They Mean Well But They Just Don’t Get It

Do you sometimes wonder why lawmakers do not learn from past mistakes?

First Nations children in residential school 55 years ago.

First Nations children in residential school 55 years ago.

girls2The First Mistake
Over a century ago, well meaning law makers wanted to integrate First Nations people into Canadian society. So they passed laws mandating aboriginal children to receive education in residential schools. First Nations children, by the tens of thousands, were taken from their parents, forced to learn English, and even punished for speaking their own languages.

Bad Results
As a result, generations of First Nations peoples lost their unique languages, as well as much of their cultures and histories. We also hear stories of abuse children suffered at the hands of the adults operating these residential schools.

The Worst Results
What was far worse, however, is that many First Nations young people grew up never learning how to parent and bring children to maturity. This should not be surprising. How were today’s adults, and the three generations before them brought up? Not in a normal family but in institutional residential schools. Only during summer vacation did children have contact with their parents.

Why The Law Failed
That this well meant attempt at integration was a disastrous failure was finally acknowledged when the last residential school closed twenty years ago. It failed because the law makers ignored the fact that the idea of the family—father, mother and children—was not an arbitrary social construct, but was planned by God Himself.

Right from the beginning, God designed the family to be the core of society in every culture. Family members with strong ties to each other and families with durable relationships to other families make for a robust society, a resilient culture, and a healthy nation. Tear apart families and you will tear apart societies; destroy cultures and weaken the nation.

The Second Mistake
You would think, therefore, that lawmakers would have learned their lesson: “Do not mess with the concept of the family. Respect the fact that God made parents fully responsible for their children and that He holds them accountable.” This, however, is not the case. Lawmakers in Alberta recently made the same family destroying mistake again.

In a well meaning attempt to prevent bullying of children who struggle with LBGTQ issues (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer), lawmakers have passed a set of laws and mandated specific guidelines for schools to follow that effectively isolate the parents from their children. Schools are forbidden to inform the parents of children who say or do things that indicate they have LBGTQ tendencies, unless the child gives permission.

Other guidelines are equally dismissive of parents. For instance, a genetic boy who considers himself a girl is free to use the girls’ bathrooms, use the girls’ change rooms and shower with them. Parents of girls who dislike this situation have no choice but to tell their daughters to leave the regular girls’ bathroom and use a special private bathroom.

The Ultimatum
Even parents who pay extra fees in order to educate their child in an independent school are affected by these laws and rules. The minister of education has given until March 31 for every school board—public, Catholic, separate or independent—to present policies showing how they will implement the new laws and guidelines. The minister has already indicated his readiness to dissolve school boards that do not follow his mandate.

They Just Don’t Get It
What is clear about both these laws—a century apart—is that lawmakers simply do not understand that families are God’s design. It was He who made the parents, not the state, responsible for their children. God gives children to parents, not to the state, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3 (NIV)

Action To Take
I urge that for the next few weeks, Alberta pastors, ministers, preachers, and writers like me, focus their preaching and writing on families, and the parents’ God-given responsibility to “take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” Ephesians 6:4 (MSG)

For further information and action to take visit the Parents for Choice in Education website.