COMMENDABLESnAgainst a Child’s Garden PerversenRita Kramer: In Defense ofnOte Family; Basic Books; New York.nby Carlisle PackardnA first reaction to the title ofnRita Kramer’s book might be tonwonder why it was necessarynthat such a book be written.nSuch a question, however, isnrapidly answered by consideringnthe denigration of the role ofnhomemaker promoted by thenmedia and popular culture. Thisntreatment has made necessarynthe writing of such a book as InnDefense of the Family. RitanKramer, the author of severalnother books about children andnfamilies, defends the femily bynfollowing a child from prebirthnthrough adolescence and showingnwhat it is that he needs fornoptimum development.nA number of important truthsnare revealed by Mrs. Kramer.nOne is this: if a youngster is tonlearn all that he can learn and benall that it is possible for him tonbe, it is best for him to have a ftilltimenmother, at least during hisnfirst three years. Why is this so?nSimply because individual in£intsnneed much love and care. Nonsubstitute gives love and care sonwell as a child’s mother. Unfortunately,nmany mothers mustnwork. It is more unfortunate thatnmany mothers who need notnwork do SO; they are often thenones who declaim most vigorouslynabout their equal rights, includingntheir right to fulfillment,nalways with the word “self’ de-nMr. Packard is a recent graduatenofBrigham Young University.n3SinChronicles of Culturenfiantly afiixed. It is also unfortunatenthat this definition of equalitynmust mean being the same insteadnof being equally importantnbut with a different role. It is thisnvery definition of equality, withnits mischievous vagueness, thatncontributed to the death of thenERA.nAs the child presumably has anfather, the question of why hencan’t be the one to care full-timenfor the child arises. “It’s an interestingnpossibility,” writes Mrs.nKramer, “but there lurks the suspicionnthat mothering, even ifnculturally reinforced, can’t benentirely without a biologicalnbasis. Social scientists tend tontalk as though ‘cultural’ meantn’arbitrary,’ when in fact culture,nlike the heart, has its reasons.”nAnother truth discussed by Mrs.nKramer is that children grownbest in families with two marriednparents, each of a different sex,nwho authoritatively but gentiynset limits to a child’s behavior.nOne of a child’s first ideas aboutnhimself, or what makes him differentnfrom others, is his gendernidentity. If he can be aware thatnhe is a male like his dad or she anfemale like her mom, a child willnhave its first ideas of what it is tonbe a distinct self and feel thatnsecurity which leads to propernfiinctioning later in life. Whennparents command respect bynlovingly prescribing boundaries,na child will be willing to foregonnatural, pleasurable behavior—nstriking someone in anger, fornexample—in exchange for pleasingnhis parents. This is the processnby which a child learns selfcontrolnand adopts his parents’nvalues as his own. Benign, per­nmissive parents cannot so successfullynaccomplish this resultnbecause the child respects themnless if he can get away with more.nA third truth presented bynMrs. Kramer is that parents shouldndrastically limit television viewingnand substitute the literarynclassics which help to developnthe imagination. Mrs. Kramernstates that it is not TV’s contentnbut its manner that ruins a chUd.nIt gives him habits of passivity insteadnof rousing his imagination,nwhich is formed by playing andnreading. Even language slolls acquirednfrom the “educational”nprograms are of little advantagenand are not retained unless reinforcednby practice. Additionally,nliterature provides moral educationnfor young people. Thosenworks that have stood the test ofntime have done so because theyntreat the enduring questionsnwhich children begin askingnwhen they are very young andncontinue to ask, in different ways,nwhen they are no longer young.nOne of those most enduringnquestions is: “How should onenact?” It is explored in literaturenas diverse as the works of Homer,nShakespeare, and Twain andnthere with more depth and skillnthan Three’s Company and ThenPhil Donahue Show.nBy citing a study which statesnthat “teenagers today are notnmore liberal in their attitudesnwith respect to sex than theynwere in the 1960s,” I think thatnMrs. Kramer has discounted thenextent of the sexual revolution.nStatistics show that illegitimacynwas up 50 percent from 1970 ton1979: nearly one out of six childrennin the United States is bomnout of wedlock. Just about a thirdnof the children bom to whitenteenagers are illegitimate, as aren83 percent of those bom to blacknteenagers. Nevertheless, evennwith her optimistic view of teenagensexuality, Mrs. Kramer’snreaction to it is reassuringlynstern, particularly with regard tonsex education in the schools. Itnnnseems obvious that adolescentsnneed their teenage years to studynand grow; official encouragementnof sexual activity certainly distractsnyoung people from thosenimportant taslis. This part of Mrs.nKramer’s book is particularlynstrong.nIt is no wonder that those whonseek to reshape society radicallyntry to do so by shaping its children.nThis is true both of those innour country who would promotensexual liberation and of communistneducation programs in inntotalitarian countries./wDe/ewsenof the Family emphasizes thenidea that to shape the lives ofnchildren in positive, healthynways is one of the most importantnfunctions of society. It gives thenimpression that the raising of anfemily is a profoundly conservativenact in which the values ofnone generation are passed to thennext: when a child loves his parentsnhe will want to make theirnvalues his own. In this way InnDefense of the Family could alsonbe called “In Defense of Tradition”nbecause the femily is wherenthose virtues derived from ournJudeo-Christian tradition, and sonnecessary for liberty and stability,nare inculcated; if those values arennot absorbed there, they are oftennnot learned at all. Rita Kramerngoes a long way toward combatingnmuch of the shallow thoughtnderived from feminism and disintegratednliberalism. DnOf Raphael andnRelativitynStanley L. Jaki: Angels, Apes,nand Men; Sherwood Sugden; La Salle,nILnAs technical devices employednin modem science—cyclotrons,nradar telescopes, lasers—grownever more complex, popular reverencenfor their powers grows.nInsuificientiy apprecfeted for itsn