Do YOU "Impose Your Values" On Your Children?

I am astonished. I honestly don't know how I missed this:

Last month, at the Democratic presidential debate at Dartmouth college, John Edwards made a statement which should HORRIFY all Christian parents who have any interest in their children's moral upbringing. reports:
[The candidates] were asked about a controversial incident in Lexington, Mass., where a second-grade teacher, to the dismay of several parents, had read her young students a story celebrating same-sex marriage. Were the candidates "comfortable" with that?

"Yes, absolutely," former senator John Edwards promptly replied. "I want my children . . . to be exposed to all the information . . . even in second grade . . . because I don't want to impose my view. Nobody made me God. I don't get to decide on behalf of my family or my children. . . . I don't get to impose on them what it is that I believe is right."
Folks, this is but one step away from completely communistic thinking. I, the parent, don't get to have input and control over what goes into the mind of my child?! Have we completely lost our SOULS as a nation? What is a parent for, then? To simply clothe and feed children? Can't the government do that too? Why have families at all? Do you see where this leads? This rhetoric from Edwards leads to the complete fracturing of the family.

It used to be the case that the public at large saw the government education of children as beholden to their wishes as parents... that the GOVERNMENT was responsible to the PARENTS for the dollars spent, education received, and activities of their child while on the school's watch. Now, we are at risk of the complete opposite: now, in the words of a major contender for the role of leader of our nation, parents would be "imposing their views" on their children if they teach moral behavior... and, dare I say it?, if we merely teach what the Bible says.

I can't tell you how these words from a potential president chill me to the depths of my soul. Can you imagine if this kind of view became normative in America? In many countries around the world, already, moral and religious education of minors is illegal. Can you imagine if the American government (which funds abortions, teaches kids how to use condoms, hands out birth control--with or without parental awareness, increasingly not only tolerates but encourages same-sex relationships, and does an increasingly shoddy and shameful job at actual education of children) begins not only taking over but forbidding anyone else to perform the moral training of our youth?

It has been oft said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world... What say you? Do you think that the moral education of our children ought to be left up to government schools? Do you think that you are "imposing your views" on your children when you teach them right from wrong according to the Bible? Does this frighten ANYONE else?!?

If you know me, you KNOW I'm not normally driven to emotional pleas or arguments... but this truly does frighten me. Let me hear your thoughts...


Kim said...

I will say that on the one hand I see what he is saying - that he CAN'T ultimately make that decision for his children - we all grow up and decide on our own what we do and don't believe.


It is wrong, and sad, to say that he can't expose his children to Truth and that he MUST expose them to all beliefs so that they can make their decision. That is ridiculous. Give a child too much information, and they will choose nothing. The heart will rebel if it is not called by God, regardless of parenting. But if that child is to be a Child of God, he or she MUST have training from his/her parents. The Bible explicitly says to "train up a child in the way he should go." So for John Edwards to say that he can't do that because his kids need all the options is just silly...

(That being said - Edwards obviously has no issue with same-sex marriage, and that sways his statement. That or he just wants to get elected. SO - obviously he thinks he IS training his children's a vicious cycle.)

Anonymous said...

I agree that we should teach our children our moral views. However, in the classroom incident, the objecting parents were imposing their values on ALL the children-- not just their own. And, it was in a public school. If you only want your children exposed to your moral views, you should homeschool or find a private school that you like. I guess I think that was what Edwards was going for.

Of course, I'm biased because I really like Edwards.

Queen said...

Do you think that the moral education of our children ought to be left up to government schools?


Do you think that you are "imposing your views" on your children when you teach them right from wrong according to the Bible?

Unashamedly YES! Right now I am the gatekeeper of what my children are and aren't exposed to, so by nature of allowing certain things in and keeping certain things out, I am imposing my views on them.

One of the definitions of "impose" is to establish or apply by authority. I am in "authority" over my children and I want to "establish" their morals.

I certainly don't want the goverment establishing my children's morals which is why I will not place them under government authority by way of public schooling.

If my dc are accidently exposed to something I am against, I *gasp* tell them how they SHOULD think about it. I believe the Bible says there are ways we should or shouldn't think about certain things and it is up to me to teach this to my dc. When they are adults they will have to choose what they believe, but they will have learned the TRUTH at home.

Does this frighten ANYONE else?!?

You bet it does! I am especially frightened for my future grand and great-grandchildren.

The government will not rest until it has absolute and total control of our children. That is one reason schools want our children in school at earlier ages and for longer periods of time. And also why they want to make decisions without obtaining parental consent or even notifying the parents. I'm shocked that so many are okay with this. I find it very frightening.

Brenda said...

I think it's a bunch of political verbal vomit. Do you really think when he's alone at the end of the day that he believes that? It's baloney. He was just side-stepping the entire issue.

But there were only 2 sets of parents (both from the same child) who took action in the classroom where that book was read. A dad, a mom, and the steps. Can you believe that? So, maybe others share his view? Or maybe some people don't know what goes on in classrooms?
They took legal action, which by the way, was shut down by the judge. I believe he said something about how variety is the fabric of our country or something like that.

I'm just not even surprised anymore. Again, I think more people care but they are silent. Boy they better be glad it wasn't MY kids' classroom!!!!!!

Anonymous said...


The problem with saying "if you don't like it don't send you're kids to public school" is that it doesn't address the real issue. The fact is, not all values are taught in public schools. It's not as though they sit down and say some people believe that same-sex marriage is wrong, and it's OK to believe that. They just teach that it's WRONG to believe that same-sex marriage is wrong. They are teaching THEIR own values. They are imposing THEIR own beliefs and saying that Christians in particular should not be able to impose their beliefs.

Values are not neutral. Schools fundamentally cannot be "neutral" about teaching values. The reading of that book was not neutral. Someone's values were certainly being imposed - they just happened to be the politically correct views.

You can bet that if that teacher read a book stating that same-sex marriage was wrong, there would have been a bigger deal made of it and she would have been disciplined by her school administrators. Why? Because the belief she would then be imposing would not have been the politically correct belief.


Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Along these lines there is an v. good, thought-provoking post at Et-tu asking "Is it *possible* to raise kids who are open-minded about religion?" (The answer, of course, is, No, but the overwhelming addendum to that-- in the comments-- is the near-frightening idea that you can by this method effectively inoculate your child against true religion by this method.)

Just wanted to bring it up while we were on the subject of "not-imposing" on our children.

I wonder how many speakers would have the guts to pull the not-imposing my views" line when it came to nutrition...

With our "obesity epidemic" it seems to be the last remaining stronghold where parental control is supported and encouraged (frequently demanded). If I were to think about it for a while it would probebly say something about how this reflects on our society and what we find most-important... starting sadly with appearances.

Terry said...

As a parent, I think it is absurd to even think that you are not imparting your values to your kids-whatever they are. Even if you pass on amorality, you're passing on something. One of the foremost agendas of politicians like John Edwards is to create a society where there are no clear standards of right and wrong because it leaves a vacuum for government to fill, creating a society ripe to embrace socialist policies. To the commenter who implied that parents who object shouldn't have kids in public school: Schools are apid for with tax dollars which comes from tax payers. The government doesn't work for its money; we do. If a school promotes an agenda that is direct opposition to the values of the community it serves, the parents have every right to protest that agenda.

Anna S said...

I believe this statement is absolutely ridiculous. Does he really believe parents can be *neutral* about what they teach their children? It would mean not teaching anything at all -- which isn't good parenting the way I see it!

MInTheGap said...

I must say that it's interesting to see this topic somewhere else. I just asked the question "whose job is it to teach morality" the other day on my blog and got quite the controversy because a commenter was against discrimination. It's crazy.

Public schools need local control, and there needs to be the option to leave (with vouchers) if you don't agree.

Anonymous said...


I think that public schools should teach politically correct values, not Christian values.


Kelly said...

Okay that is scary. Parents are responsible for their children. I already read my two year old from her Children's Bible. Of course I'm imposing my views on my child, Biblically correct or not, that is the point isn't it. To raise our children as we feel is correct. God will ultimately hold parents accountable for the education of their children whether or not they take it up on their own or abdicate the responsibility to the state.

Tim & Richelle said...

Defining "impose" -
1. To establish or apply as compulsory; levy as "in impose a tax."
2. To apply or make prevail by or as if by authority: dictate.
3. To obtrude or force (oneself, for example) on another or others.
4. Printing: To arrange (type or plates) on an imposing stone.
5. To offer or circulate fraudulently; pass off
To take unfair advantage

Thinking about the meaning of impose, I believe that there are certain things that we as parents will "impose" on our children - merely by the fact that we live together, day in and day out; but we must also realize that there comes a day and a time where we can no longer forcefully impose and expect compliance - at that point the child must have internalized the moral him/herself.

I think it is good to have discussions with our children where they don't know for sure what we think, but we direct them to God's Word and to other sources and teach them how to work through the issues themselves.

This was not really a moral issue, but an example comes to mind - our son goes to a local school overseas - and was taught that the US landing on the moon was all a publicity gimmick that never truly happened. So we found a website that laid out both sides of the arguments, without taking a side, and then allowed him to decide if he thought it was for real or not - his conclusion at the end was that the only thing he can have complete confidence in as always being true and right is God's Word - not what man says.

I think a better word to use is expose - I don't want my children to accept what I believe because I believe it, but because they know it is truth.

Anonymous said...

This is truly frightening. It makes me even more determined to make sure I get and mail my absentee ballot on time!! Thank you for sharing this.

Sue in Japan

LisaM said...

I've just been reading the "So Much More" book by the Botkin daughters, in which they point out their father's teaching concerning this - that it really "is" a Marxist socialist idea, to remove parental guidance, motherly persuasion and leave it in the hands of the state. I wonder - to what purpose? In the spiritual realm, the answer is obvious. But I am still not sure what the long term goal of "a-moralists" really is, if there is one. I wonder if they have considered the long term effects, really.

Crystal said...

This is horrible! Thank you for bringing it to the attention of your readers!

I can't believe people think like this. They are children, they NNED guidance, if parents don't impose their values, how will children learn any!?

It truly is scary.

Jennifer F. said...

Is he kidding?? That is one of the most scary statements I've heard from a politician in a while.

I'm excited to have discovered your blog, by the way. Your writing is great and it seems like you also have a great group of commenters.

Hayley Abernethy said...

I was raised in an extremely liberal, Christian household. I believe in God and hold true to the 10 commandments as best I can--especially to "love thy neighbor." In my opinion, loving everybody and treating everybody equally is much more important than condeming same-sex couples. That said, everybody is certainly entitled to their own beliefs on that subject. I certainly have mine. But what I want to pass on to my children is to, above all, love God, and behind that--to love everybody else, and respect everybody else, no matter what. We have a gay couple living next door. Though my husband and I don't necessarily support their lifestyle, we certainly would NEVER make a big deal about it in front of our children. We treat them like normal people (which they most certainly are) and because of that, our children do too. These men aren't terrorists. They aren't horrible people. They're Christian, too, and have been wonderful Christian neighbors to our children. That's what's important to us.

dcrmom said...

I think L summed it up quite nicely. After that I didn't read many more comments cuz I'm in a rush. But I also agree with whoever said that's a bunch of hooey, lol. If he thinks that's what he believes, then he's deluding himself.

The problem is, as Jess points out, if we really do continue to go in this direction and the right to instill our values in our children is taken out of our hands, then that is scary. But how exactly would that happen?

Naturally many choose to homeschool or Christian school to protect their kids (and for other great reasons as well). At the moment, we are keeping close tabs on our public schools and will fight if we find our children are being indoctrinated with such garbage. If we all bail and no one stays to fight, then we're letting them win.

I'm not saying that there's never a time to pull out. And I'm not saying that those who have pulled out can't still have a powerful impact on what's going on in the public schools.

I just don't want to see us all put our heads in the sand, let it all go to pot, and then cry because our rights were taken away. This is still a democracy. Let's let our voices be heard.

anya* said...

intereting to read peoples comments on this one. i am married to a public high school teacher and am pretty pro-public education. i remeber when this classroom incident happened, it was on christian radio and i called in all fired up:) i think it is fair game since it was a public school.send your kid to private school or keep them at home. they cant teach that it is wrong to be gay- imagine if they taught it was wrong to be heterosexual? it is a democracy.... and i would much rather my children learn that same sex couples are 'normal' people and they deserve our love, care, and prayers just like everyone else. perhaps more-since there is so much hate and discrimination against them.
and obviously what Edwards said was dumb. but give the guy a break- when you are in a situation like that, people asking you questions on the spot, you could easily get your word jumbled and the words you say dont come out how you want them to. i can imagine there are many times politicions go home and think, 'man, did what i say come out they way i meant it to?'
anyways, that my 2 cents..

Jess said...

I understand what you are saying.

However, using your logic, we can never expect any politicians to say what they actually mean, ever. And that isn't right. We OUGHT to be able to hold them to account for their words. They are putting themselves up for consideration- not to be the county dog catcher, or even the superintendent of our school district. When you run for President, you ought to weigh your words carefully. If he doesn't weigh his words carefully NOW, when America is listening to and evaluating his words, why should I expect him to weigh his words carefully when he is on the brink of a nuclear disaster, or negotiating trade agreements with other countries, or speaking with dictators in poverty-stricken oppressed nations? I would be foolish to expect him to suddenly become more cautious with his words when he is not that way now.

A man who is careless with his words is a man who is careless with his words, regardless of when he does it. And that's being generous. I actually don't think this was an instance of him saying something OTHER than what he felt- it seems that this is precisely how he feels.

As for your assertion that teaching that homosexuality is normal is the same as teaching that heterosexuality is normal, you're looking at this from a bit of a short-sighted viewpoint.

The fact is that for thousands and thousands of years, NO ONE has believed homosexuality to be anything close to "normal" or "acceptable" or just "one of many choices". Heterosexuality is normal, because it is the means by which the human race continues on. Even with scientific interventions like IVF, it still takes the input from men and women to make babies. Nothing of the sort can be said about homosexuality.

Let's be sure we're speaking clearly and accurately, and not just emotionally or politically-correct, when in a conversation such as this one.

Best Wishes,