Jewish World Review July 7, 2006 / 11 Tamuz 5766

Mona Charen

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Consumer Reports

From the high school frontlines in the culture war | A parent from Plymouth, N.Y., has sent along another example of liberals gone wild. Fishing through her son's backpack (he's a ninth grader), she found a crumpled up handout from the health teacher. The title caught her attention: "Dysfunctional 'Family Rules.'" The handout is reproduced below with punctuation, grammar and capitalization as in original:

"Here is a list of some of the unworkable rules found in dysfunctional families

"Boys shouldn't cry. (they should be like diminutive adult males, independent, self contained, and tough. they should bear pain and hurt with a kind of stoicism and emotional flatness exemplified by rugged males in cigarette commercials and by romantic depictions of fighters and the wild, wild west.)

"Girls should always be nice. (Talk nice talk. Never say anything negative. Do nice things. Never do anything that would make someone look askance at you. Nice girls DON'T.)

"Elders always deserve respect and come first. (No matter how the elder behaves, the elder must be treated gingerly, for and elder has power — even if it used capriciously and irrationally.)

"There is only one way to do things. (That is, there's only one RIGHT way to do things. There's only one right way to handle a spouse, to deal with the kids, to have a birthday party, to dance . . .)

"Don't talk, think or feel about sex, money, and feelings. (Talk . . . well, talk stirs things up, gets people upset, well it just causes more trouble. When it comes to sex, money and feelings, silence takes on a precious eloquence. Silence is not only golden, it's high grade platinum.)

"Work first, play later. (Much later . . .)

"The older child must always set an example for the younger children. (Good example that is.)

"Children should always obey their parents. (And it's the parents job to see that their children make the RIGHT decisions — the decisions the parents want. Then when the child reaches the magic age of emancipation — 18 or 21 — the Good Decision Fairy will plink the child on the skull with a charmed wand and make the child a full-fledged adult who always makes Good Decisions.)

"Don't talk about your family to anyone outside the family. (Outsiders will just spread malicious gossip. So always pretend that everything's OK at home, even if it isn't. there's nothing worse than being disloyal to your family.)"

Let's assume that this diatribe is the work of only one irritable teacher and not schoolwide, or, God forbid, countywide, instruction. Still, it represents something. This health teacher obviously believes that delicate matters of family dynamics, as well as highly intimate subjects like sex, obedience, money and family privacy are within the purview of her course. And while she cannot take the time even to proofread her copy, she is prepared to heap scorn on parents who presume to know better than their minor children. In fact, she sounds very much like a petulant child herself, whining about having to set a good example for her younger siblings and delaying gratification.

Sure, this teacher may have had a bad day. But across the nation, public school students are being indoctrinated in "health" classes and other venues to treat their families with skepticism and to regard traditional mores as "dysfunctional." Liberals have achieved what the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci only dreamed about: They have completed "the long march through the institutions" and now control the commanding heights of the culture. Conservatives are going to have to figure out the same trick if they do not want to see the country drift irrevocably to the left.

While liberal teachers preach, conservative parents must teach their own kids to become screenwriters, journalists, professors, teachers and producers. The rallying cry of Gramsci's acolytes was "Capture the culture." Ours should be "Recapture the culture."

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