Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Who is Parent to this Child?

Family Scholars Blog looks at yet another non-traditional family and as usual finds much to criticize. I provided the following response:

Elizabeth Marquardt,

In response to your comment #11

I have a picture of my father standing on Waikiki beach dated December 7,1942. He served in the Navy in Hawaii during WWII. He left home a few months after I was born. When my father lost his job at the height of the depression in the 1930's and couldn't find another, he started a business of his own. With him away during the war my mother took over running the business.

Mom's parents retired and came to live with us well before I was born, which was typical before social security came into existence. With Pop away and Mom running the business, Grandma looked after me and my older brother each day.

In response to a question, Christ told the story of the Samaritan. He then asked the lawyer, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

So I ask you:

Who dabbed some formula on her wrist to make sure it was the right temperature before feeding me my bottle?

Who put some ointment on my bottom to ease the rash when she changed my cloth diaper?

Who softly sang:

The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes.
The little lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love thee lord Jesus look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

to lull me to sleep for my afternoon nap?

As I grew, who read me "The Pokey Little Puppy," "The Wizard of Oz." and on and on?

Who told me to be respectful of others, to not use the "n" word and to be polite, well before the term "PC" was invented?

Who taught me that God loves all His children without reservation, that we should treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves?

Being a parent takes many skills, lots of patience, willing hands, a hopeful spirit and much more. But most of all it takes a loving heart. There's nothing about biology that guarantees any of this.

In answering Christ's question, the lawyer had to admit that it was the Samaritan, a person who was otherwise despised by Jews in those times, who was the good neighbor to this man.

So in the present context I have to ask, "Who was parent to the child and looked after his needs?"

Do I love my Mom and Pop? Of course I do! Yet, like most children, I cherish even more the person who first raised me, my grandmother.

So when I read about this Russian grandmother, I celebrate the new life she holds in her hands. I feel the joy and love she has for this child and am confident she is more likely to succeed than many other parents I know.

Yet no matter how advantaged a child is in some, most or even all of the more important factors that lead to successful child rearing outcomes, if the family situation is non-traditional, a factor which ranks 8th or 9th in importance by any objective measure, you consider the child's situation to be tragic.

So I ask you, like the lawyer, to put your prejudices aside, and acknowledge that family composition is one of the least important factors in successfully raising children when compared to the many other factors which are far more important. Then, where these other factors are so positive, to rejoice that the child is being raised in these beneficial, though non-traditional circumstances.


At 1/25/2006 6:52 PM, Anonymous John said...

I happen to think that the people over at Family Scholars are good people, who sincerely believe that individuals simply cannot be trusted to make reproductive choices that vary from their notion of what is ideal.

I don't understand it.

At 1/27/2006 4:55 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...


I support "traditional families" where children are raised by their married biological parents, and that we should employ positive measures to help families stay together, but we don't need to trash other family situations in the process or add draconian features to our divorce laws as part of this effort.

At 1/27/2006 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, Bill. You'll get no argument from me.

My family is as traditional as can be, but it is not my place to criticize other family structures.


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