Tell me if I’m wrong… (I know you will!)

After finishing Stephanie Coontz’s The Way We Never Were, I couldn’t help but think:

I’ve heard many liberals admit Dan Quayle may have been right years ago in his Murphy Brown suggestion: children tend to be better off raised by two parents rather than one.

On the other hand, I can’t recall having heard many conservatives admit Hillary Clinton was right that “it takes a village to raise a child.”

I grew up in a pretty healthy, relatively well-off family, yet it is easy for me to think of the vast number of adults other than my parents to whom I looked for help and support.  I can also think of many policies and cultural patterns that supported me and my parents throughout those years.

It does indeed take a village; perhaps even more than a village.

5 thoughts on “Tell me if I’m wrong… (I know you will!)

  1. You’re wrong. 🙂 I agree up to apoint. Both parents, and teh community need to take respnsiblity for their chidren. What bothers me is the tendency to pass the responsibility on to the other group. ie “it takes a village” means that we don’t expect parental responsibility. Then of course we have the mother of cotoplets making her own village.
    The it takes a village idea isn’t all that new. Seems like Paul called that the “Body of Christ”.

  2. With all respect, I don’t think you’re comparing two equatable things. I don’t know any conservative who would argue that a child is not better off surrounded by a whole community of loving, respect-worthy adults in addition to the child’s immediate family. Perhaps in order to recall the context, the conservative objection is to Clinton’s actual meaning, as they perceive it. To conservative ears, what she actually said was, “it takes a village built by government social programs to raise a child, and where the actions of those programs are in conflict with individual parents’ wishes, the government wins.”

  3. The best setting for raising a child, I think, is in a stable, extended-family environment, within a close-knit neighborhood, or “village” (HRC’s meaning). But with the “transportableness” of people, jobs, careers, and families in our current culture, this is hard to come by. Instead, the need for that remains but what people end up doing with their children is leaving them at school for 11 hours a day (with “extended day” and after-school options accepted), or hiring inside or outside day-care providers — and this just doesn’t amount to the same thing.

  4. To Brian and Scott: I think I see your point. I don’t think that admitting there is wisdom in extended family and/or communal support in raising children necessarily means turning your children over to the federal nanny.

    Likewise, admitting Dan Quayle had a point about Murphy Brown doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with some nostalgic ideal of a 2-parent family unencumbered but close familial and community ties.

  5. Perhaps this is a situation of asking why one is mutually exclusive to the other. I grew up in a family that was ‘traditional.’ My dad worked a job outside the home, and my mom was a homemaker.
    I now am in a marriage where my wife stays home and takes care of our daughter full time, and I work. I confess my brother and sister and their families are the same way.
    That being said, we all believe very strongly in community ties. Not necessarily neighbourhood ties (although those are good), but rather with the Church. The Church is the village that should be intimately involved in rearing our children.
    Steve can probably attest that I would normally be dubbed ‘conservative,’ yet I agree with HRC to a point. Confessedly, I never read her book, and disagree with any type of federal nanny, or federal dictates about child rearing. I do believe in the concept of the title, with regards to the Church.
    I also believe that God made families and agree with D. Quayle

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