March 23, 2011

Something That Makes Me Jealous

Angry, that is. I meant angry. Jealous is the word Ellie uses in place of angry. So when she sees me with an exasperated look on my face because Brady has just sprinted through the room at the speed of light and bowled over baby Riley without a look back to see what wreckage he's left in his wake, she'll ask, "Daddy, are you jealous?" It's cute.

But I digress, so I'll get back on track. And I'll give you fair warning: what I'm angry about has some politics to it, so if you're not in the mood for that type of thing, now's your chance to tune out. I usually try to keep politics out of parenting, but this is something that has direct bearing on our kids and our ability to do our jobs as parents, and you might learn something, so whatever your views, I encourage you to stick around. I have a forum to use, and I use it now for what I feel is a worthy cause: to help parents make a difference for future generations.

There is an organization called Parental Rights, which I encourage you to check out here. Parental Rights works hard to ensure that parents maintain the right, for better or worse, to make decisions on behalf of their children without the government's say-so or over-involvement. This is not to say that they oppose the involvement of child protection services in cases of obvious abuse or neglect. Far from it. Their goal is to protect the rights of American parents to do their job, to parent to the best of their ability.

The issue at hand is the question of whether or not the United States should ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC. As of November 2009, 193 nations have ratified the CRC, and the only UN nations not to do so thus far are the United States and Somalia. The stated goal of the CRC is to "establish civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights [for] children." It restricts the involvement of children in warfare. It bans the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, and it is binding international law to which all ratifying nations must adhere. You're probably wondering why any of this could be a bad thing, as these are all noble goals, but wait until you've heard the rest. There's more to it than meets the eye.

We Americans love our freedoms, and for American parents, that's where the problems with the CRC are revealed. You see, the CRC includes a number of provisions that would greatly reduce the amount of control we have over our children's upbringing. Several examples:

  • The outlawing of spanking. Sweden has taken this a step further, making it illegal to give a child a time-out.
  • A child's "right to be heard" would allow a child to seek government review of any parental decision with which the child disagrees.
  • Sex-education would be compulsory, with no opt-out, and must include equal treatment of same-sex relationships. It could start as early as age four.
  • All schools, private ones included, must treat all religions as equal, so a Muslim or Christian school could no longer teach that their religion is the only true one.
  • Any parental decision could be overridden by the government if it determines that decision is not "in the best interest of the child".
  • Minor children would have the right to reproductive health services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.

And those are just a few. All regulations of the CRC are monitored by an 18-member panel in Switzerland, and would overrule all American laws except the Constitution, which, under its Article VI, makes any international treaty such as this the law of the land anyway. In essence, if the CRC were ratified by our government, they would acquire the right and responsibility to monitor your parenting, and non-compliance would subject you to legal penalties including jail time. Wow.

Now, aren't you over-reacting a bit, Mr. Used Diaper Salesman? No, I can assure you that this stuff is very real. But you sound like one of those anti-government wackos who hates the system and wants the freedom to abuse his kids in peace! No, I don't hate the government, and I love my kids. Also, you're really long-winded today. Yeah, that last part's true, but it's because I care about my kids and about making sure that they grow up to be people of integrity who live by their values. Can the government do a better job of that than my wife and I, and should they have the right to try? I think not.

Finally, think about what something like this teaches kids: that their parents are their equals, and that what their parents say can be thrown out the window if the child disagrees with them. A scary thought. If this thought makes you as, angry as it does me, I encourage you to check out the CRC at Parental Rights' website so you can know the facts, and then contact your U.S. senators and ask them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 99 (SR99), which would block U.S. ratification of the CRC. You can find your senators here.

And if you need a little encouragement, just imagine every angsty, rebellious American teenager showing up at home with a lawyer. This is your cue to shudder.


  1. Aaron: Looks like you're gonna have to change the name of your blog to SOMETIMES IRRITATING ESSAYS or put a label on posts like this and call it DIAPER RASH...or something. Just so those of us who loathe politics know to steer away when you get like this! ;-) And you KNOW there's more to say about this! (Can't you just feel another bit of DIAPER RASH coming on?)

    BTW -- I agree with you. And an angry rebellious American teenager who shows up at SCHOOL with a lawyer? Been there. Done that.

    Lastly, Liz and I would appreciate your prayers as she will be going in for a biopsy tomorrow for four lumps they found during her last mammography. Thanks, bud. And keep on writing well!

  2. Hey Aaron,
    This is great information. I had read somewhere that we were one of two countries in the UN that hadn't outlawed spanking, but this makes sense now why. I guess it's more about all the components of the bill and our country's commitment to our Civil Liberties. I think we have excellent laws already protecting children from abuse and trafficking, and this is one we can do without. Glad to know more.
    And my son loves to tell us he's jealous around every corner too!

  3. A side note: my good friend Guy gave me a great idea. He suggested that any post that I write in which I go off about something that bugs, such as this one, me should be titled or disclaimered as DIAPER RASH. I love it! Stay tuned for other entries in this category...

  4. It was pointed out by a friend on Facebook that most of the examples of what could happen if children are given the power to decide things for themselves likely won't happen, and in case you were thinking along the same lines, I'll allow that may be true.

    Granted, we MAY be just fine and see very little impact on our rights as parents if the US ratifies the CRC, but that's not the point. The point is that ratification opens the door to these possibilities, and once a new precedent is set, it's nearly impossible to change things. Why even allow these things the CHANCE of happening? It's a slippery slope, and one we'd be better off to stay away from, in my opinion.