Good manners on death row

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I just read about a highly intriguing concept: good manners on death row. The Time article was looking at research which showed that Southerners on death row in America were more likely to exhibit decorum than their counterparts from the North or West (whose last words were more likely to involve cussing than remorse).

I’m actually fascinated. Who would have thought that the “pleases” and “thank yous” that mum worked to get into your head would become habit enough to come out even in a situation like jail? Who would have thought that the concept of honour could exist in such a place?

The article talks about the “honour culture” of places like the South. People who grow up in such a culture have an entrenched code of what is acceptable and what is not; one that might stay with them even with the diversions of life experience, deprivation, poverty or… click here to read whole article and make comments


Teens prefer internet to drinking

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So, do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good news – teen drinking is on the decline. Research shows that the proportion of 14-17 year olds who had not consumed alcohol in the last year jumped from 32.9 per cent in 2001 up to 50.2 per cent in 2010.

The bad news? The reason that teens are drinking less is the fact they are too preoccupied with the internet.

The Daily Telegraph article thinks this is an encouraging trend. But I have to admit that I’m a bit torn on this one – which is better?  Underage drinking or excessive internet use?

Let’s look at underage drinking first. There’s nothing great about it, and it’s true that it could increase the instance of alcohol abuse or addiction later in life. But often, I feel like it would be a passing phase: something that the kids would… click here to read whole article and make comments


The importance of Mum-time

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The News Story - In turnaround, more moms are staying home, study says

In a happy piece of news, a study by the Pew Research Center reveals that more moms are staying at home to care for their children.
Reports NPR, “After decades on the decline, the number of ‘stay at home’ moms in the U.S. has risen, with 29 percent of women with children under 18 saying they don't work outside the home . . . up from 23% in 1999.”  While immigrant moms, young moms, and those with a high-school education or less are most likely to forego work outside the home, some mothers also say the bleak economy has made the decision for them.  The study notes that 60% of Americans believe that “children are better off with a parent home.”
And those 60% of Americans would be right.  Kids whose moms… click here to read whole article and make comments


Marriage advice from a divorcee

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I realise that one might not think to get marriage advice from someone who just got divorced. However, upon reading this article, you might just change your mind. Gerald Rogers, upon the finalisation of his divorce, had 20 points worth of wisdom to dole out – in my mind, all things that help to keep the love young.

I’ve picked out my favourites and paraphrased them below:

Never stop courting. Never stop dating. Never get lazy in your love.

Protect your own heart. There is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except your wife.

Always see the best in her. Focus on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed… click here to read whole article and make comments


What the older and wiser think you should know

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Do you think that it’s possible to love your day job? I’ve met many people who believe that such a thing is unattainable - that work is work and can never be anything more; much less something that brings any kind of joy.

Well, I want to disagree. And it seems that I’m on the right track according to a recent Time article on life lessons from older people: the most important lesson they wanted to pass on was, “Don’t stay in a job you dislike”.

To be honest, I didn’t see that one coming; I thought they’d focus on something to do with relationships or family. However upon reconsidering, it’s easy to see how connected work is to happiness (as well as to other factors like relationships), and therefore how important it is to appreciate your job.

Think about it – of maybe 112 waking hours in the week, perhaps… click here to read whole article and make comments


The link between family structure and poverty

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The News Story - Project to improve poor children’s intellect led to better health, data shows

The New York Times recently highlighted a study that seems to show promising results for a specialized-care program for children born into poverty.
In 1972, researchers in North Carolina began tracking two groups of babies from poor families.  In one group, “the children were given full-time day care up to age 5 that included most of their daily meals, talking, games and other stimulating activities.”  The other group received baby formula, but no other form of interaction.  The full study was published in Science on Thursday of last week.  “By age 30,” reports the Times, “those in the group given special care were four times as likely to have graduated from college.”  In addition, however, both men and women in the treatment group had better health outcomes, including lower rates of hypertension and risk factors for heart… click here to read whole article and make comments


Reintroducing risk in the playground

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In New Zealand, one headmaster has reportedly “thrown out” the playground rulebook. That’s right – no more reprimanding the kids for going too fast on their scooters, climbing trees, or playing with branches. He’s decided to let them just be kids, even with the risk of injury that it brings, in the hope that this will make them more resilient, creative and re-energised to work after their breaks.

It was a bold move in a culture where we tend to want to swaddle kids in cotton wool, ensure that they never hear a negative word, prevent every cut or bruise, and sue someone if (woe betide) there should ever be a broken bone. But the results have been great: parents have supported the change, teachers have slowly come to grips with such a thing, and other schools are thinking about reintroducing everyday risk into the lives of children.

It’s nice to… click here to read whole article and make comments


Enough with the baby doom and gloom

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This week, I came across this cute music video showing the transition of pregnancy - the evolution from bump to bub. It’s as simple as anything but it hit two million views in just two days, and produced an abundance of comments like “You guys made my day! Wishing all three of you a wonderful and happy life together!!!!” and “Wow, that was just beautiful! They'll be able to show that to their son when he's older, and I think that's just awesome! New life...there's nothing like it!”

I was actually surprised by these reactions. Babies are being born every day, and too often bring about a rendition of the woes of an extra mouth to feed and less time to sleep, not to mention comments like, “another one?” As for those thinking about having children: there is so much focus on negative viewpoints – people don’t want to interrupt their plentiful me-time… click here to read whole article and make comments


On birth control women do not speak with one voice

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wsftAn important religious freedom case in the US Supreme Court last week had women’s groups of opposing persuasions standing outside in the sleet, brandishing banners and addressing anyone who would listen.

Part of President Obama’s health reform orders all employers except traditional religious congregations to include in their employee health insurance plans coverage of the full cost of contraceptives, including those which can cause an early abortion – or pay a fine, or restructure their business in a such way that they could be, technically, disconnected from the content of health insurance.

Many institutions with religious connections which don’t qualify for an exemption are refusing to accept the new law, and a number are suing the government. But businesses can have a conscience too, and last week’s plaintiffs were the craft chain Hobby Lobby, and Conestoga Wood, whose owners object to abortifacients. Note, they are not objecting to coverage of contraception as such.

click here to read whole article and make comments


Breastfeeding saves lives

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The News Story - Could half of all breast cancers be prevented?

News sources this week highlighted a new study demonstrating that were women to make healthier lifestyle choices and even take preventive drugs, “fully half of breast cancers in the U.S. might be avoided.”
Among the habits that the researchers encourage women to adopt are getting more exercise, keeping weight gain down, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.  The Reuters story focused most of its attention on such non-controversial recommendations, but one almost-buried line mentions that, “if they have children,” women should breastfeed to help prevent cancer.
The lack of attention to this crucial preventative is unfortunate, for it indicates that, in spite of all medical evidence that indicates the extreme benefits of breastfeeding, the media is afraid to encourage a practice best associated with marriage and stay-at-home motherhood.

click here to read whole article and make comments


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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@

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