Melanie Smith201-1688 Having lived in two very different geographical areas of the country, I have found that certain principles are consistent in being necessary to the prosperity of a community. I will expound on those principles using the basics of child development. Diana Baumrind (1967) researched child-rearing practices. The most successful parenting style was the authoritative style. Authoritative parents set reasonable limits on their children and insist that they obey. These children were lively, happy, independent, friendly and self-controlled. They were persistent in completing challenging tasks and exhibited high self-esteem. An understanding of successful parenting techniques can help a community to instill in its future generations the qualities of liveliness, happiness, productivity, and self-control. The value of the research concerning child development extends from the confines of family into the context of community. Limit-setting from external influences helps to enforce internal limit-setting to promote self-discipline. As society becomes more permissive, individuals are more likely to become subject to their selfish indulgences while losing their personal freedom. Progression is thwarted when people choose to let selfish desires rule their lives. While many have different beliefs, it is reasonable to say that the majority of people with the correct information hold many values in common. We as a society are accepting more and more choices by individuals that are contrary to optimal mental and physical health of the individual and society, choices that include participation in acts of homosexuality, pornography, promiscuity, drinking, marijuana, and other drugs. These choices lead to a decrease in self-esteem, depression, and a decrease in productivity. The inescapable negative consequences of these and other deviant behaviors become a great cost to society. Viktor E. Frankl explained, “To be sure, a human being is a finite thing, and his freedom is restricted. It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand towards conditions” (Man’s Search for Meaning, p, 153). When leaders’ “ignore” violations of the law because individuals who have broken the law may have athletic prowess, prestige, or power, they imply that these attributes are above the law, the very law that makes men equal because it holds all men accountable. The innocent lose their freedom and deviant behaviors become “normalized’. With normalization and acceptance comes the increase of incidence of behaviors that lead to the demoralization of a society. Christopher Booker said: “When men cease to aspire to the ideal, the good, to self-restraint-whether in their hearts or in their lives-they do not just stand still, but actually turn the other way, finding self-fulfillment in self-indulgence, and in those three ultimate expressions of the totally self-centered life: sex, violence, and insanity.” (Trousered Apes, pp. 14-15). When good men do nothing when the precedents are being set regarding rules of morality, then they by default take the side of least resistance. May we as individuals and communities rise to our potential by seeking to live and uphold laws and truths that have never failed society. Melanie Smith
Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75, 43-88.