A Better World for Our Children: Rebuilding American Family Values
a book by Benjamin Spock
(our site's book review)
Spock runs down a litany of social symptomatology and dysfunction, then turns to “creating a better world.” He advocates religion or a firm set of moral values, raising kids to be kind and cooperative and win-win, better schools, better workplace day care, and more citizen activism and civic education. He wants to rebuild America’s family values.
For things to change for kids, citizens need to get involved—they must get off their butts and quit looking to the government for solutions
He has been an antiwar activist, and is seen as a liberal advocate by conservatives, most of whom see him in a negative light as a permissive—a word they despise as much as the “L” word (liberal). He claims not to be a permissive—a method of parenting which doesn’t work, in his opinion. His ideas of changing the workplace and the community to be more family oriented are not new—Richard Louv (Childhood’s Future) and others have stated it more eloquently.
He says our ideas are too materialistically oriented, as are our values, institutions and families. He says focus should be not on consumption and possession but on children developing helpfulness, kindliness and service to others. He has no faith in crude motivational techniques like nagging, preaching, or scolding. Adults must set examples, treat each other and their kids with respect, and abandon sexism. And adults must help each other out with childcare since many mothers have to work out of financial necessity. Extended family members need to pitch in when they can. But the solution is not to turn back the clock to the 50s. Cottage industries let some parents work at home. Workplace day care is evolving, albeit slowly.
Cottage industries and telecommuting let some parents work at home
He sees the best daycare centers as nurturing, but the worst ones as retarding development or worse. Avoid authoritarian day-care workers and/or centers. Like P.E.T., he sees trying to settle kids’ arguments and fights as hopeless—but stopping them if there’s real danger is important. He believes in parents being examples to emulate, and he believes in the use of I-statements. He doesn’t believe in punishment, but in reasoning and consequences.
From the 1970s to the 1990s good/excellent quality care went from 26% to 13% in centers; MCs' caregiving costs (free) and gas for transportation (minimal) represent minimized economic expenditures which will be particularly appreciated as childcare costs rise and yet childcare center quality decreases
Childcare centers should house friends, relatives, elders and kids—not strangers and high-turnover workers of questionable competence
He supports political action to get the right things passed to deal with children’s needs. “It’s up to each of us to help create a better world for our children.” Except for Spock's tendency to see big government as a big part of the answer, with subsidies for everything related to kids, his book hits the target. He can be forgiven for his attempt to enlist governmental social engineering to ride in and save the day, though, because he had never heard of the MC movement.
In the 21st century, we've kept growing government bigger and bigger as we get more and more in debt (20 trillion as 2017 begins)—a recipe for an eventual fall off an economic cliff. Where all this money is going is not to deal with children’s needs, however, but to deal with the military's needs—or is it merely their desires? Additionally, the money goes to defense spending that is not military in nature, such as the Department of Homeland Security, counter-terrorism spending by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA and DIA and NSA and intelligence-gathering spending by NASA. The Department of Defense is charged with military actions abroad, while the Department of Homeland Security works in the civilian sphere to protect the United States within, at, and outside its borders. Its stated goal is to prepare for, prevent, and respond to domestic emergencies, particularly terrorism. What this seeming digression is relevant to is simply this: Our country has decided that our kids' needs are not as critical as their safety, and money is scare, so a choice had to be made. It was.
Department of Homeland Security
Where does that leave us regarding creating "a better world for our children"? Nowhere, if we still subscribe to the obsolete notion that governmental social engineering can help us citizens with creating "a better world for our children." There is not now nor will there ever be any money for salvation via government. Their position is that if we're not safe, what good will good schools, childcare centers, and better family values do us? We cannot enjoy these things if we're dead, radioactive, dying from bioterrorist weapons, or sent back in history about 5 centuries courtesy of an EMP bomb—which would kill most of us in a few months, believe it or not. Perhaps they have a point. But if Uncle Sam riding in on a white horse to create good schools, childcare centers, and better family values will not ever occur, what CAN we do? Glad you asked.
If Uncle Sam riding in on a white horse to create good schools, childcare centers, and better family values will not ever occur, what CAN we do?
The big answer: MCs. Here is an MC with a Japanese garden
The MC movement is as real as you make it, it will happen as fast as you do it, and it requires absolutely NO governmental social engineering, since the 20th century is a harsh testament to where this often leads.