While urging parents to create a loving, fun environment that protects children from the worst our culture has to offer, Hagelin is realistic about the limits of what parents can do to keep the culture from children. Instead, her focus is on providing children with a foundation so that they can reject the worst of the messages that they will hear and offering them the example of an alternative path to take that avoids the coarseness that dominates so much of our public space.
Hagelin is a syndicated columnist, author, and has been an executive of one of Washington's premiere think tanks, the Heritage Foundation. Yet her book is written primarily from the perspective of a mother of three. She begins by voicing her own discomfort in providing parenting advice, and discusses mistakes that she feels she has made along the way. It's this personal tone and realistic perspective that makes the message resonate. Parents don't have to be perfect, but they do have to be dedicated to the cause of advancing their children's best interests.
Particularly those of us in Washington, who typically read books about political theory and debate what policies are conducive to one outcome or another, it's important to be reminded how little Washington has to do with any particular child's well being. Politicians may justify their favored cause as inexorably linked to what's best for “the children,” but, for the most part, it's parents who will set kids on a path, for better or for worse.
As Hagelin writes, “It doesn't take an act of Congress to make your home the nurturing environment it was intended to be. It does take developing a loving relationship with your children, a commitment to the daily battle, and making and upholding a pledge to become more involved in your kids' daily lives.”
Parents committed to this battle will be better prepared by reading this book.