The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


April 24, 2006

4-23 Apparently So parenting column by Craig Harris

Palestine — Are your children growing straight and strong, or crooked and bent? Do they bow to the winds of the popular culture, or are you instilling values in them that will enable them to stand strong and proud?

Does their moral compass point toward Hollywood or true north?

My friend Lorri Allen sent me her monthly e-newsletter this week, "The Good News Newsletter"; you can sign up for it at In this month’s article, she writes about the mesquite tree. She says some mesquite trees in South Texas actually grow horizontally because of the constant desert winds. The environment is harsh and they bow to the pressure exerted on them every day. Lorri writes: "Like the mesquite, we are shaped by the constant winds of our culture — the books we read, the TV programs we watch and the friends with whom we spend time. Are we twisted to meet others’ approval, swayed by any influence or trend that comes along?"

So, what external pressures are shaping your children? None of us lives in a cultural vacuum and we all are influenced by the world around us, but I think it is up to us to filter the world around our children. It is not only our right, but our responsibility to keep up with the cultural and media influences on them. They do not have to rent every DVD that comes out, see every movie on the big screen, no matter what their friends say, or watch every TV show on the idiot box. Parents, we must learn the word no when it comes to this.

TV programs are designed to entertain buyers of advertised merchandise, not teach our children the best possible behavior choices. We must understand this and teach it to our children. If we are counting on the culture to shape our children, we shouldn’t be surprised when they grow crooked and distorted. They will make bad choices, one after another, all of their lives if we don’t teach them right from wrong.

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  • SIMON Chocolate Cake COOKING WITH SIMON: Entertain with easy chicken entree

    Easter and Mother’s Day are right around the corner and that means family gatherings.
    And when it comes to serving a crowd you’re better off picking a recipe that is easy, yet full of flavor.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stuffed chicken breast COOKING WITH SIMON: Entertain with easy chicken entree

    Easter and Mother’s Day are right around the corner and that means family gatherings.
    And when it comes to serving a crowd you’re better off picking a recipe that is easy, yet full of flavor.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • black bean salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Black Bean Salad

    One of the great things about spring is the beginning of fresh salads, but not just the leafy kind, instead the ones filled with varieties of beans and peas.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mayonnaise COOKING WITH SIMON: Which came first? The yolk or the white

    If you do a lot of baking or dessert making, like I do, you might have a large amount of egg yolks on your hands. There are many recipes, like my New Zealand Pavlova, that call for the egg whites, but not the yolks.

    March 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • seeds COOKING WITH SIMON: Planting seeds for the future and the plate

    My workload just got a lot easier and more interesting. Why? Because soon I won’t have to shop for produce and I get to start creating some fun new dishes that incorporate all of the wonderful vegetables and herbs that will be growing in my garden.

    March 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mardi Gras 1 COOKING WITH SIMON: Mardi Gras time in Palestine

    The good times were definitely rolling down Palestine Main Street last Saturday and the food sure was too. It was a great weekend with parades, floats, parties, Cajun recipes, zydeco music and plenty of Palestine area wine.

    March 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • eggplant sandwich COOKING WITH SIMON: Feeding the steak eaters and the vegetarians

    Texans are known as meat eaters and enjoy they’re big juicy steaks. But sometimes it’s nice to eat a meal that is just vegetables and follow the new Meatless Monday trend. Chefs always need to have some good vegetarian dishes in they’re repertoire because vegetarians and vegans don’t want to just eat salads and pasta.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail COOKING WITH SIMON: Don’t forget the Valentine’s Day flowers

    Happy Valentine’s weekend! Well, at least for those of you who remembered it was Valentine’s and at the very least bought a card. Otherwise you may be spending the weekend in the doghouse.

    February 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • mushroom potato soup COOKING WITH SIMON: Keeping warm with healthy, hearty soups

    The groundhog saw his shadow so it looks like we are in for a few more weeks of winter. I am hoping he might be wrong because some trees are already starting to bud and I am ready to get busy cutting back the grapevines, planting vegetables and doing the spring pruning.

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Green beans COOKING WITH SIMON: A green thumb for green vegetables

    It might be cold outside, but there’s still a lot of work to be done – outside. I’ve been clearing a lot of dead brush and trees and finally – after years of talking about it – also got the land cleared for a proper vegetable garden.

    February 1, 2014 1 Photo