, before she decides to discuss what has caused this contagion of "purposelessness," the author glibly promises, "Our goal is to change that."

Don't get your hopes up: Fuentes' goal here has nothing to do with, say, correcting some of the deep problems that haunt the foster system in certain states, addressing child poverty, abuse within Christian homes, or anything else tangible. No - "We desire to see the Christian family restored and the building up of strong Christian homes for God’s glory."

Indeed her advice is insular, concerned only with the welfare of those Christians who share her narrow and specific interpretation of the Bible (for there can be only one). And in exchange for the $2.50 USD I paid for the privilege, she's going to tell me how to make my home into a haven of peace and order.

(I'm looking forward to this, because my apartment is a fucking disaster.)

No one will be surprised to learn Chapter One begins with this vignette:

"Johnny awoke early while it was still dark. Knowing that he didn’t have that much time until the bus arrived, he began to get ready for school.

'Mom?; he called out. But he had forgotten that she had already left for work."

(As an aside - that was a kinder wakeup than the one I received at home: Were I to wake up late, I'd have to dodge my own father: He was a habitual drinker and treated me in the morning to his belching the worst insults he could think of despite being too hammered to stand. I went to school in a uniform and a kerchief and the idiot still called me a slut - so if Fuentes is trying to elicit sympathy from me towards the latch-key kid, she's failing oh so miserably.)

"Johnny rushed and just barely made his bus. He forgot his breakfast and was hungry, but since he knew that lunch was just a few hours away, he decided to make the best of it."

Is this supposed to make me teary-eyed? Am I supposed to fall to my knees, wailing, 'Alas for those poor kids who have to get themselves up, make their own lunch with the ample food in their fridges, takes the bus to school, and get their educations?' Woe be them. The kid's parents, who are paying for his meals, his clothes, his papers and pencils and school fees are off to work - a place where they themselves may not want to be - in hope their son will achieve more than they did. And to June Fuentes, this is a horror story.

"Mom got home shortly thereafter, and she was pretty exhausted. She was too tired to think about what to make for dinner, so she tried to catch up with some of the housework instead....Johnny grabbed a piece of bread off the kitchen counter..."

'...before taking out the crock pot, dumping some chicken in with tomato soup, and cooking some rice to go with it.'

Just kidding! He ate bread then went upstairs to play video games while his mom cleaned the house - because obviously kids don't do chores in non-Christian homes.

Fuentes continues:

"Presently, this is just one of the many sobering realities for children all across the nation on a daily basis."

Schooling, food, electricity, potable water, safety - and much of it paid for directly by his evil working parents. Wow. That is truly awful. (The irony here is that, compared with the Maxwells, Johnny likely has a more fulfilling life.)

Fuentes then presents what she believes are sobering statistics:

" According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, statistics show that 2.4 million children under the age of 12 are home alone before or after school."

And I'm not seeing the problem - not unless the majority of these under 12s are six or seven years old, and have no older siblings around to ensure they don't hurt themselves or forget their lunch (etc.).

Naturally, Fuentes refers to this as an "urgent reality." The level to which fundamentalists are willing to infantilize their kids is nothing short of disturbing.

As a child I would certainly prefer to come home to my mother - especially if she were busy cooking or doing something else constructive. In my home, however, I was more likely to meet a wall of silence even if both parents were home. And while I think there's no substitute for quality - perhaps it is ideal for one parent to stay home with young kids, to give them a sense of security - that isn't the way of things even in some two-parent families.

The better advice is that parents should spend at least some time attending to the needs and wants of their children when they are home.

(I normally wouldn't post something quite this stinging, except that here it's apropos: My parents and I spent a couple of days getting all worked up about going out...I don't recall to where, but it struck me as fun. The night came and I got dressed up. My parents left without me. As they were leaving, I asked wheat I'd done to deserve being left home to which my father answered - and I swear this - "We just don't want you there." I was accustomed to his cruelty and his caprice, but that stung - 30 years later, and it still does. For as much as any emotion can physically hurt, that one did.)

The point: This idea that working parents are deleterious to children is nothing more than a guess, and a bad one. Some children will surely understand that their college funds come from parents who, when they are home, actually do care about their children.

Even if kids spend a couple of hours a night at home, doing homework or playing games, they will still know if their parents love them; whereas other children with a mother at home - kids warehoused six to a room on Costo brand shelving (as one family profiled on FJ has done) - have legitimate reason to doubt they're little more than parts of a collection.

Following a complaint about how even stay-at-home mothers may find themselves zoning out, Fuentes reaches for the magic phallus and writes,

"It has also been reported that the average father spends less than 10 minutes of quality time with his children during the course of a week, allowing hardly any time for relationships to build or for any shepherding or discipleship to take place."

First, I don't know whether I believe that "statistic" or not - but then I have no choice, since she doesn't cite her sources. And secondly, apparently mothers can't "shepherd" or "disciple" worth a damn. Never mind that half the child's DNA comes from the mother, and all of the child's substance is flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone; she's not man - ergo, suck!

Naturally, at the end of her first chapter, Fuentes asks the following question: "In what ways do you think families of the past could have stronger relationships?"

Not "Do you think" but "In what way."

My guess would be that there's nothing new under the sun. There are good families, bad families, and families that fall somewhere in the middle.

NUMBER TWO: A Multigenerational Vision

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Thank you for sacrificing yourself for our edification.

To answer her question about how families of the past functioned after school compared to now. We used to be sent outsde to play until dinner, then sent off to our rooms for homework. Nowadays kids are sheperded to activities, which the parent watches avidly, then brought home for carefully supervised homework. Compared to how my generation grew up the parental involvement is stifling. But I'd hate for reality to interfere with her preconceptions.

Is she QF? Because her argument about quality time falls apart if she's proposing that homeschooling 15 kids leaves any time for one on one time with each child. Let's say you want to spend an hour each day hanging out with one child at a time. Oops, that's more than all the time they're not sleeping. OK, so cut out four hours for preparing, eating and cleaning up four meals (with lots of help), an hour of shopping per day (just waiting at the checkout for all that food to be scanned!), and two hours of cleaning per day (a bathroom which sees 17 showers a day will need daily cleaning, and even if kids do it they need supervision), leaves us with six hours (assuming kids sleep 11 hours). If the parent is a wizard or uses ACE, then homeschooling could get all the disparate grade levels of work accomplished in say four hours (with no prep time or good teaching, of course), leaving two hours for parental quality time. Because the children have been beaten into submission there will be no fights or distractions and every minute of these two hours the parent can fully focus on the child selected for quality time. And each child gets... less than ten minutes.

Not to mention that a mother who comes home too tired to cook and flops on the couch with her aprocryphal child is spending much better time with them than the mother who's in the kitchen cooking.

ETA: yep, she has nine and is homeschooling. Considering the kids go all the way down to newborn my estimate of two hours free time is highly exaggerated.

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Let's see. Mum was always around when we left for school in the morning and came back in the afternoon, she packed our lunches every day, and my parents emphasised sitting down to dinner as a family. Sounds like I was raised in a strong Christian home. Shh! Don't tell my atheist parents!

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Are we supposed to hate the mother in the story because she gets up early, works hard at work all day, then makes sure the house is clean?

Pretty sure there are bigger problems in the world than that.

:shifty-kitty:

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"In what ways do you think families of the past could have stronger relationships?"

They could have been more like we are today, to have stronger relationships.

It strikes me that this woman is using old stereotypical data as a strawman, like the tiny amount of time she says dads spend with their kids. This seems to be a standard thing. Lori and Ken write about divorce going up, when the stats say it is going down. People write about violent crime increasing, when it is down compared to a decade or two ago. But the facts don't support their message, so they ignore them. OR they think the statistic they heard in 1978 is still valid.

well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/surprisingly-family-time-has-grown/?_r=0

The study, by two economists at the University of California, San Diego, analyzes a dozen surveys of how Americans say they use their time, taken at different periods from 1965 to 2007. It reports that the amount of child care time spent by parents at all income levels — and especially those with a college education — has risen “dramatically†since the mid-1990s. (The findings by the husband-and-wife economist team of Garey Ramey and Valerie A. Ramey appear in a discussion paper presented in March at a Brookings Institution conference in Washington.)

Before 1995, mothers spent an average of about 12 hours a week attending to the needs of their children. By 2007, that number had risen to 21.2 hours a week for college-educated women and 15.9 hours for those with less education.

Although mothers still do most of the parenting, fathers also registered striking gains: to 9.6 hours a week for college-educated men, more than double the pre-1995 rate of 4.5 hours; and to 6.8 hours for other men, up from 3.7, according to an additional analysis by Betsey Stevenson and Dan Sacks, economists at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

And, this isn't just in the same house time.

Notably, the data in the Ramey study do not count the hours mothers and fathers spend “around†their children — at the dinner table, for example, or in solitary play. Instead, the survey tracks specific activities in which the parent is directly involved in the child’s care.

“It’s taking them to school, helping with homework, bathing them, playing catch with them in the back yard,†said a co-author of the leisure-time paper, Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “Those are the activities that have increased over the last 15 to 20 years.â€

\And why, you might ask? Is it because these families are becoming more like the mom at home, dad at work model so many fundies prefer? Why no!

That may reflect a rise in what Dr. Stevenson calls the “hedonic marriage,†in which couples share home and work responsibilities so they can spend more time together.

By contrast, couples from earlier generations typically had “specialized†roles that tended to keep them apart — the husband working at a job to support the family, the wife staying home to raise the children.

“We’re seeing a rise in marriages where we’re picking people we like to do activities with,†Dr. Stevenson said. “So it’s not surprising we’re going to see that some of the activities we want do together involve our children.â€

Not to mention, if I am too tired to cook, I"m way to tired to clean, and would have either 1) picked up supper on the way home, 2) opened a can of soup or 3) grabbed kidlet and gone out for supper to some kids eat free joint.

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I am a SAHM and and am amazed by how well many families with both parents work. My next door neighbor has a mom who works long hours and travels a lot, the dad has a shorter commute, and more flexible hours. They have had great babysitters/ tutors to help with homework, and it probably is better than me doing HW with kids cuz I'm the mom and they don't want to listen to me. Another single working mom has hired a twentysomthing driver to get her four kids to activities while she gets home and cooks dinner or helps with homework. those stand out to me but I know many families that seem to really operate well with both working parents.

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My dad has often told me about being raised as one of seven children by a stay at home mom in a Christian home. He and the other kids were shooed out of the house after breakfast and told to not come home until dinner. They were left entirely to their own devices while my grandmother spent her days gardening, canning food, sewing and mending clothes, cleaning, washing clothes by hand, etc. He is pretty firm in his belief that today's amenities offer parents more time with their kids, even if both parents work outside the home. The days of a mother spending time only interacting with her kids existed only in stories, unless, I suppose, the family was rich enough to hire enough help.

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Grimalkin, that idea of hiring a driver is genius. The hours spent sitting around while a sibling has an activity are just awful.

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:angry-banghead: Note a lack of any planning or presence of a father in her example. Also if I had to guess her demographic would have Johnny eligible to participate in the free breakfast and lunch at his evil skool.

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Grimalkin, that idea of hiring a driver is genius. The hours spent sitting around while a sibling has an activity are just awful.

They are. I got a lot of reading and cross-stitching done with those interminable hours back in the day.

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Grimalkin, that idea of hiring a driver is genius. The hours spent sitting around while a sibling has an activity are just awful.

I read of people using the same Uber driver on a regular basis to pick up kids .... made sense to me, as you could sort of screen them, etc.

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Alas, June Fuentes has outed me. As a mother who selfishly works to keep a roof over my kids' heads, we have bread for supper more often than not. Fresh baguette or Grand Mange Blanc usually, accompanied only by a choice of cheeses, green salad, potato salad, olives, and pickles . I hang my head in shame.

Now they are old enough, the kids come back to an empty house, where they and a gang of friends are forced to endure an hour or two on a sofa watching the telly and stuffing the contents of the fridge into their faces. It breaks their poor little hearts. To be specific, it breaks their poor little hearts when Mum and Dad come back to the house and spoil the party with demands about homework and chores.

And I know that my husband and son spent only the ten or so hours together this weekend and there was most certainly no shepherding or discipling, just a lot of empty purposeless sport, TV and eating.

No wonder society is in freefall, with falling divorce rates, falling crime rates, fairer treatment of minorities, and ever increasing standards of education and healthcare. The only cure is bringing back religious fundamentalism.

I look forward to the next installment, Burris. What will little Johnny's parents inflict on him next? College education? First world medical care? Perhaps he watches a football match with his Dad and is exposed to coarse language and immodest cheerleaders?

My house is also a fucking disaster so look forward to Fuentes telling me how I sort that one out.

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Thanks for taking one for the team, Burris. She sure knows how to build a strawman -- too bad that burning one provides neither light nor warmth.

"Johnny awoke early while it was still dark. Knowing that he didn’t have that much time until the bus arrived, he began to get ready for school.

'Mom?; he called out. But he had forgotten that she had already left for work."

[bBvideo 560,340:4yepiib4]

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:roll: That's some deathless prose. I would be willing to bet that, before Johnny woke up, it had been a dark and stormy night.

Of course I agree with your comparison in the statement below, but want to correct a detail about something that is so bizarre to me that it is burned into my brain -- you said:

Even if kids spend a couple of hours a night at home, doing homework or playing games, they will still know if their parents love them; whereas other children with a mother at home - kids warehoused six to a room on Costo brand shelving (as one family profiled on FJ has done) - have legitimate reason to doubt they're little more than parts of a collection.

That would be ten (10!) in a room -- eight shelves, with two kids each on the lowest shelves. Oh, and I believe their Mom, Kim Coghlan, worked outside of the home -- didn't she go to the Vision Forum warehouse as unpaid labor?

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Alas, June Fuentes has outed me. As a mother who selfishly works to keep a roof over my kids' heads, we have bread for supper more often than not. Fresh baguette or Grand Mange Blanc usually, accompanied only by a choice of cheeses, green salad, potato salad, olives, and pickles . I hang my head in shame.

Now they are old enough, the kids come back to an empty house, where they and a gang of friends are forced to endure an hour or two on a sofa watching the telly and stuffing the contents of the fridge into their faces. It breaks their poor little hearts. To be specific, it breaks their poor little hearts when Mum and Dad come back to the house and spoil the party with demands about homework and chores.

And I know that my husband and son spent only the ten or so hours together this weekend and there was most certainly no shepherding or discipling, just a lot of empty purposeless sport, TV and eating.

No wonder society is in freefall, with falling divorce rates, falling crime rates, fairer treatment of minorities, and ever increasing standards of education and healthcare. The only cure is bringing back religious fundamentalism.

I look forward to the next installment, Burris. What will little Johnny's parents inflict on him next? College education? First world medical care? Perhaps he watches a football match with his Dad and is exposed to coarse language and immodest cheerleaders?

My house is also a fucking disaster so look forward to Fuentes telling me how I sort that one out.

Why, just this morning a lady at the supermarket chatted to me about which brand of pasta her wife preferred. :dance: :dance: Clearly the world is coming to an end when everyone gay and straight has the right to bitch about their spouse's shopping habits.

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My dad has often told me about being raised as one of seven children by a stay at home mom in a Christian home. He and the other kids were shooed out of the house after breakfast and told to not come home until dinner. They were left entirely to their own devices while my grandmother spent her days gardening, canning food, sewing and mending clothes, cleaning, washing clothes by hand, etc. He is pretty firm in his belief that today's amenities offer parents more time with their kids, even if both parents work outside the home. The days of a mother spending time only interacting with her kids existed only in stories, unless, I suppose, the family was rich enough to hire enough help.

I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in the '50s and '60s, and this pretty much describes Kid Life for us on non-school days. All the moms but one were SAHMs, but we spent a lot of our time as free-range kids, playing in each other's yards and the field of the adjoining school.

I get the sense, nowadays, that the biggest difference between kids of my generation and the following ones is not in the amount of time kids spend with their moms, but in the amount of time kids spend with their friends. My grandson, who is 7, lives in a neighborhood that looks much like the one I grew up in, but there are very few kids there, and, when play dates can be arranged, they're infrequent. I'd hazard a guess that he spends more time with his mother than with anyone else outside school.

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