5/07/2008

Communication Happens at Home

Sara has an interesting post on the recent comments of Clarissa Williams, the new president of the National Association of Head Teachers in the UK.
Among other things, Williams said that "real communication" takes place "at home" around the dinner table, without the distractions of television and video games. I have to say, I totally agree with her and I wish more people in the public sector had her wisdom.
More can be read at the BBC.

3 comments:

Luca Manfredi said...

Unfortunately a smaller proportion of UK kids and teenagers have proper family interaction than their European counterparts (i don't know the North America stats). in the 12-18 range (methinks) just over 30% of teenagers had a regular sit-down meal. I have witnessed a little bit of that dysfunction.

'Tis good saying, but there isn't a social framework to back it up. Family cuture needs to be brought back before true communication can be advocated.

Peter Thurley said...

Real communication may happen at home, but as luca manfredi points out above, so few North American teenagers know what a home looks like. There's a certain level of socio-economic status that must be had before a home can begin to look the way it ought to. I was thankful to grow up in a home where we had sit-down meals, but I can assure you that when it comes to low income, single parent families, there just isn't the time to sit around the dinner table and have a good conversation. Instead, the focus is on making sure there is a dinner table to sit down at.

I read the post over at Choice for Childcare as well, and I find the proposal quite interesting - paying parents to stay at home and look after their children. I'm curious - would this proposal apply only to mothers, or would fathers be included as well? What if I choose to have a large family, and I can make a case that both parents need to stay home to look after the children? I could make parenting my "career" and not contribute anything else to society? What kind of wage would be proposed? If I was a single mom, could I pull myself out of poverty by my bootstraps, just by staying at home and raising my childen?

I think what bothers me the most is the idea that, somehow, socio-economic status doesn't have anything at all to do with one's ability to function in society. It seems to me that this is a MAJOR factor and it is overlooked with these kinds of proposals. I'd be interested in hearing how that could be remedied.

Ruth said...

"I'm curious - would this proposal apply only to mothers, or would fathers be included as well?"

I can't speak to Ms. Williams intent, but I know Sara would advocate for fathers as well.

To be frank, I am not sure that paying parents to be parents is the right approach. What kind of wage would be proposed? Honestly, can you put a monetary value on good parenting? I am not so sure you can. However, I do think Williams has hit on something key: the government simply cannot function as a parent to a child. Only a parent can do that. Children are not numbers, and government policy, far too often, is driven by statistics. In my view, the government ought to support the family, not try to take over its role. Whatever the government in the UK planning to spend on a public daycare, perhaps that money would be better directed to the parents rather than tied up in government bureaucracy.

"I could make parenting my "career" and not contribute anything else to society?"

Here I have to comment. Parenting is a career. Parents contribute more to society than any other "institution." Successful parenting involves raising successful, well-rounded, moral individuals who will continue our society. Were parenting to cease, all other institutions would fail. As a stay-at-home-mom, I consider myself to have a vital role in society even if only a few people acknowledge my role as such.

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