“Good Parenting Builds Society”

| June 25, 2019

Last week, the UN hosted an event right up C-Fam’s alley on the UN Global Day of Parents. Hosted in part by the Holy See, the meeting pulled no punches, beginning with the headline: “Good Parenting Builds Society: The Importance of Motherhood and Fatherhood.” While I’m sure that all kinds of good work is being done at the UN all the time, such brazen efforts to promote the nuclear family, as a general rule, seem pretty rare.

Specifically, this means paying special attention to the purpose of the nuclear family: creating and raising the next generation of upstanding citizens of the country and the world, and ensuring that our society defends and promotes those values that lend themselves to the happiness and well-being of all future generations. The representative of the Holy See was right on in his comments: children have a right to a father and a mother in a family; appropriate and age-appropriate sex education must become a priority; and children must be taught that sex is not a tool to be used at a whim for pleasure. The emphasis on teaching about sex is critical here—because sex and procreation are literally inseparable. And wherever there is a real care for the well-being of children, there must also be a special effort to ensure that sex, as the foremost procreative enterprise, is valued as more than an instinctive bid for pleasure. After all, human life and the raising of children is at stake.

Grace Melton of the Heritage Society made particularly strong points at the conference, defending the traditional family. They’re worth repeating here, and promoting wherever people are willing to listen.

First, children deserve both a father and a mother. Both parents play a critical role in the raising of children, and while both are of equal dignity and worth, they are not interchangeable, and the absence of one cannot be made up for by the extra effort of the other. This means that so long as society is interested in safeguarding the interests of children and the next generation, society ought to be equally interested in protecting and promoting traditional marriage. As my colleague Benedict Kinnison points out in his IYC blog entry entitled “We Have a People Problem” (June 2019), governments have an intrinsic interest in sustaining their populations, and are increasingly challenged by falling marriage rates and an increase in out-of-wedlock births, divorce rates, and STDs. Without the promotion of permanent, traditional marriage in modern Western culture, governments will face increasingly difficult problems and communities will suffer.

Melton can provide many more facts and figures than I have room to enumerate here, but consider this: 77% of children ending up in long-term poverty come from non-intact families, compared to the 22% figure when children come from intact families. Those people raised by a single mother are twice as likely to end up in prison in their lifetimes than those raised by both parents. Adolescents with non-married biological parents are twice as likely to report poor health, whether physical or mental. And for children with separated or divorced parents, suicide risks are substantially greater than for those children whose parents maintain a healthy marriage.

The evidence seems pretty clear: government institutions have every reason to encourage marriages and support parents in their mission to cultivate a healthy society for the future. And there is no doubt that their present-day efforts would yield highly desirable dividends: a happier, healthier population, and a reduced need for the government to step in where parents have failed. This is exactly what the “Good Parenting” conference is pushing, and what the magisterium has been teaching for millennia. Thankfully, the Holy See showed great courage in spreading this message UN, where many are hardly appreciative of the urgency of this issue. Now we can only hope that member nations take note, and act decisively.