Children of Shame – A Documentary

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The documentary Children of Shame exposes atrocities committed at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland.  The home was founded in 1925 and closed in 1961.

At the time, religion was an important part of the Irish culture.  Purity was viewed as an essential trait and failure to live up to that standard brought extreme shame, so unwed mothers were sent to special homes.

The unwed mothers were forced to live and work in these homes against their will.  They were treated as criminals, even though fornication was not considered a legal crime.

The babies could be put up for adoption by the home, regardless of the mother’s desire to keep her child.  Children remaining in the home were treated poorly.  They were malnourished, abused, and did not receive appropriate medical care.  This resulted in a mortality rate for babies born out of wedlock that was six times higher than the norm.

Legislating morality has been a hot topic in the United States.  For example: should gay marriage be legalized and should birth control be easily available to all women.

However, stories like this one remind me of the dangers of strictly legalizing morality.  The appearance of purity can become more important than people.  The end result is evil acts are committed to hide immorality.

Reclaiming Virtue by John Bradshaw

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John Bradshaw defines virtue as, “an inner strength, an inclination rooted in our spiritual care that moves us toward the achievement of our full humanity, which is also our full human happiness.”  Virtue is acquired through, “exercise and use.”  Also, “acting virtuously embodies excellence and happiness.”

John Bradshaw warns of the dangers of teaching morality through the use of strict moral codes and neglecting to teach virtue.  As a child, John Bradshaw was taught morality based on blind obedience.  However, this did not make him or his friends virtuous adults.  As a result, they struggled to develop a personal code of ethics and morality.

The book, “Reclaiming Virtue” discusses how to develop virtue in our own life and how to teach virtue to our children.  I found the book to be beneficial and would recommend it.

Old Stuff Day

This is Old Stuff Day.  When I think about old stuff in my house, the first thing that comes to mind is this washboard.

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My grandmother, Edith (Stevens) Lynn, purchased the washboard in 1957, from Carabaos Store in Anchorage, Alaska.  My grandfather was in the Army and he was stationed there at the time.

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It’s amazing to think about how different their lives were from mine.  I can’t even fathom how long it would take to do laundry for an entire family with a washboard or how much elbow grease was involved in that task.

Life for them was hard.  They moved constantly with the Army and sometimes spent less than one year at a location before moving again.  They raised four kids and would sacrifice to provide the best possible life for their children.

My mom remembers in the early years, when my grandfather was just a private, my grandmother would skip meals.  She sat at the table and said she wasn’t hungry.  However, the truth was she didn’t have enough food to feed everyone.  She decided her husband needed a good meal, since he was a soldier, and the children needed food to grow, be healthy, and do well in school.

The washboard now hangs in our laundry room, but it’s more than a decorative piece.  It is a reminder of my family legacy.

The sacrifice and hard work of my grandparents, gave my mom the chance at a good education and an example of how to survive in the world.

Mom passed that legacy down to her children.  Today my life successes are a reflection of that tradition and I try to teach Gwen the same values I learned from Mom.

It began over 60 years ago, a tradition of hard work, dedication, and love for your family.  It still continues to this day, thanks to my grandparents, Frank and Edith Lynn.

Practical Philosophy vs. Metaphysics

Lately, I have been wondering about the differences and similarities between practical philosophy and metaphysics.  There is a lot of overlap between the two subjects.

Practical philosophy uses philosophical ideas and incorporates them into everyday life.  It focuses on life skills (decision making, interpersonal relationships, and ethics for example) and tends to be reflective in nature.

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that is also practical and reflective in nature.  It covers a lot of the same topics as practical philosophy.  Metaphysics also covers topics dealing with unexplained phenomena.

I think the main difference is metaphysics deals more with spirituality and religion when trying to answer questions about the origin and meaning of life

That’s my thoughts on the subject, but I would love to know what you think about it.

 

The Ethics of Ambiguity

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I am not sure what I anticipated from The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone DeBeauvoir.  It was a good book, but I expected it to be better.

Here are a few thoughts from the book:

  • Existentialism defined itself as a philosophy of ambiguity.
  • Existentialism is a philosophy of the absurd and of despair.  It encloses man in a sterile anguish in an empty subjectivity.  It is incapable of furnishing him with any principle of making choices.
  • In a metaphysics of transcendence, evil is reduced to error.  Existentialism gives a real role to evil.

What’s the Difference

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Reading the book, What’s the Difference by Marc Tyler Nobleman, was really fun.  The title and cover page do a good job at explaining the purpose of the book.

Here are a few examples:

  • Reptiles vs Amphibians – Reptiles have lungs and they can’t breathe through their skin.  Amphibians can absorb oxygen through their skin and they may or may not have lungs.
  • Fruit vs Vegetable – Fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant.  Vegetables are any other edible parts of the plant.
  • Morality vs Ethics – Morals are what we believe regarding appropriate behavior.  Ethics is the formal study of morality.

 

 

Prevailing Against Peer Pressure

I want to brag about Gwen (my niece) today.

Last week, two girls tried to persuade Gwen to allow them to copy her school work.  Gwen was outnumbered by her peers and was faced with giving into peer pressure or standing up for what was right.

This is a common scenario in high schools.  It takes a person of courage to go against the majority and do what they know is right.

I am proud to say, Gwen looked her peers in the face and refused to allow them to cheat.  Gwen showed great moral fortitude on that day and I couldn’t be prouder.