While lying on the beach in the Carolina’s talking with my daughter-in-law, I came up with an idea of how our country might mend the American family. So many young families are put in a position in which they both have to work to maintain the household. This results in an unfair reality of putting an infant as young as 7 weeks old in the hands of daycare, adding another large expense to the household. In addition to separating the child from his mom and dad, daycare can cost up to a $1000+ a month per child. If you have two children you may get a break but its not much. A typical house payment can be between $1000 and $2000, so between daycare and paying for a home, eating may be out of the question!
Being a parent also requires a large amount of time. For the majority of couples that are both working to make ends meet, this requires both parents to be away from the home and their family for the majority of the week, making it very difficult to spend time with their children. Between working, running a house, cooking meals, shopping, driving to various events, being a parent, being a spouse, cutting the grass, fixing things, occasional recreation/vacations, and sleeping, there is little time to sit down and relax or spend some quality time with the children. So back to my solution, and the tea party folks may have an initial negative response to this idea, but with a little bit more thought, they may come to my way of thinking.
Lets pay a parent to stay home for the first five years of the child’s life. This could be in the form of a tax break or a stipend and would be based on the income average of the spouse who is staying home and decreases on a sliding scale as family income increases. Part of the program could require the parent to attend some parenting classes to help improve their chances of success. Your first response may be: another government give away that we can not afford. But let us look a little deeper.
Many of the problems we face as a society are from the fracturing of the American family. One of the problems with a capitalist form of government is the stress placed on the family! Many family decisions are based solely on economic issues rather than what is best for the child. If a parent were allowed to stay home and raise the children, the positive impact on our society would be enormous. Of course, there would be those who would abuse the program but some simple rules may help curb the misuse. There should be a limit of 3 children per family which would help keep the population under control and help control the cost of the program.
The benefits of a program like this would be immense! Children would be raised in their own home by their own parents, not sent out as 7 week old infants to daycare centers to be raised by strangers. Parents would not be penalized for staying home with their children during the formative years and the decision to send their children to daycare would be personal reasons and not rooted in family income. Crime rates should drop, social safety nets would be under less pressure, hopefully we would nurture better citizens and the human condition, in general, would improve. I believe that the cost of the program would be a paltry amount in comparison to the long term benefits.
This blog was written with the help of my daughter-in-law Amy VanderWijst Streisel.