Displaying items by tag: relationships
Year-end school vacations will be lengthened in several countries to increase the time for social distancing. Many believe this policy will create more stress for parents juggling jobs and family. A national survey of 2,559 parents in June found a positive side for families and marriages in pandemic lockdown. Couples considering divorcing dropped by a third, and another survey revealed 25% of parents were getting on better with their children, with just 4% reporting worsened relationships. The media reported these findings as ‘weird but true’. However while lockdown affirmed marriage commitment, one in five cohabiting parents believed their relationship had worsened. They were more likely to be unhappy, get on each other’s nerves, or quarrel. Also, when schools were closed, many children began to appreciate the privilege of going to school and enjoyed having more time with their parents, improving family closeness during the corona time.
This week, a new framework for the teaching of relationships and sex education (RSE) replaced a twenty-year-old version written before smartphones or social media. Despite steps in regulating the internet, primary school-aged children live in a world of rapid online interactions. This new legislation was formed over two years by the Government, with the Church of England among parties engaged in the consultation, to promote healthy resilient relationships set in the context of character and virtue development. It focuses on respecting others, including the beliefs and practices of people with a specific faith commitment, and the many different types of families that make up our cultural context. It makes explicit a shared duty of care between parents and schools, and what takes place in the classroom builds on what has been taught in the home. The new guidance asserts that ‘all schools must teach about faith perspectives on these questions’.
Few politicians have established such a connection with the millions of underprivileged families in Mexico as Lopez Obrador. He regularly campaigned draped with garlands and gaudy sombreros. Like Trump, the headstrong ‘Amlo’ is the heart and soul of his movement and his presidency could heighten tensions between Mexico and the United States over trade and migration if the two men clash. The prospect of a showdown between the two blunt men over the US-Mexico border and renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement has worried many. ‘There’s going to be a clash of vanities and a clash of egos. Who knows where it will end.’ said Juan Jose Rodriguez Prats, a former party colleague of Amlo who has known him for 40 years. President Trump tweeted, ‘I look very much forward (sic) to working with him. There is much to be done that will benefit both the United States and Mexico!’
Social media technology is responsible for an entire industry. But how does social media affect real-life relationships? Radio took 38 years to reach one million users; TV took 13 years; Facebook added 200 million users in less than one year, demonstrating the power and growth of the uncontrollable machine that is social media. More and more people are asking the question, ‘Is it time to switch off occasionally and have a technology fast? This does not eliminate freedom, but helps people recover it.’ We live in the flesh, and an experience that happens without the flesh is not on the same level as one that happens in the flesh. For example, while chatting with a friend on social media we might type ‘hahaha’ at something funny, but that’s the best we can do. It’s much better actually to be sitting in the company of friends and having a laugh together.
‘Sex and relationships’ education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England. All children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships. Children will also be taught, at an appropriate age, about sex, but parents will continue to have a right to withdraw their children from such lessons. Until now, sex education has been compulsory only in council-run schools. Now all schools across the system will have to provide age-appropriate lessons on what constitutes healthy relationships, as well as the dangers of sexting, online pornography and sexual harassment. Schools will have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, to develop integrated approaches sensitive to the local community, and faith schools will continue to teach in accordance with the tenets of their faith.
Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, has announced that the country will no longer officially be called an Islamic republic, reversing the decision made by his predecessor in 2015. There had been encouraging signs that Barrow, a Muslim who was a successful property developer before running for office, would begin a new era of positive relations with the country’s Christian minority. But this courageous announcement appears to signal a significant step away from the Islamist agenda promoted by Gambia’s previous president.