My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this week. It was a great chance for Kim and I to take inventory of our marriage and look back our our accomplishments together. Of the things we discussed, our four daughters and their development stood out as our greatest achievement together.
This inventory process got me thinking about our society. Our laws place a heavy emphasis on protecting children. For instance, not only is it against the law to beat a child, its against the law to beat someone else in the presence of a child. Illicit materials are not to be distributed to children. The legislature this year has proposed making it illegal to smoke in a car with children in it.
So why all the fuss about protecting these kids? Well, it seems that society has interests that supersede those of the individuals that make up the society. It appears that the most dominant of these interests is that of survival and self preservation. Healthy societies typically value laws that promote the continuance of their existence. Societies perpetuate themselves through reproduction and through the best possible child rearing.
We see examples of this bias toward reproduction and parenting in our tax laws. Married couples typically pay less than single individuals. For each child that a parent has, they are able to make tax deductions based on those children. The government, through making laws which represent the interest of those whom it governs, creates incentives for procreation and parenting.
Interestingly, our time sees this very common-sensed approach to self preservation under siege from many angles. First, there is an effort to equate same-sex relationships with those of a married man and woman. For obvious reasons, the end goal of these efforts does nothing to support the continual existence of society. Secondly, we have our young male population being overwhelmed with insidious distractions such as pornography, video games, and electronic media which subvert the natural desire to marry and bear children. Thirdly, and in tandem with the second point, is the ever growing size of our adolescent population. Adolescence is the formative years of a persons life. That being said, it is also the part of life which is the most perilous. Its a period of life marked with puberty, development of sexual mores and norms, development of proper relationships between the opposite sexes and other developments which will ultimately establish the character, and therefore ultimate happiness, of an individual.
It used to be that adolescence started around the age to 12 and ended at 18. Today we see the sexualization of our children as young as 8 and the attitudes of adolescence carried well into the 30's for some. The perilous years of adolescence have grown from 6 years of a person's life to over 20. Is it any wonder that many people in our society are not married nor ever wish to marry? Is it any wonder that our divorce rate is so high when we have married men and women with the attitudes of a 16 year old? As a father of only daughters, I am highly concerned about the quantity of quality young men out there that will someday court my girls.
Despite the significance and huge impact these problems have on the future of our society, the remedy for them is quite simple. In my opinion, an honest commitment by parents to teach their children boundaries, instill in them the value of family, and to do it without fear of supposed hypocrisy due to their own youthful indulgences will do more than any church, school, or government institution to bring our society back from the edge of chaos. I hope that we can all commit to being those kinds of parents regardless of our circumstances. The perpetuation, happiness, and tranquility of our society depends on it.