Lo llaman Lou-Box, porque le gustaba a la casilla como un niño. Aprendió a luchar porque él tenía que hacer.
Su padre era un adicto y alcohólico, violento y, a menudo volátiles.
Luis trató en vano de evitar la rabia, pero una tarde a la edad de doce años que ya no podía ocultar. Los recuerdos depapá del cuchillo; mamá aterrorizados gritos de auxilio; padre de puño en la cara - era demasiado abrumador. Desesperado, Luis convocó al valor de carga, balanceo salvajemente. Lou-Box conectado varias veces y finalmente Papí izquierda.
Miller, J.H. (1991). Stepfamilies. S. Hamilton, MA: Center for Youth Studies.
Stepfamilies across the United States are becoming a larger family structure each decade. The first national television stepfamily was the 1970s’ "The Brady Bunch." Seldom did anything go wrong, and when it did, somehow it was miraculously worked out in less than thirty minutes. Not all struggles are deep and complicated; yet, there are still issues that stepfamilies face which are unique to their family group.
Many surveys show that 17% of families with children under 18 years of age have stepchildren. And predictions for the future show that as many as one half of today’s young persons in the United States may become stepsons or stepdaughters by the year 2000. This reality hits home for teachers, counselors, and youth workers as they spend time with families, knowing that almost one of every five families will have a stepchild in their home. In fact, almost one of every ten children is a stepchild.
These statistics do not imply that stepfamilies are wrong or have negative effects on society. However, stepchildren face uncommon struggles. Many children face a stepparent who either does not desire involvement in their life or tries to control their former freedoms. Children in a remarried family have to release their fantasy that their biological parents will reunite. There is confused loyalty in the family between biological parents and stepparents. How should the family spend the holidays? With which parent? Authority and child rearing are difficult. Finances are usually tighter when supporting two households. Stepchildren have more developmental, behavioral, and emotional problems than children in intact families. Also, they are more likely to be victims of child abuse, especially sexual abuse, than other youngsters.
Many of these struggles can be avoided or lessened with help of a support group or an individual counselor. The stepfamily can work and talk together in a neutral territory so that each member is heard. Usually, stepfamilies have high expectations that can be difficult to attain, but helping to talk together can bring expectations to reachable goals.
Many stepfamilies can lead exciting and fun lives together. Doing things as a family will help bring endless years of memorable moments together.
The potential of the family will be attained through effective communication, moving slowly, and remembering the needs of one another. There are positive steps made every day when stepparents and stepchildren affirm one another.
As a society, if stepfamilies are viewed positively from outsiders, they will have the same hopes and dreams as the traditional family. Teachers, counselors, and youth workers can affirm the positive interaction of stepfamilies and move toward a natural integration of every family that is remarried. We can help bring them back into the society and community as a normal functioning family.
Schlessinger, L. (1999, August 13-15). Tackling tough topics with kids. USA Weekend, p. 4.
It is the first reaction of parents today to protect their children from life’s harsh and difficult topics. However, children’s innocence is being assaulted from all directions: from accessing any topic on the Internet to learning about AIDS in kindergarten. To protect kids, so they will not ‘worry or be upset’ may be a protection that hurts them more than helps them. Witholding information that affects them—such as life’s morals and physical challenges—leaves them without truth, understanding, or real support. If the tools of faith, family bonding, and support are taught to and experienced by children, they will learn the skills best utilized to cope with what life brings their way.
Parents should not hide the truth. When children’s honest perceptions of reality are not confirmed and explained, then fear takes hold. Children will be adults one day. Parents are responsible, despite their own fears and weaknesses, for teaching children how to face pain and fear. It is important to let kids know that happiness is the product of being true to a value system, living in a way that strengthens family, and having a mission in life to right whatever wrongs we can.
Modeling good behavior is one of the greatest impacts parents can have on children. This means that there can be no let up in living out the ethical side of behavior. Nothing can be overlooked, ignored, or compromised. Honesty is the basis of all trust, and there is never a reason to set that value aside. Parents cannot get away with the adage, "Do as I say, not as I do." If it is a value for their children to adopt for life, then parents need to model it.
Three of the tough topics constantly raised in the adolescent culture today are sex, stealing, and drugs. There are ways that parents can address these topics without sidestepping the. How, should parents tackle these tough topics?
Sex. It goes without saying that promiscuity is dangerous. It is a primary responsibility of parents to keep children from acting out sexually. This means to help children and adolescents avoid getting into sexual situations. Family rules should include teens not being left alone together in the house, anyone’s house. It should include no co-ed sleepovers, campouts, school trips or the like without adequate supervision. It needs to be emphasized that parents are not just paying lip service to chastity. Parents need to have a parent relationship with their teens when it comes to sex, and not the misguided desire to be ‘pals’ and therefore be obliged to "tell all" about their adolescent sexual experiences. Sharing your sexuality in an intimate way with another is a big commitment, and commitment requires time and maturity. Giving of one’s self at too early an age only brings regret. And the teenage years are just too young to collect the regrets, let alone diseases, and children.
Stealing. There are many ways that stealing manifests itself. It can be the taking of something that is not yours—from a store, friend, organization, or just something that is found without attempting to seek the owner. It can be lying about an age to get into a movie theater for a cheaper price or a higher age-rated movie. It is the overlooking of a small thing, which constitutes an injustice to someone else or even to yourself. The wrong needs to be righted—even if it means returning the item to the rightful owner and accepting the consequences that may come beyond the apology. In essence, it is righting a "lie"—hard to face, but an excellent lesson to prevent it from happening again. To rectify a wrong and accept the consequences should be taught from early childhood.
Drugs. This is probably the most compromising topic, because most of the teens today are products of the Baby Boomers—a generation that grew up in the 1960s and the era of drugs. This is an obvious "do as I say not as I do" category, for many adults today still occasionally smoke pot. Yet, the biggest drug is not substance abuse, but alcohol. Parents need to respect the law by honoring it and not serving under-age teens in their homes. Just taking away the keys from drivers is not enough. Infringement should trigger serious consequences for both the parents who allow it and teens who break the law.
These issues attempt to show how ethics, openness, modeling, and communicating consequences are the best way to approach and tackle tough topics with kids. It all stems from an honest, loving, and caring relationship that has been built over years. There will be times when it seems that there are no channels open for talking, but that does not give a parent the license to quit trying. There is no way to resign from parenthood, and we are entrusted with a commodity that requires our very best effort and response far exceeding 100% of our efforts. We owe it to ourselves and our children.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
How would you evaluate your parenting style and your approach to tough topics?
In what ways does it follow the above and in what ways is it different?
How would you like to change your ability to "talk" the tough topics with your kids or young people around you?
What other topics do you consider difficult to discuss with young people?
What would you like to know about these topics before discussing them with young people?
Kids can be hurt by being over protected and sheltered from the tough topics of life.
Children need to be brought slowly through the difficulties of life as they are presented to them. If faced by an early death of a parent, pet or any close relation, children should be included in the process to learn how to process and grieve.
Parents and all adults related to or working with children and teens must model good behavior. There can be no winking away or sidestepping even the smallest of infractions.
Quality time only comes with quantity time. The more time spent with kids, the more likely one is to hear about the issues that concern them. And once you hear about the concerns, the more opportunity to engage them, understand their perceptions, and enlighten them.
We bring our kids into this world; we need to commit the best we have to them, to help them reach the potential with which they are born.
Ryan, S.C. (2002, September 26). For Actor, David Morse, ‘Hack’ Role Hits Close to Home. The Boston Globe, D1,5.
David Morse is tired of traveling. Ecuador to film, “Proof of Life,” to Sweden to shoot “Dancer in the Dark,” to Canada for “Bait,” and to Chicago for “The Negotiator.” Morse’s wife and three children, meanwhile, live in a Philadelphia suburb, which is where he’d rather be.
For years this fine actor has struggled in himself: to be the finest of his craft, to provide for his family, and to be with them as well. These goals are difficult to juggle. Particularly when an actor such as Morse seeks with discrimination to find roles that fit his development as an actor with integrity. Celebrity, with all its demands, can bring down a marriage and subtly undermine character.
Not emphasized in this article is the great range of acting roles played by David Morse over the years. He may be best known as Dr. Jack Morrison in the popular 1980s TV series, “St. Elsewhere.” Among other television roles are “Dead Ahead,” “Miracle on 1880,” “Tecumseh,” and Stephen King’s “The Langoliers.” PBS chose Morse to play pastor in the “Diary of a City Priest.” Morse is also a frequent performer on stage including “The Good Son,” “The Getaway,” and “Magic Kid II.”
Movies include “The Rock,” “Contact,” “The Negotiator,” “Crazy in Alabama,” “The Green Mile,” and “Proof of Life.” He has also played the villain in films such as “Extreme Measures,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and “The Rock.”
David and his wife’s home was destroyed in the LA earthquake of 1994. They moved back to Philadelphia where his wife had family roots. Maintaining a close family and finding appropriate acting roles was not easy.
Finally, Morse has the opportunity of an ongoing acting part…filmed in Philadelphia! He plays the part of a cabby in a tough neighborhood. Mike Olansky, once decorated for bravery, has been kicked off the force for stealing money from a crime scene. In this television series, he seeks redemption driving his cab and using his former skills to fight crime. The show isn’t simply a good guy vs. bad guy formula nor a heroic vigilante righting wrong. There is complexity in both Olansky’s character and the situations he faces. It’s a role naturally fitting David Morse’s fine acting style. “I think I can really live with Olansky,” Morse reflects, “We can go a lot of places.” Interestingly, Morse actually had a part-time job driving a taxi one time while working for the Boston Repertory Company (1971 to 1977). The job added to his $40-a-week salary.
It is also the answer to a long-time dream. Ryan quips, “Lucky for Morse, this fall he gets to continue his Hollywood career and come home at night.” As Morse himself puts it:
‘It’s pretty unheard of. I didn’t even think it was possible. To actually go home every day and see my kids is a great thing….I like being a dad. I like going to the grocery store and cooking every night.’
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
How well did you know the actor David Morse before reading this article? What, for you, were the most memorable roles he played?
When you see successful actors and actresses, do you often think of the days when they needed part-time jobs to survive?
How difficult do you think it is for an actor to retain real integrity of character?
Many of us struggle in pursuing both vocational and personal/family goals. What, in your mind, does it take to be responsible in both areas of your life?
For what do you most admire David Morse?
Personal sacrifices often have to be made in following our goals. There are ways we can minimize the damage those sacrifices may bring to ourselves personally and those close to us. A faith that reaches beyond immediate circumstances is an important factor for many.
The popular arts have a responsibility to portray both the complexity and the moral responsibilities of individuals and systems in contemporary life.
Without a strong moral foundation, our personal and family lives will suffer, as will the institutions of our society.
Do you really understand the economic crisis in America? This webcast by Andrew Sears, TechMission's Executive Director, provides a beginner's guide to understanding poverty in America and what can be done about it. Please forward this to friends who might want to learn about poverty and social justice.
What is mission? Purpose? Bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth?
I’ve been pondering these questions lately, and what qualifies something as “evangelism”? Are we here solely to tell people about God, or also to simply enjoy him and be loved by him? Can we tell about him in the ways we live our daily lives, and reflect the Kingdom by the beauty we create?