Monday, January 29, 2007


This blog talks a lot about the fragmentation of the family. However, despite the great pressures on family life, the family has within itself huge resources.

Here are the big ones
  • Family bonds are very powerful despite disputes and differences
  • The family has a great heritage in its own culture and roots
  • Family members with their spending control the economy
  • Politicians vie for the vote of family members
  • Media ratings are controlled by the family members
  • Despite schools and courts, the family has the controls of its children

Recently, The Markham Institute introduced a free presentation based on THE FAMILY CHALLENGE. The Eye on the Family Presentation shows the impact of the fragmenting forces of business, governments, media and community agencies. It reminds families of their great strengths. Then it outlines three ways families can strengthen themselves. Two of these ways take advantage of the internet.

The Eye on the Family presentation is available along with presenter notes. If you are interested in viewing or finding out more information on this presentation, send an email to requesting a free copy. Of course, we continue to be interested in hearing your comments on THE FAMILY CHALLENGE, just click on the comment button below to add your views.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


After too long, there is serious effort in the West to bring balance in the roles of men and women. We all know the history. Now we need to make sure we get it right this time.

The main question always is - What’s so important? The answer to that question is the children. Men and women are different so that they can have and raise kids. Technically, the differences between the sexes are minor compared to their common abilities.

We do have strong cultural influences. Women tend to be more nurturing. Men tend to security roles. We would be wise not to mess with too many features of family life as we work towards role balance.

In the home, gender isn’t a factor on who is the natural leader. Leaders should lead. Good leaders should lead in ways that brings out the best in others. Good leaders don’t worry about their image - they worry about the roles and satisfactions of others.

Once clear about the big issues, the others can more comfortably be dealt with.

The Mom who works outside the home faces a heavy load, if being a wife and mother are also vital to her. Surely that is an issue for Mom and Dad to find new ways to ease. This challenge can’t be helped by laws, protests or searing editorials.

There is the issue of the woman who is now boss at work. She has a double challenge: using her gifts comfortably, while overseeing others who have discomforts.

What are the dangers?
  • Moms wear themselves out so everybody loses.
  • Replacing male macho by female macho.
  • Expecting balance to come too soon and too much.
  • Commercial catering to women which results in imbalance.

This is a big social and cultural shift which will be beneficial to all provided the families get it right. Another point in THE FAMILY CHALLENGE.

To help us explore on how to get this right, click on the comment field below.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The Economist ran an article on world fish supply beside an article on African nation development. They are two striking examples of Today’s Second Greatest Miracle.

In the case of the fish stock, we’ve tried policing and stocking - which aren’t working. The article points out studies by Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University who found that fish prospered when the ecosystem was diverse - many different species.

The article on African nation prosperity reports Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, claims that national welfare depends on institutions like free press, civil service and the "rule of law". The suggestion in the article is that African nations with such institutions prosper while those who lack them do not.

In both cases, a serious condition yields less to direct intervention but more to the environmental improvement. When the whole system is getting stronger, the individual problems lessen.

We’ll take a common domestic problem - indigestion. We can go for one of the latest advertised remedies.

Or we can check out the whole picture, The Six Basics:
  • How are the key relationships?
  • Is work working?
  • Do we have a spiritual direction?
  • Are we keeping fit?
  • Are we having any fun?
  • Are we helpful?

In the face of an issue, The Second Greatest Miracles asks:

*Are we covering the six basics?

*Are they well balanced?

*What needs doing?

Just imagine what The Second Greatest Miracle can do for families that are -

Stressed, Contentious, Sick, Blah, Exhausted

The Second Greatest Miracle is big because we get the picture of everything. The initial worry, like the cod, gets resolved because we get to see and act in the new world.

There is a universal law called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It says that energy dissipates from every living system. That decay is called entropy.

The Second Greatest Miracle says entropy is reversed by inputs from the environment. If you want an expert to quote, use: Teilhard de Chardin or Erich Jantsch or The Lord.

I guess the question here is, when do we apply The Second Greatest Miracle to THE FAMILY CHALLENGE?

Let’s hear from you, click on the comment field below to add your views.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


It’s time we get used to classes in our society because we have four big ones.

The high class is getting richer by leaps and bounds. They can buy whatever they need - be it toys or services. A few show off their wealth - most like to stay hidden because they don’t want us to know how rich they are. They are not only rich but they are powerful. In their clubs and homes they make big decisions on business and government over whom they have great leverage. A few are generous.

Our professional class is also doing well despite their complaints about regulations. They too, don’t have to worry about money, things or services. They are particularly skilled in knowing how to get the best health, education and legal services. They also dominate our universities with values that don’t necessarily support family life. These university professionals seem to love to promote the latest social, moral and belief fads.

We regular folks have our own class. We all have to work hard. We line up for the things and services that we need. We are dazzled by all the new media, high tech and modern lifestyles. Life is so busy, there is always bills and debt, with little time for fun except that one pricey holiday we try to save for.

Finally there is the lower class. These people have no financial security and little social security. Mostly, they are in hopeless binds from multiple problems. Either they decide to check out or they stagger from day to day with little hope of getting out of the swamp. The 300,000 folks left behind in New Orleans is a dramatic example. That’s a lot of people to fall through the social net.
Every community has its share of the lower class. They are known to the overwhelmed social agencies but otherwise hidden. Some, in the other classes, claim these folks deserve their situation from lack of personal responsibility. This is not true for most. An Atlanta study of multi-problem families found two-thirds of such families are highly motivated to ensure their kids get a better life.

So what do we do? Sounds like the regular folks need to do two things. First, they need to take control of their own family situations. They should get on guard against controls coming from business, government, the professions or the media. Subtly, these power sources fragment the family in the pursuit of their own interests.

Next, the regular folks need to start reaching out to their unfortunate neighbors. Families have a great power base because they are consumers, voters and audiences. As the regular folks start to regain control, they can pass on their experiences to the less fortunate.

It is time for families to take stock of what they have and what they need. The family that rediscovers itself can rediscover old fashioned friendship which is badly needed in our world.

Let’s hear from you on THE FAMILY CHALLENGE! To add your views/comments, click on the comment field found below this blog.