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Having Good Kids: Is it the Luck of the Draw?

good kids

I can’t count the number of times people have told me I am so lucky to have such good kids. They see them sitting in church or gathered around a table if we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go out to eat, respectful and quiet, acting in a manner appropriate for the occasion. We can take them anywhere with us and know that they will behave.

When people engage my children in conversation the kids are excited to speak with them, are able to hold a conversation, and are typically very polite. They have smiles on their faces and are genuinely happy.

tornado reliefThey are often the first to volunteer to help others and, more often than not, when they see someone sad, they look to comfort them. They don’t know a stranger and most of the time (they are human after all!) they try to treat others with love and respect. They are naturally funny and tend to make others laugh and smile. They really are “good” kids.

I love to hear the compliment that my children are so well behaved or that they are great children. I agree with the person complimenting me! It makes me feel good and I know that it makes my kids feel good too. I beam with pride when someone tells me that they love my kids and love to be around them. I am appreciative that others can see what amazing kids they are.

But am I truly “lucky” to have such good kids?

It may seem crazy to also be a little off-put by this statement, but it bothers me when people tell me how “lucky” I am. I know those who say it mean the best. They see other kids who don’t act right in public or are doing things that make you cringe in disappointment. They look at my kids and see wonderful examples of how they feel kids should be behaving. They look at them and see “good” kids. I appreciate the compliment that they are trying to impart, I really do. But, a part of me always cringes at the remark too. 

Here’s why…

First, I think that all children are “good”. Maybe they make bad decisions or their life circumstances are such that they haven’t been taught how to behave; but God has made all His children good. There is not a single person in this world that was made evil or bad. God doesn’t work that way. Each and every person is made in the image and likeness of God and so that means that each person is made good. Every person who has a child is “lucky” to be blessed with a good one. God doesn’t make anything less than goodness!

caroline poutingSecond, our children mess up, and mess up badly. Most people don’t see what I see. I don’t talk about the mistakes our kids make because I know they don’t want their faults shared. It’s important that I not make them out to be people they aren’t, but at the same time, it’s important that I don’t spill all their faults and mistakes to everyone either. I try to make sure that they have privacy to work through the mistakes they make and the hurts they both inflict and encounter without others judging. Because I don’t share their aberrations or failures many often assume they never make them or that I want people to think they are perfect. This is not the case. It is simply out of respect for my children that I choose to keep their failures or lapses in judgment out of the public light.

Lastly, there is a lot of hard work that goes into teaching our children how to behave correctly. Telling me I am “lucky” makes me feel like all the work I have done means nothing. I’ve been at this gig for 23 years now and I still work hard each and every day to instill values and encourage proper behaviors in our children. From discipling even when I want to laugh instead to loving them when I want to scream; volunteering and being active in their lives even when I feel overwhelmed and tried, constantly trying to modeling desired behaviors and act right myself, and praying with the patience and the endurance of a saint- it’s a never-ending job!  There are days that are so overwhelming that I want to give up, but I don’t because I know the rewards are great- both for the kids and for me. I may cry, I may yell, I may fall to my knees begging for God’s help, but I know that this job of helping to form the hearts, minds, and souls of my children is the most important one I will ever do.  Prayers for strength and stamina, not luck, go a long way when I feel like I am not capable of doing the job in a manner that both pleases and honors God.

I am truly thankful that others love my children as much as I do. I thank God for the people He puts in our path each and every day. I appreciate the fact that those who know my kids think they are amazing and “good”. It brings joy to my heart to think of my children sharing happiness and hope to those who may not feel like there is much to be happy or hopeful about.

While I am not “lucky” to have good kids as I have worked hard to instill joy, love, kindness, a strong work ethic, respect, happiness, and hope within each of my children, I am very lucky that God has blessed us with people in our lives who love our family, who cherish our children for who they are, and who want to share in our lives.


Abortion Apologetics Current Events Doctrine Erika NFP and contraceptives Pro-Life Issues Respect Life

Emergency Contraception: Science and Morals

Recently the news contained two slightly misleading headlines: “German bishops say morning-after pill is ok in rape cases,” and “Top Vatican official calls German bishop’s approval of morning after pill ‘exemplary’”. On the surface both of these headlines give the appearance of the Church, specifically the German bishops and even the Pontifical Academy for Life, reversing a historic ban on contraception and abortifacients. In all likelihood, the Church will be taken to task over this seeming reversal without a closer inspection. However, as a scientist (molecular biology degree and 9 years as a Forensic Biologist) as well as an apologetics hobbyist, I decided to delve a little deeper into both the science and the morals of emergency contraception (EC).

First, the science… I first looked at the article from Contraception that was referenced in both articles in contention. After reading the entire article, the take-home message appeared to be that a Copper IUD is the most effective EC because it disrupts fertilization as well as implantation, but the two hormonal types of EC were ineffective because their action was to disrupt fertilization not implantation. Another article continues the assertion that one of the most common EC types (Levonorgestrel/Plan B) has no effect on implantation. However, as Catholics (as did most people before IVF and recent political mumbo-jumbo), we believe that life begins at conception not implantation. Further review of journal articles yielded this one that clearly states that only people who believe “implantation or later events to be the beginning of pregnancy” consider this method to be non-abortive. Another article, questions the validity of the data used to verify whether Plan B acts pre- or post-implantation without even referencing (in the abstract) whether these studies even consider post-conception and pre-implantation actions.

Most/many studies discount the five to twelve days between fertilization to implantation. It is not a stretch to consider these studies flawed for neglecting this time period; therefore, it is impossible to separate the contraceptive from the abortive properties of Plan B (and other ECs) without further research. Even one of their own, James Trussell, admits the abortive effect must be mentioned to women when giving Plan B. Further, Dr. Trussell admits that for Plan B (or any EC) to be effective, it must have an effect after fertilization. At this point, there is no accurate widely available test for fertilization, although a fertilization chemical has been known since 1979. Common tests used to detect pregnancy are detecting implantation (hCG) hormones, again discounting the five to twelve days between fertilization and implantation.

Now for the morals… In 1968, 2000, 2008, and well, basically forever the Church’s official stance has been against both contraception and abortion. Every life that begins is God’s gift to the bearer. While in cases of rape and incest, it is common to think of the new life as a “punishment”; in reality, God has created something wonderful out of a horrible crime. It is widely believed that punishing a child for the sins of the father is wrong. Therefore, it is no stretch to think that terminating a pre-born child for the sin of the father is wrong as well.

The German bishops, in their ill-conceived notion of “kindness” for a woman impregnated by an attacker, draw a line that neither science nor morality can draw. Studies have not shown that emergency contraceptives only act prior to fertilization. Nor are there widely available reliable tests to determine fertilization, only implantation. Moral law is the same for all life, whether the result of rape, incest, fornication, marital love, marital infidelity, IVF, or any other mechanism. A new life begins when egg and sperm meet (fertilization). Intentionally terminating that life is against the moral code and natural law. When clarification of this media circus is made, I’m sure it will be buried under new Catholic controversy if it is even presented at all. Until then, I am confident that Christ’s Church on Earth remains the most steadfast protector of life from its very conception.


ADDENDUM: In researching this story I could have added this extra explanation:

A comment on Facebook mentioned that since 1999(?), the bishops’ statement has been that if ovulation and fertilization can be proven to have not occurred, emergency contraception is OK. This information is true-EXCEPT-it is almost impossible for medical science to prove without a doubt that no ovulation or fertilization has occurred or is likely to occur during the emergency contraceptives life span in the body. They can test for ovulation-yes-but since sperm cells can live up to a week in the female reproductive system, proving no ovulation at the time the drug is administered does NOT necessarily mean ovulation will not happen within that week. If ovulation occurs within the week life-span of the sperm cells, fertilization can occur. At this time, there is no test for fertilization that is widely-available or widely-used. The current pregnancy tests actually test for implantation. Implantation happens between 5-12 days AFTER fertilization/conception/creation of new life. One of the only ways, in my opinion and research, to have the best chance of knowing whether ovulation and/or fertilization is possible is if a woman uses NFP to chart her cycles. However, even though NFP has a thoroughly proven track record, occasionally “unplanned” conceptions happen even to experienced practitioners.

abortion and contraception are always immoral according to the Catholic Church.