Early education no substitute for old-fashioned parenting

To the Editor:

Doctor Raymond Turpin’s opinion of Michele Presnell, Mike Clampitt and Jim Davis seems based on the premise they “don’t get it” regarding the value of childhood programs (Oct. 24 edition of The Smoky Mountain News, www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/9154)

To be scrupulously honest, these three former Republican candidates for state House and Senate (Davis and Presnell won, Clampitt lost to Rep. Joe Sam Queen) probably “get it” all too well. They recognize, for example, that at some point over the years, parenting (considered native intelligence in my parent’s generation) is somehow akin to rocket science in my children’s.

The transfer of parenting has made possible the creation and nurture of a myriad of early childhood programs and the proliferation of the mental health industry, both at great cost. Dr. Turpin accuses Clampitt and Presnell of viewing pre-schools as “free babysitting,” and all three of “backwards thinking.” It’s conceivable the good doctor is right, because the greater truth is far worse.

Childhood programs, created in collusion between education and the psychological service industry, have conspired to replace parents as primary caregivers, the custodians of our nation’s youth.

What Presnell, Clampitt and Davis were unwittingly pointing out is the difference between “experts” and parents. Experts talk about things parents can’t see while parents see things experts never talk about. Yesterday’s “undisciplined brat” is today’s “hyperactive” or “strong-willed” child. Children haven’t changed at all, but the rhetoric has.

Children have absolutely no idea what is in their own best interest. If they did, they wouldn’t need parents for 18 or more years now would they?

Over the last 40 years or so, the “experts” have done a good job of replacing child-rearing realities with “parenting” theoretical rhetoric. Parenting comes only from mothers and fathers, it is not something you can outsource to early childhood programs and self-styled experts who profit abundantly from tinkering with our culture’s child-rearing traditions. This has destabilized both the family and the culture. For proof of this, look around you.

Good parenting emanates from the heart and from the gut. From the heart springs love; from the gut springs common sense. Many of today’s parents could sure use a healthy dose of the latter.

David L. Snell


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