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UPF and UN Mission of Oman Co-Sponsor UN Global Day of Parents Webinar

United Nations, New York—With the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Mission of the Sultanate of Oman to the UN, UPF organized the UN Global Day of Parents webinar, “Mother and Fathers: Essential for Societal Stability and Flourishing” on June 1, 2023.

On many levels the world is witnessing a devaluing and all-out attack upon the family and parents’ rights. There is plenty of evidence correlating crime, poverty, conflict, mental illness, and poor economic development with the deterioration of family ties. We see before our eyes, as parents’ role weakens, the erosion of social stability exemplified by angry, floundering, anti-social, often violent or self-destructive youth. Our expert speakers addressed these issues and what can be done to strengthen the family from within as well as bolster parents’ role and rights with family-centered policies and principles.

H.E. Dr. Mohmed Al Hassan, permanent representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations, commended the Global Day of Parents’ celebration of the role of parents as the cornerstone of a better society. He described parents as the first and most important socializing agent in a child’s life starting from the earliest stage, well before entering into the education system. Optimal development of children, he said, depends on their mothers’ and fathers’ role in nurturing character, sense of identity, and social obligations through their critical emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual influence and care. How parents shape the heart, mind and conscience in their children has a direct relationship to the success of society and future generations.

Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, described the “abolition of the family” as being well on its way in the US with the increasing disempowerment of parental rights, voice and responsibilities and the decline and devaluing of marriage and childbirth through cultural, institutional and policy changes. He said

that an entire generation of young adults now view marriage as unimportant and see having children not so much as expensive but as a hindrance to their pleasurable life.

Reflecting on different human social innovations throughout history, he warned: “One of the most disastrous experiments in human history has been the effort to subvert and destroy the natural role that parents play in the direction and upbringing of their children.” He noted that many working today to diminish the parental role—believing that “children belong to all of us” —have good intentions. But this has led to a minimizing of the parents’ role in teaching or caring for their children while empowering others’ encroachment into children’s lives.

This is reflected in a recent statement by Terry McAuliffe, former governor of Virginia, that, “Parents should not have a say in what teachers teach their children.” Instead of parents, either teachers, administrators or policy makers, having no relationship or only a very short-term relationship with the children and often with no children of their own, determine what kind of education children receive. These strangers’ opinions and political interests in essence supersede parental wisdom and concern stemming from the­­ ­­­compelling flesh and blood bond between parent and child.

Mr. Schilling pointed out the audacity of this belief that strangers can make a universal judgement about what is best for children. Behind this effort is the belief that children, like blank slates, are all the same and can be molded the way these educational leaders want. Mr. Schilling stated that this “progressive” educational experiment has led to plummeting rates of children’s proficiency in reading and math in the US. Also, utilizing a generic curriculum and extinguishing parental influence, children are increasingly floundering emotionally, socially and morally, and searching for identity and purpose in barren places. Certainly, there are dysfunctional parents, but an overall abolition of parental rights and responsibilities is evidenced as destructive for children.

Parents, knowing their children’s unique needs and talents, are the best suited to guide them to find their pro-social and fulfilling purpose. This can only be done when parents have the power to protect their children’s innocence, discerning what optimizes a child’s development and what destroys it. Mr. Schilling emphasized that those who seek to undermine children should absolutely “not have a seat at the table for policy creation” and educational systems. He lauded efforts such as those being undertaken by the American Principles Project for citizens to become active in making “parents the strongest and largest special-interest group who with clarity of the essential value of mothers and fathers can become the scariest interest group for politicians to deal with.”

Nicholeen Peck, president of Worldwide Organization for Women and author of eleven books on effective parenting such as Changing Children’s Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self-Government, addressed “Parents’ Role in Shaping the Character of their Children.” Ms. Peck has successfully taught parents around the world the principles of “self-governance” which empowers them to teach the same to their children. (See: Utilizing their method, she and her husband have provided therapeutic-care fostering to many out-of-control adolescents.

One example of Mr. and Ms. Peck’s strategy can be seen as they starred in an episode of BBC’s “The World’s Strictest Parents.” See: Even in a short period of their parenting intervention, these adolescents’ anger and nasty disrespect, well-practiced previously at home, failed to provoke a power struggle with the Pecks. Instead, the Peck’s consistent, calm reminding of the rules, roles and expectation of mutual respect deflated the teens’ manipulative attempts.

Time and time again, the Peck’s saw insolent teens transform into open, respectful, appreciative young people with a stronger sense of their worth and identity and new hopefulness and courage to make significant, positive changes in their lives. Many of these adolescents stated that they had never experienced the emotional safety and clarity of roles and purpose with their own parents as they were experiencing with the Pecks. This essential security at home facilitates a young person’s emotional, moral and spiritual maturating into a positive, productive contributor to society.

The panel made clear that parenting is one of the most challenging and important tasks in life. The good news is that parents can learn how to build a healthy, less stressful, authoritative parent-child bond and that unruly children can be transformed into well-adjusted young adults. The bad news is if we do not secure and empower parents’ natural rights and responsibilities to guide and protect their children, then the body of society will be devoid of the fundamental healthy cells it needs to thrive. Thankfully, our speakers provided key principles which we must utilize for the sake of a future we all want and need.

By Lynn Walsh, Director, Office of the Family, UPF International
Thursday, June 1, 2023


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