Laws can't replace good parenting
To the Editor:
The State of New Jersey has recently enacted a law requiring all children
under 80 pounds to be in a booster or child restraint seat when riding
in passenger cars. I under-stand the purpose of this law is to reduce
the number of child fatalities related to car accidents. In December,
compliance will be required.
I do have some questions, however, in regard to the mandatory enforcement
of this law. I find it incredibly incongruous that a parent or other
individual must have children who are under the mandated age of eight years
old/80 pounds, in a special seat; yet a four-year-old can ride a school
bus without any type of restraining device whatsoever.
It is vitally important that children be kept safe, no matter what
type of vehicle they are riding in. If our lawmakers truly have safety
as a priority, why do our school buses qualify for an exemption to this
policy? Furthermore, since more children ride buses to school than
are driven to school by parents, doesn't it make sense that the issue of
mass transportation be addressed first?
Perhaps, however, there is a deeper issue - one of state control versus
parental responsibility. Parents are indeed responsible for their
children. Yet, time and again government authorities attempt to usurp
that power in the name of education, civil rights or some other politically
The most recent example of this was the uproar over the "rights" of
a minor child seeking an abortion without parental notification.
Once again, the incongruity of such a law defies explanation. A minor
cannot go on a field trip or take a Tylenol without parental permission.
Okay, fine. But in the name of education "R' rated movies are being
shown to 13-year-olds. (Schindler's List was shown at Hopewell Crest School
and parental notification was not required.) Next on the list is mandatory
It appalls me to think that in the future the government will be waiting
outside the delivery rooms, waiting not to bestow congratulations, but
to whisk the baby away so it can be educated and nurtured "properly."
Unfortunately, much of this has occurred because parents have not responsibly
done their job of training and raising their children.
We have children, not because we want them and are ready for the responsibility
of raising them, but because we want the privilege of sex, without consideration
for our Creator's boundaries for it. Our teenagers and young adults
have babies without the slightest inclination of how to take care of them
- or the willing-ness to sacrifice their wants for the needs of the child.
We have placed an unfair burden upon teachers, expecting them to educate
our children and teach them discipline, kindness, tolerance and a host
of other character qualities as well. Our children should go to school
well-mannered, able to sit quietly and respectfully, and ready to learn.
How often have I heard parents say "I can't wait until school starts -
let the teacher deal with them!"
I thought it was the parent's job to teach a child respect, obedience,
and the other qualities we find appealing in adults. If we as parents
cannot be bothered to teach admirable qualities in our child because it
is "too hard," how can we expect a teacher to do it with 20 children just
If parents do not do their job, the door is wide open for the government
to step in and dictate their policies on their terms.
We are to obey our governments' laws, but let's be careful that those
laws are not a response to lazy parenting, a disregard for our Creator
or irresponsible citizenship.
JOYCE A. MEYERS