Two of the nicest, smartest people I know run a day care. Our youngest, the only one of our 5 kids to do any daycare, spent a few hours twice a week with them during the school year for a couple years when he was 3 and 4, so that my wife could help out better at school. So, I’m not condemning the idea that moms and dads need some help once in a while, and that it’s great that there are people and places that can provide this help.
Meanwhile, as a working professional, virtually every family I know puts their kids in day care shortly after birth, often for 8 or 10 hours a day. This is considered normal and unavoidable and even a positive good.
This is insane.
We get to pick up the pieces. One the one hand, some kids, mostly boys, are filled with untethered anger. They’re just mad, and can’t say what they’re mad at. They stay mad right on through adolescence. On the other, other kids, mostly girls, have developed coping skills that include all sorts of subtrafuge and dishonesty – they are attempting to integrate a world where mommy and (sometimes) daddy love them, yet where that love includes hiring minimum wage workers to raise them for 10 hours a day, ignoring their pleas to not be left behind. Mommy and (sometimes) daddy say they love them, and even buy them stuff and take them places. Yet the sense of abandonment is deeply ingrained. Since these conflicts cannot be honestly reconciled, the child, in survival mode, ditches honesty.
Daycare is how we prepare our children emotionally for the day they decide to stick us in a nursing home.
Final thoughts: I love Europe. Been there several times over the years, and I’m a huge fan of European art, music, architecture and so on. Yet, even in vibrant places like London or even Rome, there’s a sense of decay and doom – Europe today is suffering under deep structural problems – the socialist states have no idea how they will keep paying for all this stuff. European healthcare is bankrupt, essentially, and survives via the expedient of having everybody pretend it isn’t. There are very few European kids, who – being raised in daycare and all – won’t willingly accept the burden of caring for their elders via social programs or otherwise. It seems the dream of communism – that all this government crap will fall away as the worker’s paradise emerges from the wreckage of capitalism – is everybody’s fall back position, whether they acknowledge it or not.
Europe, at least as we know it, is circling the drain.
So, while I have no idea how this works in the long run. it’s pretty clear we should not be looking to Europe for leadership or ideas on how to solve social problems – they have no freaking idea, beyond just using the credit cards to pretend to be rich.
I know a family whose kids were educated for a few years in French schools. Not that this is likely to upset the writers at Slate, but these kids report that, since they were German (Strikes 1 & 2) and Catholic (Yer out!), French parents would instruct their kids to have nothing to do with them. Again, we want to go there?