This I Believe

David - Bakersfield, California
Entered on February 1, 2007

I believe in parenting education.

Not the kind that judges sentence abusive parents to, but community-based parenting education for young people. That is, young people, kids, being taught how to engage in parenting behaviors and practices generally recognized as supporting the healthy physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children, and reject parenting behaviors and practices generally recognized as disrupting the healthy development of children. This is not so fourteen year olds can have babies! The purpose would be to prepare young people for the most important job they’ll have as adults…being responsible, caring, competent parents.

I believe in the power of prevention and proactive solutions, and I can’t imagine anything more proactive than teaching kids how to parent so they’re well prepared for this enormous responsibility.

I believe that parenting education for young people could be the most powerful prevention strategy. Why? Because many of the problems that plague communities are generational in nature and closely associated with parenting issues. Here are some very real benefits of parenting education.

? Less child abuse

? Stronger and more stable families

? Healthy and more confident children

? Less substance abuse

? Less delinquency, gangs, and crime

? Better education

? Reduced teen pregnancy

? Less domestic violence

I believe in preparing people for the job they’re expected to do. Mechanics, electricians, welders, all tradespeople learn their skills at a vocational school or through an apprenticeship. Teachers learn how to teach in credential programs. Doctors are trained in medical schools. But for the vitally important job that directly impacts the next generation there’s no formal training. Children, families, and communities pay a heavy price for this colossal lost opportunity to prevent suffering and heartache.

Hundreds of times per day babies are born to parents who are disastrously unprepared for parenting. Why this continues to happen makes no sense. Parenting is neither a mystery nor rocket science. Indeed, for thousands of years multitudes of parents have been doing great jobs raising their kids! The problem isn’t that we don’t know what good parenting is. It’s that we don’t teach it! When best parenting behaviors and practices aren’t taught, the door is left open to ignorance, confusion, and misunderstanding.

Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang wrote, “It has seemed to me that the final test of any civilization is, what type of …. fathers and mothers does it turn out?” I believe that parenting education can help us pass this test. Dr. George Albee of the Prevention Institute wrote, “No mass disorder afflicting mankind is ever brought under control…by…treating the individual.” Trying to fix broken parents one at a time is too little too late. We must be proactive rather than reactive. Parenting education for young people seems to offer the greatest opportunity to break the cycles of child abuse, substance abuse, and violence.

I believe in parenting education.