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October 22, 2009
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Valuesparenting in Iraq!

We had a fascinating evening last night in our home with eight wonderful women from Iraq.  They have formed a non-profit organization called F.U.T.U.R.E (Families United toward Universal Respect). They included the former minister of state for women’s affairs in Iraq, University professors, brilliant, well-educated women who are working with gender violence, mothers who have lost children in the war, and are looking for ways to best deal with the 2 million orphans and 3 million widows as a result of the turmoil in Iraq.  Through amazing dedication and personal sacrifice, these women are making enormous strides as they work on reconciliation in their war-torn country.  They have realized that the best way to do this is to teach the next generation about forgiveness, to find ways to bring peace to individual neighborhoods and homes, to stress reconciliation and to model love.

They were organized by Fareed and Joan Betros (far right) who have lived and worked in Iraq for many years.  Fareed was a senior Middle East adviser to U.S. reconstruction efforts and Joan was the director of family television programming for the Iraqi Media Network.

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About  two years ago, Joan helped them to create Women for Future—Iraq which has now organized women (patterned after a system to create strong families and neighborhoods in our church) who, two or three at a time, visit families in their neighborhoods with a spiritual message, access needs and teach them how to hold regular family meetings to discuss values and goals for going forward together as a family.  These women report to a supervisor who then organizes help for special needs.

The delegation will be in Utah for two weeks to thank Operation Give which has provided enormous amounts of aid to Iraq  as well as to be trained in how to be successful in advocating family meetings and teaching values.

We were delighted to have them be a part of our vaulesparenting family where they will have access to FamilyNightLessons.com for their family meetings. 

We had the opportunity to train them (through an interperter) in how to

teach their children about a “Secret Code” illustrated by animals (for more info go to the “Nurturing” button on our home page) which will help them to improve communication, awareness, ability to praise, consistency, family security and four other family values. 

It was also fun to meet the Utah-based women who have been helping with this project for several years:

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We even loved meeting their security entourage!

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What a privilege it is to be associated with these incredible women.  They could very well be the best hope that Iraq has to change its future and produce a new generation of peaceful families. 

October 18, 2009
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A Journey Through American History!

The past couple of weeks we have loved meeting parents who are doing a great job with their kids but are looking for some new ideas! 

Before I tell you about American History, we must say that we went through a little personal history in Idaho Falls, Idaho before we took off for the East Coast.  Going back to Idaho Falls was a trip back in time for me, as I grew up in Southeast Idaho and going to Idaho Falls was a visit to the greatly anticipated “BIG” city.  It was so great to scoot back into time for a couple of days!

What fun to be with James Drake (left) there where with the help of some friends he organized something called University for Parents at the Civic Center in downtown Idaho Falls.

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Shortly after, we traveled to Philadelphia where we enjoyed a lovely evening with the Young Presidents’ chapter there, learning as we taught about what great parents there are in the world! Our “day chairs” were outstanding!  

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We also loved revisiting American history with the Liberty Bell, which still has the crack:

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It was pouring with rain but we survived, soggy feet and all and loved reveling in the history of the birth of our country here at the site of the first Continental Congress:

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From there we traveled down to Washington D.C. where our youngest son Eli and his wife Julie have just moved.  They have found a cute apartment that is just their cup of tea, just southeast of Capitol Hill.

Because Richard was immersed in the new Dan Brown novel which all takes place in D.C. we visited the Capitol and were amazed at all the new exhibits and Visitor’s Center that has been built in the last four years since Eli was an Intern there.

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Of special interest, for those of you who have read the book, is the inside of the Capitol Dome!

The plaster cast of “Freedom” that stands atop the Capitol building in bronze now stands in the Visitor’s Center.  Ironically this personification of Freedom was originally hoisted to the top of that magnificent building by slaves!

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The new Ronald Reagan statue has a small layer of the Berlin Wall “underfoot”.  Very nice touch (sorry can’t find the picture).  The also have a new statue of Helen Keller which is lovely!(see below)

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Then it was on to the most magnificent architecture in all of Washington D.C., the Library of Congress, with it’s beautiful colors, columns and vaults!

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It was a fascinating weekend and a great journey to the past!

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