In the previous two articles in this series, I laid a simple foundation for God’s will for families, and outlined goal oriented parenting. In this third installment, I want to write about dangers the family faces today.
The Redefinition of the Family.
For 6000 years of human history, the entire anthropological record shows a consistency of the definition of the family as being one husband and one wife in a committed lifelong relationship. Only on rare occasions has polygamy been acceptable in any society, and no society has ever widely accepted homosexual marriage. A mom and a dad with several children living in a home together in a committed relationship has always been mankind’s standard. This is true regardless of religious affiliation, faith background, or any kind of sacred persuasion.
Within the last generation, however, society has begun the process of redefining the family. Even the purple dinosaur Barney was singing about the “new” family, and proclaiming that almost any definition of family was okay. It may be a mom and dad and two kids, or it may be a single mom with a dad, living far away, or it may be a child being raised by grandmother. While none of us would fail to recognize these realities in our society today, few of us are willing to define family as “anyone who lives in a loving relationship.” This not only goes against Scripture, but, as I mentioned, it goes against our entire human history.
Today, the foundation of the family, which is marriage, is being redefined. State legislatures are working feverishly to satisfy special interest groups who are themselves feverishly working for a new definition of the family. The redefinition of marriage is only the beginning of a slippery slope to societal collapse.
Jesus said, “for this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.” Jesus then said, “What God has put together let no man take apart.” Perhaps we should paraphrase this, “What God has defined let no man redefine.”
The Outside Control of the Family.
The loss of parental control within the family is seen in at least five areas.
Parents are quickly becoming supporting partners rather than primary partners in their children’s education.
It hasn’t been all that long since the public education system was viewed as being in a supporting role to the education the family would provide. In some places, this is completely undone and in most places it is nearly undone. To see if you are a supporting partner or a primary partner, a parent just needs to try to influence his child’s curriculum. A simple test is to see how difficult it is to opt your child out of a certain educational assignment. It’s likely possible, but only with a great deal of effort and possibly with a great deal of humiliation for your child. The Almighty State believes that it has a better understanding of your child’s educational needs than you do. Another test is to attempt to remove your child from the classroom for several days of family instruction. Just let your teacher know that the family will be taking an educational trip to Gettysburg, and see what the response is. A few years ago, the teacher would have said, “How wonderful! I wish every child could have this experience.” The teacher would give a few supplemental assignments to keep the child current and happily send them on their way. Today such a venture is likely to be an ex-unexcused absence and frowned upon by the entire school system. Further, if the child gets too many unexcused absences, the government school will fine the parent $500 or more for this educational experience. Teachers unions, the Department of Education, and special interest groups have taken education from the parent and given it entirely to the state. This is a dangerous path.
Parents are quickly losing the ability to make healthcare decisions for their children.
The pressure to vaccinate is huge, if not mandatory. Even worse, in some states an underage child can get them an abortion without parental consent (though they may not be able to purchase a 32 ounce soft drink!). Once again, the Almighty State assumes that parents are unable to make proper health decisions for their children.
Parents are likely to lose control of the educational options for their children.
Many states, like the one in which I live, are currently friendly to homeschooling parents. This is not exclusively true, and I expect to see more trouble rather than less for a parent who wishes to remove their child from the state system. In Europe, it’s not hard to find cases where parents have been severely fined or even imprisoned because they refused to send their children to the state schools. Conservative parents should make sure that those who receive their vote for state representative, local school boards, state boards of education, or the House of Representatives believe in freedom of choice in education.
Parents are losing control of the discipline options for their children.
In many cases, it is becoming the law to “spare the rod.” Increasingly, parents are investigated and even punished for disciplinary measures which were common a generation ago. No one is for child abuse, and all cases of child abuse should be addressed and those who put children’s safety at risk should be punished. It must always remain, however, that the parent is ultimately the deciding factor in the discipline of their children.
Parents could become the state-controlled caretakers of its children.
Several years ago, Hillary Clinton wrote a book entitled, “It Takes a Village.” While I have not read the book, the title seems to imply that the parent is insufficient in rearing children. Increasingly, the state views children as citizens of the state rather than children of the parent.. As the state’s citizens, the state swoops in to “develop a good citizenry.” Soon it becomes the state’s interests to educate its citizens in state schools, to medicate its citizens in state hospitals, to discipline its citizens with state mandates, and to use parents simply as caretakers of the smallest of the state’s citizenry.
Beware of these dangers facing the family. In my next and final installment in this series, I will give five suggestions for concerned parents.