The Politics of Same Sex Marriage

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines marriage as “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” This definition reflects the current predominating political and moral consensus regarding the state of marriage; particularly that marriage is an institution reserved for opposite-sex couples and that the marriage contract cannot, by definition, be entered into by same-sex couples.

The debate surrounding same sex marriage has raged for more than three decades and has been based largely on the desire of same sex couples to be permitted the same legal conventions provided by marriage as their opposite-sex counterparts enjoy; namely that they be legally permitted to share insurance coverage, property ownership, and other legal conventions in the same manner as any other couple which has chosen to make a lifetime commitment.

Interestingly, as the issue of same sex marriage has landed in the nation’s courts, the courts have struggled to define marriage in a legal sense. Tradition has indeed dictated that marriage take place between a man and a woman. This tradition is largely based on the fact that marriage, even though it contains elements of a legal contract, is generally surrounded by religious aspects, i.e., the marriage ceremony. This religious component of the marriage contract is perhaps the stumbling block to same sex marriage acceptance. Traditions are notoriously difficult to change.

As the courts of the nation struggle to define marriage in a legal sense, devoid of its religiousness, the nation’s politicians are not required to follow the same path. In fact, the majority of American politicians have publicly stated that marriage is a state that is, in their interpretation, to be entered into between a man and a woman. Where then, does this leave same sex couples?

It was the courts of Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont that brought the issue to the forefront when they elected to recognize same-sex couples’ right to enter into a legal marriage contract. Since that time, proponents and opponents have struggled not only to gain control of state courts and lawmakers, but they have taken their battle to the top by asking that the office of the president as well as the nation’s Supreme Court acknowledge one side or another. This fight for legitimization has been the hallmark of the struggle as one side prays for legal rights, regardless of the morality of their situation, and the other seeks to uphold their moral interpretation of the institution of marriage.

Ideally, same sex couples would prefer to have their relationships recognized in more than just a legal sense. This struggle has been identified by some as the “gay agenda”. Opponents assert that same sex couples are attempting to redefine marriage which will subsequently change the value system of the nation. Proponents argue that their struggle is hindered by the nation’s predominating sense of homophobia. Others insist that the courts have no business ruling on the issue at all. With this mishmash of opinions, it stands to reason that the debate will likely rage on for years.

Some courts have elected to define marriage as that which occurs between a man and a woman based on the fact that same sex couples cannot reproduce. This stance however, has inherent problems. Namely that if marriage and parenthood are based on reproduction, then infertile couples could not be considered married. Other courts have traditionally stood on the grounds of their states’ anti-sodomy laws. However, as these laws are stricken from the books, the state’s basis for restricting marriage disappears. It is partially on the stance of antiquated laws that same-sex partners have based their arguments. Certainly, there have been many laws that are based more on morality than on any real legal argument. As these, somewhat ridiculous, laws leave the books, same-sex couples may find their case increases in merit. This is not to say that a victory for same-sex marriage is imminent. Just because such old-fashioned laws are rendered impotent does not mean that the sense of convention that originally drove them into existence has disappeared. It should be interesting to watch the issue heat up anew as the 2008 election grows nearer.

How to Choose the Best Preschool Curriculum for Your Child

So many mommies seek to find the most efficient preschool curriculum for teaching their precious preschooler.

I admit I was one of them. When my little girl was three years old, I began my quest. I wanted to be the best mommy ever, giving her a head start in academics. Especially reading!

A dear friend of mine, settled my anxious heart by simply saying, “take it easy, at her age there’s no need to buy expensive curriculum, just go to a superstore and pick out a $7.99 preschool skill builder workbook, find free preschool activities online and make it fun!”

I took my friend’s advice, bought a few books, found some preschool websites and had lots-n-lots of fun building wonderful memories in which I want to share with you.

Our preschool schedule was easy and flexible. I used the skill builder activity book three days a week. In addition to that, we did lots of reading, singing, fun puzzles, educational videos, and explored several online websites together. I used it all as preschool curriculum. But really it was just time spent playing with her, guided by an educational purpose.

I planned two or three activities a day. The time that I spent in teaching was no more than 10 to 20 minute intervals. Just enough to keep her attention on the subject at hand, and then we moved on to “non-playing” tasks.

However, during our “non-playing” tasks, learning was taking place too. After all there was homemaking skills to acquire. (grin) When Jamie and I went to the grocery store I made it a learning experience for example: “Jamie, please count how many milk cartons we have in our buggy. You are right! 1-2-3-4-5 ” – “What sound do you hear in the word egg?” eh, eh, eh,ggg? – “Will you get 5 round oranges for me and place them in this clear bag?”

When we did laundry, I had her sort the clothes by color. When she took a bath, we would play name that sound with a set of foam alphabet letters and so forth.

One thing I want to emphasize though, descriptive language is very important in teaching your preschooler. Talk to your child in such a way you would an adult using the proper names and descriptions for objects and experiences. Children have a natural affinity for learning. If you present them with intelligible words, their vocabulary and speech will grow abundantly. You can give your child a heads up in English class by simply starting now at the preschool age!

I learned very quickly in the early years of parenting, that a preschool child learns best in a relaxed atmosphere. When mommy smiles, speaks with a pleasant voice, and spends time playing with her child there is a special kind of bonding that takes place… the bond of love. So, let me gently remind you when irritation arises within, give yourself an attitude check and refocus your thoughts and lower your tone of voice. Your child will not only learn early academics from you but also godly character. (big smiles)

To sum it up… let me pass on the advice of which my friend gave me, take it easy during the preschool age. Buy some skill builder books, bookmark a few websites and make the learning atmosphere relaxed and fun!

Your preschooler will love being read to, seeing things, making things, creating things, talking about everything, asking questions and playing outdoors. Remember… enjoy this bonding time with them for it truly a blessing!

Listed below are a few items I’ve used with my first born. Please don’t spend too much money on preschool curriculum you can get creative and find good resources for very little money online or at your local superstore. Don’t forget to use the library too; their books are free but only for a little while!

Suggestive Preschool Resources to Used

Preschool Skill Builder/Activity Books

Preschool Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills – From School Specialty Children’s Publishing. We used this workbook a lot. The pictures are rich in color, and perforated. Subjects include reading, mathematics, language arts, and writing. ISBN 1-56189-374-9

My Heavenly Helper Preschool Skill Builder and Activity Guide – McGraw Hill Children’s Publisher offers a skill builder activity book that I found very helpful in teaching Bible lessons to my preschooler. This particular workbook focuses on concepts such as the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, sequencing, same and difference. Pages are perforated black and white. ISBN 0-7696-2907-5

A Must Have Preschool Educational Video

Letter Factory Video by Leap Frog – This particular pre-reading video is a must have for preschoolers. I recently noticed our local library with a copy. But I suggest you buy a copy for your family library. Your preschooler will learn letters, phonics and listening skills in no time. Creative production to say the least. ISBN 0-7907-8894-2

Free Preschool Curriculum Found Online

Starfall.com – An “absolutely” free website that teaches children to read. Perfect for preschooler too. You can put your preschooler in your lap and click through the alphabet shows. Be sure to let them click your mouse, they’ll love discovering they can interact with the show! FREE printables too.

LetteroftheWeek.com – Letter of the Week was written and compiled by Katrina Lybbert. She created this site from her experiences teaching her 4 children at home. She offers free preschool curriculum. If you have children younger than preschool, you’ll find her website very useful too.

Sex Books For Men – The Top Ten Books Concerning Male Sexual Health on Amazon

Currently, the top ten sex books for men on Amazon are split between two subjects. 80% of the books are devoted to matters relating to male sexual health and performance issues, whilst the other 20% deals with sexual abuse and its aftermath.

Of the eight books centred around male sexual health, six focus specifically on improving potency, with Secret Aphrodisiac Sexual Stimulants: Aphrodisiacs for Male Impotency, Building Libido & Sex Drive Enhancement by William Livingstone revealing the many aphrodisiac sexual stimulants that can be purchased – pills and tonics to boost the libido and bolster the erection – and Male Potency: A Man’s Guide to Optimal Sexual Health by L B Johnson looking at the nutritional factors needed to achieve a healthy and fulfilling sex life, including many herbs of the Amazon rain forest.

However, another two – Drugs Compromising Male Sexual Health by Walter Krause and Sexual Health for Men by Richard F Spark – actively discount these lotions and potions, quoting the risks and dangers of consuming and applying such chemicals.

Male Sexual Dysfunction – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References by ICON Health Publications is a complete medical dictionary of expressions and terms relating to male sexual dysfunction.

Whilst Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia and Michael Winn reports on mystical Taoist principles and shows the reader how to harness sexual energy from transcendental states of consciousness.

The two sex books for men at the top of the chart Men’s Sexual Health: Fitness for Satisfying Sex by Barry W McCarthy and Michael E Metz and Male Sexual Health: A Couple’s Guide by Richard F Spark aim to help a man and his partner to learn that mutually satisfying sex is the core principle of any successful relationship. The primary focus is on educating the reader to realise that not all sex finishes with both partners climaxing simultaneously.

There are varying levels of pleasure and satisfaction in between but, at the heart of the best relationships is an honest intimacy that allows a couple to explore all methods of foreplay and erotic arousal that will allow both to achieve orgasm as part of a mutually exciting experience.

The most popular book specifically targets male fitness, as this is a major factor in establishing the stamina to be able to indulge the different types of foreplay and intercourse techniques which will promote the best climaxes.

The two titles that stand apart from the rest in the top ten male sexual health books on Amazon concern sexual abuse. Sexual Abuse of Males: The SAM Model of Theory and Practice by Josef Spiegel looks at the psychological and physical repercussions of the childhood abuse of boys, whilst Opening the Door: A Treatment Model for Therapy With Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Adrian Crowder addresses the various techniques used by professional counsellors and therapists to try to repair the damage.