Good Reason #10
No longer can we...
trust parents to be accountable for their children

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown, picks up the letter that's lying there. Standing alone at the top of the stairs she breaks down and cries to her husband, "Daddy, our baby's gone! Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? How could she do this to me? "What did we do that was wrong? We didn't know it was wrong. We gave her everything money could buy." . . .She's leaving home after living alone for so many years. Something inside that was always denied for so many years. She's leaving home, bye bye.
—John Lennon and Paul McCartney, She’s Leaving Home

I know we've come a long way. We're changing day to day, but tell me: Where do the children play?
—Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman

Haven't we all wondered at some point, "Why am I here?" For many, life is a series of lessons in responsibility, a chain of opportunities to learn how to love. For others, however, it has no point at all beyond the pleasure of the moment.

How we answer the question influences how we act and what we expect of others in all of life's situations. Probably it is nowhere more obvious, however, than in how we treat those we bring into this world: our children.

In the area of parenting, the basic "Why am I here?" translates into "What are children for? In our increasingly secular society, too many view children as a nuisance, to be neglected when they cannot be aborted beforehand.

Leading medical research suggests that, even before birth, children can sense when they are unwanted and contract severe illness as a result. Any culture to which the future generations are unimportant is likewise seriously ill.

Caught between the lure of "the good life," so temptingly touted by the media, and the pressures of bringing up baby, too many parents abdicate their responsibility. Even for those with strong spiritual roots, the stresses of parenting are very taxing. To those with weak ones or none at all, parenthood can seem like a trap. Instead of a sacred responsibility, a child can appear to be a worthless, extra expense; the punishment for a night of pleasure---or even an enemy.

Our society pays enormous lip service to the institution of the family. Yet, many factors in it distract parents from their primary duty. Once the glow of the baby shower and cigars fades to the realities of diapers and 3 a.m. feedings, a couple (or single parent) finds that most of the burden falls squarely on their own shoulders. If ill prepared for their roles by their own upbringing, they may be overwhelmed by the experience.

Mankind is not a species born with enough instincts to survive on its own. Our complex society makes it even tougher. In the past, when relatives lived closer together, there was usually a grandparent, aunt or uncle to help out. In today's world of fractured families, the State is all too ready to fill the gap. If the parents are not there to teach the children their values someone else will teach them theirs. What do YOU think?

Possibly no other of life's lessons is so deeply demanding or rewarding as parenthood. Many people realize this instinctively, and there seems to be no end to the varieties of assistance available. From mothers-in-law to child psychologists, from toy and game manufacturers to book publishers and school, exercise and athletic programs, each has its own agenda. So does the child itself, as the parents soon learn.

Every child is our child.
—slogan of UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund)

With a 50 percent divorce rate, widespread marital infidelity and domestic violence, adult drug and alcohol abuse, is it any wonder that so many children are illiterate and involved in gangs and crime? Are we surprised that so many teenage girls are pregnant and so many college students see getting drunk as their highest form of social expression?

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