EDITORnThomas FlemingnMANAGING EDITORnKatherine DaltonnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSnChilton Williamson, Jr.nASSISTANT EDITORnTheodore PappasnART DIREGTORnAnna Mycek-WodeckinCONTRIBUTING EDITORSnJohn W. Aldridge, Harold O.J.nBrown, Samuel Francis, GeorgenGarrett, Russell Kirk, E. ChristiannKopff, Clyde WilsonnGORRESPONDING EDITORSnJanet Scott Barlow, Odie Faulk,nJane Greer, John Shelton Reed,nGary VasilashnEDITORIAL SECRETARYnLeann DobbsnEDITORIAL INTERNnChristine HaynesnPUBLISHERnAllan C. CarlsonnASSOCIATE PUBLISHERnMichael WardernPUBLICATION DIRECTORnGuy C. RejfettnCOMPOSITION MANAGERnAnita FedoranCIRCULATION MANAGERnRochelle FranknA Publication of The Rockford InstitutenEditorial and Advertising Offices: 934 NorthnMain Street, Rockford, IL 61103.nEditorial Phone: (815) 964-5054.nAdvertising Phone: (815) 964-5811.nSubscription Department: P.O. Box 800, MountnMorris, IL 61054. Call 1-800-435-0715, innIllinois 1-800-892-0753.nFor information on advertising in Chronicles,nPlease call Cathy Corson at (815) 964-5811.nU.S.A. Newsstand Distribution by EasternnNews Distributors, Inc., 1130 Cleveland Road,nSandusky, OH 44870.nCopyright © 1990 by The Rockford Institute.nAll rights reserved.nCHRONICLES (ISSN 0887-5731) is publishednmonthly for $21 per year by The RockfordnInstitute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, ILn61103-7061.nSecond-class postage paid at Rockford, IL andnadditional mailing offices.nPOSTMASTER: Send address changes tonCHRONICLES, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris,nIL 61054.nThe views expressed in Chronicles are thenauthors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect thenviews of The Rockford Institute or of itsndirectors. Unsolicited manuscripts cannot benreturned unless accompanied by a self-addressednstamped envelope.nChroniclesn’ A MtGtZINE OF AMEH’lttN (UllUltnVol. H, No. 8 August 1990n4/CHRONICLESnOn ‘Assaultingnthe Compact’nPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESnIt is hard to disagree with Janet ScottnBarlow (April 1990) about lazy smugnparents and their nasty children. Nobodynlikes to deal with other people’snill-behaved kids, especially when thenparents seem unconcerned and incapahe.nFurther, criticizing the way othernpeople raise their families is a favoritenAmerican sport, right up there withncriticizing their choice of spouses.nBut if I understand Mrs. Barlow’snthesis correctly, that parents should raisentheir children firmly, quietly, and (mostnespecially) out of the way of the rest ofnus, then I do disagree. Each of us isnresponsible, individually and collectively,nto assist in raising the childrennaround us in whatever ways we can.nSometimes mere tolerance is appropriate.nSometimes a gentle word from anstranger is exactly what is needed. Fornexample, Mrs. Barlow’s firm “Goodbye,nJeffrey” seems right on the mark.nBut Mrs. Barlow resents being callednupon for such service. Maybe she alsonresents paying taxes to support publicnschools and all of the other servicesnprovided primarily to other people’snchildren.nThe little Jeffreys of this worid neednall the help they can get, even fromnstrangers. And the only people worsenthan parents who do not take seriouslynthe responsibility they have to raise theirnown children are the other people whondo not even realize their own ancillarynresponsibilities in the same task.nStephen St. MarienSan Francisco, CAnThis was the best piece I’ve seen onnweak parents. Mrs. Barlow could havenused my most recent encounters withnunruly children as other fine examplesnof undisciplined kids.nWhile seated for three hours in thenreading area of a library, I witnessed annimpromptu game of tag, heard a couplenof unstifled burps, and listened to anthree-year-old crying repeatedly that hen”wants to go to the mall.” Earlier thatnday, while waiting for the bank to open,nnna woman stood by with her two sons,naged about four and five. Each son rodenhis bike everywhere, even up the stepsnof the bank, shouting and arguing thenentire time.nI tell myself in those situations thatnwhen I have kids, they’ll never behavenlike that. I remember how I and mynbrothers and sister behaved in publicnplaces: not a sound, not a step fromnwhere we were told to wait. A smartnremark to mom or dad meant certainndeath.nBut people just a few years youngernthan me (I’m 33) seem to be willing tonaccept unruly behavior as the way it is.nIndeed, many of Mrs. Barlow’s “ReallynTerrific Parents” are in their 30’s. Arenwe to blame their upbringing?nWhere are the truly good parentsnhiding? I know they’re out there somewhere.nTerence MclvernParma, OHnMrs. Barlow Replies:nWhile.I appreciate Mr. Mclver’s nicencomment, my point was not that futurenmothers and fathers should say to themselves,nas he does upon encounteringnill-behaved children and indifferent parents,n”[W]hen I have kids, they’ll nevernbehave like that.” My point was thatnfuture parents should say to themselves,n”When I’m a parent I’ll never behavenlike that.” I think that’s as far as we darengo. I have to think that, because at thenage of three, one of my children was, atntimes, quite like the three-year-old Mr.nMclver encountered in the library —nfull of “unstifled burps” and noisyndemands to “go to the mall.” SometimesnI tried creative distraction (for thendemands, not the burps), and sometimesnit worked. Other times, I simplyntook him home. And once in a while, Inwent ahead and took him to the mall,njust because he deserved it, just becausenkids can have lousy days too, andnif a quick trip to the mall in thencompany of someone who cares aboutnyou is all it takes to make thingsnbetter . . . well, isn’t that part of whatn