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Needed Boost November 29, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.
1 comment so far

The first semester of doctoral studies has been harder than I thought it would be. I have fluctuated between “This rocks!” and “How can I get out of here?” Usually there is no more than 24 hours between these emotional extremes. I feel great when I have had a success or believe I know what I am doing. I feel terrible when I am not prepared for a meeting or class.

Behind is a feeling that is quite common in doctoral studies. From what I hear, that feeling never goes away, but I will apparently get better at managing my emotions and my time.

Anyway, today I needed something. I needed a boost – and I got one.

So today, I got a much needed boost from two students who are working on their dissertations. They soothed my struggle with comforting words and 30 minutes of their undivided attention. Can I tell you how much value there is in 30 minutes for a doctoral student? Thanks to you two who gave your time to me.


Ramblings On Teaching November 29, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.

Teaching could be considered to be the art and science of knowledge and skill transfer. It is really an interesting thing to consider that knowledge or an ability could expand from one person to another. I am of the belief that the relationship between the student and the teacher is the best (or worst) means by which this transfer happens.

 This is not to say a teacher with natural relationship skills can skate by or that a teacher with challenged relational skills can’t teach anyone. No, what i am saying is that the teacher’s teaching strategy is himself or herself. The teacher’s use of self is going to be the most real thing the students ever get.

Sure, technology is important and I believe becoming an essential part of the teaching process, but the reason that there is no replacement for a good teacher is that the internet does not care about students. The internet cannot connect with students on an emotional level. Yes, there are certain emotions various sites or programs that can be run on the internet can touch, but evoking an emotion and connecting emotionally in a relationship are apples and oranges. The internet will not remember that emotion, a good teacher will.

Technology cannot invest in a student. Only teacher’s can do that. Technology is a tool, a relationship is a generative and developing process of social integration that contains the kind of depth that can generate security, confidence, and trust.

One way in which the teacher uses himself or herself best is by de-centering a little from the roel of container fo all knowledge. Yes, the teacher needs to sort of be the expert on the subject, but he or she does not need to be uthoritarian with that status. In fact sheeding the status without shedding the knowledge or skill is critical for good teaching. When the teacher enters the learning process as not only a teacher, but a teacher who still has something to learn, then the student can feel confident that we are doing this thing, this learning thing, together. It resolves some feeligs of knowledge and skill isolation and inferiority.

Granted, some course content lends itself to expert and novice roles, but much or it does not. And even in those cases when it does, the kind of comfort a good teacher can give to a student through connection is crucial.

Teachers who have found their teaching voice know that they can speak it fluently and are eager to develop it in depth and breadth. And when the teacher speaks in his or her own voice, it is more likely that the students will make sense of it. However, when the teacher is trying to speak in someone else’s voice, something is lost in translation.

Any teachers or students out there want to chime in?

A Call For The End Of Feminism November 26, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Philosophy/Religion.

A Call For The End of Feminism


It’s time. Feminism has had a good run of it and has made its mark on history. Nice work; applause all around. But the time has come when the term has simply run its course. Anymore and it runs the risk overplaying its hand, if it has not done so already. So, this essay is a call for the end of feminism. The rationale for such a call, especially at this time, takes into consideration the historical and contemporary context of feminism and the prospects of the future as context as well.


Feminism was started by women. Although this fact might shock many, the term itself, feminism, indicates a gendered leaning to the thinking associated with the term. Of course there is nothing wrong with a leaning or even a biasT that is not the problem with feminism. The problem is that even though it began by women, about women, and for women, the scope of the movement has transcended itself and is so pervasive beyond gender that the need to hold on to the label seems almost laughable.


Feminism has found such success throughout so many of the sciences and has mainstreamed so well with the philosophical shift from modernism to postmodernism that the name itself betrays the essence of what it is. Feminism is a movement to include more than just men in whatever conversation is going on. That is terrific. Women have been second class forever and need not be anymore. However, in order to keep the term feminism relevant, it requires women to be subservient to men. What I mean by that (as I am ducking and dodging some pretty terrific rhetoric) is that once women have enough power that they no longer are a power minority, then the term feminism is no longer inclusive. To be a power minority and a feminist is fine, but once enough power or most power is assumed, then it is tyrrancical. It is in turn exclusive in out-grouping men. The philosophy and theories might not be exclusive, but the term itself is. It is hopelessly gendered. Gender-bias plus power creates the exact opposite effect that feminism was intended to create in the first place.  


Furthermore, there are many men who would and already do in many ways live by and employ the beliefs espoused by feminism, but would not be caught dead being called a feminist. Why? Maybe it’s homophobia and maybe it’s misogyny, fine, there’s a few men who fall into those categories. But I think most men are more practical than that. They are not women. Period. End of discussion. How can a man be a feminist? The very fact such a question can be asked and would have to take a super long time to answer for the average man means that the term is poorly suited toward inclusion. A movement meant to include people should not have a label that immediately appears to exclude half of the people who exist.


Feminism is a victim of its own success. It makes so much sense and serves more people better than many other philosophies and theories that its limiting name needs an overhaul. I think it deserves its place in history and should always be referred to historically as feminism. But I think that a new name should come in and help to accelerate the advancement of the ideas, values, and principles that already exist under the name feminism. Perhaps one day people will say something like this: “de-centering theory, with its roots in feminism, actively deconstructs centers of power toward the end of a better global good…” or something like that.


OK, I have more to say, but I think that the point is clear. The theories and philosophies are good, but the name is a relic.


What do you think?

Late cocoon stage November 17, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Family Science.

The transition to doctoral studies has been more challenging than I first believed it would be. As of yet, I do not believe that real me has been allowed to come out. What I mean by that is that I have been surviving and scoping the territory.

It takes a lot of energy to make a transition. It takes a lot more energy to make a transition with a family with young children. There are housing issues, schooling issues, the making of new friends, finding a decent grocery store, auto mechanic, and where is the free wi-fi (Panera and Breuggers)? So, with these and a million other changes, survival is the name of the game.

Secondly, I have to be comfortable with my surroundings in order for the very best of me to emerge. This has always been the case. The faster I can “own” my area the faster the very best of me will be allowed to walk that turf. If I cannot get my grip, then I function, but do not take the kind of necessary risks that are needed. I go into safe mode. Safe mode never works. Why? It’s not genuine or authentic. It gets me by, but over the long haul, it’s no good. It’s not creative, innovative, or intuitive.

The best of me takes risks, fails forward, creates, and is pretty darn funny. The best of me is not all too concerned about impressing anyone because that will happen or it won’t. The self-protective me is in many ways the opposite of my true me.

So, I hereby declare that it is time for me to be unleashed upon my new environment. I have been here long enough and I need to give this place a taste of who I really am.

Now, if I can just find a way to bust out of this cocoon.

NCFR November 11, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.

NCFR is the National Council on Family Relations. I am a member. Here is what I am learning at the national conference in Minnesapolis:

1. Some research has shown that group treatment for teens with anti-social behavior is not only not effective, but is detrimental. Family therapy, however, had shown to be effective.

2. The long term effects of some individual treatments are not effective (some harmful) while family treatments are effective.

3. Spiritual development of children and teens is now being seriously investigated. Click here.

4. There are lots of professors and students with deeply held religious views who work at and attend state universities.

5. Organized religion is to spiritual development what public education is to cognitive development. Follow me here. Even if a child did not go to school, that child would develop in the cognitive realm. There would be intelligence and it would develop, but not within an organized educational context. Similarly, with or without organized religion, a child and a person would develop spiritually. The organized structure gives stucture for the expression of faith.

It appears that the intersection of spiritual development and organized religion can either nurture healthy spiritual development or it can damage, inhibit, or distort healthy spiritual development.

Your worlds of adoption – Zoe October 10, 2006

Posted by fajita in Adoption, Family Science.

Wow! What stories. Thanks to all of you who shared. Please, if there are more stories out there, feel free to comment. The complexities and challenges in adoption can be as unique as each family. But on the other hand, so can the blessings and rewards.

Also, there is much passion and emotion from many different directions on the topic of adoption. I haven’t met anyone yet who is involved in adoption in some way to be ho-hum about it. Now, there may be people out these who are, but I am not meeting them.


Missong the Zoe Worship Conference this year was so hard. I especially missed my blogger friends who I only met last year at breakfast. It was so hard not to be there. 

4 Worlds of Adoption October 7, 2006

Posted by fajita in Adoption, Family Science.

If you aren’t adopted or know someone who is, then you might not think much about adoption. However, if you are adopted or have adopted a child, then you think about it quite a bit.

I’ve had several conversations with people over the past few weeks who have adopted children are are themselve adopted. These conversations are powerful. I am moved when I hear people speak of their adoption experiences.

So, let’s have a little intro to the 4 worlds of adoption. The following are in no specific order and are not actually comprehensive, but do cover the majority of types of adoptions.  The following categories are borrowed from a paper written by Harold D. Grotevant entitled, “Openness in Adoption: Re-Thinking “Family” in the United States.”

World1: Domestic infant adoption – This is the kind of adoptioin in which an American couple or individual adopts an infant. This kind of adoption is decreasing in frequency as compared to past decades as there are fewer infants available in the U.S. for adoption.

World 2: International Infant Adoption – This is the kind of adoption in which an American couple or individual adopts an infant from another country. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that there might be some challenges for the family and the adopted child as he or she ages. There is an increasing frequency of international infant adoption.

World 3: Foster care Adoption – When a couple or individual adopts a child who has been in foster care. Since children arrive in foster care for a number of reasons, most of which can be traumatic for the child, these adoptions pose a number of different kinds of challenges as compared to other adoption arrangements.

World 4: Stepfamily Adoption – When a stepparent adopts a stepchild. Now, in order for this kind of adoption to occur, there are some antecedents. Death of a bio parent, relinquishing or parental rights or somenhing like that. In just about every way possible, there was a loss experienced by the child.

Here’s another little piece of the adoption world. 20,000 American children age out of the foster care system. Think about it, 20,000 18 year olds transitin from foster care to “real life” without anyone to call family. Granted the foster parents might be considered family, there is a difference between fostering a child and adopting one.

I have a growing respect for the complexities, challenges, and heroic efforts that make up adoption.

Anyone out there have an adoption story they don’t mind sharing with the loyal dozens who gather here?

Dr. Rosenblatt is famous – “Two in a bed” September 22, 2006

Posted by fajita in Book Reviews, Family Science, Sex.

One of the profs who teaches in the Family Social Science program I am enrolled in has just released a book that is getting a ton of press. The book is called, “Two in a Bed.” He’s been featured in the NYTimes, on radio and TV shows (Good Morning America methinks) and even in some international media outlets.

Amazon will share the table of contents with you here, an excerpt here, and a you can buy it here.

What do you spend on food ? September 15, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.
1 comment so far

In an average American household, each person spends $40 on food per week. So, a famiy of 4 spends $160 per week on food.

So, you might think that when there is a family of 3, the cost would be $120 – and it would be unless the famly is headed by a single mother. If that is the case, then only $28.33 per person is spent on food. So, maybe homes with single mothers consumer less food. Or, maybe single mothers find ways to stretch dollars better than the average families.

Now, if a man is living alone, he is going to spend $60 per week on food, more than double what the average person headed by a single mother. Again, this is amount paid, not amount eaten. Men might be eating more when they are alone, but they might be buying more expensive food.

Now, you might think, “Men are greedy pigs,” but you should not think that, unless of course you are prepared to call women greedy pigs. When women live alone they spend almost as much as men living alone – $50 per week. oink oink.

Texas is the state with the highest level of “Food Insecurity” while North Dakota has the lowest level.

Larry James in Dallas knows a lttle bit about food insecurity. Reading his blog is educational.

Source: Household Food Security in the United States 2004

Morality September 13, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.

What should moral energies of Christians be spent doing?

A. Discouraging and penalizing couple cohabitation

B. Work to support the children these cohabiting couples produce

Please, don’t cop out and say BOTH. Please, explain your answers. I listened to a speaker today compare U.S. and Swedish marriage, parenting, poverty, and policy patterns. It was a very good presentation and provided some terrific things to think about. So, above is the question I offer to you who are Christians.