Saturday, February 12, 2005

Liberal Parenting

I don't usually think of myself as a liberal but using the definition found here I may just have to change my vocabulary a bit. The whole essay is worth reading but here are some interesting quotes.

A lesser known, but crucial “ism” is “liberal parentalism.” It’s a phrase coined by Professor Stephen Gilles of Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut. The phrase embraces the tradition of parents’ freedom to choose how their children will be educated. When parents are not permitted (or are too apathetic) to make decisions regarding the training of their children, government takes the reins. The result can be inimical to the desires of most parents, such as the current situation in which God is utterly banned from public schools. The concept of liberal parentalism holds that parents are best able to make decisions concerning how their kids will be raised—particularly how they will be educated. No government entity, no matter how intellectually endowed, has the motivation or concern in choosing a school for a child as has the child’s own parents. That’s the essence of liberal parentalism.


No matter what you call it—“liberal parentalism” or educational freedom—the critical role of parents in education is rooted deeply in our history and religious tradition. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching,” reads Proverbs 1:8 (NIV). And a later proverb advises, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.” (Proverbs 29:17 NIV)

Parents have a moral duty to use freedom responsibly by making good decisions for their children. For its part, government has a duty to provide the space necessary for exercising that freedom. Allowing a diverse variety of educational institutions to flourish accommodates the deepest beliefs and desires of a diverse population. It is the “liberal” thing to do.

Amen! What amazes me is that we have the freedom in this country to choose to abort our children but once born, the right to educate them is a matter for the state! The most liberal states have some of the most restrictive home education laws. Go figure!


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