Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect?

By Jack C. Westman | Go to book overview

Foreword

For years I have traveled across America speaking to thousands of concerned citizens about the need to find new answers to the myriad problems faced by our children.

These formal speeches always contain two references to parenting. The first is that parenting is the most important human-to-human job we will ever have as adults. It is a job for which there is no minimum entry-level standard, no required education, no on-the-job training, no aptitude testing, and no character reference requirements.

The second speech reference was one I delivered with mock sincerity laced with what I thought was humor. I would say, "We need a license to go fishing. We need to be tested physically, intellectually, and fiscally to be licensed to drive an automobile. But to possess, own, operate, and rear a helpless child, there is no test. There is no license. Whoever begets them, gets them."

When the nervous audience laughter subsided, I would continue with my speech. Only fleetingly would a civil libertarian and champion of individual rights such as myself allow such heretical and politically incorrect thoughts to receive thoughtful analysis.

In fact, I would invariably reinforce my aversion to what, at first glance, seemed akin to totalitarianism by loudly declaring: "I, of course, am not really proposing that we license parents." Then, the audience would hear my nervous laughter.

-vii-

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