Report on the results of “Family and Education” Plenary Meeting held at the 11th Rhodes Forum on October 4, 2013
The “Sensate Culture” and the sexual revolution threaten the stability and viability of global civilizations. The two necessary steps to restoring an “idealistic culture” rooted in spiritual truths and sustainable development involves the restoration of the family and the reformation of the social system of education. Pitrim Sorokin, the Russian-American sociologist who has been referred to as the “Prophet of the Culture War of Our Age” described these steps: (1) “Marriage and the family must be restored to their place of dignity among the great values in human life, not to be trifled with. (2) The social system of education needs to escape from the sterile attention to mere job training, “animalistic theories of man,” and “degrading sensate ideologies.” Instead schools should be organized to develop attitudes of duty and altruism in the young, to imbue “true wisdom” and not intellectual fads, and to nurture “creative geniuses,” those necessary few who would guide the building of an “idealistic culture.”
The natural family structure provides the best learning environment for children. Parents have the responsibility and duties to educate their children with interference from the state or influence of outside foreign powers or corporate entities regardless of the education system chosen by the parents (public schools, private schools or homeschooling). In order for humanity to continue, every civilization must find a way to preserve and pass along its traditions, religion and culture – important universal values – to the next generation. The mechanisms of forming and molding a new person who is capable of becoming a full-fledged representative of his/her culture involve a “wholistic education” that can only take place within the structure of the natural family. Therefore, a basic civilizational constant and universal value is the “Natural Family” based upon the union of a man and a woman, through marriage for the purposes of sharing love and joy, propagating children, providing their moral education, building a vital home economy, offering security in times of trouble, and binding the generations. The Natural Family as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) is a “sine-qua-non” condition for survival and sustainable development of all nations and civilizations, and the basic and integral conditions for social and demographic well‐being.
The natural family protects children and always provides better social outcomes for children. Children are the most-persecuted and discriminated against minority group in our modern world. From conception onward, their life, health, and well-being is not guaranteed and is decreasingly protected by local and international laws subjected to the sexual choices and desires of adults. We call on governments to pass laws protecting the life of children of conception and protecting their well-being from harmful sexual content and pornography promoted by sexual radicals. The laws should be modeled after the anti-abortion and Child-Protection Laws recently passed in Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries.
Mass media, entertainment, music and television are a greater cultural influence on children and education than parents or teachers. With modern temptations and demands of work, parents are spending less time with children - less two minutes per day in meaningful conversation. Therefore, children are spending 3000% more time being influenced by the mass media and entertainment. Parents need to teach their children to be media-wise and institutions need to protect children from harmful content in movies, music, TV, and the internet.
The “Sensate Culture” has created diseases and fostered dependence on drugs to cure youth behavior problems such as ADD and ADHD. Doctors and psychologists need to stop over-medicating and over-diagnosing psychosis among children. Treatment and physical activity suggestions need to be made in the context of the natural family and educational experiences of the child, free from the influence of pharmaceutical companies and corporate interests.
Home-schooling (which pre-dates socialized and centralized education) provides a viable alternative to public and private education systems and produces more children that positively contribute to society. Home-schooling allows parents and society to protect children from the harmful influences of post-modern ideologies and radical sexualism that is in the culture and public school systems. Home-school students statistically do better on all measurements of educational achievement and are more likely to reflect the religion, culture, and values of their parents. Home-schooling families contribute more economically and culturally to society and to the stability and continuation of civilizations.
The purpose of education should NOT be to train a person to be materially successful by providing them with more information and knowledge. The purpose of education should be to impart upon the young, the wisdom, character values, and skills necessary to form a person that will be a contributing member of culture and society and life-long learner that respects universal values, cultures and the importance of dialogue among the civilizations.
As confirmed by anthropology, biology, history, religion and sociology, the married-two parent family provides the best learning environment and cultural education for children. Culture and religious values cannot be separated. These values are important for the development of the whole person and must be taught by the parents.
Cultural imperialism, superiority and colonialism as practiced by individual countries and the United Nations should be rejected. The Abrahamic faiths, Confucianism and many other world religions help teach values and provide children a better learning environment. The tradition values and religion of civilizations and local cultures should be respected by international organizations. In some cases, the so-called “Third-World” countries are actually more advanced in the preservation of their family and religious values and in measurements of contentment and numbers of suicides among the young people. The Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), Confucianism, as well as many other world religions provide children with important universal truths such as “The Golden Rule.” Research shows that children that attend church, synagogues, mosques, or temples weekly with their parents actually learn better in school in all subjects including math and science.
Marriage is a positive social good and should not be redefined. The institution of marriage predates both the state and the church. Both have a key role in upholding the matrimonial ideal because marriage and motherhood and fatherhood have intrinsic worth and are social (and economic) goods. We know that children do best when raised by a married mother and father in the home. Because of biology, the married-parent family is the only cultural institution which can naturally reproduce itself while maintaining its liberty from the state. Therefore, the state has interest in promoting and encouraging marriage and the raising of children with a married mother and father household that ensures the future of society. Other adult forms of cohabitation and alternative sexual relationships should not be discriminated against and should be allowed to form contractual agreements. The contractual agreements should promote real equality and not “sameness” that undermines diversity in trying to mimic the real complementarity of men and women.
Family businesses are an important extension of the natural family and better reflect the values of the local culture. Family businesses and small enterprises play a key role in diversifying the economy, providing sustained employment and fostering innovation. Linked to this is the importance of families and family businesses in harnessing social capital on which the trust and cooperation on economic efficiency and social progress depends. Modern technologies allow more men and women to work from home which further improves the educational and social outcomes of their children including decreased delinquency and violence.
The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society. Even in modern society, more than 70% of economic goods and services are still produced inside the home but not counted in measures of national GNP. Therefore, strong, stable families with a mother and father in the home, contribute to a healthy global economy, generate social capital, help maintain a culture of peace, and provide a unique opportunity to address all of the major problems including poverty, violence, education and healthcare found in contemporary society.
As Plato once said, a civilization that forgets to tell is stories, dies. Important universal values and virtues are passed on through the family including the values of spiritual faith, respect for other individuals and the use of dialogue to peacefully resolve disagreements and conflicts. To escape the “Sensate Culture” and avoid the impending civilizational decline, moral decline, economic decline, and social injustice, all governments should recognize, encourage, and protect the natural family and encourage a “(w)holistic education.”