“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

Kurt Vonnegut had great love and respect for family. He was born in Indianapolis, and he often wrote about special times with relatives, visits to the cottage at Lake Maxinkuckee, working in the family hardware store, and trying to make his older sister Alice laugh. But as we all know, life is not always rosy at home. In fact, sometimes, we show a version of our worst selves with our families.

Vonnegut’s family, in the time of the Great Depression, World War II, and well beyond, experienced tragedy, sadness, health issues, financial difficulties, and more. Today, families in our city deal with many of the same problems that the Vonnegut family did: paying bills, providing a safe home in a not-so-safe world, making sure children are educated, instilling values and manners, keeping marriages together, coping with an illness or addiction. The stress and how we handle it can create even more stress if we aren’t careful. Maybe what we need, as Kurt Vonnegut often pointed out, is “a little more common decency” to help guide us through our day-to-day living.

That’s why the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) will host a free Common Decency in Families discussion panel as part of its Year of Vonnegut programming on October 8, 2017, at the Athenaeum Auditorium and Damenverein Room, 401 E. Michigan Street from 3 to 5 pm. 

This panel will discuss problems and potential solutions and address the topic of common decency that we should show within our own families and toward ALL families – single-parent families, LGBTQ families, families of all races and religious beliefs, rich and economically challenged families, immigrant families – in other words, literally  ALL families.

Dr. Wallace O. McLaughlin, President and CEO of Fathers and Families Center, moderates the panel discussion. Panelists include:

  • Miriam Acevedo Davis, President and CEO of La Plaza
  • Wendra Foster, Consultant, Diabetes Operations & Research, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Brenda Hamilton, Executive Director of Indiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
  • Cecelia Whitfield, Founder and President of Use What You’ve Got Prison Ministry Keeping Families Connected, Inc.

We believe we can make a difference by our responses to the big questions and issues of our time and do it with civility. Parents and teens – please join our esteemed panelists from local family-based organizations and members of the community for an in-depth discussion on Common Decency in Families. Bring younger kids for their own related mini-discussion, story time, and craft.

The event is free, but guests should register through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/common-decency-in-families-tickets-37653800531

For more information about the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, go to www.vonnegutlibrary.org. For Year of Vonnegut events, go to www.vonnegutlibrary.org/events.



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