Imagine the civilized world. At the Spherical Model, we use this description for Civilization:
Families typically remain intact, and children are raised in loving homes, with caring parents who guide their education and training, dedicating somewhere between 18 and 25 years for that child to reach adulthood, and who then remain interested in their children’s success for the rest of their lives.
Civilized people live peaceably among their neighbors, helping rather than taking advantage of one another, abiding by laws enacted to protect property and safety—with honesty and honor. Civilized people live in peace with other civilized people; countries and cultures coexist in appreciation, without fear.
There is a thriving free-enterprise economy. Poverty is meaningless; even though there will always be a lowest earning 10% defined as poor, in a civilized society these lowest earners have comfortable shelter and adequate food and clothing—and there’s the possibility of rising, or at least for future generations to rise.
Creativity abounds; enlightening arts and literature exceed expectations. Architecture and infrastructure improve; innovation and invention are the rule.
People feel free to choose their work, their home, their family practices, their friendships and associations. And they generally self-restrain before they infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. Where there are questions about those limits, laws are in place to help clarify boundaries of civilized behavior. When someone willingly infringes on the rights or safety of another, the law functions to protect that victim as well as society from further uncivilized behavior from the offender.
There are two rather large ingredients necessary for thriving civilization:
· A religious people.
· Strong families.
We can summarize “religious people” simply, for now, as people who honor God our Creator, as well as life, family, property ownership, and truth. That’s a shorthand for the Ten Commandments.
Family is mentioned in there. In the Ten Commandments, that would include honoring parents and not committing adultery.
|Our unit of Civilization, December 2016|
photo by Portrait Innovations
We focus additionally on strong families, because they are so crucial for passing along all the values necessary for civilization.
Family is the basic unit of civilization. That means that, even when the surrounding society is tyrannical and savage, the family can be a tiny island of civilization. And when there are additional civilized families joined together, there’s a community-sized civilization.
Here’s what families do:
Families have the responsibility to safeguard women and children for the greatest benefit of both current and future generations. Families provide food, shelter, clothing, education, spiritual guidance, and training in how to live a civilized life in a civilized society. Elderly are honored for their wisdom. Youth are honored for their potential. Women are honored for giving and nurturing life, among their other abilities. Men are honored for providing and protecting, among their other abilities. Families are the main economic force, as well as the very means whereby civilization can perpetuate. Civilized societies therefore protect The Family as sacred.
We’ve talked about the formula for success in America—that is, for rising above poverty and into the middle class:
1. Don’t have sex before age 20.
2. Don’t have sex until after marriage.
3. Stay married.
4. Obtain at least a high school diploma.
It’s pretty minimal. But it’s what you do, if you want the odds to be in your favor.
What would you get if you do more than minimum? What kind of civilization would we get if we had a society full of families with married father and mother taking seriously their parenting roles?
|image from here|
In honor of Father’s Day, let’s just look at how fathers would contribute to even better outcomes. There’s a piece I read last year, near Father’s Day, offering 10 Reasons Civilization Will Not Survive without Fathers.” I’d like to take those things (combining some, so not an exact ten), and look at the positive contributions that result from good fathers.[i]
· Children who come into families with loving fathers know they were wanted, planned on, and welcomed. It affects their identity in positive ways today’s society should know better than to take for granted.
· Fathers fill a need. Without a father in that role, there’s a father-shaped hole in the child’s life that good mothering can’t fill. It’s not just about love; it’s about the security and protection that a good father represents, allowing a child to feel secure enough to explore the world and grow to potential.
· Fathers work to generate the wealth necessary to provide for a wife and children—far beyond the typical earnings of non-fathers, and also far beyond what non-resident fathers provide even when required by law. These good fathers create a sense of worth in the child that some other resource—such as welfare or even charity—could provide.
· These good fathers modify their behavior; they become more civilized personally. They control their anger, their language, their aggression around the woman and children they love—thus modeling civilization for that next generation.
· Good fathers have a particular effect on their daughters. Daughters need the respect and love of a father to know to value themselves with the men in their lives. This helps daughters grow socially, with self-respect, better able to accomplish their personal goals and better able to resist men who would not be good partners in marriage.
· Good fathers have a particular effect on their sons. Boys in particular need the example of male role models in order to grow into civilized, socialized men.[ii]
|My dad would have turned 101 this week.|
Photo from his WWII service.
· Good fathers channel the use of power toward defense and protection, rather than toward aggression. He protects the family both physically and morally. This eliminates male predatory behavior toward women and children. And it eliminates aggressive force among larger societies—nations—for any reason but defense.
If all men were living civilized lives within families, many of the world’s ills would disappear: war, famine, poverty, tyranny, bullying, abuse. We would still have illness, accident, and natural disasters. But we’d also have the strong help to face those things.
Having a world full of good fathers is one of those simple but not easy solutions. But each one of these fathers creates an entire civilized unit—a family. It’s worth spending a day honoring the heroes who do this essential work, and encouraging those who want to be more like those heroic dads.
[i] In addition to the citations documented in this piece, I've done a collection of writings on fatherhood, all with additional research citations, here. I've also done a collection on motherhood, here, and a Defense of Marriage collection, here. Another good source is United Families International, A Guide to Family Issues: The Marriage Advantage, here.
[ii] “Anthropologists tell us that the primary problem in every human community throughout time and place is always the same: the unattached, undisciplined male. His male nature—with its raw physical strength and energies, appetite for food drink and sex and even violence—needs to be domesticated and even socialized.” Glen Stanton, 71-73, 76. [This footnote was included in “10 Reasons Civilization Will Not Survive without Fathers.”]