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Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Family Revolution

Children Deserve Attention

The company of children is teaching me volumes about all humans. My neighbor, a four-year old boy and his five-year old friend are like most children. They want to play games outside and learn all they can about the world around them. My nieces and nephews are being pushed rapidly past this curious stage, but I still remember them passing through it. Most adults claim to be far too busy to spend additional time with the next generation. My observations of the "far too busy" excuse reveal a lack of patience and understanding of the next generation's needs. Too many adults are never too busy spend an evening drinking too much, never too busy for another cigarette and always have time to waste watching all the drug-addled professional athletes. There simply is no time left for the children produced by relationships we pursued back when we had the time.

When relationships break down children suffer more than adults. There is less time for children when the home must maintained by a single parent. The children we have "no time" for will soon stand beside us living as young adults. Do we want our children growing up with little or no guidance? I think not, yet the predicament still stands before us asking for attention, demanding a solution.

The people of the United States are obsessed by the need to work. Every man and woman is taught the fiction that our work defines us. People spend so much time at their work and so little time with their families. With the rapid decline of jobs that pay a living wage, most mothers now go to work each day. Men spend ten hours or more involved in their occupations and the commute back and forth. Evenings and weekends become essential time for rest, to maintain our grueling schedules. Our children get only whatever time they can steal from this routine.

For decades this society has undervalued the people that raise children. Mothers, schoolteachers, day care staff and babysitters are not occupations we associate with good pay. After all, what is the value in preparing the next generation to live in our society? Mothers are expected to raise children and work another job. Schoolteachers get only enough money to survive, the job they perform is worth little to the future of our nation, right? It is so much wiser to shower money on steroid-filled professional athletes and crooked politicians, they provide so much more for our future than mothers.

Prepare For The Future

People in the United States show a complete lack of concern for the future in so many ways it comes as no surprise that many children are neglected or even abused. We no longer save money, we depend on credit and home equity loans and we waste more energy than any other nation. If you step back and look at life in the United States objectively, most people live like there will be no tomorrow. Driving too fast and often after drinking alcohol, constantly smoking cigarettes, eating until we are grossly obese are three obvious examples. Divorce rates are another case where we ignore the future and seek only easy pleasures. Finally, we neglect to spend enough time raising our children. If you have none of these issues at all in your life, stop reading this right now. Everyone else knows exactly what I am talking about even if you already raised your family.

Now you want me to spell out easy answers to the problems mentioned above, right?

There are no easy answers, raising children and living the good life becomes a tough balancing act.

Grandmothers and grandfathers are being asked to help raise children in many cases. In some groups of our society, grandparents are regularly expected to become parents again. The mothers and fathers of the children have no time at all to spend with their offspring. Parents caught in the swirl of drug addiction or crime completely lose sight of their sons and daughters. Other fathers and mothers love their successes at the office more than they love seeing success in their homes. Finally, there are many parents who really do not know how to be good parents. For most couples it is easy to produce a child but extremely difficult to raise that baby to adulthood.

Parents Are Valuable

The first step is valuing the role of being a parent. Parenting is the very act of creating the future, an immensely important task. In relation to the future of mankind there is no more important task than preparing children to live in the world. It will probably never happen in our backwards culture but mothers or fathers must be given incentives to stay home and raise children. Parents are performing a far more important task than almost any other job you can imagine. We need to elevate the role of care-giver far above that of the sickening heroes we now adore. Is a home run hitter that shoots drugs in his buttocks really more important than a mother? Does a venom-spitting politician really deserve more attention than a great father?

We have been sold trash heaps as role models while the real examples of virtue go unnoticed. Television, radio and newspapers use fancy words to describe people who do nothing but live sickening lifestyles. Movie theaters and computer games mostly add to the mounds of garbage, choking family life to death. Mothers get a brief mention on Mother's Day, fathers get a story or two on Father's Day. The rest of the year we hear and read long stories about dishonest elected officials, murderers and millionaire athletes. Turn off the television now and start paying attention to your children.

The outside influences are an easy place to start fixing the family. Stop going to see professional sports, at least until they decide to clean up their stinking act. Play sports at the park with your children instead. Cancel your newspaper or newsmagazine subscriptions until they start writing articles that promote good family life. Check out good books from the free library and read them with your children. Take your children to parks, museums or zoos. Learn the answers to the questions asked by your children.

Along the way get ready to confront internal obstacles to a great family life. Stop smoking cigarettes. Second-hand smoke will give you and your children lung cancer. Is this really a good family atmosphere? Stop drinking so much alcohol. A half-drunk parent is no help to a child. Learn how to love each other more, this includes children, husbands and wives.

Family Money

Turn the power generated by the money you earn into family money. We know that business people are not going to pay a living wage to most families, no matter how much we spend. So forget the advertisements businesses shove in your face every day. You do not need to buy all the things that make your monthly bills so high. Raising a family does cost money but think about how you spend family money. Do you spend family money on violent movies? Why? Do you spend family money on sports played by reckless professional athletes? Why? Do you donate money to politicians? Why? Each of us has the power to promote families rather than support really bad ideas.

Along the way, we need to learn to live without consuming and wasting so much. You have two children, why do you need a vehicle that can transport six people? Drive less and stay home with the kids. Are you and your children overweight? Learn to eat less food, especially junk food. Think about the name we give it, "junk food." Why buy it? Make another point not to eat fast food anymore. The people that sell it have no concern whatsoever for the health of your family. They want your money so they can get even richer and continue to pay people lousy wages. Do not give it to them. Save it for the future of your family.

Starting The Revolution

You should know that making a real effort to raise your children properly will start a revolution. A peaceful revolution is still a revolution in so many ways. If you start spending more time with your children, your neighbors might notice. If you stop smoking cigarettes, the vile tobacco company executives will notice. If you stop going to professional sports, the players and owners will soon realize this. When you stop pulling into fast food restaurants and handing them twenty dollar bills this is a revolutionary act. All these things will change the world around you faster than you can imagine.

Stay home with your children, this will change the world in the most significant way. The future will suddenly look more promising than you ever imagined it could. Other people will soon join the revolution, your example will be the reason why.

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