I was challenged by a friend's assertion: I am so glad I am not raising kids in these times. Neither of us is of an age where this is anything but a philosophical issue, but nonetheless I'm going to take it on.
Because I think this is a GREAT time to rear children. (No matter how many people insist the language is changing, I can never get my father's voice out of my head: You raise chickens, but rear children.)
Why do I think this is a great time to be a parent?
When I started to write this post, I realized I'd basically done it already, in my 30-part Good New Days Thanksgiving series from 2010. Six years later it's just as relevant. I wasn't focussing on childrearing by any means, but nearly all of my posts speak to reasons why I think it's great to be a parent today rather than in days past. Below I've included a list and links for all except the few for which I couldn't make that connection.
- Smoke-Free Living
- Openness in Politics
- Better Baby Formula
- Handicapped Access
- Ethnic Restaurants
- Pants as Suitable Clothing for Girls and Women
- The End of Forced Bed Rest for Mildly Ill Children
- Worldwide Communication and Travel
- The All-Volunteer Military
- Cleaner Air and Water
- Fathers and Children
- Digital Cameras
- Sexual Harassment Rules
- Reproductive Freedom
- Community Recycling
- Calculators and New Telephone Technology (These are a little outdated—a lot has changed in six years—but the principles are the same. Electronic devices have brought challenges to childrearing, but also fantastic opportunities.)
- Educational Choices (This is the most important of all in my book. Huge. But I'm listing these in original publication order.)
- Clothes Dryers (If you think this is trivial, I have four words for you: Cloth diapers. Rainy days.)
- Modern Dentistry
- Video Technology
- Food from All Over the World
- Ethnic Diversity
- Advances in Medical Care
- The Interstate Highway System
- Computers and the Internet
- And though I didn't mention it six years ago, the violent crime rate is much lower than it was when our children were little. Oddly enough, fear and angst are up, which is another issue, but crime itself is down.
Sure, there are things that are more challenging now. I'd be a lot more concerned if I lived in Germany or Sweden, for example, where there is so little educational freedom. But here? The educational resources and opportunities are so much greater than when our children were young, and almost infinitely greater than when my parents were rearing children. For that alone I'd love to have young children now, because that was definitely the most fun part of childrearing for me!