Whenever I have friends who are about to pop out their first screaming little bundle of joy into the world, I present them with this book. It is a classic of modern parenting. Pamela Druckerman married a Frenchman and had her children in Paris. Being an American, she began to bring up her children the modern American way, which is to say she made her kids the center of the universe and she revolved around them.
This didn’t go down too well with the French.
Fortunately, Druckerman was quite perceptive and she quickly adjusted her parenting techniques to that of the locals. This book is a story of how she did this and what it ultimately achieved. To put it simply, the French believe that parents should not be at the constant service of their children. Apart from making your life a misery, it does the children no good either. As an example, French mothers let their babies cry in the night from a very early age. The baby soon learns that crying will not get it any attention and it learns not to cry but instead to sleep through the night. Crazy stuff, right?
In my traits of the modern man I wrote that The modern man civilizes his children. But the manner in which this is done is also vitally important. If done incorrectly it can have disastrous consequences in adult life:
The extreme misbehavior that we see today on college campuses is a clear example of adult-children screaming to be civilized. And yet the college leadership groups simply roll over with their legs in the air. It is too hard for them.
In modern Anglo-Saxon nations the prevailing wisdom is to put your children front and center of everything. Personally, I have always found this ludicrous. When I grew up in the 70s and 80s, as children we were not front and center of anything. Our parents accommodated that position. And yet, my generation was the first to begin this helicopter parenting. How crazy is that? You wait throughout your entire childhood to gain your place in position of authority but when you get there you hand it over to your kids instead!
Of courser this was not the fault of my generation, well not entirely. The progressive Left has been on a slow but steady course to assume the mantle of bringing up children on behalf of parents. Making parents feel guilty for everything was merely a beginning step. Once you make them feel guilty, then you can alter their behavior. From that point you can make the new behavior the socially accepted normality, and it’s not too many steps after that when you can make it actual law and parents are being arrested for allowing their children to go down to the local park and play alone.
Control starts early in Australia. Even before the baby is born, new parents are required to attend courses where they are educated, [indoctrinated is a better word – Editor], in the current paradigm. They are instructed by “experts” in all the latest helicopter parenting trends. 40 years ago you had your baby and went home and after that it was all up to you. And believe it or not, the vast majority of parents did pretty well. On the face of it we give more credence to animals to bring up their own offspring than we do for humans. Apparently animals know what to do with no problems at all, but humans who have been on the planet for maybe 30 years are complete idiots who must be taught everything.
For those of us on the conservative side of politics it is easy to mock France for the terrible state of their country. But at least they have not succumbed to this awful state of affairs with their children. In that regard, the future of Europe may well be salvageable because the next generation has at least something going for it. Contrast that with modern Anglo-Saxon countries however, and things don’t look all that rosy. Yes, Trump may well do a lot of great things to reverse the tide, but just who is receiving that new tide? A look around modern campuses tells you everything you need to know in that regard.
The reaction that I get from friends when I give them this book is polite and uncomfortable confusion. I have not yet had a good reaction, and I am very far from the point where one of them will call me up and gush with excitement at how the book changed their entire outlook on this matter. But still I hand out the book. Perhaps it will sit on the shelf gathering dust, unwanted and unread, until 20 years later their own children will pick it up and think to themselves, ‘surely there must be a better way than the terrible job my parents did for me’.
I’m a glass half full kinda guy.