Dennis Prager

There is a phenomenon that is rarely commented on but which is as common as it is significant.

For at least two generations, countless conservative parents have seen their adult children reject their core values.

I have met these parents throughout America. I have spoken with them in person and on my radio show. Many have confided to me -- usually with a resigned sadness -- that one or more of their children has adopted left-wing social, moral and political beliefs.

A particularly dramatic recent example was a pastor who told me that he has three sons, all of whom have earned doctorates -- from Stanford, Oxford and Fordham. What parent wouldn't be proud of such achievements by his or her children?

But the tone of his voice suggested more irony than pride. They are all leftists, he added wistfully.

"How do you get along?" I asked.

"We still talk," he responded.

Needless to say, I was glad to hear that. But as the father of two sons, I readily admit that if they became leftists, while I would, of course, always love them, I would be deeply saddened. Parents, on the left or the right, religious or secular, want to pass on their core values to their children.

As a father, my purpose is not to pass on my seed, but to pass on my values. Just about anyone can biologically produce a child. That ability we share with the animals. What renders us distinct from animals is that we can pass on values. As the Latin puts it, animals only have "genitors;" humans have "paters." Or as the Hebrew has it, parent (horeh) comes from the same root as teacher (moreh). That is why Judaism puts teachers (of religious/moral values) on the same plane as parents.

So it is sad when a parent who believes, for example, in the American trinity of liberty, "In God We Trust" and "E Pluribus Unum" has a child who believes that equality trumps liberty, that a secular America is preferable to a God-centered one, and that multiculturalism should replace the unifying American identity.

It is sad when a pastor, or any other parent, who believes that the only gender-based definition of marriage that has ever existed -- husband and wife -- has a child who regards the parent as a bigot for holding on to that definition.

It is sad when a parent who believes that America has always been, in Lincoln's famous words, "the last best hope of earth," has a child who believes that America has always been little more than an imperialist, racist and xenophobic nation.

That this happens so often raises the obvious question: Why?

There are two reasons.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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