Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Society is to Blame: We are Society

Once again, another study has come out that shows interesting discrepancies between what parents believe and how they live. This study of mothers finds that mothers are overwhelmingly concerned about society and its negative impact on their children. But the question is what are they doing about it? Reducing TV, increasing monitoring of media such as music and video games and the Internet? Other studies suggest that this is not the case. Mothers in this study report, as many other recent studies of parents have found, they are concerned about the moral life of their children and they feel their children are not receiving enough moral instruction. But in other studies, they readily admit that they as parents spend little to no time instructing their children in moral or ethical issues. The studies are particularly striking in Christian parents who overwhelmingly believe that they should be the ones teaching their children about Jesus Christ but the majority of believers do not. (

Society will only change one family at a time. It is time for us to dust off our history books and remember that true, lasting change only occurs in societies with grassroots efforts. For example, the American Civil Rights Movement would never have begun without the tiny efforts of many. (Everyone from high schoolers up should watch the video series Eyes on the Prize, an excellent documentary of the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties that does a great job of exposing the grassroots origin of Civil Rights.) Leaders only arose out of the grassroots; they did not swoop down from on high and mobilize people. That means that if I am going to get on my soapbox demanding change, I had better the one out there leading the way.

It is so easy to forget this simple truth as we gripe and complain. Hate the school system? Homeschool. Feel corporate America is unfair? Start your own business. Hate all current politicians? Run for office yourself. Think this country's morality is going down faster than a sinking ship? Revitalize your own spiritual life and teach your children to do the same. Monitor the clothing you wear, the music you listen to and the TV and movies you watch.

The women in the study say that motherhood is the most important role for them. Does their calendar/planner reflect that? They say their marriages are important but how much time and respect are they devoting to their husbands? Does their calendar/planner reflect that?

About work: 83 percent strongly agreed that their care of their children is so unique that "no one else can replace it." Yet 41% worked full-time outside the home. Only 16% of mothers felt that working full-time was ideal. Yet over twice that percentage worked full time.

Most mothers worry about materialism -- 88 percent agreed that "money has too much control over our lives." But what are they doing to reduce the role of materialism in their lives and in the lives of their children.

More than 80 percent agreed that society as a whole should do more to protect children from "adult" aspects of the world. They also felt that society makes it "hard" to protect children. I agree. It is hard. Hard, yes but still necessary. Are these concerned moms considering homeschooling? Do they monitor the media that their children are exposed to at home?

When I speak of the glaring inconsistencies in the lives of the mothers in the study, I speak of myself as well. As a self-appointed critic of many aspects of American life, I must constantly challenge myself and ask those around me to challenge me to remain true to my ideals and to at least attempt to live that which I ask others to live. Of course, we will all fall short at times but the valiant efforts of many will ultimately lead to the change in American society that most parents seek.

No comments: