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While performing everyday activities, we find ourselves in an ever-increasing number of circumstances that we cannot control. I could not stop the dial-a-porn flier that recently came to my mailbox, nor could I stop my car's belts from giving out just as I was leaving to give blood at the local blood drive. There will always be those things we cannot control.

Parents can't prohibit the inappropriate discussion a child hears at school. Parents cannot prevent their children from experiencing peer pressure - invitations to titillating parties, unlawful activities and degrading experiments will inevitably come. I know what I saw, heard, experienced and chose not to experience during my teenage years.As a parent I now search for a method to offset the effects of unwanted influences upon no family and loved ones. I find little encouragement, except when I realize the stabilizing role of home. I compare home to the life-saving concept of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the internal activity that keeps a body's internal environment constant, regardless of external conditions. For example, when we heat up, sweat cools us. When it's cold the body produces heat, and we sometimes instinctively shiver, in order to maintain a constant body temperature. Kidneys keep our bodies free of harmful wastes, though taking in some of these wastes as we eat is necessary. Insulin maintains the body's blood sugar at constant levels, even after Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pie and Christmas sweets.

I believe parents can learn from homeostasis. Once inside the walls of home, family homeostatic processes can offset and neutralize possible unwanted influences that occur outside. Scientists believe that the more stable a species' internal environment, the more independent that species is from the external environment. The more independent of the external environment, the more advanced the species. Homes provide a private and uncensored atmosphere for teaching family values, answering questions, discussing politics, understanding reproduction and all its measurements, and considering any other necessary or important subject. Homemade homeostatic processes will leave families stable and independent of that ever-changing, ever-unpredictable external environment.

This holiday season most families will have more opportunities than at other times of the year to be together. Use this time to begin a tradition of implementing homeostatic processes. Control this environment that is yours to control.

Jens Nielson

Spanish Fork