Thursday, November 18, 2004

Why Do We Need Parents When We Have Schools?

Over the past few days, the newspapers and other media have been carrying a story about a controversy involving the use of our schools to sensitize our children to homosexuality. Apparently a school showed some young children a video depicting families where children are being raised by same-sex couples. Some Muslim parents have voiced their opinion that schools are no place for such activity and have asked that their children be excused from the room when issues of sexual orientation are discussed. The school board refused, claiming that the human rights of same-sex parents would be violated if some parents were allowed to exclude their children from such initiatives.

I must admit that this makes no sense to me at all.

When did it become a violation of anyone’s human rights to simply refuse to listen to what others are saying? To even suggest that I must, under punishment of law, never walk away or close my ears when something is being communicated that I do not agree with is tantamount to fascism. No longer are my eyes and ears my own. They now belong to the state. And I may not close them if the state says they must remain open. This scares the bejebbers out of me. If the state owns my eyes, why aren’t they paying for my glasses? It seems only fair that, if they can dictate when my eyes cannot be closed, they should at least pay for what I see when they are open.

That said, lets focus on the real issue here. Am I the only one who finds it deeply troubling that our state run schools have taken over the responsibility of imparting morals and values to our children? When was it, I wonder, that school board officials acquired the right to tell our children what to think and feel? Even the Premier of Ontario has announced that he supports allowing school boards to perform this deeply personal parental function. I always thought that schools should be places where children learn how to think - not what to think.

There was a time when teachers and school boards respected the rights of parents to mold and shape their children’s sensibilities and values. In return, parents respected the rights of teachers to impart knowledge and, if necessary, uphold order and decorum in the classroom through discipline. Today, we live in a much different world. Today, teachers spend too much time trying to coddle our children and influence their personal values; and parents spend too much time teaching their children the basic rules of grammar at home at night. I can’t help but feel very uncomfortable about this arrangement. It seems very unnatural – creepy even – to think that we as parents are allowing total strangers to decide what our children should think and feel.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point, in the fairly recent past, those who control our education system decided that simply imparting academic knowledge and expanding our children’s minds with facts was no longer enough for them. They wanted to reach into our children’s hearts and souls and actually shape our children’s values, morals and sensibilities to correspond with their own. In essence, they decided that parents were not to be trusted to pass on the correct values to their children and therefore the state should take over.

Certainly there are enough semi-literate high school graduates walking our streets to prove that schools are spending insufficient time actually teaching our children. So why then, I wonder, can they justify spending valuable educational time on social indoctrination initiatives. Maybe it’s time our educrats were reminded of their natural place in society. It is their job to teach. It is my role to parent. They should stick to what they get paid for and teach our children to read properly. It is unnatural and immoral for them to presume to have the right to mold my child’s values and sensibilities. As a parent, that’s my job. And I am more than capable of teaching my children tolerance and compassion.

Remember the Hitler youth movement? Children were indoctrinated by the state to subscribe to values dictated by the state and to turn in their parents if they dissented in any way from the state-decreed norm. That was then and this is now. In both cases the state is telling us what values our children must have.

Now, I am not comparing Hitler with same-sex advocates. However, I cannot help but notice that they are employing the same methods to condition and train our children to think, feel and believe what they want them to believe. Our children must watch, listen and bow to their superior edicts, or they will be punished. The opinions of their parents are secondary, if not irrelevant. And, as a father, this really frightens me.

Geez, but it’s fun to be a parent these days.


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