Children are the center of any reasonably healthy society. Child-rearing is at the center of any reasonably healthy civilization…We currently inhabit a society in which more people die than are allowed to be conceived and survive until birth. Such a society is fundamentally different, including in its child-centrism, from one in which new life is welcomed as part of the natural order. The children who succeed in being born today often are treated as precious items to be protected from all harm, affirmed, and made the center of attention in any reasonably well-off household—at least when that attention is given by professional “caregivers” in government, education, or the childcare industry. What these children are not is part of functioning families and communities, in which they learn how to cooperate, compete, and practice daily virtues. The result? Two generations of people who are too self-centered to enter into lasting marital relationships, choose life, and work to make better lives for themselves and their posterity.
From children being the center of our culture we have reached a point where each child sees himself as the center of the world. Why? Because so few of us recognize ourselves as part (though not the center) of an ongoing tradition, an order of existence tying the dead with the living and the yet unborn.
What makes children the center of this vision? Children are not merely “the future” in some abstract sense; they are carriers of our traditions and of our beings in this world. They are to be valued for themselves, as products of both God’s love and our own selves. But they also are to be valued—and reared—as carriers of our way of life into the future. They are the next link in the chain of social being of our families and other associations, and also of ourselves.
Read the rest here