There is probably something you should know about me, since it forms the basis of pretty much everything else I believe. It is this:
Families are first and foremost about raising children to be healthy, intelligent, responsible adults. This is the ideal, the goal. For various reasons this is not always possible, but it’s is what I believe we should aim for. No other worldly success can compensate for failure in this.
Marriage is designed to facilitate this. There are other benefits to marriage, certainly, but the primary purpose is to provide a stable, loving relationship under which children can flourish. Again, this is not always possible, and many people manage to be excellent parents by themselves, but this is the ideal. Certainly the odds are more in your favor if you have two truly committed people working together to raise children. Again, a man and a woman are the ideal, as it gives children of either gender strong role-models of both what they should be and what to expect from the opposite gender.
With this in mind, it might be more understandable why I believe that every effort should be made to have at least one parent home to support and care for the children, especially while they are young. If this means one of the parents must defer some dreams, or the family must forgo some of the nicer things of life in order to care for their children on a restricted budget so be it. It’s not all about “me”, it’s about making sure there is a noble, good, and wise generation rising to take our places and, if possible, make the world a better place tomorrow.
This also means that a parent’s focus should also be on becoming the best example they can for their children. I cannot expect them to learn beliefs and values that I am not modeling for them. It’s imperative that I build on the moral foundation given me by my parents.
This does not mean, however, that I can substitute external achievements for actual nurturing and caring. Parents are responsible for their children’s education. This means they must ensure their children are learning and doing the work, not just browbeating the teacher into letting little Suzie pass the class in spite of not really doing the work or doing it correctly. It’s not about pushing children to excel at sports to satisfy our own desire for accomplishment or social status. It’s not about clearing the path ahead for them so they never have to struggle or experience disappointment. It’s definitely not about living vicariously through your children.
The world is growing increasingly messed up. I don’t trust them to know how to raise good children anymore. A village may help raise a child, but the parents need to be there first and foremost–far too often to protect them from a world that would twist their self-images into something terrifying. If we want to improve the world we can’t rely on writing better laws or seeking better educations, creating better art or developing better medicines. We have to start with raising better people.
And that is ideally done in a strong, loving family. Anyone who would tell you differently is selling something.