At the outset be clear that this blog is not a recommendation for institutional or home care for small children. That is entirely a choice for parents who consider all their circumstances to decide what is best for their family in their current situation. Rather my intention is to affirm parents in their efforts to lay the foundation of the whole of the child’s life in early care.
Two things have moved me to write on this topic: firstly, election of Giorgia Meloni, first female Prime Minister of Italy, boldly standing for “family, faith and country”; and Virginia Tapscott’s article in The Australian (I care for my own kids, so why lam I made to feel like a freak?).
For her belief in what we would see as normal, Meloni is being derided as “far right” and “Fascist”. For looking after her own children, Tapscott is made to feel like a freak. Both false assertions reflect the global trend to break down family by gaining control over children, our children.
Demonising people of faith, especially Christian or Jewish faith, depriving them of employment is part of the narrative of social revolution. Just ask Andrew Thorburn, former NAB Executive, who lasted only one day as CEO of Essendon AFL club once someone found online nine year old sermons presented by someone (not him) associated with the Church which he heads. Or Israel Folau, Australia’s best rugby player, sacked because he posted his Christian beliefs on private social media. Or George Pell, hunted down by Victoria Police to pin accusations of child sexual abuse against him. Pell spent 400 days in jail before the High Court, in a unanimous decision, overturned the flawed conviction.
Issues like these are what Meloni is standing up for. Italy, as closest to North Africa, has borne the brunt of Angela Merkel’s EU decision to allow untrammelled flow of illegal immigrants from Africa. An estimated 5 million took advantage of the opportunity. Italy is just one of EU countries having to deal with clusters of illegal Muslim immigrants who have fled unsavoury cultures, yet bring it with them, rather than absorb and reflect the best of the culture to which they have fled. Makes me wonder why they bothered.
Biden is just as deliberate in narcissistic compassion opening the US border. Already 2.3 million people from all over the world have crossed since his presidency, funding the cartels and fentanyl that has already killed 107,000 young Americans in a year. Thanks to former PM Tony Abbott, Australia had that problem sorted years ago, while being savagely pilloried for doing so.
There is nothing fascist about Meloni seeking to restore and refocus on Italy’s wonderful history and cultural treasures, to rejoice in the tradition of family and historical riches of Christian faith. A majority of Italians obviously think so.
On attending the jobs and work summit, Tapscott found out how little family care work was valued. Availability and subsidies for childcare have continued to increase to incentivise women with pre-school children to re-enter the workforce. Little deference was afforded family care work on which so much of the market economy depends.
Tapscott’s experience updates a debate that has surfaced from time to time since the 1970s and 80s when pressure for equality of opportunity for women in the workforce emerged as a critical issue in women’s independence. Having one’s own income would empower women to make choices in their own lives. Freely available abortion was a central tenet of the push. The family was seen as “hostile to women”. Men too were viewed as patriarchal. Family care work was deemed “unproductive” in simplistic Marxist terms because it was not paid, unions having negotiated for a “family wage” to enable working men to provide for their families.
Context and truth for the debate
As State and National President of Women’s Action Alliance, annually I attended pre-budget talks with the Prime Minister and Cabinet and made representations to Ministers seeking greater education and work opportunities for women, at the same time as value for family care work. Income splitting was proposed as a more equitable way of accommodating people who were doing the right thing producing and socialising larger post-war families. We successfully lobbied the ABS to include a question on unpaid work in the Census. Griffith University published my research essay, Why Value Unpaid Work.
At the same time, demographic changes were affecting our social mores: in extended term and quality of life; and better contraception with the pill, which with abortion, led to smaller families of around 1.6 children. People now live a long life of 80-90 years. Women could have it all, at once! Except in reality, they found that to be untrue. By the time women achieved their labour market or political heights, fertility had declined.
I noticed that the drive for equality in work for women created a blind spot in feminist rhetoric and family policy, touched on by Tapscott, which ignored the impact on the mother/parent and child in the long term.
Literature emphasises what care is undertaken to/for the child. Little attention is paid to what the child does to/for the parents: invoking love, care, responsibility and bonding that impels maturity in the person caring. We become more whole people in our loving response to the child’s invocation.
This mutually beneficial exchange between the parent and child lays the foundation for relationships, language and skills upon which the whole of the child’s life will be built. Done well, prospects for the child abound. Done poorly, long, costly, fraught and often unsuccessful attempts at remediation ensue. The 47,000 children in state care are ample evidence of failure that is far more costly than would be tax concessions to functioning families to emphasise the value of their work producing and socialising the next generations.
Childhood is fleeting. In the context of a long life of 80-90 years of self-interest, a couple of years laying a sound foundation for development of the next generation are small sacrifices to make and worthy investments. The rewards are certainly worth it.
Lifetime institutionalisation of children who have escaped abortion leaves them vulnerable to false indoctrination on environment, critical race theory and gender fluidity that undermines their lives and our democratic Judeo-Christian institutions and culture.
Investing in family care also means keeping alive our family history, warts and all, as context for today’s families’ decisions, attitudes and achievements. Keeping alive our national history and civic knowledge provides context for the country’s decisions, education and culture. That’s why it’s so important to invest in family care.