When We Care for Children:
by Jay Davidson
You have heard that children are the future of our country. If this is true, we are shortchanging the future of our country. People who say they value children need to demonstrate with their actions that they mean what they say - by doing what needs to be done to make children a supreme priority in our society.
When we care for children, we conceive them only when there is a loving home with adults who are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices in time and energy to raise them.
When we care for children, we find a way in this wealthy land to provide them with health care, regardless of the socioeconomic status of their parents.
When we care for children, we discipline them firmly, yet with love, taking the time to define our standards. We recognize that though they may rail against us now, they will be better for it later. We are willing to stand up to them because, after all, we are the adults. We know better.
When we care for children, we spend more time with them, understanding that all time with them is quality time. It is better to be with them than to be working harder so that we can provide them with a wider array of material goods.
When we care for children, parents do not expose them to bitter fights and rancorous divorces. Parents put the welfare of their children first, never asking them to side with either parent against the other.
When we care for children, we do not abuse them in any way: not their bodies, emotions, or psyches. We remove from society those who abuse them. The perpetrators of harm against children get no plea-bargaining, no time off for good behavior, and no second chances.
When we care for children, there is no need to form organizations to shield them from violent and obscene "entertainment" because the "entertainment" companies put the welfare of children before the financial wellbeing of their stockholders.
When we care for children, we provide them with clean and modern schools, fully funded so that trained professionals are using up-to-date books, supplies, and equipment to teach all areas of the curriculum.
When we care for children, we value their teachers by paying them competitive wages.
When we care for children, employers are willing to provide paid parental leave for birth, adoption, illness, and parent conferences.
When we care for children, we put their interests first by quitting our own self-destructive and compulsive habits - smoking, abusing drugs, overeating, excessive consumption of alcohol, and gambling. We keep ourselves healthy as an example to them.
This, then, is our call to action, to demonstrate that we care for children. Each of us can choose to make positive contributions to the children in our lives. It can take as many of these actions as we are willing to make: Discipline our child in a thoughtful and loving manner. Define our standards and values to our children and help them to understand them. Spend more time with them. Do something loving for our child's other parent (or in memory of the child's other parent). Let our legislators know that we want tougher laws enacted for perpetrators of crimes against children. Closely monitor our child's choices in entertainment. Insist that schools be funded so that they can provide for the educational needs of all children. Vote for a bond measure that will improve public education. Recognize the work that teachers do for our children. Speak to our employer about the need for paid parental leave to care for our child. Exercise; why not do it with our children? Quit any habits that are ruining our health.
When we care for children, we are willing to do these things so that we can see them grow up, give us grandchildren, and fulfill their destiny as the future that our country and the world deserves.