Monday, 23 April 2012
The value of parenting
The economist Diane Elson makes the point that society is dependent on the appropriate socialisation of children in order to perpetuate and improve itself. We depend on parents and carers raising children to respect the rights of others, the property of others and the value of work. Without these basics, society as we know it would disintegrate.
This economic argument highlights the enormous importance of how we socialise our children and the value (economic much less emotional) of the carers' contribution to society.
It also highlights two further points: first, that one of the most undervalued and marginalised jobs in society is of crucial economic importance. The second point is that the development of society is predicated upon human values. The interface between our spirituality and economic survival - and even progress - is much closer than many economists, academics and policy advisers would admit.
What is certain to me however, is that parenting and caring has never been more difficult, nor required greater discernment: the job spec has got harder not easier, on all fronts; not least of these, the question of how we teach our children to be good people. There is job training in most jobs, but for this incredibly complex, high-value outcome job, the support for both carers and parents is inadequate indeed.