When most people hear the term “culture wars,” they think of big political debates and hot button issues. Abortion. Gay marriage. What should be taught in public schools? What role, if any, can religion play in the public square? Yet the real terrain of the culture wars lies far away from the political sphere: It's in the homes of families across the country who are struggling to impart their morals and values to their children.
Rebecca Hagelin's new book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, focuses on this, the most important battleground of the modern culture wars. She seeks to provide readers with practical advice about how to encourage the moral development of their children in the midst of the mess that is modern American culture.
Each chapter arms parents with information and provides a mini to-do list that helps push parents to actively engage in improving their families and internalizing the book's lessons. Many of the lessons call for a back-to-the-basics approach in parenting: create family time, set an example for your children, monitor your children's media consumption, engage in your children's education, and set clothing standards for both daughters and sons. Many of these will be familiar to the reader but are presented in new and compelling ways that connect these values with the really challenges that parents face.
Some of Hagelin's most compelling information is in detailing the ways in which modern culture is hostile to these commonsense values and, in many ways, is hostile to children themselves. She reminds readers of the mistake we make when we blame youth for the problems associated with “youth culture.” It's not children that are creating the environment that surrounds them. As Hagelin writes:
Adults create and operate the hard-core porn sites; adults own the record companies that produce sexist, racist, and violent music; adults are the ones spamming your child's email account with porn; ...adults are spending billions of dollars on over-sexualized marketing campaigns aimed at your kids. ...the problem isn't with “these kids today,” the problem is with these adults today.