Just returning from the marriage of their granddaughter, which Richard performed on a red rock plateau above the Colorado River, the Eyres have been in a reflective mood–pondering some of the blessings and tender mercies that can come out of this tragic pandemic. Participating in a world-wide fast and prayer, Richard and Linda, in their Eyres on the Road podcast this week, discuss the silver lining of how many families are re-structuring their priorities and deliberately renewing their commitments to spouse and children and extended family during this time of crisis and loss. The forces of darkness say “fear and panic, close everything down, economic turmoil.” But the forces of light say “unite neighborhoods, have family dinner, slow down and appreciate, teach our children, improve relationships.” Also on this week’s podcast, they discuss their Instagram post for this Easter weekend about the healing power of Christ.
Each week the Eyres post one tried and proven “Parenting Principle” (or sometimes a Marriage Principle) here on this page, and also on social media (Instagram @richardlindaeyre, Facebook @lindarichardeyre, and Twitter @richardeyre). Please follow, and invite your friends to do the same. Each week the brief, quotable parenting principle will appear with several links to articles, podcasts, videos, or radio and television appearances that give more ideas, instruction and inspiration on that principle.
Like you, we have been trying to keep our family well and safe during this crazy time, and trying to figure out what to do with kids who can’t go to school and with the extra time we have due to events and meetings and church services being canceled.
About the only possible silver lining to the whole situation could be some extra family time—if we can figure out how to use it well. Maybe this can be a time of introspection and family togetherness where we all slow down a little and focus on the thing that matters most anyway—our relationships with our kids and with each other.
We’ve been trying to think about how ValuesParenting could help with this kind of strategy during this time of unique needs (and maybe unique opportunities) and get materials and ideas to parents that will help make this extra time at home with our kids both fun and meaningful. We offer each of the following, all for free, including the first two units of the values program until April 30:
- The values series Alexander’s Amazing Adventures is immediately available. It is a series of audio adventures that will keep your kids interested and involved for hours and provide endless opportunities to talk together about 12 key values that all of us want our children to embrace. Until April 30, the first two adventures in the series are free.
- EyresFreeBooks brings 25 of our books instantly to your phone or computer for free and some of them may give you a chance to study and think about some aspects of your plan for your family.
- There are several free previews that we invite you to explore, including a “secret code” for better family communication and a dialogue for talking to your children about sex.
- Or, you might have time to work a little on setting up a family economy or a family legal system, or on reviewing and modifying your family traditions.
- You can follow us on Instagram @richardlindaeyre where we post on family relationships each Tuesday and a meditation on Christ each Sunday (because eternal families are the end and Christ is the means).
- You can Listen to us on our Eyres on the Road podcast every week on your favorite podcast app. The most recent edition is about finding the relationship-and-family-centered silver linings with this coronavirus situation.
Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, we hope, for your family as well as for ours, that we can turn this unexpected, more isolated time into a good opportunity for our own internal peace and for added closeness with our families.
All our best,
Richard and Linda
An extensive effort has been underway for several months to locate the most positive and family-helpful Social Media and websites. It is all part of the Annual Family.Is Social Media Awards, to which the Eyres have lent their names.
As parents and as marriage partners, we worry about the negative effects that our small screens can have on our kids–and on us! We know there are some good, family-strengthening websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, and social media, but how do we find them and narrow it down to the very best and most helpful ones? Well, as the Eyres announced this past week, A panel of reviewers and judges has sorted through hundreds of nominees for the Family.Is Social Media Awards and come up with 10 finalists in each of the six categories. (blogs, websites, podcasts, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook).
Richard and Linda challenge all of us to go to vote for our favorites, but more importantly to go through the sites listed there as finalists and pick out and follow the ones that resonate and that will help us most with our own families.
For more detail on positive, family-helpful Social Media and for the full story on the Family.Is Social Media Awards, listen to the Eyres’ latest Eyres on the Road podcast.
Do you have a love-hate relationship with blogs and social media and YouTube? Do you love what you can learn and the information you can get from the Internet and from podcasts and food websites? Yet at the same time are you afraid of what screen time and social media can do to your children, and to you and your own life?
Well, you are not alone. Everywhere we travel and most every parenting audience we speak to has this love-hate feeling. We have decided that the best way to deal with it is not just through restriction and discipline (though those are important)–the best way is to be selective, to use the good things on the Internet and social media to strengthen your family and to give you great ideas for parenting and marriage, and to seek the sites that encourage you and make you feel validated in the family-oriented lifestyle you have chosen.
To help with this, we have lent our name and a lot of our effort to a wonderful new set of awards called the Family.Is Internet Awards, which will recognize and award the bloggers, Instagrammers, Facebookers, YouTubers, podcasters, and website operators whose content does the best job of fortifying families by celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting, validating values, and bolstering balance. The first annual awards will be given in February of 2020, and you now have the opportunity to nominate your favorite internet source of “good family stuff” by contacting us and including the sentence “I nominate [name of nominee] for a Family.Is Award.” Be sure to include a link to their blog, website, podcast, Instagram account, Facebook page, or YouTube channel.
For more information:
8. The Myth of Marriage’s Demise (and other myths about the macro of marriage in society)
Myth: Marriage is on the decline and disappearing as an institution.
Truth: The strongest, most fulfilling marriages in the history of the world exist today.
Sub-myth 1: Educated people are not getting married.
Truth: Today, it is college educated people that are getting married and staying married.
Sub-myth 2: Most people in today’s world no longer want to get married or be married.
Truth: Polls show that over 90 percent of people want to be married.
Sub-myth 3: Marriage is simply not as relevant or as useful as it once was in society.
Truth: Given the disconnected, polarizing, fracturing, temporary, and transient nature of today’s culture, the bonds and connections and commitments of marriage have never been more important and more needed.
There is both a dark side and a light side when we think about the future of marriage. On the dark side, the statistical drops in marriage rates and increases in cohabitation without marriage seem to be spelling the doom and the irrelevance of marriage; but the fact is that the best of today’s marriage have a greater amount of partnership, of role equality, and of mutual respect and support than any marriages in any other era.
To go deeper into this topic:
7. The Equality Myth (and other myths about sameness)
Myth: Equality should be the prime goal of your relationship or your marriage.
Truth: Striving for equality breeds comparing and criticism and it may produce more competition than compatibility. It is better to work for a marriage of synergistic oneness that breeds cooperation and compensates for one another’s weaknesses.
Sub-myth 1: You have to be the same to be equal.
Truth: The best kind of equality is oneness, and it thrives on different but equally important roles.
Sub-myth 2: The key to a good marriage is for both partners to go 50 percent and meet in the middle.
Truth: You may have to go 90 percent to meet your spouse’s 10 percent sometimes, and your partner may have to go 90 percent to meet you other times.
Sub-myth 3: Feminism is about eliminating all differences between men and women.
Truth: Feminism is about women and men being different but equal.
We give equality a lot of lip service and praise, but when applied to marriage, the concept has problems. Insisting on equality can be like trying to make every game end in a tie. If we are constantly worrying about equality then somebody is always a little ahead or a little behind and we have to keep compensating and adjusting. There is an element of competition in equality, and a certain amount of comparing and judging.
Maybe the best marriages are not about equality. Maybe they are about oneness.
In our definition, oneness brings two halves together in a merger that allows for synergy, for specialization, for different abilities and skills, and for mutual appreciation rather than mutual competition.
For more about this myth and the truths we should replace it with:
6. The Test-Drive Myth (and other myths about marital commitment)
As you think about this myth, consider the difference between couples who have made “conditional commitments” of cohabitation–hoping things will work out, but seeing the whole “living together thing” as an experiment in compatibility; and couples who have made the unconditional commitment of marriage–to stick together and develop the relationship no matter what kind of hard times come up. The first group will second-guess and perhaps give up when stress comes, whereas the second group will find a way to work through the tough times.
This is a particularly troubling myth because it is undermining society at large!
Myth: You wouldn’t buy a car until you had taken a test drive, and it is unwise to make a marriage commitment before you have lived together long enough to know if it will work.
Truth: It is the commitment that will make a marriage work. Real security comes from promising and implementing complete allegiance, not from conditional, tentative try-it-and-see.
Sub-myth 1: Formal commitments don’t matter. We don’t need some license or certificate or ink on paper to be in love and live together.
Truth: Formally married couples have twice as high a chance of being together in ten years than those without the “ink on paper.”
Sub-myth 2: The longer you wait and the older you are when you get married, the better your marriage will be.
Truth: There is no one-size-fits-all or one ideal age for marriage. It’s more about preparation and commitment than it is about how old you are.
Sub-myth 3: The more relationships I have, the more likely I will be to find the right one—the one that will last.
Truth: Several uncommitted relationships will never add up to one committed one.
For more on this Myth:
5. The No-Waves Myth (and other myths about marital communication)
When we try too hard not to have any friction or “too-candid” communication, and when we keep things from each other because we don’t want disagreement, we end up pulling apart, and the things we have not said that bother us or that may have hurt us begin to fester and undermine our marital relationship. Here is the “no waves” myth and its sub-myths–and the truths to replace them with.
Myth: In marriage, some things are better left unsaid, and it’s safest to float along and not make waves.
Truth: Unexpressed feelings never die; they are just buried and come forth later in uglier forms. Timing is important, but the best marriages communicate everything—even when it creates some turbulence.
Sub-myth 1: Too much of the wrong kind of communication can ruin a relationship.
Truth: More often, it’s too little of the right kind of communication that puts marriages in peril.
Sub-myth 2: Marriage kills excitement and romance, and relationships get stale and less passionate over time.
Truth: Communication can rise to new levels after the marriage commitment, and steadily improve over time— lifting passion, romance, magic, and excitement with it.
Sub-myth 3: The hardest things to agree on are money, sex, goals, parenting methods, and religious beliefs.
Truth: These five most common causes of divorce can be flipped into the five key subjects of good marriage communication.
Sub-myth 4: Marriage is serious business.
Truth: Part of it sure is, but there had better be another part, because, from our experience, a sense of humor ranks number one in what is looked for in a spouse.
For more on this Marriaging Myth and on the truth that can replace it:
When our book Teaching Your Children Values hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list in the ’90s, people were surprised. We were surprised. A parenting book had not topped that bestseller list for 50 years.
Thinking back, there were a couple of reasons for the book’s success. One was Oprah. She loved the book and had us on for the full hour of her show, and then re-ran the show a few weeks later. The article below is about the Oprah show, and the video is a large portion of the show itself.
The second thing that helped the book become number one was the way it is organized. It outlines twelve key values that all parents want their children to learn and live by, and instead of chapters, it has 12 months, and the suggestion that parents concentrate on one value each month….Honesty in January, Courage in February, Respect in March, and so on. Then it gives practical, tested methods to teach each value. Parents liked this because it simplified their lives–instead of trying to worry about all the values they wanted their kids to live by, they could just focus on one single value each month.
4. The Perfection Myth (and other myths about happiness and expectations):
I can find (or create) a perfect match for myself and then I will be happy.
Truth: Some married couples are better matched than others, and there are even those who believe they have found their soulmate. But most marriages are about accommodation and adjustment—and more about changing our own minds than about fixing our spouse’s.
- Sub-myth: I can fix my spouse.
Truth: You can’t. And you might not like the result if you did. Better to work harder at changing yourself than at changing your partner.
- Sub-myth: Your job is to love yourself; and you are responsible for your own happiness, not anyone else’s.
Truth: It is important to accept and love yourself, but caring more about another whom you love more than yourself is the surest way to receive joy as well as to give it.
- Sub-myth: If you settle (or have settled) for someone who seems less than perfect, you will never be really happy.
Truth: Marriage is not a game of perfect. It’s about adjusting and improving and getting happier by supporting each other.
- Sub-myth: Your marriage is going to turn out to be pretty much like your parents’ marriage.
Truth: Many who have bad memories of their parents’ marriage are motivated by those memories to fashion a very different kind of marriage for themselves.
More about this myth and its corresponding truth: