Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Daily Brew (06.0201)

Wednesday's Brew*

Flavor du Jour: Parenting

Whose kid is this anyway? by beth

Last week, this article caught my eye. It seems that schools are now rolling up their sleeves and preparing to join the fight against the national obesity problem. At face value, this seems like a pretty reasonable idea, after all, kids spend a lot of time at school so there is definitely some influence there. With a little poking around, other articles (here and here) were found and I began to ponder: is this really the school’s job? Should schools be taking away vending machines or forcing nutritional programs on kids? I guess it boils down to whether or not you feel like the school is responsible for raising your child.

There seems to be a growing trend that has parents abdicating more and more of their parental responsibilities to the school systems. I imagine the rationale is something along the lines of “I trust them to teach my child reading, writing and math, so they’re probably also qualified to teach them sex ed.” And from there, it’s a simple matter to let the school become the primary influence on any number of topics from morality to politics to just a general view of the culture. And school systems are only too happy to oblige. As parents get less and less involved, school systems have an easier time pushing whatever agenda the local politicians have in mind. It may be something as seemingly innocuous as a fitness plan, but it also includes the idea that kids are just going to have sex and it’s unrealistic to expect otherwise, so just use a condom. And as the schools take over more and more, parents seem to become even more lax. And the cycle just feeds itself.

But it seems to me that parents need to return to parenting. And they need to begin before their child is in school. Somewhere along the line we seem to have blindly accepted the fallacy that “it takes a village” – and that because of the village mentality, the personal, individual attention of the parent is no longer required. This is certainly the easier course of action since it means that the parent doesn’t have to take responsibility for anything their child does, nor do they have to mature and become the adult in the relationship - they can focus on being/becoming the child's "friend". Having been a child (albeit one whose parents took the job of parenting very seriously) I can say honestly, I never wanted my parents to be my friends. Now that I'm older, sure, I'm glad that we've morphed the relationship into one that is more like a friendship - but when I was growing up, what I needed - even craved - was guidance and parenting. Even when I railed against the rules and consequences that came from parenting, I was always grateful that I had parents who were involved and interested in my life.

It just doesn't take a village. It takes parents, committed and interested parents to raise kids to be the people we want in charge in 5, 10, or 20 years. And if we don't get back to it, if the breakdown continues, we’ll find ourselves facing a generation led by those who have been raised by the state, with the state’s ideals and the state’s morality. And it’s likely that future will not embrace any ideals or moralities that differ from whatever the village is currently selling.

(* Note: The Daily Brew attempts to engage ideas and address contemporary themes with truthful and relevant principles for the purpose of positively impacting our culture.)

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