Step 1 – Save the Children
We need to rebuild our social and environmental infrastructure from the ground up. The monumental problems with our society start at birth, and so we must begin with our children to restore the natural balance.
For thousands of years, the worth afforded to traditional feminine societal roles has been undervalued. Historically, work provided by women, which accounts for at least of half the labor expended on the planet, has never been paid for or esteemed. A woman was expected to stay at home, care for and educate children, tend a kitchen garden, care for livestock, provide healthcare to the entire family, cook, clean and tend to her husband’s needs. For all her efforts, she was usually provided with sustenance and shelter, and much of the sustenance she either grew or harvested herself.
Her male counterpart, on the other hand “brought home the bacon.” Society valued his contributions and compensated him with currency for his efforts. Men who were able to bring home a lot of money were praised as being good providers and successful and were almost universally admired by society as a whole.
Women who excel at traditional female roles raising healthy, well rounded and educated children are perhaps appreciated by their family members, but the societal admiration she achieves is negligible when compared to that a successful man can garner. She works just as hard if not harder than an uber-wealthy Wall Street Banker, but she receives none of the material compensation for her efforts and will never gain notoriety outside of her immediate social circles. In fact most women who chose to work at home usually describe themselves as “just a stay at home mom.”
In the modern world if a woman can’t both bring home the bacon and fry it up, she is somehow deemed as inadequate. Over time, women seeking appreciation and respect in the world have been forced to leave the home and join the traditionally male rat race. In doing so, women have proven they can adeptly perform the same work as men. Women have earned an equal place in the contemporary western workplace; however, it is unfortunate they had to do so in order to earn a living and respect, and the transition of women from homes into the workplace has come at a certain cost to society. A woman can have it all, but frequently it is simply humanly impossible to do it all and to do it all well. As women add to the responsibilities on their plate by going out into the workplace, children’s needs do not change, and a care giving vacuum results. Care givers need not be women. Many fathers are up to the task too, but somebody needs to step up and fill the void lest our children all fall through the cracks.
At infancy, a baby born in the United States can expect that its mother will be required to return to work six weeks after giving birth. The infant will then be sent to a day care facility, or if the parents are lucky enough, the child will be cared for by another family member or cared for at home by domestic staff. By the time the child is old enough for public education, he/she can expect to be put into an over-crowded, under-funded classroom with a poorly-paid and emotionally and physically exhausted teacher.
As relative wages decline and women are forced into the workplace to make ends meet, children receive less and less of the nurturance essential to healthy development. The thing that should be most dear to us as a species, ensuring the best possible future for the next generation, is immediately undermined when we pass off the responsibility of caring for our precious young in favor of the pursuit of commercial enterprise.
We can only begin to save our Earth by saving ourselves first. How can we expect to protect our planet, when we pay so little respect to the feminine value of nurturance? Our society now suffers from a wealth of evils caused from abject neglect. Even in our homes, the female is now forced into the masculine role of money earner going out into the workforce each day and leaving the care of her children and household largely in the hands of other individuals.
Those who are caring for our children are paid a pittance for their efforts, meaning that finding quality care givers is often impossible. As much as many child care workers are well meaning, it is very difficult to get enthusiastic about your job when you are barely making minimum wage. Ultimately, our society is collapsing from the ground up. Our children are plugged into electronic devices getting their moral and ethical tutorials off a television or the internet rather than from a present parent.
As a society, our children have become lost their position of priority. We spend much more money on our prisons and military than we do on our educational infrastructures. Under the given circumstances, it is no wonder so many children are experimenting with drugs, having sex, dropping out of school, shooting each other and generally failing in society. How can we expect to march forward into the future when we are miserably failing at preparing those who will become the decision makers in the next generation?
Little Steps Everyone Can Take
Read to your children every single day. Read them classics like Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Tales of Peter Rabbit and read them stories that teach them to stretch their imaginations like the Harry Potter series. They will learn to love books, use their minds and amuse themselves. If you don’t have kids, read with someone else’s. The answers to all the world’s problems can be found between the pages of books and in the minds of imaginative people. A child who loves books can make up for much that is lacking in his education and upbringing.
We are leaving the next generation a world of woes to contend with. The least we can do is provide them with the intellectual tools to be able to cope with the mess.