What are Children For?

Friedrich Engels was a prophet of marriage in the modern age. Monogamous marriage, he declared in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, published in 1884, is “unnatural,” setting the practical against the genuinely emotional, reducing persons to commodities, and undermining . . . . Continue Reading »

Grim Tales

For the past two years, I have been the head “Library Mommy” at my daughter’s private nursery school. The children tell me what books they have or have not read, what books they have at home, and what interests them in the school’s library. The nursery school is full of bright, lively, . . . . Continue Reading »

A Bible Fit for Children

In a famous passage from Science and the Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead gives this counsel to scholars in the various historical disciplines: “Do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which [controversialists] feel it necessary explicitly to defend.” More . . . . Continue Reading »

The Children’s Hour

My April calendar reminds me that my oldest child celebrates her birthday this month. Which in turn reminds me of the mysteries and puzzlements of child-rearing. Which in its turn reminds me, once again, why I am a cultural conservative. . . . . Continue Reading »

Sparrows and Lilies

When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked my mother about labor. This woman who gave birth to her first on her own kitchen table (her mother and mother-in-law in attendance) hardly looked up from her work to say, “It’s not that bad.” . . . . Continue Reading »

When Families Fail

Perhaps the most striking feature of our contemporary political landscape is the failure of the tattered labels “liberal” and “conservative” any longer to convey useful distinctions. In my own field of education policy, for example, those who get called conservative are in fact deeply . . . . Continue Reading »