Shelter of Each Other
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"Our culture is at war with families."
Families is America are invaded by the media, economic forces, corporate values. They are frightened by crimes of strangers. Adults are uneasy around children and children are fearful of adults.
"For the first time in two thousand years of Western civilization, families live in houses without walls."
Walls offer no protection. Technology give children ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Crime makes all places feel dangerous. Living in a culture in which they can't control
Explain the role of media in creating “the loneliness of people whose relationships are with personae instead of persons.”
Media says you must stay in contact with at least 7 familiar people to "stay sane".
Describe the problems of the electronic village in terms of today’s family.
Emphasis is now placed on celebrities instead of relationships with "real" people. The stories and lives of celebrities and simple family problems or events are being underrepresented.
According to Pipher, what do children learn from advertising on television?
They are the most important person on the universe, impulses should not be denied, that pain should not be tolerated and that the cure for any kind of pain is a product.
Explain what is unhealthy about our present-day culture.
Children are being taught that money is happiness and consumption is the goal of life.
“Childhood is a social construction.” Explain
the meaning of this statement and then describe the changing cultural views of childhood during the last several centuries.
Children have the same information that adults. Children are not sheltered from what has been considered for hundreds of years to be adult material.
In your own words, explain tiospaye.
the people with whom lives, family.
Explain the difference between a tiospaye and a “formed family.”
The tiospaye gives children multiple parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. (It takes a village to raise a family).
According to Pipher, “Americans hold two parallel versions of the family....” Name and describe each.
The idealized and the dysfunctional. The idealized version portrays families as wellsprings of love and happiness, loyal, wholesome, and true. (Leave it to Beaver). The dysfunctional version depicts families as disturbed and disturbing. This version is the most influential and suggest family gets in the way of individual fulfillment.
Describe life in the Page family by noting the following:
work- everything was done by the family together, physical
recreation/ entertainment- church and school activities
medical care- comforters rather than healers, doctors set bones and people either got better or died.
food- raised their own food, meals eaten together, prepared from scratch
weather- weather affected them directly, no air conditioning, no central heating
sex- regarded as a martial duty, mildly unpleasant
Describe life in the Copeland family:
work- moved around for career advancement, long work hours
recreation/entertainment- had a house nicer than they could afford, violin lessons, paying for school
medical care- medical bills for anorexia
food- brought home pizza, tv dinners or sandwiches, did not have home cooked meals together
weather- did not like the outdoors much
sex- kept falling asleep before kids went to bed,
Contrast life in these two families by considering the following:
life as a child
life as a child- Page family as a child the child would have worked with the family together to supply their needs, Copeland family-self-centered and individualized to their own needs
the pace- Page family- slow-paced no one was in a hurry, Copeland- own paced, selfish, always rushing, unstable and inconsistent
problems faced- Page- problems as a family, work together to solve, Copeland- own problems, weren't talked about among the family
In contrasting the Copelands and the Pages, Pipher argues “that the Pages knewwhat the enemy was....” Explain.
The Page family knew how to work together to solve their problems. The Copelands were focused on their individual problems.
How have expectations about what families need to be happy changed since 1920’s?
There is more of an emphasis on education. Families are less content with small homes. People are having to earn a higher education. More are wanting more to satisfy their "needs".
Select one of the following topics and discuss it in the context of these two families and their times.
expectations of happiness
Page- This family did not expect happiness, as they worked together they found happiness in what they were doing for each other and provided and supplied together.
Copeland- Because this family was very split, each had their own idea of happiness
Describe what is happening with children from the teachers’ viewpoint.
Divorce is more common, children aren't getting as much exercise, eat a lot of fast food, less polite and less innocent, learn how to interact from TV
Describe the following by contrasting 1920’s views with present day --
internal vs. external
money- more important for the Copelands, necessary for health insurance, lesson and educational purposes
sex- was not discussed in the 20s, sexual information is available
enemies- 20's- lack of medicine, racism, now- divorce and abuse
internal vs. external- 20's- family problems, now-lack of money
Describe the significant demographic changes in the past forty years of United States history and their influence on relationships. Include an explanation of “primary relationships” and “secondary relationships.”
Primary relationships- we know them in a multiplicity of roles (neighbor, co-worker)
secondary-strangers (we don't know their parents, religion)
history- relationships matter more, people live in a "community"
Explain how demographic shifts explain our obsession with looking good.
Looking good is much more important because we've moved from primary to secondary relationships. More mysterious of what the other's life is like.
Explain Pipher’s statement that “from the point of view of this book, by far the most important lost boundary is that between children and adults.”
Parents are viewed as survivors and children are unsure of what is right or important. Age no longer applies to wisdom. Everyone is viewed as a consumer.
Explain how “television has probably been the most powerful medium in shaping the new community.”
Mutual friends, significant events in our daily chats. The "produced" relationships of television families become the models for intimacy.
Describe Pipher’s observations about violence on television.
Violence captures the viewer's attention.
Describe the effects of television on the family.
Children are more likely to become violent and it increases their fear levels about violence.
Explain how “ads manipulate us into being dissatisfied.”
Advertising makes us want more and feel unhappy with what we have. This leads to impulse-control problems and feelings of entitlement.
Discuss the pros and cons of advertising in light of the statement, “Advertising is our national religion...”
Buy this product and you will be saved. Children recite more commercials than history. This shows children America's values.
Discussion Pipher's views on self-esteem versus narcissim.
Narcissim implies a lack of interest in anything that isn't self-referential. In contrast, self-regard has to do with behaving in acordance with one's value system. It implies a moral stance on the universe and a centered sense of who one is. Because the self is defined and rooted, there is energy to look outward. Self- regard implies self-knowledge. Narcissism says, look at me; self-regard says, I know who I am when I look at you.
Summarize Pipher’s description of this generation and then discuss (agree or disagree) your own views.
This generation is sophisiticated, cynical, and tired. Some are dissatisfied with corporate with consumer values. This culture doesn't read much. Know more about soap operas than Shakespeare. The decision to have sex is as casual as what movie to see. "I want" generation. They are searching for guidance.
Discuss our cultural view of parents as outlined by Pipher.
We are a culture that portrays parents as baggage, impossible to ignore but generally a pain in the neck. Teens who love their parents are made to feel odd. Rebels do not ask for advice and help. Force to tackle difficult decisions on their own.
Discuss Pipher’s view of “what families are for.”
Families are about caring for people, about feeing and sheltering the young, the old and the needy. Protect and socialize.
Discuss Pipher’s characteristics of good/strong families.
Extracting meaning enables healing. Joy. Families are to be appreciated. Right blend between closeness and distance.
Discuss Pipher’s “strategies for protecting families.”
1)Time Shelters Families
2)Places Shelter Families
3)Interests Shelter Families
4)Celebrations Shelter Families
5)Connecting Rituals Protect Families
6)Stories and Metaphors Protect Families
1) regular meal time when families don't answer to phone, schedule time together.
2) Families can have their spots- particular restaurants, parks, museums where they like to be together.
3) Doing activities together.
4) Regular phone calls, visits, letters, reunions and shared celebrations.
5) Spending time together connect family to other each other, extended family, family to friends and to the community.
6) Tell about it's character, history, and virtues.
Pipher discusses a number of projects that connect people to each other. Select three (from the book or from your own experiences or combination of the two) that appeal to you and explain why you chose them.
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