Children today have no one to turn to for guidance. Our countrys children are our future; therefore, we need to protect them. Anyone can turn on their TV and see an act of school violence almost weekly: Arkansas grade school students to Columbine High School. We have a serious problem on our hands and no one seems to know what to do. Our insight that the modern study of childhood has sharpened in great detail concerns that matter in which infant, later growing child, is shaped, molded by those who are in charge of him [/her]. We now know a good deal about the way in which infancy and early childhood serves as a matrix for everything the particular individual will be and think in later life. In these early years of life, to put simply, both personality (or identity) and consciousness are formed And that of course is why the institutional setting of this process is of such great importance. (Berger and Berger 149-150). We, as Americans, need to group together to teach our kids the basic thing that separates us from animals: common love and understanding. Children need the time of the people who influence their lives so profoundly — their parents. Americans have created a state of total anomie for our children. They are not part of our world. They need to become a part. Functionalists would say that it is the schools, the family or the government. It is the goal of this paper to touch on the three things that influence our kids the most: family, schools, and corporations. This paper will clearly point out how each of these three parts is in fact one big whole. If these three things begin to work together then maybe, just maybe there can be hope for our children. Functionalism will only work if these three things are one. The three must come together if future America is going to survive.
The bourgeois family is going to be used as a basis. The home is Americas temple. Since America has been founded, the middle-class family is thought of as the father, the mother and then the children.Father goes off to work everyday and does his job. The mother stays home all day and takes care of the house making sure the children grow up with good All-American values. She is responsible for keeping in contact with the teachers and expected to know what their kids are doing in school. The father is not supposed to be involved. He is busy trying to keep food on the table. Mom tells the kids how important the learning process is and keeps them motivated. The children come home everyday, eat their snack and mother makes sure the schoolwork is done. Dad comes home later and they all eat dinner together. Children learn love and responsibility from values in stowed on them by their parents. This is the happy bourgeois family.
Unfortunately this is not what is happening anymore. Anyone that deviates from this outrageous dominant norm carries bad stigma. Hard working Americans are labeled as individuals who cannot succeed and need to be thrown by the wayside. Remember the term dysfunctional family? Psychologists overuse [d] the term dysfunctional to refer to even the smallest problems in the family unit. As such, the term [became] relatively meaningless. (Donatelle and Davis 138). In other words we, as Americans, threw it out because everyone became dysfunctional. The dysfunctional family became our nations norm. Still, the dominant norm of the bourgeois family rang over our head. We labeled ourselves as deviant. Using Lemerts theory, our American families turned into primary deviation. Then secondary deviation occurred when we began to let our children run our household. As stated in the beginning a growing child, is shaped, molded by those who are in charge of him [/her]. (Berger and Berger 48). If the child is in charge who will shape and mold his/her?
Let us take a look at the average happy married family of today. Father and mother both work nine to five jobs. Kids come home to an empty house and watch TV. The house is a mess, which stresses Mom out. Dad comes home and wants to eat dinner with the family. Moms busy trying to straighten up the house and the kids are out doing whatever it is they want to do. Dad ends up eating whatever Mom throws together real quick. The kids come home whenever they please because the parents want some time to do whatever it is they could not do the day before. He she compensates them with materials making our children product oriented.
What about a single parent family? Kids go off to school, and the parent goes off to work. The kids get out of school before the parent does. They get sent off to some daycare with twenty-five kids to one person who is getting paid minimum wage. The parent gets home late, because he/she has to work 60 hours a week. Best-case scenario is that the kids want to get involved in an extra curricular activity and those are very limited. The parent is tired and stressed out from work, and he/she feels bad because he/she cannot spend time with his/her children.
How are children going to learn anything without their parents? Children are at risk to get thrown by the wayside by their own parents. Parents have to take charge of their children and teach them to grow and become human beings. Jean Piaget did a study of growth and knowledge in child development. In it he states that children are active and motivated learners (Eggen and Kauchak 27). The parents need to teach them. There is not another way! The parents have to put their children first. They can no longer be a distant second in their parents life. We all know being happy is a strong virtue, but without the happiness of our children there will be no peace. The parents have to bring their children up. No one else is going to show each child the love and understanding a parent can. There is no viable alterative to the bourgeois family for the raising of children who will have a good chance of being responsible individuals, nor do we see alterative arrangements by which adults, from youth to old age, will be given a stable context for the affirmation of themselves and their values. (Berger and Berger 167). In essence, it is not to be said to scrap the whole idea of the dominant norm, bourgeois, family and start over again. They have carried our country this far. The reason they worked is because they created a stable environment. A stable environment needs to be our ultimate goal. To recreate this environment our parents have to be home when their children come home. If fortunate enough to have two parents in the same household, then both parents need to work together to solve this dilemma. The only solution is to spend more time at home.
Another huge impact in each and every childs life is school. Our children need to be educated. Since schools were started in America, the mother has packed each child his or her lunch and sent them off. They met with the teacher to touch base and learn how to help their child learn the most while in class. Children respected their teachers. The children went home and returned eager to learn. There was a sense of respect for ones school and the students seemed to work together. School was a safe place to be. The teacher called the home to keep the parents informed of the childs progress.
We all know this no longer happens. Those days are long gone. There is a metal detector in every big city school. Kids are dropping out at a record high. Parents send their children to school only because it is free daycare. Teachers do not call parents. Parent teacher conferences have become optional. There are not any conferences after the fifth grade. Children have become completely individualistic. Teachers are scared of their students. Good teachers become hard to find because they are underpaid and overworked. In many high schools they have a history teacher teaching math class. It has completely become a chaotic mess. Schools are without a common goal. Now people are wondering why kids are resorting to violence.
Now the government seems to be working on the problem. They are looking at this huge problem in the old functionalistic way that they will never see a solution. They need to be looking in the way that is being described. The government wants to throw more laws at the schools. The teachers have enough problems. They do all they can. I am sure anyone would be scared trying to stop a student from doing anything anymore. The teachers have to work with the parents more. Parenthood is an essential role in society. The support given by parents, interrelated with other agencies and, in particular, the school, should be integrated and continuous. (Berger 18). The words integrated and continuous (Berger 18) are exactly the point of this paper. The teachers must keep in touch with the parents. The parents must participate on a regular basis with their children and the teacher. There should be teacher/parent social gatherings. In elementary schools there are parent-teacher workshops. A workshop is one vehicle for introducing parents to home-school learning activities. (Berger 209). It physically shows the parents what their children are doing in class. The problem is that once students reach the junior high school level, these do not exist. Take a look at the Columbine High School shooting. The parents were completely oblivious to their childs actions at school. There must be a unity between the home and school. The home and the school must function together. Without this there will be no peace between students and their teachers. Without peace there will be no unity in a school. Without unity in a school there will be no school. Right now do we have a school? We have kids killings kids. Education has become second. Teachers are not peacemakers. They are educators. Let them educate!
Clearly this paper has shown how parents and schools are one unit. Unfortunately, in Americas world of money and power this union of home and school has become impossible. With the early bourgeois family, father worked all day. He stayed at work late without a problem. The corporation knew they owned him. The father had no qualms with this because he knew Mom had control at home. The work got done and the family stayed together because Dad did his job and Mom took care of the house.
The day of this standard is over, yet corporations do not think so. Anything outside the dominant norm has bad stigma attached. The president of the company says, My home life is fine, how come yours is not? Employees have become expendable. If a person does not do his/her job above and beyond the bosss expectations they will be replaced. With the realization that people are living paycheck to paycheck and always with the knowledge that financial ruin would be eminent with the lack of even one months salary, people prioritize their work above their family responsibilities.Working mothers and fathers rationalize this with being able to provide their children with material things rather than the love that children really need and desire. Another rut that gets thrown in this mix is insurance. People stick with a job they hate only because of the benefits the company provides. Doing something you hate day in and day out would drive anyone to be negative. They have no freedom of choice. This country was founded on freedom. What freedom is there in this world of today? Whatever happened to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Without freedom this forces the parents to place the childrens health needs above their mental well-being. This is not a choice. Children need and deserve both. Parents are now trapped in their work. The availability of high-quality, reasonably priced child care affects not only a [parents] ability to stay on the job, but also influences [his/] her morale and productivity, [his/] her record of absenteeism, and [his/] her health and welfare it affects [his/] her chances for job success and advancement. (Adams and Winston 48-9). This leads to negativism in the relationship with their children.
It has been written time and time again that children need love and support not materials. How do they get this without time? Companies still have the idea of I own you. It is a true statement. They do own us. People are getting laid off right and left. Parents are forced to brown nose everyone above them. They are scared to death about loosing their job. Can you blame them? Stress is defined as to subject to the action of external forces; to overstrain. The external force here has become Corporate America. We need to limit the amount of stress in each parents life in order for our kids to have a well-balanced atmosphere.
Now comes the ultimate question. How can parents be in two places at once? Almost every child has heard his or her mother or father say, I can not do two things at once! What did you think as a child? Mom/Dad must not really care. This is a huge problem. I have clearly shown that children need their parents more than anything. Although it has been proven when corporations take an active role in improving their relationship with their employees families work productivity increases because employees believe that their employers genuinely care. Even though this has been statistically proven most employers do not take this approach. Big money runs this country. Politicians listen to the almighty dollar. They run this country. So, who has the dollar? Corporations financially back lobbyists to which politicians answer for their support; therefore, the lack of reform in business and family relationships. Something needs to be done about this. How do we as American citizens stop this domination of our freedom? The American people need government support in our union with corporations. We as a people are so scared of letting the government interfere with our family life, but who actually runs our family? Our jobs. If we had laws about having to spend time with our family the corporations would have no choice but to allow this to happen. Americans are screaming for change, but do not know which direction to take.Of course many generalizations have just been made and many strong statements for a few simple reasons. There is not one way to capture everything that has gone on in the last two hundred and twenty-three years, but I have summarized what we have been creating for ourselves. We are in a state of turmoil and something needs to be done. Almost anything that can be said about America must be said as a paradox. (Coleman et al. 257). The end of our nations constitution read With liberty and justice for all. Lawrence Kohlberg dissects morality on several levels. He developed the stages of moral development, which are still in use today. He explained what justice meant. Justice, for Kohlberg, is not a rule or a set of rules, it is a moral principle. By a moral principle we mean a mode of choosing which is universal, a rule of choosing which we want all people to adopt always in all situations. (Gousha, Smith and Taylor 42). We have lawyers redefining just and unjust on an almost daily basis. The same rules must apply for everyone and everything. Anyone can be set free on a technicality. Explain just law again.
A strong family policy in America is needed. How else can we spend time at home? Switzerland has a family policy. They are not having near the problems we are experiencing. We must give this a try. We must create a loving environment for our children before the situation worsens.
One major reason we have not adopted a family policy is because we as a people believe in being an individual. The individual is perceived to be the fundamental element in society and policy has tended to be directed towards individuals rather than families. (Aulette 431). The problem with this is that in becoming our own individuals we have forgotten the rest of the nation, or even, the rest of our own household as the Harriss and the Klebolds did. Hopefully not to that extreme, but it is happening. Our children need to be shaped and molded in order to learn to become individuals. They cannot and will not figure it out themselves.
The point here is not to do away with free enterprise. Capitalism is how our country is run, but if the entrepreneurs want to run our country then they have to keep it running. In the past, they have done exactly the opposite. Victory depends on production; production depends on manpower behind production machines; and men and women cannot work at the top efficiency our situation demands, if they are not housed under circumstances that will assure their continuing ability to stay on the job. (Adams and Winston 81). That was stated in 1942. The British took the idea of close nit community towns and made it work. Americans could not. They could get not get enough private funding to make it work. Instead the state took over and they became what everyone knows now as The Projects. Not a place to go on a nice Sunday afternoon. That is the absolute best that the strongest nation in the world could create.
Sweden on the other hand has the absolute best family policy in the world. They simply back family housework in every way possible. While home care (day cares, newlywed housing, cleaning services)is looked down on in America, it is strong backed by the federal government of Sweden. Our corporations need to work on building this country up, and not working us to death in order for us to purchase more products so that we can buy our kids off.
Family policy constitutes a collection of separate but interrelated policy choices that aim to address problems that families are perceived as experimenting in society. (Zimmerman 3). Then the United Nations did a study and they state, Each policy, therefore should identify, to the extent possible, the range of effects that it is intended to have on families. A continuous process of monitoring and policy analysis is necessary to identify conflicting or contradictory tendencies between different policy instruments. (The Family 50). What this means is that family policy will be for the benefit of the people and it will be flexible. It will be a living document. If these two qualifications are not met, then it is not family policy and should be discarded. The family policy must be just in the true sense of the word as Kohlberg described and everyone will and must be treated equally or it is not family policy at all. This family policy need to be given some thought if our corporations are going to combine with the parents.
I have raised some important and touching issues in this paper. My hope is to create an awareness of key components that influence our childrens lives and therefore Americas future; where we were, where we are, and where we need to be. Corporations, homes, and schools must come together as a team. The functionalistic approach will only work if home, schools and corporations are in fact one complete unit. We the people has become I the person. This country must become one in itself. This is the strongest nation in the world and it is slowly falling apart piece by piece. Children have to have a stable environment. They learn around every corner. If they see one part different from another, they become confused and if not given much support give up. We need to show our children that they are first in our lives. If all three of these units are pointing fingers at the other, our entire future, the children, are left out of the picture. If schools, homes and corporations come to learn common love and understanding between each other then our children will too. If we are all at war with each other then our children are at war with each other. This is exactly what is happening now. We must put our own selfish needs aside and work together if this country is to be successful in changing the example we are setting for our children.
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