Read the latest articles from First Things First below:
It was June of 2010 when Cathy Brown unexpectedly lost her mother. In the midst of grieving and anticipating the holidays without her mom, Brown’s son passed away.
Do you remember those holiday disasters that at the moment seemed like an epic failure, but years later at another family holiday gathering the conversation starts, “Remember when?” What follows is belly laughter and fond memories as you recall those tense moments? Several people were willing to share their disaster – turned - memory stories in an effort to help all of us remember not to take life too seriously….even the holiday disasters.
Every year it seems like stores try to get the jump on holiday sales by decorating earlier. This year, one could stroll down an aisle looking at Halloween costumes and just one aisle over check out the latest in Christmas decorations, candy and gifts.
“It won’t be the holidays without you,” said many a parent to their grown adult child.
“It’s already started,” said the father of three young children. “The competition between the in-laws for how much time they will get with us over Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is why I hate the holidays.”
Research conducted by Gallup from January to September 2013 tracking 130,000 adults reveals that married Americans tend to have an above average income, which leads to more spending, which in turn stimulates the economy. In fact, married Americans spend more than those in any other marital status category across age groups. Americans who have never married spend significantly less, particularly those younger than 50. The study suggests that if marriage rates increase, overall spending in the United States may increase.
Many couples consider “Date Night” a luxury they cannot afford. And, if they can afford it, they are frequently found across from each gazing into their phone rather than each other’s eyes. Just like Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s characters in the movie Date Night, couples get so caught up in work, children, and community commitments, they totally forget the fun dates that actually brought them together in the first place.
Many marriages have been rocked by an extra-marital affair. Listening to those interviewed by the media could lead one to believe that if you are married, it is inevitable someone is going to cheat. According to psychiatrist and author Dr. Scott Haltzman, that is just not true.
If you owned a home and you discovered pictures online of 300 teens partying in your home without your permission, what would you do? The pictures show teens breaking out windows, dancing on top of your dining room table, spilling beer on your carpet, spray painting graffiti on your walls, punching holes in your ceilings, stealing your property and more.
Work, carpool, laundry, grocery shopping, menu planning, PTA meeting, dinner with the in-laws, school festival, clean the house…. The list of things that need time and attention seems endless.
Scott Mackintosh headed out the door for family night wearing a “Best. Dad. Ever.” t-shirt and a pair of Daisy Dukes which he had just made out of an old pair of jeans. He was only planning to wear this outfit out to the car to make a point to his teenage daughter who refused to change into a longer pair of shorts for their family outing.
At a recent relationship and marriage education conference, distinguished professor and author Dr. Pat Love challenged the audience to consider their beliefs about the permanence of marriage.
Vulgar, pornographic and nasty are only three of the words that have been used to describe Miley Cyrus’s performance at the Video Music Awards.
To many, the beginning of the school year actually feels more like a new year than January 1. Children and parents alike are getting acquainted with new schools, new teachers and new schedules, not to mention a buffet line of new opportunities for extracurricular activities. If parents aren't careful, they will have kids involved in three different activities, going in opposite directions and what little family time there was is now non-existent.
Sam and Karen Elliott found themselves home alone for the first time in 21 years.
“It was definitely quieter around the house,” said Mr. Elliott. “We didn’t have someone coming and going, it was just us. We missed our daughter, but it was time for her to move on to the next phase of life.”
Imagine walking out of your bedroom on the second floor of your home and seeing your two-year-old climbing the outside of the staircase. That’s exactly what happened to Hal Runkel, marriage and family therapist and bestselling author of ScreamFree Parenting.
Perhaps you have seen the video “It’s Not about the Nail” that has almost five million views on You Tube.
“I was excited about going away to college,” said Grace Hopkins. “I have basically done everything my entire life with my sister. This will be the first time for both of us to be on our own for an extended period of time.”
Jessica* was a junior in college when she started dating Jason*. She had her eye on him for a while thinking he was cute. When he finally asked her out, she was very excited. Within a month of their first date, Jessica’s girlfriends started commenting that she never spent time with them anymore, her whole world revolved around Jason. Initially Jessica made excuses, but she finally told them that Jason got jealous and angry when she spent time with them. Rather than make him angry, she was willing to give up her time with them for the sake of the relationship. She loved him.
The latest data concerning teen births in Hamilton County from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kid’s Countreport is certainly reason to celebrate. In 2006, there were 223 teen out of wedlock births in Hamilton County compared to 101 in 2010 (there were 108 teen pregnancies in 2010). That is a striking 66 percent decrease, and good news not only for teens but for the entire community. Hamilton County’s teen birth rate is 16.7 per thousand compared to the state rate of 20.2 per thousand.
Believe it or not, in a few weeks a group of young and energetic children will head off to school for the first time. Which means there are probably a lot of parents who are nervous about sending their child off on this new journey.
Several years ago a card company donated Mother’s Day cards to a prison for prisoners to send to their mothers. They actually ran out of cards. After the success of this, the company donated cards for Father’s Day. The week before Father’s Day, cards were made available to the prisoners. The company was shocked to learn that only a handful of cards were used.
Don McKenna attended Boot Camp for New Dads four years ago when he and his wife, Missy, were expecting.
Ben Carson grew up in a single parent home where he was challenged by dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper and low self-esteem. Although he dreamed of being a doctor, Carson struggled until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged Carson and his brother to strive for excellence. Carson eventually overcame his temper and low self-esteem to realize his dream. He is currently professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the author of five books including Gifted Hands and THINK BIG.
A few months ago a packed plane pulled into the gate at Reagan International Airport. As people were preparing to unfasten their seatbelts and collect their belongings the pilot announced that we had had the honor of bringing a fallen soldier along with his family home. He asked everyone to show their appreciation for the soldier’s service to which there was thunderous applause. Then out of respect for the soldier and his family, the plane went silent as they were ushered off the plane. It was poignant and somber. People were clearly moved. Some shed tears others closed their eyes. Nobody complained about needing to get off the plane to catch another flight.
With summer just weeks away, parents and young people alike are looking forward to more free time. While some down time is great, sometimes too much free time can open the door to children and teens getting involved in unhealthy activities.
In November 2011, Sarah Smiley’s husband, Dustin, was preparing to leave his family for a 13-month military deployment. Before he left, his three sons, Ford (10), Owen (8) and Lindell (4) said that they would be sad to see their dad’s empty chair at the dinner table. As he was making preparations to leave, Dustin encouraged his wife to invite folks over for dinner periodically.
In just a few weeks, college students will be headed home for the summer. After spending 10 months basically without a curfew, not having to answer to anybody about their comings and goings, and no chores, the homecoming has the potential to be a bit rocky, especially for freshmen.
Susan Merrill, blogger and director of iMom, didn’t set out to write a book, but she was looking for answers as she and her husband Mark parented their five children ranging in age from 16 to 22.
Knot Yet, a report released this month by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies, The Relate Institute and The National Marriage Project at The University of Virginia explores the positive and negative consequences for twenty-something women, men, their children and the nation as a whole concerning two troublesome trends.
When my little girl, Ashley, was five years old our dog had to be put to sleep. After taking the weekend to explain that her dog was very sick and would be going to heaven, Monday arrived. She insisted on going with her dad to take her dog, Daisy, to the vet. After they had said their goodbyes, dad and daughter walked toward the door. One more time Ashley turned around to look at her dog and she said, “Bye, bye Daisy, see you this afternoon.” At that point my husband realized that in spite of all the family talks over the weekend, his little girl did not understand that her dog would not be coming home. Both of them went to the car and had a good cry.
Steubenville, Ohio has been in the headlines over a court case involving two high school football stars and a 16-year-old girl. The three of them ended up at the same party last summer. The girl was so drunk she had no recollection of what happened that night.
Pictures, videos, and texts circulating after the party revealed she had been sexually assaulted. One video showed the football players carrying the girl by her limbs and one of them saying, “She is so raped right now.” A picture of her naked and passed out was sent to classmates
“What happens on spring break, stays on spring break.” Or at least that is what a lot of young people believe. This is a rite of passage and their opportunity to do things they wouldn’t normally do OR do them to a more extreme level. Before you brush this off and say, “not my kid” or “what’s the big deal,” the reality is what happens on spring break can impact a teen for life.
E! News host, Guilianna Rancic’s statement that she put her marriage before her child set off a firestorm of controversy in the news and around the water cooler. A TodayShow.com poll showed that out of 8000 surveyed, 47 percent put their marriage first and 53 percent put their children first.
You found your “soul mate,” dated, fell madly in love, and before long you were fantasizing about what your wedding and wedding night would be like. The wedding night came and it was wonderful and so were the weeks and months that followed.
Have you ever had one of those moments where everything seemed to be going right and all of the sudden, for some unexplained reason, a meltdown occurs? It could be your 4-year-old, your 14-year-old or even you yourself. A perfectly fine moment ripped to shreds in seconds and you ask yourself, “Why me? “I don’t recall signing up for all this drama.”
Now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the pressure is off for another year, right? Wrong. Whether you believe in celebrating the day or you think it is just a bunch of hype, there is something to be said for taking time to do something with the one you love. In fact, research indicates that if more couples focused on nurturing their love for each other, the quality of their marriage relationship would be dramatically enhanced.
Most people would agree that relationships are complicated, but lately things have been taken to a whole new level with catfishing. A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
Anger, hurt, and fear are some of the emotions Ben Petrick felt when it was confirmed that at age 23 he had early-onset Parkinson’s disease. He went from being a very gifted catcher with an incredible future with the Colorado Rockies to not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
A study conducted by Stacey Tantleff-Dunn at the University of Central Florida found that nearly half of girls ages three to six worry about being fat and about one-third would change a physical attribute, such as their weight or hair color.
When Ashley* and her husband moved to Charlotte, it was their second move in a short amount of time. They had three young children and Ashley did not know a soul. The stressors of moving and children left her feeling isolated, lonely and depressed. After their first move, Ashley started drinking and actually totaled her car, breaking both of her hands. Her husband asked her to seek treatment, but she did not believe she had a problem. Shortly after moving to Charlotte she received a DUI and her husband insisted on her seeking treatment.
John Medina, affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University, is a developmental molecular biologist with a lifelong fascination for how our minds react to and organize information. One of the outcomes of this journey is his New York Times bestseller, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School. The provocative read takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed.
Even in the wake of a tragedy, there is still hope. The best gift we have is each other, so take time to cherish your family and friends this Christmas.
This is the time of year when many husbands break out in cold sweats trying to figure out just the right gift to give their wife so they won’t end up in the doghouse. To help you men out a bit, an informal survey was conducted asking women what their husbands should NOT give them for Christmas. Some of the items mentioned were: jumper cables, tools, a vacuum cleaner, an ice scraper, a low-calorie cookbook or a membership to the gym, anything that plugs in, and dish towels.
Believe it or not, most people- young and old- find comfort in traditions. There is something special about kicking off the holiday season with a ritual you look forward to each year like running as a family in Families on the Run, the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven, going to pick out the Christmas tree or watching It’s a Wonderful Life. It gives you a warm, comforting feeling on the inside.
Many fathers find themselves trying to father from a distance due to work, divorce or military deployment. Fathering from a distance can be especially trying with celebrations, plays and concerts often occurring during the week. How can dads stay connected while they are away and not feel like a third wheel upon their return?
The first holiday season for newlyweds can be really tricky if the in-laws are expecting to the celebration to stay the same. While this may seem like no big deal to some, for many couples, making decisions about where to spend the holidays can create great conflict not only in their marriage, but among their families.
Does anybody remember when Christmas decorations didn't come out until after Thanksgiving, none of the stores opened until Friday and families actually took the time to celebrate Thanksgiving and consider all the reasons to give thanks?
When disaster strikes it seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. Recently we witnessed one of the worst storms in the history of our country. Many people lost everything they owned, millions of people were without power and fuel was in short supply to keep generators running. People in the path of the storm said the images on television and the internet didn’t come close to showing people across our nation the utter devastation Hurricane Sandy left behind. In most instances like this, adults have words and the ability to process in their mind what just happened, but for children it is a different story.
“What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.” Stuart Brown – Institute of Play
In the last few weeks, social media has blown up over the email sent to news anchor Jennifer Livingston about being overweight. The sender of the email contended that he was trying to bring to her attention that she was overweight and not a good role model for young girls in their community. Her on-air response to his email has created quite a buzz as she stood up for herself and refused to let this person verbally bully her.
When precincts open on Election Day, every citizen over the age of 18 will have the right and responsibility to vote. This has not always been the case. When our country was founded, only white men with real property or wealth were allowed to vote. In spite of this amazing opportunity that people in many other countries do not have, there are plenty of Americans who don’t vote. One person who will not be taking this right for granted is Berna Slabber.
Brenda Walsh was a very beautiful, bright and talented woman with a strong family and many friends. Brenda excelled in college and had a job as a nurse. She thought she had her life all together.
n recent weeks there have been articles concerning new research indicating that young people who are sexting are more likely to have sex and that dating violence is on the rise.
If your child sat down at the dinner table and asked, “What is sexting?” “What is sex?” or “How do babies get inside their mommy’s tummy?” how would you respond?
General Schwarzkopf gave this leadership advice: “Never walk past a mistake.” How should parents address and correct the mistakes of their children in ways that produce the best outcomes?
This film shows how one person’s life can have a truly profound effect on the world around him and spark hope in the lives of others. One person can make a difference for good. So can you.
Fall sports are in full swing. With that comes what many coaches and referees have come to dread…the overzealous parent who has difficulty keeping their mouth and emotions under control. What was once a rarity has become common place, so much so that many youth leagues and schools have instituted a parent code of conduct.
Since the height of the women’s movement,women have fought to not be viewed as just sexual objects. Women want to be seen as bright andcapable of accomplishing great things in life, and deserving of respect. For years, females of all ages have been taught the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one.
Ed and Gena Ellis are the parents of three boys ages 14, nine and five. Even though Ed Jr. is a few years away from graduating and their other sons have a number of years left at home, the Ellis’s are preparing for when they will launch their children into the next phase of life.
You walk through the door after dropping your baby off at college. Who knew that one additional person could add so much noise to the house. The silence is deafening.
Susan Gregory Thomas’s article in the Wall Street Journal tells the story of her marriage. She met a guy. They fell in love and moved in together. His parents warned them that being roommates and pals is totally different than being husband and wife. They paid no attention. In fact, she and her boyfriend chose to do exactly the opposite of any advice given from the parents thinking it was old fashioned and sexist.
In November 2011 Dustin Smiley was preparing to leave his family for a 13-month military deployment. Before he left, his three sons, Ford, Owen and Lindell told their mom that they would be sad to see their dad’s empty chair at the dinner table.
During a recent talk, researcher and author Elizabeth Marquardt made this statement:
“In 2010, the first Baby Boomers turned 65. By 2030, twenty percent of America’s population will be over 65. As the Baby Boom generation moves into later life, the proportion of American elders who are divorced is skyrocketing. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2015 forty-six percent of boomers will live in divorced or unmarried households. These trends raise concerns for Baby Boomers as they age and challenges for their grown children as they become caregivers for their aging parents.”
An anthropologist conducted a study comparing family life in the Amazon to family life in Los Angeles. While in the Amazon she traveled with a family up river to harvest leaves. A member of another family asked if she could accompany the family on their journey. Permission was granted. While on the trip, the girl gave herself jobs like sweeping, cleaning mats, going into the river to catch crustaceans and other chores. The girl was six-years-old and did not ask for anything.
In a recent interview singer Taylor Swift shared that she is aware of her critics and the harshness of their comments, especially after the time she sang off key with Stevie Nix. One critic said this was the beginning of the end of her career. Swift said these comments definitely affected her. What was her response? She wrote a song, Why You Gotta Be So Mean?
Since she was 11 years old Caroline Hutton has spent one week out of the summer biking with her father and two brothers on the Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG).
David Bennett worked hard climbing the corporate ladder and found himself in a great position where he could influence and serve at a high level. His wife and three sons were doing well. Life was great! Then it all changed.
Do you remember running around the yard catching fire flies, fishing expeditions, making a lemonade stand with your best friend, going off to camp for the first time, or endless games of whiffle ball?
Based on a host of stories in the media about teens today, one could come to the conclusion that the teenage generation is totally self-absorbed and clueless about the lives of others. Then something happens that gives you hope.
At the beginning of Brentan Edwards’ senior year his parents were concerned he wasn’t taking college planning seriously.
An informal survey of moms inquired, What is the….
best thing about being a mom?
toughest part of being a mom?
biggest surprise about being a mom?
Kay Wyma, mother of five (ranging in age from 14 to three) had a revelation one day while taking her kids to school that prompted some dramatic changes at home and ultimately led to her writing Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid her Home of Youth Entitlement.
“My family has always camped,” said Dan Venable. “Whenever our extended family gathers, stories come up from our many camping expeditions usually followed by a lot of laughter. This intrigued my wife whose family did not camp. On numerous occasions we discussed the importance of doing something like this with our kids to create great memories.”
Stacy Allison was the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. It took two tries to accomplish this feat with her climbing team. Her first attempt was thwarted by one of the worst storms to hit the mountain in 40 years
Dan Harmon, Joe Moore, David Higgins, Joe Hannah, Tom Cate and Joe Waddell were great friends. Three of these guys wrestled together on their high school wrestling team and all of them remained close through college and beyond.
How much will you spend on back to school? Go ahead and write down an amount.
Unlike many movies where things look bleak and then something amazing happens to rescue people from difficult circumstances, there are a lot of people dealing with very challenging situations as the new year approaches.
If a close friend, your spouse or your child asked, "How much can I lie to you and you still trust me," what would be your response?
Scott* will be getting his fill of turkey this Christmas as he celebrates at three different homes with different sets of parents and relatives. He isn’t happy about moving from place to place, but he doesn’t have a say in the matter.