Today's Children: Creating a Future for a Generation in Crisis
a book by David A. Hamburg
(our site's book review)
The author notices the isolation, the 32 million people living alone (which is more than 27% of American households in 2012), the small and still decreasing size of households, the increase in situations where both parents work and kids go to childcare, the obsession with individualism, the sad divorce rate, the way kids’ needs are being met less consistently and with less parental involvement, the self-centeredness of nearly everyone and the way our lifestyles deviate from our inborn human nature.
He sees all the social symptoms, but then goes back to earlier human societies and looks at what they were like: small, intimate groups that provide security, support in times of stress, and enduring attachments during the life cycle. “These are powerful attributes in the light of human vulnerability to environmental vicissitudes—disease, attack, extremes of climate or other jeopardy in the habitat. The enduring group offers guidance, protection, satisfaction, life itself.” Back to what's happening in our modern 21st century society:
“Social support networks have been fundamental in human life for millennia. They still bear directly upon basic human needs. But they are jeopardized in many different ways by the formidable pressures and disruptions associated with modern transformation. They can no longer be taken for granted. Under contemporary circumstances, we have to improvise a great deal to protect, strengthen, and create the social support networks that are vital to meet human needs.”
Hamburg over and over displays an awareness that the steep-gradient nurturance of today's society is a major factor in all the symptoms that we see everywhere; he sees how things worked better when flat-gradient nurturance (most of human history) prevailed. He sees how we need to fill our kids’ needs better.
Hamburg sounds like a social engineer in search of a quest—someone who will be advocating taxes, big government programs and meddling experts
But his book talks theory and then advocates research. It shows it understands the problems but then it fails to come up with the obviously indicated solutions. Most disappointing of all, he shows that he didn’t grasp the forest for the trees in that after seeing the evidence that points clearly in the direction of what to do about the situation, he advises more behavioral and biomedical research so we can find out how to respond to this desperate childcare situation! He sounds like a social engineer in search of a quest. And he sounds like someone who will be advocating taxes, big government programs and meddling experts as the next stage once all the “research data” is in. Ouch!
He needs to study the history of the last 100 years and look deeply into the results of the social engineers—the well-meaning ones as well as the tyrants. He then needs to read everything he can about child development, parenting, the best ways to nurture autonomy, and the difference between movements and political solutions designed by agenda-filled think tank “experts” and pushed by politicians “for their constituencies’ own good.” As it turns out, the necessary data, wisdom, guidance, facts, research results, etc., have been available since the early 1990s. You will—happily enough—find them on our website.
Hamburg’s is a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Seeing the forest through the trees
Like hundreds of others like him, he sees various parts of the dilemma and has knowledge of various connections to and associations with the issues, and especially political and demographic facts. But, though the facts add up to a distinct, obvious whole, he ends up with no clear direction to go and no viable solutions. As president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, he is benevolent and caring and trying hard to lead the society toward more effectively caring for its children. But he seems held back by Second Wave, bureaucratic thinking and the reductionistic perspectives taught in medical school. (He was trained as a physician.)
It’s true that his corporation does lots of good in society. But it’s not true that we don’t have the needed data to figure out what to do to create a future for our kids. It’s all a matter of getting hold of all the relevant data and then standing back and seeing if the whole points to something much more than the sum of its parts. It does. It is time to be seeing if his corporation can see the forest with all those trees in the way. (Today's Children: Creating a Future for a Generation in Crisis was written in 1992, but the needed wisdom was available then.) (The MC movement is what coalesces from all the data from all the sources cited in this website. See Why Register for an MC? and MC movement.)
Registering for MC search and match
The good news for citizens is that we know what to do and we need not study or theorize any more—we're at the point where action is needed. What action is detailed on this site here. And questions about it are answered here.
The bad news for the foundations, the think tanks, the academicians, the researchers, the theorists, the politicians, the sociologists, the social engineers, the social program administrators, and the bureaucrats in general is that we do not need their help, their money, their guidance, their input, their studies, and especially their interference! These guys need to lead, follow, or get out of the way. They are not following, they didn't lead, so they need to get out of the way. Let's be clear: one cannot lead by accumulating megatons of theoretical academic data and then megatons of research data and then have various groups reconfirm and rediscover these data endlessly, keeping all those involved highly employed, but all parts of the societal improvements stalled while more reconfirming research and data collection occurs ad infinitum. See Social Evolution Is Spinning Its Wheels.
Perverse incentives are incentives to take advantage of bloated, bureaucraticly administered social engineering programs to make sure funds for questionable programs pour in regardless of results, expand said programs regardless of their results, raise salaries of bureaucrats in charge, add more benefits for bureaucrats, and ignore efficiency, fairness, good sense, thrift, and logic in planning and implementation. Perverse incentives find their way into foundations, think tanks, academicians, researchers, theorists, politicians, sociologists, social engineers, social program administrators, and bureaucrats. They bloat budgets and waste money and convince many to want to disband said organizations as liberal tax-and-spend nonsense.
Perhaps tax-and-spend liberalism has had its day and we need a better idea (MCs)
Perverse incentives underline the fact that if there is any way to avoid programs and bureaucracies and social engineering and instead let individual families enhance environments to get desired improvements, we should do it. It not only puts no tax burden on anyone, but it facilitates responsibility and family empowerment better than "experts" will. As a grantmaking foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York promotes the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. It needs to link to this website and especially our novel The Forest Through The Trees. We challenge him and his associates to read that ebook and this website and then continue to say we still do not know how to give our kids a good future!
The childcare answers are contained in the MC movement, which empowers families and individuals without the slightest recourse to government (or any other type of) programs, or taxes, or reliance on "benevolent others who probably/maybe/perhaps have our best interests at heart" (we hope). The MC movement allows people to solve their own problems, which is what they all want to do, and it does this in the most Third Wave style imaginable, using the best knowledge in all of science, but without one single person imposing any program, opinion, or decision on any other person—everyone may choose whatever they feel is best for themselves and not a single person will end up doing anything s/he did not want to do, choose and believe in. The best way to aggravate an already overwhelming problem is to take the responsibility out of the hands of families and give it to government bureaucrats. One would have to be insane, in light of all the evidence, to favor such an approach.
All these decades of saying "we need to research more" are extending out to infinity the time when the correct actions will be taken
The book What We Know About Childcare utilizes—among other things—results from a mammoth 1991-2009 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Early Child Care Research Network (NICHD). The study suggests that the quality of 61 percent of settings for young children would be rated as either poor (8 percent) or fair (53 percent), with care for infants and toddlers getting the lowest ratings. Such findings provide sufficient cause for concern about the level of care available in the United States, especially for infants and toddlers. The chief finding to emerge from the NICHD study is that the family environment—including family income, mother-child interaction and mother's symptoms of depression—is far more strongly linked to a child's development than is who is doing the child care—another way of saying that family home care and outside-of-home care are getting similar weak results, so to enhance child development, enhance family and home environment. The fact that it was proven that family environment is far more strongly linked to a child's development than is child care once again underlines the need for MC movement actions, since most modern (2016) family environments are often or usually weak with respect to nurturing, while MC nurturing is optimal.
We need the foundations, the think tanks, the academicians, the researchers, the theorists, the politicians, the sociologists, the social engineers, the social program administrators, and the bureaucrats in general to butt out. By saying we need to study more, think more, research more, and flapdoodle more, they are extending out to infinity the time when the correct actions will be taken. And that's because as long as the citizens keep buying the nonsense that the ball is in the professionals' and bureaucrats' courts, the citizens will fail to act, the problems will persist, and the "experts" will have something to keep them busy. This website is declaring that the ball is NOT in the professionals' and bureaucrats' courts—it is, and will continue to be forever, in the citizens' courts. Citizens have been at effect of the bureaucrats long enough, and they've been waiting long enough. It makes you wonder why there's been this eternal delay.
The bureaucrats have been foot-dragging because to admit that we now know what to do is to talk themselves out of a job, so they say we need to 'study' it more (so the 'experts' will stay employed!) The bottom line is that kids are getting a raw deal because the social support networks kids and families need are weak or absent. We get it! They know it and we know it and we DO know what to do about it. Check this website! There is no money for socialistic programs run by Big Government heroes, nor would they work. So the people will have to quit looking for political heroes to save them and START BEING TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LIVES, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES. IF THEY DO SO ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM IN OUR NOVEL The Forest Through The Trees, THEY'LL NO LONGER NEED 'EXPERTS' BECAUSE THEY, THEMSELVES, WILL BECOME THEIR OWN EXPERTS!
The "experts" need to begin acting like they know what the Third Wave is and they need to get people to act on the information they have available—information which our site focuses on. Actually, the foundations, the think tanks, the academicians, the researchers, the theorists, the politicians, the sociologists, the social engineers, the social program administrators, and the bureaucrats needn't butt out—we need their help in one important way: See We Found the Answer to How to Turn This Country Around, and Now We Need Your Help Figuring Out How to Get It to the Few People in a Position to Act on It.
The bureaucrats have been foot-dragging because to admit that we now know what to do is to talk themselves out of a job
But then when one starts to cogitate on the matter, the answer to the foot-dragging with regards to the endless "study" of the way to give kids a good future is all too obvious. All those mentioned above (the foundations, the think tanks, the academicians, the researchers, the theorists, the politicians, the sociologists, the social engineers, the social program administrators, and the bureaucrats) need to have a worthwhile raison d'ętre in order to keep their jobs, their tenure, their benefits.
So if many social programs were deemed unnecessary because the social support networks, new communication tools, and new parenting and relationship styles of MCs were giving both kids and adults the kind of lives they'd only dreamed of before, then the social programs would be canceled. No more money would be ripped from taxpayers' wallets to pay for them. No more social program administrators would be needed so they'd lose their jobs. Since it was now clearly demonstrated that the needed knowledge and strategies for effective childcare, relationships, communication and parenting were well known and being practiced for more and more families, the money that used to be slated for these unneeded programs would be used to pay down the debt which would lower the interest on the debt, thereby lowering taxes.
Then the foundations, the think tanks, the academicians, the researchers, the theorists, the politicians, the sociologists, the social engineers, and the bureaucrats that had been studying all these social issues to death but getting nowhere (or pretending that it is so complex that "we need more research") would be re-tasked with other areas like getting education up to the standards China enjoys, for example.
Instead of researching an already-understood problem (lifestyle/childcare fixing), his experts need to fix the education mess
Interestingly, they would discover that once MCs were thick in an area, kids would be home-schooled so much that public schools would be on the verge of shutting down, at which point MC people could tell them how they were able to get good educations at home that was way better than the public schools: producing kids eager to learn who were creative self-starters because their lifestyles inspired them and empowered them, rather than holding them back like what was happening with most public school kids.
They'd convince families to form MCs, and when this worked great, the public schools would be re-opened with MC teachers and MC kids and the educational results the school would get would be phenomenal. Finally, after all these years of frustration and failure, the American educational system would have found the answer to nearly all their educational problems, since the word would spread about the new educational phenomena. They'd be able to use more Montessori-like styles and Kohn-like styles and Holt-like styles of education rather than the Second Wave assembly lines of mediocrity we have now that need to change to Third Wave institutions of the Knowledge Age. Holt championed home schooling because the American educational system was and is screwing the pooch big-time. See Beyond Discipline, Montessori: A Modern Approach and How Children Fail, and Teachers Say Unnurtured Kids Aren't Ready for School—We Say Unnurtured People Aren't Ready for Survival.
Children's basic emotional and social skills are dropping in over 40 indicators—they're more nervous, irritable, sulky, moody, depressed, lonely, impulsive and disobedient—and such kids are not ready to learn
The NEA has a choke-hold on American education that only the MC movement could alter
It turns out that the degenerating American educational system had been mostly a symptom of a degenerating American lifestyle. This lifestyle needed the MCs to turn it around. The teachers had always wanted happy, eager, inspired, focused kids, but parents were sending them unhappy, distracted, unfocused, bored, ADHD-drug-soaked kids who were depressed, insecure, and too busy texting to listen or learn. Once MCs started, the bad teachers, the authoritarians, the kid-haters and the losers would get fired and teachers from MCs would replace them and the bureaucrats that had a vested interest in keeping the rotten system in place would be fired. The NEA would try to fight at first, but the overwhelming pressures from parents and MC teachers, coupled with the undeniably stellar performance of teachers and students alike at the new MC-populated schools would make them back down. The writing was on the wall, and the NEA was forced to quit supporting failure and making lots of excuses about it. They weren't fools. The MC answer became their answer as well. Finally, their subsidizing of dysfunctionality had come to an end. It was obvious what worked so that is what they now supported.
The Second Wave assembly lines of mediocrity we call schools need to change to Third Wave institutions of the Knowledge Age
Teachers' normal kids-as-containers-to-fill, obedience-based view of education is incorrect: 'working with' works but 'doing to' doesn't work
One by one, the various areas of American life that were degenerating were turned around and the perverse incentives tempting self-serving politicians and administrators and bureaucrats of all flavors were stopped. Politicians were forced to catch up to the will of the citizens or get voted out of office. They had to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Predictably, they'd pretend that THEY were leading the changes and had wanted this MC transformation of the culture all along. But it was the citizens themselves who were the leaders. It would be difficult for bureaucrats to fathom the novel idea that the country was turning itself around in spite of them, not because of them. So they'd stand out in the traffic and wave it on in the direction it was already going, trying to look like leaders. The citizens would try not to smirk or roll their eyes—that would not be polite!
Once MCs began, bureaucrats would stand out in the traffic and wave it on in the direction it was already going, trying to look like leaders
As mentioned, Hamburg didn’t grasp the forest for the trees in that after seeing the evidence that points clearly in the direction of what to do about the situation, he—unfortunately—advises more behavioral and biomedical research. So we advise the following so he WILL see the forest for the trees: Read our novel, ironically entitled The Forest Through The Trees!
Carnegie Corporation of New York is dedicated to gathering and sharing the expert knowledge and diverse views of their grantees. It was established in 1911 “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding,” and it is one of the oldest and most influential of American grantmaking foundations. (What do you say, people, would you like to help spread the good news?)